Murray Snyder’s letter (Jan. 28) seems like it heaps evidence against the notion of human induced climate change … until one starts to look closely at what he has written.
He implies that the U.K.’s Meteorological Office has forecast that will be no warming for the next five years. Except that when I look on their website, they state that global average temperatures for the period of 2013 to 2017 are “most likely to be about 0.43 degrees C higher than [the 1971-2000] average.”
How can this be? We know that Snyder can read. Perhaps he got fixated on the next sentence, which states that the warmest year on record was way back in 1998 (the year which produced the strongest El Nino in recorded history).
El Nino’s are a product of heat in the ocean, and the oceans have absorbed 93 per cent of the increasing warmth of the last six decades. So if Snyder was totally open with his readers, he would have directed them to graphs showing the changing “ocean heat content” down to the “2,000 metre” depth (it’s very easy with Google). There, you’ll find the graphs which show where most of the apparently missing heat has gone.
Snyder should have also directed his readers to look at warming graphs for the last 130 years, which look quite a bit different than the cherry-picked graphs since 1998. Even the Wikipedia graph looks fairly flat if you squint your eyes enough that the years 1880 to 1997 magically disappear.
As for the theory that it’s all the sun’s fault — and not that inconvenient CO2 molecule — then it would be nice to see any substantial evidence that the last hundred years of rising temperatures has any correlation with it at all.
Snyder then quotes a sentence from the IPCC stating that the rising amount of extreme weather related economic losses cannot be definitively attributed to global warming (Hint: it’s just as likely due to the fact that we’ve continued to build a lot of very expensive stuff on floodplains and right next to the ocean).
Few in the scientific community dispute this.
But to go from that to the notion that we can continue to loft billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year with impunity is equivalent to saying that our grandchildren are less important to us than our Hummers and all of our other shiny toys.