River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Global Warming - an enigma

February 2013

Regular readers will know that I have often expressed some scepticism on this subject.  It is not that I do not recognize that global temperatures have been higher in recent years than the average temperature in the twentieth century, nor would I deny that CO2 in the atmosphere has the potential to generate global warming. I am sceptical, however, that such global warming that has occurred is solely due to CO2.  Although CO2concentrations have increased significantly in the last 10years the actual proportion remains fairly low at 0.37%.

Preliminary statements indicate that the average global temperature during 2012 is the eleventh highest in modern times.  This means that once again it is well below the maximum recorded temperatures in 1997/1998. In the last 14years the temperature has not risen at all and has remained below those record values.  This has occurred despite the increase in CO2 concentration, and the Met office has recently stated that they do not expect to see any increase in temperature in the next few years, although I have not heard an explanation as to why they believe that.

However the enigma is that even though global temperatures are not increasing the polar ice caps are melting, this is seasonal, of course, but the area of Arctic sea ice this summer was the smallest on record and there is evidence that the Antarctic ice cap is melting.  There is, however, some contradictory data in that Antarctic sea ice area was the greatest on record last year and parts ofNorthern Europe andSiberia recorded record low temperatures last winter.

It might be argued that the action of melting ice would help to keep average global temperatures constant whilst the tendency is for the planet to warm and that as the amount of ice is reduced the temperatures will start to rise.  If this were true then one would expect that the average temperatures at the poles would remain constant, but the opposite appears to be true, i.e. the temperatures at the poles are rising at a faster rate than temperatures elsewhere, and that is another enigma.

There may be some further global warming in the longer term but this is not manifesting itself in the global temperatures currently and it is clear that things are not going in the way predicted at the start of this century.  It does seem as though there is a long way to go before scientists fully understand all the factors influencing our climate.

Ron Watts

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