dinsdag 14 december 2010

Still Cool or Real Hot

Data by NASA show a world on fire. On the other hand geologists say: ‘global warming is over. The next thirty years global cooling makes the scene.' If global warming is dead, what will happen to CO2?

By Frank van Empel

The world is getting warmer, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows in global temperature maps. Whether the cause is human activity or natural variability, thermometer readings all around the world have risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the Institute states. Planet Ambassadors and other environmentalists are happy with the maps. ‘The next time anyone tells you that the world is actual cooling,’ one of them says on the internet, ‘simply point them to these global temperature maps’. Take a look at the slideshow yourself and make up your own mind. Do they really knock out all critics of global warming?


According to NASA’s temperature analysis the average global temperature on Earth has increased about 0.8°Celsius (1.4°Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade. Housewives and stallholders may be impressed by this data, but geologists just laugh at it. They think in glacial and interglacial cycles of 10.000 up to 50.000 years. If we take the long-term view, geologists tell us, currently we live in an ice age that started 37 million years ago. In the meantime the Earth’s climate has changed with cycles of warming and cooling.

According to this special breed of scientists the acceleration of the increase in temperature since 1975 can easily be compensated by a 30 year period of global cooling. That’s the storyline of professor Mojib Latif, who works for the famous Leibniz Institut in Kiel, Germany, and who is a highly respected member of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His specialism is cool: measuring the temperature 1.000 meter below the watersurface of the ocean. According to Latif, here in the deep water, oceans give birth to the next climate cycle of 30 years. ‘The two decades 1980-2000 formed a warmth cycle,’ Latif says early 2010 to reporters of Daily Mail and Guardian. ‘That has gone.’

We enter a thirty year long period of global cooling now, Latif says. And he knows he has a lot of experts behind him. Geologists and climatologists like Hays, Imbrie and Shackleton for instance, who already in 1976 have stated in Science that a surplus of greenhouse gasses like CO2 are warming up the Earth. Something that can be overcompensated by another period of global cooling. M.F. Loutie and A. Berger, have put the length of the present interglacial in 2002 at 50.000 years. Who then lives, then worries. ‘No,’ comments Berger in the slipstream of a presentation he gave for the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in 2005, we all have to care about emissions right now. Berger believes that the present CO2 perturbation will last long enough to surpress the next glacial cycle entirely.

Amidst this controversy between global warming and global cooling believers, the British quality magazine the Economist runs an article about 2010 as the warmest year ever recorded. Early December that was the measured reality for 2010. Who looks out the window in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Stockholm or London may think it’s an early Christmas dinner joke. But it isn’t. The global temperature record represents an average over the entire surface of the planet.

The temperatures we experience locally and in short periods can fluctuate significantly due to predictable cyclical events (night and day, summer and winter) and hard-to-predict wind and precipitation patterns. But the global temperature mainly depends on how much energy the planet receives from the Sun and how much it radiates back into space — quantities that change very little. The amount of energy radiated by the Earth depends significantly on the chemical composition of the atmosphere, particularly the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The maps of NASA colour the past. They depict how much various regions of the world have warmed or cooled when compared with a base period of 1951 -1980. They can’t say anything about the future. We have to do here with one of the most complex, nonlinear systems: the weather. Greenhouse gases are just one element in this universe, where Nature still has the power to surprise people with holidays on ice instead of the anticipated hotdays on the beach.

What do you think or believe? Are we getting ‘real hot’, or staying ‘still cool’ in the coming 30 years? And what will happen to the discussion about CO2? Will it fade away too, like the acid rain issue?

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Op 11 april 2015 kwam 'Parkinson Hotel' uit. Een uitgave waarin Franky de dialoog aan gaat met Parkie. Zie: http://www.studiononfixe.nl/parkinson-hotel/ Deze blog is een aanvulling hierop. Doel is o.a. de bekendheid met de ziekte te vergroten, ook voor hen die net als ik een ongenode gemene gast herbergen en hun partners. Ik hoop mensen met de ziekte van Parkinson te inspireren om niet bij de pakken neer te zitten. Sinds de diagnose Parkinson’s Disease, voorjaar 2004, strijd ik tegen de ziekte, tegen toenemende medicatie en de bijwerkingen van pillen. Ooit zei een collega dat ik 'sneller typte dan God kon lezen'. Ik was politiek en economisch redacteur van o.a. NRC, Elsevier en Haagse Post (in omgekeerde volgorde). De ziekte van Parkinson staat bekend om haar progressiviteit, de symptomen worden met de tijd erger. Mijn verzet bestond en bestaat uit het trainen van hersenen en lichaam. Ik promoveerde in 2012, voetbal iedere zondag, doe aan Nordic Walking en andere sporten. Ik speel gitaar. En bovenal, ik blijf schrijven. Allemaal dingen die ik graag doe. Op 24 april 2015 onderga ik een 'deep brain stimulation' en schakel ik naar hogere frequenties van levensgenot.