It’s been a busy start to the year.
There is credible discussion of atmospheric sensitivity that points to a lower value than has been taken for granted. If true, this would lower the threat level that climate change poses to us–or at least buy us extra time to prepare for it.
James Hansen has baldly stated what everyone saw but few on his ‘side’ could bear to admit–temperatures, expected to continue the rise shown between 1976 and 1998, have ‘stalled’ and we really don’t know why.
I happened to run into CDIAC’s estimates for human emissions by year and noticed that one-third of all human emissions had occurred since the period when temperatures stalled–which is not a point in favor of higher values for sensitivity, to say the least.
And today we see from the journal Nature that new Greenland ice cores from 125,000 years ago show that, although there is melting of Greenland ice when temperatures get warmer, that melt is not as extensive as scientists had feared. This may cause us to re-evaluate what will happen with Greenland’s ice if and when our current warming period resumes.
Taken overall, this is good news for humanity. I don’t at this point really care who is advantaged in the debate between activists and skeptics, although both will find reasons to take comfort and attack the other side, I’m sure.
I am having trouble remembering a period that saw such a bang-bang series of released information with the potential for having such a large impact. Readers can help me, and I hope you do.
What surprises me is the lack of discussion about this. Each of these ‘stories’ seem to have lasted about a day. None of them seem to have changed anybody’s mind. The discussion of climate change this year, in major media, mainstream blogs (such as Kevin Drum or Andrew Sullivan) and climate specific blogs doesn’t seem to have absorbed the impact of these stories. In fact, much of what I’ve read about climate change this year could have been pasted in from prior years–or typed in by a robot.
Has climate change become just an icon to which we all must bow, but not one which requires further thought? Readers can help me on this as well…