Climate Skeptic Slap Down: the Earth is Demonstrably Heating
Recently climate skeptics [search] and sympathetic press have claimed there has been no global warming for a decade. New Scientist does a marvelous job of debunking [ark] this selective misreading of climate data by lay skeptics. Using a powerful yet simple analogy, they illustrate that surface temperatures are only one measure of global heat increases.
Surface temperatures only reflect what is happening to the very thin layer where air meets the land and sea. But long-term how much heat is gained or lost by the entire planet, called the “top of the atmosphere” radiation budget, is what matters. Claims that global warming is non-existent is further confounded by the fact surface temperatures in the Arctic, the place on Earth where the greatest warming is occurring, is not measured by a permanent base. And 1998 was unusually warm due to El Nino conditions.
But the smoking gun, in terms of data demonstrating ongoing global heating now, is the self-evident strong ocean warming [search]. Water holds 1000 times as much heat as air. The recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report [search] found that since the 1960s, over 90% of the excess heat due to higher greenhouse gas levels has gone into the oceans, and just 3% into warming the atmosphere. This heat being soaked up by the oceans will inevitably spill back into the atmosphere and raise surface temperatures.
The science is clear — both in terms of direct measurement and hundreds of observational studies showing changes in wildlife behavior, plant phenology and other impacts. Anyone not trusting thousands of expert climate top scientists, to listen to an occasional lay skeptic protecting narrow economic self-interests, is just plain dumb. This continued denial is causing great harm to us all. Let's get on with devising and implementing sufficient solutions to save being.