Saturday, August 18, 2007

Did I miss something?

One of my old lefty friends has -- along with many others of his political bent -- argued that citing the newly revised stats from NASA regarding US temperatures is insufficient. As proof of the woes of global warmism, he dredges up the evidence of icecap melt on Greenland. We should, it seems, not be so quick to dismiss the liars and crackpots who fudged data to support their theories.

It's not really just about the NASA report -- although, that's a darned good place to start. The whole argument supporting anthropogenic global warmism has quite a few problems. For starters, the planet's top climatologists all admit they lack sufficient data for a long-term answer. The whole of the field is still in its infancy, with scientific readings still scattershot outside the influence of our own Western scholars and their institutes. Dendrochronology, geology and paleontology as studies have been around for only a couple of centuries, and data collected is only newly-applied to this field, with mixed results.

Also, too many on both sides of the issue toss away information which disagrees with their beliefs -- one of the top global warmists refused to believe all the accounts of the 17th century "little ice age" because it didn't fit his narrative. Many of the new religion's foes refuse to accept the reduction of glaciers as evidence that the planet is changing. A few others claim they have evidence that supports the old global cooling -- that is, they believe their evidence shows the burning of fuels over the past centuries may have actually slowed the natural process of extraterrestrial(solar and deep-space)-powered warming.

Okay. So the Greenland icecap is melting. This doesn't necessarily prove global warmism. For all we know, the oceanic currents are shifting the way the Mississippi shifts in is bed occasionally (or did, before we went and put it under lock and dam).

And, even if it did mean the planet's temp is rising a fraction of a degree each century, how horrible (and how novel) can that be? Seems to me, it would beat out the other possibility cited by scientists in the field (the one that was screamed from Newsweek's headlines thirty years ago, about "The Coming Ice Age").

Greenland was named Greenland for a reason -- and it wasn't simply to fool Scandinavians into buying real estate, sight-unseen, a millennium ago. According to archaeological evidence, Greenland had a wide band of verdant farmland when the man our books call Erik the Red and his son Leif walked the earth. It really was green. Beneath that more recent permafrost lies still some fairly rich earth.

How horrible would it be to have an expanded area for farming, and a slightly longer growing season across the rest of the temperate zones?

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