September 8, 2013. Did global warming stop? No. But rapidly rising temperatures have stopped rising as rapidly as they once were. Critics continue to suggest rising temps are a natural occurrence and CO2 has nothing to do with it. Supporters argue there must be some other explanation for the sudden near halt of rising temperatures. Scientists desperate to solve the mystery have been releasing some very interesting findings and hypotheses.
Change in food output as a result of global warming. Image courtesy of Gechs.org.
One of the few things climatologists can agree on is the fact that the Earth’s temperature began drastically rising in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The increase was so unprecedented, experts universally agreed that mankind would be wiped out or forced underground in only a dozen generations if it continued at that pace. But something strange and unexplained happened in 1998. Temperatures began rising at a snail’s pace and global catastrophe models had to be extended much further into the future.
By the numbers
The statistic that is puzzling most scientists and causing climatologists on both sides of the debate to rethink their theories is the one that shows industrial pollution and CO2 emissions continue to skyrocket around the globe. If those emissions are responsible for rising temperatures, why did the warming all but stop as pollution more than doubled?
A recent report published by TheWeek.com explains, ‘The average air temperatures at the earth's surface have risen only about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1998 — the hottest year of the 20th century — even as humanity has continued to pour vast quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The world pumped roughly 110 billion tons of CO2 into the air between 2000 and 2010 — about a quarter of the total put there by mankind since the start of the Industrial Revolution.’
The publication quotes Professor Ian Plimer of the University of Melbourne insisting, "There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998." In reality, it hasn’t stopped. Temperatures are still rising, only at a much slower pace than before. Scientists say the Earth has warmed 1.4 degrees since the beginning of the industrial revolution, regardless of whether or not the additional pollution had anything to do with it.
United Nations’ models from as recently as 2007 show that the world’s temperatures should rise as much as 5.4 degrees by 2050. But that model and all the others are now obsolete due to the drastic reduction in global warming over the past 15 years. So, where’s all the missing heat?
While opponents of global warming argue that the proof is in the past decade and a half worth of surface temperature readings, believers in global warming insist there must be some other explanation. Scientists and climatologists are finally releasing and publicizing some of those theories.
The bursting damn: One theory is that global temperatures haven’t stopped rising. Instead, some theorize that the building heat has inexplicably shifted to a location not currently being measured by scientists. A thermometer will register a drastically different temperature at the bottom of the flame than it will at the top of the flame even though the flame’s average temp doesn’t change. Or like the seasons of the year, where temperatures vary drastically, but the average stays basically the same. Scientists warn that when the still-rising heat shifts back, it will do so like a bursting dam, causing temperatures to rise by multiple degrees virtually overnight.
Earth self-regulation: Another theory is being forwarded by MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen. It suggests Mother Nature has its own built-in thermostat. He theorizes that when global temperatures begin rising too high, the moist, muggy air increases and creates additional rain clouds. Those rain clouds act as an umbrella, blocking out sunlight and thus reducing the world’s temperatures. They also steal moisture from the high cirrus clouds that trap heat and increase temperatures, thus thinning the cirrus layer and reducing its effect.
Solar cycles: One theory being advanced initially sounds like it’s outlived its shelf life. The hypothesis suggests that the stop in rising global temperatures is because the sun has entered its 11-year contraction cycle. Some suggest that the sun’s temperatures rise and fall in regular cycles and a slow reduction in heat from our planet’s star began in 2000. But with solar radiation increasing again, temperatures should be increasing again as well. But they’re not.
Pollution stops global warming: Yes, you heard it here first. Some experts sincerely believe an increase in the world’s pollution and the tiny particles that rise into the atmosphere are what’s causing the halt in global warming. They argue that a massive belch of ash and other pollutants from both China and two massive volcano eruptions have created a layer of pollution in the stratosphere that is actually reflecting the temperature-raising radiation back out into space and keeping it from hitting the Earth.
Oceans absorbing the heat: Richard Allan, a scientist at the University of Reading in the UK, says he’s found the missing heat. He also warns that global warming hasn’t stopped or even slowed down. His theory is that the additional heat and rising temperatures have been absorbed by the deepest depths of the world’s oceans. He says that 90% of sunlight and solar rays are absorbed by the oceans and not the air or the ground. He also points out that almost no climate change models monitor the oceans’ temperatures. According to his data, surface water temperatures have remained virtually constant. But water temperatures below 2,300 feet have continued to drastically rise since 1998 and may eventually rise to the surface with catastrophic results. “Warming over the last decade has been hidden below the ocean surface," he explains, "Global warming has actually not slowed down."
So which is the correct answer to the mystery of the missing heat and rising temperatures? In theory, it could be any or all of them. Regardless of which theory one supports, two things are universally agreed upon. Average global temperatures are still rising, albeit at a much, much slower pace. And two, those rising temperatures will eventually threaten mankind’s existence.
To read the original report, visit TheWeek.com.
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