Thursday, August 28, 2008

Uncertainty

Here's a link from EPA that covers some knowns and unknowns regarding global climate change.

http://yosemite.epa.gov/OAR/globalwarming.nsf/content/ClimateUncertainties.html

More interesting links (with data and forecasts) are on the site, so click around.

What parts of this information are known and what is unknown?

Given the many levels of uncertainty, what should we do?

3 comments:

Brad Coffey said...

Is there anything to suggest the Milankovitch cycles are contributory in at least a portion of the warming? From what I have gathered, our period doesn't line up with a "warming phase" within this cycle.

It also seems like the morality tactics that are being used are similar to that which was mentioned in the Tragedy of the Commons article. It's surprising how much is listed as uncertainty, but you see a lot of those "symptoms" being thrown out by doomsayers as actuality.

Alex said...

The one thing we know is that the climate is changing. The uncertainty is how bad things are actually going to get. According to a book written by James Lovelock (a British scientist) the earth is a live organism called Gaia. Since Gaia’s formation 4.5 billion years ago it has kept a comfortable temperature suitable for life nearly that entire time. The Earth has many ways it can regulate its temperature. For example, the theory that hurricanes are going to get stronger is probably correct because hurricanes cool down ocean water and also mix nutrient rich deep colder water with the nutrient poor warm water at the surface. Another example of how the Earth regulates its own temperature is as the surface of the sea grows warmer evaporation starts increasing. When the clouds reach a certain altitude they spread out and reflect solar radiation back into space thus cooling the earth off. You can find more about this in an article from the New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEFD61639F934A35756C0A967958260
I think that Global Warming is an issue that concerns all humanity, it does no good to just throw our hands up and say were all doomed since we are all at fault for the sudden spike in global temperature. There is still hope for our planet. We just need to give her a hand.

Justin Shepard said...

We know that the Earth has been getting warmer over the last hundred years or so, we know that our atmosphere has in one form or another gone through changes. We also know that Earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling.

Our uncertainties should be driving us to be more environmentally cautious. No one can know for sure what will happen when our earth reaches its breaking point, but the more CO2 we pump into the atmosphere will only give us more assurance that at some point something will happen. Everything we do has an impact on this earth in a ripple affect. If we continue to make waves our questions could soon be answered for us.

The best thing we can do is live in way that has as little impact on our Earth as possible.Renewable energy (solar,thermal,wind.. Not Ethanol) and sustainable living are a good start.