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Deny if you wish, but global waming is real

February 5, 2013 · 12:26 PM
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Dear editor,

Re: The letter (Record, Jan. 30) from Caleb Draper headlined What global warming?

Here we go again.

Let me address just some of Mr Draper’s conglomeration of points, which may serve to indicate his level of involvement in the subject:

Draper quotes one Leighton Steward of PlantsNeedCO2.org, to the effect that there are many sources of climate change. Indeed there are, and climate scientists have endeavoured to include all the significant ones.

The present warming effect of carbon dioxide overwhelms them all, now, and increasingly in the future, being aided by the effects of methane gas being released as a result of the warming.

And indeed  plants need CO2, though the beneficial effects vary with plant species (weeds may benefit also), but is limited by the absolute requirement for other growth factors — trace elements, etc.

Mostly though, faster and greater growth necessarily requires — contrary to Mr. Draper’s quote — more water, not less. Much of the world is pressed for water resources, and the situation is getting worse. Read Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars, for example.

The rise of CO2 levels in ancient air samples after a rise in temperature, not before, is mentioned, implying that the presence of CO2 was not the cause of temperature rise.

But whatever kick-started the rise out of previous ice ages (Milankovich cycles, perhaps), the fact remains that CO2 is still a greenhouse gas. Once its concentration starts rising in the atmosphere, it will help retain heat, and hence promote warming.

Draper mentions the effect on humans — this has never to my knowledge been a part of any climate-related discussion.

He quotes a Mail on Sunday report by David Rose on the U.K. Meteorological Office’s October paper on recent climate information. Draper states (following the Mail on Sunday) that “global warming actually stopped 16 years ago.”

The Met Office issued a rebuttal the following day: “It is the second article Mr. Rose has written which contains some misleading information …” and included detailed corrections. Of the author’s previous distortions, the Met Office wrote (Jan. 30, 2012):

"This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the past 15 years is entirely misleading."

According to Mr Draper, some oil fields have doubled their available resources — in a few short decades! This seems unlikely, even accepting the notion of “abiogenic oil production.” And the biological production, Mr. Draper, was not from dinosaurs!

“Theories change because they are flawed,” says Mr. Draper.

They do, and they are changed to improve them, or are replaced.  That is the nature of science.

This process has given rise to the very powerful and increasingly accurate climate models we now have. Mr. Draper would do well to study the science, not climate-denier blogs, or — good heavens! — the Mail on Sunday.

Colin Park,

Comox

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