On July 18, Charles Lehman wrote to the Sun-Sentinel downplaying the reality of human-induced global warming. His letter contains several critical misunderstandings.
Lehman quotes a National Hurricane Center official as saying that global warming is not responsible for the increase in hurricane frequency. He's right. Warming doesn't make more hurricanes – but it does make them more intense. Hurricanes take their energy from the temperature of surface waters. Because of global warming, surface waters all over the world are becoming hotter. As a result, scientists have found that 84 percent of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gases is absorbed by the oceans; that tropical storms all over the world have become 50 percent stronger since the 70s because of warming; and that the proportion of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic basin has virtually doubled in the last 30 years.
He is correct in observing that the warming of the atmosphere plateaued during the 1970s before resuming its upward trend. Scientists believe that is because much of the warming in the 70's was absorbed by oceans rather than the atmosphere. As a result, scientists recently measured a marked increase in ocean temperatures as far as two miles deep.
There is nothing hidden about the scientific agenda Mr. Lehman refers. It comes from the findings of more than 2,000 scientists reporting to the United Nations in what is considered the largest, most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.
As evidence of its importance, Holland is reducing her emissions by 80 percent in 40 years. The UK is committed to reductions of 60 percent in 50 years. German will cut emissions 50 percent in 50 years. And French President Chirac called on the entire industrial world to cut coal and oil use by 75 percent by 2050.
It seems more than a bit pretentious for Mr. Lehman to contend they know more about climate science than the world's community of statured climate scientists. The fact is there is no debate whatsoever among mainstream climate scientists about the larger trends of what is happening to our climate – and what is causing it.
Author: The Heat is On (1997), Boiling Point (2004)
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