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  • Mridul Mittal

Is Climate Change for Real?

Updated: May 22, 2019

I am surprised that there are many who pose this question but then there have been people who denied that the Holocaust against the Jews didn’t take place during the World War II.

So there you have the answer…

Is Climate Change really happening?

And some sceptics who claim that Climate change is the biggest scam of this century.

So whom should we believe?

On one hand, we have people worrying us to death about the increase in sea levels, ice melting in the Arctic, unusual weather conditions and various dying species subject to climate change…

On the other hand, we have people giving out data claiming that climate change is a sham and that everything is nice and rosy. So bring on the pollution.

What should we believe?

Let us first deal with those who negate it. The top five arguments that they place in their defence are the following –

First and foremost, the people who deny the fact that our world is indeed warming uphold on a different definition what global warming actually means. They believe that global warming is defined only by the rise in atmospheric temperature and do not consider atmospheric precursors as a valid evidence in the argument.

One of the first arguments that are placed on the table is that there has been no significant temperature change on the global thermometer ever since 1997. They believe that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are overstated and that all is well and good in the wonderland. Some delve deep into and present facts that do cast a doubt on the reality of global warming.

They say that CO2 levels on plant growth are underestimated by 16% and since plants absorb carbon dioxide it has led to the overestimation of how of this gas would be there in the atmosphere.

In a recent paper presented by a leading climate scientist suggested that cuts in the greenhouse emissions may not be as acute as it is made out because we are not accounting the gas that the trees would be absorbing.

The second argument that actually holds some merit is the fact that there is not enough historical data to accurately predict the climate change metrics. This is a fact that is often enough pointed out whenever someone is worried about the melting ice in Arctic.

For one thing, there are no historic temperature records from the Arctic region, which is basically because it was discovered merely a century ago and has frequently been inaccessible.

According to a recent study conducted by NASA, about one-fifth of global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records. Why? That’s because of the difference in the way global temperature has been recorded in the different region. The study also claims that projections of future climate don’t seem so dire when historical data is factored while the same can’t be said about predictions made with climate models.

The third argument is specifically about Arctic ice which some claim has increased by 50% since 2012. This was confirmed by European Space Agency satellite CryoSat that measured 9,000 cubic kilometres of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean in 2013. In 2012 it recorded only 6000 cubic kilometres of sea ice, which resulted in many alarm bells ringing.

While this sounds like the most convincing argument to negate climate change, people forget that in the 1980’s the Arctic was covered with 20,000 cubic kilometres of ice so an increase from 6000 to 9000 is not a heartening sign by any measure.

The next argument is born from the previous one. The climate model calculations upon which most of the global warming threat is based on are flawed and unreliable. If this turns out to be true then the bulk of the long-term predictions made by scientists are totally meaningless. And that’s not all some climate scientists even argue that the Artic ice melting could also be a natural climate shift about which so much hue and cry is uncalled for!

Continuing the same argument, the climate change denials wrap up the discussion by saying that most of the dates that the climate model has made have turned out to be false. For e.g. Al Gore’s award winning documentary ‘Inconvenient Truth’ warned all and sundry that by 2013 all the ice in the Arctic Ocean would have dried up. Contrary to that, the volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean increased in 2013!

So what do we believe in now? Are Global Warming and subsequent climate change a reality or not?

Let us look at the other side of the argument now.

First and foremost, the sea levels are rising. Research indicates that sea levels worldwide have been rising at the rate of 0.14 inches (3.5 Millimeters) annually since the early 1990’s. Three factors are responsible for this –

Thermal Expansion: This happens when the water heats up and that’s another reason why oceans have become warm and are occupying more space than ever.

Melting of the glacier and polar ice caps: The ice is melting fast enough in Arctic. Though the ice melts during the summer, during the winter the evaporated sea water becomes snow again. But the region has been experiencing high temperatures that are increasing every year consequently resulting in greater than average melting of the ice and reduced and delayed snowfall in the late winter. An imbalance that is visibly seen even as the climate change plays out.
Melting of Antarctica and Greenland Ice Caps: Arctic sea isn’t the only place where the ice is melting. Antarctica and Greenland whose landmass is covered by massive ice sheets is also melting at an accelerated pace.

With these three factors working overtime it is no wonder that the sea levels are indeed rising and the coastal cities are under a threat.

Secondly, there is a global rise in the Earth’s temperature. Scientists have been tracking global atmospheric temperature since 1800 and except for a sudden lull during 90’s the mercury has been steadily rising. The past three decades have not been kind to our planet because this has been the warmest period in recorded history. According to latest reports, the temperature has climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) all around the world since 1880 and much of it had occurred during these three decades. Most climate studies have concluded that 20th century’s last 20 years have been the warmest in almost about 400 years.

Next evidence that confirms the global warming argument is the fact that the ocean temperature has risen considerably in the past three decades. The very fact that glaciers are melting and shrinking in size is worrisome.

That apart, the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic thanks to the gas emissions that are eventually getting absorbed into the water. If you are wondering about why suddenly schools of fishes, whales and sharks are coming by the shore to die, this is probably why not to mention the blooming algae in freshwater and marine ecosystem that are causing the fish to die.

That said, we are back to the original question. What or whom to believe? Is climate change for real or are we just a bunch of alarmists who are jumping the gun about temperature increase?

Of all the arguments that are put up by the denying side, only one of them has a sliver of sense. And that would be the fact that there is not enough historical data to make intelligent assumptions about global warming.

Scientists who are worried about it prefer to stick to their guns and talk about ‘climate change’ which is a larger part discernable to one and all. That apart specific scientific studies are inconclusive because there are no historical records to compare them with and the climate models have often missed their mark in predicting the weather. If you were to look at weather data from hundred years ago, (just to prove or disprove climate change theories) then you would be stumped because the records were not kept according to the modern standards.

And the worst part is that the analysis could be interpreted in any way possible depending on who is looking it. So you can be a climate change messiah come up with doomsday predictions of how we have wrecked this planet and how it’s gonna wreck us back or be a cool customer dismissing every little thing as ‘we don’t enough about it’.

In conclusion, I think that irrespective of whether climate change is happening or not, the bottom line is that we reduce our carbon footprints as much as possible and stop polluting our atmosphere, earth and the ocean with gases and plastic junk.

What do you think?