Articles like Alex Kuffner’s nod to human-caused
global warming climate change in today’s Providence Journal would be much better if they simply reported on scientific findings without trying to link them to political narratives:
What he and the other members of a team of researchers from the United States, Denmark and Germany are talking about is a significant slowdown in the overturning of the Atlantic Ocean, the natural system of currents, including the Gulf Stream, that pumps warm water north and cold water south.
According to their peer-reviewed article published in the journal Nature Climate Change, there was a rapid decrease in circulation between 1975 and 1995, the likes of which is unprecedented in at least a millennium.
And that slowdown could explain why the North Atlantic is one of the only regions in the world that has shown signs of cooling as temperatures elsewhere go up. As the study’s lead author, Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, points out in a recent blog post, last winter was globally the warmest on record, yet for the North Atlantic, it was the coldest on record.
So, we’ve got a circulation change in the Atlantic, which can be confirmed as unique within about 1,000 years, to explain why the North Atlantic was breaking cold records while the rest of the world was overall breaking hot records. Some details:
The cause of the recent slowdown appears to be the continued melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Freshwater from the melting ice is not as dense as saltwater, so it’s harder to sink and, as a result, harder to generate the necessary overturning to keep water moving in the Atlantic.
So, Greenland ice is melting, stopping up the flow of warm water north, which has kept the north cold. This is one of those instances when even “climate change” skeptics are apt to acknowledge that the climate, you know, changes, as proven by the fact that Greenland used to be, you know, green. Sure, the skeptics’ skeptics point out that the Greenland of a millennium ago didn’t warm as part of a global trend and wasn’t actually all that green, but the article in question, here, is about a specific, regional phenomenon.
More important, though, the
global warming climate change boosters suggest that the Earth’s orbit was to blame for warming temperatures way, way back when Greenland was really Green (100s of 1,000s of years ago), and that isn’t the case right now. This is where the Kuffner article seems to dip into a bit into faith:
Although there were changes in the past, such as a slowdown in the early 1600s, they could be accounted for through natural forces. But the model that Rutherford, Rahmstorf and researchers at Pennsylvania State University and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland created could not explain the recent slowdown through natural variability. That suggests that man-made carbon emissions were to blame.
So, the researchers couldn’t come up with a model that explains the changes based on natural effects, which couldn’t mean that the researchers are missing something, but must “suggest” that it’s humans and their pesky economic development who are to blame. But then:
Rutherford says the circulation did shut down 12,000 years ago during the Younger Dryas period — colloquially known as the “Big Freeze” — when temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere plummeted abruptly.
So, we’ve got a change in currents that happened 10,000 years B.C., and we’ve got ice melting around a land mass that has warmed in the past. And somehow, it’s your fault for driving so much and using so much electricity to charge your smartphone.
Debates about this subject are characterized by the quick leaps that are implied — and asserted by activists and cynical politicians — from a changing climate to a human cause to a global socialist solution. The news media’s complicity in making the leaps has been a major contributor to sowing division and distrust… at least, I can’t come up with a model that explains it any other way.
(I should be very specific: This particular article doesn’t go so far as the socialist solutions, but it does unnecessarily make the first leap.)