Friday, August 12, 2005

Global Warming

One of the arguments frequently used against global warming was that weather balloon data showed slight cooling in the troposphere (the lowest level of the atmosphere), especially in the tropics. Three new studies, appearing in Science, show that when errors in the data and calculations are taken into account, the weather balloon data actually shows a warming trend, in conformity with computer models.

“These papers should lay to rest once and for all the claims by John Christy and other global warming skeptics that a disagreement between tropospheric and surface temperature trends means that there are problems with surface temperature records or with climate models,” said Alan Robock, a meteorologist at Rutgers University.

The findings will be featured in a report on temperature trends in the lower atmosphere that is the first product to emerge from the Bush administration's 10-year program intended to resolve uncertainties in climate science.

While this vindicates global warming research, it remains unclear what practical effects it will have. The current administration seems as stubbornly committed as ever to ignoring the evidence of global warming, which has been public for more than a decade. Just this summer, aCongressional committee began harrassing some reasearchers, a move cheered by right-wing sycophants. As long as the political climate remains in its current state, I see little hope for any large-scale change on the global warming front.