by Lynden Rodriguez

It is a
little difficult to put a finger on any one cause for global warming.  Is it truly global warming? Or could it be
global cooling, as some claim?  Or is it
sunspots?  Or could it be something that
has not yet reached the level of public awareness?  Perhaps – volcanoes?  The big question is: has the Earth already
been through a similar global
warming, and if so, how drastic was that change?  Another question many people should ask themselves,
“Why does man think so highly of himself as to believe he is the sole cause for
such an enormous macro-process as global warming?”  Is man the singular source of global warming
as many claim, or is he but a factor in a complex equation of naturally
occurring physical phenomena?  These
topics will be explored, for and against; and perhaps, not unlike the parable
of the blind men and the elephant[1],
it might be seen that the global community is looking at the same animal, but from different perspectives.

 The Contra-Argument for Global
Warming:


The
evidence for global warming is mounting daily. 
It has become so accepted that anyone holding a different view is looked
upon askance.  There have been
politicians that insist there is “not enough scientific evidence to blame
industrial emissions for global warming” (CBS
2002
).  This view could be construed
as coming from an economic and/or political viewpoint, rather than a scientific
one.  But many more of these differing
views are from noted climatologists.  Recently,
even the public is becoming more complacent as revealed in a recent Pew[2]
poll showing
global warming is last on everyone’s priority list.  Instead, the public is focused on the economy
and terrorism (AJStrata
2009
).  One scientist, Dr. Patrick
Michaels, a climatologist and professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, insists the evidence for
global warming is being grossly exaggerated, owing to a systematic failure of
climate change computer models.  He says
“that the models have projected higher temperatures than have actually occurred
in recent years”
(FOXNewss.com
2009
).  Indeed, he indicates that the
climate in the climatology community
is increasingly gloomier than need be.


On February 25, 2009, Professor of
Physics at Princeton University William Happer made a statement before the U.S.
Senate that was particularly compelling:


“The climate is warming and CO2 is increasing.  Doesn’t this prove that CO2 is
causing global warming through the greenhouse effect?  No, the current warming period began about
1800 at the end of the Little Ice Age, long before there was an appreciable
increase of CO2.  There have
been similar and even larger warmings several times in the 10,000 years since
the end of the last ice age.  These
earlier warmings clearly had nothing to do with the combustion of fossil fuels.  The current warming also seems to be due
mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide.  Over the past ten years there has been no
global warming, and in fact a slight cooling. 
This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
models” (Hoven
2009
).


Dr. Happer went on to report that
the “increase in CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for
mankind” … “Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of
atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably
not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380
ppm” (Happer 2009).  He explained that the claims for increased CO2
are “wildly exaggerated,” adding that there is a constant change in climate,
referring back to ancient times when Romans grew grapes in England circa 100 A.D., and the Vikings colonized
Greenland when it was still warm.  He clarifies the contention that while CO2
may be a “poison,” it is essential for human life and the growth of
plants.  With regard to a consensus in
the scientific community regarding global warming, he states that there is
none; that “science is not determined by consensus but by experiment and
observations.  Historically, the
consensus is often wrong…” and that scientific journals are rejecting papers
with opposite viewpoints for fear of losing “research funding” (Happer 2009).  He agrees that the sea level has been rising,
but that it has been rising “for the past 20,000 years since the end of the
last ice age” (Happer 2009).


The earthy wisdom and weather
forecasting of the Old Farmers Almanac is legendary.  So, it is not surprising that the folks at
the Almanac have a little something to say about upcoming weather.  An article
on the Internet in September 2008 predicted a “cooler winter, but looking ahead
decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming” (Tirrell-Wysocki
2008
) for the first half of the millennia. 
The Almanac staff uses a complex study of sunspot cycles and their
effects on ocean currents, although they are unwilling to divulge their exact
calculations that have been published since 1792.  At the time the article was written, fall of
2008, it was predicted that North America would “be colder than normal in the
coming winter, with heavy snow from the Ozarks into southern New
England” (Tirrell-Wysocki
2008
). That prediction was borne out in fact during the winter of 2009.


Continuing upon the topic of
sunspots, during a climate conference in New
York City, 2008, there was a report that firmly
“dispelled notions that the global warming debate is over” (Leader-Telegram
2008
).  They agree as to the
existence of a “post-Little Ice Age warming,” but do not believe that gas
emissions alone are creating any major climate shift.  The conference highlighted sunspots and how
they are associated with magnetic solar storms that affect Earth’s weather.  We have just come out of a “very strong
11-year sunspot cycle,” ending in 2007 (Leader-Telegram
2008
).  A new cycle should have
begun, but hasn’t yet occurred.  There is
currently little sunspot activity, and this lack of activity results in
cooling, which is far more dangerous than global warming.  Global cooling phases have led to crop
failures, shortened growing periods, and food shortages.  These scientists insist that global cooling
is in the offing (Leader-Telegram
2008
).


Climate scientist Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics writes in a
recent article
that sunspots have been studied for over 5,000 years.  Dr. Soon states:

 


“Chinese imperial astronomers kept detailed sunspot records.  They noticed the more sunspots meant warmer
weather on Earth.  In 1801, the
celebrated astronomer William Herschel noticed that when there were few spots,
the price of wheat soared – because, he surmised, less ‘light and heat’ from
the sun results in reduced harvests” (Soon
2009
).


Dr. Soon challenges the U.N.’s
climate panel’s report on the scientific “consensus” that global warming is
produced by man-made CO2 emissions. 
Indeed, it is “fraught with serious scientific shortcomings in its
discussion of the sun’s influence on Earth’s climate” (Soon
2009
).  The U.N.’s estimate on the
increase in solar radiation over the past 400 years is based on data in a “modeling
study” by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, using a computer program that
“was not designed to reach such conclusions, as it has no routine to calculate
solar radiation” (Soon
2009
).  He reports that even the
slightest change in solar radiation has a “strong effect” on the planet’s
weather.  Dr. Soon’s paper, recently
published in the journal Physical
Geography
, indicates that his studies “invalidate[s] the hypothesis [that]
CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change – and raises serious
questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that
would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of
‘preventing catastrophic climate change’” (Soon
2009
).


Proponents
of Global Warming:


Despite the evidence for global
cooling, there is also some evidence for warming.  The Pew Center Global
Climate Change
website defines the basics of global warming as being caused
largely by “emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human
activities” (Pew Center
2009
).  This view by far is the most
accepted reason for global warming by the media, many scientists, and the
public at large.  But then again, it is
the media that largely forms public opinion. 
Many other scientific studies appear to be ignored or marginalized by
the main media press; such as active Arctic
and Antarctic underwater volcanoes. 
There is evidence that the Earth has already been this way once before,
and could potentially be headed once again into a period that at one time made
the Arctic a tropical paradise.


A geologic survey team in Arctic Canada in 2006 discovered a
surprising fossil – a tropical, freshwater turtle from Asia.  Dubbed Aurorachelys,
or aurora turtle, it existed some 90
million years ago.  How did this
freshwater turtle cross the Arctic’s salty
sea?  The expedition discovered that 90
million years ago there was an unusual amount of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean.  It
is conjectured that volcanic activity might have created an island chain along
a mountain range in the Arctic known as the Alpha
Ridge
, and presumably melting glacial ice provided the fresh water and vast
amounts of CO2; thus, the greenhouse effect.  Turtles, not to mention other species, would
have had little trouble crossing over an Arctic sea flooded by freshwater.  Freshwater is lighter than salt water, and
would have simply rested on top of the ocean water.  It is concluded that not only did creatures
migrate over the warm Arctic Ocean, but even
“thrived” in it.  The specimen was
discovered “right on top of the last flood basalts – a large stretch of lava
from a series of giant volcanic eruptions,” concluded the geologic expedition
team leader John Tarduno, and professor of geophysics at the University of Rochester.  He added, “We’re talking about extremely
warm, ice-free conditions in the Arctic region, allowing migrations across the
pole” (Sciencedaily.com
2009
).  So, the conclusion drawn is
that volcanic activity alone created tropical conditions in ancient Arctic
history.  Might it not do so again?


An Internet report posted last year states that in 1999 there was
documentation made by a survey team from Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution
in Massachusetts of a series of eruptions in
the Arctic that rivaled Pompeii in the Gakkel
Ridge
; an underwater mountain chain running from Greenland to Siberia.  Instead of a peaceful outflow of lava along
the ocean bed there were massive eruptions. 
The tectonic plates beneath the ocean along the ridge were spewing lava
and the “flat-topped volcanoes [were] up to two kilometers (1.2 miles wide) and
several hundred meters high”…and…“the amount of ice began to decline
precipitously in around 1999, which is when these volcanoes began their eruption”
(Gilbert
2008
).


The same is true in the Antarctic where it has been discovered by
a team from the British Antarctic Survey
that active volcanoes under the ice in Antarctica
are creating a “melt-water” at the base of the ice sheet that is increasing the
flow of glacial ice out towards the ocean. 
The sub-glacial volcano is said to be about the size of Wales
and is located in the Western Antarctic ice sheet.  Photo imagings of this area from 1992 to 2004
shows that volcanic activity has been increasing and that there have been eruptions
of a magnitude not seen for 10,000 years. 
It blew a hole in the ice sheet that shot up a “plume of ash and gas” to
approximately 7.2 miles.  In the report
it is conjectured that many claim that “CO2 is the driver for any
melting of the Antarctic ice sheet.” 
However, melting permafrost itself releases huge amounts of CO2
– not the other way around.  There are
many volcanoes in the Antarctic along the western coastal edge, but there may
be many more in the interior which have not yet been discovered (Watts
2008
).


Another group of multidisciplinary research teams from over 60
different countries all over the world are still in the midst of publishing
their findings from a two-year study and are at the point of completion in
March 2009.  It is called the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008
and some findings are currently to be found in the scientific Internet
websites.  An article was published on
ScienceDaily entitled, “Ice Declining Faster than Expected in Both Arctic and
Antarctic Glaciers.”  Initial reports are
that the evidence for global warming in the poles indicates that there are
rising temperatures in the Southern Ocean. 
There is fresh bottom water in Antarctica
that is from melting glaciers.  The
melting permafrost is releasing huge amounts of methane (greenhouse
gases).  It is conjectured that this will
affect ocean currents; and there is solid evidence that many species of ocean
life are migrating toward the poles as they become warmer (ICSU 2009).  This is a movement toward similar conditions
in the Arctic 90 million years ago, as seen by the fossilized remains of the
Asian aurora turtle found in northern Canada.  Unfortunately, the IPY report does not offer
any further insight into any volcanic activity at the poles.


As another example of global warming, quite recently the Audubon
Society reported that more than half of all of the 305 species of birds in
North America winter 35 miles farther north than they did some 40 years ago (Cappiello
2009
).  In some cases, a few species
winter as much as 100 miles farther north. 
Milder winter temperatures mean birds do not have to expend as much
energy to fly south and many species are even experiencing greater population
growth, especially in those states that have grown the warmest.  However, with the milder weather there are
earlier springs, and some Canadian geese are not even migrating.  This may cause, as early as next year, a
“major population collapse of Canada
geese on their breeding grounds around Hudson Bay”
(Pore
2009
).  That means that the complexities
of the food chain in that area will be stretched to the limit and many other
species could be adversely affected.  But
not all of the news is bleak.  Many bird
species usually found in southern climes are now being seen in North American
states that are unaccustomed to seeing such visitors.  There is also a shift in migration from
coastal areas to further inland.  But on
a more somber note, the same study also speculates that the recent devastating
southern Australian fires caused by severe drought were brought on by global
warming (Pore
2009
).


Conclusions:


Had both
the Arctic and Antarctic volcanic eruptions
occurred within densely populated areas, headlines would read differently
today.  Instead, they have all but passed
unnoticed to everyone but the scientists involved with their research.  However, the volcanic heat is affecting both
poles, and these areas are becoming “warmer.” 
Sea life that usually prefers warmer waters are migrating to the
poles.  This event is not unlike that
which occurred a millennia ago when the aurora
turtle
migrated over the Arctic
Sea.  Though, there is more evidence that the
glacial ice at the poles is melting at an alarming rate, it is due to volcanic
activity and not to CO2 emissions as has been argued.


In four
separate articles it is noted that the climate models used in projecting
warming trends are called into question. 
As in any other science, if the premise is wrong, then the conclusion must be wrong with regard to these
models.


The
evidence in the migration of birds is an indicator that some change is taking
place.  This evidence is the most
puzzling of all, because the statistics in bird migrations are to vast to
discount..  There may be an obscure
factor relating to this process, such as volcanic activity at the poles.  Other factors may a combination of “urban
sprawl, deforestation, and the supplemental diet provided by backyard feeders”
(Cappiello
2009
).  As biologist Terry Root at Stanford University relates, “The study ‘shows a
very, very large fraction of the wintering birds are shifting’ northward”…”We
don’t know for a fact that it is warming. 
But when one keeps finding the same thing over and over…we know it is
not just a figment of our imagination” (Cappiello
2009
).


In sunspot
research, sunspots or lack of them seem to have a greater affect on the weather
than had been realized.  Solar research
scientists suggest a cooling trend is indicated.


The most
logical view is that the earth is doing what is has always done.  All of the anxiety over global warming may be
due to the fact that man does not trust the Earth to protect and heal itself;
or worse, all of the alarm stems from a more political and economic
motive.  Still, an excess of man-made CO2
emissions and overuse of fossil fuels in the industrialized nations is
incompatible with responsible stewardship of Earth’s resources.  The limiting of industrial CO2
emissions is praiseworthy on its own, and curtailing the use of fossil fuels as
outlined in the environmental plan as set forth by President Barak Obama is to
be fully endorsed.  Another important
reason to limit the use of fossil fuels is to remove it as a bargaining chip by
Middle Eastern interests.


The
question then remains: “Are we not just experiencing a normal weather cycle?”  My own considered opinion is that this is the
case.  Therefore, the popular alarmist
view of impending doom is irresponsible pseudo-science.  There indeed seems to be a case for global
warming, but not to the degree that it has been claimed, nor is its cause
entirely man-made; underwater volcanic activity is a more likely
explanation.  The altered migratory
habits of birds within the last 40 years are also a testament to this
view.  Yet, there is also evidence of a
global cooling due to the lack of sunspot activity, which may in the end
counteract global warming to some degree. 
The best advice is to take all relevant data into consideration and
collate them in a cogent manner.  This
would be more in keeping with the Buddhist parable cautioning us all to begin
to
see more than “one side of a thing” (Kazlev
2004
).

Works Cited


AJStrata.
“Public Gives Cold Shoulder to Global Warming, Focused on Economy and Terrorism,” Strata-Sphere.com. 2009. 18
February 2009. <http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/7655>

Cappiello,
Dina. “Birds Shifting North as Planet Warms,” Discovery.com. 2009. 27
February    2009. <http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/02/10/birds-climate-change.html>

CBS News.
“Bush Disses Global Warming Report,” CBSNews.com. 2002. 17 February
2009. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/03/tech/printable510920.shtml>

Fox
News. “Scientist: Global Warming Evidence, Claims Exaggerated,” FOXNews.com.
2009.26 February 2009. <www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,500327,00.html>

Gilbert,
Steve. “Could Volcanoes be Melting the Arctic Ice?” Sweetness-Light.com.
2008. 18 February 2009. <http://sweetness-light.com/archive/could-volcanoes-be-melting-the-arctic-ice>

Happer,
William. “Global Warming and Climate Change in Perspective: Truths and Myths About Carbon Dioxide, Scientific
Consensus, and Climate Models.” Capitalism Magazine. 2009. 09 March 2009.
<http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5441>

Hoven,
Randall. “Clear Thinking on Global Warming.” Americanthinker.com. 2009. 01 March 2009 <http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/02/clear_thinking_on_global_warmi.html>

International
Council for Science (ICSU). "Ice Declining Faster Than Expected In Both
Arctic And Antarctic Glaciers." ScienceDaily.
26 February 2009. 28 February 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090225073215.htm>

Kazlev,
M. Alan. “The Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant.” Kheper.net.
2004.11 March 2009. <http://www.kheper.net/topics/blind_men_and_elephant/Buddhist.html>

Leader-Telegram.
“Sunspot Cycles May Hold Key to Global Warming, Cooling,” Leader-Telegram.com. 2008. 13
February 2009. <http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-opinions.asp?id=BGMHH9IPD4Q>

Pew Center. “Global Warming Basics,” PewClimate.org.
2009. 27 February 2009 <http://www.pewclimate.org/global-warming-basics>

Pore,
Robert. “Expert: Global Warming Impacting Bird Migration,” TheIndependent.com.
2009. 17 February 2009.
<http://theindependent.com/articles/2009/02/10/news/local/doc499225f9cb7dd575271248.txt>


ScienceDaily.
“Ancient Turtle Migrated from Asia to America
Over Tropical Arctic.” 02 02 2009. ScienceDaily. 17
February 2009.             <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090201094125.htm>


Soon,
Willie. “It’s the Sun, Stupid!” Enterstageright.com. 2009. 09 March
2009. <http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0309/0309thesun.htm>


Tirrell-Wysocki,
David. “Old Farmers Almanac: Global Cooling May be Underway,” USAToday.com. 2008. February 2009.           <http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2008-09-09-farmers-almanac_N.htm>

Watts,
Anthony. “Surprise! There’s an Active Volcano Under Antarctic Ice,” Wattsupwiththat.com. 2008. 18 February
2009.  
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/22/surprise-theres-an-active-volcano-under-antarctic-ice/


[1]
This is from a Buddhist parable of blind scholars who are shown various aspects
of an elephant and are asked to describe it. 
They each describe it as a different thing, and then begin to quarrel
over it.  Says Buddha: “In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome,
wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and
thus."  Then Buddha utters a verse:      


“O how they cling and wrangle, some who
claim
For
preacher and monk the honored name!
For,
quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such
folk see only one side of a thing” (Kazlev
2004
).





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