In 1958 measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere confirmed an increase of carbon dioxide accumulation based on previous data. A few years later, in the 1960’s, computer models of global climate began to paint a clear picture of how excess greenhouse gases could warm the planet. In the 1980’s the global temperature began to warm quickly.
But we all know this, right? We’ve heard it all before. Millennials have grown up hearing the burning of fossil fuels and the excessive production of carbon dioxide and methane have all but doomed us all. We’ve seen the pictures of the melting ice caps, heard of the warming lakes, etc.
But why is there still so much doubt and resistance to the idea that global warming is actually occurring? If the overwhelming consensus among scientists is that global warming is real and happening, why so much debate? Well, at one time there was a lot of debate even among the scientist who’ve now agreed that it is occurring. They couldn’t agree on what was actually causing the increased temperatures; it was only through years of extensive measurements and data collection that they could finally agree.
But to the unscientific community the debate still rages on. Perhaps because we do not see or understand all the data that is being thrown at us is why we resist. Lack of knowledge and a proclivity towards distrusting science may be the reason it remains such a hot topic.
Since this is such a complicated issue and going too in depth would simply not be fun, we’ll take a few of the common theories in opposition to climate change and provide a simple answer to them.
If the planet’s getting hotter, how come we’ve had record snowfall and low temperatures?
The fundamental issue with this question is that you’re supposing that climate change and weather are the same thing. Weather is the short term fluctuations in atmosphere, where climate is the long term temperature of the Earth.
Weather is sporadic and is not easily measured, but climate is much more ordered and consistent. This makes climate change much easier to determine than say, if it will rain next Monday. For a clearer picture please check out Neil deGrasse Tyson’s video below:
Next week we’ll look at more questions and answers on Global Warming…