WaPo: ‘Climate Change Nothing New’

By October 17, 2006Global Warming

Wow — here’s a bombshell in yesterday’s WaPo, tucked away in the “Science Notebook” section under the above headline. Here’s the opener:

“Global climate change isn’t just a problem of the industrial age. Dinosaurs had to cope with it, too, geologists have found.”

We happen to know that dinosaurs pre-dated the invention of the internal combustion engine and we are virtually certain — although there’s no consensus — that there was no carbon trading among dinosaurs.

The story quotes a recent study by Simon C. Brassell, Professor of Geological Studies at Indiana University (and global warming expert) as finding that “the evidence of climate change so long ago during a period without humans could influence the modern-day understanding of global warming.” We guess so. Says Professor Brassell:

“If there are big, inherent fluctuations in the system, as paleoclimate studies are showing, it could make determining the Earth’s climatic future even harder than it is. We’re learning our climate, throughout time, has been a wild beast.”

A wild beast indeed, Professor Brassell. Wild enough maybe to defy prediction? Sure does wreck the global warming buzz.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Robin Green says:

    This post shows either a complete lack of understanding of the science of climate change, or a deliberate obfuscation of the facts.

    Global warming and global cooling have occurred since the dawn of time. There are many different contributing factors to each – a growing sun over
    the ages, changes to the angle of the earth’s axis
    of rotation, changes to atmospheric composition due to a variety of factors (advent of photosynthesis, asteroid impacts, small changes that grow bigger because of feedback loops, etc.). Just because there has been significant change in temperature over the planet’s life does not mean that the current change is normal or natural. Bear in mind that most changes have been measured as occurring over millenia. The warming we are seeing has occurred largely since 1950, with the five hottest years occurring within the last decade – coincidentally the time with the highest CO2 emissions from human activities on record. To make matters worse, feedback cycles such as melting polar sea ice leading to higher sea albedo and yet more melting, may cause global warming to accelerate significantly in years to come.

    The abstract for Brassell’s paper makes it clear that the study is about the record of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific. The abstract makes no suggestion that the study ‘wrecks the global warming buzz’. The quote by Brassells in the Washington Post is most likely intended to convey the idea that past climate fluctuation makes current climate modelling more challenging than previously thought. That does not mean the modelling is wrong. New issues are constaintly being raised that change the way climate models work. Unfortunately for the health of the planet, many of the new issues suggest that warming is occurring FASTER than the models predict, not slower.