Friday, April 29, 2005

Yet more scientific evidence on Global Warming

But at least the anti-science Right has popular fiction novels on which to base their claims...

I first saw this in the Wall Street Journal today...

Climate scientists armed with new data from the ocean depths and from space satellites have found that Earth is absorbing much more heat than it is giving off, which they say validates computer projections of global warming.

Lead scientist James Hansen, a prominent NASA climatologist, described the findings on the planet's out-of-balance energy exchange as a ''smoking gun" that should dispel doubts about forecasts of climate change.

Hansen's team, reporting yesterday in the journal Science, said they also determined that global temperatures will rise by 1 degree Fahrenheit this century even if emissions of greenhouse gases are capped tomorrow.

The NASA-led researchers were able to measure Earth's energy imbalance because of more- precise ocean readings collected by 1,800 technology-packed floats deployed in seas worldwide beginning in 2000, in an international monitoring effort called Argo. The robots regularly dive as deep as a mile undersea to take temperature and other readings.

Their measurements are supplemented by better satellite gauging of ocean levels, which rise from meltwater and as the sea warms and expands.

With this data, the scientists calculated the oceans' heat content and the global energy imbalance. They found that for every square meter of surface area, the planet is absorbing almost 1 watt more of the sun's energy than it is radiating back to space as heat -- a historically large imbalance. Such absorbed energy will steadily warm the atmosphere.

''There can no longer be genuine doubt that human-made gases are the dominant cause of observed warming," said Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University's Earth Institute. ''This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for."

Think of the Planet Earth as someone who is smoking six packs of cigarettes a day. We are being presented with reams of evidence showing that smoking is detrimental to its health and is damaging its lungs. But the other side insists that we must continue smoking six packs a day and perhaps more or else the world economy will suffer.

Who are you going to believe? The legions of scientists on one side of the debate, or the right-wing politicians and corporate funded think tanks on the other side?

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