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Data suggests that unknown processes may be missing from prediction models.

If there's a topic that nearly everyone is familiar with this year, it's global warming. Advocates for this camp and that camp have been slinging mud and "facts" at each other at an increasing rate in the last few years as global awareness of the various theories behind it has risen. Though special purpose groups, scientists and Al Gore may not agree on what should be done, there are generally accepted numbers that climate researchers use to generate pictures of what kind of temperature the Earth will endure in the next century. Only, those numbers might be wrong.

A paper recently published in Nature Geoscience, authored by Gerald Dickens of Rice University, Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University of California - Santa Cruz has found evidence that climatologist models may in fact be wrong. Their work concentrates on a well-known thermal event in Earth's past known as the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) and the records it left behind in the form of carbon deposits. Via core samples from all around the world, the PETM is one of the best documented events of its kind.

But what Dickens's team found in those PETM cores doesn't jive with the standard global warming model in use by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC model typically uses a 100% increase in atmospheric carbon as the threshold in their models, but when compared to the deposits from the PETM, in which atmospheric carbon levels only rose by about 70%, the current model fails to explain the dramatic temperature increase during that period.

How does the Dickens/Zeebe/Zacho team explain the 7 degrees Celsius jump in just 10,000 years? They can't. But they think their data suggests that there's some unaccounted process missing from the IPCC model. If they are correct, the IPCC models could be off by as much as 100% as far temperature goes when using the PETM event as a reference.

Global warming, whether it exists or not, whether it's man-made or not, will be a hot topic in the next few years, perhaps decades. While not every study done has substantial ground to stand on, there does seem to be much that scientists do not understand about the geological or environmental processes behind it. More data is needed, and perhaps groups like Dickens's will find it.



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RE: Is it possible....
By Solandri on 7/17/2009 1:30:12 AM , Rating: 3
Each side has its own agenda. If the figures on global dimming are correct
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming
then a viable solution to global warming (assume for the moment that it is happening) is to seed high altitude clouds which reflect sunlight back into space before it has a chance to heat the Earth appreciably. But that doesn't jive with the environmental movement's agenda for eliminating fossil fuel use.

I'm of the opinion that the environmentalists are probably correct on this one. But don't for a minute believe that they're on the side they're on primarily because they're worried about the Earth getting warmer. They see it as a great vehicle to drive the policies they want implemented. Just like many of the deniers are on the side they're on because their current business operations would be greatly upset of it's true. It's all politics.

The scientists who have flip-flopped on the issue (sometimes several times) with each new nugget of data are the ones I actually respect the most. By flipping, they've demonstrated they're not beholden to one side of the issue.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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