Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where Has All the Heat Gone?

   For many of us this has been the coldest, snowiest, nastiest winter in recent memory. It begs the too simple question: What happened to global warming?
   The global warming debate started spinning following the El Nino of 1997-98 when winter in many winter places was shockingly warm and wet. The world was getting warmer, the Arctic would melt, oceans would rise and there would be catastrophic environmental changes.
   Since that great El Nino, however, large parts of North America have been cooler. In my part of the world I can’t remember so many mornings when the thermometer occupied the minus 30 Celsius range.
Snow at Shaman's Rock
   Scientific reports show that there has been little overall increase in global warming in the past 15 years. This of course has led to much controversy about whether global warming is over hyped. The January 2014 issue of Nature magazine has a fairly good article of the global warming ‘hiatus.” It explores the theory that the missing heat has much to do with the Pacific Ocean and the likelihood that the warming trend will be back soon.
   More current information on global warming will be available when the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases a new report January 30. This is a report by committee so expect the information to be hidden in a brain-twisting maze of bureaucratic gobbledygook. However, enterprising journalists will sort out what it all means and pass it along to the rest of us.
   Hopefully the report will explain where the missing heat has gone and when we can expect it to return. Any time now would be much welcomed.


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