The Future of Climate Change
This article looks at the possibility of a cooler future for the climate, as opposed to the general view of global warming.
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What are we to believe? Over recent years we have been bombarded with predictions of ever rising temperatures, melting polar caps, droughts and rising sea levels. Big news stories such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Mitch, the European heat wave and numerous other natural disasters around the globe seem to have added weight to the argument for catastrophic global warming.
The science behind all this seems solid, straight forward and beyond doubt. There is the International Panel on Climate change which advises governments on what action needs to be taken and everybody wants to be seen taking the lead in strategies in reducing further warming as much as possible .
What though if we have got it all wrong and we are headed down a different path? The idea may seem crazy but to a growing number of people including experts and scientists along with enthusiastic amateurs, there appears to be plenty of evidence to support a global cooling scenario.
Do You Believe in Global Warming or Global Cooling?
Droughts and floods are not in themselves an evidence of a long term temperature change and can happen in either a hotter or colder climate. A big increase in frequency and magnitude of such events would indicate some sort of conflict in the equilibrium however, and we seem to have witnessed that in the last twenty years or so. Many of these events have been linked to El Nino and La Nina which are periodical changes in ocean currents that affect global weather patterns. What causes these is still not fully understood.
There have been cold weather events some of which can be related to the aforementioned phenomena but interestingly during or near the end of a deep solar minimum between 2008-10 the atmosphere cooled.
Sea levels actually dropped in 2010 and only time will tell if they will start rising again soon. A look at historic ocean oscillation patterns which happen over decades suggest we are now entering a cooling phase having just completed a warming one.
What may come as a surprise to some is that overall ice content in Antarctica has grown and continues to do so, far outweighing some much reported melting on the peninsula. Winter sea ice has been setting records in recent years although there is debate as to why, with some suggesting it being the paradoxical result of warming in the region.
The arctic ice cover has declined somewhat but is far from a sudden meltdown and may be a lagging indicator of changes that may now be driving the future climate.
The Sun is what drives our climate and any changes it undergoes will affect us. There is now some debate on whether changes in the Sun's solar cycles will make a big difference in climate. We are in solar cycle 24 and the sun should be quite active but overall it is unusually quiet and this may be a precursor to a minimum event . The Maunder Minimum from about 1645 to 1710 was a period of virtual no solar activity which coincided with the Little Ice Age that affected northern Europe
This may be the game changer ultimately responsible for all the different climate mechanisms which compete to cool us or warm us. This seems to be the real battle ground between scientists who think that a new deep solar minimum will have no noticeable effect on the future climate, and will not stop man made global warming and those who think a large part of the recent warming was down to an active phase of solar activity in recent decades which seems to be now possibly coming to an end. There is also a physical battle between forces that have warmed the planet recently and forces which seem to be now conspiring to cool us.
Ultimately, time will tell which of the many conflicting theories concerning climate change is correct.