October 16, 2009
Is The Earth Entering A Cooling Cycle?
On the scientific research front, most news headlines tend to be aimed at showing how global temperatures are on a steady upward climb, but one report published last week appears to reveal that those upward trends may not be entirely accurate.
In an October 9 BBC News story, climate correspondent Paul Hudson noted that the warmest year on record was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
The story goes on to state that no climate increase has been measured over the past 11 years, although emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise.
The BBC story cited experts who claim that although the world has gone through decades of rapid warmth during the 20th Century, the earth operates on natural climate cycles, which man has no control over.
Additionally, experts have long debated whether the spikes in warming have been attributed to an increase in the Sun's energy and that warming causes a rise in carbon dioxide levels, rather than the other way around.
For some scientists, there is the lingering possibility that the earth could be entering a period of global cooling, rather than the widely sensationalized warming trend.
BBC News cited a study published two years ago by the Royal Society.
In the study, scientists observed solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the past 30-40 years in order to contrast them against global average surface temperature.
"Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," concluded Dr Piers Forster, a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
But the BBC story goes on to cite contradicting information from solar scientist Piers Corbyn, who works with long-range weather forecasting firm Weatheraction.
Corbyn uses Solar Weather Technique, which he touts to be "the most advanced and reliable long-range forecasting system in the world."
His method uses predictable aspects of solar activity, primarily particle and magnetic effects from the Sun, to make long-range weather forecasts.
Using his method of research, Corbyn has concluded that solar charged particles are actually responsible for shifts in global temperatures.
And then there's the story being told by the earth's oceans.
BBC News cited information from Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November.
Easterbrook's research showed that the earth's oceans are on a cyclic periods of warming and cooling.
He says the Pacific decadal oscillation was on a warming cycle during the 1980s and 1990s, which can be correlated with warmer global temperatures.
However, the PDO has begun to cool down in recent years, says Easterbrook.
"The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling," said Easterbrook.
So which story can the world rely on in terms of global warming or cooling?
Scientists at the Met Office claim that there will always be periods of slower warming and temporary cooling. However, the long-term global temperature trend is certainly up.
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