Receding glacier climate change global warming

A receding glacier

In a recent (March 14) column on global warming, I predicted that deniers of global warming and its human causes would soon be popping out of the woodwork. Little did I know how fast it would happen.

One “skeptic” claimed that there was no evidence that CO2 and global temperatures were related and never had been. I guess he meant except for the ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica going back 100,000 and 400,000 years, respectively, and showing a near perfect match between temperature and CO2, or the precise measurements available worldwide since the 1980s from land, sea and satellites showing an even tighter match.

More recently, a western Montana resident assured us that “the Antarctic ice sheet is setting records for increase and even the Arctic ice sheet has grown significantly.” He also asserts that North America and the rest of the world are getting colder over the past decade — all demonstrably false according to every credible source, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4).

If you check out the latest research from Antarctica reported in the July 2017 National Geographic, you’ll see that in 2009, scientists found the melt rate had increased by 50 percent; average temperatures on the west side have risen by a huge 5 degrees since 1950; since 1988, four huge ice shelves on the peninsula have disintegrated; and that “the collapse of major glaciers that flow into the Amundsen Sea is now unstoppable.”

Changes across the Arctic are even more dramatic, where scientists report that average air temperatures over the last 50 years have increased twice as fast as the global average, and will likely lead to nearly sea ice-free summers by 2040. Still not convinced? Check out any of the NASA images comparing Arctic ice in 1980 with 2018 and you’ll see it’s already 40-50 percent gone.

As for the claim that the planet has been getting cooler, scientists generally, and American scientists specifically, report that the 18 hottest years ever recorded since the 1870s have all occurred since 2000.

If you’re ready to stop getting your climate “facts” from the Exxon-Mobil, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity school of climatology, you can Google “Fourth National Climate Assessment,” go to Volume 1, and check out the executive summary and short Key Findings. Then you’ll be prepared to make decisions based on facts rather than fantasy.

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Brian Peck is an independent wildlife consultant who lives in Columbia Falls.

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