Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It is good to find a deal killer

Without a doubt, one of the biggest issues of the day is global warming. The Earth is averaging higher and higher temperatures time passes, and not many respectable scientists doubt it, though there may be a few. Consequently, the wiser of the global warming skeptics don't much argue that the Earth is getting warmer. With ice sheets the size of cities sheering from their moorings and with satelite images showing rather convincingly that such in no mere freak occurance, it is difficult to deny global warming with a straight face.

So the cleverer of the skeptics-- who often also seem to have curious ties to the power industry-- instead deny that we mere humans have anything to do with said warming, and so we may as well go ahead and burn whatever fuels we like... etc. etc. The climate is going to do its thing and we have little to say about it. Good so far.

When arguing, or when simply reflecting quietly-- otherwise known as thinking for oneself-- on some topic, it is nice to run across a deal killer. That is, it is nice to come across an idea, or a piece of evidence, that more or less conclusively kills one or more of the options under consideration. For the hypothesis that humans are not, or do not, play a significant role in changing climate, that deal killer comes in the form of contrails-- the thin clouds trailing behind high altitude jets. These trails, tenuous as they may be, result in measurable changes in surface temperature.

If these wispy clouds cause noticable changes in weather patterns, it becomes very difficult to argue that our many times more massive total output of gasses does not have an effect.

Cross-posted at Hell's Handmaiden.


Storm said...

I remember that article! We learned a lot that day and thankfully our scientists weren't asleep at their desk.