Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
By Julee Mitchelsin
With all of the fervor these days about the dangers of global warming many people are concerned about the fate of Antarctica. The fears are that the ice that makes up the continent is melting faster than normal and not freezing back as it usually does with a very even ebb and flow. The concerns are that this will eventually raise the sea level enough to put major cities and land masses under water and leave millions of people homeless and/or even dead.
So who are making these claims? Well there are many scientists that have been looking at the earthís climates and weather systems for a long time and trying to make sense of them. The earliest reason for doing this was not to measure the affect of the greenhouse gases that are magnifying the suns intensity and causing the heat to stay within it. They originally wanted to learn about the earth so that they could by recognizing signs be could warn of natural disasters like earth quakes and hurricanes and tsunamis. Since they have kept data to look for these signs they have noticed disturbing trends in things like the average temperature and the increasing sea level and other things like the sized of the ice cap over Antarctica and they seem to only be going in one direction which spells trouble.
Then they start looking for why this is happening, and the buzzword is generally global warming. They cite the increase in certain gases like CO2 which are purportedly on the rise do to the millions of different engines that burn fossil fuels across the world. Supposedly this changes the qualities of the atmosphere that hold in the energy from the sun much like a green house does. What people donít realize is that these are all theories to explain trends in the environment that no one has any clue about. We know that Antarctica melts in places and at certain times and since we have been measuring these things it appears that the land mass has gotten smalleróbut this is very flawed thinking.
You see we have only been able to make specialized measurements like this for several decades which may seem like a long enough time to make good guesses about the earth which is thousands of years old (some even say billions). You just canít make definitive statements about trends that may just be natural cycles that are 500 years in length. Even 100 year or 50 year cycles would not have been fully measured yet. So we must cool our jets and take ourselves so seriously. We know a lot less about the melting Antarctica and many other things that seem to be slowly headed toward disaster than we think.
About the Author: Julee Mitchelsin is a grade school science teacher with a PhD in earth science and a skepticism about the media that can make you laugh or cry. If you are still interested in the fate of Antarctica you should visit www.learnantarctica.info
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