There is huge disagreement in the scientific community about global warming. Researchers on either side have no trouble finding data to support their chosen theory. Recent climatic events highlight the importance of not over interpreting short-term data - temperature fluctuations either up or down. The environmental alarmists who have been overstating connections between extreme weather conditions and a man-made warming trend are on the opposite side of other researchers who are sounding the warning bell about global cooling. Both sides of the issue must be careful to avoid distortion of facts to support beliefs.
The key to interpretation is long-term trends. To focus on a few years or months of climatic data and present any evidence of either cooling or warming as been called a waste of time and perhaps even a harmful distraction.
Over the past year, informal evidence has begun to stack up supporting a global cooling trend. For example, recently Baghdad saw its first snowfall ever, China has recorded its coldest winter in 100 years, and North America has more snow cover this year than it has had in the last 50 years. Additionally, record low temperatures have been recorded in Texas, Florida, Minnesota, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greenland, South Africa, Greece, Argentina, and Chile, to name a few.
Recently, supporters of a global cooling theory were boosted with the release of data from all four global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, GISS, UAH, and RSS). All agree that over the past year temperatures have dropped abruptly over the entire earth.
The entire cooling amount ranges from 0.65C to 0.75C . This amount is significant enough to eliminate almost all of the warming recorded over the last 100 years. Most significant is the fact that this cooling occurred over one year. All four tracking outlets confirmed that this is the fastest temperature shift ever recorded, either up or down.
It is important to note that this new data does not disprove the greenhouse emission theory; however, it does demonstrate that another more powerful driver may now be cooling the earth.
Some researchers are linking the cooling to a reduction of solar activity. Solar activity has a much more significant effect on temperatures than man-made greenhouse emissions. Research has shown that solar activity occurs in regular cycles. The one expected to begin at this time has not begun, however. Sunspots have disappeared and all activity seems to be alarmingly quiet. The last time circumstances were similar to this was right before the beginning of the “Little Ice Age.” Some scientists now fear a similar sequence of events may be beginning.
The Little Ice Age occurred roughly 400 years ago. During this period, global temperatures dropped alarmingly. New York Harbor froze solid and glaciers in Norway increased by 100 meters a year.
Scientists on either side of the global cooling/warming debate have begun to agree on one thing. Long term data interpretation is the key to beginning to understand the climatic changes our earth may be experiencing.