Josh Rosenau's picture

The Globe: Still Warming



Paul Sinclair of the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media produced this great video to respond to claims that climate change somehow stopped in the last decade and a half.  As the video observes, oceans absorb most of the added heat trapped by the human-produced greenhouse gases, so the record of surface temperature tells only part of the climate change story. Measurements of ocean temperatures below the surface tell more of the story, as do the many other lines of evidence scientists measure. 

Sinclair observes in the video:

Scientists have been successful in communicating the idea that the planet is gaining heat, but they may have been too reliant on the easily understandable surface temperature record, and failed to explain that there are many more important metrics of global change.

NCSE board member Ben Santer (a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) then explains:

One of the narratives out there in the last couple years is that climate science is a house of cards resting on one or two killer observational datasets: land surface temperatures, ocean surface temperatures. We routinely look not only at land and ocean surface temperature, we look at ice coverage, we look at ice thickness, we look at the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, we look at surface pressure patterns, we look at upper ocean heat content, we look at continental-scale runoff from major rivers. We look at many, many different aspects of climate change, and they tell us an internally and physically consistent story. The message in that story is: natural causation alone can't explain the observed changes that we see.

I'm sure climate change deniers (and their creationist allies) attacking honest textbooks in Texas will trot out the tired claim that climate change has stopped. Resources like this will help a lot when I go to speak with the state board of education in a couple weeks.