CHICAGO – As an international conference of global warming deniers was held here, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released data showing April was the warmest month on record. It is also the hottest January-April on record.
NASA is also predicting 2010 will the hottest year on record, beating 2007.
The latest statistics are further proof debunking the claims of the deniers that the Earth is in a cooling trend. In fact, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, “The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record. Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”
Scientists also announced this week that lizard species around the globe are going extinct because of rising temperatures.
These reports follow other recent studies that shows most of the global warming at this stage is not readily apparent in the atmosphere, but is taking place in the oceans which are absorbing enormous quantities of heat.
Just like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, the scale of the destructiveness is not apparent on the surface. Because of the chemical dispersants being used, most of the oil is below the ocean surface. And in fact giant plumes of oil covering vast parts of the Gulf have been detected.
According to Daniel M. Murphy of the NOAA, the land and atmosphere only absorb 5.6% of heat leaving the oceans to absorb the remaining 94.4%.
Scientists have also calculated the Earth has accumulated 190,260 GigaWatts of energy since 1970. According to Dr. Joseph Romm, editor of the Climate Progress blog this is the equivalent of the energy produced by 190,000 nuclear reactors being poured into the oceans.
The top 2000 feet of ocean water temperature has increased 1 degree centigrade increasing evaporation of ocean water by 4% into the atmosphere. This is a volume equivalent to 1.5 times Lake Superior.
The rising temperature of the oceans and the added water in the atmosphere helps explain the increase in extreme weather events including massive hurricanes, increased Artic outflows and Jet Stream currents.
An associated developing catastrophe is that oceans are also absorbing more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. This is leading to their acidification at a tremendous rate and threatens mass extinction of sea life.
The 4th Annual Climate Change Conference was organized by the Heartland Institute under the theme, “Reconsidering the politics and economics” of global warming and attended by 700 deniers. Heartland Institute promotes the idea that human activity has nothing to do with global warming. The Institute has ties to a web of right-wing think tanks and advocates of unregulated free market economics.
The deniers are aiming also at preventing regulation of the most polluting of industries and want to weaken any global warming legislation coming out of Congress.
The bill being authored by Sen. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, the American Power Act, calls for reducing carbon emissions 17% by 2020 and more than 80% by 2050. It would allow states to sell the right to emit carbon dioxide. Even with all its flaws, the bill is running into stiff opposition from a core of senators controlled by the biggest oil and energy corporations.
The Kerry-Lieberman legislation appears to reflect the current balance of political forces in Congress and the country. Many see it as an important first step. A much stronger environmental movement and a greater sense of urgency by the American public to deal with the climate crisis is needed for much stronger legislation appropriate to the scale of the crisis.