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Last time carbon levels were this high was 15 million years ago

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,
Russ Wiles claims climate models have been discredited? Which ones? There are many. Some are better than others. I don't know of any discrediting of every climate model. Climate models are young so in all fairness, they shouldn't be tested until at least 15 years out. Longer is preferred of course. But the first data about models devised in the 1990s can now be looked at. Forecasts of global temperature rises over the past 15 years have proved remarkably accurate according to a paper published by the journal Nature Geoscience. Myles Allen and colleagues at Oxford University accurately predicted the warming in the past decade, relative to the decade to 1996, to within a few hundredths of a degree.
Then there are the Sunspot myths. Since 1980 there has been steadily less solar radiation from the Sun, yet the Earth has warmed nearly a half degree Celsius.
Now about those cold winters. According a 2012 paper by Judah Cohen and other colleagues published by IOCScience, a 130 year old scientific journal, colder northern winters are entirely consistent with a warming Arctic. Researchers found a statistical link between the buildup of snowfall in Siberia during October and the so-called Arctic Oscillation, a weather pattern that affects the East Coast and Europe during the winter. Presently, the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the Earth. As the Arctic melts and releases more moisture into the air, colder winters can occur and larger than expected storms are also possible.
Then there are the carbon sinks which stoke the carbon cycle. Cold oceans and temperate forest are our largest carbon sinks. Warm oceans and jungles don't work as carbon sinks. Warmer waters mean less carbon exchange which means more carbon left in the atmosphere. Carbon is transparent to solar energy but opaque to thermal energy from the Earth. Hence the greenhouse affect. With carbon levels now hitting 400ppm, are we treading into dangerous waters? Literally, maybe. According to data from the deepest Arctic land core ever, which yielded the first ever continuous, high-resolution record of the Middle Pliocene, the last time carbon levels were this high was 15-20 million years ago. The data indicates it was 5° to 10°F warmer globally and the seas were 75 to 120 feet higher. On the carbon cycles and carbon Sinks, I highly recommend this National Georgraphic article, "The case of the missing carbon". http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/missing-carbon/
James Veverka