With Senator James Inhofe set?to be the?chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, now is the time for Americans to deliver a lesson to?congressional?climate change deniers. After all, Senator Inhoffe infamously stated climate change is “?the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.?
One of the favorite talking points of?climate change deniers is that change happens naturally, thus humans are not responsible for climate change. Duh! Scientists have known about, and had a decent understand of, natural causes of climate change for some time now. Congressional climate change deniers need to understand that acknowledging natural variations in climate doesn’t preclude human-induced change.
So for all you congressional climate change deniers, here’s a few of the major long-term climate change culprits.
Tilt, Wobble, and Warp-or the Milankovitch Cycle
Climate changes due to earth’s rotation and revolution characteristics. The tilt of the Earth determines the angle of incoming solar radiation. According to NOAA, the Earth tilts on its axis at an average of?23.5 degrees and varies from 22 to 24.5 degrees. This variation changes the amount of heat the surface is retaining, contributing to climate change..
During a 100,000 year elliptical orbit cycle, planet wobbling causes 23,000 year fluctuations that currently result in the Northern Hemisphere experiencing summer when earth?is as far away from the sun as it gets.? Global warming is likely to take place when the northern hemisphere is closer to the sun in summer.
Increasing the number of sunspots, which are cool regions on the sun’s surface, would seem to correlate with a cooling climate. In fact, satellite data shows increased sunspot activity is associated?with increased irradiance. Sunspot minimums coincide with the colder periods of the Little Ice Age. The spots exhibit eleven year cycles, and when these cycles are extreme, they cause global warming. Differing opinions emerge among scientists when discussing just how much sunspots contribute to climate change.
Greenhouse Gasses and Urban Heat Islands
Here’s where the trouble comes in for all you congressional climate change deniers. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to a warmer planet. As of November,2014, Carbon dioxide levels were at about 397 ppm. Comparing this to Vostok ice core data, we see it’s the highest level in 400,000 years. Furthermore, core data shows a positive correlation between increased greenhouse gasses and temperature.
Another tricky one for congressional climate change deniers is the urban heat island effect. This is warming caused by decreasing albedo rates resulting from increased urban sprawl. The effect is accounted for in global climate models. However, December 2007 research by Ross R. McKitrick states?the statistical accounting of the urban heat island effect may be under estimated.
Congressional Climate Change Deniers, or Science Deniers?
The complexity of ?climate change is apparent as is the need for humans to minimize our contributions to the phenomenon. Perhaps the problem is that congressional climate change deniers are really science deniers. ?After all, Inhofe also has a problem with the theory of gravity. Or, perhaps they are on the coal and oil industry’s payroll. It’s likely some combination of both. Meanwhile, logical-thinking Americans can use this climate change cheat sheet to put the “non-believers” in their place.