Thursday, December 01, 2005

100% Chance of "We Don't Know"

Kobayashi Maru blogged [Look at] the dramatic about-face shift in the headlines in the last 24 hours:

  • Wednesday: "The four hottest years on record [in Europe] were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Ten percent of Alpine glaciers disappeared during the summer of 2003 alone. At current rates, three quarters of Switzerland's glaciers will have melted by 2050."
  • Thursday: "The ocean current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate is stuttering, raising fears that it might fail entirely and plunge the continent into a mini ice age."
The first bit of "news" is from a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), based in Copenhagen. The second is from findings of a study conducted by Harry Bryden at the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the UK (more here). So... which is it?
Global winter: another Ice Age is coming. Global Warming, the glaciers are going to melt, and we will all drown. Someone must do something. But what is the problem: too much hot or too much cold. Or maybe it is too much hype.
The funny part is, they could both be right... or totally off-base if they've extrapolated way too far (as I believe they probably have) from what in the perspective of geologic time and chaos is an extremely limited set of data. The only thing I find encouraging in this is that - at least with these headlines - we have for a moment returned to science as a fundamentally inexact zig-zagging phenomenon, always made stronger by disagreement and vigorous debate.

In the meantime, I submit that Europe has more pressing matters it ought to be concerning itself with. If in fifty years the Islamofascists have the run of the place and Sharia law is declared there, do we really care if Europe is a desert or an ice cube... or just the same as it is now, i.e., variable from year to year and decade to decade?

A very good point. Things may be getting hotter or colder ecologically speaking, but the Islamofascists are definitely going to make things hotter for Europe, and the rest of the world.

1 comment:

Kobayashi Maru said...

Thanks for the link Don.