Climate change goes beyond rocket science

Jerry Modisette (Letters, Herald, Sept. 28) continues to distort what is known about climate change and rising global temperatures. He is a self-proclaimed “rocket scientist,” but who gave him the credential of rocket scientist, and what does it have to do with climate change anyway? This is a cliché meant to impress the reader. He seems to be preparing himself for a new season of science-bashing as the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is soon to be released.

The reader is likely familiar with the brouhaha expressed on these pages when the last IPCC Report was issued in 2007. That report documented: “The warming climate system was unequivocal, and the observed increase in global temperature was ‘very likely’ due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations (humanmade).” With no scientific backup, skeptics and naysayers ranted and raved that they preferred simply to reject that report.

Well, guess what, the latest IPCC report, Climate Change 2013, is about to be released. There were 209 lead authors, 50 review editors and an additional 600 contributing authors who wrote the section of this new report on the physical science basis. We presume that almost all of these are climate scientists, probably none are rocket scientists, and surely Modisette is not anywhere on the list.

The new report states, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and it is ‘extremely likely’ that human influence has been the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.” Modisette claimed that temperature measurements show no increase, or if they do, it is because of newly paved parking lots near the temperature sensors. Let me assure the reader that climate scientists are far more careful in their analysis. The latest IPCC report documents that “each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than the preceding decade, and the last 30 years are the warmest of the past 1,400 years.”

I look forward to learning from the next IPCC report, and I hope you will take advantage, as well.

Gary Rottman


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