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Letter to the Editor: Data ignore long-term warming

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It is disappointing that the Southeast Missourian furthers the disinformation campaign of the climate change skeptics with the recent article by Paul Hudson titled "What happened to global warming?" Ironically, however, a remarkable mismatch exists between title and content. Hudson's main conclusion from the Hadley data source is "from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record." It is noteworthy that Hudson's source elsewhere suggests a catastrophic global warming of 4 degrees Celsius as early as 2060.

The slowing claimed for the Hadley data set is not reflected in NASA data, which show warming from 1998 onwards, with 2005 the warmest year. This trend falls well within climate change expectations. Curiously, the Hadley data set, upon which Hudson relies, omits evidence from the Arctic where warming is greatest. Nevertheless, even according to the Hadley data, 2005 was a close second to 1998 and six of the seven hottest years on record occurred this century. Any cooling trend is at best two years old, and a short-term phenomenon. The climatic trend of warming, however, has lasted decades.

Climate change theory does not predict a constant temperature increase, merely a long-term trend within which fluctuations occur. The Hadley data set suggest only a slowing in the warming trend caused by short-term weather oscillations. It says nothing about the long-term trend.

Though possibly reassuring to think global warming has stopped, the evidence suggests otherwise.

ALAN R.P. JOURNET, Cape Girardeau