If the on-the-ground news of melting ice and permafrost in the Artic wasn’t proof enough,
today a team of scientists led by James Hansen at NASA released a study comparing precise measurements of ocean temperatures against projections based on climatological models. The measurements, taken over a period of ten years, showed that the earth is now absorbing more solar energy than it radiates to space as heat.
The observations tracked with five climatological model runs from the Godard Institute for Space Studies models remarkably accurately. This obviates a great deal of the alleged controversy over global warming, because most of the complaints about global warming have focused on this or that aspect of “math worlds,” arguing that they did not accurately reflect what was happening in the real world. (Much of this alleged controversy was stirred up by papers from foundations backed by ExxonMobil, as Chris Mooney in Mother Jones showed this month, but that’s a topic for another time.)
However, although the study proves that additional global warming is “in the pipeline” already, due to excess heat stored in oceans around the world, the scientists concluded with a different message. As the fifteen scientists said in the study, which is available for free at ScienceExpress :
“This delay provides an opportunity to reduce the magnitude of anthropogenic climate change before it is fully realized, if appropriate action is taken. On the other hand, if we wait for more overwhelming empirical evidence of climate change, the inertia implies that still greater climate change will be in store, which may be difficult or impossible to avoid.”
Scientists tend to speak in quiet understatements: This is the sound of scientists screaming.