Global Warming: a Natural Cycle

, Melinda Zosh, 1 Comment

In 2006, Al Gore warned the world about a global warming disaster. He failed to mention that until 1850, the world felt the effects of the Little Ice Age and so did the Vikings.

Vikings, habitants of Greenland, thrived in the country’s moderate climate in 1100 A.D. A few hundred years later, their animals froze to death; then the Vikings starved or left their homeland, according to Rie Oldenberg, curator at Narsaq Museum in Greenland.

The Idea-Channel, a non-profit educational company, created a 10-minute video in 2007 titled Unstoppable Global Cycles. Several scientists said that changes in temperature and climate are driven by the sun’s natural cycles.

“Climate is not a constant. We go through periods where it’s much warmer and much cooler, and periods where it’s wetter and dryer,” said Dr. David R. Legates, of the Center for Climate Research at the University of Delaware. “The one thing we can say about climate in the future is that it will change.”

In fact, humans have already felt the effects of warming and cooling cycles. The Roman Warming lasted from 200 BC-600 AD followed by the Dark Ages Cooling, followed by the Medieval Warming which lasted until 1300 AD and the Little Ice Age which ended in 1850, according to the Idea Channel.

Giving an inconvenient observation, Legates said that the carbon dioxide is not the biggest contributor to climate change. “The sun is the key ingredient to climate,” said Legates. “99.9% of the energy on the earth that goes into the climate comes from sun.”

Some scientists argue that carbon dioxide is increasing the world’s temperature. Legates found different results. “The Earth’s temperature rises first, followed by a rise in carbon dioxide. The temperature is a leader, not a follower,” Legates said.

Dr. Willie Soon, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, agreed with Legates’s research.

“The sun is the main driver and supplier of energy, and it is the true external driver of the…climate system,” said Soon. “There are no other forces on earth that could supply that energy for air to move around…”

Both scientists emphasized that global warming is a natural change even though some politicians argue differently. “[Scientists and politicians] say that…if we do not cut our carbon dioxide emissions, disaster and crisis will come to Earth,” said Soon. “It is that kind of alarmism that appalls me as a scientist…”

Legates said that some policy makers actually ask scientists to change their findings to match theirs if they are not in agreement. Many scientists actually amend their official documents for the legislators, he said.

“If we close our minds and if we’ve closed the doors, we’re shutting ourselves out from the real truth which is what science is about anyway,” said Legates.

Other scientists and politicians are not presenting accurate information to the public, argued Soon.

“There is a war of words instead of war of evidence and science. It is a very clear scientific consensus on this issue,” said Soon. “Are we really melting all the ice caps…or could it be something more powerful?”

Melinda Zosh is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.