Thursday, April 22, 2010

Global Warming: The Arctic Winds Scenario

By Stephanie Noda

The effects of global warming can be seen all around the world in a variety of different situations, such as increased extreme weather situations and melting of the polar icecaps. The concept of global warming deals with the idea that emissions from fossil fuels are damaging the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolent rays. These emissions are called “greenhouse gases,” which include methane, carbon dioxide, and even water vapor. When these gases enter the atmosphere, they make it harder for the heat from the sun to leave the planet after it has been reflected off the Earth, essentially trapping the heat in orbit. This will eventually cause a growing temperature rise in the overall world climate.

Despite the effects that global warming has had on the planet, many people remain skeptical about the existence of this idea. Perhaps individuals remain dubious because they have lived their whole life in a fossil fuel based economy and cannot comprehend that their lifestyle is harming the planet. Whatever the reason, some citizens decide to deny the concept of global warming. A recent example of this can be found in a new study that deals with the Arctic Sea. According to an article called “What’s the Next ‘Global Warming’?” by Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, research from a scientific study is used to convince people that wind is to blame for the loss of ice in the Arctic Sea instead of global warming: “In March came another report in the Guardian, this time based on the research of Japanese scientists, that "much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is [due] to the region's swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming." It also turns out that the extent of Arctic sea ice in March was around the recorded average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.” Stephens believed this research disapproved global warming: “So global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we're going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.”

Even though Stephens was convinced that the study of Arctic winds disapproved the global warming theory, the study itself says this is simply untrue. The study, which was the focus of the article “Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds” by David Adam in The Guardian, even stated in the subhead of the article that “New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline.” The study’s purpose was not to discredit global warming, but to discuss additional contributing factors in the decline of ice in the Arctic. However, those who do not want to believe that the fossil fuels that they use every day is causing global warming will want to cling to any research that could prove global warming to not exist, even if the study itself say this is not true. This type of logic has the potential to confuse or even misinform the public. In order to make sure an aspect of a study is not taken out of context, such as in the Stephens’ article, it is essential to make sure all the details of the research are properly observed.

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