Monday, July 27, 2009

One degree?

I always wondered about that. Global warming, I mean. There is, supposedly, the empirical evidence that the planet's temperature has increased by 1 degree Centigrade over the past, what, hundred or so years? One degree?

How would one determine that? I drive about 10 miles to play tennis in an adjacent town on a regular basis and the temperature varies dramatically between the house and the tennis courts, sometimes as much as 20 degrees F. When a breeze blows, the temperatures are about the same.

On my patio the temperature can be 30 degrees more than where there are some trees and vegetation nearby, hardly 20 paces away. This is where my mind has a hard time getting around the "one degree" business of this statistic. Where were the thermometers, with which these readings were taken over the past, say 100 years, placed and how were they influenced by surrounding factors, such as vegetation, wind, people, reflections off other structures, and so on. If the rise was substantial, I'd say, okay, you may have a point, but ONE DEGREE?

Think about it for a moment: if any of these instruments were moved from one location to another, or replaced, or new ones added to the grid, the readings would be off. Perhaps over time it averages out. But only ONE DEGREE? That's within statistical margins of error.

How about the instrumentation? Who maintained them and how often were they maintained? How accurate were they? Ordinary mercury thermometers cannot display fractions, which is what would be required to make such a precise determination. Temperature charts, you know, those circular paper discs that go round and round with a pen drawing wavy lines on them, cannot record accurately within a two-degree range, not counting the width of the ink line, which must represent one or two degrees on its own.

It just doesn't make sense. Bill O'Reilly (the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel) bought into this nonsense. That's disappointing to say the least. I like Bill but I believe he's dead-wrong on this issue.

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Seeking the truth until I find it.