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New Book Tosses Cold Water on Global Warming Alarmists

By Sallie Baliunas - November 1, 2001 12:00 AM

Editor's Note: Dr. Sallie Baliunas, the distinguished Harvard astrophysicist and co-host of Tech Central Station, and Dr. Willie Soon are the co-authors of Global Warming: A Guide to the Science, a new book released by the Fraser Institute. The book refutes the widespread belief that increased industrial activity is causing potentially catastrophic global warming.

The authors document how the temperature at the surface of the earth has risen by about 0.5°C to 0.6°C over the last one hundred years. But most of the temperature increase took place well before human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels spiked the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Temperatures peaked by around 1940, and then cooled until the 1970s. Since then, there has been slight surface warming.

"Since approximately 80% of the rise in levels of carbon dioxide during the twentieth century occurred after the initial major rise in temperature, the increase in carbon dioxide cannot have caused the bulk of the past century's rise in temperature. Most of the warming must have been natural," explains Baliunas.

Concerns that the continued increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air will lead to a disastrous rise in global temperatures stem from computer-based simulations of the climate system, forecast through the next century. The common tool for a computer simulation of the climate is the General Circulation Model (GCM). The climate models are an integral part, not only of the science of climate change, but also of the policy debate.

But current models are not sufficiently accurate in forecasting climate change. At present, it is impossible to isolate the effect of an increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide on climate.

To read the book, go to Global Warming: A Guide to the Science
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