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In the 1970s, scientists warmed of global cooling. Now they're warning that the globe is warming.
Then we learned that the globe warmed, we had torrential rains following tremendous dry periods during the zenith of the Mayans.
The point is that we can no more predict what is going to happen with the world than we can what will happen on the surface of the sun (more on that in a moment). From Slate:
Grist.org's Philip Bump dug through NOAA's latest State of the Climate report and discovered this nugget, emphasis his:
The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. The last below-average month was February 1985. The last October with a below-average temperature was 1976.
As Bump translates, that means that anyone out there 27 (and two-thirds!) or younger has never lived through a month that saw global temperatures dip below average. For what it's worth, the warmest October on record came in 2003 and the coldest occurred way back in 1912.
The implication is that the temperature change is completely man-made, though it's left to the reader to draw that conclusion. And yet we have stories like this from Space.com about massive solar flares:
"The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium," officials with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which oversees the SDO mission, explained in a description. "The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma."
Friday's solar eruption does not appear to be aimed at Earth, so will likely have little effect on our planet. But that was not the case earlier this week when a powerful solar flare erupted on Monday (Nov. 12). That flare registered as an M6-class eruption, a moderate but still intense solar
The point is that there are cosmic forces far beyond our ken and control at play. Perhaps we contribute slightly through the use of fossil fuels--and we should cut our reliance on that technology not because of some scary story but because it's unsustainable--but doing it through a complete destruction of the American economic engine is dumb. It was American ingenuity that made coal and other fossil fuels a viable energy source and it's up to us to find a viable renewable source.
But maybe, just maybe, it's time we stopped demonizing nuclear.