Sunday, March 2, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
The Wednesday letter “Man’s effect on global warming?” deserves comment.
• The writer states that “during the past 17 years, average global temperature has remained relatively unchanged.” This is incorrect. I refer readers to www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/global-warming-since-1997-underestimated-by-half.
• The writer describes an increase in Arctic sea ice last year. This is misleading. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, January 2014 is the fourth-lowest extent in the satellite record, behind 2005, 2006 and 2011 (the record low). Sea ice extent for January is declining by 3.2 percent per decade relative to the average from 1981 to 2012.
• The writer mentions an increase in Antarctic sea ice. But the record shows an increase in the flow rate to the sea of glaciers, thus producing increased sea ice.
• The writer makes a baffling comment about the efficacy of analytic models because they depend on “inputs and assumptions.” Of course they do; that is what modeling is all about.
The key to the writer’s thinking is his comment that thousands of scientists, whose livelihoods do not depend on research of global warming, do not agree that human activity causes global warming. This is a tired meme built upon a grand conspiracy theory involving cooperation of (verifiably) thousands of scientists from academia and governments around the world.
Unfortunately, this conspiracy is revealed by thousands of peer-reviewed papers that support anthropogenic climate change.
The denialists have no similar resources to support their claims — only arguments and quibbles based upon the data and analyses of serious workers.