Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Isabelle Z.
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that human activity is solely responsible for global warming. After all, a very vocal contingent of scientists insists this is the case, and they have a chorus of celebrities echoing that sentiment at every opportunity. However, if the matter really was so cut and dry, why are there so many so-called deniers who continue to dispute it?
Those who take issue with the notion of manmade climate change are far from conspiracy theorists; they do so precisely because they are so well-informed. This was certainly the case when a pair of respected Australian scientists recently published a paper that documents in great detail how the global temperature shifts seen today are quite likely natural and would have happened regardless of human activity.
Researchers Jennifer Marohasy and Dr. John Abbot put Big Data to good use, applying it to six 2,000-year proxy temperature series to examine temperature patterns over the course of history. They confirmed that global temperatures were higher in the Middle Ages than they are today – something that has long been known but proponents of manmade climate change continue to deny.
They used artificial neural networks to make forecasts that are more accurate than the circulation models that were previously used. They culled data that was taken from a variety of temperature measurement methods, including tree rings and coral cores, and used machine learning to predict what the temperature patterns would have been like over the last 2,000 years without extra carbon dioxide from industrialization.
Interestingly, the computer program predicted a pattern than is nearly identical to the actual temperatures around the world throughout the period of time studied. There was only a 0.09-degree Celsius average divergence between the scientists’ projection of what the temperatures would have been without industrialization and what they were with it. In other words, we would have had this global warming either way.
Marohasy wrote: “This suggests that even if there had been no industrial revolution and burning of fossil fuels, there would have still been some warming through the twentieth century – to at least 1980.”
Other studies support the finding that human activity does not appear to affect the climate quite as much as some environmentalists like to insist. For example, a study out of Sweden in 2013 using radiocarbon data of tree lines found that Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages and ancient Roman times than it is today.
Marohasy concluded that the science on the matter is “far from settled,” with problematic data, complex physical mechanisms that aren’t entirely understood, and varying techniques and results muddying the waters.
It’s becoming harder for those with a vested interest in the idea of manmade climate change to keep up the charade, but they will do their best to keep any evidence to the contrary at bay. Even Marohasy acknowledges that her paper will probably be ignored by those who find the truth of it to be rather inconvenient.
At times, it doesn’t even seem like the very politicians and celebrities who speak out about manmade climate change are terribly worried about it when you see them tooling around on private jets and producing inordinate amounts of the carbon they claim is so harmful to the planet. They may just be hypocrites after all, but this new study might start to give them some doubts – or at least help them sleep better at night.