Debate on global warming attracts expertise from Canada

This newspaper has tried to encourage reasoned debate on the topic of man-caused global warming. This concept, prompted by former U.S. vice president Al Gore and the United Nations, has major impacts on Costa Rican foreign and environmental policy.

Costa Rica has embarked on an ambitious plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2021 and President Laura Chinchilla says she is oppose to oil drilling in the northern zone because of the environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels. In addition, Christiana Figueres,  Costa Rica is executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Editors quickly learned that views on global warming are strongly held. July 11, 2007, this newspaper published a story on William Gray, the Colorado State University meteorologist who disagreed with Gore’s take on the issue. Quickly readers took up sides.

Letter writers called global warming a hoax and another said this about Gray: “His exceptions to the causes of global climatic changes  comes with little or no documentation and no credibility.” Another suggested he was a lackey of corporate America.

Gore and scientists who wrote the United Nations  report on climate change say the debate is over and the time has come to act. Not everyone agrees.

Tuesday editors published a University of Washingtonreport that said new research lends support to evidence from numerous recent studies that suggest abrupt climate change appears to be the result of alterations in ocean circulation uniquely associated with ice ages.

A letter that commented favorable on the study drew this response Thursday:

“. . . the Internet fills cyberspace with ideological rantings, half truths and outright lies which most people with at least two fingers accept without question and forward to 50 of their mindless friends.”

Friday this letter appeared:

Dear Editor:

I must weigh in again on this topic. I am a geophysicist with 60 years’ experience, and I have been working almost exclusively on global warming for the last five years. I have recently published an article on the subject in Geoscience Canada, a respected, peer-reviewed journal. The reaction has been almost uniformly positive. In fact, I have found almost no scientists, in my recent studies, who do not harbour strong misgivings about the man-made warming hypothesis.

As for CO2 warming the oceans, the reverse is correct. Sun-produced warming causes the oceans to absorb less CO2 thereby putting more into the atmosphere. But this process takes several hundred years.

We are, indeed, entering a period (5-20 years) of cooling, due to the weak Solar Cycle 24. This will also have an effect on Ocean-Atmospheric influences and we will experience more of La Niña and less of El Niño.

It is good to see healthy debate on this issue.

Norman Paterson
Canada and Pérez Zeledón

Paterson is a professional engineer and consulting geophysicist with 60 years’ experience in mineral and environmental geophysics. He obtained his Ph.D in geophysics at the University of Toronto in 1955, and was elected fellow, Royal Society of Canada in 1977, according to the journal.

In the interest of  healthy debate, printed below with permission, is the summary to his article. For those who wish to consult the complete, higly technical article, it is HERE!

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