Analysis of the myths about climate change

Global warming has become a topic of political debate. Some are calling for a "green" reforms, while others say that the topic of climate play an interest in the financial group. So a scientific problem, after moving from university conferences campaign posters, begins to grow myths.

Corresponding BBCRussian.com Paul Bandak asked to comment on some common ideas on global climate change doctors Yadvindera Mali,
head direction ecosystem research and senior researcher of the Institute of Environmental Change, Oxford University.

Voice your opinion about this article and share your views on climate change.


Bi-bi-si: Some say that the cause of global warming is not human, and in solar activity and cosmic radiation. Is this true?

Ya.Mali: Many scientists have drawn attention to the influence of solar activity on climate change. And if you look at the extended period of time, this is true — the sun affects the climate.

Since the beginning of XX century to about 1930-1940-s temperature increase was partly due to the activity of the sun. But from the 1950s, significant growth of the solar activity was not, and so began a significant increase in temperature.

There were also several experiments that have shown a connection between the Earth's temperature, and cosmic radiation. But the analysis of climate models to suit different groups of independent variables showed that the concentration of carbon dioxide has a much greater influence than other factors.

Bi-bi-si: Is it true that in the Middle Ages on the Earth was much warmer, and England had vineyards and making wine?

YM: The report of the Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change includes 12 independent studies that found out the historical dynamics of temperatures in the northern hemisphere. And they all came to the conclusion that the XX century was warmer than the Middle Ages.

Satellite data on the lowering of the temperature was an error in the program

In the Middle Ages was warmer than in the preceding and subsequent periods, but the 20th century was still very hot.

You can argue with the fact that the grapes and wine — a good way to measure the temperature. But even if we try to measure the temperature of the two eras vineyards, we will get one more confirmation of what is now warmer than before, because the vineyards in England has more.

Bi-bi-si: Critics say that carbon emissions are too small to change the climate of the planet. Do you agree?

YMAll the modern scientific understanding of climate change is based on the analysis of physics of carbon dioxide. From a theoretical point of view, carbon dioxide has a huge impact on the temperature of the planet.

Climate models have shown approximately the same — increase in CO2 perfectly correlated with an increase in temperature. A serious argument why the factor of carbon dioxide can be considered negligible never been presented.


Bi-bi-si: Some cool atmosphere, and no heat. Maybe it proves that global warming is not happening?

YM: That part of the atmosphere, which is responsible for the weather and that has a paramount importance to us — the bottom — the troposphere. And it is definitely hot. This is shown by the observations from the ground and from the probes and satellites.

10 years ago, has been obtained from satellites rather unexpected information that some areas are colder. Later, these data were analyzed again and realized that there was an error in the calculations.

Bi-bi-si: In Antarctica is colder?

Antarctica is melting at the edges, but the center of the continent becomes warmer

YM: Private regional differences of climate change is always there. You can find some special region in which changes occur in the other direction … Climate — a complex system. Importance is the general direction of climatic shifts.

Antarctica is melting at the edges, there is clearly getting warmer.

In the center of the continent in the last decade have not recorded a warming trend or cooling. There are two reasons.

First, the warming is more pronounced in the northern hemisphere, where more land. A land masses affect the concentration of carbon dioxide.

Second, to some extent, protected Antarctica from global changes very dense cyclic air flows.

This never happens in the Arctic, which does not violate the generally accepted concept of global warming.

Bi-bi-si: Due to the difference in climate trends in different parts of the world, there is a view that such northern countries as Russia, will benefit from warming.

All models agree on the fact that the number of natural disasters will increase

YM: In the short term, it is very likely that there will not only losers.

In Russia, the warming may be beneficial for some regions of Siberia and destructive to others. Moreover, the melting of permafrost will cause damage to the oil and gas infrastructure.

We must understand that between weather and climate are two different things. Talking about the weather, the warming of a few degrees is, for example, that you can walk into a T-shirt. To climate warming by a few degrees means a shift of the entire ecosystem. You have to think about the long term.

Bi-bi-si: How good and reliable climate prediction models, which are used by scientists?

YM: There is no single ideal model no. 20-30 used different models, in which scientists have tried to lay all that we know about the physical processes in climate. When trying to understand something as complex as the climate system of the Earth, there will always remain a doubt.

However, all the models agree on several aspects: temperature rise, increased rainfall, increased number of extreme weather events.

Check this model is difficult. How can I check that predicts the future?

The first forecasts made on the basis of modeling, it is already possible to verify. Model of the late 1980s showed a significant warming of the late 1990s and early 21st century. The fact that in recent years, broke all temperature records, says that the forecasts were correct.

Unlike Antarctica, the Arctic becomes much warmer

In general, we can say that we have only some confidence in the correctness of models. We never 100% sure.

We develop models and make predictions to prepare for the potential risks and if something happens to react to it in the best way.

Bi-bi-si: People can not do anything about climate change?

YM: The current climate change — a problem caused by man.

Many of the issues we have had to deal with in any way. For example, we have to move to other energy sources, because oil is not infinite. We must develop our reasonable transport system, our cities, etc. But thinking about all of this, one must keep in mind the climate problem.

I am confident that we can solve such problems. And solving them we get economic benefits. If we do not solve these problems now — the damage of inaction is not commensurate with the cost savings that it can give us in the short term.

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