Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pearls of Wisdom on Global Warming

Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may know more about meteorology generally and global warming specifically than anybody this side of Mother Nature. So when Emanuel talks about the latter -- and he always does with great circumspection -- people on all sides of this contentious issue need to listen up.

He's a brief excerpt from a New York Times interview with Emanuel, but I urge you to read the whole thing.

There is no doubt that in the last 20 years, the earth has been warming up. And it's warming up much too fast to ascribe to any natural process we know about.

We still don't have a good grasp of how clouds and water vapor, the two big feedbacks in the climate system, will respond to global warming. What we are seeing is a modest increase in the intensity of hurricanes.

I predicted years ago that if you warmed the tropical oceans by a degree Centigrade, you should see something on the order of a 5 percent increase in the wind speed during hurricanes. We've seen a larger increase, more like 10 percent, for an ocean temperature increase of only one-half degree Centigrade.

No comments: