Friday, November 25, 2005

Our Work Here Is Nearly Done

Looking at 650,000 years of climate history, researchers have concluded that the levels of signature greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, have never been as high as they are today.

The LA Times has a solid take on the research which is being published in more detail in the journal, Science (subscription).

"An ice core about two miles long — the oldest frozen sample ever drilled from the underbelly of Antarctica — shows that at no time in the last 650,000 years have levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane been as high as they are today.

The research, published in today's issue of the journal Science, describes the content of the greenhouse gases within the core and shows that carbon dioxide levels today are 27% higher than they have been in the last 650,000 years and levels of methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas, are 130% higher, said Thomas Stocker, a climate researcher at the University of Bern and senior member of the European team that wrote two papers based on the core."

This research is another piece of evidence that confirms that human industrial activity is the primary cause of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The role of human activity in global warming is, of course, disputed by the Bush Administration, but pretending it isn't real doesn't make it go away. Something the President Bush has yet to learn.

"The work provides more evidence that human activity since the Industrial Revolution has significantly altered the planet's climate system, scientists said. "This is saying, 'Yeah, we had it right.' We can pound on the table harder and say, 'This is real,' " said Richard Alley, a Penn State University geophysicist and expert on ice cores who was not involved with the analysis."

Thumping the table doesn't seem like much of a plan to me. Even less useful when the people sitting at the table are owned by the oil industry.