It was only a matter of time before the Colorado floods were blamed on global warming, but finally someone has come out and said it. On the radio program “Democracy Now” Bill McKibben, author, made the statement that we have to get a handle on global warming before this gets ‘further out of hand’. The ‘this’ he is referring to is of course global warming.
There are two groups in the global warming debate, commonly referred to as the “Alarmists” and the “Deniers” both have arguments and counter arguments on whether global warming is real or a hoax. Like so many other debates today, it is hard to distinguish what exactly is the truth since most debates degenerate into name calling and degrading the other side.
Flash Flood History
The Boulder area has a history of flash floods due to the fact it is near the mouth of canyons inside the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The last major flood was in 1896 and since then there are more buildings and roads meaning less vegetation to absorb water. The excessive amount of rain was more than the area could absorb. Due to the laws of gravity, water flows downhill.
Warmer Atmosphere = More Moisture
The global warming group claims the massive amount of rainfall is attributed to the overall temperature of the earth rising. When the air is warmer it will hold moisture longer and therefore there will be more rain. This is a proven fact, what isn’t clear however, is whether there has been an increase in global temperature. The data from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration only goes back as far as 1880. All other reports can’t agree on either what data should be used to determine if there is global warming. It appears it depends on what side of the global warming fence you are on. One thing that is hard to dispute as throughout recorded history there have been cycles of warmer and colder temperatures. Data for the last 17 years actually shows a decline in global temperature.
The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is the self-appointed authority on global warming has been accused by its own scientists of skewing information in their reports, selectively choosing to include only studies which are favorable to their claims. Many of the studies they use in their reports are either not truly independent or have never had any peer reviews. The 1996 report of the IPCC was criticized by Dr. Frederick Seitz, a world-famous physicist when he wrote in the Wall Street Journal (Aug 1996) that he had “never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than events that led to this IPCC report.”
It is interesting to note that in the same interview, the host, Amy Goodman also links global warming to hurricanes and complains that the national media isn’t stressing climate change enough as related to these floods. First regarding hurricanes, this is another point of contention among scientists. There is no evidence that hurricanes are any more prevalent or intense now than in the past. But again, whenever one study proves the global warming advocates wrong, they will come up with another hypothesis and change their conclusions. As far as the national media goes, they don’t seem to have a problem blaming everything on global warming.
If even scientists can’t agree on whether or not there is global warming how is the public supposed to believe either the “alarmists” or the “deniers”? Is this a case of whoever shouts the loudest wins? In the meantime, what we do know is there has been a lot of devastation from the Colorado floods, whether or not they were due to global warming and this is what needs to be focused on.
Written By: Paul Roy