Creatures Great And Small Know The Heat Is On, Why Don’t We?

As a reporter (and an average joe), if I don’t know much about a subject but am curious about it, my first course of action is to consult the experts in the field.

Who is going to know more about a subject than people who deal with it full time?

That’s why I continue to be puzzled by the amount of climate change skepticism I encounter. Granted, the oil industry and other interests have spent a lot of money to confuse people on the subject. But the verdict is in among the experts.

The New York Times reported in June 2010:

The new research supports the idea that the vast majority of the world’s active climate scientists accept the evidence for global warming as well as the case that human activities are the principal cause of it.

For example, of the top 50 climate researchers identified by the study (as ranked by the number of papers they had published), only 2 percent fell into the camp of climate dissenters. Of the top 200 researchers, only 2.5 percent fell into the dissenter camp. That is consistent with past work, including opinion polls, suggesting that 97 to 98 percent of working climate scientists accept the evidence for human-induced climate change.

The study demonstrates that most of the scientists who have been publicly identified as climate skeptics are not actively publishing in the field. And the handful who are tend to have a slim track record, with about half as many papers published as the scientists who accept the mainstream view. The skeptics are also less influential, as judged by how often their scientific papers are cited in the work of other climate scientists.

Despite the fact that the alleged “Climategate” of a couple years ago was proven to be a lot of hot air, many people seem to have lodged it in their brains as another reason for doubting manmade climate change.

I’m not saying that experts can’t be wrong or they should not be questioned (look at the business I’m in, after all), but the denial of climate change doesn’t seem to be based on any understanding of the facts. People usually express to me a doubt that scientists could understand anything as big and complicated as the global climate when they can’t predict the weather two days from now. Or they may dislike Al Gore and discredit climate change from there. A cold front in the summer has also been used to deny climate change in conversations I’ve had.

Meanwhile, scientists keep amassing more evidence that manmade climate change and its effects are very real.

The latest finding of interest is below:

WASHINGTON — Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says.

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.

The species – mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants – moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator.

“The speed is an important issue,” said study main author Chris Thomas of the University of York. “It is faster than we thought.”

Read the rest here.

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