Further to my previous post, there was an interesting article in The Economist on March 20 2010 (http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15719298) concerning the science of climate change. Thoroughly worth reading if you want a more balanced view of the arguments for and against. What is most interesting in the article is just how ignorant we are about the Earth’s climate and the effects of different chemical compounds have on it. For instance, water vapour can amplify the effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in respect to Global Warming, yet we are not certain about what role clouds have to play. Also, data on climate change really needs to be fully open to inspection and debate. Much has been made about the fact that climate stations are collecting trend data from sites that are sited near urban areas (and thus subject to an additional warming effect) that then skews the data. Also, the historical analysis only goes back reliably as far as the 1950s, then we are wandering into the realms of indirect climate data, which is obviously open to interpretation.
What is almost universally agreed upon is that the climate change models we currently have are not accurate enough to determine where our planet is heading – therefore more computing power is needed and we should ensure that we provide it in a sustainable way (unlike the Met Office! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6098802/Met-Office-climate-change-supercomputer-polluting-the-planet.html).