Weather cycles and changes is a very apt title for this article, because that is what weather does. Climate patterns and events, like La Nina and El Nino, tend to go in cycles, and weather - well that's always changing.
Here in New England, we have a saying: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change". Chances are they have a saying very much like that where you live. It's a fairly universal saying, because changing weather is a universal experience.
And we have experienced the effects of both cycles and small changes over the course of the last several decades and even the last few years. A short cooling pattern after 1940 gave rise to fears of an impending ice age, as reported in the April 1975 issue of Newsweek. "A Cooling World" by Peter Gwynne warned of dramatic changes in the Earth's climate that signaled disaster for mankind. Fast forward a couple of decades and the fear has become one of impending disaster at the hands of global warming due to a warming pattern.
"You can't deny the Earth is warming", the argument begins. That is what we are conditioned to believe by the constant news stories, and for those who are not sure they completely believe in global warming, it is usually followed with "regardless of the cause". Why do they have any doubts at all?
Because the Earth isn't warming, at least, not any more. There is no denying we were in a warming period, but it has peaked and there hasn't been any further warming in the last 7 years. Not only that, but 2008 is predicted to be the coolest year since 2000. Once again, the climate is not cooperating with those who believe they can predict it.
Weather and climate are very complex things. Solar cycles, axis gyration and cycles in ocean currents are only part of the whole. Computer models that predicted active hurricane seasons in 2006 and 2007 were complete busts, as both years passed with historically low storm activity. A computer model that created the hockey stick graph, showing Earth's temperature remaining constant over a thousand years and then suddenly shooting up a right angle was proved to be flawed and discredited. Are the computer models that predict global warming more accurate? Is it possible for them to be?
"Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed... might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."
That is from "A Cooling World" and it is talking about the dangers of climate change. The fact that they were concerned about a different climate fear is unimportant, this excerpt could be placed in any of today's news articles about global warming with very little change.
We are privileged to live in this century, where technology and scientific knowledge has increased in so many ways that enhance our everyday lives. What we mustn't do, is assume that we are as important as we think we are. In the vast billions of years since the Earth was formed, mankind's existence is but a blink of an eye and his experience limited. Let's not destroy ourselves in a vain attempt to try to fix what is not broken.