Editor, The Beacon:
I enjoyed the speculations of columnist Noah Hertz about what Volusia County may be like in 50 years (“Looking ahead to 2070,” Nov. 18-24). Whatever else may happen, I want to assure him that based on current trends, the climate is not likely to be noticeably different than today.
In his excellent book Unsettled, professor Steven Koonin, former science adviser in the Obama administration, debunks much of the hysteria surrounding the climate-change debate. And he does it using the data from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other peer-reviewed research.
According to the IPCC’s most recent Assessment Report, the Earth has warmed only 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1900, well within natural variability. Interestingly, this modest rise has occurred mainly in the nighttime temperatures. That is, global average daily high temperatures are no different than they were 120 years ago. But the nighttime lows have become slightly higher. In other words, the climate has become milder!
The IPCC also acknowledges that there has been no long-term increase in the number or severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and floods.
It’s true that the sea levels have been rising for hundreds of years, but, with decadal differences, only at the rate of about 12 inches per century. Thus, assuming the continuation of current trends, 2070 should see no Volusia County residents fleeing for higher ground, unless 6 inches of sea level rise makes a difference.
Yes, there are real problems to be tackled over the next half-century, as detailed in Mr. Hertz’s column, but climate change is unlikely to be one of them.
Editor’s note: The IPCC report citing the 1.1 degrees Celsius temperature increase notes that this is cause for concern. Current patterns show temperatures continuing to rise beyond that threshold in the coming decades. According to a recent article on the IPCC website: “For 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, there will be increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons. At 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, heat extremes would more often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health, the report shows.”
To read the full IPCC article quoted above, visit www.tinyurl.com/ipcc-article.