Man-made global warming and mad-made climate change are two topics that are frequently discussed and have been the cause of countless heated debates particularly over the last decade. When I began Firsthand Weather in 2010, I was typically one of the ones that was most argumentative when this topic was brought up, but over the last couple of years, I have changed my approach in a dramatic way. I have learned a lot in the fields of meteorology and climatology over the last several years, and I will openly admit that I still have a lot to learn. We ALL do!
In most cases, we are presented with two extremist views on this subject: 1) that man has no influence on global temperatures and the climate or 2) that we are going to become victim to a runaway greenhouse effect that will have catastrophic effects on this planet. Rarely do you find anyone that points out that man-made CO2 emissions may have caused SOME (not all) of the warming while natural variations in the climate may have also caused some of the warming. The big question is how much warming has been caused by man and how much has been caused by natural variations in climate.
Those that argue on both sides of this debate are usually wrong. It’s easy to manipulate or cut off data to make your argument seem valid, but that doesn’t necessarily make the argument right. I’ve heard man-made global warming deniers claim that a cold-spell in the winter is proof that it’s all a hoax, while I’ve heard man-made global warming alarmists claim that a heatwave in the summer further proves their theory. Both arguments are not valid, and I’ll tell you why when I go into detail on this subject in a future article.
Now that I have probably made both sides mad, I need to clear something up that is a common misconception. Man-made global warming IS NOT the same thing as man-made climate change. Man-made global warming would be the cause and man-made climate change would be the effect that you would get as a result of artificially warming the planet. Essentially, warming the planet alters the climate.
Now my argument for years has been that all of the warming that has occurred over the last century has not all been caused by man. There are natural variations in climate that have caused at the least some of the warming. Just as much money should go into studying the natural variations in weather and climate as goes into studying man-made global warming and climate change.
I’m not going to give my take on man-made global warming and climate change in this article. I want to know what YOU think. I believe that it is extremely important to discuss this topic openly despite our varying opinions and biases. Most people don’t feel comfortable talking about this subject, and I want Firsthand Weather to be a place where you can give your opinions without feeling uncomfortable. This is something that we need to talk about!
I have two polls that I would like you to answer, and they are completely anonymous.
The first question is simply asking you what you think about man-made global warming. You may think that there is no evidence that man has altered the climate at all, or you may think that there is evidence that the effects of man-made global warming are imminent and are currently taking place. Some of you may think it could be a combination of man-made and natural influences.
The second question asks you if you want Firsthand Weather to talk about this topic further. I’m willing to give my opinion and provide you with the resources to come up with your own stance on this subject. I could probably provide all of this info by writing several articles on the site this month.
Now that you have answered these questions anonymously. Please consider commenting below on why you hold your position. Whether you know nothing about this subject or know a lot about it, please take a minute or two to voice your opinion. Be sure to also follow Firsthand Weather on Facebook, where we will be also discussing this topic in the coming days.
Matthew Holliday is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science. He is currently pursing his master's degree in meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University. Matthew founded Firsthand Weather in 2010 as a senior in high school and maintained the site through his undergraduate career. Research that was conducted by Matthew while at OU involved determining the synoptic environment in which various types of wave clouds (including vertically propagating waves and trapped waves) develop in Boulder, Colorado and Norman, OK. Matthew also did research on spatial changes in tornado activity across the United States . The goal of this study was to determine if spatial changes in tornado activity had occurred and if those changes could be linked to changes in average surface dew point temperature. Matthew has completed coursework in dynamics, thermodynamics, cloud physics, calculus and differential equations, statistics, remote sensing, GIS, synoptic meteorology, and mesoscale meteorology. His goal is to provide his audience with a deeper understanding of what drives our weather and climate, while making it easy and enjoyable to learn.