In your recent article on climate change and tourism you made some correlations between global warming and warming in S.C. (“Paradise Lost: Climate Change and S.C.’s tourist industry.” Jan. 6, 2010). According the SCDNR temperature records from 1901-present, there is no evidence of a warming trend in S.C. Actually, in Charleston (and many other counties) there has been a mean temperature decrease (see link: dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/Publications/temp_study/temp_mean_annual.php). This, of course, doesn’t disprove “global warming” or address rising ocean levels, but it does call into question your assumption that temperatures are “continuing to rise” in S.C. and makes your doomsday speculation/discussion of a 7-8 degree increase seem odd. Perhaps the SCDNR data is incorrect, but I think the brook trout are safe for now.
The Good of Global Warning
Jack, I agree that blind faith in a certain issue can be bad not only politically but in science as well (Southern Avenger, Jan 6, 2010, “Political Science: Can global warming or any science be corrupted by politics?”). As a scientist I understand the inner workings of a peer-reviewed industry. Most non-scientists don’t understand that science is a gradual process that ebbs and flows and eventually leads to a consensus on an issue, although that can take a long time and the consensus may end up a bit shaky. Global warming is like any other scientific issue, and we can only reach an agreement as to what’s going on, and that is and has been that global average temperatures are increasing. As far as the “liberal propaganda,” unlike Bush’s war, this is only leading to good things. Anything that motivates our society to look at using sustainable, renewable energy is good in my book, and so far global warming has been a great impetus. Yes, we may never know the cause of climate change, and scientists may even end up being wrong, but don’t knock something without looking at its ultimate effects on the world as a whole.