What We Don’t Know About Global Warming And What It Doesn’t Mean [dead link here: http://litmuszine.com/feature/5.21.07.html]
The problem is not one of good science versus bad, or “sound” science versus “junk” science. The problem is that nature can be viewed through many analytical lenses, and the resulting perspectives do not add up to a single, uniform image, but a spectrum that can illuminate a range of subjective positions. – Dr. Daniel Sarewitz
Geologists struggle to piece together a historical record of atmospheric change, but there is little that they can say about causation, because the details of the complex climate system have been erased by time.
Atmospheric scientists, on the other hand, are awash in detailed observation and bolstered by theory, but they can never validate their models because climate is an open system, and is therefore unpredictable.
The very notion of a consensus is at best unrealistic and at worst unattainable.
The debate at this point is exactly how much warming can be attributed to man-made greenhouse gases, at what rate future warming is likely to occur, and what the impact of that warming will be.
It is important to keep in mind that, while the current research is nearly unanimous in its conclusion that the earth is warming, the certainty of future predictions is far less so.
…if you are one of the roughly 6.5 billion people on this planet who isn’t comfortable discussing the effects of water vapor feedback or the ocean’s role as a carbon sink – in other words, if you’re not a climate scientist – how are you supposed to reach an opinion one way or the other?