Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Warming: changing climate of opinion

26.03.2002


In the 1960s, scientists anticipated a `New Ice Age`. Later, they warned of humans triggering a ‘Nuclear Winter’. Now, it’s ‘Global Warming’. Why this change in emphasis? And why did it take 100 years for the theory behind ‘Global Warming’ to take hold?



New research by scientists from the University of Gloucestershire indicates that a remarkable combination of circumstances sparked widespread scientific interest in ‘Global Warming’ in the later decades of the 20th Century.

Prof. Frank Chambers and Sally Brain, whose findings are published in The Holocene this month, have used Keyword searches in a scientific publications database to identify a remarkably rapid shift in the focus of climate change research.


Prof. Chambers says: “Looking back, it almost seems that ideas about future climate were changing faster than climate itself! However, the idea of ‘Global Warming’ was not new: it had its roots in scientific ideas of over 100 years ago. We think we now know why the theory came of age in the late 20th Century.”

Their research indicates that scientific findings in the 1970s and early 1980s were a trigger to the very rapid development of wider scientific interest in climate change.

They suggest concern about ‘Global Warming’ was fuelled by a remarkable combination of new scientific evidence, increased computer power, a widespread acceptance of human responsibility for other environmental problems (such as ozone depletion and acid rain), a concurrent rise in global average temperatures and a changing science research agenda, driven by political and funding considerations.

As a result, computer simulations now dominate scenarios of future climate and are used to inform public policy. The apocalyptic scenarios produced in the 1980s were embraced as a belief by some scientists, hyped in the media, and caught the imagination of environmental pressure groups and the general public.

Resulting pressures on politicians, policy makers and research councils arguably channelled an increasing proportion of funds towards climate-modelling.

“To be credible, computer models have to be capable of representing the full range of natural climate variation. There is increasing evidence that the scale and rate of natural climate change may have been underestimated in the current generation of climate models. It is important, therefore, that sufficient money goes to researchers investigating past climates, so that their data can inform climate modellers”, said Prof Chambers.

Frank Chambers | alphagalileo

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New research unlocks forests' potential in climate change mitigation
21.04.2017 | Clemson University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>