To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the article about Mark Breen’s talk, “Meteorologist Speaks of Weather, Climate.” When Breen’s analysis of climate is examined, we find that nowhere does he acknowledge the human-induced climate change that has already occurred and continues to do so.
While the cycles of nature that Breen cited including ocean currents, sunspots, and changes in Earth’s orbit do affect climate, they cannot account for warming we have seen since the Industrial Revolution. Breen stated that “science is best served when there are people doubting.” Neither science nor any inhabitant of our planet is better when people doubt the reality of human-caused climate change. The “natural cycles” argument is used to de-legitimize climate science. Governments, unwilling to value life over short-term profit, seize on such arguments to imply that the indisputable evidence for anthropogenic warming is in doubt. In fact, 97% of actively publishing climate scientists believe that humans are responsible for the amount of warming in the last century. This is not trivial. As Keeling has demonstrated with his now famous data, humans have caused an exponential increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases with a concomitant increase in temperature.
Breen states that he is confident that there will be another ice age in 10,000 – 20,000 years. However, authors of an article in the prestigious journal Nature ( 529, 200–203, 2016) argue that given the amount of carbon dioxide that humans have emitted into the atmosphere, the next glacial period will be delayed 100,000 years. Further, Breen states that the Russian Academy of Science predicts a cooling trend based on the sun. American scientists are also predicting a cooling period, but it will not be as dramatic as in the past due to climate change, and it will also be short-lived — about 30 years according to Helen Popova, a Lomonosov Moscow State University researcher. In fact, while the sun’s energy has decreased since the 1950’s, the global temperature has soared due to human-induced climate change (see Graphic: Temperature vs Solar Activity - NASA: Climate Change).