Science Short: Common Sense & Climate Change

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Published on October 3rd, 2012  |  Discuss This Article  

The continued debate over climate change in the face of pretty overwhelming scientific evidence is sometimes written off as people being willfully ignorant or stubborn.

But there’s a real problem: climate change, like many scientific phenomenon, cannot be understood via common sense. Of course, common sense also tells us that one couldn’t possibly sail into the wind, but the Bernoulli principle makes it possible.

A frequent response to climate skeptics is to denigrate them and ignore their questions and concerns, so it’s no surprise some people actually believe there’s a conspiracy to cover up the truth.

As such, there’s a special place in my heart for people who respond to critiques that are reasonable (if you use common sense as your lens through which to understand the world) and patiently explain what’s going on without being condescending or dismissive.

This recent article by Eric Berger  takes on a common question: Doesn’t the fact that Antarctic ice is getting thicker prove that global warming isn’t happening?

By comparing ice changes in the Arctic and Antarctic ice using the same kind of graph with the same units, he shows that the Antarctic growth is tiny while the Arctic loss is significant.

With a brief follow up of why Antarctic ice is growing (for now), this is the kind of piece that will change minds among people who haven’t been able to get simple answers to their questions.

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