I read a lot of news about the trustworthiness of science and scientists, more than ever with the current climate change ‘debates’.
It is worth noting that the word science is latin for knowledge. So new information should be integrated into a scientific model. By definition, historical and new data cannot be at odds with science. As a scientist, I love new information and data. It allows us to rebuild and rethink our existing understanding of the world. Then we can make observations based on the facts as we know them today.
Just a few recent data points:
- 400+ ppm atmospheric CO2 (current level): we need to go back at least 15 million years to find carbon dioxide levels on Earth as high as they are today.
- Over the past 300 million years, ocean pH has been slightly basic, averaging about 8.2. Today, it is around 8.1, a drop of 0.1 pH units, representing a 25-percent increase in acidity over the past two centuries.
- Over the past 100 years, mercury in the top 100 meters of the world’s oceans has doubled, Waters deeper than that have seen mercury concentrations increase by 25 percent, and rivers and lakes contain an estimated 260 metric tons of mercury that was previously held in soils.
- Background rate of extinction estimated at one and five species per year. Today, the extinction rate appears to be anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times greater than that.
Global warming or not, and outside the name calling and political grandstanding that seems to go on at the media level, as a society do we really want to run the experiment of altering our planet like this and wait and see what happens for the next generation?