Weather Watch

A global warming skeptic has a change of heart

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”  

       -- Winston Churchill

I was a global warming skeptic. I questioned the validity of the studies purporting to be factual. You see, since the 1970s seawater temperatures along the coastline of San Luis Obispo County weren't changing to any great extent. If anything, they've been slowly trending downward. What caused this condition if the oceans were supposedly warming?

After careful review of the wind data from the Diablo Canyon meteorological tower, I discovered that the northwesterly winds during the spring and summer months have slowly increased from decade to decade. These onshore winds produce greater amounts of upwelling and cooler seawater temperatures along our beaches.

Our northwesterly winds may have increased in response to a more intense area of low pressure that develops over the Great Central Valley of California as air temperatures warm, especially, during the spring and summer months. As that air rises, northwesterly winds flow from the Pacific to equalize the pressure difference between the ocean and the valley.

However, this condition is the least of the changes we are seeing. Record low amounts of ice in the Arctic Ocean, temperature records that fall like bowling pins, prolonged droughts, increasing wildfires and epic storms and floods have convinced me that the planet is warming at an unprecedented rate.

Historically, temperature changes of this magnitude have occurred over hundreds of thousands of years, not over a few decades!  All of these changes are in lockstep with increasing amounts of man-made carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Over the last four Saturdays, I've attended a climate change workshop taught by Dr. Ray Weymann at the PG&E Energy Education Center in Avila Valley through the Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast. Ray is a retired Director and Chair of the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona, and Director and Staff Member Emeritus of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena.

Dr. Weymann debunked the notion that climate change was caused by increasing amounts of energy from the sun and not by human activities. If anything, the solar radiation from our star is slowly diminishing.  He also discredited the idea that there is no scientific consensus on climate change.

Over 95 percent of scientists working in disciplines contributing to studies of climate accept the fact that global warming is caused by human activities.

If you think that these warnings are only embraced by radical environmentalists, you may want to reevaluate your position.

The chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, became so concerned with a warmer planet that he established Task Force Climate Change, led by Rear Adm. David Titley, the former oceanographer of the Navy. The goal of the task force is to ensure the U.S. Navy is ready to meet its mission in spite of a warmer ocean and increasing sea levels. Insurance companies along with many corporations, including PG&E, list climate change as one of their main concerns.

Think of it this way, a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent is half of the legal limit to be considered driving drunk if you're over 21 years of age. This percentage is 400 parts per million (PPM). That is approximately the same level of carbon dioxide that is currently in our atmosphere. Let us not further intoxicate our planet on carbon dioxide, especially for our children's and grandchildren's sake.  For ideas to cut your carbon footprint, visit