updated 2/18/2005 3:14:33 PM ET 2005-02-18T20:14:33

Below are some common misconceptions about climate change:

A SCIENTIFIC DEBATE RAGES OVER GLOBAL WARMING

FACT: There’s no question the Earth has warmed in recent decades. Government and professional climate-science groups say man-made “greenhouse gases” are contributing to the warming — probably causing most of it, according to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel and the U.N.-organized Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientific discussion focuses on how fast and how high temperatures will rise — depending on what’s done to counter warming — and on the impact.

———

SATELLITES SHOW GLOBAL COOLING, NOT WARMING

FACT: Satellite readings once seemed to disagree with ground readings about warming. But a longer satellite record and more careful analysis of earlier readings have largely closed that gap.

———

A PLANET WARMER BY 2 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT DOESN’T SOUND BAD

FACT: Scientists’ 2-degree prediction is a minimum and an average encompassing higher extremes in certain regions, seasons and times of day. Much damage would come indirectly from rising seas, drying out of some areas, heavier rains in others and similar disruptions.

———

THE SUN’S VARIABILITY IS THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

FACT: The sun does “flicker,” but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says solar variability has made only a small contribution to global warming over the past century.

———

RECENT WARMING IS A NATURAL REBOUND FROM THE EUROPEAN ‘LITTLE ICE AGE’

FACT: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the unusually swift and lengthy warming of the 20th century “cannot simply be considered as a recovery from the ‘Little Ice Age’ of the 15th to 19th centuries.”

———

WARMING IS GOOD BECAUSE IT WILL SAVE US FROM A NEW ICE AGE

FACT: The man-made gases already in the atmosphere are far more than needed to hold off another ice age.

———

A MELTING ARCTIC ICE CAP WON’T RAISE SEAS; ICE MELTING IN A GLASS DOESN’T RAISE THE WATER LEVEL

FACT: Oceans are rising because of melt runoff from glaciers, the Greenland ice sheet and other ice on land, not in the sea. The Arctic Ocean’s sea ice is already displacing water and so, like ice cubes in a glass, won’t raise sea levels as it melts.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments