Op-Ed

Ky. Voices: Listen to fact, not opinion, on global warming

Paul Vincelli is a professor in the University of Kentucky department of plant pathology.
Paul Vincelli is a professor in the University of Kentucky department of plant pathology.

Last week's commentary challenging human-influenced climate change was badly flawed.

The claim that global warming ceased in 1998 is false.

Since then, the heat content of the oceans has continued to increase, and as NASA reports, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. The piece claims that a "hot spot" in the tropical troposphere — expected from greenhouse gasses — is missing. In fact, evidence consistent with such a hot spot was reported in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience.

The commentary reported on increasing use of fossil fuels in the 1930s followed by declines in global temperatures in the 1940s, as if that negated global warming. Better than anyone, climate scientists understand that greenhouse gases don't arrest Earth's natural cycles. Both are happening, but the temperature trend is unmistakably upward.

Such commentary can influence public opinion but has absolutely no impact on scientific progress. None whatsoever. Peer-reviewed journal papers are the gold standard of scientific information for good reasons, and no self-respecting scientist trusts scientific information reported in a newspaper opinion piece.

In fact, I found no climate science publications under the name of the commentary's author in the Web of Science bibliographic database. If the facts and arguments in that commentary had any validity, why haven't they been published in scientific journals?

If anyone can successfully refute the theory of climate change using evidence rather than personal opinion, there is a Nobel Prize awaiting. In the meantime, let's listen to credible sources on climate science.

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