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Re: [Phys-l] Hobson on AGW (was Re: Prof. Hal Lewis resigns from APS)

Excellent comment John.
From: [] On Behalf Of John Mallinckrodt []
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2010 11:14 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: [Phys-l] Hobson on AGW (was Re: Prof. Hal Lewis resigns from APS)

I'd like to commend to everyone's attention two excellent pieces by
Art Hobson in the current (November) issue of The Physics Teacher:

1. His response to a letter criticizing his article in the January
issue of TPT

It seems to me that the last paragraph of his letter summarizes the
simple and compelling case that AGW skeptics twist themselves in
knots trying to avoid:

"The sudden atmospheric CO2 spike during only the past two centuries
is unprecedented in at least 800,000 years of alternating ice ages
and interglacials. This spike is of undeniably human origin; so far
as I know, even climate skeptics agree with this statement. The
natural greenhouse effect undeniably warms Earth’s surface by 33
degrees C, and CO2 is known to be the second strongest greenhouse
gas, after water vapor. There’s every reason to think that this CO2
spike is responsible for the temperature increase, and indeed nobody
has proposed a plausible alternative mechanism. Common sense, simple
models, and all of the computer models predict that the CO2 spike
should cause a few-degree increase in the greenhouse effect. That’s
exactly what’s been happening. Indeed, climate skeptics need to
answer the obvious question: Why wouldn’t you expect that high CO2
levels are causing high temperatures?"

2. His article "Global Warming: Lessons from Ozone Depletion"

This is the remarkable success story of the Ozone/CFC episode due to
actions that the world, led by the U.S., took on the basis of much
more tentative science than we have in the case of AGW.

John Mallinckrodt
Cal Poly Pomona
Forum for Physics Educators