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Canberra’s cold winter and global cooling

It has been very cold in Canberra this winter. Snow is a rarity here, but we saw snow last weekend, and the nearby ski fields are having one of their best years in a long time. I don’t like this for two reasons. First, I just don’t like the cold. Second, it is another piece of evidence that we are now facing the consequences of man-made global cooling.

The topic of climate change can be used to generate fear and therefore rationalise dramatic government action, so it is important for us to get all the facts on the table before we consider what should be done about this problem.

First fact – climate change is happening. Satellite and weather balloon estimates of temperature over the past 25 years are consistent with each other and provide us with the best measures of temperature change in the earth’s troposphere (the atmosphere within the first 10km of earth). They clearly show that temperatures have decreased 0.1 degrees Celsius since between June 1980 and the latest data (June 2004).

Second fact – humans are contributing to this change. The burning of fossil fuels produces sulfur particles and bio-mass burning and land change put other particles into the atmosphere. These particles reflect solar energy away from the earth and thus have a cooling effect.

The appropriate policy response to this growing threat is still uncertain. There are suggestions that a international treaty may be formed that makes no difference to global cooling but costs billions. The merits of this proposal are still being debated. Another possibility is government subsidised skiing lessons to help people to adjust to a new ice age. As for me – maybe it’s just time I moved to a warmer city?

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* Please note – this post is a parody. While the statistics and arguments cited above are true, they are only a very selective part of what is a very complex story. For the record, I do not believe we are facing global cooling, and I accept that there has been an increase in surface temperatures.

 
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