LETTER: Don’t bury your head in the sand over climate change!

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IF Mr Sutcliff had listened really carefully to his science teacher he would have learned that scientists make predictions based on the available facts and not preferred opinions.

We cannot be in possession of all the facts so these predictions are always being modified as we learn more. The more we learn the better the predictions become and may result in previously held beliefs being totally overturned. Scientists who cling to beliefs in the face of mounting contrary evidence have rather short careers. The recent predictions of Hurricane Sandy’s path based on satellite tracking data were made well in advance and were very accurate. Recently the Daily Telegraph reported that there were only 100 cod left in the North Sea. This turned out to be inaccurate as they wanted to quote data that agreed with their agenda. They have apologised since for the mistake.

We know that climates have changed regularly long before we appeared on the Earth but these heating/cooling cycles occurred over very long periods of time. Carbon dioxide acts as a “greenhouse gas”. Atmospheric carbon dioxide level has increased steadily since the industrial revolution but much more rapidly in the last few decades mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels. The graphs showing rises in carbon dioxide levels and the rise in average temperature follow the same upward fluctuating curve very precisely.

As the atmosphere warms so does the water in the oceans. And Michael if you’d listened when your science teacher explained how liquid-filled thermometers work you’d have remembered that liquids expand on warming. The increased ocean temperature causes water to expand which raises the sea levels. Colne is over 650 ft above sea level and is safe but if you keep burying your head in the sand about climate change, watch out for the rising tide.