There was an excellent meeting in February entitled the “International Conference on Mesoscale Processes in Atmosphere, Ocean and Environmental Systems“. For those who read this Climate Science weblog, this integrated system perspective is how we should be studying climate variability and change.
There was a session on “Global Warming: Of Challenges and Dilemmas”. A very insightful and important quote from this session in the February 15, 2006 issue of Spatial India was attributed to Professor V. Ramanathan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (he was also one of the co-authors of the 2005 NRC Report, which is referred to frequently on the Climate Science weblog). He said
“…the deeper we delve into the science, we are discovering new ways in which human activities are changing the environment, making the ethical and scientific dilemmas more formidable.”
He also stated that the atmospheric brown clouds (which are caused by anthropogenic air pollution)
“disrupt regional rainfall patterns and lead to drying, particularly (in) Africa and Asia.”
The topic of this Conference, and the examples of the quotes from Professor Ramanathan, illustrate why the climate change icon of a globally averaged surface temperature, needs to be replaced by a focus on regional climate variability and change which involves a coupled land-atmosphere-ocean-continental ice system, and that responds to a diverse spectrum of human- and natural- climate forcings. The focus on the radiative effect of added CO2 as the dominate human climate forcing, and the use of a global averaged surface temperature trend to assess the effect of the added CO2, are scientifically flawed approaches and are misleading policymakers.