Preface: Our approach is to build bridges in the climate debate (see the postscript, below). But one of our duties as investigative journalists is to debunk unscientific claims, from whichever side they come from. This article helps to debunk one particular recent claim about global cooling.
Numerous websites have claimed that a new scientific paper by a high-level NASA scientist proves that the Earth is entering into a planetary cooling period.
Specifically, the paper says that reduced solar activity will likely lead to a substantial cooling in the Earth’s thermosphere … a layer of the atmosphere high above the Earth.
Should run out and buy warmer clothes?
Even though I studied environmental science at a good university as an undergraduate, I had no idea whether a cooling thermosphere would mean:
(1) It will get cooler down here on the surface of the Earth (the bottom portion of the atmospheric layer called the “troposphere”)
(2) There is no correlation
(3) As one wannabe “expert” proclaimed on the Internet, a cooler thermosphere will lead to a warmer climate on the surface
So Washington’s Blog asked one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. James Russell to help us understand what the study means …
Russell is a Professor of Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University in Virginia. He received his PhD in “aeronomy” – the physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere of planets – from the University of Michigan, and served as head of the Chemistry and Dynamics Branch and the Theoretical Studies Branch in the NASA Langley Atmospheric Sciences Division.
Dr. Russell told us:
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…