Talk on Climate Change, TCD, Thurs 2nd March, 7.30pm
2 Mar 2006
Professor Ray Bates, Adjunct Professor of Meteorology, will give a talk tonight on
The Atmospheric Greenhouse: the Blanket that Keeps Us Warm, but Could Make Us Sweat.
at 7.30pm in the Walton Theatre of the Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin.
Writing about the talk in his Weather Eye column in yesterday's Irish Times Brendan McWilliams said:
The greenhouse effect is familiar to anyone who watches television. We have seen, for example, that it all began around 1980, caused by pollution mainly from Britain and America with a little help from behind the Iron Curtain.
We know, too, that it has got to stop, even though we have a sneaky feeling that a little global warming here in Ireland might do no harm at all. In any event, nothing much is likely to happen for a half a century or more, and technology is sure to solve the problem without interfering too much with our improving lifestyle.
But the reality is very, very different. The greenhouse effect began about three billion years ago; for most of the intervening period it has provided the delicate balance between frigid cold and searing heat that has made life possible on earth.
Current global warming fears concern the enhanced greenhouse effect, a relatively recent phenomenon caused by increasing quantities of anthropologically generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some forms of pollution, on the other hand, have temporarily diminished rather than exacerbated this enhanced greenhouse effect, through a process which has come to be known as "global dimming".
Give or take a sceptic or two (and there are hardly more), we know for a fact that enhanced greenhouse global warming is already taking place. Moreover, the potential consequences of this trend, both locally and globally, and in terms of both their magnitude and imminence, become more and more frightening every day as, little by little, we learn more about the complex processes involved.
If you would like to see the whole issue placed authoritatively and lucidly in its proper perspective, you should listen to Ray Bates. Ray has a worldwide reputation in research meteorology, and his long and distinguished career has taken him by a roundabout route from assistant director of Met Éireann to Professor of Meteorology at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen, before finally returning him to Ireland a short while ago as Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at UCD.
For the rest of the article and Brendan McWilliams' Weather Eye archive click here.