Does this mean Global Warming has accelerated?
The short answer is no, but take a little walk with me.
So how do crazy tin-foil hat rumors get started and fly across the internet scaring the heck out of innocent folks? Typically they start with a grain of truth, some piece of scientific research or information and then it gets out of control. A couple of recent examples surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill include that the sea floor was cracked in multiple areas and that Russian Oceanographer Anatoly Sagalevitch had taken his Mir1 and Mir2 submersibles to the gulf and reported this in Russia which would lead to us needing to nuke the seafloor in the Gulf.
I busted that rumor by contacting Dr. Sagalevitch and you can read about that here:
The next one that got a serious foothold was that a giant methane bubble was going to erupt from under the Gulf of Mexico and extinguish almost all life on earth. This rumor followed the standard path, first there is some real science, a theory by Dr. Gregory Riskin that puts forward that an event like the one describe above may have been responsible for past mass extinctions. Then you have the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill and high levels of methane related to the spill and boom, someone jumps to the conclusion that the drilling has set off a mass extinction event. Dr. Riskin himself debunked this one and I detailed many of the points of incongruity in another post on this blog:
Well let’s see if we can head one off before it gets started, as the title suggests, a study shows plants are reducing their uptake of carbon. So the part that is the real science is that a 10 year study has shown that carbon uptake rates have decreased over the last decade. Now the alarming thing is that if this trend continued it would actually accelerate the rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and any impacts that result from the increase. Hence the effects of global climate change would be greatly accelerated. Now the not so alarming part the study, like any good scientific study, also indicates that this may have a very explainable cause. First, the decrease is very small compared to the overall rate of carbon uptake and secondly, during the period of the study there were massive droughts in both hemispheres. The droughts could easily account for the decrease. You can read the article for yourself at:
As I mentioned in the methane bubble debunk piece I worry about the level of science education in the American population and the ability for the general public to discern science from conjecture, essentially the ability to tell Carl Sagan and Glenn Beck apart.