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The Mystery of Global Warming: What Happened to It?

According to scientific expectation, the hottest year on record should have been the most recent year. In fact, the hottest year of the 20th Century was 1998, and since then temperatures have risen only about .02 degrees Fahrenheit. And yet, between 2000 and 2010 human activity has emitted 110 billion tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to global warming models, temperatures should have continued to climb, but instead they have stabilized. Although the change is not as intense as expected, 9  out of the 10 warmest years ever recorded have taken place since 1998.

It turns out that two factors have combined together to reduce the effect of all that carbon dioxide. First, the very deep oceans have been heating since 2000, drawing some of the heat from the surface. This possibility was not included in the global warming modeling process. Another, more important factor has been the sun. For the past 11 years, the sun has been in a deep solar minimum and the amount of energy reaching Earth from the sun has been in decline. The current solar maximum has also been weak, and points to a possible era of 'quiet sun' which would further stave off warming, giving the human species more time to solve the carbon dioxide issue before the sun returned to normal activity and the steep temperature climbs experienced in the 1980s and 1990s resume

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regardless of climate change and the merits of taking action, one thing is certain; fossil fuel waste and pollution is killing us all. Will we continue to poison the planet for more money?

Climate change doesn't occur in linear progression. Even though this last decade was the hottest on record, we can still get some milder summers and winters due to mitigating factors. It's the trend - the change in overall patterns - that shows global warming is upon us. We may not be able to halt that trend for years to come, but we can act to prevent it (hopefully) from making the planet uninhabitable in the future. So far, Mother Earth has allowed us to live here. One day, if we don't change, she may make that very difficult. She is a living organism.

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