A new paper about relative humidity in the upper atmosphere is making the rounds of global-warming skeptic blogs. I’m not a climate scientist, but my own scientific training does give me the tools to at least read a paper’s abstract and conclusion with enough understanding of the author’s own claims (irrespective of the methods). I looked at the paper in question, and found that the paper’s authors aren’t making as bold a prediction of global warming theory’s demise as the skeptics would have you believe. I am sure the Real Climate folks will get around to this in much more substantive detail later on, though.
The reason this matters is because public skepticism about global warming has actually increased dramatically over the past few years, and is even higher now than in 2004 at the peak of conservative political dominance:
Given that aggressive policies to mitigate the impact of GW are going to be needed in the immediate future (to whatever extent possible, though who knows whether it’s too late already), this is a very bad sign indeed. Ironically, one of the severest impacts of global warming will be water shortages, which will primarily affect muslim countries. Despite this disproportionate impact, the populations of muslim countries like Egypt and Pakistan remain relatively unconcerned with GW as an issue. It seems to me that raising awareness of GW, and joining efforts at combating global warming denialism, are good issues for the muslim-American community to adopt. It’s certainly more relevant to the welfare ofthe muslim world than Israel and Palestine.