There is often a tension between the scientists who study a subject and the people who live in the area of interest.
Recently in Alaska, scientists have began using the oral histories of native Alaskans as another source of evidence for climate change.
Residents of Alaska have been saying that the 1970's were a turning point as far as noticing changes in weather patterns and conditions.
Maggie Attila, from Galena, stated, "The last couple of years has been really crazy. It is kind of scary when the wind comes up at the wrong time and we have rain in the winter."
Do you think that Alaskan residents are a useful source of information about climate change? Does the Attila's statement make you think of the past few years of Minnesotan weather?
"If you could vote for a change in climate, you would always want a warmer one," says Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London. "Cold is nearly always worse for everything - the economy, agriculture, disease, biodiversity".
Other scientists dispute these claims, and point to other evidence.
And that's exactly how science works -- you make a hypothesis, then you test it with an experiment or compare it to evidence to see if it stands up.
The problems is, both sides of the global warming debate have made some pretty outrageous statements -- which leaves us citizens in the middle not knowing who to believe. And that can be dangerous: if a group keeps making extreme claims that turn out to be wrong, who will believe them when they're right?
What do YOU think? Is the debate over global warming helpful, or confusing? What, if anything, should we be doing about it?
Last year's hurricane season sprouted an unusually high number of tropical storms — 15 in all. Some folks have blamed global climate change. But researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the increase is perfectly natural. Hurricanes follow a natural cycle, peaking every 15 to 40 years, then dropping back and becoming rarer again.
Other researchers disagree. They say rising global temperatures lead to warmer water, a key ingredient in forming hurricanes.
Few people doubt that the Earth's climate is growing warmer. But how much of that is just a natural cycle, and how much of it is caused by human activity? And what will all the effects of this change be? No one knows for sure. Meanwhile the debate, and research, go on.
There is probably no day greeted with greater joy and anticipation than the first day of spring -- especially after a Minnesota winter! Sometimes, the only thing that gets us through February is knowing that better days are on the way. But when, exactly, does spring get here?
TV weathermen will tell you that spring starts on the vernal equinox -- the day when the number of hours of daylight are equal to the number of hours of night. (In 2005, this falls on March 20.) The problem is, the weathermen are wrong.
"The Indian Ocean tsunami that hit southern Asia on December 26 has uncovered a series of temples in southern India.
"Archaeologists have begun underwater excavations of what is believed to be an ancient city and parts of a temple uncovered by the tsunami off the coast of a centuries-old pilgrimage town.
"Three rocky structures with elaborate carvings of animals have emerged near the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, which was battered by the Dec. 26 tsunami.
"Mahabalipuram is already well known for its ancient, intricately carved shore temples that have been declared a World Heritage site and are visited each year by thousands of Hindu pilgrims and tourists. According to descriptions by early British travel writers, the area was also home to seven pagodas, six of which were submerged by the sea."
As posted on the U.S. Geological Survey web site:
A great earthquake occurred at 00:58:49 (UTC) on Sunday, December 26, 2004.
The magnitude 9.0 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA.
(This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
Official USGS earthquake report