Data collected through the 1980s and 1990s strongly suggested that the earth was warming.1 Some scientists believe the phenomenon is man-made (anthropogenic), primarily due to fossil fuel combustion that, we are told, emits greenhouse gases. Other researchers are convinced that the warming trend was caused naturally, perhaps by an increase in the sun's radiation.2 Resolution of these debates seems a long way off, but a new discovery may add weight to the idea that the earth and everything in and around it, including the atmosphere, was designed by God.
Oceanographer David Karl at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa has recently been examining a problem called the "methane enigma." There has been a mysteriously high concentration of methane in the ocean's surface waters, indicating that this gas was being produced in the sea. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and fortunately maintains an atmospheric blanketing layer that supports life on earth. Many scientists fear that too much methane in the atmosphere, however, would cause too thick a blanket and that this could become potentially harmful to the planet.
The methane enigma has now been at least partially solved. According to Karl's research, bacteria are converting methylphosphonates into methane in the oceans.3 The methane diffuses from there into the atmosphere. We have long known that bacteria help to maintain a proper balance of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen levels in the atmosphere. Bacteria are now known to play a vital role in maintaining methane levels as well. This makes sense within the creation science model--a loving God created a robust atmosphere, complete with bacterial systems that balance amounts of atmospheric gases in order to support life.
- Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Accessed online July 10, 2008. Since 1998, earth's temperature has not been warming, and in January 2008 the temperature dramatically sank. See also "January 2008--4 sources say 'globally cooler' in the past 12 months" on the Watts Up With That? website, accessed July 10, 2008.
- Over 9,000 Americans with PhDs in science have signed the Global Warming Petition Project to voice their disagreement with the anthropogenic theory of the cause of global warming. Accessed online July 10, 2008.
- New Pathway For Methane Production In The Oceans Discovered. Science News. Posted on ScienceDaily.com on July 4, 2008, accessed July 10, 2008.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
Article posted July 16, 2008.