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I am enjoying the controversy over climate change and the impact of human activity on global warming. In a Jan. 11 letter to the Community Forum an author expresses a belief that there is no data in the scientific literature supporting human impact on global warming. In a Jan. 16 letter, an author states just the opposite; that there are mountains of data indicating that we are the cause of climate change.

When I was a sophomore science major at the University of Maryland in 1965, my professor was teaching an astounding theory that the continents had drifted across the face of the Earth from the breakup of what at one time was a single continent (Gondwanaland of all things) to the continents in the locations we see today. Back then, the controversy was still hot for what was believed to be a theory with little data. By 1965, there were mountains of indirect data for Alfred Wegener’s 1912 theory, but skeptics still abounded.

Now we have Global Positioning Systems that can measure precisely the continental drift (about the rate at which your fingernails and hair grow).

In the 1950s and 1960s the data was indirect, hence the theory was hard to accept. It is not an insurmountable task to calculate the amount of carbon migrating to the atmosphere from all sources (natural and manmade) using the computing technology of the 21st century, but it is just as difficult to visualize the carbon buildup in the atmosphere as it is to visualize a moving continent.

Greg Rudigier, Leonardtown