According to a NASA official, researchers have calculated that 2005 produced the highest annual average surface temperature worldwide since they began keeping records in the late 1800s. Now this may be due to normal flucuations, global warming or, perhaps, so many baby boomer women reaching menopause. Whatever you think, the Chinese have found an innovative way of checking the recent temperature increases.

Researchers, writing in this month’s edition of Geophysical Research Letters, found that the amount of solar radiation measured at more than 500 stations in China fell from 1954 to 2001 despite a decrease in cloud cover. Usually more sunny days means an increase in temperature. But the amount of pollution over Chinese skies has deflected and absorbed some of the sun’s rays and the temperatures in China have actually declined.

Recent administration backed legislation in Congress supports a new “Clear Skies Act.” Environmentalists are up in arms about the new act because they feel it is a sweetheart deal for industry polluters, weakening and eliminating numerous sections of the Clean Air Act. However, and I am saying this tongue-in-cheek, the new standards are a logical response to the cutting edge technology that the Chinese are using to combat global warming.

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