Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ominous warnings

“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth…Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” ---Newsweek article from 1975

So what ominous signs were they warning us of then?
A global ice age...

And the remedy? “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”

So when they found a slight cooling trend of approximately .5 degrees over 30 years concerned scientists sounded the alarm bells and recommended all sorts of policy changes to those dim-witted political leaders including melting the ice caps...

The truth is that we do not know enough about how global temperatures change over time and we do not understand how all of the variables individually contribute to measurable warming and/or cooling. Is it astrophysical phenomenon, solar flares, the earth's wobble on it's axis, or other variables.

One more thought...I live in a temperate zone of the northern hemisphere--temperatures vary drastically within one day. In fact this morning it was in the upper 30's and tomorrow it is expected to approach 70 degrees. That's a 40 degree swing in about 48 hours. I know-I know weather and climate are two different things, but it begs the question---how can temperatures in almost every climate vary drastically from day to night, every day...but a virtually undetectable raise of less than one degree of global mean temperatures over the course of 100 years is enough to send us past the tipping point?


Anonymous JW said...

Well it's certainly not solar flares. It may be that the sun is hotter, but solar flares don't translate heat through space, only electrons.
Is it your contention that we should do nothing?

11:25 PM  
Blogger djobe said...

I should not have said "flares" a better word would have been "activity" or "variations" and no you cannot simply dimiss it. Even the IPCC recognize it as a contributing factor.

Researchers have correlated solar variation with changes in the Earth's average temperature and climate - sometimes finding an effect, and sometimes not. The IPCC TAR view is that forcing from solar variations is considerably smaller than forcing from greenhouse gases. Measured as a difference from 1750, GHG forcing is estimated as 1.4 W/m2 compared to 0.3 W/m2 from solar [14]. For a discussion of attribution of causes of current global warming see: Attribution of recent climate change. Some researchers have found a greater effect; Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas or Douglass and Clader, Geophysical Research Letters, 2002 are typical of these strands.

When effects are found they have tended to be greater than can be explained by direct response to the change in radiative forcing from solar change, so feedback or amplification mechanisms are required [15].

There is currently no clear agreement as to the likely magnitude of long-term (last hundred or more years) solar variation. The IPCC discuss this in section 6.11 of the TAR [16] and show various results including Lean et al. (1995) [17].

8:23 AM  
Blogger djobe said...

And yes, I would recommend doing nothing, which is a misnomer--because even when doing nothing--the market is continuing to find a suitable alternative.

Did the US government force VW to create a Jetta that would burn Bio-Diesel blend so that you could boycott the convenient store by hy-vee? No. They started building TDI engines because there is a market for them in the US.

Did Toyota build the Prius because the US Senate forced them to with a new Bill? NO! They build them because they perceive that there is a market for hybrid vehicles...

8:28 AM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

And it is arguable (and more likely every day) that all of it is too late.

It's amazing that so few people are willing to admit how negative it is, to Earth and mankind, to have such an imbalance between emissions and absorption of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The net result is entirely impactful on the environment, and it remains our responsibility to clean up the mess, because we made it.

Where is the argument? Are we waiting for MORE evidence? Aren't we sort of like a bunch of morons looking up at black clouds, saying there's no proof it's going to rain?

It's amazing to me that, generally speaking, those who DISbelieve the theory of global warming are the same who believe that soon there will be a "second coming," so none of it will matter.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

PS - bottom line: why is it wiser to question the possibility of global warming, than it is to quickly move to reduce it? A simple question, which cuts through all the "intellectual" argument.

Is money worth anything if the earth is like Mars?

When it looks like rain, we park the car in the garage. Why is the environment so different? Considering world-wide economy of scale, is it REALLY too costly to be better safe than sorry?

My grandfather used to say "by the time you're finished thinking about it, you could have done it." I think he was right.

10:14 PM  
Blogger djobe said...

Thanks for your comment, Dave.

I think Coolidge said, "If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you."

9:22 AM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

HAHA! I love quotes like that, I'm saving it. Thanks D. Have a great weekend!

10:17 AM  

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