Archive for category Climate change
Let me suggest that it was no coincidence that right after Christmas 2018 an urgent meeting of geophysicists gathered to update the World Magnetic Model. As you no doubt know, the magnetic North Pole is not located at the same place as the geographic North Pole, or true north, so navigation systems need to know exactly how far apart the two points are. As it turns out, the magnetic North Pole had moved further away from where we thought it was and that is no small matter for navigators and so the urgent meeting was called in January 2019 to correct our calculation model. They expected to get five years life from the 2015 magnetic model but it was realised that the north polar region was experiencing an unpredicted erratic change and the revised model was launched under urgency in 2019.
The unpredictable wandering of the North Pole has occupied the imaginations of scientists and explorers ever since it was first accurately located in 1831 by James Clark Ross in the Canadian Arctic. But in the mid-1990s it’s speed accelerated from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it was in the Arctic Ocean. It is currently on track for Siberia. Likewise in our part of the planet the magnetic south pole has now moved off the coast of Antarctica and is now even outside the Antarctic circle.
The iron core in the centre of the earth generates our planet’s magnetic field; if the inner earth motion changes, it affects the direction of the magnetic field. In 2016, Satellites tracked an acceleration of the magnetic field beneath South America and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Scientists are trying to understand just what is going on deep inside our planet and what affect various scenarios might have on earth’s magnetic field. It may be a result of geomagnetic pulses, like the one that happened in 2016, or it might be a result of hydromagnetic waves deep within earth’s core.
But what scientists can tell us, from study of magnetic minerals in the ice core, is that it is all quite natural. Over the eons the poles have completely reversed on average every 2-300,000 years; the last reversal was nearly 800,000 years ago so they are saying we are actually well overdue for another switch. They also calculate that the process of reversal took over 20,000 years to complete so we do get time to change the order of the N-E-W-S letters on our compasses.
But here is a thought. The earth’s magnetic field is one of the two powerful forces in our atmosphere, the other being gravity. In theory gravity is over 100 times stronger than magnetism but, for my money, if you pick a nail up from the floor using a magnet and it stays stuck to the magnet you would have to think that magnetism has won that arm wrestle. That’s all by the by; the main job of the magnetic field is to shield our planet from excessive galactic cosmic rays. So the real question is, could a shifting magnetic field have an effect on climate and weather patterns? Heatwaves, winds, storms, deluges, tidal surges, arctic ice-shelf calving; that sort of thing? It’s worth thinking about. Certainly there are some Danish scientists giving it very serious thought. Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, professor in the Division of Solar System Physics at the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, has been researching the link between galactic cosmic rays and earth warming for decades. In 1997 his study was published with the conclusion that: During the last solar cycle, Earth’s cloud cover underwent a modulation more closely in phase with the galactic cosmic ray flux than with other solar activity parameters. Further it is found that Earth’s temperature follows more closely variations in galactic cosmic ray flux and solar cycle length, than other solar activity parameters. The main conclusion is that the average state of the heliosphere affects Earth’s climate. More recently this claim has been supported by two Danish geophysicists, Mads Faurschou Knudsen and Peter Riisager using data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman to compare our magnetic field with that of 5,000 years ago. The results of the study have been peer reviewed and published in the U.S. scientific journal ‘Geology’.
Anyway, the increasingly unpredictable shift of the North Pole is a geological fact that nobody can deny and so there will have to be far more regular meetings of the people who are required to keep our navigational systems in working order. They will, of course, have to meet pre-Christmas just so Santa can set the auto pilot control and get home quickly after a busy night. As it happens the ‘human-caused’ climate change zealots also favour pre-Christmas conferences, so maybe the geomagnetic mob can make a big annual conference-style event of this and the two groups can join forces. The additional numbers might increase the incentives that big cities are prepared to offer to get an economic injection of 30,000 people, all on expense accounts, turning up a few weeks before Christmas.
Maybe they will argue over bragging rights as to whether man’s industrialisation or earth’s magnetic field is having the greatest impact on the climate or maybe they will collaborate and decide that man is somehow affecting the earth’s inner iron core by mining coal and drilling for oil. Who knows? Not me, I am not a scientist I am just a Joe Blogger and I am hoping Santa will bring me an Akubra and a pair of Redbands. Adapting to the natural ebb and flow of the climate environment has been the sapiens mantra for 200,000 years and so I will be tending my carrots and lettuces while the Court of Canute is ordaining Greta Thunberg, their reincarnated Joan of Arc, to lead us against the forces of nature.
Is the average temperature on earth higher today than it was a century ago when industrialisation expanded throughout the globe to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population? It is actually not as easy as you might expect to find the answer amongst the plethora of press releases from the climate alarmists. From all the micro data that the climate alarmists are extracting, analysing and dispensing, why is it so hard to find a simple list of actual seasonal temperature recordings over the last one hundred year period in any given location? Instead we get charts of variations of temperature from the norm (although rationalising what ‘the norm’ is and when the norm supposedly happened seems to be just ignored). They provide charts of ‘moving averages over years’ with the years selected to ‘prove’ a trend entirely at the writer’s discretion. And while the internet is absolutely overwhelmed with alarmist headlines, basic, actual temperature data over 100 years, separated by season is very, very hard to find. But I eventually did find one. It was from Britain. Have a look at these actual seasonal temperatures over the last hundred years in the country that birthed and led the coal-powered industrial revolution and tell me where you see any temperature trends that would alarm you.
So as a brief scan, in Central England in 1912, the year the Titanic sank and the coal miners went on strike, the average winter temperature was 5.36, spring 8.53, summer 17.55 and autumn 10.39.
At the start of the ‘Boomer’ generation in 1948, winter was 5.13, spring 8.75, summer 17.50 and autumn 11.15.
In swinging 1965, the year Gen. X was born, winter was 3.28, spring 8.43, summer 15.71 and autumn 10.40
In 1981 the year the ‘Millennials’ arrived on earth, winter was 4.33, spring 9.17, summer 15.06 and autumn 10.12
And at the dawn of the 21st century winter was 5.35, spring 9.49, summer 16.45 and autumn 11.57.
I could take three summers spread over this period of 2000, 1948 and 1912, draw a connecting line and claim that the climate has since cooled by 1 degree over the century. I would not do that of course, three points over a 90 year span does not make a valid data base. Yet the alarmists fill the media and internet with no more than micro data snippets to make their claims. So just look over the above 100 year chart as a total group or a random handful and just ask yourself, do these temperatures alarm me?
According to the best astrophysics information we have, our temperatures are, unsurprisingly, linked with the natural orbit of the earth around the sun, which is a changing environment and by no means a perfect circle as we might have assumed. Milutin Milankovic, a contemporary of other mathematics and physics geniuses Einstein, Minkowski and Tesla, demonstrated the way our solar system works.
In brief, Milankovic identified that there are three cycles contained in the way earth orbits the sun: elliptic, tilt and precession. The elliptical plane changes shape quite dramatically every 100,000 years. It moves from an orbit of being more round to being more elliptical. In its more elliptical phase earth spends a longer time further away from the sun. Unsurprisingly the cycles of glaciation of the planet also have a 100,000 year cycle, or at least have done so over the past 600,000 years that Milankovic was able to include in his calculations.
Milankovic’s calculations connecting solar radiation levels with glaciation, even in temperate climate zones, remain valid today having been constantly reviewed with all the computing support to which modern astrophysicists have access. According to NASA’s earth observatory, Earth’s orbit changes its eccentricity over the course of 100,000 years from nearly 0 to 0.07 and back again.
When the Earth’s orbit has a higher eccentricity, the planet’s surface receives 20 to 30 percent more solar radiation when it’s closest to the sun than when it is furthest. During a glacial period the planet cools as the earth spends less time closer to the sun and more time further away from it; so the air dries out and water levels fall as liquid is transformed to ice. Land bridges start to become available and islands appear where before they were part of the sea bed.If the cycle repeats the pattern of the the past 600,000 years then we are now at the peak of the warming cycle and will, over the next few thousand years begin the cooling slide back to glaciation when in 90,000 years time, ice sheets will again cover North Europe and North America,
The second change is in the tilt of earth. This moves between 22.1 degrees and 24.5 degrees over a period of 41,000 years and this tilt effects the severity of the seasons. Earth is currently in the middle of this range.
The third cycle is the precession of Earth caused by a slight wobble similar to that of a spinning top. Currently Earth’s axis has been pointed north towards Polaris, also known as the North Star. But Earth’s gradual precessional wobble means that in approximately 2,000 years the north star will be a dimmer star called Errai. As the Earth progresses through its a precession cycle, the orientation of the planet is altered. This wobble also effects the level of solar radiation striking different hemispheres of earth as it proceeds around the 360 degrees.
When we just look back 400,000 years we have scientific consensus from both sides of the climate debate on the temperature cycles as per the chart above. What we don’t have consensus on is ‘where to from here?’ The alarmists, with no rational or mathematical base that I can see, that the temperature heads rapidly due north towards a hell on earth scenario. They state that the planet suddenly u-turned just 100 or so years ago when industrialisation, motorised transport, steam ships and smoke belching trains started to take hold around the globe. There is no explanation what caused the same cyclical patterns over history, well before our current industrialisation. Nor can they determine whether increasing solar warmth creates more natural CO2 in the atmosphere or the other way around. They simply do not have the scientific data to make that decision.
They do know, of course that even today, with a population passing 7.5 billion compared to 2.5 billion in 1950, human- generated C02 represents only 3% of total C02 which was confirmed in this EPA document (click to enlarge).
As a brief history of our climate in this current ‘inter glacial’ period, when the last glacial episode officially ended Canada was still under 2+ kilometres of ice and it was possible to walk across the Bering straight from Eastern Europe to North America. Aborigines could also island hop from South East Asia to Australia as could the Celts cross from Europe to Britain. Our planet had been in that ice age for the previous 100,000 years. Over the first 6,000 years of this inter-glacial phase the ice mountains melted and the oceans rose dramatically, submerging islands and causeways and possibly even a small continent if the legend of Atlantis has any basis in fact. The sea height has levelled out since then.
Basing projections on historical patterns, which are linked to the orbit of the earth around the sun, we are in fact right now coming towards the end of a cosmic Indian Summer and we will gradually move back towards a much cooler planet and in about 90,000 years we will again have Canada, Northern Asia and Europe all underneath kilometres of ice sheet.
The reason for the heightened anxiety of the alarmists is that today our scientists are micromanaging data and constantly tweeting bite size doomsday headlines that simply are not supported by the bigger picture trends. The climate works in tens of thousands of years, not in months. The last time humans went through this climate cycle they were blissfully unaware of the fact that there even was a cycle; it was a pleasant and warm time and they probably just enjoyed it; a few hundred generations later the climate was comparatively much colder, but they did not know it was colder because they had no records to analyse; it just was what it was. Too much micro analysis of climate data on a month by month basis is just creating hyper anxiety and panic.
But ‘getting it wrong’ is not the reason I speak up against the climate alarmists. It is because they have the right problem for the wrong reason and that makes them counter productive to solving our environmental challenges. It is because, even as they march on their Friday strikes and fly around the globe in their thousands to attend conferences and draft resolutions, they are just plucking temperature levels and deadlines out of the air about when we may reach the point of no return which target seems to be a shifting landscape. In 2008 the tipping point was predicted to be 1 August 2016; in 2016, following the Paris Agreement which set 2 degrees as the tipping point, IIASA (science institute) policy brief said we had until to Dec 31 2020 to keep warming under 2 degrees; as that date approaches the 2019 climate summit in September says we can still get under the 2 degree tipping point within 12 years so that takes us out to 2031. Prince Charles is a little more optimistic and thinks we have until 2050. And now there is another big pre Christmas conference in Madrid, delegates from 200 countries, they apparently need to tidy up some details from the 2015 Paris Christmas party, oops I mean conference, and maybe review the next tipping point date.
Fossil fuel over-use is not a problem of climate, it is a problem of health. Instead of talking about the ‘invisible demon’ C02 and the inevitable ‘Mad Max’ scenario, all because of the industrial sins of our forefathers, we need to be talking about investing in better technology to reduce lung-damaging air pollution in our cities. We need new technology to prevent pollution of our farming soils and our waterways that poison our food and water sources. When we get rid of the climate doomsday message and focus on health solutions then we might start making some progress. Right now the climate alarmists are only creating a climate of doom and hopelessness. And that carries the risk of being a self-fulfilling prophesy.
1) Vostok ice core: a continuous isotope temperature record over the last climatic cycle (160,00 years): Jouzel, J., C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, C. Genthon, N.I. Barkov, V.M. Kotlyakov, and V.M. Petrov. 1987.
2) Extending the Vostok ice-core record of palaeoclimate to the penultimate glacial period.: Jouzel, J., N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, C. Genthon, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, J.R. Petit, D. Raynaud, G. Raisbeck, C. Ritz, T. Sowers, M. Stievenard, F. Yiou, and P. Yiou. 1993.
3) Climatic interpretation of the recently extended Vostok ice records.: Jouzel, J., C. Waelbroeck, B. Malaize, M. Bender, J.R. Petit, M. Stievenard, N.I. Barkov, J.M. Barnola, T. King, V.M. Kotlyakov, V. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, D. Raynaud, C. Ritz, and T. Sowers. 1996.
4) Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.: Petit, J.R., J. Jouzel, D. Raynaud, N.I. Barkov, J.-M. Barnola, I. Basile, M. Bender, J. Chappellaz, M. Davis, G. Delayque, M. Delmotte, V.M. Kotlyakov, M. Legrand, V.Y. Lipenkov, C. Lorius, L. Pepin, C. Ritz, E. Saltzman, and M. Stievenard. 1999.
Once again, following the “Peace in our time” success of Paris three years ago, “Climate Change” has been adopted as the theme for this year’s global bureaucratic Christmas party with Poland, of all places, the host.
Never mind the carbon footprint of the twenty thousand plus people who travelled from all over the globe to have a ‘conversation about climate change”. Never mind the irony that it was being held in the heartland of Europe’s largest coal-producing region. The important thing is who hosted the best party of the week?
Once again we are told that the high priests had a resoundingly successful conference as the chairman was able to announce at the Grand Galah dinner that sacrifices have been made and the gods of the climate have been appeased. A signed charter will save the planet from global warming. As if we had not heard that all before. Those who believe climate change is a process of nature, including the most powerful people in the most industrialised countries, just ignore them; the hand wringers say it is far too little, far too late, we are all going to fry.
Here’s an interesting climate change fact: The study of the chemical structure of polar ice cores, sea bed sediment and fossilised planet matter tells our scientists that C02 levels have absolutely zero correlation with temperature. I have no idea how the alarmists managed to convince everyone that our C02 levels are causing our climate change, but the climate scientists own published research tracking the earth’s climate over hundreds of millions of years show conclusively that C02 change has no connection with temperature change.
As you can see, (click image to enlarge) the earth itself, and life on it, have survived both temperature and C02 levels significantly higher than anything we are currently experiencing. The temperature has only been as low as it is now at the coldest point of three of the previous four ice ages.
C02 levels at the beginning of the chart (600+ million years ago) were seriously high. They dropped and bounced around for two hundred million years before coming right down and then again the levels bounced around quite a bit for another 360 million years before settling and stabilising over the last two million years to the level we hominids know as normal.
The temperature also bounces around an awful lot but if, as the high priests of climate change claim, the temperature changes are in sync with the dance moves of Carbon Dioxide, it is very hard to identify exactly what dance they are doing.
At the start of the chart the planet is in the depths of an ice age while the C02 levels are at extremely high levels. The correlation between the two is non-existent. And while there are two apparently matching spike and falls, on one of them it is the temperature that leads and the C02 that follows and on both occasions the movements are millions of years apart, not the 200 years that today’s ’cause/effect’ scientists are claiming.
But look at 440 million years ago and see the temperature plummet to ice age levels while C02 levels spike. Then 320 million years ago the reverse happens C02 levels fall dramatically while the temperature soars to the hottest levels in earth’s record. Exactly the opposite of what today’s hand-wringers claim is proven fact.
Again have a look at the above chart at the line of 200 million years ago. There you see a big spike in C02 levels having no effect on temperature. 146 million years ago we see the anomaly of a massive temperature drop at the same time as a massive increase in C02 levels. Then as the C02 levels drop dramatically over subsequent millennia, the temperature begins to rise even more dramatically, quite against the theory that there is a correlation between the two. Then around 50 million years ago, between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, we see one of the most dramatic global warming periods in earth’s history at a time when C02 levels were falling significantly.
So I am not a ‘climate change denier’. The point I raise from the above chart is not whether there is climate change, but in fact why would we ever think that climate change, the warming and cooling of the planet and the raising and lowering of C02 levels, are anything other than normal natural processes that have continued throughout the eons.
The issue for us is that our ancestor, homo erectus, evolved about 2 million years and our sapiens species is only 200,000 years young; so an ice age with low C02 levels is the only climatic condition our species has ever known. So let’s not be barraged into accepting a doomsday panic and giving the ‘end of the world is nigh’ high priests a blank chequebook to fund global conferences for their ‘conversations’. Let us only consider what impact the current climate observations and speculations might practically have on the lifestyle of our ice age species.
When I say climate change, what do you think that means? The scientists work, of course, off average mean temperatures when they get into this global warming issue. You might be surprised to know (I was) that the global mean temperature today is about 14-15 degrees celsius. That, for reference, is the average mean temperature of Wellington, New Zealand or Milan, Italy. When they talk about the global warming over the past 30-40 years, they are talking about a rise of 1 degree celsius. Back in the Miocene epoch at the last major global warming spike, the global mean temperature was another 4-5 degrees celsius higher than today, or an average of around 20 degrees C (or the current mean temperature of Brisbane Australia, but much cooler than Montego Bay, Jamaica which now averages 27 C).
And there is the misleading result of talking about ‘averages.’ A region that has a summer average of 40 degrees followed by an autumn average of 15 degrees, a winter average of minus 10 degrees and Spring of 15 degrees actually has an annual average of 15 degrees which sounds pleasant enough but in reality has 3 months of blistering heatwaves and 3 months of sub zero conditions which is a dreadful climate. And while our climate scientists at Paris and Poland go on about the C02 emissions creating a greenhouse effect which warms the planet, the reality is quite different. We have regions experiencing exceptionally hot summers at the same time as they are experiencing record breaking cold temperatures in winter across Europe, Asia and the USA. What we are experiencing is not a gradual warming from C02 gas in the atmosphere like we are living in a glasshouse, but in fact the weather become more extreme at both ends of the temperature gauge. And those extremes are not explained by C02.
In fact if we look at the period of the last 10,000 years we can see temperatures rise and fall quite notably even within the ice age condition, while C02 levels remain very stable throughout. So over this whole period, within the reasonably modern era of homo sapiens, temperatures rose and fell with no change in the C02 levels.
It just puts a little perspective into the debate and perspective is what the current climate hand-wringers seem to be ignoring. Man has been through these climate changes before with C02 having no part to play. Life goes on in those climates. Yes we would probably want to improve our air conditioning systems and some of us may end up with a beachfront property where once we had a main road between us and the sea, but we can adapt.
Having emerged from the forests 200,000 years ago, we have built our great cities and civilisations because of the ‘sapiens’ gene. We have done so through notable periods of climate change with ice caps expanding and retracting, sea levels rising and falling. We have had the imagination to adapt to our ever-changing conditions and challenges to improve our experience of life on earth.
We now need to focus our energies on more intelligent and imaginative use of resources, recycling and re-engineering to meet the climate challenges that nature and our own activities present us today. Yes we need less air polluting sources of power than fossil fuels and less ground polluting sources than nuclear power. Yes we need to regenerate forests and natural habitats. Yes we need to prepare for higher seas and more extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.
Let’s get on with it and stop wasting time with King Canute conferences that just clog up the process with hand-wringing, progress-stalling bureaucracy. And stop blaming humans as though we created carbon dioxide. For whatever caused the high levels of C02 in the atmosphere in the eons before 1800 ad, we are reasonably sure it wasn’t humans and engines. And the evidence is pretty convincing that there is no direct correlation between C02 levels and temperature.