Monday, 11 February 2013

Changing Climate, Changing History, Changing Myths

If you read the publications of the neo-evironmentalists on the subject of climate change, you get the impression that there is only one cause for it: carbon dioxide content in the earth's atmosphere. If you examine the issue, the cause for climate change is far more complex than just carbon dioxide, which is just one of many of the atmospheric greenhouse gases. In fact, you find that greenhouse gases are a rather minor factor when examining the overall issue.
The Ice Age and the Astronomical Factors Affecting Climate

Depending upon the reader's disposition, the following may be found depressing or humbling; regardless, it is the truth.

The earth goes through long-term regular cycles: orbit eccentricities (every 95,000 to 100,000 years); axial tilt from 22.1° to 24.5° every 41,000 years; and axial wobble every 26,000 years. Each one of these factors and/or combinations depending upon where these cycles intersect, affect earth's climate via its exposure to solar radiation. Considering the long periods of glaciation during this 2.5 million year Ice Age we are now living in, it would appear such long-range cycles could explain as to why there are periods of glaciation lasting 100,000 year or more. As for there being a scientific working theory using these parameters to predict the next cycle of glaciation, it does not yet exist. Science is far from being perfect, but at least it has given us an explanation via inference.

Within this same category of astronomical factors, we should also include earth's magnetic field which varies in strength over time, and occasionally there occurs a magnetic reversal of the poles. Science has not yet been able to even identify the lengths of these cycles yet, providing there is a regularity in them. However, a strong magnetic field repels solar radiation, and thus, this factor would obviously affect climate.

Of course, even another factor are the cycles that our Sun goes through giving off solar radiation. We know of some of the smaller cycles, e.g., the 11 and 22 year cycles identified by sun spots or their absence, but we do not know well the larger cycles. Obviously the very source all solar radiation impacts the climate of the earth.

What we do know through studying our geological history is that when periods of glaciation come, they come swiftly relative to the geological time-frame, that is, within decades as compared to millenniums. Also, when those rare Interglacial periods come, like the one we are living in now, they too come very quickly. This current Interglacial period we are now living within, has been going on for about 12,000 years but arose suddenly, ending a 100,000 year period of glaciation.

Those Factors Affecting Climate within an Interglacial Period

There are constant cooling and warming periods within an Interglacial period, called stadials and interstadials, respectively. These do not come suddenly but rather gradually. We are now within an interstadial (warming period), after coming out of a stadial (cooling period). This warming trend started around AD 1850. We really do not know why we are now warming, just like we do not know why there were all those other warming periods previous to this one in our Interglacial period. We also do not know why there were periods of cooling either. We can only produce theories. Even with all my scouring through the Internet resources, I have yet to come across one viable theory. Of course, the neo-environmentalists have their theory insisting that we are now warming because of our putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through our Industrial Age activities. Most of these neo-environmentalists avoid the subject of warming and cooling periods existing within this Interglacial period. Unfortunately, given that they can not address all the previous warming periods since mankind was not involved in any industrial activities then, their theory is hardly a viable one.

There are some geo-physical factors that we can identify as possibly having an impact upon earth's climate within an Interglacial period: ocean currents changing, volcanic eruptions, the amount of solar radiation earth receives, shifts in tectonic plates as evidenced by earthquakes, etc. Who knows, but perhaps the astronomical factors listed previously are still having a significant impact - after all, why would they stop having any impact?

The optimum level reached within our current Interglacial period was about 8,000 years ago. Since then, the earth has been gradually cooling. That is, the warming periods are not as warm as they were, and the cooling periods are gradually getting cooler and cooler.


Oh, how foolish of me. I forgot to mention greenhouse gases as being a factor in affecting climate within an Interglacial period. Let us examine greenhouse gases next.

Greenhouse Gases

A greenhouse gas is a gas in the earth's atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation. In other words, it reflects heat back to the earth causing a warming effect. Without greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the earth would be devoid of heat and would be a virtual snowball. The primary greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. But the principal one with the most effect is water vapour - and this is one that few neo-environmentals mention. All of these gases are natural. They are not pollution.

The main concern behind the global warming hysteria has been the impact of man through the Industrial Revolution, starting circa AD 1750, in producing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and throwing this into the air. Since carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for great lengths of time, the scenario proposed is that man producing this atmospheric carbon component is warming up the earth. The end result will be devastation as the earth warms and the ice sheets in the Antarctic and Greenland melt, causing the sea level to rise and thus flooding and destroying countless coastal towns and cities, not to mention extinguishing polar bears and penguins.

From my perspective, the earth is going into one of its warming period as it has for the last 12,000 years, and has done so many times. So global warming is not the issue, for this is a truth. What my contention entails is that some quarters have caused almost an hysteria (a chicken little syndrome) by insisting that mankind is mainly behind this warming through the pollution he has produced through the industrial process. I believe that IF man is contributing to this global warming, then it is ever so slight, and thus, it is not worth the hysteria and is no cause for concern at all. In actual fact, nothing is a cause for concern and not even the inevitable glaciation period that is coming because there is nothing we can do about it, and so, why be concerned?

Man's annual industrial contribution to the carbon content of the atmosphere is in the order of 3.22% and this statistic is from the neo-environmentalists themselves. Carbon dioxide is just one of the several greenhouse gases, and water vapour is the principal one that composes 90% of the greenhouse gases. Such a small contribution to just one of the greenhouse gases, and in consideration that the greenhouse gas factor is just one of many factors affecting climate, man's contribution to global warming is rather negligible. Man's contribution to global warming is far less than what his own ego would prefer, in other words.

If just one of these neo-environmentalists can come up a reason as to what caused all the other warming periods in this Holocene Interglacial period, they would have my attention. But they can not do so because most refuse even to admit that other warming periods occurred and thus they deny historical facts. What they do instead, is use the "Mini Ice Age" (AD 1350-1850) cooling period as the temperature norm as a baseline and then skewer the statistics upon that basis.

The neo-environmentalists pursue poor science. They do not address the historical data for what it does reveal in that if one is looking for cause and effect from data collected for past periods, carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere rises long AFTER temperature rises. It has yet to scientifically determined the true cause and effect relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.

The Media is a Two-Edged Sword and Myths Are Far More Powerful

The media is driven by trying to get the reader's attention. Thus, when it can get a headline like, Scientists Say Polar Bears to Be Extinct by 2050, they love it. However, the media can also produce headlines like this and love it just the same, Doomsayers Are Speechless - Polar Bear Populations Increasing Worldwide. No, these are not actual headlines, but the equivalent headlines have been produced by the media over the last few years. The point is, the media can not be trusted as it is used by different lobby groups for propaganda purposes. What I find ironic, is that the exact same graphic directly below has been used by both sides of the issue.

I am surprised that ad companies have not used images like this one above to promote certain products. For instance, think of the impact of an ad campaign with the following caption for the picture above: I gave up my SUV and now drive a Smart Car to save this polar bear. After all, ad campaigns are really just propaganda.

Are polar bears being driven to extinction because of this current warming of the climate? Well, let us say this much: polar bears survived the earlier warming periods of this present Interglacial period, and the majority of these periods were warmer than this present time, and so they will probably survive this one too. If polar bears were able to survive the last glaciation period which lasted 100,000 years, they can pretty much survive anything. Although, the one thing they could not probably survive is if a wealthy segment segment of our society highly valued polar bear skins.

The contention that human industrial activity is the prime cause behind our current warming trend is turning into a myth. Myths are powerful because they are simply accepted as truth by most people without very many looking into the issues. Myths become part of our culture and are passed down from generation to generation. Even within my own life time, one such myth exists, and was created by the media and persists even today after three generations.

I am referring to the Lemming Mass Suicide myth. The term "lemming" in the English language is used to describe a person who is a blind follower, who does what he/she is told. It is based upon the false information that the Lemming, an Arctic rodent, explodes in population periodically and drives itself to rapidly migrate en masse, even to the extent of throwing itself off cliffs into the northern seas and drowning.

This myth, which is an integral part of our North American culture, came about from a Disney wildlife documentary, released in 1958 - White Wilderness. Within this documentary, you can see masses of these Lemmings falling off a cliff into the sea. It was all staged. This documentary was shot in Alberta, Canada. The producers had a couple of dozen Lemmings shipped in from Hudson Bay, and cleverly filmed a combination of scenes showing these Lemmings falling off a high cliff into the water. Of course, all of the Lemmings in this documentary died for they drown easily. They were manipulated by the film crew to fall off the cliff. This is the truth behind the myth of the Lemmings. By they way, this Disney documentary won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 1958.

I would classify the man-made global warming myth to be on par with the Lemming myth. The bigger the lie, the more likely it will become a powerful myth. Studying history is one solution to countering the man-made global warming myth.


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