American Elephants


Klimamysteriet : The Cloud Mystery by The Elephant's Child

When the word ecosystem is mentioned, we are apt to think of the land on our side of the hill and the stream, if any, than runs down toward the river — that sort of thing. But in another way of looking at it we can think of the planet earth as our ecosystem. Now Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark has shown that our ecosystem extends to the galaxy, for what happens in our galaxy influences what happens here on earth.

In 1996, Henrik Svensmark hypothesized a radical theory that the sun — rather than trace amounts of CO² — was the primary driver of our climate.  Met by cries of “How interesting”, “let us publish your paper.” Not exactly. This fascinating video tells the story of Svensmark’s work, and the struggle to simply get his work published so other scientists can try to reproduce his conclusions. Insults. Outrage. How dare you offer something that is contrary to accepted science, it’s absurd. This is not only a story of a struggle, it explains how science is done, the quest for funding, figuring out how to do the necessary experiments, show proof, convince others. It’s a long video, so plan time to watch for it is very worth your time.

This article from Anthony Watts from April 2012, explains the publication and what it means:

In Svensmark’s new paper an equally concise theory, that cosmic rays from exploded stars cool the world by increasing the cloud cover, leads to amazing explanations, not least for why evolution sometimes was rampant and sometimes faltered. In both senses of the word, this is a stellar revision of the story of life.

Here are the main results:

  • The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea-level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.
  • The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea – the net growth of photosynthetic microbes – depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.
  • Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea-level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained..
  • As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times.

An amusing point is that Svensmark stands the currently popular carbon dioxide story on its head. Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around.

Well so much for CO² and the tailpipes of your SUV. It may take a long time, years, decades, but in the end the story will come out right. This one has. Anthony reminds us of this lovely quotation:

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. – Carl Sagan

 



The National Geographic Gets Political by The Elephant's Child
September 12, 2013, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, National Security | Tags: , ,

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National Geographic has enjoyed a reputation as a scientific and educational organization for 125 years. People save stacks of old Geographics for years, and feel a sense of loss when they finally have to clean them out of the attic. It has been a trusted journal. Has been.

Their judgment on the cover of their September issue, raises some real questions. The editors have obviously bought into climate change propaganda, and they are trying to use scare tactics to gin up support. Alarm about global warming has always been a politically-driven agenda that exists only in computer models, but cannot be confirmed by observation in the real world. Mr. Obama seems to be a believer, and his appointments to the EPA, Interior and the Department of Energy confirm that; and of course we have his promise to halt the rise of the oceans.

For the majority of Americans, climate change is not a priority, and comes in at the bottom of 21 issues according to Pew Research. Australia just dumped its Labour government and the hated carbon tax by electing Tony Abbott as their new Prime Minister.  Europe went for policies aimed at curbing “greenhouse gas emissions” in a big way, but the price of carbon on Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme has collapsed. Governments across Europe are moving away from alternative energy.

Great Britain is struggling to keep the lights on, since EU regulations are forcing closure of their coal-fired power plants, which last year provided 39% of the country’s electricity. Winters are getting colder, and obeying EU environmental laws will mean their reserve electric power capacity will be cut in half, as prices of electricity climb. National Geographic says “the main reason for the possible crunch” is “closing a number of aging coal-fired plants — as well as some oil and nuclear plants — to meet European Union environmental laws.”

National Geographic readers should be outraged at the cover. The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall, the base is 154 feet and the statue 151 feet. With the water up to her waist, you can assume a rising sea level of at least 200 feet, which is more than absurd. Over the entire last century, the climate warmed fractionally more than one degree, and it hasn’t warmed at all for 16 years. The rise of the oceans can be measured in centimeters, not feet.

The damage from Superstorm Sandy has nothing to do with “global warming,” and everything to do with the particular conformation of the land and the ocean floor. This was supposed to be a record-breaking storm season (didn’t happen), horrible hurricane season (still waiting), with record breaking heat ( lower than average).

Global Warming early on became a religious issue for many environmentalists. For those who are dreaming of Utopia, saving the world from the horrors of carbon can be emotionally appealing. Trouble is carbon is one of the building blocks of life, and should we do away with carbon, we would do away with life. The amount of CO² in the atmosphere continues to rise and green the planet as it is intended to do, yet the climate is cooling slightly. CO² has been much higher in the past, with only beneficial effect.

A greener planet will benefit the earth and its people. Don’t worry, be happy.




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