Posts Tagged ‘greenhouse effect’

Make you Fink on Friday

We often ask ourselves, at least the those who think do, questions like, “Why are we here?” “What is our purpose?”

We come up with various answers, the most popular is to do God’s bidding, others say we are here to propagate and evolve.

I don’t believe in the first, but the second has a ring of truth, but then I don’t think that is the answer either.

If an earthworm asks the same questions, the answer is easier. “We are here to process compost into viable soil.”



Consider this: Earthworms are more than just fish bait. They are the main contributors to enriching and improving soil for plants, animals and even humans. Earthworms create tunnels in the soil by burrowing, which aerates the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to reach deep within the soil. Earthworms eat the soil which has organic matter such as decaying vegetation or leaves. Plants cannot use this organic matter directly.  After organic matter is digested, the earthworm releases waste from their bodies called castings. Castings contain many nutrients that the plant can use. Some people even use earthworm castings as garden fertilizer.UPenn

Maybe our purpose is inline with that of the earthworm, in that we are here to process aspects of nature into more useful aspects.

But somewhere along the line we lost the plot. We found God who gave us the right to rape the planet, which we continue to do with ever increasing efficiency.

The Earth formed ~4.5 billion years ago along with the rest of the solar system from the disk of rock and gas left over after the formation of our star. Image: Science World

Now, the Earth has existed for billions of years, and more trillions before that as pre-planetary matter. The more or less million years that man, in his various forms, has existed is totally inconsequential when compared to spacial time

Man moved from being a hunter-gatherer to being a farmer, hence from being a nomad to a being of fixed abode in the space of 10,000+/- years. The rate at which we have developed has increased on an exponential curve. We have gone from cheese and beer 7,500 years ago to hamburgers and Coca Cola today, we have gone from being lean mean hunting machines to fat lazy creatures who rely on technology.

Was this in Mother Nature’s design?

Who knows?

But what of the planet before we were here?

The planet underwent cycles, ice ages, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and interglacial periods.

We were not here, so our influence was not an issue.

But now the planet is undergoing changes and we are here. We have a collective guilty conscience. We believe that we are responsible for global warming, greenhouse gases and climate change.

But I challenge you. The changes that are occurring are all a part of the natural cycle, our influence may have exacerbated the changes to a greater or lesser degree than we imagine.

The above are thoughts that have been coursing through my grey matter for some time, yesterday I read an interesting post that confirms that I am more than just a pretty face…

The Cause Of Extreme Weather Events

By Richard Mills

“Over the last few months we have been witness to many extreme weather events – heat waves, Europe suffering from a severe cold snap, the worst in twenty five years, extreme flooding in Australia, Brazil and China, to drought in the U.S. Many say the cause is global warming, and lay the blame squarely on greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. Are we, and our activities at fault? What can we look forward to if/as the earth continues to warm?The Earth’s climate has been continuously changing throughout its history. From ice covering large amounts of the globe to interglacial periods where there was ice only at the poles – our climate and biosphere has been in flux for millennia.

Last Glacial Maximum:

This temporary reprieve from the ice we are now experiencing is called an interglacial period – the respite from the cold locker began 18,000 years ago as the earth started heating up and warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age. Approximately every 100,000 years or so our climate warms up temporarily. These interglacial periods usually last somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 years before another ice age starts. Presently we’re at year 18,000 of the current warm spell.

Serbian astrophysicist Milutin Milankovitch is best known for developing one of the most significant theories relating to Earths motions and long term climate change. Milankovitch developed a mathematical theory of climate change based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations in the solar radiation received by the Earth from our Sun – it was the first truly plausible theory for how minor shifts of sunlight could make the entire planet’s temperature swing back and forth from cold to warm.

Milankovitch’s Theory states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun, cyclical variations in three elements of Earth/sun/geometry combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that reaches us. These three elements are:

* Variations in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity – the shape of the orbit around the sun, a 100,000 year cycle
* Changes in obliquity or tilt of the earth’s axis – changes in the angle that Earth’s axis makes with the plane of Earth’s orbit, a 41,000 year cycle
* Precession – the change in the direction of the Earth’s axis of rotation, a 19,000 to 23,000 year cycle

These orbital processes are thought to be the most significant drivers of ice ages and, when combined, are known as Milankovitch Cycles.

Other Climate Change Drivers:

* Changes occurring within the sun affects the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface. These changes in intensity can cause either warming – stronger solar intensity – or cooling when solar intensity is weaker.
* Volcanoes often affect our climate by emitting aerosols and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Aerosols block sunlight and contribute to short term cooling, but do not stay in the atmosphere long enough to produce long term change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) has a warming effect. For about two-thirds of the last 400 million years, geologic evidence suggests CO2 levels and temperatures were considerably higher than present. Each year 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 enters the earth’s atmosphere – six billion tons are from human activity, approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants

These climate change “drivers” often trigger additional changes or “feedbacks” within the climate system that can amplify or dampen the climate’s initial response to them:

* The heating or cooling of the Earth’s surface can cause changes in greenhouse gas concentrations – when global temperatures become warmer, CO2 is released from the oceans and when temperatures become cooler, CO2 enters the ocean and contributes to additional cooling. During at least the last 650,000 years, CO2 levels have tracked the glacial cycles – during warm interglacial periods, CO2 levels have been high and during cool glacial periods, CO2 levels have been low

* The heating or cooling of the Earth’s surface can cause changes in ocean currents. Ocean currents play a significant role in distributing heat around the Earth so changes in these currents can bring about significant changes in climate from region to region

In 1985 the Russian Vostok Antarctic drill team pulled up cores of ice that stretched through a complete glacial cycle. During the cold period of the cycle CO2 levels were much lower than during the warm periods before and after. When plotted on a chart the curves of CO2 levels and temperature tracked one another very closely – methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, showed a similar rise and fall to that of CO2.

Temperature Anomaly: Small rises or falls in temperature – more, or less sunlight – seemed to cause a rise, or fall, in gas levels. Changing atmospheric CO2 and methane levels physically linked the Northern and Southern hemispheres, warming or cooling the planet as a whole. In the 1980s the consensus was that Milankovitch’s Cycles would bring a steady cooling over the next few thousand years. As studies of past ice ages continued and climate models were improved worries about a near term re-entry into the cold locker died away – the models now said the next ice age would not come within the next ten thousand years.

Effect: It’s obvious that the orbital changes, as explained by Milankovitch’s Theory, initiate a powerful feedback loop. The close of a glacial era comes when a shift in sunlight causes a slight rise in temperature – this raises gas levels over the next few hundred years and the resultant greenhouse effect drives the planet’s temperature higher, which drives a further rise in the gas and water vapor levels and so on. The earth will continue to warm, polar ice caps will melt, so will the Greenland ice sheet and most glaciers. More sunlight will be absorbed by the Earth’s oceans, causing increased evaporation. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas and amplifies twofold the effects of other greenhouse gases. With Earth’s ice gone there will be significantly less sunlight reflected back into space, vast expanses of Arctic tundra will thaw releasing unbelievable amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent then CO2.New weather patterns next century: By the end of this century scientists expect our weather to have changed substantially. Because of increased average global temperatures the tropical rain belt will have widened considerably and the subtropical dry zones will have pushed pole-ward, crawling deep into regions such as the American Southwest and southern Australia, which will be increasingly susceptible to prolonged and intense droughts. The polar jet stream has already been altered, wide swinging north-south deviations (meanders) have become the norm – deviating far from its normal path and meandering north into Canada, the jet stream brings warm air while dipping far south over Europe, the polar jet stream brings record cold and snow. Ocean currents will be altered, further impacting our climate, and sea levels will rise. Freshwater aquifers will suffer from saltwater intrusion, once habitable zones will become uninhabitable. As the meanders meander extreme weather follows.

Conclusion: According to science the world is going to continue to get warmer, cyclical variations in three elements of earth/sun/geometry combined to produce more sunlight reaching the earth. Increased sunlight caused a slight rise in temperature – greenhouse gas levels rose and the resultant greenhouse effect is driving the planet’s temperature higher, which drives a further rise in gas levels and so on.A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change will amplify extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and the highest wind speeds of tropical storms. Extreme weather events are going to happen with increasing frequency, the climate for the area you live in is going to change, regardless of what you/we do. We are all watching and experiencing the events and changes in real time.

We should be talking, we should be discussing how best to prepare ourselves, we should not be wasting resources fighting a battle – greenhouse gas reduction – we can’t win. Preparation for the changes we know are coming should be on all our radar screens. Is preparation on your radar screen? If not, maybe they should be.”

Now, if you got this far, congratulations on your perseverance if you did; you’ll see that my hypothesis is not that far from reality.
The planet, and thereby us, are in the latter part of an interglacial period. It is not surprising, therefore, that we should experience/or begin to experience some changes as we head into the next glacial period, or ice age.
In this respect, we are running around the farmyard like the proverbial chicken sans head trying to plug up the holes we have created. Whereas, we should be concentrating on how were are going to adapt to the new era.
This is inadequate for survival

This is inadequate for survival

Think about this…

Every dwelling, house, apartment building, skyscraper on this planet is totally inadequate for us to survive an ice age and the coming climatic changes.

So sorry, but that includes your place.

The last ice age saw the extinction of the woolly mammoth, you know, the ones we are finding buried in the permafrost of Siberia today.
Will some future ‘human’ species be finding us under the permafrost in a few thousand years?
Have we got our priorities in the right order?
It seems as though it doesn’t matter one iota if you are a global warming or global warming hoax pundit. Man cannot see further than the next dollar!
Are we doomed to become known as the intelligent species who couldn’t save themselves?
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