Sunday, April 20, 2014


The sky is falling!   The sky is falling!
Chicken Little

If you only read one book on science this year it should be Field Notes from a Catastrophe – Man, Nature and Climate Change; written by Elizabeth Kolbert and published in 2006.    This book addresses the issue of climate change with startling examples that verify legitimate science predictions.  

For the decades after the industrial revolution the idea that mankind could be instrumental in changing the environment was never considered.

Because of concerns of some scientist a study was undertaken in 1979 by members of the National Academy of Science and NASA on the effect of increase carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere.   The findings were so startling that President Carter commissioned a special panel led by a distinguished meteorologist from MIT for further study.    In the three decades since the predictions of this panel have come to fruition, but at an accelerated rate.  

There have been hundreds of more peer reviewed studies since, all verifying the results: until at last we can make a definitive statement that the CO-2 in our atmosphere is increasing beyond the predictions of normal climate variation and that the results is an increase in global temperature – and the results are verifiable by visible and measurable observations. 

Starting in 1991 the earth temperatures have exceeded all temperatures recorded since instrumental temperature recording began.   The results are most startling in the Arctic where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

As CO-2 increases more of the suns energy is trapped in our atmosphere.   As glacier ice recedes solar energy is absorbed by the ocean causing water temperatures to rise, which results in more glacial recession…   As permafrost melts CO-2 trapped in the ice for millions of years is released into the atmosphere…  Add this to population increase and industrialization of third word countries and the outcome is bleak.  

Computer models of the earth’s climate suggest that a critical threshold is approaching.   Crossing over it will be easy, crossing back quite likely impossible.

Elizabeth Kolbert has just released a second book The Sixth Extinction; and I have my name on the reserve list at the local library for when it becomes available. 

Good science – good reading – a good book

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. On a planet dominated by ice over the last few million years & a race of beings that have only made their mark in the last 3 or 4 thousand years I'd think warm is better than cold.

    Then again when I see that this world was warmer (several times, the Roman warming & the Medieval warming for example) than now over the last 10,000 years I have to wonder what is going on.

    There was a time during this interglacial period that Greenland was green & the Romans grew wine grapes in Britain.

    Why is cold better than warm?

    1. Rob; it is the rate of warming over decades not centuries that is the concern. We are moving toward a runaway greenhouse effect that can not be corrected once it begins. Again - only decades away. There is scientific consensus and there is philosophical debate often using religious operates on hypothesis, inquiry and repeatable observations...I will go with the science.

  2. If you really want to speak authoritatively about climate, you cannot rely on anecdotal evidence. The European Medieval warm period from 800 to 1400 ad is a rhetorical myth used by climate change debunkers to ignore real evidence. Yes there was a warming of about 1 degree celsius during the period. This is what is cleared the sea ice in the North Atlantic and allowed the Vikings to colonize Iceland, but at the same time the tropical Pacific was much cooler than it is today. The real evidence suggests that the European climate during the medieval period was much like Europe at the early to mid 20th century. To be even more realistic, as Rob speaks about the Roman cultivation of grapes in Britain, this is more of a cultural detail. As wine becomes more popular in Britain today, there is more and more cultivation of grapes in Britain. Southern Britain enjoys the same climate and ocean current moderated weather as Bordeaux. It rains more there. If you want to know about grape cultivation and climate, ask me.
    Climate is not an anecdotal science. What happens anywhere is influenced by the entire planetary atmospheric machine. You in the USA had a pretty bizarre winter this year. I could go into the explanation of the polar vortex phenomena and how it is directly dependent on the geography of the North American continent, but it directly affect my winter here in Europe. While you were freezing, there was no snow here and it never really froze. There was one huge oceanic storm after another that affected the entire northern coast of France and England. These storms were generated by what I call the weather amplifier of North America...the cold generated the naissance of the storm in the Atlantic and the differential of the ocean temperature created one mini hurricane after another. You should read about the changes in the ocean currents bringing warmer water into the North Atlantic which are now taking place. There are many factors which prove the current period of climate change has very little relationship to the factors that caused the rhetorical Roman warming period and the medieval warming periods. Rob doesn't refer at all to the "mini ice age" in the 1600's which all but isolated Iceland. The real evidence shows that what we are experiencing is much more drastic and much more rapid than any change we have been able to discover in the geological and physical record found in glaciers and the ancient ice of the arctic. Inaccurate anecdotes based on myth and totally inaccurate numbers based on hear say are very dangerous because most people don't want to and don't have the time to think about this on a rational level. Most folks accept the simplest explanations the same way they accept religion. They just want to have something to believe in to ease their troubled minds.

  3. What I have objected to since Day 1 is the way the Loony Left have made climate change into a religion and vilify anyone who even asked a question about it. Their comments make it appear that they are far more interested in destroying anything bigger than they are than in saving the planet. Climate change is just an excuse to attack oil companies, mining companies agricultural companies, cattle etc.

  4. What I have objected to since Day 1 is the way the Crackpot Corporate Conservatives have made denying climate change into a religion and vilified anyone who tried to talk about it. Their comments make it appear that they are far more interested in destroying anything that threatens their profits and the status quo than in saving the planet. Denying climate change is just an excuse to continue supporting oil, mining and agri business companies, etc.
    I could not resist paraphrasing Mr. Blogfodders posting. Yes, it's the problem of closed minds, but whose minds are more tightly shut? You can't solve a problem if you refuse to admit it exists. You cannot talk about the problem if deny facts or refuse to engage in dialogue. I would say, so far in this debate, money appears to be talking much louder than facts.

  5. Let's look at the differences between the way your "Loony Left" and your "Krackpot Korporate Konservatives " operate. Let's look at how the Krackpot Korporate Konservatives attack something something as seemingly unthreatening as and potentially positive as privately controlled passive solar energy production. You might find this link to a recent article in the LA Times very enlightening:
    It really gives a lot of insight how the Koch Bros are sinking billions into killing the solar industry in America for their own personal immediate profits before they become an endangered specie.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."