THE MECHANICS OF EARTH’S CLIMATE ENVIRONS “The more you understand it, the more you realize you don’t have to answer the question of whether or not something is conscious in order to define consciousness”. But, he said, it’s important not to come up with a definition before we’ve understood all the elements that need to be encompassed in that definition, least we suffer what he calls “the heartbreak of premature definition,” an intellectual dysfunction he believes many of today’s consciousness scholars suffer from. “WEATHER, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle” — Ambrose Bierce Global climate(s) science continues to be held hostage by a debate between the scientific and special interest communities. Attempts by special interests groups have driven scientists to simplify an extremely complicated global weather system. To date, no entity has produced a simulation model that has been calibrated with any definitive precision to the degree of simulating an accurate projection, other than statistically based forecasts, for any single local point on Earth. Current forecasting has produced an attitude amongst non-scientists leadership causing the climatic debate to move away from credible scientific study to a “culture” that has changed the non-scientific answer to: “do you believe or not believe that “global warming” is happening?” Without any qualitative assessments! Universities appear to teach science that fits the world that we have created, which is not the Natural world. In fact the “environmental movement” has shaped academia’s curriculum in the natural sciences. Very few institutions, if any, teach science from the view point of “why” or “how”. Few teach the analysis of ALL data that’s possible to observe to arrive at a conclusion. The very opposite appears to be true. “We know the answer so let’s design our observations to collect data to verify our fore gone conclusions. Emphasis is placed upon the effect and not the cause. The following are some examples. DUST: There is always a thin layer of dust circling the Earth in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Beautifully colored sunsets are clues, especially after a volcanic eruption. Thousands of tons of dust are blown off Earth’s deserts each year. Dust is one of the regulators of Earth’s temperatures. Water vapors, which cannot occur in the atmosphere without dust particles, are the main players in climate control. In fact every drop of precipitation, rain, snow or ice, must have a speck of dust around which to form. Water vapor that forms clouds must have particles to form. Without dust the humidity below 300% will not condense. Above 300% humidity water will condense on objects including humans. Let’s look at the record storms of 2011 that occurred in the south and Midwest of the USA. The thousands of wild fires burning in the southwestern part of the USA produced many tons of dust into the atmosphere. This dust contributed to the volatility of these storms. No weather model was used in forecasting nor did the meteorologists presenting these forecasts mention, in their interpretations of conditions the possible quantitative impact, that dust, as an input, from these wild fires had any effect upon what was happening weather wise. Without dust from the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic hurricane season would not exist. The Caribbean Islands would consist of grey rock without dust from the Sahara, which produced the Islands’ layers of top soil. Dust may turn out to be the most important thermal climate regulator of all the culprits that science has assigned that roll. Everything on Earth, alive or not, is in a constant state of entropy, thus turning into dust. The millions of tons released into the atmosphere each year have an enormous effect upon Earth climates, from precipitation to becoming filament to absorb and retain calories/heat. Carbon dioxide: This gas is heavier than the air column therefore will not rise to the upper atmosphere period. A side bar: A half bottle of champagne is best stored in a refrigerator with the cork out. Research has proven that the carbon dioxide will not escape from the open bottle! Misperception: Plastic bottles last longer in certified sanitary landfills than paper milk cartons: Everything in a properly designed land fill that was not once alive deteriorates at about the same rate over time. The chemical makeup of plastic may break down before paper. Landfills have not been around long enough to determine their preservation lineage. Methane from decomposing once-alive compounds is the only thing that escapes a properly designed landfill. Man’s activities affect global climate? Read on! Paying attention to the climatic details by defining/creating a model simulation that can depict the interrelationships of all of Earth’s regional climates has been lost in the debate. This lack of scientific “state-of-the-art” exercise to calibrate any model with ground truth data has caused non-technical folk to dominate the discussions. The continued gathering and analysis of meteorological knowledge seem to be futile exercises. Neither climatic knowledge nor its precise manipulation that is “cause and effect” driven gets added to a one-sided debate. In an effort to present a definitive global system that is “cause and effect” driven, utilizing the known climatic components will begin to make some sense in the continuing debate. The reasons as to why global ice advancement is more likely to occur than any significant long term global warm up are also presented. Included is the scientific rationale as to why Antarctica is Earth’s thermostat. Anyone can observe the vapors from dry ice (CO₂), at room temperature, as they fill up a container and fall over the edge like a water fall. Since CO₂ (390 ppm ) resides in the upper atmosphere, many researchers have searched for the mechanism which could lift CO₂, a gas heavier than the atmospheric gases, to the upper reaches of the atmosphere. One solution comes from the observation of data collected from the “Deep Impact” spacecraft as it flew within 435 miles of Comet Hartley 2 on November 4, 2010. Observations from this close encounter showed chunks of water ice being expelled from the comet in jets of CO₂. This is the first time CO₂ jets have been observed coming from a comet. Why the NASA environmental scientists have not recognized this source of CO₂ for the upper atmosphere baffles me. My theory is that most of the breathable oxygen and all of Earth’s carbon came from “snowball” comet in the form of CO₂. Because the molecule CO₂ is heavier than the atmosphere gases (atomic weight 0f 44 vs 34) the CO₂ slowly sank toward the surface. The flora on Earth processed the CO₂ retaining the carbon and releasing the O₂. From about 200 million years ago (Triassic geologic period) until about 65 millions years ( end of the Jurassic period) the Earth must have been bombarded with “snow ball” comets which fed CO₂ to the flora that produced huge amounts of O₂ which made the fauna (critters) robust. Nature using this process produced all the fossil fuels that we enjoy today. After 65 million years the comet bombardment moderated thus cutting off the fuel supply for the flora, which could not produce enough O₂ to support critters as large as the dinosaurs. In retrospect the “snow ball” comet brought water, CO₂ and microbes to an early Earth and this process continues today. Research shows that the breakup of another “snowball ” comet, Comet LINEAR , was likely made up of water with the same isotopic composition as water found here on Earth. The finding supports a controversial idea that comet impacts billions of years ago could have provided most of the water in Earth's oceans. “The smaller comets from Jupiter's region impacted Earth relatively gently, shattering high in the atmosphere and delivering most of their organic molecules intact” . There are two (2) questions plus more to follow that need to be defined before we assess how the CO₂ got to the upper atmosphere: (1) what part of the infamous “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” graph depicting the measurement at Mauna Loa, HI, is caused from entropy resulting from activities on Earth and/or comets? And, (2) could not the heavier than air CO₂ been deposited by a comet and settled through the atmosphere to the lower reaches? (The latter being the most likely scenario.) While flying for the military, I have, on occasion, observed a clear path with unlimited visibility created from the precipitation from a thunder storm as it passed through a hazy air layer in the lower atmosphere that had a visibility of less than one mile. Precipitation appears to be the cleansing agent for the lower air column. Thus, any gas produced on Earth that has a density higher than the atmosphere will not go beyond the influence of the hydrologic cycle which produces all of Earth’s precipitation. What would happen if Earth’s surface temperature continues to rise a few degrees in the next couple centuries? What would be the effect upon its inhabitants? When would the Antarctica thermostat stop this rise in temperature? Earth’s climate is an aggregate of regional climates working as a global system driven by orographics , plate tectonics, thermodynamics, astrophysics and kinetics. This is to say mountains, moving continents, deserts, plains, hot or cold liquid (air and water) interfaces, Sun, and moon, all provide a force that results in the coordinated movement en masse. The oceans are the “heat sinks” that keep the global temperatures moderate. Ocean currents, called conveyors or streams, carry the equatorial heat to the Polar Regions. The conveyors are guided by the continents and the Earth’s rotation. If a conveyor is stopped, the applicable tropics will heat up and the cold latitudes will become colder. If a conveyor speeds up the heat distribution will lessen, thus temperatures, over time, will also fall in the Polar Regions. Air is less dense therefore has minimal effect upon Earth’s temperatures as compared to an equal volume of water. For example, you can spend more than 20 minutes inside a dry sauna at temperatures of 65°C (190° F), but you can’t hold your hand under a faucet of hot water at 36°C (110°F) for more than a few seconds. The globe is covered with distinct weather systems that overlap, interact and thus cover the entire globe. The Gulf Stream is one example of a weather system that affects a regional climate. The regional climates consist of a series of distinct local climates. An example of a local climate is the Los Angeles Basin. This “bowl”, created by the mountains, under certain weather conditions, can cause smog to form because of exhaust from a high concentration of automobiles. One weather system moving through an area can refresh/scrub the local climate. Before several continuous scenarios of assumed rising temperatures can be played out, the major components such as ice, water, solar, celestial, internal radiation, state-of-the-art modeling, ocean conveyors, continent locations, etc., should be collectively described as they relate to Earth’s climates. At best with today’s technology, we can vaguely comprehend the sophistication of how an infinite number of micro climates could result, via the “butterfly effect”, into multiple environments over time. Before we can comprehend what ingredients constitute a global “climate”, we must have an awareness of the magnitude, diversity and difficulty that this understanding may pose. We know that knowledge of a local climate cannot readily be extrapolated to a global one without the analysis of a millennium of data. To enter this data in today’s modeling would be nearly impossible because of the modeling techniques. If it were done, the results would simply be unreliable! One example is the aggregate composition of models used to create a ‘statistical fan’ to describe the future track of a hurricane’s path. Thousands of ‘real time’ data observations don’t change the forecast from being parts scientific and experience. Short sightedness that ignores the magnitude of a global translation that requires extrapolation of local visual evidence (i.e.-retreating glaciers) as a global condition is like picking a single cell from your body to evaluate your body’s health! We bias the results by “knowing” the answer before we collect and analyze the data to arrive at a conclusion. Earth and the moon rotate around each other, as if tied together with a string, as they travel around the Sun in an orbit that has never been fixed. Earth is a gyroscopic sphere flying through space at more than 69,361 miles per hour. It tilts, wobbles, precesses and is affected by everybody in the Solar System and beyond. Since Earth was formed some 4.66 billion years ago, it has never experienced any moment like any other! For example, after the winter solstice “the position of the perihelion (nearest the Sun) shifts steadily and makes a complete circuit of orbit in 21,310 years. The actual amount of the tilt changes very slightly, growing a tiny bit more, then a tiny bit less, and in slow oscillation. All of these changes have a small effect upon Earth’s average temperature, not great, but enough at certain times to pull the trigger for either the advance of glaciers or their retreat. ” 900 million years ago Earth’s day was 18 hours long and a year was 481 days duration. The effect of the moon has caused the changes that are today’s conditions. Future days will become longer and the years will become shorter. Future building of wind generators will exacerbate the slowing of Earth’s rotation since this is the energy used by the generators to produce electricity. Earth’s surface is a water domain. Water covers about 71% of the surface yet it constitutes only about 1/4200th of Earth’s total mass. Oceans hold about 97.2% of Earth’s water and are the source for fresh water to the tune of 80,000 cubic miles evaporated each year that fall in the form of rain or snow. Stored underground are some 200,000 cubic miles of water, mostly fresh, with an additional 30,000 cubic miles stored in lakes and rivers. Water, in a solid state, covers about 10% of the Earth’s surface which is roughly the size of the North American continent. The Antarctic ice sheet contains about 91% of the total ice on Earth. Greenland has about 8% of Earth’s ice while the mountain glaciers and Arctic cap account for less than 1% of the total. The following scenarios are based upon an assumption of continued rise in Earth’s temperatures to the point where cooling will obviously begin in most regions. Arctic’s ice cap floats. Its position at any given moment is at the whim of the ocean conveyors, continental boundaries and prevailing winds. The melting of the Arctic ice will be from calories given up by the ocean and not the atmosphere. Since this ice total is less than one per cent of Earth’s ice the effects, if melted, are local only. The ebb and flow of these ice packs are a result of a regional climate, not global. If ALL the ice from the Arctic and glaciers melted at the end of the summer the effect upon sea level would be negligible, nearly impossible to ascertain since the oceans of the world are subservient to wind fetches and tidal gyrations from a few feet to many tens of feet. However, there is evidence that this fresh water melt, augmented by the Greenland melt, did overlay the cold Arctic salt waters to the point that it shut down the Gulf Stream (GS) for 10 days in 2004. This indicates that this regional climate is very fragile from a thermal observation. No scientist knows what caused the GS to stop flowing in 2004. According to the Scientists at Woods Hole, the stoppage event was described as “the most abrupt change in the whole (climate) record”. What would happen if “a significant amount of Greenland’s ice cap melted”? The latest climate models predict that the GS will slow down as global warming increases. However, measurements by NASA of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation show no significant slowing over the last 15 years; in fact the data suggest the circulation may have sped up by as much as 20% in the recent past. The GS is the conveyor that keeps England and northern Europe from having a regional climate similar to the climate in Canada above the 45th latitude. Warm surface water flows from the tropics northward into the North Atlantic as one of the currents that make up the Atlantic overturning circulation system. Within the oceans surrounding Greenland the GS cools and sinks to great depths as it changes direction. What was once warm surface water heading north becomes cold deep water heading generally south. The GS starts from the Equatorial Current from the African coast, moving east to west under the influence of the trade winds in the tropical North Atlantic. The South American continent deflects the current northward causing it to meander among the Caribbean Islands. The Equatorial Current circles the Gulf of Mexico in a clockwise fashion, exiting through the straits between Florida and Cuba. Then the Stream joins the Antilles Current, officially forming the GS. The GS is about 90 kilometers wide and flows at two meters per second at about 60 degrees latitude. The GS flows at about 80 million cubic meters per second, which exceeds the volume of ALL rivers in the world. The volume of the GS is 3500 times larger than the Mississippi River’s discharge into the Gulf of Mexico. The large volume of warm water moved by the GS toward the colder North East Atlantic reaches near Latitude 40-42 degrees north before it’s deflected southward. The GS loses heat energy by melting the ice floes, as well as calories loss as the cold fresh water, from the glaciers, all of which overlay the GS cooling it to a density of the surrounding salt water. The result is the GS loses its identity and becomes part of the North Atlantic Ocean. If melt from the Greenland ice pack increases, there will be an increase of fresh cold water with a density of 1.000 overlaying the ocean of cold saltwater with a density of 1.030. The boundary integrity of any two liquids of different densities is very rigid. Greenland’s ice cap volume is about 2.85 million cubic kilometers. If all the ice melted, the mean elevation of the world’s oceans would be increased by about 23.6 meters. But, more realistically, for each 100 meters of ice melt equivalent to the Island size, the oceans would rise about 19.5 inches. Since Greenland on average is warmer than Antarctica, an increase in local temperatures could produce melting here first. If the temperatures on Greenland continue to rise, the snowfall will increase on the ice cap. This will increase the ice cap volume and provide more ice for glacier calving into the North Atlantic. This is why it’s uncertain if the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica are growing or shrinking. Antarctica is so cold that surface melting will not occur, but Greenland is a different story by 50+ degrees Fahrenheit. Once the GS is cut off, the regional climates of northern Europe will no longer be the recipient of the tropical heat energy. With time, their climate will emulate that of Canada above the 45° latitude. The Polar ice cap will grow to include the North Sea and will attach itself to the continent. Ocean currents, which are the conveyors of surface energy around the globe will be modified, energy wise, to the point that the Arctic ice cap will, over time, expand. As the ice cap grows heat from the Sun will be deflected and the ice pack will continue to enlarge. Greenland’s seasonal temperatures will start to decrease, the ice pack will begin to grow and the warm-cold cycle will continue as it has historically. Northern Europe and the North Sea oil platforms will become uninhabitable over time. The increase in ice coverage will reflect the Sun’s energies during the summer, and the Earth will begin a cool cycle. The increase in ice coverage will take water from the oceans thus they will recede. What regional climate changes will result from a continued warming trend, say an extreme four to six degrees Fahrenheit, for the next two centuries? Here’s my list: Antarctica’s annual precipitation would nearly double over time taking moisture from the oceans. New York would become a river city. The corn and wheat belts of Iowa and Nebraska would slowly move northward to the plains of Alberta and Saskatchewan. All continents would gain land mass from the oceans receding exposing continental shelf as the ocean would fall nearly 450 feet in a couple centuries. The Florida Keys would become a peninsula. Greenland’s ice pack would begin to grow as the glacier movement slows and calving of ice also slows. Ice sheet covering the South Pole would expand at an alarming rate. Southern oceans cluttered with ice floes would cause water temperatures to drop significantly. Antarctic’s research station would be abandoned because of ice movement caused by an increase in precipitation. Annual precipitation in the USA’s upper Midwest would double to 20+/- inches. This increase in runoff would, over time, cause the Mississippi River’s annual flow to gradually increase to the point that diversion around New Orleans would become necessary only during major flood events. As the river channel eroded because of the receding Gulf levels, New Orleans would eventually be above sea level. Oceans would cool three to five degrees C. This would cause the air temperature to cool. Local areas would experience ice ages which would shorten the summer season. The polar bears would return to the ice. If the precipitation in Antarctica doubles, the moisture must come from the oceans. Since the continent is so large an additional inch over this area for two hundred years constitutes a large volume of water. The Southwest US is nearly a desert now so a very little rise in temperature would cause the local climate to continue in that direction. Since the weather pattern in the US travels from the Southwest toward the northeast, there would be more dust available to create an increase in precipitation down range. Thus, weather systems in the US may become more volatile. Population in Egypt would expand beyond the Nile Valley as the desert blooms. The Atlantic hurricane season would nearly cease as the Sahara desert blooms. If the Sahara Desert blooms, there would be less dust available to form clouds and/ or rain drops. If a hurricane does not have clouds and/or rain to dissipate its energy, will it self destruct? Increasing regional temperatures over time would cause the global temperature to cycle to a cool down. There are several “safeguard” mechanisms in place to prevent a warm up, but none to prevent an ice age. During Earth’s history, Antarctica has proven to be its thermostat. Earth has never been overheated since the initial cool down and as long as the thermostat is in place, it will not be. Before the study of plate tectonics became a science, some people as early as 1596 believed that the arrangement of continents appeared to be puzzle pieces that could have fit together to form a super continent in years past. Currently the “theory of continental drift” suggests that some 225 to 260 million years ago all seven continents were together forming a super continent called “Pangaea” . For more than 225 million years, the Antarctic continent has remained near Earth’s “bottom” while the other continents, North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania (Australia), have drifted to their present positions. Evidence from oceanic ridges surrounding Antarctica indicates that the super continent began to break up about 150 million years ago. Fossils, soil, rock, modeling and other evidence support these conclusions. Plate tectonic history (from Bing.com) The Antarctic, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent by land mass, and the third largest, if the area of the ice cap is measured, assuming that Greenland is part of the North American continent which is the second largest. The summer temperatures rise to about minus 30°C to Earth’s lowest yearly air temperature of about minus 80°C. The relative humidity is 0.04 % (Mars’ is 0.03%) making the continent the driest place on the globe. Annual precipitation averages just above an inch, mostly from ice fog over the interior regions. Earth’s rotation creates a gyroscopic effect that has appeared to lock Antarctica in its current position at the “bottom” of the globe. Forces from a gyroscope react along a three dimensional axis, separated by 90 degrees; e.g. spin, output and input. Earth’s spin axis is the global center. The Sun provides the input, and the output axis is 90° from the input. Thus it affects the South and North Poles. The continent lies 90° from the centroid of a gyroscope, Earth, and its gravity “string” from the Sun. The effect of the forces created by the continental drift appears to be inhibited by this gyroscopic effect. Or is it something simple like the Antarctic continent continues to float on the apex of a globe that is spinning! During the Triassic and Jurassic periods, 200 to 150 million years ago respectively, when most of the ingredients for fossil fuels were laid down, the dinosaurs grew to be very robust because of an abundance of O₂ in the atmosphere. The Earth warmed up a bit, as its thermostat worked perfectly. Had Homo sapiens been around at that time, they too would have been more robust because of the abundance of oxygen. Therefore, Antarctica has been in place for more than 225 million years and will remain as Earth’s thermostat for many more millions of years, preventing future significant global warm-ups. The following highlights one theme from my previous list that deserves a further note: In the early 1600’s when Europeans first arrived upon these shores, the Appalachian Mountain range was covered with mature trees (virgin forest). The Appalachians run from Maine to Georgia. Most of the “virgin” timber has been harvested while some second growth forest has been preserved as National Forest. Hardwood forest in these forests will take from 150 to 500 years to develop old-growth characteristics in one or two generations of trees. Cathedral State Park in West Virginia consists of only 133 acres of over 170 species of vascular flora that include 30 tree species of which 17 are broad leaf, nine species of ferns, three of club moss and over 50 species of wild flowers. The flora is as it was in the early 1600s, a microcosm of the historical Appalachian forest. The trees include virgin hemlock up to 90 feet high and 21 feet circumference form cloisters in the park. A soft wood tree of this size has a carbon content of 1265 Kg and a CO₂ equivalent of 4638 Kg. A virgin hardwood with an average diameter of 10 feet would have about 5542 kg of carbon and 20,322 kg of CO₂ equivalent locked up. The large oak tree next to my door has about 15,000 kg of oxygen locked up that, if released, would make Homo sapiens more robust. Did you ever wonder how the dinosaurs evolved to be so large? Or why so much of today’s fossil fuels originated during this same period? The flora and fauna grew so lush because carbon dioxide was available in the atmosphere. During this time the growth rate excelled causing huge critters to evolve because oxygen was in the air! Increasing local temperatures over time will cause the global temperature to cycle to a cool down. During Earth’s history there have been safeguards against warming, Antarctica being the thermostat. Earth has never been overheated and as long as the thermostat is in place it will not be. We as a scientific society have learned to construct devices that can perform measurements with extreme relative precision. Yet with today’s technological knowledge and computational tools, we can only define weather in terms of probability or chaos theories. Our scientific advancements have been exceptional during the last 400 years, but we still have only begun to understand. We still have a few millennia before we can begin to create a model that can, with precision, emulate the “butterfly effect”, therefore allowing us to make a precise forecast for a specific point. Once this milestone is reached, then we will have begun to advance. To date Homo sapiens’s effect upon the globe can only be measured locally and NOT regionally or globally. Our arguments should be directed toward the sophistication of the science that defines the climate of our environment. The world that we have created to live in, its causes and effect consequences as described in chapter 8, is more philosophy driven (special interest) than Nature driven. One group of “special interests” verses another group with a conflicting interpretation has created a near “virtual” reality of how Nature works. Unfortunately the debate is driven by non-scientists leaders who have determined the objectives and “cherry” pick the data to support the desired result. How does this all happen? The virtual world that we have created makes no one accountable for the group’s actions. Sometimes the solution is worse than the cure. For example take the wild fires that swamped the southwest during 2011. Years ago timbering was halted in the National Forests because an owl’s habitat would be affected. No degree or significant was place upon a scientific analysis to quantified the degree of harm that selective timbering would accomplish. Emphasis was placed upon the group that would profit from the endeavor. This emphasis reflected the totality of the issue. But the lack of harvesting selected trees over time causes a buildup of fuel on the forest floor. Thus the result is a fire that difficult to control, and the ultimate goal of protecting the owls is destroyed. There are many instances of similar disasters created by a “cure”. We are who we are by accident of birth and we quickly bond with our “tribe”. This is human nature. The success of sports teams, armies and “causes” depends upon the bonding of the individuals. “They jelled”, as a collective whole. These “team” members are considered to be the individuals that perform “inside” the envelope. Each represents what is expected in this world that we have created. Only the individuals that survive on the outer boundaries of the envelope, or even outside the envelope (beyond societal acceptances), make a contribution or advance the science of “being”. These individuals probe the secrets of how Nature works. Thus they are not bound by artificial rules of the “world” that society has created. This is my objective; to arrive at a probable effect based on the knowledge that we have accumulated to date with no preconceived notions or results!
Idea No. 50