Let’s Talk About Climate And Weather Realities – Not Pipedreams

The Earth is a dynamic place – it is alive. As such, our planet operates on well-documented cycles – varying declination of the axis, the wobble of the axis, orbital variations in the Earth’s journey around the sun, and variations of the plane of the Earth’s orbit.   The sun generates solar phenomena known as sunspots, which also affect the Earth’s climate.  On our planet, physical activities affect and control weather and climate.

Let’s consider some of these physical activities.  One of the most important ones involves the tectonic plates that float on magma and makes up the Earth’s inner-core.   The plates’ gradual movements change the location and shape of the continental masses and the seas.  Their movements give rise to volcanoes and earthquakes. Volcanoes have played important roles in climate change throughout our planet’s life.  The emission of huge volumes of volcanic gas cools the planet by blocking the sun – in some instances, it has lasted for years and even decades.   Earthquakes result from plate movements but have little or no direct effect on climatic conditions.

We must not forget meteor collisions that have occurred many times over the life of our planet.   The Cretaceous Period ended when a large meteor struck off Yucatan 65 million years ago.  The collision resulted in a mass extinction event.  It destroyed all land life, except for the tiny primitive mammals. Why only the mammals? Larger animals perished as the bountiful food supply disappeared.  Since the sun was blotted out, the planet underwent cooling.   The Cretaceous event was likely global in extent and drastically changed the climate.  Another drastic climate change took place in Ordovician, when the Earth became a snowball.  Fortunately, only marine life existed during the Ordovician, so it adapted and survived.

Historical geology and archaeology offer proof that the Earth has undergone numerous enormous climate changes from the very beginning.  Many of my following articles will describe these changes and date their occurrence.  In this author’s opinion, man’s effect on climate change might be compared to a couple of dozen black sand grains altering the color of a long white beach.

Why are weather and climate models unable to predict the weather accurately?   How much confidence can we place in climate predictions?  The weather models for Sandy happened to hit it on the nose, but many other models in the recent past have completely missed the mark. We must recognize that both weather and climate modeling are in their infancy.

Models depend on good data from well-located data collection points. The northern hemisphere points in the Atlantic regions are much more reliable than those in the Pacific regions. Why? Within the Atlantic region, there are many more data collection sites.  Moreover, they are located in relatively close proximity, not thousands of miles apart as in the Pacific regions. However, South Atlantic sites are also sparse in comparison. A large increase in the number of weather stations and recording buoys are needed worldwide.  Over time, we can expect big improvements in weather modeling techniques.

Climate modeling is far more complex than weather modeling.  It requires much greater knowledge about ancient climates. Collection of reliable climate and weather data only dates back to the mid- 20th century.  Even though the volume of data related to ancient climates is still sparse, it can be illustrated that global warming or cooling is seldom on a global scale.  Can we improve our climate predictions in the future?  The answer is yes, as more and better data on past climates are acquired.

Just remember: climate and weather are two different animals.  Weather is related to days, weeks, or possibly months  – like the five-month hurricane season.  Climate comes in cycles that can cover decades, even centuries; and within its cycles, there is weather. Weather cycles are not easily defined – Sandy is one event that punctuates this fact as it has been over 20 years since a hurricane struck the East coast. Moreover, Sandy does not broadcast a climate change, and certainly not a weather pattern. It was a devastating storm – an isolated event.  Neither did the hurricane that hit New Orleans several years ago, nor another that devastated Galveston, Texas  in the early 1900s herald a climate change.

Man’s knowledge of climate science is still very rudimentary. Scientists should not place too much confidence in climate models until more, and better, data is available. For now, we are stuck with a lot of  GINGO – garbage in, garbage out. Nevertheless, we must continue refining the models in an effort to attain our goal (i.e. accurately predicting the pattern of the Earth’s weather and climate.)

 

See more on energy & climate at the author’s blog site – [email protected]. Forthcoming e-book:  “Beyond Our Control – Debunking Manmade Global Warming.”

Comments

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