Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Our greatest Scientific Blunder

For the past thirty years the accelerating pace of warming in the northern hemisphere has been associated with human activity. This has at least led to reconsideration of our very bad policy of burning hydrocarbons and not sequestering CO2. The brutal truth is that all the available geological hydrocarbons are going to be burned sooner or later. The only question remaining is how much later. We few have at least redesigned an historically proven agricultural protocol to correct this problem. That still leaves us with the global warming problem.

My consideration of the mathematics of sea ice melting has shown me that we are very likely dead wrong about the principal cause of global warming. And everybody has got it totally backwards.

Atmospheric variation is principally moderated by the massive heat sink represented by the oceans and their currents. It is not the other way around, spectacular as atmospheric effects are. We are confusing cause and effect.

Returning to the Northern sea ice we know with certainty that solar energy is delivered at the same constant rate each year. We know that a trivial amount of southern heat energy is also delivered by the atmosphere, more reflecting the seasonal solar regime than anything else.

The real surplus is arriving year after year by way of the gulf stream and is exactly why we do not have a real polar ice cap(apologies to Greenland) This heat pump has been very steady for the past 500 years as it has slowly but surely reversed the effects of the onset of the little ice age.

On average, over the centuries, a slight overage of heat is consistently been delivered to the Arctic. It was almost in balance. We have now entered the final phase of this great melting process. The present acceleration is merely a mathematical artifact of this steady persistent pressure. And yes, it will be mostly over by 2020.

We are returning to the full climate regime experienced throughout the Bronze Age and before the onslaught of the little ice age and intermittently in between.

Humanity is doing plenty to screw up our planet that needs to be corrected and I have been actively showing my readers how. Nothing humanity does pulls me up short. The little ice age does. There is nothing we can do to stop that freight train and I very much suspect that that is what is really brewing in the southern hemisphere. There the winter sea ice is apparently expanding. A major one time diversion of cold polar water into the south Atlantic would drop the temperature of the gulf stream very nicely, and we now know for sure that it would take 500 years to correct the problem. However it happens, it is not a tall order and the current systems are in place.

It could well be that the planet uses this corrective measure much more often and that it actually varies all over the place. The hard evidence points to a long cycle between climate disasters, but there is no reason to think that smaller events are not happening in between.

We now have a very important working hypothesis. Peak warming in the arctic is reversed by an increase in the Benguela current bringing cold water into the equatorial seas lowering the heat content of the Gulf Stream. This can actually do the dirty work and it scares me S*tless.

It is our bad luck that the maximization of modern civilization is coinciding with this event, but that was also inevitable even if we were living in the Bronze age. That was the apparent drill every other time this happened. this nature's way of playing whack a monkey.

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