Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

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More Inconvenient Truth

As I was walking Anubis through the still snow-covered mesa yesterday, I was contemplating the recent weather and the possible storm brewing to the west which may adversely affect my FC travel plans on Saturday. That lead to a conversation in my head about El Nino and global warming. I formulated a post and here it is.

I will accept the concept of global warming. It's pretty hard to dispute this with rapidly shrinking ice caps and record-breaking temps all over the globe. I am mostly sold on the idea that the phenomenon is man-induced, but there can be many factor at play. What I do reject is the concept that global warming is a bad thing and that we're all doomed as the Earth becomes another Venus, shrouded in a cloud of CO2 and devoid of life.

I am a geologist by schooling, so I know that the Earth has been around for a lot longer than we humans have. It has seen great climatological diversity. It has seen cataclysmic events. Life has survived! There have been great extinctions. There will continue to be great extinctions. There has been countless species created by mutations. Some have survived and thrived. Most have been failures.

I am also a believer in the Gaia Principle. Most use it spiritually, that the Earth is alive. I use it as a scientific principle that the Earth has a multitude of built-in controls that regulate the system. The system is built to bend, but never break. I think it is the hubris of man to think that we somehow have the power to destroy the planet. As I said, the Earth has been around a hell of lot longer than mankind. It will still be around until the Sun swallows it in a few billion years.

Now don't get me wrong. Global warming IS a serious issue because a huge percentage of the world's population lives in coastal regions that will get flooded if ocean levels continue to rise. All I can say is "sucks to be you." Start moving now. If you're a species that lives in a tiny niche that will be wiped out, sorry. You're specific requirements for life have doomed you.

What initially got the wheels turning in my brain about this topic was how WILL the Earth change with global warming. I have heard that New Mexico will become more desert-like. I was wondering why it might not become more tropical. Perhaps our monsoon season will be more intense like last year. Our snowpacks may dwindle as the snow elevation rises as it has been doing over the years, but would that be a terrible thing if instead we received our precipitation as rain instead of snow?

My last point is that you will frequently hear "Our models have shown..." When you hear that, instantly be skeptical. I use models all of the time in my job. The quality of the results is directly proportional to the quality of the data that is used. How good is the data that are being used in these global climate models? The meteorologists can barely predict if it will snow in 2 days. How can they predict what the temperature of the Earth will be in 20 or 50 years? The Earth's atmosphere is one of the most complex fluids known to man. Do we have the knowledge and computing power to accurately model it and all of the potential changes based on increased land mass exposure at Antarctica as well as the shrinking ice cap at the North Pole and the opening of the Northwest Passage? Can it accurately model the effects of increased energy dissipation of typhoons and hurricanes? All of the water currently locked up in the poles and glaciers has to go somewhere. It just doesn't drift off into space. What does all of that extra moisture do to precipitation patterns around the globe? Will ocean currents change? Will the jet stream change? What happens when you combine El Nino and North Atlantic current patterns with all of this? I have heard talks by really smart guys with PhD's in meteorology. They can't even figure out what this means for next year's weather. Yet there are people out there selling gloom and doom about forecasts 50 years in the future! All I am suggesting is that all of this science be viewed with a very suspicious eye. Don't forget the study that was done many years ago when the ozone hole was the big issue. They didn't bother putting in winds because it was too difficult to model.

With all of that being said, we SHOULD still be good stewards to the land. We should be seeking alternatives to burning fossil fuel. We should not be consumer whores that scarf up the world's resources just because we can. We should be constantly striving for sustainability. We should be focusing on quality of life around the globe. And as Forest Gump would say, "And that's all I have to say about that."
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