Is Global Warming Vital to Human Survival?
Global warming is real - but is it actually a very good thing? Could sun spot cycles cause a mini ice age without global warming? Read this serious analysis by a friend of mine who happens to be a serious inventor, engineer and scientist.
The following is reprinted with his permission and the permission of the publishers of Perihelionsf.com where the article originally appeared.
By Eric M. Jones
The Earth has been warming for a very long time. We live in the Holocene Interglacial Epoch. Virtually all human civilization from about 11,550 years ago took place in it. There is every reason to believe that we will return to kilometer-thick glaciers sometime in the future. All it takes is for the polar winter to get a minute longer year-by-year. You wouldn't even notice.
Whether or not human civilization is responsible for global warming is a widespread popular argument. Humans are certainly responsible for a part, and perhaps most of this temperature rise, but there many reasons to take a less rabid view:
1) Science is not a matter of getting a show-of-hands or signing petitions. Really it isn't. Honest! I would guess that most scientists - if faced with a call for a show-of-hands at a conference - wouldn't comply.
2) In the words of Quantum Physicist Dr. David Deutsch1, "Regardless of which side you are on, it is too late to prevent a global-warming disaster if there is to be one. In fact, it was too late to stop the global-warming disaster back in the 1970's when the best scientific theory said that atmospheric particulate pollution was going to cause a new ice age that would destroy industrial civilization and kill millions. We can ease the current problem somewhat, but we certainly can't prevent it."
3) Not long after the Pilgrims landed in the New World in 1620, one could skate across New York harbor on the winter ice. The Earth is now not as much warmer-than-average, as it was then colder-than-average. This should give one pause.
4) Having a First-World baby is a Jolly-Green-Giant carbon footprint. Little has been said about this. A US baby is responsible for adding one-million kilograms of CO2 to the environment over a lifetime. It does no good to halve the CO2 per person and then double the population. Until environmentalists are interested in tackling First-World population growth (and they won't ever be), they're just whistling past the graveyard. So don't talk to me about AGW if your first words aren't "We gotta control the population...."
You might have guessed that I am not likely to be seen marching in any "AGW Environmentalist" parades. But, nevertheless, I think something big is going on. And at the risk of being exposed as wildly naive, I present to you some evidence that at least should make you stop and think, and with which you should be familiar ... whichever side of the argument you are on.
Have you seen the Sun recently? It is now quieter than any time in the last century. Fewer sunspots mean a cooler, less active Sun with a shorter solar-cycle period. Many people are concerned over this "Solar Minimum."2 Solar Minimums such as the Oort Minimum 1010-1050; the Wolf Minimum; 1280-1350; the Spörer Minimum 1460-1550; the Maunder Minimum 1645-1715; and the Dalton Minimum 1790-1820 were all accompanied by global cooling and crop failures, bad weather, mass migrations, wars, starvation and social unrest. (Many historians attribute the witch burning hysteria of the middle ages partly to the "Little Ice Age," starting with the Wolf minimum and continuing until the end of the Maunder Minimum).
And were there Solar Maximums3, too? Yes, indeed. The Medieval warm spell 1100-1250 was one; but there was not another of any real importance until 1950 and lasting until today.
Milankovitch4 calculated the various components of Solar-system celestial mechanics to definitively show what caused ice ages. Others have corroborated his work and have shown the same thing. This is viewed as settled science, because it is only physics and math. All the calculations point to a coming ice age, also depending somewhat on how humans influence the climate. But it is still a complicated problem due to many overlapping influences; volcanoes being one, humans being another. Could people screw up the atmosphere sufficiently to delay the onset of the next ice-age? Maybe...but nobody knows.
Some years ago I stumbled across a stunning paper by Penn and Livingston that declared: "Sunspots may disappear by 2015." This is a bold assertion and if true, a very bad thing for us humans. These two very soft-spoken NASA scientists determined this simply by recording the data for 20 years that showed the magnet fields associated with sunspots was declining by 50 Gauss per year (the equivalent of a really-really-really gigantic refrigerator magnet).
Just look at these graphs and be amazed:
Penn and Livingston
6Drs. Baliunas' and Soon's expertise is in Stellar Variability. So far, they say, we have had an unusually smooth ride, but based on the study of other stars, this seems unlikely to continue. Figure 4 from the footnoted article:
Solar sunspot cycle and earth temperature
S. Balliunas, W.Soon, 1995
So call me a "Biostitute," "Denier" or whatever ad hominem argument you like. I will freely admit that any idea here is open to revision. But as they say-You can have your own opinions, but not your own facts. But I'll take the long bet that AGW is pretty much nonsense. In the meantime, let's clean up the planet and live a good life. If the oil and coal companies want to send me another big check like the one they sent me last Christmas, that really would be appreciated.
We are now in nearing the middle of Solar Cycle 24. Solar Cycle 25 is predicted to be the quietest in 300 years. Worried yet?
References: Wikipedia has various heavy technical references following the articles.
Eric M. Jones is the Contributing Editor of "Perihelion." He is an engineer, designer, consultant, and entrepreneur, currently working in his Internet business PerihelionDesign.com, designing, building and selling unique products, parts and materials for people in the home-built experimental aircraft community.
John McCormick and Eric Jones both write for www.Perihelionsf.com, a free, professional online science and science fiction magazine. Contact John through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by John McCormick.
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