The Church of Climate Change

By Ray Winn   |   November 9, 2017

Are man’s activities having an impact on climate change?


Is the weather changing? 

Yes. It always has and always will. How much, I don’t know, and few if any of the current crop of prognosticators know either. Take note that the climate change crowd has conveniently changed its mantra from the climate warming chants of a few years ago to climate change chants, just in case they are wrong and we end up with cooling. Each time I ask a pertinent question of the pro man-made climate change supporters, the response is either a blank stare or “… didn’t you see the Al Gore movie?” They are only able to repeat the one-liners from CNN or other media outlets. They listen to Brad Pitt, Al Gore (the Jesus Christ of their movement), Leonardo DiCaprio, or some other narcissistic nitwit. The same people that fly around in private jets, have multiple mega-mansions, big yachts, and other carbon-gobbling accessories that belie their message.

A single coast-to-coast round trip in a Gulfstream private jet has a larger carbon footprint in one day than that of about 15 typical American homes for a full year. It is widely reported that Al Gore’s mansion uses more energy than about 22 average U.S. homes. It is also not unusual to see from a satellite view as many as four big SUVs on the property used to whisk him off to a trip in a private jet. While preaching to the unwashed about “carbon footprint,” he is about as green as a large offshore oil platform. The same is true of many of the other disciples of the movement. Gore has turned his loosely held beliefs into several hundred-million dollars at the expense of the truth and the distortion of science. Again, it’s the money and/or public adoration.

I came from a science background, and try to look at the science. For instance, it would confound about 99.9% of the population that much of the heat coming from the earth is heat-generated by the natural decay of Uranium, Thorium, and other radioactive deposits in the earth. In fact, it is at the rate of about 22 terawatts. That’s 2 followed by 13 zeros. That is the amount of heat generated by about 25 to 30 thousand nuclear or coal-fired power plants running 24 hours a day.

Who knew?

Not many.

An equal amount of another 22 terawatts of earth-source energy comes from the internal heat left over from Earth’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago. At the present rate, the heat from those sources will be halved in about 3.5 billion years, so not to worry. There is reasonable certainty that a large asteroid will destroy us long before then.

Solar Radiation

However, these heat sources are quite small compared to solar radiation. The Earth and its atmosphere are heated by a variety of actions. First and foremost is direct solar radiation, which averages about 1,000 watts thermal per square meter on a sunny day at high noon. Given allowances for nighttime, cloud cover, solar reflection/cover from clouds, ice, time of year, et cetera, the average energy incidence for the most populated areas of the Earth is about 2.2 kilowatt hours per square meter per day. As a point of reference for solar power enthusiasts, a good 1-meter square solar panel with an efficiency of 14% will deliver about enough daily electrical power to run a 60-watt light bulb for five hours. But then on some days, it will deliver almost none.

There is a delicate balance between human survival and a comfortable existence as relates to temperature. Depending on the source, it is estimated that a worldwide temperature drop of about 2 degrees Centigrade caused the mini-ice age, with the coldest years being between 1440 to 1560. There were colder than normal periods for 100 to 200 years on either side of those years, and severe cold persisted in some parts of the world until the early 1800s.

It is important to note that sunspot activity has a large effect on the degree to which charged particles from the sun can impact the weather on Earth. The degree to which they enter the atmosphere is also related to the intensity of magnetic flux around the Earth, which varies a-periodically. The direct heating is probably small, though large solar storms have frequently coincided with serious heat waves on Earth.

The magnetic poles of the Earth also influence the geographical shift in the flux distribution of those particles. Add to that the fact that the position of the magnetic pole is changing, moving southward at the rate of about 15 or more miles per year. So much so, that runway numbers at airports have been changed, as runway numbers are indicators of magnetic orientation of the runway. The magnetic poles of the Earth have flipped at least 20 times since the planet’s beginning and were at the equator in the not too distant past… geologically speaking.

It is possible – just possible – that we are entering the beginning of another Maunder/sun spot minimum induced cooling period. This is not something that will happen in a flash. The entry and exit periods can be as long as 100 years, though there can be smaller sun spot-related cycles within the long Maunder-induced cycle. The sun spot solar cycles are quite predictable at 11.2 years. As you might imagine, it is nearly impossible to measure the small changes in temperature in that timeframe. 

At some point, the sun, as it always does, will become quiet, and then look out. A major temperature cycle will begin within 10 to 50 or so years.


My next column will deal with the “average” temperature of Earth.


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