May 2, 2022 | David F. Coppedge

Comfort for the Climate Panicked

Take heart; the world is not coming to an end.
Who says so? Climate scientists.

 

All of the following links are to articles by organizations and institutions who believe in man-caused climate change. No climate skeptic sites are included. Is the world at a tipping point to catastrophe? Are the scare tactics constantly emanating from the press (e.g., Princeton 28 April, New Scientist 20 April, Nature 5 April) based on good and complete knowledge? Let the scientists speak.

Less Doomsday Talk, Please

No obituary for Earth: Scientists fight climate doom talk (Phys.org, 4 April 2022). Flavor of this article: “We are not doomed, but rapid action is absolutely essential.” Reading the links below, however, may generate doubt in the credibility of the prophets of doom.

Study: Climatic variability might not drive evolutionary change as much as previously thought (Arizona State University, 11 April 2022). Some panicked reporters assert that animals won’t be able to evolve quickly enough to handle global warming, and so many species will go extinct. This article claims that climate change doesn’t drive evolutionary change as much as evolutionists thought (cf. a paper in Nature 13 April 2022 that proposes global warming drove apes to become humans). There have been big climate swings in the past; “A UArizona-led study … reveals that times of erratic climate change are not followed by major upheavals in evolution.”

News from the climate history of the Dead Sea (German Research Centre for Geosciences, 28 April 2022). It’s worth remembering that there have been long, warm dry periods before. German scientists investigated the Dead Sea in Israel and concluded that it has receded up to 250 meters in historical times, long before fossil fuels and SUVs. (Remember, too, that humans lived in green pastures in the Sahara before it became the world’s biggest sand pile.) The study shows that strong climatic changes in the past have been very dynamic and included phases of relative stability. “We learn from this that climate change is not linear, but that phases of strong changes alternate with calm phases,” commented one of the researchers.

Revised Estimates and Auxiliary Hypotheses

Simulations explain Greenland’s slower summer warming (Hokkaido University, 6 April 2022). Climate scientists were puzzled over the slowdown in Greenland’s ice sheet retreat. They came up with an auxiliary hypothesis about El Nino cycles and how they interact with La Nina cycles, but do they really know what those have to do with Greenland?

The Challenge of Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Prediction by ECMWF on Subseasonal Time Scales (American Geophysical Union, 13 April 2022). Citizens hear often about shrinking sea ice, but the methods used to estimate and predict sea ice thickness are challenging.

Emission accomplished: Cattle burp methane expulsion measured from space for first time (Phys.org, 2 May 2022). Sorry to undermine the middle-school jokes, but it’s burps, not farts, that mostly concern climate scientists about cattle. The estimates of methane emitted by burping cattle come from data collected from satellites over one cattle ranch. What other factors could change the estimates for global methane emitted by cattle? The article also says nothing about wild herbivores (caribou, elk, buffalo, water buffalo, hippos, and the mighty sauropod dinosaurs) that surely must have expelled huge amounts of methane since animals began.

Update: Why some beaches, including in Queensland, are getting bigger despite rising sea levels  (The Conversation, 1 May 2022). Counter-intuitively, and opposite expectations, beaches are growing instead of retreating due to sea level rise. Watch an Australian geographer and 2 PhD students try to explain this. The data show beach growth; all they have left are predictions that things “will” get worse if we don’t take climate change seriously.

This goes against the general understanding of how climate change impacts the coast and has led to confusion that has been, in part, deliberately sown into public discourse by climate change deniers. So what’s going on?….

This increase in sea level may drive a loss of sediment to the beach that current positive sediment budgets can no longer offset. This could trigger erosion in beaches presently growing.

Previously Unknown Factors Not Taken Into Account in Models

Ozone may be heating the planet more than we realise (University of Reading, 31 March 2022). Remember the scares over the ozone hole and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere? Now they’re finding out that “Ozone may be weakening one of the Earth’s most important cooling mechanisms, making it a more significant greenhouse gas than previously thought, research has found.” If that is true, how much is man’s fault? Smog in the lower atmosphere may be man-caused, but ozone in the upper atmosphere is a natural phenomenon caused by cosmic rays. Quote from this “eye-opening” study—

A new study has revealed that changes to ozone levels in the upper and lower atmosphere were responsible for almost a third of the warming seen in ocean waters bordering Antarctica in the second half of the 20th century.

We found a hidden source of greenhouse gases – organic matter in groundwater (The Conversation, 28 April 2022). Humans need to drink water and farm crops. Is the IPCC going to ban those activities?

Groundwater has been hugely beneficial to us for use in agriculture or as drinking water. As the world warms and waterways dry up, this extraction will only increase. But there’s a hidden problem. We used to think the organic matter in groundwater didn’t react when brought up. Sadly, the reverse is true. Our new research published in Nature Communications has found when groundwater – especially from deep down – is pumped to the surface, it brings with it dissolved organic matter preserved from long ago. Once sunlight and oxygen hit this matter, it can easily turn into carbon dioxide.

Unfortunately, that means groundwater is likely to be yet another source of planet-heating greenhouse gases, and one which is not included in our carbon budgets. How large? We estimate up to the same amount of dissolved organic carbon as that pumped out by the Congo River each year, the world’s second largest by volume.

And yet humans are not the only ones bringing groundwater to the surface. Artesian wells, springs (hot and cold), geysers and volcanoes do it. There are springs at the bottom of the sea all over the world. The lesson is that climate alarmists do not understand all the sources of greenhouse gases well enough to affix blame. “To accurately predict future climate change scenarios and the speed we need to move at, we need to know all sources and removal pathways of carbon to and from the atmosphere,” implying that they don’t know those things.

ORNL scientists dig into role of manganese in soil carbon and climate change (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 13 April 2022). Who would have thought that levels of the naturally-occurring element manganese influence climate change? Apparently few scientists have before now. “At the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, biogeochemist Elizabeth Herndon is working with colleagues to investigate a piece of the puzzle that has received little attention thus far: the role of manganese in the carbon cycle.” Much remains to be learned.

Validity of geochemical signatures of abiotic hydrocarbon gases on Earth (Journal of the Geological Society, May 2022 issue). This paper reconsiders sources of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Methods used to determine whether sources are biological or abiotic are discussed, touching on the question of how much geochemists really know about natural vs anthropogenic causes for global warming.

A Multi-Institutional Research Team Finds Declining Nitrogen Availability in a Nitrogen-Rich World (City University of New York, 14 April 2022). Have climate models been underestimating the role of nitrogen in carbon dioxide levels? “Factoring this deficit into climate change models is critical to achieving accurate carbon sink capacity estimates,” this article says. The carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle are intertwined in complex ways that are still poorly understood.

Microscale carbon distribution around pores and particulate organic matter varies with soil moisture regime (Nature Communications, 21 April 2022). Climate alarmists have considered soil for potential long-term storage of excess carbon. They may not have taken into account the pore space around soil particles, which can vary in carbon storage potential according to moisture. “there is a striking paucity of data about in-situ microscale patterns of C distribution that might arise from different soil moisture regimes.”

Mitigation Activities Are Not Without Sin

Wind energy company kills 150 eagles in US, pleads guilty (ABC News, 6 April 2022). So-called “renewables” seem benign until examined closely. The extra mining for rare earths and metals needed for electric cars, windmills and solar panels, with all the transport infrastructure needed, has been mentioned by Nature Materials (10 Feb 2022) with caution. Here, ABC News reminds readers that windmills are deadly for many endangered birds. This is one way that well-intentioned climate mitigation efforts can substitute one environmental sin for another. “A subsidiary of one of the largest U.S. wind energy companies has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay over $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms in eight states.”

Flying into a clean and safe future: Can wind turbines and migrating birds coexist? (Max Planck Institute, 20 April 2022). Stop global warming! Build windmills! —and thus large wind turbine fields are sprouting all over Texas, Kansas, California and the world. Quick fixes, though, can backfire in other ways. Scientists in Germany are still trying to figure out how to save birds from the rush to renewables.

In the race to avoid runaway climate change, two renewable energy technologies are being pushed as the solution to powering human societies: wind and solar. But for many years, wind turbines have been on a collision course with wildlife conservation. Birds and other flying animals risk death by impact with the rotor blades of turbines, raising questions about the feasibility of wind as a cornerstone of a global clean energy policy. 

Efficacy and cost of acoustic-informed and wind speed-only turbine curtailment to reduce bat fatalities at a wind energy facility in Wisconsin (PLoS One, 8 April 2022). Bats also suffer from windmills. Do efforts to deter them with sound help? The cost of installing countermeasures are non-trivial; windmill owners and installers “will need to consider their ability to absorb production losses in relation to their need to reduce bat fatality rates.”

Where your recycling actually goes—and what you can do about it this Earth Day (Phys.org, 22 April 2022). This depressing article says that recycling—promoted worldwide by politicians as a solution to most environmental sins—accomplishes little and may do more harm than good.

More Unknowns

The journal Nature Geoscience published a series on climate and carbon on 8 April 2022 that readers may wish to dig into for further understanding of how climate change sausage is made. The articles give an appreciation of the complexity of factors influencing climate and how little is understood.

Better Ways Without Coercion

Algae a winner in Elon Musk-funded greenhouse gas contest (Phys.org, 22 April 2022). Elon Musk is in the news these days with politically-divided opinions about his purchase of Twitter, but he does other things that should delight his liberal critics. His entrepreneurial genius is leading the race toward electric vehicles, which climate-change alarmists believe is an essential part of a future free of fossil fuels. This was done with old free-market capitalism (see new Prager U video about that). Billionaires can also fund other entrepreneurial efforts. This encouraging article tells about a winner in Musk’s “XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition for the most promising ways to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by grabbing it out of the air.” One winner of the million-dollar competition is highlighted: “Global Algae, based in Santee, California, won with a plan to cultivate algae to help restore rain forests, which capture huge volumes of carbon dioxide.” Algae. Rain forests. Aren’t those natural? Is this plagiarism?

As we have done before (15 March 2022, 19 Feb 2022), we submit these links to give readers a more nuanced understanding of what science can and cannot know. Too many citizens are influenced by tweet-sized sound bites when realities are much more confusing. A proper philosophy of science and an understanding of propaganda tactics is absolutely vital to substantiate one’s convictions, so that one is not like a child, “carried about by every wind of doctrine,” blown about by confident-sounding voices of presumed authorities. Test all things; prove what is good. An informed citizenry is vital to maturity; it is vital for liberty. Dictators rely on dumb subjects. Read; understand, and speak, through votes as well as statements. If diligence is necessary to understand the climate change issue, it is even more necessary to understand origins.

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