Thursday, March 29, 2007

Father Sun, Mother Earth

This is just a hunch, a thought, I'm hardly an expert on the subject. However, there may be a good reason ancient people worshipped the Sun as a god. Imagine how nice it felt to wake up to a warm sunny day when you had no heat. Imagine how appreciative you would be when spring returned and trees began leafing out and your crops began to grow. We know how nice it is to see the clouds disappear, and see the ice and snow melt. Maybe the Sun, the ultimate source of energy, around which the Earth revolves, the Sun which drives our winds, ocean currents and daily weather, maybe variations in solar energy output could influence global warming and cooling. This seems a bit more logical to me that a little bit of carbon dioxide. Would you like to bet billions or trillions of dollars on it?


The Sun's diameter is about 110 times that of the Earth.

From Canada's National Post

Bright sun, warm Earth. Coincidence?

"For the past century and a half, Earth has been warming. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally), during that same period, our sun has been brightening, becoming more active, sending outmore radiation.""...the world's leading solar scientists are all convinced that the warming of recent years is not unusual and that nearly all the warming in the past 150 years can be attributed to the sun.""Mr. Abdussamatov concedes man made gasses may have made "a small contribution to the warming in recent ears, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance.""Mr. Soon (of the Solar and Stellar Physics Divisionof the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) showed as long ago as the mid-1990s that the depth of the Little Ice Age -- the coldest period in the northern hemisphere in the past 1,500 years --corresponded perfectly with a solar event known as the Maunder Minimum. For nearly seven decades there was virtually no sunspot activity. Our sun was particular quiet. And for those 60 to 70years, the northern half of our globe, at least, was in a deep freeze. Is it so hard to believe then that the sun could be causing our current warming, too?"


A Jacksonian said...

Peter - My thanks for visiting! I left a rather lengthy comment over at Roger L. Simon's on the topic of global warming... which I will copy and paste here, feel free to delete it if it is overlengthy. I will say this on the course of the sun: a minor 0.1% change plus/minus on heat output from the sun will be barely noticeable to the star, but have huge impacts on all the planets, but Rock 3 in particular.

Now to the lengthy comment, copied verbatim:

jdwill - My thanks! Those are the merely cyclic things that will happen in North America that I consider to be the top 5 problems that we haven't even started to address... and one #1 has global fallout both figuratively and literally.

I did look at global warming previously, and as a geologist, find much higher correlation with plate tectonics and continental configuration than with carbon dioxide for global temperature. About 70 million years ago the continents started to move faster, due to unknown factors in the core of the planet and heat transmission. That had the effect of speeding up crustal movement, which allows the less dense continents to ride higher than the oceanic crustal material. That rise in the continents drained the large, shallow seas over much of them into their deeper basins, thus changing the stored energy system of Rock 3 from the star Sol.

This single change also started to move Antractica into a polar position, which is very rare in Earth's history and gave it a heat sink which drastically altered the heat retention system of the planet: It got a permenent cold place to let heat escape into space. Global temperatures started to fall due to these things.

Other effects are also seen, like increased volcanic activity due to subduction of oceanic plates. Apparently more 'hot spots' started to appear and give the planet more volcanos that way, including some of the megacaldera makers that started to show up around that era.

At Continental plate boundaries that were colliding, seas got squeezed out and when the continental crusts hit, they got squeezed together. The Himalayas are *still* growing upwards due to the Indian sub-continent pushing into Eurasia. The Rocky Mountains were also effected by this, as seen by the embedded river systems of the Green and Colorado rivers.

A final kicker was a nice sized boloid about 10km across hitting the planet. It was not a good time to be an organism over 15 kg in size as you would not make it through that event, at 65 million years ago. Since then, having lost those lovely, warm heat retaining, shallow seas, having the thermostat pushed down by the boloid and having a nice, new heat sink, Rock 3 has experienced glacial periods with intermittent warming times, that have high variability within a cool temperature range. That is typical of interglacial periods: rapid swings in temperature, globally, but within a confined range that is generally warmer than the glaciation period, but much, much colder than the previous Cretaceous period.

Can we get back to those balmy days of 70 million years ago with only changing carbon dioxide? And methane? And water vapor? Probably not... those all reached maximums in the Carboniferous when carbond dioxide was around 7,000 ppm and calcium carbonate rock deposited via chemistry and animal activity, like with foraminfera. You see a *lot* of coal beds and calcium carbonate beds from this timeframe, both indicative of taking carbon *out* of the atmosphere. Our current 300 ppm +/- 15% is a long way from those hazy, lazy days of high methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor... all of which saw a relatively stable global temperature 14 degrees higher than it is now. Actually, once the continents aren't moving fast and we have vast, shallow seas and low volcanic activity, that seems to be the regular temperature of the planet.

That higher energy from the core is released through these mechanisms, but it doesn't much impact climate which is guided by these factors which are a way of releasing heat. Such pretty volcanos, though! But not worth it for the hot gasses that cool extremely quickly, hot extruded material which cools quickly and the hot particulates that cool very quickly.

Want to raise the temps? Stop the plates from moving after re-uniting Gondwanaland and getting Antarctica out of the deep freeze. And then flooding most of the continental lowlands as they slowly settle down and behave themselves. Like NOLA, but with 1 km more water added. Then you get nice, shallow seas retaining energy from the sun and higher global temps. Of course the Rockies turn into 'coastal areas' but well worth it for stable temps and removing glacial periods.

Bad planet!

As for us that live on the crust, the long term forecast is: sudden temperature swings, with a relatively narrow temperature band for some short duration and then sudden, long-lasting cold spells with 1.5 km high continental glaciers and the temperate zone shifting to the equator during those times. Check the 5 million year forecast to find out when this will end and the good old days return...


Very short compared to what I have done on Iran's oil problem or transnational terrorism. Brief and to the point for me...

Peter said...

a jacksonian,
Thanks for the input.
In striving to understand the complexities of climate change I think geologists have an advantage over pure climate or weather scientists. It's not because we're smarter, I think it is because we're constantly examining processes affecting the Earth and the formation, metamorphosis, or erosion of rocks and we must consider the function of time.

Nothing on Earth is static, including the climate. The Earth is constantly changing and has been doing so for as far back as we can see. What we see in the layers of sedimentary rock, and anyone looking at layered rocks can understand this, is primarily a reflection of CLIMATE CHANGE. Warm to cold, wet to dry, no water to shallow water to deep water as these sediments are being deposited.

In other words, geologists are intimately familiar with the reality of constantly changing climate. What we see going on around us today does not, or should not worry us much. And we don't take these global warming alarmists seriously. We see through the hype. We see Al Gore's "dockumentary" as Hollywood entertainment and Al Gore as a clown.

We know better than to build on an active fault zone. We know better than to build a mansion at sea level on a hurricane-prone coast. We know better than to build on a floodplain. We tried to warn people that New Orleans was in danger, not because of hurricanes or global warming but because it was BELOW SEA LEVEL and is and was continually subsiding.

So geologists like you and I need to speak out more. If nothing else, to alleviate some of the fear about global warming. Stay tuned.