Sunday, January 10, 2010


I want to say something intelligent about the weather. I desperately want to link it to climate change. Yet I read that even prominent climate change scientists are saying this cold snap most of the US is under is part of a natural cycle. Sure, I seem to remember every year seeing the films of farmers spraying their oranges and lemons and strawberries with water to keep the fruit from freezing. Afterall, the farmers have those systems installed to save their crops; so freezing temps are not totally unexpected in warmer climes.

I have even heard of iguanas falling out of trees.

But I stand outside the box of conventional science, and allow the data to seep into the core of my life. And I don't really recall massive storms starting on the west coast and burying the whole country in a wide swath before dumping two feet of snow on Maine and then sitting over the ocean blanketing us in relative warmth while pumping arctic air into the south.

Still, although old, I am relatively young in regards to the weather keeping of even this young nation.

But I remember things that scientists studying climate have done, such as the closed system attempted a few years ago (BIO DOME) with seven different microclimates that six scientists locked themselves into. That ended up being a rather embarrassing joke IMO.

I recall being so infuriated at a simple question in a science course I needed for my Bio degree that I dropped out. The question gave basic dimensions for a lake, the amount of mercury concentrated in the water, and asked how much mercury was in the lake. While on the surface a basic mathematical problem, I felt that it was a prime example of how the scientific community draws conclusions from generalizations. For example, figuring the dimensions of any body of water is really a generalization. Coves, shallows, irregular dimensions depths, and so on, is really just guessitmating volume. Secondly, the mercury would not be evenly distributed throughout the lake. A random sampling of water multiplied by the guessimate of the volume? Mercury builds in sediment, tissues of the inhabitants...yet the student is being trained to assume that the answer that they must give to the precise measure is really a measure of the mercury found in that body of water.

So, it was just a math question. I argued that it was laying groundwork to train future scientists to make massive generalizations on complicated ecosystems.

Until a climate scientist has physically built an actual closed system-not a computer model- with the same ratio of mass as the earth, with a closed atmosphere, and the input of a million other variables, IMO they cannot really accurately predict what is going to happen as the CO2 in the atmosphere rises higher than has even been recorded in the history of the Earth. Change? No denying that! Uniform change? That's already being disproved with the higher rise of average temperatures at the poles vs the rest of the planet. But can it be said with absolute confidence that the unusual weather patterns the entire world is experiencing are not part of this change?

That's right, the world-The UK and the rest of Europe, addition to the US.

It is change and it is unpredictable- using current scientific method. Like a child careening out of control down a snow-covered slope, We can only hold on for the ride.

Just a few years ago we were told the ice would be gone in the Arctic ocean in the summer in 100 years. Then it was 50. Now it is less than ten. That's where generalizations will get you.

No comments: