Part 1 – Incoming!

Email has come from people who warn about, threaten, accuse and belittle any talk of global warming that doesn’t fit some ideal. The ideal it seems is a little vague. As I’m suspected of being a “denier” of something (global warming, or is it CO2’s role?) its apparent that some very few readers are looking for reasons to intimidate those who won’t come ‘round to their way of thinking. Hooray! I could use a little controversy and conflict for building traffic! So here’s what I’m thinking, or a Free Guide to Global Warming. Lets get in trouble!

For this to work we’re going to have to stand back, way back from planet earth. Now if I was a nefarious alien with an idea to wipe the earth clean of competition I think I’d just screen off the sun for a few weeks, enough to freeze the earth’s surface, to say like the dark side of the moon, minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit (-173C). After a few weeks of radiating the ocean’s and landmass’s thermal energy off into space the surface dwellers of earth would be pretty much gone, mankind included. There wouldn’t be any point to a total energy blackout, taking the temp down to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit (-273C), as there’s 5.7 degrees (3C) of unavoidable radiation, a minus 280 is much easier and will do. Brrr, a dreadful way to go extinct.

While we’re out here we can see three of the things that make earth warm. There’s background radiation from the universe, an even smaller amount from the radiation of the stars in our galaxy and up close, the sun itself. The universe’s heat and the galaxy’s heat while small and so far as they’ve been studied, relatively constant, are the most basic inputs to the planet. Other than some escaping heat from deep in the earth all of the energy to have a thawed out atmosphere that supports a biosphere comes from the sun.

The sun might seem to a person in the course of a lifetime to be essentially static and unchanging. That sense, while seeming to be obvious from casual observation is far from the fact. Over days sunspots come and go, over months the rate of sunspots, and their intensity changes. Over years, decades and centuries sunspot patterns can be seen. And while man has a record of sorts that runs into centuries about sunspots, the radiation we are most interested in, the infrared that warms stuff up, doesn’t have much of a record, so much so that the old term “solar constant” is still used. Nor are the factors that might give us clues as to what happened in the sun, is happening or will be happening well documented. There is a paucity of research data sets that explores and records solar activity over years, not to mention centuries or eons that would give mankind a baseline to understand solar impacts on earth, which is understandable as satellite instruments are modern devices. For all we’ve spent, studied and learned there really isn’t yet much to use in assessing solar activity’s role in global warming. This makes a strong case for much more funding of solar activity by scientists whose motives are for good data instead of seeking to justify a preconceived concept.

Since we’re still standing way back there are other factors to consider. The sun has a magnetosphere; a really complex one, that affects what radiation gets out and away. This observation leads to some obvious questions. Foremost is what is a slice of solar radiation made up of, from the hard radioactive rays to the softest, longest and warming radiation, there is a proportion, which changes by how much and why? Then how does the magnetospheres of the sun and their positional changes affect the radiating emissions? Another is the earth seems to be a little elliptical in orbit so it runs closer for half the year and further for the other half so the question becomes when are we closest/furthest and the intensity varies, what is the effect on the major ocean mass of the southern hemisphere or the major land mass of the northern hemisphere? These obvious questions lead to many more, all of which will add to our understanding of how the planet earth warms.

Today I’m a “global warming” observer. It’s clear from the record the earth has experienced a warming atmosphere for more than 10 thousand years. What I hope to make clear today is that the sun and its radiation is the major source of energy to make an atmosphere warm enough for mankind to experience a life supporting biosphere. Today the sun’s impact on the earth is still in argument and in need of more and better data. While there are some who would declare that global warming is wholly the blame of mankind that assertion is made in a vacuum of enough good data, without the interrelationships of the factors theories put to scientific test. Yet to assert in the absence of high quality information about solar inputs in the kind of detail and depth that can be confidently used to make planetary wide conclusions and decisions leads to fool’s errands of huge dimensions.

With the energy incoming accounted for that leaves the questions about what happens to the energy when it gets here. Just keep in mind; the earth’s processes are completely dependent on the energy incoming from the sun. The incoming energy is by far the least understood and poorly accounted for factor in understanding global warming.


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