Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pondering Climate Change

On Judith Curry's blog one of the denizens made an interesting statement. I don't totally agree with that statement, but with a little modification it represents the main uncertainty in the Climate Change debate: “A key relationship turns out to be the heat capacity of the atmosphere and water vapor, not the other GHGs, compared to the heat capacity of the ocean. Note: that’s a key relationship in the physics, not fully incorporated in GCMs.” The bold is what I added.

Jeff Id made an interesting post on Whatsupwiththat concerning the Oceans versus the atmosphere. I have spent a lot of time on the ocean chasing fish and notice a lot of things about water temperature that change the way fish bite. Surface temperature, thermoclines at different depths, currents and upwellings, surface temperature breaks, there is a lot happening in the oceans.

The oceans heat with the radiation of the sun and gives up that heat much slower than the land masses will. In the summer land masses heat quickly and by the ocean or large lakes, create their own low pressures and afternoon weather. Changes in the strength of the trade winds create the El Nino Southern Oscillation. What causes the changes in the strength of the trades is a little less well understood. Hurricanes have different frequencies every year based on surface temperature, the trades, upper level wind shear and African dust storms to name a few influences. If there was no CO2, methane, chlorofluorocarbons or NOx in the atmosphere there would still be water vapor and ozone. The sun varies in cycles of about 11 years, 22 years and different periods up to tens of thousands of years. The Earth rotates on a tilted axis and revolves in slightly elliptical orbit around the sun. The length of the Earth day varies by a few milliseconds due to gravitational forces, earthquakes even weather/climate events. The depth of the atmosphere changes because of the variations in the Earth's magnetic field. Solar wind, galactic cosmic rays, electrical fields, volcanoes, wild fires, dust storms, oh my! There is a crap load of things going on!

Climate Changes, but climate change due to man is just a touch too complicated to fully understand, because we don't understand the climate without man's impact. It is a big puzzle and I like puzzles, but you can't go banging a few pieces in with a hammer and say you solved it. So I say, "I don't know, but what the heck, why not do a few things to hedge our bets?" Most of the talking heads think it's all are nothing. I will never understand people.

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