Monday, October 1, 2018
School Scope: Some Thoughts On Climate Change - Norm in The WAVE
Published Sept. 28, 2018 at www.rockawave.com
School Scope: Some Thoughts On Climate Change
By Norm Scott
I’ve been reading two books on climate change. “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet” by Mark Lynas was written in 2008 and has a chapter for the kinds of changes the earth will see based on each degree rise in temperature. By the time I got to the final chapter on the impact of a 6 degree (centigrade) rise I was sweating bullets over the future of our species. And Lynas doesn’t predict a massive impact will all take a very long time. Basically he said our last chance to stop the runaway climate train would come around 2015. Uh-oh, I think that train has left the station. [See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T9IjSEqT74].
The other book is more recent but still comes to many of the same conclusions as Lynas does. Adam Frank’s “Light on the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth” delves into the question of older disappeared civilizations on earth (mostly due to immediate and drastic climate change leading to drought) and potential civilizations on other planets and how long they may have lasted before fizzling out. Frank studies climate change on earth and on our nearby planets. He assumes that if there was civilization on other planets they in some way influenced the climate of their planet negatively and may have disappeared.
Mars had a lot of water at one time. Where did it go? Climate change of some sort. Venus was once more earth-like but is now a 600 degree nightmare after runaway climate change. I know some wise guy is wondering if it was due to all those SUVs. Frank sees some hope in space as an escape hatch one day. Maybe.
There are scientific indications through miles deep ice cores that tell us what climate looked like in the past that the Arctic Circle had signs of semi-tropical plants at one time. There are so many natural influences that affect climate, from volcanoes to the impact of growing and eroding mountain ranges. We pretty much recognize that there is such a thing as plate tectonics where continents move away or crash into each other --- see the Himalayas, an outcome of India crashing into Asia. If we go back 3 billion years we would not be able to breathe the air from a mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere because the oxygen we breathe today was not there and only added over many millions of years by CO2 breathing oxygen creating micro-organisms, which promptly went extinct when the air became too oxygen laden for them to breathe. These organisms in essence committed suicide.
Mass extinctions have taken place on a number of occasions. The dinosaurs and many other species were gone soon after a large meteor crashed into an area near Mexico and caused massive and immediate climate change around 60 million years ago. An even bigger event took place in what is known as the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction of 250 million years ago that supposedly led to the extinction of 95% of ocean life and 76% of land life. A temperature rise of anything over 2 degrees over the next few decades will lead to massive disruptions.
As we see record breaking hurricanes I wonder what climate change deniers have been thinking. Or drinking.
Norm will keep blogging at ednotesonline.com even as the waters lap at his laptop.