Climate change: Part 1

• Climate change versus hurricanes and forest fires.
• A new book on climate change.
• What causes climate change?
• Can we predict climate change effects?
• Should the USA buy insurance against climate change?

Just to clarify: this blog and (I hope) the next one will center on Science and Energy.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS CONTROVERSIAL, but recent events in September of 2017 force us to think about it once again. I’m referring to hurricane Harvey which went through Houston and hurricane Irma which hit Florida, both causing billions of dollars of damage within the past month.

Fires shown by red dots. In the western United States dry conditions and extreme heat are causing widespread forest fires. Terra satellite image taken on 27 August 2017. Click on image to enlarge or to source (then back-arrow to return to blog).

BUT I’M ALSO REFERRING TO FOREST FIRES which are raging across the western part of the USA. Until this week there were about 40 of them. Many of these fires were started by lightning strikes.

As stated here: Particle pollution from wildfires, long known for containing soot and other fine particles known to be dangerous to human health, is much worse than previously thought, a new study shows. Naturally burning timber and brush from wildfires release dangerous particles into the air at a rate three times as high as levels known by the EPA.

Fires shown by red dots. Smoke obscures much of the Pacific northwest. Smoke haze captured by satellite on 5 September 2017 due to huge number of fires that have broken out during this very dry, very hot summer. Click on image to enlarge or to source.


A NEW BOOK ON CLIMATE CHANGE HAS JUST COME OUT, called Climate of Hope. The book gives the data behind climate change. It goes on to take a different look at how the USA needs to deal with climate change, when the US federal government is stymied due to political ideologies. In my opinion, this book offers sensible and practical solutions on a city-by-city basis, rather than waiting for the federal government to act.

In this Part 1, we excerpt from the book’s pages on data and facts in regard to climate change, as follows:
• The greenhouse gases capture some of the sun’s radiation energy as it passes through. Without such gases the earth would be like the moon (253F in daytime, -243F at night). And unlivable.
• Water vapor captures 60% of the solar energy, carbon dioxide (CO2) is next, methane (natural gas) is third. This stored energy in the atmosphere drives the entire weather cycle: winds, cloud creation, hurricanes, heat waves.
• Burning fossil fuels (e.g. coal), cutting down forests, and degrading soils increases the CO2 in the atmosphere (see graph below). This causes the atmosphere to retain more energy, and has two effects: (1) it causes temperatures to rise – hence global warming, (2) it makes the atmosphere more energetic, just like heating a pot of spaghetti sauce makes it bubble more.

Click to access book on Amazon.

• The overwhelming consensus of scientists who study this agree that current levels of man-made greenhouse pollutants are large enough to seriously disrupt the climate, and that these effects can already be measured.
HOW THE CLIMATE ALTERS IS COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT TO PREDICT. Climate is a linked system, where one change can produce numerous reactions. A warmer atmosphere can mean more droughts. But it can also mean more water evaporates from the oceans, which can mean more snow in Canada, and stronger hurricanes in the Caribbean. [IDP: the recent forest fires and hurricanes in the USA seem to support such changes.]

• Climate change dissenters think we shouldn’t take any action to reduce the risks because we can’t predict how big the changes will be or how soon they might arrive. But of course we buy fire insurance even though our house may never burn down.
• [IDP: A 10-year drought occurred in parts of Australia about 15 years ago, and everyone I talked with over there came to believe in climate change. Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest in US history with $75 billion in damages, devastated New York and New Jersey in 2012 (Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost $108 billion). As a result, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, became a believer in climate change. Probably a lot more people living in Houston and Florida are now believers.]

I also found this quote in my research: A 2012 prediction by the National Hurricane Center states that due to global warming the number of future hurricanes will “either decrease or remain essentially unchanged” overall, but the ones that do form will likely be stronger, with fiercer winds and heavier rains. Wow….right on the money!

IF ANYONE SERIOUSLY DOUBTS GLOBAL WARMING, see the graph below, which shows a close correlation between carbon dioxide levels (the primary greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere and average global temperatures in recent years. I cannot think of any other explanation for this graph, other than made-made greenhouse gases causing the heating of our planet. I discussed this graph in a previous blog.

CO2 concentration superimposed on global temperature change, from 1880 to 2015. The correlation after 1980 is particularly striking. Click to enlarge or to source, then back-arrow to return to writeup.

For more details on global warming caused by human activities, you can read an excellent article by two Australian colleagues, Julian Pfitzner and Mark Schubert (click here).


CLIMATE CHANGE: PART 2 WILL BE COMING SOON. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your opinion on climate change….please add a comment in the Comment box at the bottom of this page.

If you would like to receive by email each blog I write, please write Add me to your send-out list in the Comment box at the bottom of the blog (you need to add your email but it is totally protected). If you decide later not to receive these blogs, it’s easy to unsubscribe any time with one click.

Feel free to share this article with someone who might be interested. Just click on one of the “share boxes” at the bottom of the page (you will need to input your email and/or password). Or you can share on Facebook if that’s where you receive this blog. Or just ask folks to google on the name IanDexterPalmer

The Gray Nomad ….. think well and be informed
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, Where is your God?……
Roaring deep calls to roaring deep at the thunder of your waterspouts; all your breakers and your rolling waves have gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
[From book of Psalms, chapter 42].

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

Thank you for posting this subject on your blog, Ian! It is so difficult for me to understand the thinking of non-believers when evidence is in front of them as is the research by numerous scientists across the Globe! I esp appreciate the book reference as well! Thank goodness that some are taking it into their own hands from Jerry Brown to Michael Bloomberg and the mayor of Pgh. I’m sure there are others who are transforming cities and states. I think it is time to take this question to the top: What harm is there to give the benefit of the doubt and do everything we can to protect our planet, conserve our natural resources and utilize what God gave us for free – like wind and air? What a gift to give our children and future generation–a green and beautiful planet, colorful coral reefs and fresh air to breathe!

Julian Pfitzner
Julian Pfitzner
6 years ago

An excellent blog, Ian. The topic is somewhat contentious but only to a relatively small group of people. The scientific consensus is strong but not 100%. I like your reference to house insurance. In Australia about 1 in 100 houses will be badly damaged by fire in any given year but most of us insure against this relatively rare occurrence. We could all build another home but there is no Planet B. If we despoil this one there is nowhere else to go. Common sense suggests that we must make every effort to keep this planet suitable for human habitation. To do otherwise is folly.

Karen Larre
Karen Larre
6 years ago

A very important topic and great information. Thank you, Ian!

Dale Bryant
Dale Bryant
6 years ago

Another scientist/engineer like you has some believable views on climate change in one of his books. Gregg Braden has some data and views on this subject, and I wish I could remember which of his books contained this. I will find it. His view was that man isn’t the sole cause of these changes, but that the Earth goes through unavoidable cycles. I believe the cycles he refers to are every 5,250 years. The Mayans, Incas and other past intelligent civilizations have known about this. Thanks for sharing your views and data on this, Ian.

6 years ago

Thanks for sharing Ian. Great job!
Climate change is directly proportional to human population growth in the past century! Our population grows substantially and people become rich. World rise in consumption and population will eventully lead to many new challenges such as hunger, clean water,….
I think what’s best is to think about how to control population, and efficiently use our resources, to save the Earth!

Mary Ann
Mary Ann
6 years ago

Thanks for a good blog

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x