Friday, April 25, 2014

Responding to the CO2 scaremongers

A friend posted a link to the picture below and I just had to respond. My first post was "we've been here before" and I added a graph of temperature and CO2 over the last 600,000 years taken from Vostok ice core data.

That garnered two responses:

1. "David, but previously the irradiance of the sun was significantly lower. There is more to the equation than just carbon. We also have to consider the strength of the sun (which is continually increasing as it matures) and the strength of our protective magnetic fields (which are decreasing as the mantle cools). In the past, large amounts of carbon were a good thing. They no longer are."


2. "We've seen David McGruer's lies and nonsense before. He's a typical cut-and-paste global warming denier despite nearly 30-years of increasing global temperatures and unprecedented levels of CO2. There will come a day when this nonsense is criminalized and its propagators hung in the public square, a day after a catastrophe never before seen by humanity. And that will be the end of it. It doesn't matter what he or anyone else believes. Nature is the final judge."

There could be no rational response to the second posting, but the first writer is a friend and I decided to go deep on my response.  I elected not to address the non-issue of CO2 directly, and instead show the logical case for a solar and cloud caused modulation of Earth's temperature.  This will be a bit long, so be prepared to read a few pages.
Thank you for bringing the sun into the discussion. Recent discoveries of a matching pattern in astrophysics and geological records of climate have revealed a mechanism that correlates very highly over all time frames from years to centuries to millennia and even billions of years. Here is the simple logic of it:

Fact 1. Our planetary atmosphere is a balanced equation unless an external energy source is introduced.

Fact 2. The Earth is bathed constantly by a combination of solar radiation and cosmic rays. These are external energy sources, both of which fluctuate. Cosmic ray density varies with the position of our solar system as it oscillates above and below the plane of the Milky Way galaxy in 100,000 year cycles, and as the galaxy rotates and our proximity to the spiral arms changes over much longer time frames.

Fact 3. The Sun has cycles of intensity and when it is hotter, Earth feels it too.

Fact 4. The solar wind acts as a shield around the solar system, deflecting cosmic rays. When the Sun is cooler, more cosmic rays reach our atmosphere. Thus, the cycles of the Sun and our position in the galaxy create a two-variable system that determines the density of cosmic rays reaching Earth.

Fact 5. When cosmic rays hit our troposphere they ionize particles and promote cloud formation. When the atmosphere is more cloudy sunlight is reflected back from Earth and so our climate cools.

Thus, we see a two variable system wherein the sun may intensify and warm the Earth, creating a positive feedback loop by also deflecting cosmic rays and leading to fewer clouds. When the Sun cools, more cosmic rays reach the atmosphere and create more clouds. Clouds are the magnifier here. The graphic below shows the interaction visually.

Here is a graph demonstrating the extremely strong relationship between cloud cover and cosmic ray penetration of the troposphere. The data covers the last few decades as I believe it is satellite data for cloud cover. This is the scientific validation of Fact 5 above. Next I will show a much longer time frame, and thus a much more robust evidence of validity.

This study shows the level of atmospheric CO2, cosmic ray flux and planetary temperature over the last 500 million years. Note the regular fluctuations of cosmic rays as our solar system changes position among the spiral arms of the galaxy. Cosmic ray intensity is of course higher in the arms than in the more sparse areas in between. Note the very high relationship between temperature and cosmic ray flux. These researchers have calculated that knowing just one variable - cosmic rays intensity reaching the Earth, predicts about 80% of the change in Earth's temperature over all of planetary history. Note also that there is no significant correlation between CO2 and temperature. One variable is a nearly perfect predictor (cosmic rays) while the other is useless (CO2). 

I realize I skipped the medium term (since the industrial revolution, during which almost all man-made CO2 has been produced. I will put it in the next post.

This study covers the time between 1860 and the present. In this case, sunspot cycle length is used because over such time frames the intensity of cosmic rays changes very little, but the solar wind does change significantly. More sunspots indicate more solar wind, which heats the Earth and also reduces cosmic ray flux in the troposphere and thus reduces cloud cover. Note the extremely strong relationship between temperature and sun spots, while there is almost no relationship between temperature and CO2. In particular, the period 1940-1970 was marked by planetary cooling, coinciding closely with lower solar activity, yet CO2 was rising throughout this interval.

So we have now seen a logical, testable, and verified cause and effect relationship that can be demonstrated over the last 30, 150 and 500 million years (and other intervals too, as short as seasons). A very objective measure that is far more accurate than CO2 over all time measures.

I want to show you one more graphic - the one that I consider to be so elegant that I feel it is poetic in its beauty and ability to explain Earth's temperature cycles. I will make the picture large so you can enjoy its full impact.

Imagine our solar system as a dolphin swimming through the plane of the Milky Way. As it swims, the dolphin jumps above the plane, comes back down into the plane and then dives under the plane. With each full cycle, our Sun and Earth alternate between the sparse and lower cosmic ray area above or below the plane and the denser are of the plane. When we are inside one of the spiral arms the cosmic ray intensity is greatest. In between the arms space is relatively empty and cosmic rays diminish. Once you spend some time imagining this, you can see vast spans of both history and the future unfold before you and you can see back to the great warm periods when life of all forms flourished, dinosaurs roamed the north pole and the times when Earth was a block of ice and our cities were buried under thousands of feet of glaciers that lasted tens of millions of years.

It is the warm periods when life creeps out as glaciers retreat, oceans liquify, carbon dioxide is liberated from ice and decayed matter and is dispersed into the atmosphere to fertilize and feed the great plant explosion that comes with the warm sun and feeds all the animal life. In truth, carbon dioxide is the very fuel of life on Earth, and when it is more abundant, life in all its forms flourishes.

Now, does any of this seem like the thinking of a person with no regard for science, who is closed to new discoveries, who is not capable of discerning facts from among a broad data set? In fact, it is a skill I worked hard for and am proud of.

A word for the fellow who wishes to kill people who disagree with his CO2 faith. I am over 50 years old and have been studying this subject with a passion for over a decade. In my earlier years I completed a college degree in sciences, including physics, chemistry, math and some biology. I then went on to do a degree in Education at McGill University and followed that with a research Masters degree in exercise physiology, during which I studied statistics, experimental design, how to critique published research and how to synthesize the essence from the academic literature. I then taught for one year at Concordia University in Montreal in the department of Exercise Science and one year in the faculty of Education at McGill University. Next I taught in the arctic for four years. For the last 21 years I have been a professional financial advisor, with thousands of hours of study of economics, politics, philosophy and finance. If you are able to engage in peaceful, reasoned discussion then I welcome it. If all you have is hate-filled ravings such as you have demonstrated above, then I will not address you again.

To the first writer, I love exchanging ideas with you. I find you have a broad interest and strong intellect and I believe you too are fueled by ideas. If you ever find my writing to be insulting then please tell me as I value our chats very much and that is never my intent.

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