I was cleaning out and sorting some old files, records and the accumulation of “stuff” that builds up during a lifetime the other day. I came across a news clipping from the Washington Post in 1978. At that time I was writing a couple of novels and my wife had cut it out for me as a possible idea for a novel plot. The story concerned observations of the Sun and sunspot activity and those effects on earth’s climate. The report was about the 11 year cycle of the Sun for sunspot activity which has ebbed and waxed for untold millenia.
In 1977 the sunspot activity had been at a minimum level on the 11 year cycle and was starting its increase. That year the surface temperature of the Sun decreased by 11 degrees which is only 1/2 of one percent change. That small change however set off alarm bells in the scientific world of astronomy and climatology. The belief was that if the change was as much as 2% for as little as 50 years the entire earth would become a giant snow ball as it had been millions of years ago. Human hubris was a bit more subdued at that time than it is now. Currently it is believed that man can have a major impact on our climate ent.
The recent disclosure of the hacked emails from the East Anglia research center contrast so sharply with what we should expect and hope for from our scientific community. For several centuries now the whole point of scientific research has been to explore and share openly data and consider all opinions and theories before reaching conclusions. The research scientists have historically even challenged their own findings and sought alternatives answers to their initial beliefs. This was the method and means used by our great scientist and scientific achievements of the last three centuries. Ben Franklin, Joseph Priestly, Einstein, Harvey were all part of this tradition. They believed that research should be shared and openly debated. That was the whole point of the London Society in the 18th century. The remarkable and accomplished physicist Richard Feynman of Manhattan Project fame and Noble fame believed affirmatively that it was the duty of the theorist and scientist to release all data and supporting hypothesis and actively invite challenge. True science is not a consensus game. It is not politics where the winning votes determine acceptable theory. E=MC2 is not something that is reached by consensus.
The sunspot activity did abate after a while and the earth did not freeze in the ’80’s. But maybe it will resume a more vigorous spurt in the near future. There are many, many moving parts that affect our climate. To have some scientists take an Inquisition type approach to theory and policy based on their pet theory by demonizing dissent is dangerous and disappointing. You would think we could trust them to be true to their scientific heritage and not be activists for any cause other than the truth. There is a great biography about Feynman called “Genius” which I highly recommend to you. He was too liberal for my taste but I admire truth above all ideology. He was the one we called upon to investigate the Columbia shuttle tragedy and the cause for that failure.
The seas will rise if for no other reason than the Great Lakes are draining. The last Ice Age, which was only 12,000 years ago pushed the earth’s surface down thousands of feet and now that the weight of the Ice is gone the earth’s crust is rebounding and will continue to do so until the Lakes are dry. We can’t control the tilt of the earth, the solar flares, the Sunspot activity or the currents in the oceans and the El Ninos. Those effects and events are beyond the capacity of Man to influence. They will change, alter and evolve and have profound effects on our climate. I would sure like to hear much more from the astronomers and physicists about climate change, not to mention the geologists among us. The Sun is and will forever remain the dominant force in our climate. When it belches the earth feel the effects like a sledgehammer. The Moon weighs heavily on what happens and will happen here on earth. The water vapor in our atmosphere is the greatest greenhouse gas there is by far. They have the power to cool or heat specific regions. Surely you have noticed how hot it can be on a sultry summer day even when there is cloud cover above.
The environmental alarmists are proposing policies that will dramatically affect our standard of living and the very nature of our society and the freedoms or lack of freedoms we may enjoy. Rather than allow a clique of UN panderers dominant the argument and suppress any contrary view we should have the research be an open book. All data should be subject to scrutiny and debate. The truth is what it is. The data will reveal factors one way or the other. I am especially troubled that these folks in the Green community have such a vested financial interest in only one approach. They thrive and live on those enormous grants from governments and currently the governments want only one answer rather than pershaps and inconvenient truth. Before we allow a centrally controlled economy and a sever restriction on our choices and options in life let’s have some sunshine at high temperatures on the climate change debate. The science community needs it for its own future. Rigged research and contrived scientific results pollute the lab and tarnish their credibility. We all need that credibility. Otherwise we might soon have the thermostat cops knocking on our doors. Of course they will be Federal employees and that will create or save hundreds of thousands of new jobs. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com