The global warming squawk box
By Linda A. Prussen-Razzano
During the month of March, the Tiger Cubs in my Den learned about weather. In the bottom stretch of the tornado belt, it came as no surprise that all my little Cubs knew about tornados. We talked about how they formed, how they ate, I showed them videos of tornados from the weather channel, and we ran through a mock tornado siren drill.
What surprised everyone, I'm sure, was how I began my lesson on the weather. I started with the most obvious, but often overlooked, heavenly body…our Sun. Using a plastic ball, a flash light, and a couple of eager Cubs, we simulated Earth orbiting the sun on its axis. I showed how its path around the sun is elliptical, not circular (known in scientific terms as eccentricity). I explained how Earth travels through space at a tilt, not straight up and down (obliquity). The tilt causes the change of seasons. Most of my Cubs were smart enough to guess that even though the Earth is closer to the sun at certain points, the tilt causes us to experience winter, not summer, when we are closer. Finally, I explained how the changes in gravitation pulls from other heavenly bodies move us around just a little (precession), which can also impact our weather.
Rudimentary explanations, of course, designed for First Graders, but they understood that when it came to the weather, the Sun was the first place to look. We talked about the speed of light, the composition of the sun, and how Sun storms can impact our weather, even though the Sun is 92,000,000 miles away.
After the games, snacks, and wrap up, my house settled down to a quiet peace. I flipped on cable to see what new movies were available. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was now in rotation.
I snorted in disgust.
What always irritated me about the Global Warming crowd was their insistence that Planet Earth was in jeopardy. Let's be honest folks: Planet Earth has survived meteor impacts, bombardment by solar rays, volcanic activity, and more. Planet Earth is not in jeopardy.
Humanity is in jeopardy.
What also irritated me was their insistence that historical models proved our atmosphere was changing dramatically. Now let's get this straight: 10,000 years ago, there were no combustion engines, no factories, no nuclear tests, no smokers, etc. That told me their hand-wringing was, quite simply, useless. The Earth experienced a climate shift without all these contributing factors. It will again, and there is nothing they can do to change it. So leave the factories, the coal miners, and every other income producing venue alone, and find some value to the life you have now instead of whining that you're not omnipotent.
I knew some genius, somewhere in the annals of time, had to arrive at the same conclusion I did. A quick internet search turned up just the man I was looking for: Milutin Milankovitch. Born in Serbia in 1879, this brilliant astrophysicist is credited with developing a complex mathematical model that explained orbital variations and their impact on our climate. These variations, known as Milankovitch Cycles, show how slow changes in eccentricity, obliquity, and precession result in dramatic changes in our weather.
What kind of changes? How about melting and growth in ice sheaths, extended seasons resulting in hotter summers and colder winters, and some of the other dire warning signs Global Warming folks are squawking about.
"…in 1976, a study published in the journal Science examined deep-sea sediment cores and found that Milankovitch's theory did in fact correspond to periods of climate change (Hays et al. 1976). Specifically, the authors were able to extract the record of temperature change going back 450,000 years and found that major variations in climate were closely associated with changes in the geometry (eccentricity, obliquity, and precession) of Earth's orbit. Indeed, ice ages had occurred when the Earth was going through different stages of orbital variation.
"Since this study, the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has embraced the Milankovitch Cycle model." (Earth Observatory Library, www.nasa.gov).
Milankovitch predicted these changes would happen, long before the money-grabbing, business-crippling, hysteria-driven schemes of the Global Warming Crowd came into being. So, unless they come up with a way to stop the Earth from moving on its present course through space, they should sit down and shut the hell up.
How's that for an inconvenient truth?
Linda Prussen-Razzano is frequent contributor to Enter Stage Right and a number of other online magazines.