Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Next Ice Age - Part 1

Now that nobody is mentioning that Global Warming thing, I am worried that someone will start the anxiety all over again by 'predicting' a coming Ice Age.  They will make a killing buying up futures in electric blanket stocks.  Did you notice that the famous Dr. S. didn't even mention GW when he was arrested at the pipeline protest?  Truly a dead subject, not even the tricky semantic change to Climate Change can rescue it.

I was never against GW per say, but always said that it had no physics.  This is what we have suffered for years in the earthquake biz -- people finding 'patterns' that had no physics.  For some reason GW got away with this for a while.  These 'pattern matchings', like stock market predictions, always eventually come to tears.

So what is going on?  Dr. Roy Spencer quietly plots the black-body radiation of the earth.  This is good physics since it is immediately how we would tell the temperature of a planet some distance in space.

I just wanted to note the overwhelming influence of oceanic current disruption.  As we know from physics, water convection is the most powerful heat pump we have.  For the earth, ocean currents pump heat from the warm wet tropics to the cold dry poles.  Water vapour is a very efficient thermal blanket for the earth, as anybody who has gone camping knows.  Watch out for those clear nights when you freeze your toes off!  The Earth can't shed heat in the Trade Winds Belt, it has to radiate it up North and down South.

So, N-S ocean currents have good physics, but are they steady?  I'm pretty sure the Gulf Stream had a heart attack during the Little Ice Age.  That's when the Vikings who were colonizing Greenland got frozen out.  And lets think about the start of my favourite Mesozoic, when all the continents were jammed together.  The earth got stinking hot, and the large carbon-water cycle pumped out the juice.

In fact, when the continents are perfectly separated and arranged, we may get super-efficient N-S convection, and we have Snowball Earth.  Let's not think about that, shall we?

(I'll probably continue this, long articles get to me.)

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