The Strange Resurgence of Climate Change

Hanoi Jane is back in town:

Appearing Monday on CNN, actress and left-wing activist Jane Fonda said she is prepared to “get arrested every Friday” in the wake of her arrest on Capitol Hill during a climate change protest last week and floated the idea of bringing governments to “a halt” if they don’t fight so-called global warming.

Asked what had triggered her to act, she said:

I can tell you exactly. It was Labor Day weekend and I was reading Naomi Klein’s new book called On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, and I was hearing Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate striker, and it really hit me how urgent this issue is and that I wasn’t doing enough. I drive an electric day, I recycle, I’ve gotten rid of plastics, but that’s a good starting place, that’s not a good finishing place. This is a collective crisis that required collective action, so I decided to use my celebrity to try to raise the sense of urgency, and I moved to Washington and I’m going to get arrested every Friday.

She added:

…The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Crisis told us last year we only have 12 years left. Now it’s 11 years left. We have 11 years left to try to turn this fossile fuel disaster around so that we don’t completely pass the tipping point and it becomes untenable to govern, untenable to have a stable economy, or any kind of human rights or anything. There’s just going to be one disaster on top of another…

I thought it was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But maybe they’ve changed their name. They might even be the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Catastrophe by now.

I think Jane Fonda is a serial attention seeker. For her it’s all about Me, Me, Me, and Me. And she’s probably envious of Greta Thunberg becoming a global superstar overnight. That’s what it’s all about: stardom.

I thought it was pretty much dead. So I’m still very surprised that Climate Change has been resuscitated as a Big Issue, and there are now Extinction Rebellion marchers getting arrested in hundreds in London. All apparently generated by one little Swedish girl with pigtails.

But that’s the way it’s done these days: you use children as battering rams. The Revolution will not be led by beardos like Marx or Lenin or Trotsky, but by finger-wagging children, who are actually ventriloquists’ dummies.

It’s not as if the climate scientists have come up with anything new. It’s just a new Public Relations stunt that’s brought the focus back on climate change.

It’s not that I mind. My attention has been on climate change for the past 18+ months, as I’ve slowly been constructing a global simulation model of heat flow in the Earth. It all seemed a bit irrelevant for most of that time. But now, thanks to St Greta (and St Jane) it’s all becoming highly topical again.

And just yesterday I managed to reproduce, in rough outline, the last ice age, between the Eemian interglacial that started 130,000 years ago, and our current Holocene interglacial that started 12,000 or so years ago. I started dropping snow at a steady rate at the end of the Eemian at latitude 57.5º N (Scotland), and watched the snow depth rise to about 250 metres, and then gradually fall again as the temperature of the surface rocks beneath the snow gradually rose.

Air temperatures drop very sharply (60º K) when the snow lands, because snow reflects 80% of sunlight back into space, instead of heating the ground and the air. And as the snow thins and fragments and turns to slush, I reduce the amount of sunlight reflected in order to raise air temperature, and melt the last of the thinning snow.

Yesterday’s model also included variations in solar radiation due to variations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (Milankovitch cycles).

In the graph above the present day is marked with a vertical red line, marked 0. I was rather gratified to see that the snow melted away completely when our current Holocene period started, producing a 5,000+ year long interglacial. The model also produced a surprising shorter interglacial about 50,000 years earlier (marked with a “?”), when one didn’t actually happen. In between, there was always snow rising and falling , with depths anything between 25 m and 250 m: it was a genuine 100,000 (1e5) year long ice age.

In my model the Holocene only lasts about 5,000 years. In reality it’s lasted over twice as long as that already. So I guess the real world is a bit warmer than my model world. Here’s a graph showing how temperatures and Milankovitch cycles varied over the past 250,000 years.

My model also predicts another interglacial period about 15,000 years in the future. So if we can get through the next 15,000 years, we’ll be all right for another 10,000 years. Perhaps this is why some climate scientists predict that our current interglacial could last another 30,000 years?

But I think it’ll only last that long if we can prevent the next glacial episode from starting, by somehow raising the Earth’s temperature. This is why I’ve become a big fan of CO2-driven global warming. I think we need more of it, not less. If the Gretas and the Janes ever manage to get their Zero Carbon world, I think it’ll precipitate the immediate start of a new ice age. And that will be far, far worse than the global warming they fret about.

But my model is a very simple model, and very far from complete. And I’m sure it’ll throw up more surprises yet.

About Frank Davis

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3 Responses to The Strange Resurgence of Climate Change

  1. Algernon Struthers says:

    So, science. It’s become a curious debacle, particularly regarding Climate Change, on which “99% of scientists agree is true” or is it “99% of CLIMATE Scientists…”
    Interesting article in Quillette re Scientific rigour or lack of it about Evolution, which has been forced upon students and the rest of us, because “Evolution is fact,” and deniers are morons.
    Either way, I don’t have a horse in the race but it seems that the truth of Evolution has become questionable. Scientific Research, (credit where it’s due) has realized that 550 million years ago, the world was covered in moss, but then at 537 millions years, relatively suddenly, life appeared; the full Monty; eyeballs, elbow joints etc. So rather than the slow crawl, as Darwin’s Evolution would have it, there was instead a ‘sudden’ jump from moss, to life as we know it.
    Scientists won’t talk about it (although don’t dare diss Darwin, or you’ll get the bums rush), and any hint of Creationism is still verboten! The Sciences have yet to think up alternatives to the long haul that was thought to be, Evolution.
    Interesting times. Frankly, I’d rather listen to Frank’s more frank assessments on such subjects.

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    I will give up smoking in 11 years.

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