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PERHAPS THERE IS NO DOUBT CLIMATE IS CHANGING, FOR NOW WARMING, BUT NATURAL FORCES ARE ALSO AT WORK, PORTENDING A POSSIBLE SHIFT IN THE FUTURE
Years ago, in 1999 and 2000, I contracted with a major New York publishing house to do a book on various scenarios for future disasters, from a scientific viewpoint. I wanted to see what mainstream researchers were saying about what I believed was coming, and so I set about interviewing, at last count, a hundred scientists (many of them the most prominent in their fields, from places like Harvard and Stanford). We spoke about the likeliest coming natural events.
It was fascinating how in every field -- seismology, meteorology, climatology, volcanology, astronomy, and epidemiology (disease) -- researchers repeated the same thing: that our planet is overdue for major cataclysms.
I traveled to a good number of places for that research, from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta to an Irish observatory that had among the oldest known daily meteorological records (handwritten back then, and now kept in a chilled vault) to the University of Tokyo.
The majority of scientists I spoke with were climatologists and meteorologists (weather seemed to be the biggest player), and I must say that no matter what country they were from, and what political persuasion, virtually all agreed that the climate is warming worldwide, with certain regional variations such that one area could have unusual cold, as last winter in the Eastern U.S., while the majority of other regions are experiencing record warmth.
I was informed of this, among other scientists, by a fellow who was director of the world's largest collector of climate data, the National Climactic Data Center (NCDC), and had served in that capacity under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He told me the global change in climate was the most pronounced ever recorded (he said data showed it was the biggest fluctuation in thousands of years), and I must also admit that many of their forecasts (this was fifteen years ago) of animal migration, intensified storm systems, increased snowfall during cold seasons, drought, wildfires, changes in local plant life, and so forth are now all around us, a matter of record and daily news stories.
They have occurred.
I say all this because the Pope is about the release a major encyclical, Laudato Si ("Praised be," taken from the Saint Francis canticle) that will focus on climate change and other environmental-social issues.
I personally hope the encyclical is not just about climate change. There are other environmental issues that may be as or even more pressing -- toxic chemicals, depletion and pollution of the oceans (only twelve percent of fish species are not in danger of one day disappearing), extinction too of land animals (I have been among the wild gorillas in the mountains of Rwanda, and it's heart-breaking to see the last few dozen hanging on, or to watch the beauty of wild elephant and flamingos and lions and rhinos, knowing they too are endangered, on the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania), the gross overuse of plastics and pesticides, the contamination of our food -- the food we feed our youngest -- and so on; look at cancer rates; those issues, which should be classified as "pro-life" ones, need to be addressed urgently. The degradation is occurring on an unprecedented scale, denuding the planet, and is caused by greed; a massive sin. To deny it may be something the oil companies want, but it is not rational.
I also hope the Holy Father's encyclical doesn't blame all of global warming on humans.
For while we no doubt contribute in some way to it (the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as registered in the heights of Mauna Launa in Hawaii, have increased from about 290 parts per million in 1900 to four hundred parts now and are rising quickly, which may be magnifying and trapping heat, like a greenhouse) -- while the atmosphere would be only as thick as a sheet of paper, if a replica of earth the size a beach ball were to be used (look how thin the air gets in cities like Denver, just a mile above sea level) -- I also believe there are natural forces contributing to the changes in weather.
I concluded, at the end of my brief sojourn into this, that what we are seeing in the current time -- intensified storms, drought, unusual hail, such warmth -- was likewise witnessed during what was called the Medieval Warming in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, before industrialization, when suddenly people could farm in places like Greenland and Iceland. That was due, they say, to what's called a "solar maximum" -- a lot of sunspot activity, which also may be happening now (along with a shift of the earth's magnetic field, which affects the jet stream).
Nor does the current warmth mean a permanent trend.
The Medieval Warming was followed, like the downward lurch of an elevator, by a long cooling period -- the Maunder Minimum -- due to a sudden reduction in sunspot activity.
In other words, the current warming could be followed by a sudden drop in temperatures, as was seen from the Middle Ages through the Revolutionary War (think about those cold winters at Valley Forge, or how the Hudson River used to freeze over near New York, such that folks could walk across it to New Jersey).
That drop in temperatures raised havoc with crop production, made the population more susceptible to hunger and disease, and served as the prelude to the great outbreak of bubonic plague now known as the "Black Death" because it led (in a few short years during the mid-1300s) to the deaths of one quarter to a third of those in Christian Europe (as well as in Asia, the Middle East, and northern Africa).
Interestingly, those climate shifts paralleled human advancement but without God: based on greed and immorality.
Does this sound familiar?
Crime was high; promiscuity was prevalent; commercialism along new trade routes and high fashion were all the rage (it was when they invented the vanity mirror). There was great corruption and scandal in the Church, which had moved from Rome to Avignon, France.
All that was followed by the gyrations in climate, and then a plague that spared neither clergy nor laity.
Corpses were piled like cordwood. Even wolves wanted no part of the dead.
These are matters to consider.
Yes, the previous two Popes were big on preserving the environment. It's God's Creation. Saint Francis taught great respect (not worship, but respect) for it.
And yes, for the time being, there is a shift in climate, and it has caused swerves in the weather.
But let us also note the other natural events like tsunamis and asteroids that were also seen in the medieval period, and let us consider that the sun is always a key player along with forces we haven't even gauged yet, and let us not forget that God and not man remains the controller of our weather.
-- Michael H. Brown
[resources: Sent To Earth]
[Said Mother Angelica about Sent To Earth: "If you didn't buy his book, you're missing it. It's not a scary book; it's a very good book. If you haven't bought it I would buy it. I think it's a great book, just terrific. I think it's important for my future and your future. I want you to read Sent To Earth. Why? It's logical, it's truthful, it's sensible, and it's God's way of saying, 'Let's be ready.'"
[See also: Michael Brown retreat, Raleigh, North Carolina area, June 20: prophecy, spiritual warfare ]
[Feedback from a chemist, Dr. Claude Culross: "In the science news lately is the work of Allan MacRae. MacRae asked a simple question: what occurs first, an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) or an increase in temperature (T)? It is currently assumed that an increase in CO2 occurs first, followed by temperature increase. But when MacRae looked at the data, he found that the conventional wisdom was incorrect.
"A common mathematical technique to make more
evident exactly when a variable changes path is to look at the slope with
respect to a second variable. So MacRae looked not at the change in CO2 plotted
against time, but at its derivative change (dCO2/dt) with respect to time. In
this way he was able to make visible that sudden increases in CO2 FOLLOWED
rather than preceded temperature increases. In other words, temperature increase
was driving CO2 increase more than CO2 increase was driving temperature
"In fact, although MacRae doesn't show it, it is accepted science that the phenomenon of temperature driving CO2 is what happens during Ice Ages. At the end of the ice age, while CO2 stays low, temperature starts to increase. It is only after temperature is increasing that CO2 starts to increase. At the beginning of the ice age, while CO2 stays high, temperature starts to decrease. It is only after temperature starts to decrease that CO2 starts to decrease. Of course, both of these behaviors are counter to the conventional wisdom that CO2 is the major driver of CO2. In fact, it is the other way around. The ice record of temperature and CO2 from Antarctica spans hundreds of thousands of years, and there are many cases of changes in CO2 FOLLOWING changes in temperature. The average lag time for CO2 response is 800 years.
"What these data demonstrate is that while CO2 does contribute to temperature because it absorbs radiated heat, it is a small effect compared to temperature driving CO2 increase release from the oceans. And this makes sense because water vapor is a vastly more abundant gas in the atmosphere (up to 4%, as compared to CO2's 0.04%), and molecule-to-molecule water vapor is a much stronger heat absorber than CO2. In fact, a simple calculation demonstrates that water vapor and clouds are responsible for about 75% of the greenhouse effect, and CO2 about 16% . This is why desert nights cool off so much faster and end up so much cooler than a night in a humid area. In the latter, abundant water vapor delays escape of heat energy into space."]
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