Saturday, January 26, 2019

Weather Makers

Weather Makers is such an over the top climate change book that it could turn even a true believer into a skeptic. This is in spite of its effort to present the science to help convert us to the urgency of doing something about climate change. The book presents many examples of species and land areas that are suffering due to the change in climate. It contains research on climate and the models and tools that have been used to identify the warming. However, it also presents the many feedback cycles and contravalent factors. Should we just encourage more airplane contrails to reduce the impact? Do hybrid cars really help - or is it the roads that are problems. We have been doing climate science for a half century now. How accurate were are predictions for today based on past assumptions? What assumptions have changed?
I also wonder what our society will look like 10,000 years from now. Could a society with our technology have existed 10,000 years ago, and we just don't see any record of it? Did other societies trigger climatic change like we have? I also wonder what is important and what is not. Are we already on an irreparable path towards turning earth into a sauna? Or are we just experiencing random blips. How much of the change we see are just random variations? It is a difficult question to answer. We only have detailed records for the past century, which happens to correspond to times of heavy increased CO2. We have tried to use ice cores, trees, and various other means to extrapolate past conditions. But, how accurate are those? Do we have other factors like airplane contrails and particulate matter that conteract CO2 in the air? There are so many different questions that could leave us in a state of paralysis.
The book also seemed to focus on "burning" to produce CO2. It even posited that if everybody switched from a hummer to a Prius, we would be on track. This is the type of thinking that could get us in real trouble. What about the "urban heat island"? What about our land use devoted to cars. We are trying to solve a global problem caused by our current societal choices. A simple surface change will not fix it. We need to make the appropriate sacrifices to be better stewards of the earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment