Climate Science


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #84
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to write based on above image. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

The science is conclusive, the evidence is in, there is no debate, 97% of climate scientists agree that the earth is warming due to human release of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. The ice is melting, sea levels are increasing, there are more extreme weather conditions and unless we do something now the planet and its inhabitants are heading for disaster twelve years from now.

The current climate change debate is centred on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from human use, creating a greenhouse gas effect which is unnaturally warming the planet. CO2 is the source of all life on earth. CO2 has also varied in quantities throughout history. Current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are 400 parts per million (ppm), death of plants occur around 150 ppm. It would seem logical that higher volumes of CO2 levels are a surer way to sustain life than falling CO2 lower levels.

The temperature of a planet’s surface is determined by the balance between the heat absorbed by the planet from sunlight, heat emitted from its core, and thermal radiation emitted back into space. (Emissivity-Wikipedia). Of the 100% heat that the earth receives from the sun an average of 30% is returned to space through the albedo effect. The albedo effect describes white surfaces reflecting the sun’s heat and dark surfaces absorbing the sun’s heat. Thus icebergs and snow reflect the sun’s heat and dark seas absorb the heat. Clouds also have a great albedo effect, high level clouds absorb sunlight and low level clouds reflect sunlight back to space. Yet in many climate change models the impact of clouds are omitted from the equation.

The Earth’s atmosphere reaches 372 miles from the Earth’s surface and performs an important function in keeping the Earth’s temperature in a range where life can thrive and reproduce. This atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, .93% argon, .04% carbon dioxide and .03% other gases.

A major influence on climate is the earths wobble and orbit changes around the sun which effects solar variation on this planet. Solar flares and sunspots also add to the variability of predicting climate.

The discussions by scientists, media and politicians to-day is based solely on human emissions of Carbon Dioxide CO2 into the atmosphere. The greater the emissions, the greater the green house effect, leading to increased warming of the planet. Or so the climate models assume. Some questions to consider. What is the ultimate level of CO2 we need to survive? CO2 levels have been greater in the past than current levels, so what’s the big deal? If a CO2 increase from 200 ppm to 400 ppm increases the earth’s temperature by 1 degree does it naturally follow that the earth’s temperature will increase by 1 degree for every 200 ppm added?

If we agree that the planet is warming. Is this due to human interaction or the natural cycle of this planet? This is where I get very irritated over the whole discussion.

There is an old maxim ” a theory that explains everything, explains nothing”. Scientists seem fixated on human carbon emissions to the detriment of alternative theories of climate change. This makes me suspicious. Where are the enquiring natures? Where are the debates? Climate science is becoming a religion in itself with carbon emissions as its dogma. Any alternative view is heresy and must be ridiculed and closed down without discussion. Scientists seem to be in the forefront of politicizing the climate change debate with exaggerated predictions. Is it because they see this as a way of receiving government grants to fund their research.

The following is a March 25,2019 press release from the United States Department of Justice. ” Duke University agrees to pay $112.5 million to settle false claims related to scientific research between 2006-2018. Duke submitted claims to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that contained false or fabricated data”.

I viewed on YouTube, a University of Oxford professor who believes in climate change, Tim Palmer, confessing that modelling climate change is a huge problem in theoretical physics. Also on YouTube, a University of Bath mathematician who is a climate change advocate, admitted that mathematicians could not represent all the important processes that go into determining climate as there is a natural unpredictability in complicated systems. Modelling climate change is based on formulating equations describing the physical system and solving these thousands/millions of equations using super computers. I’m unsure of the risk of error, but would assume it’s pretty high.

We have a very complex climate system. This complicated climate system, that is not completely understood by scientists because of a multitude of factors, is politicized and broken down into simplistic sound bites for public consumption. We are told that humans are greedy creatures that put economic wealth before the well being of our planet and our own survival. That humans want to destroy nature and the environment in pursuit of the good life. The public is constantly whipped into mass hysteria by the media, in presenting a barrage of extreme weather conditions on television and social media. Instead of lazy rhetoric and overblown images we need real debates and new international scientific organizations that are willing to look past politics and actually plan for the future.

We need to separate the planetary pollution issue from the climate change issue. No sensible minded person wants to see this planet become one huge garbage dump. So we should do our best to encourage governments to legislate against overuse of plastics, packaging of consumer products, better use of recycling and clean up of our inland waterways,seas and oceans. Scientific and economic resources should be redirected from carbon issues to more tangible anti-pollution measures. But let’s not confuse these pollution issues with climate change.

The carbon debate is just one component of a larger issue. If the effects of climate challenge are a natural evolution of our planet, then we need to plan for the effects of this change on future generations e.g. rethink housing zoning in low lying lands or close to large bodies of water.

Let’s not get carried away with hysteria, but have a rational, informed debate on climate. The human race must evolve along with the climate cycles of our planet and so we humans should be trying to dance in harmony with our planet and each other.

The Emblem

This is a fictional story responding to a prompt by Peregrine Arc. The first seven lines of this story relate to the prompt though not all are the exact words .

https://peregrinearc.com/2019/04/13/april-writing-prompt-the-artists-secret/

The waiter was just arriving with my soup when the sound of arguing shook me out of my reverie. A man in a very sharp suit, with a red tie and his hair combed back was arguing with one of the museum staff.

“I placed it there. I know it. The emblem, it’s gone”.

“Keep your voice down”, hushed the man in the red tie, “It’s got to be here somewhere. But we need to find it before midnight tonight. That’s when the gala and ball ends. Otherwise we’re all goners”.

I smiled softly to myself. Everything was going according to plan.

I’ve always had a passion for antiques. I am fascinated by the symbolism attached to emblems and the significance people attach to them as objects of power. The eagle standards, carried by the Roman Legions and Napoleons army, drove soldiers to great acts of bravery and sacrifice. Likewise for the regimental colours, held in such high esteem by the British army. To lose these emblems meant a great loss of face and disgrace to the soldiers. Likewise relics of Catholic Saints and various crystals were thought to have powers to heal. However, the one emblem that had haunted me all my life was Veronica’s Vale and now I had the chance to add it to my collection.

The Veil of Veronica is a Christian relic of a piece of cloth, which according to tradition, bears the likeness of the face of Jesus not made by human hand. The image was imprinted when Veronica wiped the face of Jesus at the sixth station of the cross. For the last ten years my agents had been searching for the Veil and had only recently discovered that it was stolen from a private collection to be handed over to the man with the red tie this very night. However, $10 million had assured that the Veil would be in my hands to-night.

Federico, my most trusted agent, appeared in the doorway and beckoned me. I followed him to a secluded alcove at the back of the museum where a furtive stranger awaited.

” Do you have the Veil” I enquired with breathless anticipation. He nodded his head.

“How do I know it’s authentic” I said.

” Trust me” said the stranger “it’s authentic, I guarantee it”.

” I need proof” I said “or no money”.

The stranger smiling, placing his left hand on my right shoulder. I stared bemusedly into his face as he slid the knife between the ribs into my heart. I descended into darkness. I was stumbling in the dark, my hands reaching out in desperation trying to find my way. A dim light suddenly appeared before me, growing in intensity. I saw the outline of a man crowned with thorns, suffering intense pain. He approached and stood over me. A drop of blood, from the crown of thorns, fell on me and I returned to oblivion.

Someone was slapping my face gently. I awoke to see the strangers smiling face hovering over mine and the Veil of Veronica laying atop my jacket over my heart. I transferred the $10 million to the strangers account a second later.

Judgement Day


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #83
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to write based on above image.. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

Peter Logan died alone at the age of eighty four. Their were no mourners at his death, no funeral, just placement in a cardboard box, followed by incineration in a furnace. His earthly body disposed of and forgotten. He was unmarried, an only child, no family, friends or acquaintances to pray for his soul. Perhaps prayer would have echoed in the cosmos and changed things.

Peter craved power, he craved control and he craved instant release for his sexual desires. He tried a few mundane jobs after university, but he felt ignored, unwanted, his potential not used. He became frustrated with his life and was seeking change. It was then that he met Father Bob.

Father Bob was always on the lookout for potential candidates to the priesthood. He met Peter while standing in a long line-up at the local coffee bar and they struck up a ten minute conversation. Father Bob was intrigued with the politeness and serious demeanour of his new acquaintance and they found a table to continue their discussion. He asked Peter for his views on God and if he would be interested in attending a two day retreat on discernment for the priesthood. Peter felt a little intrigued at the prospect and answered in the affirmative. They parted on good terms. Father Bob pleased with the results of his chance encounter and Peter apprehensive but excited at his future prospects.

A year later Peter entered the seminary and five years later was ordained a priest. He couldn’t believe his luck. The power and control he had always craved was now his. He had total control of his parish congregation. He was an eloquent speaker and they hung on his every word with their simplistic trusting faith in Father Peter and the institution he represented. It came as quite a shock to the parishioners when forty years later Father Peter was accused of multiple crimes of child abuse. One brave adult had come forward with his story and once this became public another sixty came forward with statements of how they were repeatedly subject to sexual abuse by Father Peter. Father Peter was eventually defrocked, spent time in prison and died alone.

Peter drifted as in a dream. He was aware of a disembodied voice.

” Hello Peter, I see your belief system was Roman Catholic. Your religion taught that after death you would enter heaven, hell or purgatory depending on how you lived your moral code. You weren’t very successful at this, were you. Your name sake, the apostle, asked to be crucified upside down as he was not worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. Well Peter, I have reserved a special corner in hell for you, where you will be suspended upside down to contemplate your sins for eternity”.

” Oh. Here’s the next one”.

” Let’s see. Your belief system was Muslim. You’re an ISIS suicide bomber, killed twelve included five children. I’ve reserved a special place for you, right next to Peter. Enjoy eternity”.

All religions have their predators.

The Cross


“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24
My cross
Is heavy
I stagger
And fall
Beneath
The weight
Of this life
Trying
To rise
Disillusioned,  hurt,  cynical,  angry,  revengeful,  troubled
I am apt to blame others for my shortcomings and failures
I aim to
Stand
Upright
Shoulder
My burden
Move ever
Higher to
Carry my
Cross

Uniformity


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #82
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to write based on above image of a black hole. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

The driver was completing his orbit, the length of the rotation diminishing with each circuit, soon he would be within the gravitational pull of the black hole. I had to do something. I flexed my hands and shoulders, relaxed my body and sat upright in the seat. Closing my eyes, I focused my mind, concentrating on the image of the driver. When I was sure I had a clear picture I opened a portal in my mind, and sent an energetically charged message through to him. Change course, change course, change course. I repeated this message for the next ten minutes, it did not seem to be getting through and my psychic powers were weakening. Frantically I recharged my energy and tried one last time. I knew I had failed when I heard the distant hum, my body slumped as the school bus pulled into the parking lot. Rebel Commander, over and out.

Looking out the window, I observed my fellow students swirling around, waiting to be sucked into the black hole of St. Patrick’s High School. I stepped from the bus and responded to the gravitational pull.

First class was science and Mr. Harris droned on in his usual monotone, time ceased to exist, his soothing voice lulling our minds and body into torpor. The topic we were studying was entropy “the degradation of matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity”. The Rebel Commander rests his case.

Drama class after recess and Miss Sullivan had some important news for us. ” Today we are going to plan a day of affirmative action to protest the increase in class sizes and the resultant cuts in teachers. We have to teach the Conservative government a lesson that they cannot arbitrarily dictate their regressive policies to the detriment of the education system”.

I raised my hand ” Does that mean no school “.

‘Certainly not” replied Miss Sullivan ” you will be expected to turn up and we will march together, to the square, to hold our protest rally. Now, we have to discuss the nature of the banners and who will speak on behalf of the students”.

I raised my hand ” Why do students have to take part in a political rally, surely it’s an issue for the teachers and their unions”.

“Don’t be silly Robert, we are all in this together. No one wants a reduction in the number of teachers like the Conservative government is proposing. We must stand in solidarity with each other. Now let’s start on the banners”

I held my opinions close. The teachers had all the answers, we were just automatons to be programmed into the system. Uniformity, that’s what the education system turns out, uniformity of ideas and uniformity of outlook. All the energy, dreams and aspirations of students squeezed into that black hole of uniformity. But not the Rebel Commander.

At last. Final bell and all that pent up energy exploded from the black hole and expanded into the universe.

Regret.

This fiction is in response to the below prompt by Peregrine Arc

https://peregrinearc.com/2019/04/01/april-writing-prompt-the-last-piano-note/

You’re at a burial, dressed in shoes you didn’t have time to polish or lace up correctly. It’s a grey sort of day, overcast with rain coming soon. They’re lowering the casket into the ground and all you can do is stare at the stubborn knot in your shoelaces.

Someone lights up a cigarette after the service is over and you move away to avoid the smoke. Your heels slip into the soft ground and you get mud on the hemline of your clothes. You stop to catch your breath after a long day and close your eyes. You smell rain in the air.

There’s a piano you can hear in the nearby chapel playing a soft tune. You think they’re playing “Amazing Grace” and then it changes. A sudden thought strikes you: “I must get back into the car before the last note. Once the last note plays, it’ll start raining.”

You’re heading back to the car when you see a man standing at the fence. He’s dressed in overalls and a flannel shirt, looking directly at you. You glance away but are drawn back by the man’s intense stare. He’s holding something in his hand. A letter? A book? You can’t tell. You feel you must find out, before the last piano note…

This is my fictional response to above prompt by Peregrine Arc.

I sauntered over to the man, returning his stare.

” You seem very distressed” he says, nodding in the direction of the mourners “Did you know him well”.

“I barely knew him. How about you”.

He gestured to the note book he was holding ” I’m a reporter for the Daily News. Just doing a general interest story. I heard he was a local celebrity”.

” I wouldn’t know”. I replied and walked away.

A figure emerged from the crowd of mourners and moved in my direction. I sighed and picked up the pace, scurrying towards the parking lot. I heard the click of heels running along the pathway.

“Mary, Mary, wait up. You can’t be leaving already. You have to throw your flower on the grave”.

I turned towards my sister, irritation showing ” This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have let you talk me into coming here. I’ll see you back at the house”.

I felt the first splashes of rain and started running towards my car. I could hear the final refrain of ‘Amazing Grace’ echoing from the grave yard. Feeling wretched and lost I fumbled for my car keys, pushed the remote entry button and stumbled into the drivers seat.

I sat there, staring into space, trying to ignite some feeling. Surely I should feel something. I tried to resurrect some Christian spark of forgiveness and reconciliation, long since buried. There was no spark to ignite the flame. Here was an opportunity, but Divine Grace was absent and it was not well for my soul.

” He was changed by the war” my mother used to say, ” he wasn’t the same man when he came back”. My mother was a strong woman, never backing down from his rants and abuse, as he continued to battle his raging demons. But I wasn’t my mother and spent my childhood hiding in my room, wishing he had died in the war and never returned. I left home at eighteen and never looked back. So here I am, having not thought of my father for thirty years, trying to come to terms with my feelings. Except there were no feelings, no emotions, just emptiness.

My sister said he had changed in later years, come to terms with his demons and volunteered in various capacities in the community. He had become a respected figure. Perhaps there was one emotion I felt. Regret. Should I have attempted reconciliation? My mother would phone me frequently but I never wanted to talk about him. I had no interest in how he was doing. The tears started coming unbidden then. Perhaps from regret. I closed my eyes and prayed.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 130

The Hustler


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #81
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to end the blog with these words from Emily Dickinson ” We grow accustomed to the dark”. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

Joe thought in binary terms. His mind a whirl of dots and dashes signalling certainty in all his actions. You are either right or wrong, with me or against me, winners and losers, light and darkness. As Joe stood on the bridge looking down upon the murky depths of the waters swirling beneath, he was thinking, life or death.

Dark clouds were looming on the horizon, swirling in his direction. He stared in defiance embracing the coming darkness, his body electrified with the anticipated intensity of the storm. It suited his mood and the state of his soul. For Joe was a trojan horse offering himself as a charming gift to the world, while a dark malevolence lurked within.

Joe was a hustler cloaked in the respectability of his wealth management business. He preyed on the innocent and vulnerable, he could sniff them out, like a good hunting dog. He joined the local community churches looking for victims. He smiled, he charmed, he hugged and he gratefully accepted the congregations money to invest, guaranteeing them a fixed double digit return. He saw nothing wrong in this. It was the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest and he prided himself on being a survivor. Every dollar he cheerfully accepted diminished the light in his soul until only darkness reigned. People were just gullible objects to be manipulated.

Joe had never invested his clients money, rather it went into funding his own extravagant life style of fast cars and the best casino hotels. He was continually on the prowl for new clients to keep the pyramid stable. Now the illusion he had spun for so many years was slowly dissipating as the truth became known. He was in serious trouble.

He was in a pensive mood and had retreated to the bridge pondering his options. Choose a new environment and start over or just jump from the bridge and end it all now. He smiled to himself. It had been a good ride, he would never allow himself to serve time in prison, now that he had tasted the good life. There were always suckers around to be fleeced of their money. The storm was now overhead and he became soaked to the skin. Embracing his discomfort he turned away from the bridge and ran towards his destiny.

At some point in the past Joe’s soul must have been illumined by light. But as he took his first tentative step to self justify the wrong he did to others, his soul became a little darker. Small negative habits denying the humanity of others escalated and he began to walk in the dark. We grow accustomed to the dark.

———————————————————

We grow accustomed to the Dark - 
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

Emily Dickinson