Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Physicist Looks At Climate And Clouds

You can start by looking at the video. Then you can study the slide show [pdf] that goes with the video. And finally you can check out the discussion at Watts Up With That.

Is the physics a done deal? Not yet. There are two or three years of further data and analysis required to give a definitive answer. What we will have at the end is repeatable experimental results to inform our understanding instead of the usual "we have correlation which proves the cause we posit is likely." One of the ways correlation can lead you astray is that it is easy to get cause and effect backwards. i.e. does climate cause the rise in CO2 or does CO2 rise cause climate? Ice cores show CO2 following climate by 200 to 800 years. But not in all cases. Sometimes the rise in CO2 precedes changes in Earth's temperature by a few decades.

And even if clouds/cosmic rays are only part of the answer it will diminish the role of CO2. And there may be other partial answers that further reduce the what we think is the effect of CO2 on climate.

The science is really not settled. In fact science is never settled because new data can upset our old understandings. We will still have to wait 10 to 30 years to see if the revised model predictions (if the CLOUD experiments hold up) match reality. So far the model predictions are not holding up well. At all. One of the reasons is that the PDO and other ocean effects were not included in the models the predictions came from. We can fix that. Make new predictions and then see how they match reality.

We need to get the science on a much firmer basis before we make planet wide bets in the hundreds of trillion dollar rage. Other wise we will be wasting our money.

In the mean time the best course is to invest in lowering the cost of alternative energy and energy storage so the equipment gets deployed on a profit making basis rather than a loss making (taxation) basis. That will do us good even if CO2 has only minimal effects on climate.

I'd like to see more effort going in to fusion as well. I like the Polywell Fusion experiments for a possible quick route to fusion. But there are other routes being investigated. All of them should be pursued with those likeliest to give us a near term answer being pushed the hardest.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

The American Thinker has a good article up with the basics.

And the best part? We Will Know In Two Years

2 comments:

Ms. Cris Ericson said...

2010 NEW YEAR'S EVE CLIMATEGATE PREDICTION BY WORLD'S UNKNOWN PSYCHIC:

THE MOON'S ORBIT WILL MOVE A TINY FRACTION CLOSER TO THE EARTH AND THIS WILL CAUSE TSUNAMIS, PARTICULARLY NEAR THE RING OF FIRE CURRENT SYSTEM AFFECTING CALIFORNIA.

PROOF:
http://www.achernar.btinternet.co.uk/fm.html
December 31, 2009 Ephemeris
Three earth positions opposite moon. Opposites attract.
[submitted by astrologer Cris Ericson]

M. Simon said...

When it comes to gravity likes attract.