Climate Change: Some Divergent Views
Climate Change Activists have been protesting for quite some time against the human inflicted climatic abuses. The concerns by various smaller groups had started in late 1980s but the first global effort was through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that made an international environmental treaty to combat "dangerous human interference with the climate system" in 1992. In the initial stages it was the concern for the environment but later “Climatic Changes” started getting prominence with the extremes of climate observed in different parts of planet Earth. In recent decades, strange climatic patterns have been observed that include extremes of temperatures (both high and low), extremes of weather patterns of rainfall, cloudburst, floods and droughts, extremes of cyclones and tornados and uncontrolled wildfires among other phenomena.
In these climatic changes, many believe that greenhouse gas effects by excessive carbon loads due to extensive use of fossil fuels is among the leading causes. Deforestation, methane and to some extent N2O, Halogenated gases and Volatile compounds emissions among others, are also believed to be contributory factors. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report mentions that in the last ~2000 yrs, CO2 has increased 47%, Methane 156% and N2O 23%. In a NASA report (graph shown below), global average temperature shows 1 deg C rise in the last 140 yrs which although not frightening, has huge impacts. There are several degradations taking place covertly too. A genuine question arises whether all the recent climatic extremes and phenomena that we are observing, is due to temperature rise alone.
What is Climate, how could it be defined?
The composite or generally prevailing Environment & Weather conditions of a regional average over years (Dictionery.com) Having parameters of Temperature, Atmosphere its Pressure, Humidity, Pollutants, Precipitation, Sunshine (vis spectrum), Cloudiness, and Winds. The author however, feels that it would be wiser to encompass the invisible components of the climate too within the ambit of definition incl the upper Atmosphere, Magnetic shield & Gravity that could influence the various parameters.
A false narrative is being spread the world over that Climate change is mainly the temp changes primarily caused by the rise in Greenhouse gasses. The author of the article strongly disagrees and highlights some strong divergent views.
The Greenhouse effects.
The major contributors of Greenhouse effects are the burning of Fossil Fuels and other sources of Carbon. These are non-renewable energy sources such as wood, coal & its products, natural gas, derived gas, crude oil, petroleum products and the non-renewable wastes. These fuels are used essentially for producing electricity, heat, farming related activities, Industries, transportation, buildings and some other purposes. Some of the coal mines have caught fire accidentally and are burning 24x7 for several decades emitting greenhouse and other polluting gasses. Similar are events with forest fires too. These greenhouse gasses include Carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4), Ozone (O3), Fluorinated gases (Hydrofluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons, Sulfur hexafluoride SF6, and Nitrogen trifluoride NF3), water vapour and some other trace gasses. Some of these gasses do enter the regeneration cycle (like photosynthesis, N2 cycle, rains etc) but some others may remain in the atmosphere for decades or even over a century. Aviation and Rocket Exhaust gasses that used to be in quantities insignificant a few decades back, have assumed significant proportions with phenomenal increases in their operations now. These are ATF,Hydroxyl Terminated Poly-butadiene (HTPB); Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine (UDMH); Mono-methylhydrazine (MMH) and Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen (MON);all high Carbon molecules adding to greenhouse effects. Worse, these combustion exhaust gasses in upper atmosphere mostly defy environmental regeneration cycles, remain suspended in reverse temperature zones of Stratosphere and Thermosphere posing greenhouse effects for long. These heavier molecule CO2 may not find it easy to enter convection current to descend below.
In spite of being major source of atmospheric pollution and greenhouse effects, the fossil fuel remained off the Radars of the world policy makers till 2021 Glasgow climate convention. Burning of Coal has been the second worst polluter in China, Australia, US and to very smaller extent India. These nations have a fairly large natural resource of coal used for energy production. Clean and renewable energy production may be the answer for the globe. Besides, some literature also suggests of about million-year cycle of global temperatures changing from ice-age to oven-experience, unsubstantiated though.
In brief the effects of temperature changes due to the Greenhouse Effects are/will be as follows: Climate changes (of season change, temp rise, more draught and heat waves, increase in unpredictable precipitations), ice/glacier melting, rise in river/Sea level, submersion of the low-lying coastal lands, unexpected flooding, frequent and extensive wildfires, increase in the arid lands, loss of vulnerable flora and fauna etc. If Greenhouse effects of warming the Earth continues unabated without adequately cutting off the incoming infrared contents of the Sun, the temperature will keep rising to the extent that sustaining human lives will need extensive heat adaptation and living without life support will get extremely difficult. Most of the temperate and cold vegetation will gradually disappear. Such temp rise will also expand all fluids (both water and air), air density and atmospheric pressure will fall (along with fall in the partial pressure of Oxygen), lapse rate of fall in temp with altitudes will diminish, lives at higher altitudes will be at perils.
Multiple factors of Environmental Erosion
We know deforestation is adding up to the atmospheric carbon load but we tend to miss out on other implications of deforestation…that loss of plantation will lead to impeded natural oxygen generation and will increase the solar heating of the crusts of Earth causing regional heat-waves, wildfires etc. Atmospheric ablations of huge chunks in the larger space rockets launches are something that activists are either ignorant or purposely mum so as not to ruffle big feathers(1). Extensive wildfire on the other hand has a vicious cycle with greenhouse effects, loss of green vegetation, drying of Earth’s crust, depleted environmental regeneration and climate changes. Year 2020 and 2021 witnessed unprecedented wildfires in America (Arizona, California, Colorado), Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Greece to mention a few. This will cause massive soil erosion and also reduce the capability of Earth’s surface to hold water thus resulting in floods/flash floods. Thus it is increasingly being felt that far too many variables may be at play simultaneously in the degradation of Earth’s Environment, of which Climate Changes could be one of the groups of manifestations.
Temperature related climate changes are one thing but there are many other factors too that are involved in the Environmental decays of planet Earth, making a large portion of it un-inhabitable either forthwith or in times to come. These include damages to the atmospheric blanket, over-exploitation of Earth’s crusts, Wetlands and highly polluting Landfills and so on. Nuclear accidents/attacks and retaliations could spell doom to the humanity and large parts of the Earth un-inhabitable.
There is another important factor that some scientific reports suggest…that even a small-scale climatic warming may be causing more volcanic activity(2) (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/get-ready-for-more-volcanic-eruptions-as-the-planet-warms/). They tried to link it to the size of Earth’s ice cover with frequent volcanic eruptions. However, there are many unanswered questions in this theory. Volcanic eruptions may have a vicious cycle with climate warming. It is a significant factor.
From Indian point of views, thanks to PM Narendra Modi who made it crystal clear at the Glasgow convention that India contributed <5% to the global carbon emission. Till now, every agency had tried to unnecessarily compare India with China & US as polluters.
In a study of climatic changes of increased rains and floods that are Human induced (3) (https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world/), it can be observed that Indo-pacific, Eastern & southern Australia, southern America and western Europe are especially affected. A glaring escape of longitudes beyond 40 deg N or S is remarkable. It is also worth noting that maximum instances involve those parts of North American (USA), European (UK, France, Italy) and Indian continents (peninsular India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand-Vietnam, southern & eastern China, Philippines) that lay between 15-40 deg N.Further 20-30 deg S seems another zone more prone to rains & floods (shown in the figure below). There have to be few factors common in these areas like human density, human activities degrading environment, temperature rise, vicinity of oceans, wind patterns that carry the precipitation clouds to those geographical areas and so on. These are also the zones where ‘undue heat wave’ phenomena are taking place. Arabian Peninsula & north African states (except those adjoining Gulf of Guinea) in general are spared from these unusual phenomena. There are some other areas too where such climate related phenomena are taking place as occasional exceptions.
Invisible Components of Earth Changes Influencing Climate
Earth’s magnetism is known to be changing (?)periodically apparently due to convection currents of molten core. Will uncontrolled exploitation of the Iron & Nickel crust have some impact? We don’t know and the mighty nations indulging it may not like us to know either. Another rubbish thought the author is unable to negate! Could the enormous electrical current flow of earthing into conductor soil of rotating Earth influence magnetic field through known or unknown principles in the exosphere & ionosphere? Possibly not but Studies need to confirm. If it does, its impact on Van Allen Belts and life on Earth could be huge. Ablation of Atmosphere by rockets is a recent human indulgence by mighty states. It is yet to show its effects on the total Atm Pressure but it may not be wise to wait for it esp when corrective measures are known.
Silver Lining on Carbon Emission
In the name of development, the rise in the CO2 emission in the world has gone berserk. The figure shown below are only of fossil fuel & Industrial causes of carbon emissions. While the average annual rise in Carbon emission have been increasing rapidly in the 20th century from 79.6 Mn tons per year in the first to 381.4 Mn tons in the second half, that jumped to 769 Mn tons per year in the first decade of the 21st century. A drop in the annual emission rates in the 2nd decade of this century is possibly a welcome sign of the various preventive and promotive efforts by the member nations esp the ones among the top polluters.A drastic drop after 2019 shows the effects of various lockdowns of Covid19 pandemic that included surface & air transport, manufacturing sectors and so on.
Preserving the Climate on planet Earth is the joint responsibility of all nations. There is no doubt that our planet has been exploited badly till now, in highly unplanned ways in the name of development. These activities have already induced Climate changes that may soon become irreversible. It is also felt that the worldview to the Climate issues is lopsided, largely going by the populist approach. Temperature change alone though important, doesn’t justify hogging all limelight. The author has a divergent view on the many issues of Climate Change that don’t merit being ignored. All issues of the greenhouse effect are cumulative. Besides, several other factors making large parts of our planet un-inhabitable cannot be overlooked. The mightier cannot be let have their own way in abusing our planet. If proactive measures are not adopted now, it may become too late to undo the destruction in many decades or centuries. There is a need to take stock of all forms of Carbon emissions incl those in the upper atmosphere caused by the now busy aviation and space activities by the mighty few. The dangers of nuclear conflagrations are ever increasing and voices must be raised for complete nuclear disarmament. There must be a unified approach to voice all fact-based concerns incl those that may not be liked by the mightier.
(1) Dr V N Jha; Massive Shock Waves of Space Launches: Big Threat to Atmosphere. https://articles.thecounterviews.com/articles/massive-shock-waves-of-space-launches-big-threat-to-atmosphere/; Issue 3:10; Oct 2021.
(2) Annie Sneed; Get Ready for more Volcanic Eruptions as the planet warms. Online contents. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/get-ready-for-more-volcanic-eruptions-as-the-planet-warms/); 2017.
(3) Climate mapping on how climate change affects weather around the world. Carbon Brief, an Online content. (https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world/).