Global Warming

Two nights ago I was setting up the 4″ refractor for a night of automated imaging. The National Weather Service had been predicting hot, clear skies for at least 5 days. Heat warnings had been issued for that same period of time. Even though my equipment is automated, there is still some set up and programming to be done each night. After getting every program seamlessly talking to each other (after only 1 reboot) I went into the house under predicted dark, clear conditions. Checking on the telescope feed a few minutes later it indicated that I had forgotten to change filters on the filter wheel. So stopping the telescope and clicking on the g filter solved the problem and the telescope went about it merry way of imaging. A few minutes later the image seems to have softened. So going out side revealed it was cloudy. The next morning it was raining all over the area. This would not have been so surprising if the weather service had indicated any chance of it happening at all. Especially since the last update on clear skies was less than 2 hours before it clouded up!

If you want a scary statistic look at the rate of change in CO2 emissions on Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii. In 2013 the CO2 emission was 395 ppm and in 2017 is 405 ppm. There is no doubt there is a change in CO2 levels in our atmosphere. There is no doubt that there will be an effect on our atmosphere and climate. You can’t shove 8 billion people on this planet without altering something. The climbing temperatures seem to have a valid CO2 caused increase.

Still, when you can’t even model a major, area wide storm  2 hours in advance, either by traditional methods or supercomputer modeling, I doubt the validity of predicting change over 100 years! Much climate change information is being presented as fact when the jury on the long term validity of modeling is still out. Scare tactics ensue.

In complexity theory small changes and factors can have major consequences often unseen in the models. This spring and early summer in Missouri, where I live, was for above average temperatures and below average humidity and precipitation. It was just the opposite. That long range forecast was way off the mark and it was only for several months ahead and not a 100 years. This brings climate prediction back to the same area where Chaos or complexity theory was first born, in the heart of trying to predict the weather!

Still, we are stewards of where we live. It should not take a presidential decree, act of congress, economic incentives or scientific scare tactics to get us to take care of our planet! You know…the place where we live and breathe!