Earth's climate puzzle

Earth's climate and weather can be a real puzzle!

Welcome to Climate4Kids, a blog where you can learn about how climate works, how weather works and many more wonders of planet earth.  

What is Climate? Does it matter?

These are some definitions of climate I have gathered:

Weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period.
 "our cold, wet climate" · 

A region with particular prevailing weather conditions.
 "vacationing in a warm climate"
Climate is the statistical average of prevailing meteorological conditions. It is always regional and applies over a given period of time. The most common climate variables are temperature, precipitation and wind pressure. On Earth, the climate depends on a region’s latitude, altitude, topography, vegetation and proximity to the oceans. Extraterrestrial forces that influence climate include the orbit of the Earth and planets around the Sun, and variations in the Sun’s intensity.

Climate:  definition, the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years.

Climate is the average weather usually taken over a 30-year time period for a particular region and time period. Climate is not the same as weather, but rather, it is the average pattern of weather for a particular region. Weather describes the short-term state of the atmosphere. 

Climate is the statistics of weather over long periods of time. It is measured by assessing the patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate differs from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region.

So what is climate? Is it a statistical value? The "average" weather as observed but not calculated? Whether there are four distinct seasons or less than four? Is it whether the weather is always warm, always dry, always wet? Perhaps a weighted average of each?
There really isn't a "true" definition of climate. For climate science, most often it's the average temperature (and maybe precipitation, etc) for an area over 30 years time. That's what the Global Average Temperature is based on. However, a calculated statistic is not reality in any way. The "average" height of humans is meaningless since there are always those taller and those shorter. Giving an average is just giving a number. 

What then does climate change mean? I don't know that there is a real definition thereof. There's a rise in the calculated global average temperature that was attributed to global warming. Then, it became obvious that "global" warming really wasn't global at all. Now, while the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period may not have been 100% global, current changes in climate are in NO way global. The Arctic appears to warm faster while much of the Norther Hemisphere is freezing--indicating there really is only LOCAL climate, not global.

Going back to "what is climate"? The most reliable answer would be the number of seasons a place has, yet even that is in no way constant. When I first moved to Wyoming, there was virtually no fall. I was so excited the first years the leaves turned colors. There wasn't much for spring, either. Mostly just summer and winter with a very brief divide between the two. Now, we have fall colors fairly regularly. I varies from year to year. Sometimes there's just winter and summer basically. Seasons, therefore, are not even a 100% way of defining climate.


Climate--it looks more and more like a magical term used for whatever purpose one wants. The reality is the only thing that really matters to humans is weather. Let's go with the idea for the moment that weather is what climate really means (since "extreme weather" is now used as evidence for "climate change"). So what is global warming and man made climate change? Global warming refers to the property of CO2 (and H2O also) that absorbs long wave radiation (radiation the earth reflects back to space. Incoming radiation is short wave radiation) and then reradiates the energy in all directions. The energy that is directed toward the earth and some of the other energy as well is sent back to earth, adding heat to the planet. Water actually does the same thing. Humans burning fossil fuels and changing landscapes are believed by some to have increased the global temperature.

Now we are back to what is a "global temperature"? As with climate, it's a mathematical construct. IF the global average temperature rises, what does that mean? Many say "climate change" but climate change really isn't relevant, only local conditions. There is no "global climate". Nothing in the man made climate change theory can in any way predict local weather changes. Nothing. So why then are people saying we have 12 years left to fix this "problem", school kids striking (I realize that may be to get a day off from class...), and so forth? Politics is why. Politicians often use propaganda and incorrect or exaggerated claims to frighten people, to keep themselves in power.  
There is no science behind the scary predictions. We simply DO NOT KNOW what is coming. There are no scientific psychics out there (nor any other kind, for that matter). Plus, again, the theory does not address local weather but rather makes broad, meaningless, useless claims about more extreme weather.
The weather--what we live in--changes always and will no matter what we do or don't do. Contrary to what the scare mongers say, the weather is not getting worse. Yes, it's flooding across parts of the US but it flooded longer and a much larger area in 1993. There have been tornadoes but there have always been tornadoes, more in some years, fewer in others. There's no clear trend in numbers or severity. The "permanent drought" in California is now officially over. Snow has returned to the Northern Hemisphere in large amounts, as has colder weather. Glaciers are growing in some areas, decreasing in others, as has always been.

Some examples of what might be called "extreme weather".  In the real world, these are common.  Extremely annoying, problematic at times, dangerous, but the events are what has always happened on Earth.  Nothing has really changed except our reactions.

We have snow, hail, high wind and a thunderstorms pictured here.

It's important to note that the media regularly exaggerate these events.  Four inches of snow in the past did not call for a "winter storm warning".  A blizzard warning involved many, many inches of snow and high wind.  High wind warnings seem to vary depending on the area—people in urban areas consider 30 mph high wind much of the time.  All definitions of these terms are subjective and can be ramped up or down at will by the media, scientists, etc.  The weather people do have standard definitions, but again, these can be modified to increase people's belief in the weather being more severe.

Back to climate and what it is. Other than to say it's a mathematical construct, it's really not definable in any meaningful way or perhaps it's defined in too many ways to be useful. So what is "climate change"? Again, nothing that is definable or useful. It comes down to weather and weather is always changing. There is no crisis. Later on, we will look at the weather in local areas to see how that is changing, which is really all that matters. I think you'll be surprised at how little things do change over time in the weather.

Spring flowers

Dark, stormy weather

Time to realize "climate change" really is nothing to fear.  We live in weather, not climate, and weather always changes.  We adapt.

(Feel free to comment on this article.  I am interested in people's reactions to this idea.  All comments are modified.  I will address them as quickly as possible.)

So you want to save the planet?

Suing to Save the Planet
There has a been a trend of school children exploited by their activist teachers into suing or striking for climate change attention (attention in general, if we are honest). This is (1) VERY, VERY bad for science and education in general and (2)very bad for the students and teachers who just look foolish and attention starved. It gives the appearance of being desperate and naive. The students look like little puppets, with their strings being pulled by the puppet-master. It all shrieks of INDOCTRINATION, NOT EDUCATION. This is meant to be very blunt. If one cares at all about science and the future, one must call out the charlatans and these ARE some of the biggest charlatans out there, using children as their tools for political gain.
However, IF you really want to save the planet and think CO2 is a problem, here is how you do it:

1. Demand your school keep all classrooms at 55°F during the winter and 85°F in the summer (if your school has heating and air conditioning). Assuming the school has not covered all the windows in a vain attempt to "save energy", demand the lights be turned off in the classrooms. If you must use lights, demand LED ONLY.
2. Demand NO computers, cell phones or other electronic devices. These are energy hogs and cause a great deal of petroleum fuels to be utilized. They must be abandoned. A chalkboard and chalk were fine in the old days and they will be fine now. Notes can be taken on recycled paper or scrap paper the students bring from home. This worked for centuries, so why change it?
3. All buses will only pick up students that live over one mile from the school. All others will walk or bicycle. Students living over one mile from the school can get extra credit for bicycling and not taking the bus. NO students may drive to school individually. They MUST carpool, take the bus, or they can be expelled. Parking lots will be covered with greenhouses for growing fresh vegetables. Teachers must also carpool or be fired. Students and teachers must attend/work at the school closest to their home to cut down on transportation usage. 
4. Students must wear a cotton uniform made in an eco-friendly fashion, preferably in their own country to cut or eliminate shipping of goods. Nothing but a uniform is acceptable and any student not wearing one will be sent home (if they rode the bus, they can sit in the gym and read a book until the bus takes them home).  Repeat violations should have the student expelled for failure to care about their planet and future.
5. NO hot lunches. All lunches will be cold and students will get extra credit for bringing lunches from home. School lunch programs that provide free lunches will provide only cold lunches. If students fail to eat said lunches, they will be instructed to bring their own lunch from home. FOOD WASTE IS UNACCEPTABLE. Monitors will keep track of those wasting food.
6. Your homes will be kept at 55°F or 85°F in the summer, just like the schools. Demand your parents do this. If they won't, you can claim they don't care about your future. 
7. Anyone whose parent works for oil or gas, etc, gets extra credit if they can get their parent to change to an "eco-friendly" job. 
8. Make sure your school and homes recycle everything. Lunch rooms must use paper cups, not styrofoam, if they serve drinks. Plastics, aluminum, etc must all be recycled. 
9. Insist your parents plant gardens, abandoning their pesticide-laden lawns in favor of producing more food for the planet with no transportation costs. Protest loudly if your parents or siblings drive anywhere they could have walked (anything under one mile away). Protest if your parents or siblings make purchases of new clothing or shoes when they do not really need them. Constantly point out that Used is Better. 
10. If your parent flies somewhere when a teleconference could have sufficed, wail and moan that your future is being destroyed by their actions. Better yet, make sure only one parent works, that you live in a tiny house and have few possessions. No electronics to speak of, of course. 
11. You should learn, along with your parents, how to preserve food by canning. Do not use a freezer because of the electricity usage. For meats, you can make jerky or can the meat. People did this for decades, you can too. Make your meals at home.  Eating out is very unfriendly to the environment. 

These are a start. IF you REALLY ARE SERIOUS, we'll see you start doing these "planet-saving" things and stop with the silly, useless, insincere lawsuits. IF we do NOT see you do this, we will assume you're just parroting what your teachers told you and trying to get attention. IF you don't care enough to get off your duffs and save the planet that you are going to be living on, we certainly don't. There is no reason we should. Your lack of action shows us that it is obvious that climate change is all a madeup money grabbing scheme and there's nothing to worry about. Ball's in your court, children.

(Note:  There will be unintended consequences to everyone of these changes.  Carefully consider whether saving the planet will in fact destroy humanity.)

Interesting phenomena

When is the coldest time of night? The answer: just after sunrise. This is often surprising to people. It makes sense when you actually think about it though. The sun has been out of sight for the entire night. Any heat stored on the surface is at a minimum at this point. If the sky is cloudy, the heat will have remained far longer than if the sky clears. When the sun rises, there is a period of time when there is not enough heat yet to warm the atmosphere and ground. As the sun rises higher, the heat is absorbed and the temperatures start to rise. 

As the temperature rises, winds may increase as things warm. Here, where I am in Wyoming, that time is around 10 AM.

Thunderstorms may form in the afternoon due to instability. The surface warms, air mixes and clouds form. 

The warmest part of the day is late afternoon, when the sun has been out for the longest length of time. The surface warms, air mixes, then clouds form, followed by thunderstorms if the humidity is high enough.

This is a sign in the Snowy Mountains of Wyoming. Afternoon thunderstorms are very common, as I can attest to due to many afternoon outings in the Snowy Mountains. Hiking was not part of these outings, of course.

Medicanes are cyclonic storms that occur one or twice a year in the Mediterranean ocean. They are not true hurricanes as their wind speeds are not sufficient. Winds are in the range of 70 to 95 mph, though the winds can and do go higher (In 1969, 1995, 1996 and 2017 there were storms that made hurricane strength, resulting in deaths and thousands left homeless). Medicanes have a cold core and they travel west to east, the opposite of hurricanes. Like hurricanes, they can produce heavy rains and flooding.

September through January is the most common time of the year for these storms to form. Meteorologists say there are about 2 per year.

Storms that are similar to Medicanes form over Labrador Sea and south of Greenland.

In 11/20/2017, twenty people were killed and a thousand homes damaged by a Medicane.
In 1969, a Medicane struck Algeria and Tunisia, killing 600 and leaving 250,000 homeless. Then in 1996, another Medicane did damage to the Aeolian Islands. 

Medicanes were not a phenomena I was familiar with until I started researching hurricanes. 


Fall is coming to where I live

It’s the time of year when we get spring in the southern hemisphere and fall in the northern hemisphere.  The reports and discussion on “climate change” decrease during this period because the temperatures often moderate.  Hurricane season does seem to ramp up, but the number and intensity of hurricanes is holding steady or decreasing.  Tropical storms are now reported on as if they were actual hurricanes, often elevated to "superstorms".  (If the media uses the term “storm of a lifetime” one more time……)

Are we experiencing “climate chaos” or something like that?  Not really.  The news media and others tend to need a good story and will elevate a normal occurrence to a climate catastrophe.  Since we live in a modern age and people like to travel, especially at holidays, there are ample opportunities to show flooding, blizzards and other travel disruptions.  People stranded at the airport make great news viewing and keep people afraid that the climate is against them somehow and that humans are the ones responsible for this.  People have been stranded by weather for centuries.  Wagon trains in America had to make it across the mountains before snow came.  Since the first date for snow is not ever known until it occurs (one can estimate only based on past weather) wagon trains got stranded in blizzards and people died.  This was in the 1800’s, before CO2 had increased.  Same for floods, forest fires, heat waves.  In the 1800’s, heat waves were brutal because there was no air conditioning.  One learned to stay in the shade and try to keep cooler.  People died from heat.  Back then, it was just a part of life.  Bad things happened.  It was sad, but not preventable.  It still is a part of life, yet now humans have the idea they control the climate and can avoid all of this if they just ditch the air conditioning that keeps people alive and go back to staying in the shade.  Getting rid of what was a solution to a problem in order to create a bigger problem.  There is nothing that says this will actually help, short of models and people who appear to want to destroy capitalism.  Their evidence is very, very shaky.  While there are claims that 97% of scientists agree and so forth, one can create virtually any statistical outcome they want by picking input data and choosing careful wording of questions.  The statistic is virtually meaningless unless you know the question and you know the way the poll was done.  Be careful not to fall for the use of such statistics to convince you that a lot of people agree with the science.  Besides, it’s not really how many scientists agree, it’s whether or not they can prove their claim.  Climate change/global warming is not actually well proven.  The physics may be there, but the way the input is interpreted is quite another thing.  There are multiple ways to interpret the data and many ways used to adjust and exclude/include data.  In the world of models and statistics, there are no certainties and many beliefs about global warming are based on over-confidence in the models and statistics.

Is it safe out there?

Recently, global warming marketing specialists have come out with games, etc., to push the idea that what their view of global warming is should be believed.  A game is not science.  It’s a game.  Again, the creator puts in what they want in and leaves out whatever they don’t want.  Not a very realistic way of presenting “information” on climate.  It’s more like a campaign to convince kids that they must all think alike and must believe in global warming/climate change/climate chaos.  It is very tempting for adults to do things like this.  Adults kind of like kids that believe everything grownups tell them.  Unfortunately, that leaves the kids open to being fooled into believing things that are not true if adults are less than truthful.  The caring way to teach kids is to encourage them to think for themselves, to learn all they can about a subject from all sides and then when they have enough information, to decide what to believe.  It also means telling them that science is not generally settled and ideas can be wrong.  It’s the proper scientific way to look at the world, as something we are continually learning about.  There are definitely a few things in science that are more or less settled, but those things are stuff like the effects of gravity (we can measure it, but not explain it fully—Einstein's theory and others go a long way in that direction, but could change if someone comes up with a better explanation), that viruses cause diseases, etc.  Things you can demonstrate over and over again with the result being virtually the same each time. However, predictions of future developments like climate or how far humans can progress in a decade, how to prevent diseases that are not caused by viruses but rather multiple factors working together, and so forth, are not settled and may not be for decades.  That keeps scientists in business, of course!   😉

As we move into winter and summer, depending on the hemisphere in which one lives, the opportunity to exploit weather to frighten people increases.  Remember, weather has always been there and humans are more capable of dealing with it that probably any other time in history.  Enjoy it and embrace it.  Plan as much as you can for the extremes, of course.  Still, there’s no need to lose sleep out of fear over a coming catastrophe.  We humans have been dealing with weather and climate for centuries!

The many seasons of earth, each with it's own unique weather.

A couple of updates

Earth Hour 2018  a feel-good exercise that does nothing

I blinked and missed it.  Earth Hour, the purely symbolic hour when the lights go out and people profess their about caring about the earth.  Note the “symbolic” part.  If this was a serious endeavor, the internet would shut down, businesses would shut down, TV would stop broadcasting, etc.  There’s  no substance here, just symbolism.  Virtually no electricity was saved.  In fact, a great deal was used promoting the virtue of Earth Hour and how important it was.  More electricity was probably used than was ever saved by turning off the lights for an hour.

It’s important to understand that lighting is one of the lowest electrical uses out there.  Many commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for decades.  Now, with LED, the usage will go further down.  For homeowners, virtually no difference is made when using LED or CFL lighting, unless they leave their lights on 24/7.  The LEDs work exceptionally well and have no mercury like the CFLs and don’t glow yellow as is common with fluorescent lighting.  Changing to these is fine, but one should not look for a major drop in their electric bill. 

It's good to care about the planet and to conserve energy, but it has to be real, not some feel-good useless ploy.

Weather 2018 East Coast USA

Four Nor’easters in USA:  This is not unusual.  Nor’easters have occurred in varying numbers and intensity throughout history.  This is not climate change, this is weather and normal climate behavior.  Some years there are more storms, some less.  There is more impact now because of airline flights, traffic and the sheer number of people in many areas.  It’s not climate changing, it’s people and where they live and whether or not they have realistic expectations of weather and climate.  More and more, people have very unrealistic beliefs about what is dubbed “extreme weather” and how often it occurred.  It’s not changing—we are.

2018 Arrives

A new year.  I thought I'd post pictures of weather and nature:

Dandelion blooming in December (wintertime and cold!)

Harvest moon

Deer in light snow

Sunrise over a snowy landscape

Fall colors through my window

Prairie grasses

Fawn (springtime)

Red sunrise due to smoke from forest fires

Total eclipse, August 2017


Daffodils, one of the first flowers in spring

Pincushion cactus blooming (June)

Hurricanes and Climate

With one hurricane hitting Florida (USA) and one having just hit Texas (USA), several Caribbean Islands, and other countries along its path, the news media is all aflutter with stories about "climate change" making hurricanes bigger and stronger and faster and.....Let's slow down and look at what the science says.

NOAA, the IPCC and many other such agencies have repeatedly stated there is not a direct connection between global warming and hurricanes. Non-scientists and media people do not seem to have gotten the message. It's a free-for-all blaming Trump, global warming, and apparently anything that comes to the speaker's head. There is no science in any of these statements.

Irma was downgraded to a Cat 4 before hitting Florida (it was Cat 5 when it hit the Caribbean), and Hurricane Harvey was a Cat 4 at landfall. Neither was an "apocalyptic" storm. Both were major hurricanes, but both Florida and Texas were hit by hurricanes in the past. It's nothing new. There was a 12 year break in major hurricanes hitting the USA. That is important to remember. Hurricanes have been more frequent and much less frequent in the past compared to today. As for more powerful, not necessarily. According to reports, Hurricane Allen had winds 5 mph higher than Irma. Irma had the lowest barometric pressure on any cyclone in the Atlantic Basin. There have been other hurricanes with higher winds and lower pressures in other areas of the world. Irma is a record holder for a specific area only. That is important to remember.

Even if Irma was the strongest hurricane recorded worldwide, it would not show that CO2 causing changes in hurricanes. There will always be a "strongest" and a "weakest". That's how superlatives work. Breaking records is not a sign of impending doom. The 12 years without a hurricane was a record, too. The longest streak without major hurricanes since records began in 1851. Should some significance be assigned to this? Some have called it luck. If we call the lack of hurricanes luck, should we not call the return "bad luck" and not global warming?

Let's look at what the Category ratings mean:
Cat 1 74-95 mph wind (119-153 km/h)
Cat 2 96-110 mph wind (154-177 km/h)
Cat 3 111-129 mph wind (178-208 km/h)
Cat 4 130-156 mph wind (209-251 km/h)
Cat 5 157 or higher (252 km/h)

Some people have suggested a Cat 6 should be added. There really is no point to adding such a catagory other than to try and frighten people or make them think weather is getting worse. Winds of 157 or higher result in massive destruction. While the category is based on wind speeds, it's also based on damage and Cat 5 is basically total destruction. There really is no reason for further categories above 5. Once an area sustains massive damage, it really does not matter whether the wind was 160 or 195. It might even cause confusion as people "reason" that a Cat 5 is not the worst, so they would worry less about a Cat 5 than they did in the past. After all, it's not a Cat 6. It might not make sense to some, but people do tend to reason along those lines and mistakenly ignore the warnings. Stopping at Cat 5 says this is the most serious level of damage you are going to see and it's the most dangerous.

Some reporters and others are saying warming ocean waters made Irma worse and spawned multiple hurricanes within a short time span. IF water temperature were the only factor and the water temperature where these hurricanes were spawned was warmer (it does not appear to have been warmer, but rather a couple of degrees lower than what would be expected to develop a major hurricane), there might be some validity to saying global warming made these hurricanes stronger. However, there are many factors involved in hurricane formation, strength, paths, and duration. Weather fronts can slow the hurricane and increase the amount of rainfall, resulting in more flooding. Fronts may "reroute" the hurricane from its modeled path. We just don't know enough about hurricanes to make any judgements on whether or not planetary warming will make them more frequent, less frequent, stronger, weaker, etc.

Extreme weather has always been around. In the past, many more people died in hurricanes because there was no early warnings, no wind-resistant housing, no way to evacuate if need be. The modern world, with it's automobiles, helicopters, radar detection of weather phenomena and all the technologically advanced medicine, phones, and other things we in the US take for granted (and other parts of the world) make it possible to avoid many deaths, and to rebuild afterwards.

Our technology has made us safer and more capable of dealing with weather events. There's no reason to alter our lifestyles when we really don't know if it would make a difference or not. We can build more hurricane-resistant buildings, add sea walls and so forth to help deal, which is just prudent actions.

The science says the hurricanes may be less frequent but more powerful if the planet warms. Remember though, the 12 years the United States went without a major hurricane strike. All the while, science claimed the world was still warming. So warming may actually reduce the number and not affect intensity. We simply do not know what will happen.

Fossil Fuels

There's a lot of talk about fossil fuels when people speak about climate and how it changes. For now, set aside whether or not these fuels increase the global average temperature. What are "fossil fuels"?

Fossil fuels include methane, propane, oil, coal--what are referred to as hydrocarbons. They have only C (carbon) and H (hydrogen) atoms. The simplest is methane, CH4, also called natural gas. Ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8 ) and butane (C4H10) are all common hydrocarbons used for things like home heating, butane lighters, etc.

In addition to methane and it's relatives, there's oil and coal. These are not pure hydrocarbons. Crude oil is not like gasoline or home heating oil--crude oil has various compounds mixed in, sometimes metals. Crude oil is distilled into various compounds, including gasoline, in a refinery. This is a multistep process.

Oil refinery

In the past, and probably some schools now, children were taught oil came from dead dinosaurs that were covered by rock and dirt and then crushed by soil or rock. Sinclair Oil has a dinosaur trademark, which adds to the belief. Today, the belief is oil was created from zooplankton, algae and dead plant matter on the bottom of lakes and the ocean. This material was then buried under sediment, creating an environment without oxygen. If oxygen were present, microbes could break down the organic matter. Over time, heat and pressure break down the organic compounds and produce kerogen--a waxy solid that then is further heated and compressed by the earth, resulting in liquid crude oil. This process can be shown to work in a lab--kerogen to oil via heat and pressure. Once a liquid, the hydrocarbon cannot return to the solid state.

The theory of algae and zooplankton forming oil is called "biotic" formation. While we call it "fossil fuel", there are not fossils involved, just organic matter trapped on a lake bottom. There is another theory of oil formation called "abiotic formation" that holds that oil is not formed from dead organic matter but rather formed deep within the mantle of the earth. Pressure and heat compress substances that are transformed to liquid hydrocarbons. This liquid, crude oil, migrates through the mantel and is trapped in impermeable strata. One piece of evidence cited for the abiotic theory is that oil and gas wells will regenerate after a while, allowing us to get more oil from a "spent" well. Much of the support for the abiotic theory is found in Russia and the Ukraine, though there were theories about abiotic oil dating back to the 16th century and the 19th century.

We do know methane can be created abiotically. It's found on Saturn's moon Titan in large quantities, along with other hydrocarbons. No dead organic material would have been available for the formation of the methane. Methane is also also formed in landfills as the buried material decomposes. Currently, there's no reliable, economical way to recover this gas (some have tried but the expense was large).

Even if the oil supply is diminished, there remains methane from various sources that can be used for heating and generating electricity.

Which theory is correct? No one knows. Oil formed long before there were humans to observe how it happened. It's possible that both theories are correct and oil comes both from organic matter and from deep in the earth's mantle.

Why is this importunate? One of the worries with oil, ignoring any CO2 factors, is what is called "peak oil". Peak oil is the point at which humans reach the maximum available oil and the supply then decreases rapidly over a short period. In other words, we will need more oil than we can find and recover. If the biotic theory is correct, oil is no longer being formed (although it is possible for oil to still be forming under the oceans and in areas where there were lakes, etc, since we don't know that all formation of oil ended in the past. It is likely that new oil would not form fast enough for our needs even if this is happening.) If oil is abiotic, then it is constantly forming and moving toward the surface of the earth. If it's both processes, then there is likely far more oil than we estimated and our supply is secure for many years (if not centuries). The biotic theory has the most evidence at this point. However, in the last 10 to 20 years, huge reserves of oil and natural gas have been found. No one really has a firm idea of how much oil is out there nor when it will peak, if ever.

Work over rig

Storage tanks

Pump jack
Drill rig (at dusk)

Drill rig

Polar Bears

There is a new book by Susan Crockford called "Polar Bears, Facts and Myths".  It is written for children (all ages, actually) and talks about the current state of polar bears.  Even though there are constant reports that polar bears are in trouble, the science does not back that up.  Polar bears are doing fine.

The book is available at Amazon (I won't link—you'll need to look it up yourself).  I purchased the Kindle version for 99 cents (USD).  The paperback is $12.99.  The book is 44 pages in length.

I must note that those who are sensitive—those who are used to food coming from the supermarket wrapped in cellophane or those who don't eat meat—may find one photo of a polar bear feeding disturbing.  Polar bears don't shop in a supermarket, don't "humanely kill" their food and don't cook it before eating.  If the reader is likely to be disturbed by this reality, I don't recommend the book for them.

This blog rarely recommends reading of a certain book or article, but I found this particular book quite good.  The author has written other books and papers that were quite interesting.  

(I am not being compensated for writing this in any way.)

Happy New Year 2017

It’s a new year and things are going well.  Polar bears are thriving, in spite of all the “could go extinct” statements that the news loves to showcase.  It has been colder in the northern hemisphere this winter, with snow falling in Greece, the Sahara desert and other places snow is not often seen.  Europe is caught in a deep freeze, though the Scandinavian countries of the far north are above average in temperature (meaning they are not as cold as usual, not that they are actually warm).  A storm system has made the Artic warmer than usual also.  Over the last two years, snow has fallen in many unusual places.  Perhaps this represents a return to a previous climate norm?  Hard to say.  The California drought has lessened and there are floods and many feet of snow.  Quite often droughts do end with flooding.  There’s probably a meteorological reason for this, which can be covered in a later post if the researching of this proves interesting and if the belief is true.  Hurricanes and tornadoes are somewhat down in numbers also.  Heat waves are reported to be “increasing” but one needs to recall that heat waves are arbitrary designations (the temperature needed to be considered as a heat wave and length of time spent at that temperature is just chosen, there's no formula or rules for the choosing).  Their definitions can change at any time without need for a reason.  In the past, 100°F/38°C days weren’t a big deal.  People lived without air conditioning and worked outside in the heat.  Many places still exist where this is true.  People adapt well.  

There was, of course, the “hottest year ever” title most probably being awarded to 2016, depending on which source you go with (some places may already be making that claim).  Calculating the Global Average Temperature is more of an art than science.  In fact, at this point, climate science seems to have hidden the actual value of the Global Average Temperature and just goes with anomalies (anomalies are the amount of difference from an average or a set number) using a value they apparently don’t want to share.  Not really science when it’s done that way.  If one is to worry about the climate and how it’s changing, we need data and real numbers, not changes from an unknown value.  For now, keep in mind that the changes are relatively small from year to year.  Some year changes are under .1°.  Hardly enough to notice.  Yes, it’s “warmer”, but it’s not “hot” by any stretch of the imagination.  The point is, with a statistical analysis, one can often prove anything.  Statistics are not reality in the usual sense—they are a mathematical look at the probability of something happening, not a look at the future itself.  There’s no need to panic—we’re not headed for runaway warming, nor are the oceans rising quickly, extreme weather increasing, and so forth.

The climate is doing just fine.  The new year is looking good.  Enjoy.

Pronghorn antelope in my yard

Mule deer buck scratching an itch!

Snow blowing—it's called a ground blizzard
No snow is actually falling from the sky, it's just blowing around

Ground blizzard—There's a lot of wind in this area much of the winter

Wild turkey looking at school bus driver
This turkey actually lives in town, wonders through the yards and streets

Three doe mule deer riding out the snow storm in the sage brush

Frost on a window—it always makes interesting patterns
It's on the outside of the window, of course.

Watching weather and nature is quite fascinating.  I recommend getting out and learning about critters and weather to everyone.  Don’t just read about it, experience it!

We're doing fine

There are some things about climate that need to be addressed.

In the United States, there is a children's entertainer pushing a doomsday outcome for global warming. He has gone so far as to call for jailing anyone who disagrees. Pretty harsh for a children's entertainer, I know. Other people have been calling for similar measures, such as investigating oil companies to "prove" they knew about global warming and did nothing. What does all of this mean? First, this is NOT science in any fashion. Scientists seek knowledge. They test theories, they do experiments, then the information is presented to the public. The public is then free to agree or disagree, as can other scientists. If other scientists question a discovery, that's fine. If someone can prove the theory wrong, then a new theory is required. Scientists don't jail people who disagree. The public and politicians who don't understand science, don't care, or have an agenda to push are the ones who behave aggressively, trying to silence all differing ideas.

Has climate changed? Of course--everything changes. Did humans contribute? Everything on the planet affects climate to some degree or another. The question is how much. People who believe that global warming is bad think it's a large amount. They constantly repeat the "hottest year ever" claim, thinking that a hot year proves humans did this. It does not. Not in any way. Reporting a record in temperature says nothing about the cause of that record. It's just a record, based on whatever data is being used. It's the largest or highest number in the series.

What about "extreme weather"? There have been fewer hurricanes and tornadoes than in the past. Wildfires are affected by many things--wind, fuel, location, wind, etc. If people leave a lot of dead underbrush, etc, there's plenty of fuel. Building among trees increases the chances of the home being burned if there's a fire. Sometimes, nothing can be done. Fire is a part of a nature and humans do not control nature, only their reactions to it. Same for floods--where homes are built, whether rivers are dredged, etc all have a large influence on flooding. Flash flooding is not as affected by such things, but there are still actions that can be taken to reduce the impact of flash floods. Heavy rains can't be controlled, of course, and have always been a cause of flash floods. Rain levels vary from year to year but no real increase has been seen in the levels. That is not to say there are not more floods in some places, fewer in others. That is how weather works and heavy rain is weather, not climate. There is evidence that precipitation is not increasing when averaged over the globe, though it's very difficult to get sufficient data to know for certain.

All of these weather phenomena are scary. However, they are a part of nature and always have been. People in developed countries do have an advantage--instead of throwing buckets of water on a fire, these countries have fire trucks, high pressure water lines, telephones, etc that really help in fighting fires. Fossil fuels made this possible. Same for having hospitals to treat the injured, and having helicopters and ambulances to transport people who are injured to those hospitals. Without fossil fuels, probably none of this would have happened. For hundreds of years, people died due to long distances from help, poor sanitation, etc. Reliable, 24/7 energy changed all of that. Who wants to go back to the "old days" with shorter lives and struggling to survive?

The earth we live on is doing fine and so are humans. There's no reason to drastically change how we live, for the worse especially. Fossil fuels have made life better and the claim these can cause CAGW really doesn't hold up when one considers the evidence. Keeping the planet as clean as possible is a laudable practice. However, there is no reason to fear modern life.