This article is an excerpt from Chapter two in the Second Edition (published as an eBook) of my book The Chicken Little Agenda – Debunking Experts’ Lies. You can find out more about the book here, and can order the book from this link.
The Greenhouse Effect, Ozone Hole, and Other Acorns
Do you remember the story of Chicken Little? Chicken Little was hit on the head by an unseen falling acorn and convinced everyone that the sky was falling. This is a chapter about acorns, big ones and little ones. Some of these acorns relate to other acorns, perhaps because they fell together or close to each other. Some are lone acorns. A couple may even become oak trees, holding up the sky so it won’t fall.
The Global Greenhouse
Everybody understands how a backyard greenhouse works–right? Sunlight shines through the glass and gets trapped inside as heat. Well…maybe not.
In January, 2009, Dr. Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner at the Braunschweig Technical University, published a landmark paper in the International Journal of Modern Physics about how backyard greenhouses really work, and how that relates to a “global greenhouse.” To everyone’s astonishment, sunlight entering a backyard greenhouse does not get trapped to warm the greenhouse when it changes its wavelength. Instead, it warms the ground inside, which warms the air. Since the air cannot escape, the inside warms up.
Before Gerlich and Tscheuschner, the scientific community universally considered the Earth a greenhouse. Our atmosphere is quite transparent to sunlight. Light reaching the surface is reradiated as infrared energy–what you feel emanating from a warm pavement. Since the atmosphere is less transparent to infrared than visible light, everyone believed that it retained much of this reflected energy. Just like a backyard greenhouse, incoming energy was thought to be trapped by a global greenhouse. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor were thought to act like greenhouse glass. Their presence in significant quantities was thought to affect global temperature dramatically. Since human activity creates a great deal of carbon dioxide, we were assumed to be the cause of global warming.
Upon review, there is a perfectly acceptable explanation for observed warming that does not rely on a global greenhouse. Data points that did not fit into greenhouse models, now fit nicely into a revised model that does not rely on a global greenhouse. For example, 750,000 year-old ice cores taken from the Greenland ice cap unequivocally show that changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide followed—not preceded–temperature changes. Consequently, increasing carbon dioxide could not have caused the rise in global temperature–so, many researchers simply ignored these inconvenient data points.
The concept of a global greenhouse has turned out to be a non sequitur. Gerlich and Tscheuschner is replete with calculations, but the bottom line is that backyard greenhouses do not work as we had assumed, and neither does the atmosphere. A planet’s temperature will reach equilibrium largely as a function of how much energy the planet receives from its sun, how much land surface is exposed, and how much incoming energy is reflected back into space. On the Earth, the amount of exposed surface is pretty constant, so the only variables are the sun’s energy, and how much of that energy reaches the surface, or is reflected back into space by ice or snow.
Prof. R. Timothy Patterson, Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, collected and analyzed over 5,000 years’ of core samples from the bottom of deep Western Canadian fjords. He conducted a time series analysis on the coloration and thickness of the annual layers, discovering repeated cycles in marine productivity. Since marine productivity is directly related to how warm and dry, or cold and wet the climate is, Prof. Patterson was able to correlate his findings directly to regional climate, which, in turn, is correlated to global climate. In effect, he was able to show how global climate change affected marine productivity, and conversely, he was able to show from his data, the peaks and valleys of global temperature changes over the last 5,000 years. He had discovered a “proxy” for global climate change.
Prof. Patterson then took the next step. He compared the periods of global warming and cooling that he had deduced from his data to the known variations in solar output from the sun. He immediately saw an obvious close correlation with the eleven-year Schwabe sunspot cycle. Further investigation of longer period cycles in his data revealed a close correlation with other well-known regular solar variations. Prof. Patterson found a match with the sun’s 75 to 90-year Gleissberg Cycle, the 200 to 500-year Suess Cycle, and the 1,100 to 1,500-year Bond Cycle. In particular, whenever these solar cycles reinforced each other either for increased or decreased solar output, Prof. Patterson found significant global climate change.
Prof. Patterson’s marine productivity proxy is not the only proxy used to study climate change. Hundreds of other studies conducted over the last quarter century have used proxies ranging from tree rings in Russia’s Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile. They all show that the sun appears to drive global climate change. But there was a problem. When you add up all the parts, and compare the result to the amount of change in solar output that is needed to cause the modest warming trend we have measured in the last decade, it doesn’t add up. A piece was missing. Proponents of the idea that human activity and the resulting increase in carbon dioxide were the cause of climate change pointed to this gap, and concluded that the global greenhouse enhanced by human activity accounted for the gap. Before Gerlich and Tscheuschner, they could be excused for not knowing there was no atmospheric greenhouse. Thereafter, however, they simply ignored the facts, sticking instead to their now discredited view.
Commencing in 2002, Astronomy Prof. Nir J. Shaviv of the Racah Institute of Physics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Jan Veizer, Distinguished University Professor of Geology at the University of Ottawa, and Prof. Ken Carslaw, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Leeds, all arrived independently at the idea that there may be a connection between cosmic rays that arrive at Earth from every direction in space, and cloud formation in our atmosphere.
Prof. Henrik Svensmark, Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the National Space Institute of Denmark, studied their theoretical research and arrived at the same conclusion, but his research took him in an experimental direction. In 2007 he published a landmark paper in the Pr
oceedings of the Royal Society–A, describing his experiments that conclusively prove cosmic rays are responsible for about thirty percent of cloud formation.
Now let’s put the pieces together. As the sun puts out more energy, charged particles from the sun are captured by the Earth’s magnetic field. These charged particles form a barrier to cosmic rays, so that only a small fraction get through. Since these cosmic rays are responsible for thirty percent of the Earth’s cloud formation, the result is far fewer clouds. This, in turn, means that more energy from the sun arrives at the Earth’s surface, and the Earth warms up. When the sun quiets down and puts out less energy, a smaller number of charged particles are captured by our magnetic field, resulting in more cosmic rays getting through. The result–more clouds, and the Earth cools down. In the extreme, with increasing snow and ice cover, the cooling process is accelerated rapidly, which is why the cooling periods throughout history, the “little ice ages” like what occurred between 1550 and 1850, have been more marked than the warming periods.
Prof. Patterson added this factor into his equations, and discovered that during the last decade the cosmic ray effect supplied exactly the amount of additional heating required to balance the equation. This is a good thing, of course, since there were no other candidates waiting in the wings after the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper permanently removed the human-activity-carbon-dioxide option from the table.
Despite the current world-wide clamor over human caused global warming, the sky is not falling here, folks. The four solar cycles are merging on a low that will happen around 2020. Leading up to this, winters will become progressively longer and colder, and summers will become shorter and cooler. East Coat rivers will begin to freeze in winter like they used to in the early nineteenth century. The combined solar minimum is sufficiently deep and wide, that we may actually experience an acceleration of the cold period caused by additional world-wide snow cover. This could result in another little ice age like the 300-year event that started in 1550.
But, we will neither fry nor freeze tomorrow. Besides, we don’t control these changes–the sun is in charge. Fortunately, from a climate perspective, we need not worry about putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It does seem kind of silly, though, to burn oil, coal, and gas when they could be used as raw material for so many other things we need, especially since we really do have a very safe, efficient, renewable way to generate electricity–nuclear energy.
© 2012 – Robert G. Williscroft