October 20th, 2020

Importance of open-mindedness


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on July 31, 2020.

Consider CO2 contributions from non-human resources in climate debate

Cosmos Voutsinos

Universities are called “higher-learning institutions” because, in addition to their research, their teaching process includes the examination of all sides of a problem, then the professor assists his students to reach a conclusion. This way, the students are learning how to think, instead of what to think, and this enables them to push the envelope of society’s knowledge later.

Professor Roussel, in his July 15 guest column, is dismayed that The Herald would publish an opinion piece with analysis that he does not agree with, and he is attempting an insidious censorship to silence the messenger. His explanation seems to be that CO2 has been rising since the Industrial Revolution and will continue to rise because of human activities – no other reason. He gives not even a passing thought or reference to CO2 contributions from non-human resources. His mind is made up, yet after making several assumptions, his example seems to reach the same conclusion I did: our lockdown savings of CO2 likely had no effect on the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere.

In order for the increasing CO2 curve to be rolled back to 2000 or 1990 levels, as Dr. Roussel states, there has to take place a noticeable change, like a reset. The fact that a reset was not detected means that either human-produced CO2 might not be as dominant as the IPCC assumes, or there is a problem with Mauna Loa readings – (delay, error or insignificant signal). The Cape Grim CO2 monitoring station in Tasmania agrees with Mauna Loa’s readings and increases the confidence in the CO2 readings taken by both. This in turn increases the doubt of the relative dominance issue assumed for the anthropogenic CO2.

Reset signals were expected from the data from Mauna Loa, from February to July this year, as the lockdown was progressing. This has not been observed so far, neither instantaneous nor delayed. It makes no difference to such signal if CO2 has been increasing or decreasing. Professor Roussel is correct in believing that humans produce CO2 that causes some warming to our atmosphere. The question is how significant is our contribution relative to other CO2-contributing mechanisms, and how dominant is the CO2 factor relative to some 20 other celestial mechanisms that influence our Earth’s temperature?

In terms of carbon, our environment is divided into four reservoirs: 1) land, 2) atmosphere, 3) shallow seas and 4) deep oceans. These reservoirs don’t behave as if they were isolated, because they continuously exchange carbon from one to the other. Each transfer has its own mechanism and timeframe. The whole system is very complicated with delays and feedbacks that make it difficult to fully understand. Models help us to get an idea, but their predictions cannot be considered as “oracles” because they are “adjustable” according to the biases of the programmer. Within this uncertain picture and without proof, the IPCC assumed that anthropogenic CO2 is the dominant mechanism that controls the Earth’s thermostat. Does Professor Roussel have peer-reviewed and published scientific evidence that supports this IPCC assumption?

Looking at an amplified Mauna Loa curve of CO2 measurements, one can see the reset signals of the naturally occurring seasonal oscillations of CO2 in our atmosphere, in spite of rising CO2. For example, leaves fall from trees and vegetation in October, decay releasing CO2 to the atmosphere. By May, new leaves are growing and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. In parallel, an opposing oscillation takes place, where a cooling ocean absorbs CO2 in the winter from the atmosphere and a warming ocean in summer releases CO2. These exchanges of carbon involve hundreds of gigatons of CO2 and we can detect them in a timely manner. If the 35 gigatons of annual anthropogenic CO2 represent the most dominant mechanism, why can we not even detect it, like the CO2 from tree leaves? Human and natural CO2 molecules are identical chemically, therefore they must follow the same physics.

I am also dismayed that Professor Roussel does not see the opportunity to fact check the basis for the alleged climate “emergency” and “crisis.” He should be welcoming studies of the atmospheric CO2 levels that better our understanding. Instead he chooses to silence the messenger – a behaviour not in line with the open-mindedness of a higher-learning institution. It is a case of damn the facts, I am right – or perhaps, facts say what I want them to say.

The Lethbridge Herald should be congratulated for publishing consistently all news and views without biases. The topic of climate is complex enough. The last thing we need is falling for the enforced mob rule of groupthink.

Cosmos Voutsinos is a Lethbridge-based professional engineer whose career included work ranging from system designs in the Canadian nuclear industry to construction management of U.S. power plants in Taiwan.

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chinook

Shameful that the Herald would publish a letter from a well known climate denier. Insulting too at the lengths Mr. Voutsinos has gone to in attempt to discredit a respected scientist. Mr. Voutsinos in case you are not aware, natural causes have been factored in to all models. The difference for the spike in C02 is human caused …burning fossil fuel for over 300 years the troposphere is so polluted that is trapping heat as never before. While Mr. Voutsinos might understand ocean pollution; he certainly has no clue about the polluted watery layer above us.

Socrates

Chinook, Could you please explain few things:
a) Please list what cosmos has denied, I thought he was only presenting observations without firm conclusions.
b) how do you factor in the models complicated processes that you have not fully understood. Can you name specific models that include this factoring? and
c) Scientists have always thought that GHG’s slow down the departure of outgoing long wave radiation heat. (OLR). The unfortunate use of the term “trap” is misleading The heat is always going out of our atmosphere, although slower.

With the development of Information Technologies the amount of misinformation has exploded and one cannot be careful enough, unless he does extensive fact checking. The problem is that most people cannot Fact-Check and they talk by parroting what others say, without understanding. As they say ” the devil is in the details”. That is why I am asking you to check your details.

Fescue

Despite your steady support for Cosmos, I’m heartened by your acknowledgment that he is simply providing opinions without scientific evidence.

Maybe we can move on from the ‘sceptical’ position to the scientific position that demands a conversation on mitigation and, as time passes, adaptation to the climate crisis.

Seth Anthony

“Computer Climate Model” is somewhat of a misnomer.

Computer models are only relevant in a closed system with clearly understood parameters. In contrast, the climate is an open and chaotic system with numerous complex variables that are often poorly understood and highly debatable. How much so? Well, visit a web site that has scientists discussing and debating climate issues. You’ll find that even the tiniest aspects of our climate leads to a deep rabbit hole of scientific discussion that is full of debate, doubt, and assumptions.

grinandbearit

A “reset” signal was not expected by scientists from the transient inactivity in certain parts of the globe due to coronavirus. https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/covid2.html

Seth Anthony

One winter can be mild and snow free, while the next winter is a frozen wasteland, and vice versa. One summer can be blistering hot, while the next is rather cool, and vice versa. Why such a massive difference? The earth’s axis is the same in those time periods The earth’s topography hasn’t changed in those time periods. Solar output is the same for those time periods. Why wouldn’t the weather be at least somewhat similar in those time periods?

When I’ve posed this question to a couple of climatologists, I received the suspected answers of ocean currents, uneven heating, cloud formation, etc, yet, those answers are effects, not causes.

Some possible answers?

1) A type of fluctuating solar output that we’re aware aware of, but are underestimating its affect on earth’s climate.

2) A type of fluctuating solar output that we are NOT aware of, to which drastically affects the climate.

3) As our solar system rockets through space at 800,000 km/hr, our atmosphere encounters “random” pockets of hydrogen, helium, electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic rays, etc, etc. What affect would those have on earth’s atmosphere, hence its climate as those are encountered?

4) Below ocean volcanoes and heat vents causing ocean temperature variations. We have no idea how often they occur. However, the consensus from scientists is that we’ve only touched the surface on how many there are.