February 23, 2017
Climate change is real and happening now. The laws of physics are the truth. Our belief comes from our personal observations and scientific reporting. The justification is based on science, verified and validated evidence and experiments from the 1800s. As a result of these three - truth, belief and justification - we create the knowledge that climate change is real and happening now. Justified true belief creates knowledge.
Actions by local, city, county and state government, will be to plan how to adapt to high probability of a 5.4 degrees F (3 degrees C) increase in global average temperature. Oh, wait, you can’t feel a global average temperature to know what that means. Why should we take action based on a statistic?
The Arctic Sea will be ice free all summer. Mexico will be a dust bowl. Half of Florida will be covered by salt water every day, all day. Wildfires will continue to reduce the forested land west of the Rocky Mountains. A warmer atmosphere means the air will hold more water during storms, increasing flooding. Unsustainable oceans means hundreds of millions of people will have food insecurity every day. These are consequences in the future? Why should we worry about that now?
Oregon citizens are going to feel the consequences of climate change when refugees seek water, food and shelter after arriving from California, Central America, Mexico and Asia. These people do not want to take our jobs. These are people seeking safety and asylum. They are simply trying to survive.
The second action will be to plan for mitigating risks specific to each region of Oregon. For example, western Oregon will experience more rain, less snow, warmer winters and drier summers. This will mean more invasive insects damaging crops, diseases spread by mosquitoes, and refugees. Eastern and Southern Oregon will experience drought.
Oregon will experience wildfires, drought, floods and unsustainable ocean fishing. In one state, Oregon has all of the different types of land, sea and air that are found in other places. Oregon will be a small example of all the different consequences of climate change.
Humans everywhere experience weather. Climate change and global warming are statistics. Our brain does not understand statistics. We do not feel motived to prepare for low probability events. When the average global temperature increases by a fraction of a degree over 10 years, what am I suppose to do?
History of Science of Global Warming
In the early 1800s, Joseph Fourier asked “What determines the temperature of the surface of Earth?” In the 1820s, Fourier calculated that an object the size of the Earth, and at its distance from the Sun, should be considerably colder than the planet actually is if warmed by only the effects of incoming solar radiation. What was keeping the surface of the Earth warm enough for humans to survive?
In 1859 John Tyndall, a professor of natural philosophy at London’s Royal Institution and a keen mountaineer, decided to test whether gases in the atmosphere could trap heat. Unlike water vapor that cycles in and out of the atmosphere relatively quickly, by contrast carbon dioxide is not influenced by weather and persists in the atmosphere for centuries. Increasing or decreasing CO2 changes Earth’s temperature, that effects the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, thus effecting the temperature.
Svante Arrhenius (19 February 1859 – 2 October 1927), one of Sweden’s preeminent chemists, thought that what humans were doing on an increasingly large scale just might make his native land a little warmer. In the mid-1890s, he set about completing the arduous calculations to prove his point.
In the 21st Century, Arrenhius’s idea that humans could make Sweden warmer seems like a prophecy. Today’s climate-change skeptics would have us believe that the whole notion of global warming is a relatively recent, half-baked idea dreamed up by a cabal of liberal scientists bent on destroying the U.S. economy. However, the roots of scientific thinking about Earth’s temperature are clear from reading the history of science in the late 1800s.