Still pushing the alarm barrow uphill

The ‘extreme far left’ newspaper The Guardian has, to borrow Paddy’s phrase, ‘gone off on a rant’ about the climate again.

“Humans are pushing the Earth closer to a climate cliff”

The article is written by Dr John Abraham who is a professor of thermal sciences and who researches in climate monitoring and renewable energy generation for the developing world.? So he should know what he is talking about, right?

His article is reporting on a new study?which examines potential climate feedbacks that could push Earth into a ?hothouse? state. Quote.

A new paper, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has received a lot of media attention. The attention is justified because the paper paints a very grim picture of the climate and what humans may be doing to it. In particular, the authors of this study tried to determine the trajectory that the Earth is on so we can predict what the future climate will be.

There are many really important insights from this paper. The authors wanted to know how feedbacks in the Earth?s climate will play a role in shaping the climate in the future. By feedbacks, we mean a change in one part of the climate that then causes another change, which in turn may cause another change, and so on, potentially setting up chain reactions.

Feedbacks are really important because they are changes that the natural system makes without being caused directly by humans.

For example, melting ice is one feedback, particularly in the Arctic. Humans have emitted greenhouse gases that have caused the Earth to warm. As the Earth warms, ice melts; as ice melts, it means there is less white reflective cover on the Earth surface. In fact, a lot of this ice melting is happening in the Arctic. Instead of having a white surface that reflects sunlight, we have open ocean water that absorbs sunlight. Consequently, melting of ice leads to more absorbed sunlight which then leads to more melting of ice ? a reinforcing cycle, as illustrated below.

Melting ice positive feedback cycle diagram. Illustration: John Abraham

Activating one of these cycles is bad news for a few reasons. First, it takes away a lot of control of the Earth?s climate from us. Right now, humans control the climate through our emissions of greenhouse gases. But once these cycles get activated, the Earth?s climate will partially control itself. That means it will be harder to stop the warming process. […] End of quote.

But what if that was not the process. I am not a climate scientist or a professor of anything but let’s suppose something different happens when ice melts:

Melting ice, alternative cycle diagram. Illustration: WH

There is this naive hypothesis out there that suggests the Earth’s climate is actually an incredibly stable system that has survived for millions of years without a Zero Carbon Act to regulate it. There are ocean cycles and wind patterns and wave interactions and Southern Oscillations and jet streams and ecosystems and hydrological cycles and so on and so forth that keep things in balance.

Even if the greenhouse effect is responsible for the current temperature, (and there is evidence to say it is not) the amount of greenhouse gas that humans emit is absolutely minuscule in the whole climate system.

Could one possibly come up with a more self-important bunch of hubris than the statement, “Right now, humans control the climate through our emissions of greenhouse gases.?But once these cycles get activated, the Earth?s climate will partially control itself.”?

Does the good doctor have a god complex?

The other simple fact that Dr Abraham seems to have ignored is that the Arctic is not currently melting any more than it does every summer.

But facts are such inconvenient truths when one has a barrow to push.