The Earth's Goldilocks Problem

David Cavena17 May, 2024 4 Min Read
Would that we could, but we can't.

The funny thing about the earth is that it works. And always has. The earth continues orbiting the sun, wobbling here and there, while providing us food, water, air, a daytime to work and play, and a night to sleep.

Multiple Ice Ages, large and small, haven’t stopped it. Multiple warm periods – like the still-ongoing Holocene, during which mankind arose and continues to prosper, haven’t stopped it. We still are cooling-off from the Medieval Warm Period, and still warming-up from the Little Ice Age. The geological epoch which preceded the Holocene is known as the Last Glacial Period, which concluded with the Holocene Glacial Retreat, which was not caused by your SUV or gas stove. The massive uplift of the granite Tibetan Plateau caused enormous amounts of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere.

Do we even know what the “normal” temperature of the earth is? Does one even exist?

Searching for the sweet spot.

The “Climate Change,” aka “Global Warming,” theory is that mankind, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, has added so much greenhouse gas that the earth is heating “out of control.” (By the way, only 1.6 percent of scientists believe this.) Given the lack of an accepted “normal,” this begs the question: How would they know?

Ice ages and warm periods are massive events. We have no idea why they begin or end. We try to explain these phenomena via computer models. Climate models on which policy is based are more than a bit problematic, however. One would expect that, at minimum, they could accurately replicate historical temperatures. They cannot. Let's say that again -- they can't even predict the past accurately, and yet people trust them to perfectly predict the future.

Much of the earth’s temperature self-regulation is via cloud cover. Water vapor evaporates from the sea and forms clouds. Clouds reflect solar irradiance away from the planet, keeping us cool. Do we understand solar irradiance? No. Do we understand cloud reflection? No. We know that both occur, but we have no idea to what extent each magnifies or offsets the other. Do we understand how the ocean moves heat around the planet? Also no. But we do know that they have been working together for a few billion years to create our temperate, non-snowball earth.

Contrary to the hoaxers, the “hottest year on record” -- keeping in mind that records only extend back as far as the late 19th century -- was 1934, nearly 100 years ago. We’ve been in what is essentially a holding pattern since 1997. Our current solar cycle looks to be another minimum, as when people skated on the Thames and the Zuiderzee. Per NASA, we may be approaching a frozen Thames again soon. (Speaking of NASA, this sounds encouraging from them: "In recent years, researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming.")

Elite do-gooders are a problem, however. Some of them have decided that the earth needs a helping hand to do what it’s done just fine for 3.5 billion years. One of them, Bill Gates, has come up with a plan to spray metallic dust all over the sky because the clouds just aren’t up to his standards anymore. Specifically their ability to reflect heat and light back out into space. Has he got a way to remove this dust if his experiments turn out differently than planned? He does not. Will his experiment impact the entire planet, whether we like it or not? Yes. And yet Gates, a public menace, doesn't seem to care. He's used to getting his way, it seems.

The Public Enemy.

He's not the only one attempting a project like this, and luckily at least one of them has been halted by the authorities -- Alameda, California, put a stop to an ongoing program in which scientists from University of Washington were spraying chemicals into the air off of Alameda's coast in order to "brighten" the clouds, increasing cloud cover with an eye towards combatting "climate change." According to Alameda's press release on the matter, "City staff are working with a team of biological and hazardous materials consultants to independently evaluate the health and environmental safety of this particular experiment."

It's good that someone had the sense to question this foolishness, though it's entirely possible that they'll ultimately crack under the pressure and allow this plan to resume.

Even if these plans are successful, they seem hubristic. What if our current solar cycle suddenly plunges the planet into another Maunder Minimum -- a period of significantly reduced sunspot activity which contributed to the Earth's shockingly low temperatures during the Little Ice Age, which lasted from the 14th to the mid-19th centuries? Will Gates be able to change course, and suck his dust out of the air? Obviously not. He would be making a bad situation worse.

Though perhaps that would help achieve the environmentalists ultimately goal of reducing the pesky global population.

In any event, let’s just leave the sky alone to do what it’s been doing for billions of years.

David Cavena is a native southern Californian exfiltrated to Arizona. An IT professional for 40 years, he has pushed cows in California, dudes and horses in Wyoming, and programmers in Los Angeles and Phoenix. An avid outdoorsman – skier, backpacker, water skier and scuba diver – David writes from Arizona.


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