Letter to the Editor - July 15: Climate fears misdirected

CLIMATE is formally the 30-year "average" of weather.

Climate is what we expect, on average - weather is what we actually get. It is true atmospheric conditions (dust, smoke, smog, aerosols, aircraft contrails, clouds and trace gases) can affect Earth's weather. But none of these minor atmospheric constituents can generate energy - they merely filter, reflect, transfer or redirect a portion of solar energy.

In particular, carbon dioxide does not drive the weather.

The sun is the short-term weather wizard controlling the changing temperatures of day and night, winter and summer; it energises the atmosphere to give the power to storms and cyclones.

The carbon-centric weather predictions have failed dismally, suggesting strongly carbon dioxide does not control weather.

Earth currently basks in a benign climate interval, an interglacial warm period punctuated by occasional "Little Ice Ages" and between long periodic species-destroying eras of ice.

As recently as 12,000 years ago, large parts of Earth's surface were covered by ice sheets up to 3km thick. Many species of mega-fauna disappeared suddenly.

Global warming has never been a threat to Earth's inhabitants.

The real danger to life on Earth is global cooling.

Studies of sun-spots suggest a "Little Ice Age" can be caused by solar variations.

Those who study solar cycles are already warning Earth is facing the onset of a "Little Ice Age".

Intuition tells us all we need for a "Big Ice Age" is sustained cold on Earth's surface.

But for large ice sheets to grow quickly on land, two things are required - warm seas to evaporate billions of tons of water from the oceans, and a frigid atmosphere over land to quickly turn moisture into continental rain, snow and ice.

To plunge Earth suddenly into a "Big Ice Age" requires energy to heat the seas while not warming the atmosphere.

Neither solar energy nor any greenhouse gas can do this.

Geothermal energy from undersea volcanism is the most likely agent.

Viv Forbes

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