Sea and Air
SUNDAY JANUARY 24, 2010
Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a Member of Parliament....
But then I repeat myself.
Sea-levels are never far from the news, as new claims emerge that the ocean is rising and drowning us. As usual it is a fraud. Recent years' coastal erosion at Oamaru has been topical, with fresh warnings that erosion as witnessed by less sand on a beach is caused by a higher sea. Actually the opposite is the case. If the sea rises a little in height, it attacks but the attack is not vigorous. There is more sand deposited on the beach, higher, and on top of previous land. If the sea goes down it is eating away at the old equilibrium level. There is a much larger redistribution of sand as sand is taken away by the small tides. Often one can see a previous beach, perhaps 20-30 cm above a current beach. It is more common that erosion is caused by a falling sea level than a rising one. Constant wave action battering a cliff-face is something else and should not be confused with sea-levels.
The sea level was indeed rising, from 1850 to 1930-40 at a rate of 1 millimeter per year. Holland has been subsiding for many millions of years; and Sweden, after the last Ice Age, was uplifted. Balancing those gives a closer figure of 1.1mm. But it ended in 1940. In 1970 satellite altimetry became available and in that year in Europe the sea fell about 20 cm, for reasons probably of evaporation. Satellite altimetry shows the water, not just at the coasts but in the whole of the ocean. From 1992 to 2002, the graph of the sea level showed variability along a straight line, but absolutely no trend whatsoever. The spikes show a very rapid rise, but in half a year falling back again. To have a sea-level rise you need a trend. In 2003, the same data set, which in the IPCC's publications was a straight line, suddenly changed, and showed a very strong line of uplift, 2.3 mm per year, the same as from tide gauge data. It looked as though the IPCC had recorded something; but they hadn't recorded anything. It was the original which they had suddenly twisted up, because they entered a “correction factor,” taken from tide gauges. When Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden accused the IPCC at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow of making up evidence, they answered that they had to do it, because otherwise they would not have gotten any trend! Physics has been replaced by politics. No sea has really gone sustainably higher than the 1mm increase recorded between 1930-1970.
But to justify climate change computer modeling has invented a different story. On Tuvalu there was a Japanese pineapple industry which subtracted too much fresh water from the island. The water magazine was destroyed, and sea water replaced it. The local people were upset but then it was easier to say, “No, no! It's the global sea level rising” The inhabitants of Tegua, an island to the north of Fiji said they had to evacuate it because the sea was rising. But the tide-gauge record showed no such increase. The IPCC gets small island nations worrying that they're going to be flooded tomorrow so they can attract support and money from industrial countries. Venice, often shown in news stories to portray rising water levels, is slowly subsiding because of the delta. The rate has been constant over time. A rising sea level would immediately accelerate the flooding and would be so simple to record. One only has to look at the 300-year record: In the 20th Century it was going up and down around the subsidence rate. In 1970 there should have been acceleration but instead the rise almost finished, proving the opposite. If one goes around the globe, there is no sea level rise to be found. But environmentalists need the idea of this mythical rise because without it there is no death threat, and no research funding which pays the wages of the scientists they look to for information. We are not living in an information-rich world, but rather, one dictated by money trails.
The supposed sea-rise only exists in computer modeling. Alarmists like Al Gore suggest a 20m or even a 60m sea-level rise. No limit has been put on this rise because no cycles are considered, only a unidirectional shift. Never mind where the extra water will come from to raise the sea. Never mind that no one can point to any Australian or NZ beach and show, using photos and paintings from a century ago, that the high-water mark is now significantly higher. What has been missed in the computer models is that an averagely much higher sea would eventually increase the radius of the earth which would then slow down the planet’s rotation. You have it in figure-skating: when they rotate very fast the arms are close to the body; and then when they increase the radius by putting out their arms they tend to stop. Is earth yet spinning slower? A decrease in the planet's rotation would lengthen each day and night but shorten the number of days of the year. Time itself would change if sea levels rose. A slower earth means a shorter year. All digital clocks would have to be readjusted and mechanical timekeepers completely rebuilt. As seas kept on rising, and rising, time would keep slowing. The day would come that all land will be covered by water, Earth will have slowed and stopped turning and a day and night will be each six months long. It would no longer be time as we know it. It will no longer be Earth, just Sea. The Al Gores of this world don't consider this, and how daft and hollow their theories actually are. If the sea rises by 65m in a century, again I ask, where will all that extra water come from?
If there were no humans on the planet, presumably cows would still burp and breathe out CO2. Rotting vegetation would still emit methane. It is unlikely that stock and compost only emit gases to impress humans. Similarly there were skies before people. Reminding ourselves that a plane is soon gone and the atmosphere keeps replenishing and cleansing itself every hour, we may ask, does an aeroplane pollute the atmosphere? Well, the reader is invited to consider the size of one plane vs the size of the air. The plane is very tiny. So tiny and inconsequential, and so few in number and far between that when you are in the sky and you look out of the window, with naked-eye vision that extends hundreds of miles into the distant horizon, it is rare to even see another plane anywhere. The Earth's atmosphere is about 300 miles (480 km) thick, but most of the atmosphere (about 80%) is within 10 miles (16 km) of the surface of the Earth. There is no exact place where the atmosphere ends; it just gets thinner and thinner, until it merges with outer space. By weight, the atmosphere weighs about 5 thousand million, million tonnes. A Boeing 747 weighs 836,000 pds, or about 340 tonnes. 340 compared to 5 billion million is a factor of about 1 in 5x10 (14) by weight. By volume? We know that the volume of a sphere according to our maths text books is 1.25 times pi, times radius cubed. So take the mean radius of the earth and plug it into our equation. We get a rough volume of 1016366026179 cubic Km. Mostly everyone agrees that the atmosphere more or less ends at a height on 100 Km. Of course the pressure and concentration is by no means uniform and we get a higher concentration of Oxygen on the surface compared to the higher altitudes, but we have to have a figure we can work with. So if the atmosphere only goes 100Km up then that is like extending the radius of the earth an extra 100Km. If we do this and plug it into our equation we get a rough volume of 1,064,966,254,007 cubic Km for the earth and its atmosphere combined. Taking away our first volume should leave us with a fairly good idea of what the volume of the atmosphere is. 1,064,966,254,007 - 1,016,366,026,179 = 48,600,227,828 cubic Km, let's say 48 billion cu km which is usually written as 4 x 10(18) cu m. One plane is about 10,000 cu m. That means the ratio of one plane to the air in volume is again about 1 in 4 x 10(14), not far from the ratio by weight of one plane to the air it flies in.
How long is State Highway One? About 2000km. How wide? About 20m. Area? 40,000 sq km, some 4000000000000000 sq cm. Imagine the size of a snail. About 5cm x 1cm = 5sq cm. One snail is about 1 in 5 x 10 (14) the size of State Highway One, remarkably comparable to one plane and its flyable air space. It means one plane flying through the air is very roughly equivalent in size to a snail crawling its way down State Highway One. The snail slime produced by one snail may therefore be proportional to the size of an air-mile carbon footprint made by one plane. We are now required to pay a tax penalty for that. Why? To save the planet of course. Will the snail's slime wreck the planet? By the politicians' yardstick, yes. So to offset a slime catastrophe should we create slime sinks? For every snail that leaves a mark a slime credit could be purchased, with slime credit futures traded on Wall St. Countries with fewer snails could profit by selling their quota. It is as daft as air-miles, but - air miles are just as slimy. Never mind that it makes no commonsense. Politicians have decided it, so it must be so.
The late Augie Auer and I had a good laugh about air-miles when we traveled to and from Ashburton for the Great Debate fundraiser in April of 2008. I pledged to plant yet another tree and replace another 9 lightbulbs to offset the carbon cost of the trip. Augie's plan was to decide to twice drive to the supermarket then announce a change of mind, thus saving double the emissions. Our actions would change the climate for a grateful world. It is not unlike the bargain-promising ads that say by shopping at store X you can save several hundred dollars. But you haven't saved anything, or whoopee, you could take a cruise. You just haven't spent it. Air miles are like that. The plane was going to go to a destination with or without you. Even if we weren't flying to Ashburton, we'd be walking and puffing extra CO2 into the air. Are people ever going to stay at home? Of course not for we are a nation of travelers (that’s how we got here in the first place), anymore than the snails are going to pause, well, more than they do already, to reconsider their slime contribution. Viewed from space a plane and a snail are both equally invisible. Let's see the air-mile issue for what it really is - a greenie European mechanism to protect local industries, simply by making imports unprofitable. We should be redirecting our energies. We need diplomats loyal to NZ exporters who can attack those who wish to apply these sanctions. Politicians will win votes and respect if they remove the green from their eyes and stop pulling wool over ours.
© Ken Ring