Saturday, July 09, 2005

CHURNING STORMS

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Scientists find new information about how all things on earth interact with each other. The forces of nature are truly awe inspiring. For example, the Boxing Day Quake next to Indonesia caused the earth to slow down its rotation slightly. The many mega-shocks of the past as continents collided had a cumulative effect on the earth's length of day. Volcanoes and comets and sun surges all have awesome effects. The precariousness of life on a planet should not be forgotten.

From the New Scientist:
Earth trembles as big winds move in: HURRICANES can trigger swarms of weak earthquakes and even set the Earth vibrating, according to the first study of such effects.

When Hurricane Charley slammed into Florida in August 2004, physicist Randall Peters of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, had a seismometer ready to monitor any vibrations in the Earth's crust. He did so for over 36 hours as Charley travelled briefly over Florida, then slid back out into the Atlantic.

As the hurricane reached land, the seismometer recorded a series of "micro-tremors" from the Earth's crust. This happened again as the storm moved back out to sea. Then, as Charley grazed the continental shelf on its way out, it caused a sharp seismic spike. "I suspect the storm triggered a subterranean landslide," says Peters.

More surprisingly, the storm also caused the Earth to vibrate. The planet's surface in the vicinity of the hurricane started moving up and down at several frequencies ranging from 0.9 to 3 millihertz. Such low-frequency vibrations have been detected following large earthquakes, but this is the first time a storm has been found to be the cause (www.arxiv.org/physics/0506162).
We act as if this is a solid planet. It isn't. Our lands float upon a sea of very hot, molten metals that has cirulations and it writhes and surges below our feet. We feel this occasionally thanks to earthquakes and volcanoes. The fact that it is so thin that a hurricane can activate it is a surprise. The delicacy and mallability of the planet's entirety is part and parcel with its livability. Namely, it is a dynamic system with many levels of feedback. The planet literally is bonded with the life forms on it to live and breathe.

The Gaia complex.

I happen to embrace this myself. Living creatures changed the earth's atmosphere, changed the chemistry of the oceans, altered the soil dramatically, the bonding and biofeedback systems of all this is what makes the earth the interesting and maybe unique thing it is today. At the base of this system lies two poles: the sun and the earth's hot core.

From Yahoo
Ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic hit an all-time high last year, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on one of the most sensitive and productive ecosystems in the world.

Sea ice off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was below normal for the tenth consecutive year and the water temperature outside St. John's Harbor was the highest on record in 2004, according to a report released Wednesday by the federal Fisheries Department.

The ocean surface off St. John's averaged one degree Celsius above normal, the highest in the 59 years the department has been compiling records.

And bottom temperatures were also one degree higher than normal, according the report.

"A one-degree temperature anomaly on the Grand Banks is pretty significant in the bottom areas, where temperatures only range a couple of degrees throughout the year," said Eugene Colbourne, an oceanographer with the Fisheries Department.
At no time has this planet had true equilibrium. It always, thanks to the living organism's influences, vacillated. The star that is our sun vacillates, too, and it has a tremendous effect on temperatures. Volcanic activity has a tremendous influence, too. When a shroud of dust encircles the planet, temperatures drop. The chemical mix of the atmosphere which volcanoes and living creatures manipulate continuously, matters a great deal. Scientists have studied all of these and the strides made since the launching of the first space monitoring stations and the expansion of the sciences after WWII has meant that we now have a great deal more information about our home planet and the space probes have given us other planets to compare with ours.

For example, Mars, which started off with almost all the same ingredients as earth only it is smaller and further from the sun. In the beginning, Mars had volcanic action and water and other things. Then it cooled down and all the water evaporated or sank into the ground and froze. Some parts of Mars is as dry as the moon. All the volcanoes are inert now. There is no life. Literally, the planet has ceased to be dynamic. The only force left with the thinning atmosphere is the wind.

From the BBC:
A stalagmite from an Alpine cave may indicate that global warming is not as unusual as many think.

Deposits laid down in the stalagmite have enabled a European team to probe past climates confirming a Medieval Warm Period between AD 800 and 1300.

The warm spell is also indicated in some studies of tree-rings, ice-cores and coral reef growth records.

Writing in Earth and Planetary Science Letters the researchers suggest that global warming is a natural process.
Even my own parents who have written about the sun being a variable star have trouble understanding global warming as a seperate issue from the natural cycles of the sun. Namely, that our pollution of all kinds of different gases is very much altering the atmosphere and the climate in ways that we little understand but you can bet, the feedback loop is going to be a doozy and is very unstable.

We are in the last days of a natural interglacial warming cycle. The sun will eventually cool down and the earth will go into another ice age if the variable sun cycle is correct. Dealing with this creatively by the human organisms could be an interesting challenge but the CO2 experiment can backfire. We can't tell when to stop pumping up the CO2! Worse, we won't stop!

As the Americans have made crystal clear, we don't give a hoot about the planet, ourselves or anything if it interfers with us living life any way we want no matter how destructive. From the BBC:
As for the other main item on the (G8) agenda, climate change, there was widespread pessimism.

The prime minister insisted there had been greater agreement than before that humans are to blame for global warming, and that there was now a "pathway to a new dialogue".

But the experts said the Americans had not made any concessions on the science of climate change, and the promises of new money to invest in non-carbon technologies had failed to appear. Mr Blair conceded modestly: "What this is is the possibility of re-establishing a consensus."
This is so pathetic. The great mass of American people are not clamoring for doing something about our polluting the entire planet. Au contraire. We seem bent on increasing the pollution as if this is an open system with no bio-feedback mechanisms. Or worse, we don't care. We feel this is the End of Times so why bother?

But look at the news today:From CNN:
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After lashing Cuba with powerful winds and causing the deaths of 10 people, Hurricane Dennis began to regain strength Saturday as it churned its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm faded slightly over the island overnight, but picked up steam in the warm, open water of the Gulf on its path toward the United States.

Dennis is back to a Category 2 hurricane after fading somewhat, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (169 kph), the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.
As our ecosystem churns, it pays for us to pay attention to the causes.

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