Archive | January 2014

Climate change week 2

Well I got 13 out of 15 for the final test this week, so I must be doing something right? ( I think they went easy on us; the course is realy hard) “The idea of a ‘tipping point’ was an important one this week in that, while the different feedback mechanisms can balance the levels of greenhouse gases and the heating/cooling effect, there is a point after which the result is inevitable. Having reached a snowball earth it required volcanic eruptions to re-introduce the greenhouse gas ‘blanket’ to break the hold.” (quote from a fellow student) We are going the other way now and will surely need a ‘tipping point’ event to push us back to a normal balance.

More mental struggle next week.



Climate Change

Climate Change, challenges and solutions

I have started a course given on line by Exeter university and hope some of you will be interested in my attempts to get my head around it?
Day 1.
Today was about the dynamics of world climate and how it is self-regulating through complex systems of positive and negative feedback. If it were not for these, including the biosphere, the sun would not raise the temperature to a level where life could exist. Something is making us warmer, like a nice thick blanket and it has come to be called the ‘Greenhouse effect’.
At the start we are unpicking some confusion between climate and weather. Climate is not the weather we are getting today, in the USA it is freezing but here in the UK it is warmer and very wet! The study of climate must start with data taken from the past, such as air bubbles in ice cores, tree rings and so on. The interpretation of these data is where some controversy comes from.
Day one was a fine introduction. Looking forwards to day two!Image