Friday, July 5, 2013


7/5/2013 Oceanography: Climate Change, THE NAMAZU SCHOOL Links rechecked 7/6/2015


Welcome to another session of the Namazu School of Climate Change. For those of you who have been participating since the beginning I beg your indulgence as I introduce the concept of our school to our new arrivals. First, if you just arrived my Name is Namazu I'm a giant Japanese catfish and formerly employed as a demigod by the Japanese people to embody the more destructive forces of coastal areas like tidal waves,tropical storm systems, and coastal earth quakes. I explained to the Christian Right in my early post in defense of the reemployment rights of demigods, that the job description was not our free choice. We are personifications of natural forces, nothing more. Personally I'm a monotheist, but of course I'm not Christian since as a catfish I can't be baptized. I've been around for about 3,000 years so I've seen a lot of changes of all sorts including a tendency of bipeds intelligent creatures such as you humans in recent centuries to avoid personification of natural forces. This is of course what forced me to seek a new career in journalism. 
(Editors Note: Namazu also worked briefly as an album cover model for an edgy rock album which contained a set bearing his name and about his former role as a "demigod')  

 The modern avoidance of the personification of forces of nature, personification being the custom in the old myth system; has unfortunately led to some fracturing of the perception of nature as a holistic and connected system. At the Namazu School of Climatology we try to avoid that view. We are not climate change skeptics but rather climate change realists. Climates change, that's what they do. We don't really enter the current debate on whether or not we are currently undergoing climate change induced by human industrial activity. The Namazu School stands as a beacon of common sense reminding everyone that climate change can be far more drastic and sudden than the potential climate change that the journalistic community and governments are looking at now. Solar flares, volcanic activity, ocean current changes, orbital changes, planetary axis wobble, and meteor strikes ; any of these or any combination of these can and has in the distant past caused major climate change, very rapidly, in the case of large meteor strikes less than over night. At the Namazu school we avoid entering the debate over what should be done to lower our carbon foot print to avoid the predicted increase in droughts and tropical storms and possibly warming ( the statistics on global temperature have changed over the last eight years which is why the media now speaks more in terms of "climate change" than "global warming") and focus on things that we ought to be doing to avoid economic and physical disaster whenever the climate changes again.  Even if we reduce our carbon footprint to zero tomorrow there is no assurance that a year of solar flares and volcanic activity won't deliver a more drastic climate change within a year than any model based on a growing man caused increase in greenhouse gases. So our focus is not only on climatology studies but on food security, coastal erosion and urban area flood protection, architecture resistant to dramatic climate change, and similar issues that governments, companies, and individuals can address to reduce the negative impacts of the next climate change. Climate change comes periodically, ready or not, and there is still nothing we can do about climate change from natural causes.

 Today we bring you news of a new tree ring study that pushes our understanding of the El Nino effect back to the 700 year mark. The study is from the Scripps Institute. The study discovered that during known periods of volcanic activity producing high levels of atmospheric ash the El Nino current changed with measurable seasonal weather effects. Scripps also found some much smaller scale changes in the El Nino in recent years that parallel on a smaller scale some of the changes associated with the periods of volcanic activity. Scripps' tentative conclusion is that El Nino is more sensitive to sunlight penetration and related sunlight phenomena than previous climate change models had predicted. Scripps predicts that if present trends for green house gases continue the planet will have El Nino conditions conducive to increased regional droughts and more active tropical storm system formation.

 From our perspective there is nothing wrong with Scripps'  analysis but we feel their reporting of their study fails to draw attention to our major concern. First their study clearly shows that volcanic activity has a much more pronounced effect on changes in the El Nino than current levels of green house gases. This fact underscores our basic theme that naturally caused climate change can be much more drastic and sudden than what we are paying so much attention to now. On occasion such naturally caused climate change can not only be drastic but long lasting. The fossil record indicates that 10,000 years is not unrealistic. When climates change on that order entire climate zones shift, agricultural production is stood on its ear, sea levels change dramatically, starvation and ruin visit large swaths of humanity. We need to be concentrating on climate proof urban food production, agricultural emergency plans, coastal zone erosion control and flood protection, building codes that withstand dramatic climate change, and similar matters focused on dramatic and sudden climate change. Climates change its what they do.

 Even I Namazu at 3,000 years of age didn't arrive on the planet until about 7,000 years after the last ice age. I've experienced some climate change over my 3,000 years and frequently was blamed for the change. But my entire 3,000 year life span (so far) has been in the "modern" climate era, post ice age. I've seen changes of 1 or 2 degrees in average global temperature sometime lasting 20 to 100 years. The predicted models for green house gas caused climate change are not unlike some of these historic naturally caused changes. Certainly the effects were negative but nothing like whatever happened at the start of the last ice age.

 Consider this, Woolly Mammoth remains have been found in sub Arctic regions with the remains of temperate zone vegetation in their teeth, almost as if the Mammoths had been quick frozen in mid chew. That's how fast things like a major meteor strike can change climate. Man was around 10,000 years ago, its amazing that he survived as a species, other mammals weren't so lucky.

 So we link you now to the Scripps' study with our usual caution to look beyond the presentation. Sometimes what one institution feels is the most important finding in a major study obscures something that may have more importance when viewed in a less politically charge atmosphere. The present climate change debate is highly political. Industrially developing nations like China, India and Brazil want the U.S. and Western Europe to cease and desist traditional manufacturing and transfer all "carbon credits" to them so that they can continue to release carbon emissions in ever increasing amounts. Last year the U.S. reduced its green house gas emissions by about 4%, as did one nation is Western Europe. In fact the U.S. has been reducing its air pollution steadily since the late 1970s. In the same period last year Canada, thought of as squeaky clean increased green house gas emissions by a single digit percentage while China, India, and Brazil increased emissions by much larger factors. Meanwhile in the fun house of the U.S. Congress the Democrats blame the Republicans for climate change because they won't sign off on the international agreements that would continue the present regime of our continuous incremental improvement in air quality while giving all of the developing heavy industry economies a blank check and transferring all costs of global clean up to the U.S. and Western Europe.  

 Meanwhile other developments are taking place globally such  3D printing that will revolutionize and "green up" manufacturing in the coming decades regardless of what governments do. So while the political games are being played we see no progress on the real climate change issues of urban food supply security, reformed building codes, coastal zone flood zoning reform and flood protection, etc.. Climates change its what they do. Climates can and do change rapidly and dramatically from natural causes that we can't control. 

 However you bipeds more than any other species on the planet have learned to live and even thrive in every climate zone on the planet. It is time to ask how to apply the lessons learned about living in all those different climate zones and apply them to urban planning, architecture, and agricultural practices that can adapt to rapid and dramatic climate change. It has happened before it will happen again. Below is the link to the Scripps' tree ring study. Take a good look at it through the eyes of the Namazu school. There is plenty of fuel in it for the present  
political debate but the dramatic difference between volcanic induced change and man generated greenhouse gas effects we think is the real story. Governments, companies, farmers, and individuals are not focused on what can actually be done to limit damage once real climate change is upon us. Climates change, its not if, its when and how much and how fast. This remains true even if you bipeds eventually succeed in running human civilization on zero carbon emissions. Click on the link below to read the full tree ring report.


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