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Earth is Blue, not green

FRIDAY AUGUST 09, 2013

The recent claim by NZ's Chief Science Adviser that "more extreme rainfall, more hot weather, stronger winds and longer droughts over coming decades will have potentially massive effects on oceans and marine life" shows that in their zeal to back political issues like taxation scientists are allowing themselves to become uninformed about the natural world. In so doing they are in real danger of losing public trust.

 

The facts are that weather cannot affect the ocean. It is not well known except by biologists that about 99.7% of the earth’s biomass, all but 0.3% of the total of what we define as ‘life’, is under the sea. That tiny fraction which also includes us and everything that we can see around us is above sea level. All life under the sea survives without breathing air.

 

It therefore does not matter to 99.7% of all life (as we know it) if the air above cities is polluted or not. Marine life still relies on oceanic oxygen. Aquatic respiration is the process whereby any aquatic animal obtains oxygen from water, not from the air above the water. It means that nothing that is in the air, like CO2, can ever affect most life on Earth which still resides under the sea.

 

It is easy to forget the size of the ocean, and that every cubic litre of seawater teems with life. There is plankton, krill, and micro-organisms invisible to the naked eye. A cupful of seawater left to stand starts to stink within 2 days because all that invisible life dies, something that won't happen with a cup of fresh water with added salt. Compare that with a lidded cup of air left to stand. There are far less microorganisms in the air. Otherwise all biscuits in sealed packets would rapidly deteriorate.

 

In just a litre of seawater are millions per ml of bacteria, and tens of thousands per ml of phytoplankton. If you fish anywhere beside the sea you may catch something because of this abundance of marine food; a food chain whereby small things are eaten by bigger things and even bigger things eat them. And all of this is life without air

 

Earth is 75% covered by water. From space you just see ocean, which is why Earth is blue. 3 or 4 billion years ago a comet or asteroid landed in the sea and the intense energy from that impact was enough to enable amino acids, the building blocks of life, to form by fusing together C, N, H and O. Because it happened in the ocean life began and most remains there.

 

Land volcanically arose from the ocean and life developed on land, sometimes returning to the sea via earthquakes. Vertical land movement such as isostatic rebound still features in Pacific atolls like Tuvalu and Kiribati. NZ is still emerging from the sea, the east of the US is sinking, and Norway and Scotland are rising whilst south England is sinking.

 

The sea controls weather, not vice versa. Currents in the sea drive surface winds which become above-surface air pressures that manifest as winds that blow from ocean to ocean crossing land, and before that the Sun and Moon initially produced the ocean currents. Recent weaker currents have lead to less mixing in the ocean, bringing higher sea surface temperatures and higher air pressures, resulting in the warmth and less rainfall NZ has seen this year. Also, as we have been witnessing recently, higher pressures can accompany more earthquake activity

 

The planet's surface weather generates in the ocean and not on the land, which means not in rainforests, not by people driving around in SUVs and not by paying eco taxes.  It matters not a jot how many trees there are anywhere. There was weather before trees evolved. Nothing that is on land can affect, monitor or control the immense weather-generating forces that exist in the ocean. Weather is huge in energy – a cyclone releases as much energy in one second as a dozen Hiroshima bombs. It is why claiming there are organisations controlling weather is to claim there must be groups controlling the ocean and therefore also the Sun and Moon, which is plain nonsense.

 

Scientists love to talk about climate change and the dangers of CO2. But the species putting most CO2 into the atmosphere is termites. Most people wouldn't even know what a termite looks like. It is hard to tax termites and so they get no political or media attention. But termites produce more carbon dioxide each year than all living things combined. Planting endless trees is nice to create shade but also tends to create more habitats for more termites enabling even more CO2 to enter the atmosphere.

 

Political alarmists imagine whatever affects humans ipso facto affects the planet. Uninformed scaremongering plunges our economy into wasted spending on ridiculous fantasies of avoidance. I want my children to know the truth and I want them to love real science. I don't want them to be stuck with misery all the time and thoughts that it is up to them to look after the planet. This 4.5 billion year old rock does not need any of us to look after it.

 

Theoretically assuming that I just might be a planet that needed looking after, I might look at the track record of these humans who have put up their hands for the job. I would quickly see that they cannot control crime in South Auckland, cannot control their own drinking habits, cannot control their teenagers, cannot supply a clean drink of water to the three quarters of their own world population that live below the poverty line, cannot care for their elderly, and cannot stop fighting and killing each other. I would conclude that they are one of the very least intelligent species.

 

Then I would note that almost any bird, dumb animal, fish, creepy crawly insect, even household pet can predict earthquakes and extreme weather. They seem to know what to do and when. Some get very agitated, some want to find open ground in a hurry, horses break out of stalls, elephants go up hills, cats go in and out and jump on and off beds, dogs whine and howl, insects leave basements en masse, birds go silent, fish flatten themselves on the seafloor, and yet no human scientist has come up with useful software to duplicate that..

 

Therefore although they optimistically refer to themselves as the Master Race, I would rule out humans as caretaker contenders. I would look for a species that clearly has its act together for looking after itself, possibly to the extent of tricking another species into advancing its habitat.

So I would probably pick the termites.

 

 

For queries or further information please email ken@predictweather.com


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