The title of this post must surprise you.
I am blaming the climate itself for its increasingly strange behavior. Yes, scientists keep telling us after every major disaster event, that that particular one cannot be, in good conscience, blamed on global warming. They are, in the main, correct.
But, in one sense, they are not being true scientists: being bold, risk taking etc. It is only by being bold, Einstein brought about the revolution in physics; it is only by taking a risk that Darwin and Wallace hypothesized natural selection to describe how the variety of life forms on the earth would have come about.
I am not going to list out all climate-related catastrophes to make my point. I will make a general statement, which is open to questioning, even for abusing me. It looks to me that about a dozen disaster events that on probabilistic basis have a return period of 100 years have bunched themselves together over the past five years or so across the globe – torrential rain, extreme heat spells, extended drought, severe floods, and more intense hurricanes/cyclones. The list can continue but I will stop here.
I stopped only to request our climate scientists take up the task. The fancy word now in use is “Big Data”. I think we have enough data on all of the above extreme climate events to feed the “Big Data” into our climate simulation models on supercomputers. Are they doing it? I would suspect yes. But, none of the researchers are going out on a limb, however short it may be, to assert yes, the climate is changing and any particular extreme climate event does nothing but increase their confidence level a tiny bit.
I am not blaming them. They are waiting for more data and their wait may not be for too long. However, in the midst of all this, we have a severe cold wave (again, probably with a return period of 100 years!) in some corner of the world, and the climate-denying termites come out of the wood. It is global cooling and we must push more CO2 into the atmosphere. Donald Trump is one such termite; his recent twitter post makes it clear.
The 95% of the climate scientists who have concluded that the globe is warming at, say, 98% confidence level, are hit by this sidewinder (mixed metaphor, I agree). Who should I blame?
The climate, of course. It has to convey – how it would do it, I haven’t the foggiest, but it should – to the scientists that they must throw their statistics and probability based models and start afresh. Why?
The climate is not your everyday weather. When it changes, it is done wholesale, gobbling up all the data scientists have and are still accumulating. So, any climate science research must “unlearn” (Oh, how I hate that word) everything they have learnt thus far. It is a not just a new ball game; it is a new sport altogether. I am not denying that there must be some tenuous connection with the non-global warming past (earlier to the beginning of the 19th century) but it should be given only minimum weightage. Look at the wonderful Keeling Curve, and you would see that the curve gets steeper and steeper year-on-year and inexorably. No blips. That must warn us.
At some scale of miniaturization (zooming in), we must have the confidence to say that the curve is not continuous. That point of discontinuity, when established, must be the response to the sidewinding arguments against global cooling. That is a clear admission, by the scientific community, that we do not know how the climate is going to respond, because the climate itself does not know how it should respond to the new levels and of ever newer kinds of input into and from the earth’s atmosphere.
Here, then, must come the next point. We do not know, but we can guess and it so happens that if the globe does warm up, we do know what kind of consequences we would face – dreadful; and how soon would such a scenario would unfold – too soon for us to respond in real time.
But, what if the globe is indeed cooling? No sweat (pardon the pun). It would not be drastic. How do I know? Look at the Keeling Curve again. The climate should merely retrace as there must have been no break from the earlier models. We have time on our hands. No urgency.
Therefore, the danger is in the response we can offer to changes in the climate. One, if the globe is warming it has to be now and intense. If, on the other hand, it is cooling, it can be leisurely. The choice is obvious. We cannot sit on our hands now and wait for global warming to hit us hard and fast. We must assume the worst and prepare for it. Discard the old adage: hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
It is now, prepare for the worst. Ignore climate modelling. Do not waste time whether it is at 95% or 95.5% confidence level. Use no actuarial calculations. Take it as 100%. Act as if the worst is happening in the here and now. Take insurance.
Let climate do whatever it does. We would not care. We are ready.
P. S Ramblings from a know-nothing.