by Wal Thornhill | February 15, 2007 10:42 am
“As for the promised control of nature, it is in rout before nature unleashed.”
-Jacques Barzun, Science: the glorious entertainment
“Next we come to a question that everyone, scientist and non-scientist alike, must have asked at some time. What is man’s place in the Universe?”
-Fred Hoyle, The Nature of the Universe
Global warming has been deemed a fact. However, the inconvenient truth is that humans are not causing it. Al Gore has been given poor advice. Like Darwin’s theory of evolution and Big Bang cosmology, global warming by greenhouse gas emissions has undergone that curious social process in which a scientific theory is promoted to a secular myth. When in fact, science is ignorant about the source of the heat — the Sun.
The really inconvenient truth is that we cannot control Nature. But we can begin to learn our true place in the Universe and figure out how to cope rationally with inevitable change. Clearly, reducing air pollution is an admirable goal in itself. But we must not be deluded into thinking it will affect climate significantly. The connection between warming and atmospheric pollution is more asserted than demonstrated, while the connection with variations in the Sun has been demonstrated.
Since the late 1970s, three Sun-watching satellites recorded surprising changes in heat, ultraviolet radiation, and solar wind. Dr. Sami Solanski, director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, said, “The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.” “The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was….” Dr. Solanski admitted to not knowing what is causing the Sun to burn brighter. A leading authority, Eugene N. Parker, adds, “…we really do not properly understand the physics of the varying luminosity of the Sun.” This highlights the fundamental problem with the global warming verdict from climate experts. It is based on profound ignorance about how the Sun really “ticks” and what forms of energy are input to a planet’s climate. For this they can blame astrophysicists.
Although the historical climate records tie climate to variations in the Sun’s output, the solar variation is considered too small to have much effect on global warming. As John Gribbin wrote in New Scientist, “Statistical evidence links changes in our weather to changing solar activity. But no one has ever come up with a convincing explanation of how the link works.” “The puzzle is that the overall brightness of the Sun varies by less than 0.1 per cent during the 11-year cycle, too little to explain the observed changes in the weather.” Slowly, the consensus has shifted politically in favour of this view.
A recent report concedes that there could be more influential effects on the climate, such as cosmic rays causing cloudiness, or ultraviolet radiation affecting the ozone layer. These factors change more markedly during the solar cycle. But are these merely more side effects of solar variability and not the real cause?
As for warming caused by mankind’s production of so-called “greenhouse gases,” Professor Nils-Axel Mörner wrote in a submission to the UK parliament on global warming:
“The driving idea is that there is a linear relationship between CO2 increase in the atmosphere and global temperature. The fact, however, is that temperature has constantly gone up and down. From 1850 to 1970, we see an almost linear relationship with Solar variability; not CO2. For the last 30 years, our data sets are so contaminated by personal interpretations and personal choices that it is almost impossible to sort up the mess in reliable and unreliable data.”
Underlying the bogeyman of the global greenhouse is the belief that something went wrong on our sister planet, Venus, and a “runaway greenhouse effect” occurred, turning it into a furnace hot enough to melt some metals. It is another of the secular myths of our age. In Venus isn’t our twin! I wrote:
Comparisons with the Earth will lead nowhere. Nothing “went wrong” on Venus or “went right” on Earth. The two planets are not the same age and are only distantly related. There is no message for us from the study of Venus for an imagined evolution of Earth’s climate into a hothouse.
“It is my firm belief that the last seven decades of the twentieth century will be characterized in history as the dark ages of theoretical physics.”
-Carver Mead, Collective Electrodynamics
What do we need to know before an informed judgement can be made in the global warming debate? What are the science myths holding us back?
It is crucial that we know what is really going on in space-and in particular how the Sun really works. By historical accident the theory of what makes the Sun shine was developed at the time nuclear energy was discovered and when plasma physics was in its infancy. The Sun, instead of being an aboriginal campfire in the sky with limited fuel, became a “thermonuclear campfire” with practically limitless fuel. Not such a big advance over Stone Age thinking!
It seems very satisfying-and safe. We don’t need to put coins in the meter to keep it burning. However, the reactions which are thought to generate heat in the Sun’s core are hypersensitive to temperature variations, and mechanisms to control the reactions are difficult to devise. In view of this, the steadiness of the Sun’s output is a puzzle. Furthermore, if thermonuclear reactions generated all the Sun’s energy, a certain number of subatomic particles called electron neutrinos would be produced. And critically — the number of electron neutrinos coming from the Sun is woefully inadequate.
Astronomers appealed to particle physicists to help patch things up. Particle physicists responded with a clever subterfuge, saying that all is well if you add up the different neutrino “flavors” and propose that some were electron neutrinos that swapped flavours en-route to the detectors on Earth. Astrophysicists grasped this lifesaver like drowning men and women. It became “proof” of their “thermonuclear campfire” model overnight. Unfortunately, it cannot be proven without a neutrino detector close to the Sun. Occam’s razor recommends that we take the neutrino data at face value and re-examine our assumptions about the Sun.
Meanwhile astronomers discovered that the Sun is an amazingly complex magnetic body — while campfires are not noted for their magnetism. So heroic attempts have been made to conjure up a “dynamo” inside the Sun to match its weird magnetic behaviour. Not surprisingly, all attempts have failed. It is simply assumed there must be a hidden dynamo because the magnetic fields are there and no one believes they could come from outside the Sun. The mysteriously generated magnetic fields are called upon to explain most of the puzzling observations about the Sun. It fits the astrophysicists’ maxim, “when we don’t understand something, we blame it on magnetism.” They then show their ignorance of magnetism by describing electric discharge phenomena in terms of the ‘snapping’ and ‘reconnection’ of imaginary field lines. The father of plasma physics, Hannes Alfvén, wrote concerning the mistreatment of magnetism by astrophysicists:
“Magnetospheric physics and solar wind physics today are no doubt in a chaotic state, and a major reason for this is that part of the published papers are science and part pseudoscience, perhaps even with a majority in the latter group.”
The view of the Sun as an isolated, self-sufficient, self-immolating, magnetic body is the chief peculiarity and drawback of the campfire Sun.
But the refutation of this theory blazes down on us in plain view. Nothing seen on or above the Sun conforms to the “campfire” model!
—the odd solar magnetic field, the remarkable photospheric granulation, dark sunspots, the filamentary sunspot penumbrae, the sunspot cycle, the variation of rotation rate across the surface and with depth, the blisteringly hot corona above a cool photosphere (like boiling the kettle on a cold campfire), the solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the acceleration of the solar wind.
Simply put, we do not understand the Sun. And if we do not understand the Sun we have no basis for understanding its influence on the Earth’s climate.
But there is a way to understand the Sun, if only we can step outside the traditional astrophysical assumption that gravity alone operates in space. The generation and transmission of power for electric lights involves magnetism. And unlike any campfire, the Sun manifests an abundance of magnetic phenomena. Those phenomena suggest that the Sun is an electrical body. The magnetic field of the solar wind shows that electric currents flow within the solar system. The million-degree temperature of the solar corona points to an external power source for the Sun. The polar plume and equatorial plasma torus show that the Sun, like all stars, is the focus of galactic currents “pinching” naturally into an hourglass form with an equatorial current sheet.
The hourglass shape is made visible in many beautiful planetary nebulae.
Stars are elements in galactic circuits. They trace the power lines like electric streetlights along the arms of the Milky Way. The solar magnetic and sunspot cycle is due to the quasi-periodic DC power input to the Sun. This variability of power input to the Sun can be clearly seen in X-rays and UV light. See “The Sun – Our Variable Star.”
It has been shown that the Sun’s constancy of light and heat output is due to a natural transistor action of the plasma sheaths forming the photosphere and chromosphere of the Sun. A very small voltage between the body of the Sun and the underside of the photosphere controls the enormous current that lights the Sun. Nature, as we have come to expect, has found a beautifully simple method of steadying the light output of main sequence stars.
A star is the focus of a galactic “glow discharge.” The electrical energy that courses through the solar system and powers the Sun is a subtle form of energy that all of the planets intercept to some degree. Planets orbit within this discharge and intercept some of the electrical energy. Planets are minor “electrodes” within a stellar discharge envelope. The electrical energy is delivered to stars and planets in the manner of a simple Faraday motor.
The electromotive power is deposited mostly in the upper atmosphere at mid to low latitudes and gives rise to fast upper atmosphere winds and even “super rotation.” That is, the wind races around the planet faster than the planet turns. It is a phenomenon observed on Venus and Titan and remains unexplained by atmospheric physics, which relies on solar heating. It is the cause of the extraordinary winds on the gas giant planets in the outer solar system, where solar heating is weak. It has implications for the jet streams and weather patterns on Earth as well. Notably, the polar current streams take the form of twin Birkeland current filaments, which give rise to the enigmatic “double vortexes” seen at the poles of Venus. It is apparent that electrical energy from space doesn’t merely light up auroras. It has a profound influence on upper atmosphere winds and storms. An expert on the dynamics of planetary atmospheres, F. W. Taylor, has admitted, “the absence of viable theories which can be tested, or in this case [Venusian polar vortex] any theory at all, leaves us uncomfortably in doubt as to our basic ability to understand even gross features of planetary atmospheric circulations.” Meanwhile, electrical energy appears nowhere in any climate model.
The electrical model of the Sun and its environment answers the question of how the solar cycle can have more effect on the weather than expected from solar heating alone. Because the planets are minor electrodes in the Sun’s circuit, they are subject to the full variation of the galactic electrical input. It explains the simultaneous warming of other planets and changes in their atmospheres. Even distant Pluto (at the time still a planet) baffled astronomers by continuing to warm up eighteen years after its orbit began to take it further from the Sun. Electrical energy may constitute a major energy source for the outer planets. And, of course, on Mars there are no SUVs or farting cows to explain its warming.
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a set of interacting parts of a single global system of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate fluctuations that are believed to come about as a consequence of oceanic and atmospheric circulation. ENSO is the most prominent known source of inter-annual variability in weather and climate around the world (~3 to 8 years), though not all areas are affected. ENSO has signatures in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Scientists are unable to explain this global weather and climate feature.
During El Niño (bottom panel of the schematic diagram), the trade winds relax in the central and western Pacific leading to a depression of the thermocline in the eastern Pacific, and an elevation of the thermocline in the west. The weakening of easterly tradewinds during El Niño is evident in this figure as well. Rainfall follows the warm water eastward, with associated flooding in Peru and drought in Indonesia and Australia. The eastward displacement of the atmospheric heat source overlaying the warmest water results in large changes in the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn force changes in weather in regions far removed from the tropical Pacific.
What has the electrical model of the Sun-Earth connection have to offer for our understanding of ENSO?
Climatologists base their predictions on Coupled General Circulation Models. These are computer models that try to mimic the interplay of the atmosphere and the ocean with energy coming from the Sun. The contradictory results prompted the Chairman of the World Climate Conference in 2003, Prof. Yuri Izrael, to ask, “What is going on, on this planet — warming or cooling?”
Now some geologists are beginning to take a broader look at climate drivers, from the perspective of Aristotle’s four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. In other words, it seems that what goes on inside the Earth also affects climate.
The possibility that something internal to the Earth affects climate was raised by Daniel Walker first in 1988 and then again in 1995 and 1999. He pointed out that increased tectonic activity (seismicity, magma upwelling and hydrothermal venting) along portions of the East Pacific Rise (EPR), precede (by up to six months) each El Niño event studied since 1964. The association was so significant that Walker called the increased seismicity along the EPR “Predictors of El Niño.”
Geophysicist Bruce Leybourne has found a link between global climate oscillations and small changes in the Earth’s gravity, which alters storm tracks and affects sea levels.
“The evidence so far available indicates that tectonic events precede ocean/atmospheric changes. The evidence comes from gravity measurement studies… These studies indicate strong correlations or ‘teleconnections’ between barometric pressure change and the force of gravity… This establishes an unmistakeable link between gravity fluctuations and ocean-atmosphere dynamics.”
It would be preferable to find a cause that doesn’t rely on tectonics—the science of hypothetical activity within the Earth. I have already made the connection between earthquakes and solar activity.
“The missing link between the sunspots and earthquakes is the fact that the electric discharges to the Sun that cause sunspots can also affect the Earth’s ionosphere. The ionosphere forms one “plate” of a capacitor, while the Earth forms the other. Changes of voltage on one plate will induce movement of charge on the other. But unlike a capacitor, the Earth also has charge distributed in rock beneath the surface. And if the subsurface rock has become semi-conducting because of stress, there is an opportunity for sudden electrical breakdown to occur through that rock.
We should expect similar processes to occur underground as are found in atmospheric lightning. …in a large earthquake, the entire circuit may be involved, from below the Earth, through the atmosphere to the ionosphere.
This would explain the massive disturbance of the ionosphere over a large area accompanying a major earthquake. Subterranean lightning causes earthquakes! Seismic waves are the rumble of underground thunder.”
The ‘weather’ beneath the ground is linked to the weather above. So what is the connection with the fluctuations in gravity?
This brings us to one of the most intransigent myths of the 20th century: that Einstein gave us a real understanding of gravity. He did not. He was the most significant physicist to cross the line between physics and metaphysics. His imaginary description of gravity in terms of matter curving space, in some non-physical extra dimension, explains nothing. How can you curve nothing?
Newton had shown that gravity is related directly to mass. But what causes matter to exhibit mass remains a fundamental mystery. Also, Newton’s gravity operates instantaneously (time does not appear in his gravitational equation). Yet Einstein would have us believe that the Earth has no information about where the Sun is until 8 minutes after. He bequeathed us a disconnected, incoherent universe that simply cannot work or give rise to life. That is why cosmology reads like science fiction. This ignorance of the real nature of gravity may have significance in relation to climate.
Einstein published his theory of gravitation, or general theory of relativity, in 1916. And so a new paradigm, or set of beliefs, was established. It was not until 1930 that Fritz London explained the weak, attractive dipolar electric bonding force (known as Van der Waals’ dispersion force or the ‘London force’) that causes gas molecules to condense and form liquids and solids. Like gravity, the London force is always attractive and operates between electrically neutral molecules. And that precise property has been the most puzzling distinction between gravity and the powerful electromagnetic forces, which may repel as well as attract.
So it seems the clue about the true nature of gravity has been available to chemists — who are not interested in gravity — and unavailable to physicists — who are not interested in physical chemistry (and view the world through Einstein’s distorting spectacles). Look at any average general physics textbook and you will find no reference to Van der Waals or London forces. What a different story might have been told if London’s insight had come a few decades earlier? Physics could, by now, have advanced by a century instead of being bogged in a mire of metaphysics.
The London force originates in fluctuating electric dipoles caused by slight distortion of otherwise electrically neutral atoms and molecules. The tiny electric dipoles arise because the orbiting electrons, at any given instant, cannot shield the positive charge of the nucleus equally in all directions. The result, amongst a group of similar atoms or molecules is that the electric dipoles tend to resonate and line up so that they attract each other. An excellent illustrated lesson on the London force, or Van der Waals’ dispersion force can be found here.
Obviously, gravity is distinct from the London force. It is much, much weaker. That should be a clue. What if we are looking at gravity being due to a similar electrostatic distortion effect in the far smaller constituents of each atom, in the electrons, protons and neutrons? Of course, this is heresy because the electron is supposed to be a fundamental particle, with no smaller constituent particles. However, there are experiments that challenge this belief.
If gravity is an electric dipolar force, we can understand why the so-called “universal constant of gravitation” is so infernally inconstant. There is no reason to assume it is universal. Changes in charge distribution within the Earth contribute most of the variability in gravity. And sudden changes in charge distribution within the Earth cause earthquakes and thermal, volcanic events. They will occur most often in regions having peculiar electrical properties. The common thread can now be seen. The Sun’s radiant output remains fairly steady while the electrical power in its galactic circuit has a superimposed cyclic “hum.” The Earth receives the hum plus the static from solar flares, which simply adds “noise” to our average climate and earthquake activity.
A final word about our place in the Universe. We live with the fable of Newton’s clockwork solar system and the constancy of the Sun over past aeons. Scientists chart past climate and blithely assign periodicities to various warming and cooling episodes extending back millions of years into the past. All of the numbers and charts bestow the appearance of being in control of the facts. But it is mere wishful thinking. Here, science unconsciously takes on the mantle of religion—providing assurance in an uncertain universe.
Where does this powerful urge for certainty come from? Underlying the global warming debate is an unacknowledged fear—a subconscious, irrational fear of THE END OF THE WORLD. A few decades ago climate experts were warning us that we were facing another ice age. Now we are told that we face a catastrophe of global warming. All the while, there is a Greek chorus of scientists whipping up our innate fear of an apocalyptic cometary impact. All of these anxieties are irrational. We have no modern experience of them.
But there does seem to be an archetypal memory of doomsday. Fossil strata record several of them. Ancient myths and legends describe one or more at the dawn of civilization. The Earth sciences will remain hamstrung for as long as it takes to understand that we live in an ELECTRIC UNIVERSE® and the solar system we see today is not as old as the human race. Meanwhile, human behavior will continue to be irrational until we understand our true history and place in an electric and sometimes catastrophic universe.
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