Sunday, April 18, 2021

Thoughts on COVID & Climate Change

Dear Editor,

Confusion in people’s minds after seeing media reports on COVID or climate is understandable. We hear diverse things about a virus that is ‘novel’ and therefore not yet understood by our health practitioners, and we hear opposing opinions about climate and whether it could be controlled by humans.

It appears that washing hands, physical distancing, wearing masks have all helped in one regard, in that confirmed influenza cases at least are practically zero this winter https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/data-and-analysis/infectious-disease/respiratory-pathogens-weekly. This should comfort us a little.

Atmospheric CO2 continuously increases directly with world population growth, suggesting a causal relationship. However, air and water temperatures from Georgian Bay weather stations have been cooling now for 10-20 years: https://esemag.com/air-pollution/challenging-the-bleak-climate-forecast-for-georgian-bay/. This is confusing because higher CO2 is not supposed to do this. Canada’s High Arctic is still warming, but that’s where CO2 is the lowest.

To add to this, a government computer model uses the warming period of 1986-2005 to predict future warming for Georgian Bay after 2021, but simply ignores the cooling trends of 1950-1980 and 2005-2020 (www.canadaccdp.ca). I’m confused why they did this.

More confusion arises when temperatures derived from satellites (e.g. https://nsrdb.nrel.gov) show downtown Toronto warming at 1.0°C over the last 10 years, whereas Canada’s weather station at the same Bloor and St. George location (one of the world’s first; in use since 1840!) shows very slight cooling (https://climate.weather.gc.ca). Looking at Wiarton, the satellite calculates 0.5°C warming per decade whereas the weather station measures 0.1°C cooling. Something is amiss; should we rely on satellites or on thermometers.

Okay, so we get confusing things thrown at us and we don’t like that, and may lash out at times, calling people names. The good thing is you can look up these data to verify them and not have to depend on the word of a politician. The bad thing is that you need a lot of Covid idle time as there is often hourly data over many years to look at and compile; it is enlightening though.

Climate science is very complex, not simple, and CO2 covers the Earth too uniformly to explain why serious climate change is regional (e.g. the polar regions). My personal prejudice is with the theory that weakening of both the solar magnetic field and of our own geomagnetic field in evidence now should result in global cooling. A novel theory and not fully understood but this science is advancing, not settled.

This letter may not help allay confusion as it supports both pro-maskers and pro-climate-questioners. We ought to be skeptical of influencers speaking outside of their expertise, to accept diverse views without vitriol, and to question why there is such a rift between opinions in the first place. Often it is confusion that causes polarization, but that can be moderated by impartial fact-finding and reasoned discussion.

Thank you, Mr. Editor,

E. Craig Jowett, Meaford

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