Friday, May 11, 2012

A New Blog on the Blogspot

Micha Tomkiewicz is a professor of physics at Brooklyn College who has a story to tell.  As a child he survived Bergen Belsen, grew up and was educated in Israel and made his way to the US where he got involved in catalytic water splitting and better battery research.  This lead him into energy and energy policy issues which are his current interests.  Micha founded and directs the Environmental Studies Program at Brooklyn College.

He has started a blog, Climate Change Fork, with something to say
But I’ve taken up this challenge - today, on the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day – because I simply couldn’t stand by and watch while climate change “deniers” continue to try to take center stage and to keep all of us from doing what’s necessary to head off the impending climate change disaster.
As a professor, a scientist, a Holocaust survivor and someone who has just written a book on climate change, I think I am uniquely positioned to tell the climate change story.  I know that once people really grasp the science behind climate change and how each person really can help us reverse course, they take action and feel hopeful.  I’ve seen it happen.  Despite everything, I feel hopeful too.
So please, read on, leave comments and let’s start a discussion.
Some friends are already there, so let us hence


J Bowers said...

Quite funny how the deniers are trying to lecture Prof. Tomkiewicz without thinking that he started Brooklyn's Environmental Studies Program, is a physics professor, and is published including a book on the subject. It's almost as if they think he's fresh to it all because he only just started blogging, which might be quite telling with regards to their own emphasis on what's important in the climate debate and how they assess expertise.

Lionel A said...

Good start Micha, excellent first article which has already drawn attention.

I see Tom has brought a bottle, shame that the wine is likely to be sour though.

Anonymous said...

The first two posts on the blog are already teeming with (second post in fact overrun by) people lecturing Prof. Tomkiewicz on how wrong it is to compare Holocaust and Climate denialism. Several of them try to bat away the "denier" label by then lecturing him on the state of climate science. If ever there was anybody qualified to speak on both points...


Anonymous said...

So, can anyone define with quantifiable and falsifiable specificity what "impending climate change disaster." is?

I didn't think so.


amoeba said...

I find it simultaneously amazing and also completely unsurprising that so many people feel qualified to lecture Prof. Tomkiewicz.

That's the internet in microcosm for you, a place where the stupid clamour to demonstrate their ignorance to the world.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Waldo, your post reminds me of the parable of Lazarus and Dives. Dives begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers about Hell. Abraham tells Dives, "They have Moses and the Prophets. If they won't heed them they wouldn't pay attention were a man to a rise from the dead."

J Bowers said...

Ocean acidification (bang goes much of the food chain), crops burning in drought and heatwave conditions (bang goes more of the food chain), and a sea ice free Arctic in summer (the canary in the mine's about to die).

How's that for "impending climate change disaster"?

Jeffrey Davis said...

The most immediate catastrophic impact will be political. The "Arab Spring" has been caused by rises in food prices. Not from some new found love of democracy. So far the results are ambiguous, but not completely disappointing. That will come later. And so far, none of the threatened governments are necessary for our peace. But there are other fragile regimes.

Two years running, Pakistan experienced floods that wiped out the vast bulk of Pakistani agriculture. That Pakistan. The one with nukes. The one already in an ambiguous relationship with Islamists.

Basically, Waldo, your "scepticism" sounds more like mere cynicism.

Hank Roberts said...

Well, my comments never appear, but the blogspam adbots pretending to applaud get approved. I am humbled by the comparison

amoeba said...

Many would find your idea of playing planetary Russian roulette unappealing.
What will get us first? [There are other perils]

Biodiversity / Ecological collapse
Toxic crops, declining harvests & Agricultural collapse
Rainfall & drought
Ocean acidification
Clathrate bomb

Anonymous said...

J Bowers,
"Ocean acidification" is quantifiable and falsifiable, but not a problem.
Fortunately phytoplankton (a major component of the oceanic food web ) benfits from additional
CO2 just as land based plant life does. Contrary to the food chain going, the plant life which forms the basis of the food chain is strengthened.
Over fishing is a threat to ocean species, acidification is not.
The oceans can (and ultimately will) absorb all CO2.
This is not a problem, much less a disaster.

"Crops burning in drought and heatwave conditions"
Burning? Are you suggesting heating to 451F?
Strangely, there isn't a good link between 'global warming' and heat waves.
Heat waves are caused by stagnant high pressure systems, which paradoxically,
arise from intense polar air masses. Would global warming weaken polar outbreaks,
thus making heatwaves less frequent? It makes about as much sense as saying global warming
makes heatwaves more frequent. Heatwaves, marked by a subsidence inversion also tend to radiate
more energy to space ( because of the arid air above humid air near the surface invoked by the inversion ). In any case, heatwaves exhibit temperature variation of 10C or more naturally.

Drought is another question. Certainly warmer paleo times were wetter and nearly all climate
models indicate greater precipitation globally. The arguments are pretty much hand waving.
After all, the 'Dust Bowl' occurred well before the recent rise and was ostensibly 'natural'. It, like all the paleo events are NORMAL and nothing associated with the last four decades of warming seems to have been much of a divergence from such a record.

"sea ice free Arctic in summer"
The Arctic sea ice decline is dynamic.
Look at this image of sea ice from January ( when it's well below freezing ):
Notice the stripe of multi-year ice and first year ice next to the Greenland coast?
The Arctic has been and evidently still is losing sea ice to the export business.
When less multi-year ice is available, the existing young ice melts more easily.
I don't believe this will persist. Eventually the gyre will again dominate the circulation
such that the multi-year ice spins in place and accumulates, rather than migrate equatorward.
But what if the Arctic did lose ice in summer? That happened for thousands of years during the
Holocene Climatic Optimum. It evidently was not a disaster.

How's that for "impending climate change disaster"?

Not even weak tea.


Anonymous said...


"Many would find your idea of playing planetary Russian roulette unappealing."

What I'm saying is that it's encumbent on the purveyors of disaster to identify
precisely what the theory is in a way that we can test.

Simply proclaiming disaster is not science.

"Biodiversity / Ecological collapse"
There is no evidence that biodiversity is threatened.
In fact warmer areas of earth exhibit greater biodiversity.
Most species which exist today, existed during the relatively recent
glacial maximum. Therefore, those species were not so delicate that the
very large climate shit since then was a threat.

"Toxic crops, declining harvests & Agricultural collapse"
Toxic crops? Declining harvest? Certainly not so far.
Global production has risen for more than a century.

"Rainfall & drought" Rainfall and drought are NORMAL.
Even great variation in rainfall and drought.
I live in New Mexico and there are very long lived trees from which
tree ring records indicate a drought which lasted for CENTURIES around 200AD.
Have you seen pictures of the Dust Bowl? These things happen as part of variation.
They appear to be variations in circulation but the factors which govern atmospheric
circulation are the spin of the earth, the geography of the oceans and mountains, and the
nature of radiation onto a spheroid. None of these things will change with more CO2.

"Ocean acidification" Ocean acidification will be minimal and CO2 in the ocean is a fertilizer to
the bottom of the food chain.

"Clathrate bomb" - is there any basis to believe that this is in any way likelY?

I'm on board with the fact that more CO2 is likely to cause more warming.

But there is no scientific basis for 'disaster'.


Jeffrey Davis said...

The recent droughts in the Great Plains have been more intense than the ones the brought about the dust storms of the 20s and 30s. The difference is the improvement in agricultural practices.

Funny you should mention New Mexico and drought. Like the one that killed off the Old Ones.

Back in 1987, at the end of a drought, I saw fields by the side of the interstate burning. The spark that set the fire was simply static electric discharge from the passing vehicles. Fires don't need to begin by raising the air temperature to combustion levels.

And you've ignored the political issues.