That everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it has been attributed to Charles Dudley Warner and to Samuel Clemens and if you except Al Gore and President Obama, remains largely true today. And while politicians are proven when it comes to changing the level of your bank account, their grasp of the weather seems less certain. But does the weather need help? It seems pretty competent at changing all by itself.
While the “warmists” get the headlines, much else goes on unheralded and perhaps more real. We all know that the earth was pretty much one large Popsicle during multiple past ice ages, with comparatively shorter warm periods like our present, in between. We believe too that our present warm period has lasted longer than has been the average in the past. Back mid last century before global warming became politically fashionable, folks worried about global re-freezing. Neither warming nor cooling seem attractive; our form of life is happiest in our present Goldilocks “just right” set of conditions.
Geologists tell us though, not to plan on permanence on this earth; it has always been changing and shows every sign of continuing. Hence Professor Stephen Hawking’s advice to get out into space and shop for more real estate elsewhere.
While it is true that our Sun will blow up some day (become a nova) or we may be hit yet again from space by a really big meter, there are more immediate events available too. There is another earthly periodic event, one that we know little of, called a ”geomagnetic reversal.’ It seems that the earth’s north and south magnetic poles have periodically swapped locations.
A fellow named Drayson thought that this related to the earth’s ice ages and aroused a lot of laughter. Now, there is a lot less laughter but General Drayson, an amateur in science, is still held offstage..
The earth’s magnetic poles do in fact, periodically swap. Why exactly, when and how long it takes are unknown, along with what if any effect it has on life here. Some think it accounts for the periodic mass extinctions, like those missing dinosaurs. Others say no it doesn’t, but neither knows what they’re talking about. But we do know the swap occurs. A similar swap just completed on our Sun. And, though there is no known connection, some believe that our “overdue” next earthly reversal has begun. If that is correct, there could be some interesting ramifications.
Theory says earth’s magnetic fields connecting the magnetic poles are a product of the sloshing around of the planet’s molten iron core. Another product of that molten core is volcanoes. A few of those, such as the bottom of Yellowstone Park, a chunk of the central Sierras in California and the New Mexico Jemez caldera are called: “Supervolcanoes.” Yellowstone is blamed for putting so much soot in the air that the earth went dark, froze and exterminated most species last time it occurred. Could be, maybe not. We dunno.
Some say the magnetic field now collapsing (slowly, at the moment) shields us from much of the Sun’s radiation, which would otherwise kill us. The “shields” part is inarguable; whether its loss would kill us and how much farther it will decline are anybody’s guess. So is the probability of supervolcano eruption, though if the sloshing of our planetary core is in fact changing, the logic is there.
And you may add the related changes in planetary weather, as well. Darkening the atmosphere with volcanic soot, dumping massive volcanic heat into the atmosphere, changing solar radiation impacts and whatever we’re forgetting to include here will all alter weather.
With all that, we can see why Turner Broadcasting thought it should publish its report of unusual seismographic readings from under Yellowstone recently. Such can warn of impending eruptions and Yellowstone is an at least theoretically overdue supervolcano. But the U.S. government, that operates the seismographs, quickly published a report discounting the Yellowstone data as just electrical noise, nothing to worry about. So, not to worry, right? No point worrying about stuff on this scale, anyway … even President Obama won’t save us from stuff like this. If the earth doesn’t blow us up, he’ll probably spend us to death anyway. Hell with it, let’s party!