I am writing to say how much I enjoyed your article in the Times [“A Mom’s Research: Texas Freezing and Global Warming” by Jean Chen, published on Feb. 24]. As I have lived a good many years on this earth, I appreciate a logical, objective review of current news events. I especially like your quote from Richard Feynman, as I too see too much advocacy and less proven science in the world’s “scientific leaders.” And, in too many instances, facts omitted.
I would like to add two scientific facts to your list of research material. I am not a scientist and I do not have initials behind my name listing all my degrees. I’m just a plain ordinary old guy who’s done a fair amount of reading on this subject.
Fact No. 1: The movement of the “magnetic north pole.” The magnetic pole (not true north) consists of a large molten (2700 degrees F) mass of iron ore under the earth’s surface. For decades, this mass was located in the Hudson Bay of northern Canada. Until recently, its movement was limited to inches a year. It currently resides under the Arctic Circle and is moving toward Russian Siberia. Using a layman’s logic, a mass of iron at 2700 F would have a definite effect on the polar ice above. Brian Williams (NBC News) reported this event back in January 2011.
Fact No. 2: This is a little more complicated than No. 1. We’re all taught in school that the earth makes a yearly orbit around the sun and that the earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours. Some of us remember that the earth is tilted some 20 degrees-plus on its axis, thus creating the seasons (winter, summer, etc.) as the earth makes its yearly trip around the sun.
Most don’t know that the earth wobbles on its axis. Picture a spinning top and how it begins to wobble as it begins to spin down. This wobble affects the earth’s tilt toward (and away) from the sun. This wobble is called “the precession of the equinox.” Look it up, quite interesting reading. This scientific fact has been known for centuries, and even (I’ve been told) documented in Central and South American Native Indian calendars. Again using a layman’s logic, if the angle of the earth changes its exposure to the sun, there would be a corresponding temperature that would affect both positive and negative. A single (360-degree) rotation of this “precession” takes approximately 26,000 years to complete. Just one degree of this “precession” takes around 72 years—a lifetime. If my memory serves me right, we were taught that the last ice age in the Northern Hemisphere ended around 12,000 years ago. Logic tells me that if 12,000 years ago the Northern Hemisphere was under ice, the earth has been warming ever since.
Is the “precession” the cause? If that’s the case, then do the math. The earth is going to continue its cycle of warming for another 1,000 years, and there’s little science can do but prepare for it.
In closing, I again thank you for your interesting and educational article. I hope I have given you additional research sources with which to inform your daughter.