According to daily news reports, earth is suffering from severe global warming problems. The oceans are going to rise about 26 inches over the next century, our coastal areas, including many large cities, will be flooded, and new beaches will form many miles inland from their current locations. Every new weather event is blamed on global warming. Recent hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions -- you name it -- they are the result of global warming. As a result, the US Supreme Court in 2007 [Justice Stevens, "Massachusetts v EPA," US Supreme Court, No. 05-1120, 2 Apr 2007, Opinion of the Court; and Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, "Massachusetts v EPA," US Supreme Court, No. 05-1120, 2 Apr 2007, Dissenting Opinions], declared carbon dioxide a pollutant gas that can be regulated by the EPA.
But also, this summer, we learned that the former Director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (whose data started this whole global warming band wagon) admitted that there has been no "statistically significant" global warming over the last 15 years (from 1995-2010) [Petre, Jonathan, UK Daily Mail: "Climategate U-turn as Scientist at Centre of Row Admits: There has Been No Global Warming Since 1995," 11 Aug 2010]. In light of this revelation, the corrective actions taken by our Supreme Court and all the dire calls for immediate action appear to be a wee bit premature.
This book represents the author's entry into the global warming debate. As a Christian, the author's first question was: What does the Bible have to say about global warming? His own initial inclination was to answer that it has nothing to say about the subject. But then, he embarked on a study to learn if and what the Bible says about it. Turns out, the Bible has quite a lot to say on the subject. In addition to the fact that the Bible says God created the heavens and the earth, the Bible teaches that God maintains the daily workings of the earth, "by Him all things consist," and finally, it says that God controls the wind and the rain. This final point directly impacts global warming issues. Control of the wind and the rain equates to control of all storm systems and sunny days, and more specifically, the weather and the climate! Three chapters in the book cover these three points.
The author devoted one chapter to consider process control systems, which are needed by those who are attempting to create climate change computer models. The earth's weather systems appear to be self-regulating. We don't need to understand the details of self-regulating systems for them to function properly. They do it all by themselves -- hence the name. To model self-regulating systems in a computer, however, we need to know the precise details and the interactions between their various phenomena. We can't model weather or climate without understanding how all of the phenomena interact. Then, to make a valid computer model, we must accurately duplicate the interrelationships between all of the various phenomena that work naturally in the real world. Sunlight, cloud cover, temperatures, winds, water vapor and water sources, etc., must all be taken into account and the modelers must properly simulate how they all interact with each other. Process control engineers must set appropriate gain values into their controllers for proper automatic system controls. There is no need to figure out any gains when a system is self-regulating. It simply, and automatically, takes care of and regulates itself. But modelers must properly assess all gains that control the interactions between the climate variables in their simulation models.
The author devotes another chapter to the consideration of computer models. As a computer modeler himself, the author knows the various pitfalls that can prevent the development of successful models. Computer models are simple representations of real phenomena. Sometimes, they are too simple. Sometimes the required mathematics are complex and large complex computer programs and long computing times define a model. Sometimes the required math is beyond the capabilities of the modelers so some desired phenomena cannot be included in the model. Sometimes, wrong assumptions are made when trying to understand and model complex phenomena. Sometimes important phenomena are missed in a computer model because the modelers didn't realize they were important. Etc. All sorts of pitfalls can hinder the success of computer models.
Part of the author's teaching responsibilities, in addition to teaching process control courses, was to teach industrial fuels and combustion systems. His first job in industry was as a combustion engineer, and he has spent more than twenty years teaching engineering students and graduate process engineers how to control industrial fuels and burners, as well as how to perform all necessary calculations. For example, the author spent a lot of time teaching students how to calculate air and flue gas compositions, flame temperatures, and heat contents. The most important phenomenon from that subject that deals with climate issues is known as the "latent heat of vaporization" of liquid water as it vaporizes to form water vapor. The "latent heat" (for short) soaks up enormous amounts of heat in the process of vaporizing water. It is the biggest absorber of solar energy on the earth because the earth's surface is covered with an almost endless supply of liquid water. It takes much more heat to vaporize an endless supply of water than it does to heat the 0.04% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gas that has the most effect on atmospheric air temperatures is water vapor. But we can do nothing about water vapor. Water is out there in abundant supply all over the earth and it vaporizes and condenses according to temperatures and available sunlight at the earth's surface and in the atmosphere. Sample calculations in the book show the magnitude of heat that can be absorbed by water, compared with the amount of heat that can be absorbed by the tiny percentage of carbon dioxide in the air.
Another chapter in the book considers some of the natural cycles that surround us --that we also take for granted. The most important of these is the oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle. Humans and animals inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and give off oxygen as a byproduct. As the human population has grown to enormous numbers, the plant population has kept pace to maintain the natural balance. More carbon dioxide enhances the growth of plants. Less carbon dioxide hinders plant growth. According to evolutionary theories, the earth has been here for millions of years, and this balance has been maintained all this while. But now, the combustion of fossil fuels (which we believe came from compacted plant life in the first place) is supposedly ruining the planet. Plants are used by humans and animals as a food source, so when slightly higher levels of carbon dioxide and slightly warmer temperatures encourage the speed of growth of plants, that seems to be a good thing. Having conditions that enhance the growth of plants, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, means that we will continue to have adequate food supplies even while populations continue to grow. But when carbon dioxide is considered to be a pollutant gas and attempts are being made to sequester it from industrial waste gas streams (and change it from a form that can participate in this natural balance, to an inorganic form that cannot), the intelligentsia want to force us to make changes that will affect this natural cycle and potentially alter the success of our food supplies (by reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.) Why? Because of a bogus problem that they cooked up -- called global warming.
Another chapter discusses ramifications of the Copernican Principle, which was understood by the church to be a suggestion that the earth and mankind are not important -- they do not reside at the center of the universe. Copernicus died before the church could come down on him for his suggestion that the sun, not the earth, lies at the center of our solar system. But Galileo, who observed with his telescopes the accuracy of Copernicus' statement, was declared a heretic by the church. Fast forward to today, and one realizes that everything is reversed. Political correctness agrees with the church's understanding of Copernicus' statement --but they like it. They understand it to say, "We're not special." [Gonzalez, Guillermo, and Richards, Jay W., The Privileged Planet, 2004, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC, p.286.] With political correctness agreeing that we're not special, they can easily support the "science" of Darwinian evolution, render the creation story to be a fairy tale, and declare that mankind is not special -- we all evolved from a glob of snot floating on the ocean -- and that's not special.
Yet another chapter is devoted to discussing how Intelligent Design, ID, impacts this debate. Many who support ID are attempting to prove logically, and without any mention of God, that intelligence was required to create the worlds. In their book, Gonzalez and Richards concluded that earth was designed and placed here to facilitate mankind's exploration of the galaxy. But even they steer clear of any mention of God as the designer. In fact, they state that proof of ID and proof of the existence of God are two very distinctly different proofs. But the courts and the intelligentsia link ID and creationism. ID is a considered to be a form of creationism and as such, it is a theory and not fact nor science. Why does this matter?
It matters because to those who are trying to build climate change models that are supposed to predict phenomena a century or more from now, one must assume that all relevant phenomena then will behave as they do today, and as they did always behave -- even eons ago. That requires belief in uniformitarianism which is very closely related to evolution. In both, everything developed slowly over eons of time. All things happened then exactly as they do now and as they always will. So uniformitarian assumptions are required to write computer models that will predict climate a century from now.
Another chapter asks the question (better late than never) "Is it even possible to predict climate 10, 50, 100 years from now?" Professor Cotton asked that very question recently. His conclusion: No, it is not possible! [Cotton, William R., "Is climate really predictable on 10-50 year time table?", Colorado State University, 20 Jul 2010, Powerpoint presentation.] Note the date on his presentation: July, 2010. Why wasn't this question asked by someone -- ANYONE! --at the start of the global warming brouhaha? If it was, its answer was buried or ignored. But like I said, better late than never.
One final point which the author asked is this: If God controls the wind, rain, storms, weather, etc., how can computer models take His control into account? When a manager in a production plant is a loose cannon, changing the plant operation on a daily basis for no apparent reason, he or she must be considered an input variable in the equation used by those whose responsibility it is to control that facility. This author has known two such managers and they were totally unpredictable. Go home on a Friday afternoon and everything is working fairly smoothly in the plant. Arrive Monday morning to find that everything has changed. Change orders were issued Saturday or Sunday and all is different. How does one predict that, or even take such actions into account? Then -- and this is the bigger question -- if God is actually in charge of the weather as the Bible says He is, how does anyone account for His control in a computer model? After all, the Bible asks, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" [Rom 11:34] Mankind certainly does not know the Lord's mind! This seems to suggest that global climate change phenomena are unpredictable!
So if God created everything, and God controls and maintains everything, but in particular, God controls the wind and the rain, how can modelers account for His control? They CANNOT!
This book addresses the global climate change debate from the point of view of an engineering professor who happens to also be a Christian. The "political correctness" crowd doesn't allow arguments of faith (in general), and of Christianity (in particular), to cloud their issues, but in this case, if the Bible is correct, it will NOT be possible for man to predict what will happen to the climate a century from now.
It does NOT appear that the intelligentsia really cares about the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance, or even global warming. It appears they want to use this issue as a smoke screen to achieve other political goals. And that's bad!
Finally, and most astonishingly, this whole debate is based on the premise that we have been and are in the throes of catastrophic global warming. But the research station at the center of the global warming debate has said that we have NOT experienced any "statistically significant" global warming during the last 15 years. That means measured temperatures have been chattering up and down over that time period, but the average result is a horizontal line -- indicating no temperature change at all! So the world is arguing about the consequences of a non-existent earth-shattering problem and our leaders are planning all sorts of desperate and menacing solutions to a non-existent problem! Go figure!
A lot more details of these and other interesting points are given and discussed in this book. Enjoy!