More than 100% sounds like an unreal alternative fact or does it?
We have all heard the joke that Muammar Gaddafi once got more than 100% votes in an election. People wondered if dead people came out of their graves and voted for their supreme leader? More than 100% sounds like an unreal alternative fact or does it?
Turns out more than 100% is actually quite a reality. Not with Gaddafi’s elections though but in the realm of climate change, it sure is not so much an alternative fact. The math checks out. Actually, we are in it right now. Actually, we are causing it.
Our planet rotates around the sun. The earth has a tilt perpendicular to its orbital plane. The tilt is about 23.5 degrees. It also spins while rotating around its host star. During that spin, it wobbles due to the uneven distribution of mass on earth. It is uneven because the earth is actually not a perfect spherical shape planet. The wobble I am referring to is called the Axial Precession. It is a very slow wobble, like a spinning top. The entire full circular wobble takes about 26 thousand years to complete. If I can explain it in simple words, the wobble resembles a pendulum movement where the earth is the closest to the sun 13,000 years into the wobble and moves away from it during the other 13,000 years.
When the earth moves toward the sun during one leg of the wobble journey, if you will, the seasonality of the earth is quite extreme. The weather is extreme. That is how things were about 12,000 years ago coming right out of the ice age. The warming thawed the ice and paved the way for agriculture in what is usually called the Fertile Crescent. Right now, after 12,000 years, the earth has gone the farthest from the son. The seasonality of our planet is supposed to be not extreme. The earth is supposed to be cooling down mimicking the ice age conditions, which was the climate of the earth before the advent of agriculture.
However, far from cooling down, we know that the earth is warming up. There is extreme weather all around. It is as if the earth had reversed its wobble journey away from the sun and took a U-turn back in the direction of the sun. Extreme seasonality defines the world we inhabit today.
Is there a missing piece of the puzzle that will explain this unusual warming trend or has the earth really taken that U-turn back toward the sun? Well, that was a trick question. I will break it to you: we, humans, are producing and trapping so much heat in the planet that the earth has started warming at a tremendous pace. As I explained above, the earth should be cooling down now in this era of the wobble. Oceans should be receding and more ground appearing. More and more ice should be forming and ever more need for heat would be the focus of the day.
However, we know the reverse is the truth. This clarifies one thing that I have not seen many people pay attention to. Even if the temperature of the earth had remained consistent throughout the last 2 centuries, it would have also meant climate change doing its thing because the temperature should be going down instead of remaining constant. And if you have not been paying attention, the temperature has been consistently increasing since the industrial revolution, which happened about 200 years ago.
In a nutshell, we are burning so much fossil fuel and making so much carbon emissions that not only have we stopped the cooling trend of the earth but we have turned it around and pushed it toward heating up. That is what I meant by more than 100% heating. That is what we humans are capable of. The earth’s head must be spinning faster than its own spin on its axis.