Most atoms love to get together with other atoms. They don’t just want to get next to each other, they yearn to bond with other atoms. Not all of them do; there’s a class of elements called noble gases which are nature’s loners, their desire is to remain aloof. But there are only six of those [seven if you include Ununoctium, which doesn’t occur naturally but we’ve synthesized with nuclear reactions]; most elements really want to bond with others.
Now that 2015 has blown away previous record-hot years, the global warming deniers are scrambling to blame it on anything but global warming. Their favorite candidate is something that does in fact make Earth’s surface get hotter, something that really did contribute to 2015’s record heat: el Niño.
But how much? A post at Carbon Brief addresses just that question. Their conclusion is that el Niño contributed only about 10% of the record.
In every province, the chief occupations, in order of importance, are lovemaking, malicious gossip, and talking nonsense.
— Voltaire, Candide
Whether we refer to the subject as “climate change” or “global warming,” it’s a good idea to know what it is we’re talking about. Yet true to Voltaire’s form, we indulge in a great deal of talking nonsense about it. Therefore let me say a few things about what it is not.
My readers are pretty savvy about global warming. Most of you tend to be scientifically knowledgeable and quite current. In fact, there are a fair number of actual scientists who read this blog. I’m glad!
But there’s another audience I’d like to reach more of: the lay public who are puzzled about some of the issues involved. So, I’m going to try an experiment. I’ll still post my usual high-level (sometimes quite mathematical) stuff, but I’m also going to do posts which are at a much more basic level. I’ll start with the next post.
I’ll try to put the word “basic” or “basics” in the title of each. But I may well slip up. That’s the nature of the beast.
And for those who want the hard science, fear not — there’s plenty more to come. Including the post after the next one.