So, I may have taken on an impossible job.
I have been encouraged that my talk is basically sound and pursuing a good plan after watching the new movie, “Thin Ice“, yesterday. I will spiff up some of the audio.
I was asked by a minister to put together a presentation and talk laying out the cases for: (a) climate change, or “climate disruption” as I prefer to refer to it, and (b) the case for people being responsible. The audience may be partly educated in science, but may have forgotten much of it, or never learned it. The most important members of this audience to reach are people who deeply distrust climate models, and deeply distrust paleoclimate findings.
I have a much shorter version of this talk which I will give in person, but I felt it important to lay out the entire case in a digital form, a kind of mini-course. This course is in the form of 4 PDF files which eventually are intended to be displayed here, as part of this blog. I felt that if there was a technical detail I could not cover during the talk, the PDF form would be a place people could turn to for more information. The four part mini-course is intended to be a stepping-stone to things like Professor David Archer’s course on climate taught digitally (for free) from the University of Chicago.
My choice was to produce a presentation which argued these points ab initio, using basic “lab bench” physics and findings that could be determined directly. I needed to introduce the physics as I went along, being really basic about it, e.g., re-introducing notions of spectrum, and working up to the concept of blackbody radiation. The idea was to show how these ideas were fundamental, and ubiquitous in science, giving some understanding of them, and finally appealing to their use in popular, engineered products with which everyone was familiar. This was used to convey the reality and whys of carbon dioxide and other atmospheric species producing warming.
My next step was to demonstrate the human fingerprint. Again, ab initio: Recall the existence of elemental isotopes, and argue the case for human fingerprints by the comparative composition of carbon in atmospheric greenhouse gases versus sources.
My next step is to argue that given all this extra energy, what happens to it in terms of dissipation, arguing finally that because energy transfers are bigger, weather will be more erratic and feedbacks could be more severe, even to the point of danger.
A final segment talked to what might happen because of all this, and I brought in climate models, relying upon the part of the presentation discussing and having to do with fluids and turbulence to develop familiarity and trust that the science was sound, including appeals to use of such methods in fluid dynamics for sailcraft and for aircraft.
I end the talk with appeal to how difficult the job is ahead for us, but emphasizing what good specific things can be done, using the results of the McKinsey work on abatement costs.
However, the impression I’m getting is that I may have lost the company in the Fangorn wood, even if I got to the end, and that, clearly, is not the point of the exercise. Don’t know what else to do, though.