We, as a society, constantly hear about the threat of global warming. We are witnesses to the violent changes in the weather as manifested through abnormal tornadoes, ferocious winds, long droughts, torrential rains, ubiquitous flooding, and numerous counts on record of extremely hot and extremely cold days. As time passes, the trend, it seems, continues to worsen as weather related disasters inflict destruction on the people. In a similar vein, the health of the people is being adversely affected by these changes to the environment. The air we breathe is highly contaminated with noxious substances, and this is evidenced in the high numbers of patients crowding in hospital emergency rooms affected with respiratory ailments and other allergies. Some die from asthma and heart attacks. It seems that our planet is increasingly becoming dangerous for us, as seen in the weather changes which bring along with it: destruction, suffering and death. But ultimately, we are at a standstill because Earth, is the only place we have to live.
So this begs the question ‘what is causing all of this to happen?’ The generic answer to the question is ‘global warming’, but is it really? Many scientists disagree on this matter and I happen to be one of them. There is no doubt that something is upsetting the environment globally, so the next question to ask is ‘are we focusing in the right direction?’
The earth, in its spherical surface, can only absorb so much of the sun’s radiation. A great deal of it is reflected back into space primarily by the atmosphere and some by the oceans, clouds and the land. The maximum heat reaching the surface occurs at the summer side because the radiation, being more perpendicular to the sun has less atmospheric mass to pass through.
At the night side, the planet is exposed to the sidereal or cosmic cold, 0.0001 K (Kelvin), virtually “absolute” cero degree. There is nothing in the earth surface that can hold the higher temperature gained during sun exposure so the heat radiates and dissipates into space. Consequently, during night time the planet cools down, and the minimum temperature will depend on how much heat was absorbed during day time, therefore there are mild to warm nights in summer while cold and freezing nights during winter.
The amount of heat radiation the planet receives is directly related to the area of the surface in the half sphere exposed to the sun at any one time. Due to the spherical shape, as expressed above, radiation is stronger in the area perpendicular to the sun as at that angle the atmosphere appears thinner, and some is gradually reflected into space as it angles towards the poles, furthermore, the greater mass of air it has to go through weakens its energy as its gradually absorbed, thus the poles do not receive enough heat and the sidereal cold has a greater effect in those areas, particularly during winter when it receives no heat at all.
The following graphic displays the average monthly temperatures and precipitation (Celsius, millimetres) at the South Pole, Antarctica.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °C -25 -37 -50 -52 -53 -55 -55 -55 -55 -47 -36 -26 -45
Avg low °C -28 -42 -56 -60 -61 -61 -63 -62 -62 -53 -39 -28 -51
Precipitation millimetres 2.5
Radiation from the sun is constant. The planet’s diameter is also constant, therefore the amount of radiation intercepted by the planet is also constant; this is how it has been for billions of years.
It has been suggested that changes in the sun surface such as sun flares, dark spots, etc., are responsible for the warming of planet Earth. This idea defies all laws of physics. The ultimate fact is that with modern technologies, we can now see the sun’s behaviour in great detail. Accordingly then, we must understand that any behaviour that the Sun exhibits in our observations, is behaviour that has been consistent for billions of years, and therefore, any significant change will take millions of years before it can be noticed. Thus, changes in the sun’s temperature will take billions of years to occur.
With regards to temperatures in different areas on earth, not globally but depending on meteorological localized conditions, there have been periods of heat waves that can get to extremes as seen in the table below.
Region Place Date DegreesCentigrade
World (Africa) El Azizia, Libya Sept. 13, 1922 58
North America(US) Death Valley, Calif. July 10, 1913 57
Middle East Tirat Tsvi, Israel June 21, 1942 54
Australia Cloncurry, Queensland Jan. 16, 1889 53
Europe Seville, Spain Aug. 4, 1881 50
South America Rivadavia, Argentina Dec. 11, 1905 49
Canada Midale and Yellow Grass July 5, 1937 45