Thought for the day: In the middle of “Snowmageddon”, thank God for creating a wonderful ecosystem!

Genesis 1: 6-8 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.  And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

I marvel at God’s creation, especially when it shows its full power. The bird feeder got repaired just in time for the snowstorm, the birds are now flocking to it. We put out the Christmas tree next to it, so the birds can have close shelter when the stealer boys, the Blue Jays come and take over the feeder. I marvel at the persistence of all the small birds, surviving in these conditions.

In Creation, God, the Word and the Spirit created all matter. The water was created before light. And God saw that it was good. That was the first day.

The second day God made the feedback loop of water vapor evaporating,  rising to make clouds and giving rain and snow to form a functioning eco-system. So God took a whole day out of Creation just to make the clouds? And He didn’t even say it was good? He said it was good after all the other days of Creation. In the sixth day of Creation, after creating man, God even said it was very good, and then rested on the seventh day! The reason is the total ecosystem does not function well and be stable until all components, clouds, rain, snow, grass, plants, trees, animals and yes, even man are in place.

The story of Creation explains Creation spiritually, but leaves out a lot of details. To understand the functioning ecosystem one has to go about it scientifically, that is: Look at nature and what happens to Earth when something changes, such as burning fossil fuels and produce more and more CO2. Is that good or bad?

The last ice age ended with a massive melting of ice. The northern ice cap extended as far south as the Finger Lakes in North America and the middle of Poland in Europe. Something caused a disturbance to start the melting of the ice. Once going, more ice melted and exposed bare earth and more ocean for even more warming, and a chain reaction started. What had been a stable ice cap for thousands of years melted in a very short time. The level of CO2 was low during the ice age, but as soon as the ice melted some CO2 got released from the ice, and even more from the warming oceans, so with a lag of about 800 years the CO2 levels rose as well. The temperature rose and rose until suddenly they leveled off in what is called the Minoan optimum, with pleasant temperatures. Since then it has gotten gradually colder with small warm periods such as the Roman and Medieval Warm period, and colder periods, the last of which was the Little Ice Age.

During the ice age evaporation was much less than now. Snowfall over Greenland was about half what it is today, and there were significantly fewer clouds in the ice covered areas, much like Antarctica is today, an ice desert. This is what happens: As temperatures rise, more water evaporates and clouds form more often and earlier in the day causing a strong negative feedback so it doesn’t get as warm  as it otherwise would have been. This limits the surface temperature to about 88F when thunderstorms occur. If no clouds form it can get substantially warmer. Take New Delhi, India for example. During May the sky is without clouds and temperatures can reach 115F during the day. When the monsoons come in June-July the temperature stays below 100F with high humidity.

We are now well into the bog building phase of the inter-glacial period and the next ice age can start at any time. In fact, it was narrowly averted after the little ice age. With burning more fuel, creating more CO2 we delay the onset of the next ice age by a few thousand years. In addition, added CO2 grows more plants, making it possible to feed an additional two billion people on earth without starving. By lessening the temperature differences between the poles and the equator, storms, hurricanes and tornadoes will be less severe. Droughts will be less severe. Water will be more abundant. The only drawback is that floods will increase, but if we know they can come we can prepare for it.

The conclusion after this long harang is: When you see a cloud forming, thank God for providing a functioning ecosystem, and when you see a rainbow in the sky thank him again for his promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

lenbilen

Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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