Grassroots Commentary

The Real Reason for Climate Change. Really.

Fred Fox · May 13, 2014

Sometimes the answer to an important question is so transparent that we look right through it. Think about this:

What’s so abundant that we hardly consider it? How about water, the only substance that exists naturally in all three forms of matter – solid, liquid and gas (vapor) – at the same time? And it’s everywhere – up, down, inside, out. Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth – the amount of water in them is unfathomable (pun intended), and that’s not counting the fresh variety that supports terrestrial life as we know it. Water vapor, necessarily integral to the atmosphere (think humidity, clouds, rain, snow) is 75% of all ‘greenhouse gases’ and may well be the original source of our fresh water. And the human body is about 60% water, as are the bodies of other animals (and plants even more). Well, that about covers the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere – what’s left? Only the lithosphere (that’s the rock and stuff of the planet proper), and water’s there, too – over, under and in it. Water is ubiquitous – everywhere! It’s necessary for living and life itself. So if water’s an integral part of all things living and otherwise, might it be even more significant than we imagine?

Something else to think about: The quantity of earth’s water is constant (it neither increases nor decreases, which, not incidentally, means that it must be sufficient) and remains balanced between its three phases, transferring between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere so seamlessly that we don’t even notice it. (And we adapt to it without even thinking about it.) Interestingly enough: WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY IT EXISTS, OR WHERE IT CAME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE! Have you ever thought of that? And what did you find?

Since water is ubiquitous and indispensable and, not incidentally, can change form instantly within temperature and pressure limits tolerated by life, maybe we ought to look at it as a possible controlling factor in the environment. So let’s propose that…

WATER MODERATES THE CLIMATE OF OUR PLANET (In other words, water is the mechanism of climate change). And why not? There’s evidence to support it.

Water. There’s certainly a lot of it – oceans cover about 130-million of Earth’s 197-million square mile surface to an average depth of about 2.4 miles; this translates to more than 340,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water that are always moving by gravity, convection, evaporation and condensation, easily changing phases wherever required by conditions at the time. The oceans in fact constitute a massive heat sink that has a great stabilizing effect on Earth’s temperature, atmosphere (those things that constitute climate), and the biosphere as well. There’s constant exchange of energy between the oceans (and the rest of the hydrosphere) and the atmosphere that helps maintain Earth’s delicate life-sustaining balance; this is evident in ocean currents (Gulf Stream, Kuroshio, El Niño, etc.) that have significant effects on regional weather patterns, and weather is just climate on a smaller scale. Ocean salinity remains at about 3.4% in spite of phenomena that would seem to alter this number. This is partly a function of organic processes. The fact is that organisms naturally improve their environment in order to survive, and the environment naturally adjusts with developing organisms.

Moreover, the interchange between forms is automatic, varying spontaneously and instantaneously in response to changes of temperatures and pressures within the system to provide the balance necessary for Earth’s adaptability to changing conditions. Water is critical to that balance.

The thesis: Water, that ubiquitous, plentiful, adaptable, reliable, critical and mysterious elixir of life on Earth (itself an integral part of life) – and likely the primary agent adjusting to constantly-changing conditions to maintain the balance of all nature – is the basis and arbiter of climate change.

There’s a system here that evolved on its own and has worked very well for millions of years without our meddling. Call it a complex adaptive system or even, if you prefer, spontaneous order. While it may appear from our limited human perspective to be a chaos of pressures, tensions and constraints with no hope of resolution without our intercession, that’s not the case. Earth is innately ethical simply (because it is exactly what it is, a first principle. And the environment as an ethical whole will handle whatever comes its way, because that’s what it does. Nature bats last – it always has the final word – it always adapts, and it’s always done “on the fly,” and we, individually or collectively, haven’t a clue as to how it really works. But one thing we do know is that it does work in spite of whatever happens to thwart it because the norm is innately ethical. Simply stated again, that’s the way it is. Period. If it weren’t, life would have been done for long ago. This, the way it is, is the way it has been since time immemorial, and remains beyond our control, no matter how smart we think we are. After all, we don’t even know why water is, or even why we are, so who are we to judge?

Earth is indeed unique, and we have no idea why. And to those who suppose that man has any control over it, I say confidently: I think not. We’re guests here, not hosts, so maybe we ought to think about adapting to it instead of hopelessly trying to change it.

It seems to be scientifically consistent to conclude that climate could be a function of water and entirely dependent on it; there’s more at www.extremeethics.org. How about it… Does this theory hold water? (Sorry…)

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