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Science communication is important in today's technologically advanced society. A good part of the adult community is not science saavy and lacks the background to make sense of rapidly changing technology. My blog attempts to help by publishing articles of general interest in an easy to read and understand format without using mathematics. I also give free lectures in community events - you can arrange these by writing to me.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Climate Change - What, How and Why - a Lecture Course for the General Public

Climate Change (CC) is probably one of the most controversial topic of the 21st Century.  The science of CC is well understood, the changes in climate are accurately measurable and the consequences are predictable with high certainty. Then why should there be any controversy?
There are many reasons:
 Sense of False Security - most serious effects of CC will only be felt in the future. Adverse effects of CC on our civilization are not catastrophic just now.
 Big Business - mitigating CC measures are unpopular with big business creating inertia in government decision making in developed countries.
 Geopolitical - Developing countries aspire higher living standards and are reluctant to act to implement measures to control CC
Increasing Population - World population passed the 7 billion mark in 2011 and there is no global policy for stabilizing it. The relative number of older people is increasing. All governments have singularly failed to address how to manage the consequences of rising populations while higher consumption is contributing ever more to CC and global pollution.
Political Incompetence - For whatever reason, incompetence is a hallmark of most governments.  Simple common sense energy conservation measures, like switching off standby appliances and reducing central heating by 2 degrees, should have been encouraged for the past fifty years or more. All governments have failed to promote even these simple steps.  Even now there is no effective public education programme anywhere for controlling CC.
Obfuscation of Science - I have discussed this in my previous blog. The half-baked science reporting by vested interests has done much to create confusion about CC in the minds of the general public.

I have watched the CC scene unfold for the past ten years.  My courses to the communities in the Glasgow area in 2007 and 2009  and other shorter talks have discussed the subject of CC with a view to educate the nonspecialist and particularly the school pupils.  I am in the following publishing the slides of my course in 2009 which lays out the science and effects of CC.  Not much has changed since 2009 except that the evidence of CC is on a firmer footing and some of the effects predicted are beginning to manifest themselves.  In the meantime, our governments continue to bicker and do nothing.  As one cartoon said:
If I bury my head in the sand then the problem will go away - and soon there will be a lot of sand around!

It is like watching a car-crash in slow motion....

Enjoy the slides which will be published over the next couple of weeks - unfortunately my commentary will be missing but I hope they will be useful.

Talk 1 - Climate Change - Introduction, Trends, Predictions
Talk 2 - Climate Change - Earth's Energy Balance, Ice Ages, Natural Climate Changes
Talk 3 - The Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Effect
Talk 4 - Atmospheric Air Circulation, Convection Cells, Coriolis Force, Jet Steams
Talk 5 - Oceans; their role in climate control; problems caused by human activities
Talk 6 - The Seasons – Why summers are hot and winters are cold in the N-hemishere, and CO2 levels oscillate over the course of a year?
Talks 7 - Managing Climate Change
A lot of the figures are from websites maintained by IPCC, NASA, NOAA and Wiki.  For the presentation here, I have not individually acknowledged them but will be happy to do so if asked.  The purpose of my blog is general education and has no commercial or monetary value.

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