Wednesday, April 17, 2024

BIG Exclusives

Having a little fun with thermal physics

(Note from the editor: this article is not for everyone. If you have a background in science/mathematics, you will enjoy reading on. If, like me, you are not a scientist but enjoy reading about scientific issues presented in non-technical format, you will be better off reading this version of Brian’s article: Bridging the two cultures .If any of you science nerds have anything to add, we welcome your feedback in the comments section beneath...

Optimal holocene climate is in our rear-view mirror

With increasing anthropomorphization of “climate”, few know that just 5,000 years ago, the massive desert extending from North Africa, through the Middle East and across Asia to the Gobi Desert in China was lush and a highly hydrated landscape. Even fewer know that the average temperature of the Earth in this era was significantly warmer than today. This epoch is known as the Holocene Climate Optimum (HCO) or Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM). To kick-start this literature...

Pacific Walker Circulation and the tropospheric CO2 growth rate – Part 2

My objective in the second of this two-part series is to introduce a model that I call the Meridional Overturning Mediated Carbon Cycle between the Lithosphere and the Atmosphere. In Part 1 (Pacific Walker circulation and the tropospheric CO2 growth rate - BIG Media), I emphasized the known role of variable Pacific Walker Circulation in modulating the tropospheric CO2 growth rate (TGR), where the latter is a function of the rate by which carbonic-acid-enriched deep...

The Robbers Cave experiment’s important lesson for DEI

In this article, we examine keystone ideas from the psychology of group behaviour in the light of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The evaluation leads to: (1) criticism to elements of DEI’s approach to the problem of societal cohesion, productivity, and harmony, specifically arguing that certain elements of DEI may increase bias and societal divides, and (2) suggestions for how to better bridge the divide between various members of society. Introduction Making both society and the...

Are we throwing away our energy security?

In North America, we don’t think enough about energy security. We have had abundant, affordable energy at our fingertips for so long that we forget what life might be like without it – particularly in Canada and northern parts of the United States, where millions could perish in short order if electricity and natural gas were suddenly cut off. Is a sudden and complete cutoff of energy a real possibility? In the absence of a...

Renewables fail to deliver when energy supply is most critical

Last week, Western Canada dealt with a cold snap we have not seen in several years. Temperatures dropped to -50C in some parts of the province of Alberta, with wind-chill levels even lower. Was Alberta well prepared for this event? Not really, but we had enough hydrocarbon power generation and friendly neighbours (Saskatchewan, B.C., and Montana) to help us through a severe test of the power grid. Our power system has seen some transformation over the last...

Pacific Walker circulation and the tropospheric CO2 growth rate

My passion in science over the past 8 years has been atmospheric physics and oceanography, and here in my first article for BIG Media Ltd. I will focus in on a recent publication and empirical data that emphasize forces governing CO2 as a natural constituent of our atmosphere. In this mini-literature review, I will walk you through the analysis that I have done to confirm the findings of a fascinating study by Chatterjee et al...

BIG news — the year in review

It has been a productive and rewarding year at BIG Media Ltd., and we owe it all to our amazing editorial team and faithful readers. Over the last 12 months, our hard-working contributors (An editorial team worth celebrating) have helped keep people apprised on the biggest of issues. My team of mostly accomplished scientists consistently provides definitive reads on the most pressing matters. They also allow me to wade into the vitriolic volcano that is social...

BIG Media’s Person of the Year – Dr. Brad Hayes

BIG Media Ltd.'s Person of the Year for 2023 is doctor of geology, entrepreneur, and educator Dr. Brad Hayes. Hayes is president of Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., a geoscience consulting firm addressing technical and strategic issues around oil and gas development, water resource management, helium exploration, geothermal energy, and carbon sequestration. Brad has been helping us understand complex issues related to energy supply and demand, energy transition, energy security, climate change, and related environmental concerns since Day...

Real climate science – uncertainty and risk

As we enter the mid-2020s, public discourse and government policy in rich nations focus intensively on climate. The idea that we live in a time of “climate crisis” garners more and more attention, fueled by publicity around every bad weather event and dire pronouncements of ever-more intense and frequent storms, floods, droughts, and other calamities to come. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities – primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – are blamed...