Avi Nofech
"democracy and free trade are the only way to peace"

Israel is very sensitive to climate change

The purple line in the picture roughly at the 30th latitude is the boundary between the Mediterranean climate to the north of Beer Sheva and the desert climate to the south of Beer Sheva. It is just so slightly and gradually shifting to the north.

How the global warming (or cooling) is measured

First of all one needs to know that all the heat energy that comes to the Earth from elsewhere comes with the sunlight, and all heat energy that leaves the Earth escapes as infrared radiation. The difference between the Incoming Solar Radiation and the Outgoing Infrared Radiation is known as climate forcing:

ISR – OLR = forcing

All three of these numbers are in watts per square meter, averaged over day and night, over all the seasons, and over all of the Earth’s surface.

If there was no atmosphere, everything would be easy to calculate because the amount of heat energy coming from the Sun is known precisely. It is called the solar constant and equals 1,388 watts per square meter.

(This vast power is why the space suits of astronauts have to be covered with reflective mylar. If not they would heat up to 200 degrees!)

But thanks to the atmosphere and also to the night, the actual numbers are much lower and roughly like this:

ISR ~ 235.6 watts/square meter OLR ~ 235 watts/square meter
climate forcing ~ 235.6 w/m^2 – 235 w/m^2 = 0.6 w/m^2

Actually these numbers change from year to year and there are even years of cooling.

The precise numbers are measured by the NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are calculated from the changes in the oceanic heat content, which is the total heat energy of all water in all the oceans at all depths. The measurements are done by NOAA ships and involve lowering precise thermometers all the way down to the sea floor.

Anyone could calculate exactly how fast the Earth is warming from the graph of the ocean heat content on the NOAA website. But there is a caveat: this anyone would have to be a person who took science in high school and knows how to solve the following problem:

“There is one liter of water in the kettle at 20 degrees Celsius. The electric spiral in the kettle draws 1,000 watts of power. How many seconds will it take until the kettle boils?”

(the answer: 167 seconds)

Is it possible to find out whether there is or there isn’t global warming by following what happens to the weather?

The change in temperature between winter and summer is tens of degrees in most places. But the change in climate amounts to only about one twentieth of a degree a year! It is completely impossible to deduce it by checking the weather reports.

Can Israel do anything concerning climate change?

Since the boundary between two different types of climate passes right through the middle of Israel, Israel is the proverbial canary in the mine.

The most Israel can do is tell the world about the wildfires and raise hell for the sake of containing the global warming as much as it is still possible.

About the Author
I was a lecturer in mathematics in Israel and in Canada and now teach part time at Grant MacEwan University and work on a project in mathematical physics. As for hobbies, it is skiing. I can do the black diamond and my ambition is to do the double black diamond.
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