Getting on with Climate Change, a word of congratulations for the editor Jennifer Marohasy. Editors are the unsung heroes of the publishing industry and when they do their job well they are invisible to the readers. To be done properly the editor has to have command of the English language and the subject matter and pay unfailing attention to details. I second the Foreword which pays tribute to the singular efforts of Ms Marohasy and the other 700 or so people who were involved one way or another in the production.
She noted that there is no unifying theory of climate. Like Agricultural Science it is a mixed or integrative discipline that draws on all the branches of the natural sciences and political economy when policy is involved. It may have been Richard Lindzen or Garth Paltridge who remarked that there are very few real climate scientists in the sense of people with a grip across a range of the relevant disciplines. Mostly they are trained in one area or another and have no more (and most likely less) perception of the bigger picture than any well trained Agricultural Scientists or Engineer.
Being a mixed discipline there are some surprises in the collection and if you are on the dole or retired with nothing useful to do you can read all the 22 chapters and learn a lot of things that you never thought you wanted to know. Like the various cycles of the moon, the strange history of the Melbourne weather station and the dodgy handling of weather records by the authorities. I was going to write “the responsible authorities” but it seems that they have been irresponsible.
Ken Ring wrote a chapter on “The Role of the Moon in Weather Forecasting”. He learned the hard way, coached by Maori fishermen on the wild east coast of New Zealand where he set fishing nets every day for ten years. He was lucky that he got interested just as the moon was entering a period when the three main cycles were aligned and the effects were more defined than usual. The three cycles are the phase, the perigee and the declination.
I suppose everyone knows about the 29.5 days phase cycle from new moon to full moon with moonrise approximately 50 minutes later each day. The perigee (27.5 day cycle) refers to the variable distance of the moon from the earth depending on the point of the elliptical orbit where the moon is located. Perigee (close to the earth) creates the king tides, adding as much as a third to the average tidal height. The declination has a 27.3 day cycle and this is where it starts to get really complicated for example declination itself cycles over a period of 18.6 years.
Each of the three cycles contribute to the weather and there is a section on long range forecasting based on lunar cycles. He also described the atmospheric tides that ebb and flow each day. The details are too numerous to summarise and those who are curious should buy the book or find a shop where it is sold and read selected passages there. In that event you should play fair and make a (tax deductible) donation to the Institute of Public Affairs.
People who really enjoy interesting and complicated cycles should refer to the Melankovitch cycles which are important for longterm climate change.