CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THE PROTECTION
OF THE WORLD CLIMATE
AS SEEN BY A SEAMAN AND LAWYER Paper presented by Dr Arnd Bernaerts
Attorney-at-Law in Hamburg
at the GKSS Research Center, Geesthacht / Hamburg
on December 4, 1992.
Published by Verein der Freunde und Foerderer des GKSS-Forschungszentrums Geesthacht e.V.; ISSN 0934-9804, 1992; Pages 42.
Paper presented by
Dr Arnd Bernaerts
Attorney-at-Law in Hamburg
at the GKSS Research Center, Geesthacht / Hamburg
on December 4, 1992
A. Introduction 4
I. Climate as an Offshot of Meteorology 4
II. Research into Greenhouse Gases as an Abstract Discipline 4
III. United for Rio 5
IV. Defining the Problem 7
1. The Second Step - Writing the Laws 7
2. The First Step - The Facts to be Considered 7
V. Note 8
B. Conditions for Planning - The Situation 9
I. Statistics on Rising Temperatures 9
II. The Distant Ocean 11
1. Facts or Feeling 11
2. Krakatoa - A Climatic Once-in-a-Century Event? 12
a) State of Affairs 12
b) The Observations after Krakatoa and the Stabiliser 12
c) The Missed Opportunity 14
3. The Events from the Depths 15
a) The Event from Nothing - The Cold Period 1940 – 1965 15
b) The 1940 Event from the Depths of the North Atlantic 16
c) The Warm Period Beginning in 1920 - Result of World War I? 17
d) The Undiscovered Chance 17
4. Other Events - Constant Dropping Wears the Wake? 18
a) Poiseners of the Sea 18
b) Eight Times a Day to the Moon – Warming in the Wake? 18
III. CO2 - Drastic Effect or Drastic Exaggeration? 19
IV. The Phenomenon – Climate 21
1. The Statistical Starting Point 21
2. What is Climate - The Place of Climate in the Natural System 23
3. Further Points of Argument - Further Question Marks 24
a) Climatic Data from Prehistoric Times 24
b) The Chicken or the Egg - Atmospheric Winds and Ocean Currents 24
c) The Rise in the Level of the Sea - Cause from Above or Below 25
d) Temperature Measurements - Land and Sea 26
e) Beginning of a Warm or Cold Age 26
V. Result - The Situation 27
C. Bodies of Regulations for the Climate 27
I. Climate Convention of Rio - A Beginning? 27
II. Legislature – Science 30
III. Global Climate Protection - The International Regulations 32
1. Overview 32
2. Comparison and Importance of the Regulatory Content 34
a) The Regulatory Content of the Individual Conventions 34
b) The Relevance of the Conventions for the Climate 35
IV. The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention - the Climate Treaty 36
1. Introduction - No Climate Without the Ocean 36
2. Basic Factors Involving the 1982 Law of the Sea Treaty 37
3. The Major Regulations Relevant for the Climate in the Individual Sections 38
a) Regulations Concerning Marine Environmental Protection 38
b) Scientific Marine Research 40
c) Development and Transfer of Marine Technology 41
d) System for Settlement of Disputes 42
4. Problem Management - Legal Claim or Begging 42
D. Final Remarks 43
Conditions necessary for the protection of the world climate as seen by a
seaman and lawyer
For the last 150 years, two areas of modern science have been concerned with the climate: meteorology and the scientists who have studied questions of geophysics in its widest sense. These include among their number the physicist Svante Arrhenius, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903.
I. Climate as an Offshoot of Meteorology
In briefly summarizing the contributions of meteorology, a notable starting point is the first article in the Meteorologische Zeitschrift, which has been appearing since January 1884. It was a report of the volcanic eruptions of the year 1883, particularly that of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait, Indonesia. The first sentence in this venerable journal was written by Director Neumayer of the German Sea Observatory and reads: "The year 1883 will take a remarkable place in the history of earth with respect to the effects of the earth's interior on the crust and everything found upon it." He meant that the effects of volcanic activity on the atmosphere surrounding the earth would be of particular interest.1 Although the eruption of Krakatoa caused a notable reduction in the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface for a number of years, meteorological interest soon dwindled away. The weather continued just as it had before. Since the concept of climate was defined at that time, just as today, as the average weather over a long period of time and the Krakatoa eruption did not cause a major disruption in the statistics, the flurry of scientific advance which Neumayer expected failed to occur. Meteorology did not recognize important relationships between the events.2
II. Research into Greenhouse Gases as an Abstract Discipline
But the atmosphere is not the domain of meteorologists alone. Since the beginning of the last century, a number of natural scientists in other fields have been studying the effects of carbon dioxide on the warming of the earth's atmosphere; as early as 1827, the effects of gases in the atmosphere were compared with shielding by glass.3 In 1956, Plass stated that a century of scientific work had been necessary to calculate with any
1Neumayer, Report on the Volcanic Eruptions of the Year 1883, Describing
Their Effects on the Atmosphere, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, January
1884, P. 1
zCf. Wexler, H., On the Effect of Volcanic Dust on Insolation and Weather,
Bulletin American Meteorological Society, Vol. 32, Jan. 1951, Pp. 10-15 and
Pp. A8-51, containing further references; Wagner, Artur, Climatic Changes
and Climatic Fluctuations, Brunswich 1940, P. 42.
3For details, cf. Plass, Gilbert N., The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate
Change, Tellus, Vol. 8, 1956, Pp. 140-154 (140).
accuracy the amount and effect of CO2.- He expressed the opinion that a doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would raise the temperature of the air by 3.6° C. and that the evidence currently available indicated that the concentration of CO2 was a significant factor for climatic changes.3
Nonetheless, the theory did not begin to find general recognition6 until it was seen that a cold period which had begun in 1940 came to an end in the middle of the 1960s and that the warmest summers of this century was recorded since 1980, that the Sahara began to expand, that the El Nino did not maintain its seven-year rhythm, and that beginning in 1985 North America had to suffer through drought periods. More and more scientists saw a relationship between CO2 emissions and the warming of the atmosphere. But it was not until the Chief Climatologist of the NASA, James Hansen, stated on June 23, 1988, before a US Senate Committee that a greenhouse effect was beginning to develop and that he was 99% certain of this7, that the greenhouse theoreticians won general recognition.
III. United for Rio
To the great joy of environmentalists and, for a while, to the annoyance of many meteorologists8, the greenhouse effect became an omnipresent topic for the press, a worried public, and frightened politicians. Never before had a scientific problem risen to such dominance in the political arena, it was said5 and no one wanted to be left out in the cold. Science was united. The forum was the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" (IPCC)10 organized by the United Nations. In little more than a year, a
4 Ibid, P. 140. F. Möller was critical of this viewpoint ven then: cf. On the Influence of Changes in the CO2 Concentration in Air on the Radiation
Balance of the Earth's Surface and on the Climate, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 68, 1963, Pp. 3877-3886.
5 Plass, op. cit., P. 154. Today, the amount of literature on the CO2 effect
is overwhelming. Cf. for example Crutzen, Paul J., in: Crutzen/Muller, The End of the Blue Planet?, Munich 1989, Pp. 25-43; Investigative Committee of the llth German Parliament, Protection of the Earth, Bonn, 1990, Pp.139-240; Kondragyeo, K. YA., New Assessments of Global Climate Change, Atmosfera, 1991, Pp. 177-188; Elsom, Derek M., Atmospheric Pollution, Oxford 1992, Pp. 132-165.
6 S. H. Schneider, for example, twenty years ago denied any elevance of CO2 for the warming effect, declaring that it was "highly unlikely for the next thousand years", cf. Rasool, S.I., & Schneider, S.H., Atmospheric Carbon and Aerosols, Science Vol 173, 1971, P. 138. Cf. also the (hidden) reference in his book: Global Warming, San Francisco 1989, Footnote 17 in Chapter 4, where he backed down from his statement.
7 Cf. Schneider, S.H., Global Warming, San Francisco 1989, Pp. 194-195.
s lbid; cf. also Henderson-Sellers, A. Greenhouse Guessing: When Should Scientists Speak Out, Climate Change, Vol 16, 1990, Pp. 5-8 (8): "Many of my colleagues in the meteorological community argue that no statements should be made until we are absolutely certain!"
9 Houghton, John, World Climate Needs Concerted Action, in Financial Times,
11 November, 1990. Houghton was the Chairperson of the Scientific Committe on Climatic Change of the IPCC.
10 The Panel was established by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) at the end of 1988.
report was prepared through the co-operation of virtually all researchers who had made important contributions to the study of climatic changes11 and presented to international politics at the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in November 1990.12 In January 1992, the IPCC confirmed these results.13 Even the IPCC report of 1990 left little room for scientific doubt with respect to the relevance of CO2 for the climate1'' and declared that it was no longer a question of if, but at the most of how fast the climatic changes would occur. The conclusion of a climate convention with the primary goal of permanently reducing the greenhouse gas emissions was urgently required.1'
At the Environmental Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June, 1992,ls this demand was made the centerpiece of international politics. During the Summit itself, 154 states signed the "United Nations Framework Agreement on Climatic Change." Nevertheless, the criticism of the agreement could not be overlooked. But this criticism was not aimed at the "whether" or "how", but at the fact that politicians were unable to agree on more decisive measures to reduce greenhouse gases.17 The extreme stumbling blocks in the negotiations were basically a result of the unwillingness of the USA to agree to a binding determination of CO2 quotas. The General Secretary of the Conference, Maurice Strong, remarked: "The weight of evidence is that the climate is in danger, but the Convention is not enough . . . The real test is, will it soon lead to reductions in the polluting gases that threaten the atmosphere."18 German Environmental Minister Klaus Töpfer intends to
"Houghton, op. cit. (Footnote 9); Cf. Andresen, Steinar, The Climate
Negotiations: Lessons and Learning, International Challenges, Vol. 12, No.
2, 1992, Pp. 34-43 (40)
1=Jager, J., & Ferguson, H. L. (ed), Climate Change: Science, Impacts
and Policy. Proceedings of the Second World Climate Conference,
Cambridge 1991; this is a summary of the various work groups of the
"Financial Times, 28 May, 1992, with reference to: IPCC: Climate Change,
l*In summarizing the results of the IPCC, Bert Bolin wrote in:
Jager/Ferguson (ed), op. cit. (Footnote 12), P. 19: "There is a
greenhouse effect, that is at present being enhanced by man due to
emissions of a number of the so-called greenhouse gases" and "we can tell
with confidence that (climate change) is going to be significant if present
increse of the emissions continue without constraints." One of the few
critical voices was, for example: Thomas, David, The Cracks in the
Greenhouse Theory, Financial Times (Weekend FT) 3/4 November, 1990;
furthermore, Lunde, Leiv, Science and Politics in the Greenhouse. How
Robust is the IPCC Consensus? in: International Challenge, Vol. 11, 1991,
Pp. 48-57, with additional references.
15Jager, J., & Ferguson, H. L. op. cit. (Footnote 12), P. 498.
lsUnited Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED);
the preparatory conference was called on the basis of a decision by the UN
General Assembly on 22 December, 1989; cf. Environmental Policy and Law,
Vol. 20, 1990, Pp. 72-73 and Pp. 96-97.
17The negotiations for the Climate Convention were concluded after almost
18 months of work on 9 May, 1992 (The Int. Herald Tribune, 11 May,
1992, Global-Warming Pact Without Targets Gets U.S. Approval).
18The Guardian, 15 June, 1992 (Brown/Rocha, World Leaders Put on
Probation by Rio Organiser)
act to ensure that the climate convention serves a purpose. "Our first goal is a follow-up conference to the Climate Convention where we can get down to serious business," he declared at the end of the Earth Summit in Rio.19
As other voices have also commented that while the results were not optimal, at least they were a beginning20 and it was now only necessary to continue steadfastly along the road chosen, it appears as if climate history has already been written and only a determination of the amount of the quotas for the reduction of greenhouse gases, binding on all, is lacking for the protection of the climate. But this could prove to be a dramatic mistake.
IV. Defining the Problem
1. The Second Step - Writing the Laws
When a problem has been recognized, the desire for a solution begins to grow. A plan must be made. The plan must be feasible. The legislature,
1.e., the jurist, must step into action. Plans for the protection of the climate can be made only if the situation is described precisely and the goals and the extent of rights and obligations are set. This is done by means of applicable and enforceable laws and rules. Laws and international agreements are therefore the ultima ratio for overcoming conflicts and problems. It was therefore only natural that scientists at the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva in November 1990 should demand that the nations begin immediately with negotiations on a climate convention so that such a document could be signed in 1992. Legislative action is therefore a substantial element of working out problems, and there is no need to explain why an evaluation from the viewpoint of a lawyer is offered here.
2. The First Step - The Facts to be Considered
Just as an attorney cannot properly represent his client unless he has been given detailed - and accurate - information about the situation, the quality of laws is as a general rule dependent to a considerable extent on how well, how precisely, and how extensively the legislature has been informed of the situation being regulated. To the extent that scientific opinion represented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was able to show that greenhouse gases, global warming, and climatic change are joined to one another in a causal relationship, the Climate Convention of Rio could serve as the foundation of a suitable instrument.
This presumes, however, that the description of the situation was an
19ln: Frankfurter Rundschau, 16 June, 1992 (Wille, J.: "At the Beginning of a Necessary, Dramatic Process"); cf. also Brown, Paul, who wrote in the Guardian (15 June, 1992): "But Europe and Japan regard the convention as weak, ducking specific promises on carbon dioxide reductions to accommodate the United States. Politicians have repeated many times in the main conference, however, their hopes that this is only the beginning of the process."
20Cf. for example Int. Herald Tribune (The New York Times), 16 June, 1992: "But now, after the Earth Summit, there is a road"; Nature, "Two successful weeks at Rio", Vol. 357, 18 June, 1992, P. 523.
adequate representation of the problem. Yet there are considerable reservations about precisely this point. After acid rain and the ozone hole were recognized some years ago as serious environmental problems, now the weather is supposedly in danger. As everyone has always been intensely concerned with the weather, the general public was seriously frightened and politicians came under heavy pressure. Within a year after James Hansen's famous appearance before the US Congressional Committee, the government leaders of the seven industrialized states formulated the following in Paris in 1989: "The increasing complexity of the issues related to the protection of the atmosphere calls for innovative solutions."21
So even top levels of politics were quickly convinced that the climate was an atmospheric phenomenon. But this description of the situation is too vague to allow for effective climate protection. From the "point of view of a seaman" - sailors are known to be more concerned with the ocean than with the atmosphere over the seas - there should first be a discussion as to whether the situational conditions described at the Rio Conference were concrete enough to allow a long-term resolution of the climate problem. Although it has been more than twenty years since this writer sailed the seas as a captain, it is perhaps still correct to apply the following remarks of Neumayer from the year 1884 to him: "These notes should be valued all the more highly as they come from seamen whose years of observations at sea have accustomed them to recording and describing by simple means natural phenomena, while, being temporarily isolated as they are, cannot be influenced in their observations and descriptions."22
This is perhaps applicable, as the basis for his understanding of the climate from the "viewpoint of a seaman" had already been established more than thirty years ago, when he was a young deck officer. Even though he was no more able than others to avoid the euphoria of the opening of the age of space exploration, he regarded the harnessing of technical advance for research into the oceans as the greater necessity. For long-term and reliable weather forecasts can only be achieved on the basis of thorough knowledge of the seas. As this is still lacking, it was possible for the London "Times" only a few months ago to remark sarcastically in an editorial: "Absolute unpredictability is weather's defining virtue. Perhaps that is what our unintelligible forecasters are trying to say."23
The first part of the following discussion will be concerned with determining the factors which appear necessary for climate protection, and then there will be a probing of the legal components.
To begin with, a basic assumption must be stated to avoid possible misunderstandings. The damage to the environment caused by gas emissions into the atmosphere is not being questioned. Efforts to conserve energy by reducing CO2 are also not
21Minutes (No. 45, 1st sentence) of the Summit of the Arch, 16 July,
1989, printed in: The New York Times, 17 July, 1989, P. A7; US State
Bulletin, September 1989.
22op. cit. (Footnote 1) Pp. 3/4.
"The Times, 29 February, 1992, (Questioning weather).
protection of the climate are adequate as a basis tor convincing pians or whether further steps are required.
B. Conditions for Planning - The Situation
I. Statistics on Rising Temperatures
There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics, complained a statesman and author.2'1 But they are unavoidable,23 and when one looks at the history of the greenhouse discussion, there are so many statistics involved, not to mention computers and simulations, that a short recital of statistical basic values should not be lacking here.
If the sun were "turned off," the temperature of the atmosphere would be only 28" C. above absolute zero, i.e., at -245° C. With the sun, but without water, the average temperature on earth would be -11" C., resulting from a daytime temperature of approximately +135° C. and a nighttime temperature of approximately -155° C.26
If we continue to work with average figures, we could get the impression that even including the global water masses would not change much. The oceans have an average temperature of +5° C. and the atmosphere registers -17° C. If you take the average of these, then you have -6° C., a value which is not very far removed from the -11" C. of a waterless planet. If we wanted to draw conclusions from this situation, it would appear logical to argue that water has little to do with the warmth of the earth. But in doing so, we would have allowed ourselves to be "drawn in" by statistics. Taking another standpoint, the world looks completely different.
The starting point is that the oceans are huge and deep. If all of the continents were leveled off to a depth of 3000 meters and the excess dumped into the deep seas so that the land surface all over the globe were equidistant from the center of the earth, the globe would then be covered by an ocean with a depth of almost 3000 meters. The ocean is a factor which cannot be ignored, even if it has withdrawn from 1/3 of the earth's surface, exposing land.
For one of the principal elements in climatic activity is the capacity of water to store heat. Whereas the seaman hardly notices any difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures, the Bedouin in the desert regularly has to contend with a drop in temperature of 20° C. and more
2"Disraeli, S. (1804-1881), Engl. Prime Minister, noted by A. Henderson-
Sellers, op. cit. (Footnote 8), P. 6.
25Monin, A. S., writes in An Introduction to the Theory of Climate,
Dordrecht 1986, P. 6: "We don't have to know the individual chronological
sequence of states of the atmosphere-ocean-land system. Rather we must
have statistics of the states, that is their limits of variation and their
frequence of occurrence over a long time interval." Cf. the discussion of
the nature of the climate in this paper.
26For the temperature effect of water, cf. Gross, M. Grant,
Oceanography, 5th Edition, Englewood Cliffs, 1990, P. 87; Monin, A. S.
op. cit., Pp. 114-120.
every night. Neither land nor dry air are capable of maintaining a constant temperature even for a short periods of time without replenishment of energy by the sun. The best-known phenomenon which demonstrates this is the land wind which begins only a few hours after sunset.27 The day-to-day experience is only one of a change back and forth, because as soon as the sun has been above the horizon for only a couple of hours, the sea wind begins, i.e., the cooler air above the ocean is pulled in over the land masses. But in explaining the functions of the natural systems, the examples are helpful starting points to aid understanding. For we can come to the conclusion that, from a climatic point of view, the oceans dominate the land masses, here over a very short period of time.
If the atmosphere is divided into its two warmth or energy bearers, water and greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, etc.), then the atmospheric humidity has as much warmth capacity as a two-meter layer of ocean water, the greenhouse gases as much as a one-meter layer. In practice, this means that that a rise in the temperature of the atmosphere of 1° C. must cause a drop of the same amount in the upper three meters of the ocean.28
The elementary dimensional relationships of the upper 240 meters of the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land have been worked out in impressive fashion by A. S. Monin. After determining the mass relations of 16.4 to 1 to 0.45, he defines the warmth capacity ratio for the oceans as 68.5, for the atmosphere as 1, and for the land as 0.45.29 As 2/3 of the warmth capacity of the atmosphere is accounted for by humidity, there is a ratio between CO2, methane, etc., and the upper 240 meters of water of 1:215. Based on an average ocean depth of over 3600 meters, the ratio is no doubt far above 1:2000.30
The current discussion does not involve the general warmth capacity of the atmosphere, but has to do with the importance of the increase in greenhouse gas values. In 1990, the concentration of CO2 was about 25% higher than around 200 years ago (increase from 280 ppmv to 353 ppmv).31 If it is a question of a statistical valuation of the warmth potential, we could think about taking the effect of a layer of sea water of just 0.25 meter depth for comparison. But this would be an undervaluation of even this thin layer. After all, the sun is involved in the process every day, and "approximately 80% of the solar energy intercepted by our planet enters the atmosphere over the oceans." 32
27Weischet, W.: Einfuhrung in die Allgemeine Klimatologie, Stuttgart 1988,
P. 121, explains this as follows: "This is due to the fact that the nightly
cooling affects a layer of only 300 to 500 meters, whereas the warming
effecting during the day affects 1000 to 1500 meters."
28Stanton, B. R., Ocean Circulation and Ocean-Atmosphere Exchanges,
Climate Change, Vol, 18, 1991, Pp. 175-194 (176).
29Monin, A. S., op. cit. (Footnote 25), P. 2.
30According to W. Weischet, op. cit. (Footnote 27), Pp. 73-74, the ratio of
the specific warmth for (still) water and air is 1:0.24, and one cm3 of
water requires 10,000 times as many calories for warming as the air near
31Cf. Siegenthaler, U. & Sanhueza, E., Greenhouse Gases and Other
3i!Woods, J. D. quoted in: Houghton, John T. (Ed), The Global Climate,
As a considerable amount of the heat energy absorbed by the oceans is released immediately, only a few centimeters of the ocean's upper layer can have a more long-lasting effect on the average air temperature than other factors. But the world of statistics will hardly be able to provide an answer as to whether this is really the case, no matter how many comparisons we make. Nevertheless, such comparisons indicate that the rise in temperature known as "global warming" is not necessarily in essence an atmospheric event.
II. The Distant Ocean
1. Facts or Feeling
When in "The Encyclopedia of Climatology" we read the sentence: "The ocean is closer to a state of dynamic equilibrium than the atmosphere,"33 or when GraBl/Klingholz state that the oceans are very, very slow to react,3" the question arises as to what led to these determinations. Are they based on "feeling" or on logical conclusions based on observed conditions? The physical dimensions of events in nature show a different face in any case. For if a cubic meter of water contains more energy than an air column several kilometers high, than even a hurricane with winds of 100 km/h is not much more dynamic than an ocean current traveling only a few km/h. If the oceans did not contribute their part to heat stability of the atmosphere second for second, hour for hour (land wind), etc., the world would look much different. The quoted statements are relative and indicate that the oceans have not been really taken into account in science's observations. The conceptual world so strongly formed by daily experience of atmospheric activities appears to hinder "dimensionally correct" comparisons with the oceans.33 Even the director of the German Sea Observatory quoted above, Neumayer, spoke only of interest in the effects of the volcanic eruptions in 1883 on the layers of air surrounding the earth.36 At that time and until the recent past, the oceans were hardly taken into account in the effort to understand atmospheric phenomena. Even in 988, James Hansen (see above) and the representatives of the greenhouse theory relied on the analysis of statistics to support their theses. Statistics aided by computer simulations. celebrated hitherto unknown triumphs.
Cambridge, 1984, P. 142.
33Kraus, Eric B., in: Fairbridge, Rhodes W. (ed), The Encyclopeida of
Climatology, New York 1987, P. 639.
34Gra61, Hartmut, & Klingholz, Reiner, Wir Klimamacher, Frankfurt 1990,
3sRegarding this point, Keith Clayton, Scaling Environmental Problems,
Geography 1991, Pp. 2-15 (5) notes sarcastically: "We are remarkably
oysters actually grow! Yet the oceans play a critical part in the world
climatic system and cursory reading of the national curriculum suggests
they are neglected everywhere, and almost totally neglected within the
36The directors of the German Sea Observatory wrote an article, "The
Magnificent Twilight Manifestations in the Period from 26 to 30 November,
1883", when Krakatoa began to have effects on the sky in the northern
hemisphere three months after the eruption; Neumayer, op. cit. (Footnote
By maintaining an observational standpoint aimed at the atmosphere and ruled by statistics, it is possible that a whole series of opportunities to describe concretely the mechanics of the global natural system under unusual circumstances have been allowed to slip by. This will be shown in the following examples, as they could play an important role in describing the climatic situation. The nature of this paper means that these can only be theses. They must be proven in another place. At the same time, it could be of help to localise important points which are essential if climate research and climate protection are to be successful.
2. Krakatoa - A Climatic Once-in-a-Century Event?
a. State of Affairs
In the year following the three volcanic eruptions in 1883, including Krakatoa in August 1883, the circulation in the atmosphere was above normal and then sank to a powerfully developed minimum in 1888, wrote Artur Wagner in his discussion of climatic change in 1940.37 At the most, a reduction in solar energy could be caused only by fine dust at high altitudes. Other authors also refer to Krakatoa only from the standpoints of blockage of sunlight and as a cause of ice ages.33 Even today, the discussion of large-scale volcanic eruptions is limited to the determination that it can become colder for a short period of time.3"3 Little is left of Neumayer's eurphoria of January 1884 and - as it appears - there have hardly been any advances for science. Did Krakatoa really leave behind so few traces, or were they simply not recognized?
b) The Observations after Krakatoa and the Stabiliser
Only a short time after the main eruption of Krakatoa on 21 August, 1883, unusual observations were reported, which were compiled by Neumayer.AO
Here are some examples from ship logs from all over the world in 1883:
37Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), Pp. 41-42.
38Cf. Wexler, H., op. cit. (Footnote 2); Bradley, R. S., The Explosive Volcanic Eruption Signal in Northern Hemisphere Continental Temperature Records, Climatic Change, Vol. 12, 1988, Pp. 221-244.
39Cf. for example Investigative Committee, op. cit. (Footnote 5), Vol. 1, P. 220; GraBl/Klingholz, op. cit. (Footnote 34), P. 61, write: After a powerful volcanic eruption, "it will become colder for a short period of time, but after a couple of years the disturbance has passed. Only in exceptional cases will there be a natural climatic catastrophe." S. H. Schneider, op. cit. (Footnote 1), P. 45, continues (P. 91): Recent theories linking climate and atmospheric opacity from volcanic eruptions are not confirmed and this connection is physically better based." Cf. also Gentilli, J-, Present-Day Volcanicity and Climate Change, The Geological Magazine, Vol, 85, 1948, Pp. 172-175, who denies any connection whatsoever. So does Mitchell, J. Murray Jr., in: Singer, Fred (ed), The Changing Global Environment, 1975, Pp. 149-173 (171).
40Neumayer, Report on the Volcanic Eruptions of the Year 1883 with Respect to Their Effect on the Atmosphere, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 1884, Pp. 49-65 (Continuation from previous issue, cf. Footnote 1).
3 September: During the past few days, there has been a fairly even gray
cloud mass, normally covering the entire sky, above the cumulus and
3 September: At midday hazy gray air. Hazy, gray air condensing into
dew towards evening;
5 September The air appears yellow and watery;
7 September: The atmosphere appeared to be filled with very small, evenly
distributed clouds of vapor;
13 September: The yellowish "haze" continues in the upper atmosphere;
11 October: Fiery atmosphere, cloudless sky;
5 November: Pale atmosphere;
10 December: The air was very clear and looked like the air in the
southern Indian Ocean during the typhoon season;
13 December: Lead-colored sky.
The observations were continued, collected, evaluated, and thoroughly discussed.
Five years after the eruption of Krakatoa, the scientific work on the events of the year 1883 were temporarily brought to a close with the "Report of the Krakatoa-Committee of the Royal Society." A summary by J. M. Pernter was given in the Meteorologische Zeitschrift of 1899. The following information is derived mainly from this summary."1
The most amazing aspect of the report is that it does not contain any mention of possible relevance of the oceans. Furthermore, the question of a possible change in the average temperature of the atmosphere does not appear to have interested anyone. Although it was quickly determined that the amount of solar energy received was clearly reduced for a period of several years, little attention was paid to the development of the atmospheric temperature. The blockage must have fluctuated strongly and have varied greatly, depending on the observation point. In total, the blockage effect has been calculated at an average of approximately 10% over a span of four years, whereby the reduction of solar energy in the northern hemisphere (Paris) was at its greatest in fall of 1885, reaching a value of 25%."
It would seem that a reduction of solar radiation of such proportions would necessarily have a long-lasting effect on atmospheric dynamics. But supposedly the average temperatures fell only slightly'43 and the atmospheric circulation in 1884 was above normal and did not sink to a
"Pernter, J. M., The Krakatoa Eruption and the Resulting Phenomena, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 1889, Pp. 329-339, Pp. 409-418, Pp. 447-466; cf. Neumayer, op. cit. (Footnote 1), P. 3, concerning the beginning of work by the Committee of the Royal Society in London.
i3Cf. Gentilli, J., op. cit. (Footnote 39). According to the graph reproduced in "Protection of the Earth", op. cit. (Footnote 5), P. 194, a drop in temperature cannot be determined, but is mentioned on page 220. On the corresponding graph from the IPCC report (Ja'ger & Ferguson, op. cit. (Footnoe 12), P. 72), it is at least mentioned that this is the avera^i" temperature measured over land.
strongly developed minimum until 1888." While the equilibrium of the world of statistics may not have been disturbed by Krakatoa, events were rather different in the world of nature. Without the stabilizing effects of the ocean, the effect of Krakatoa would have been catastrophic. A person sitting in warm bath water does not experience any discomfort when the heating is turned off - at least, not right away. But what can possibly happen to the higher latitudes of the earth if the warm water from the tropics is already on the way? A cooling-off effect will only become noticeable after the passage of some time and continued blockage of solar radiation. The influence of the oceans was shown clearly by the fact that coastal areas had above-average temperatures in 1884, whereas continental land masses such as Russia, Siberia, India, China, Canada, and the USA (inland areas far from the Atlantic) recorded very cold winters in the years up to 1888.*5
This could be dismissed as coincidence if the time until 1886 had not been accompanied by another phenomenon, a "hazy fog", a strange, smoky cloudiness in the atmosphere which was observed both in the tropics and in other areas. When Pernter further states (P. 410): "The hazy fog appears as a constant companion of the extraordinary optical phenomena in the atmosphere during the entire period of the atmospheric-optical disturbance," then one can say - speaking non-technically - that Nature had "popped a lid over it" and so protected the oceans from cooling off too quickly. The lid consisted of ingredients provided by Krakatoa and water vapor provided by the ocean. As a result of the "dirtying" of the atmosphere by the volcano's eruption, the atmosphere displayed characteristics and behavior deviating from the norm. Just as fog over a water surface sharply limits the transfer of heat energy, the hazy fog must have had a long-lasting effect. The dispute at the time as to whether Krakatoa had provided the water vapor (Pernter, P. 414) would most likely not have occurred if it had been assumed that the upper ocean water level (statistically speaking) was about 30° C. warmer than the atmosphere. The fact that the air circulation did not reach its minimum until 1888 is not surprising. From the middle of the 1880s on, a "weakening" of the oceans in the higher latitudes must have become noticeable. The less heat energy the ocean feeds into the atmosphere, the weaker become the dynamics in the atmosphere. This also becomes clear when it is seen that three years after Krakatoa the temperatures above land rose more sharply than above the oceans.Ae
c) The Missed Opportunity
If climate is explained by average weather conditions and the oceans are
44Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), P. 42.
45Gentilli, J., op. cit. (Footnote 39), Pp. 173-174. The following general
observation of W. Weischet, op. cit. (Footnote 27), P. 70, could be taken
into account as an inverse conclusion, according to which the northern
hemisphere receives about 10% less shortwave energy than the southern
hemisphere. It should be considered that the southern hemisphere came
under the "blockage" 2-3 months earlier and presumably more strongly (it
was never measured) than the northern hemisphere.
46Cf. Jones, P. D., Wigley, T. M. L., & Wright, P. B., Global
Temperature Variations Between 1861 and 1984, Nature Vol. 322, Pp. 430-
allowed only a static place in events in Nature, as was the case until recently, then we really could go on with our daily affairs and regard Krakatoa as no more than an interesting event in Nature which gave us some beautifully dramatic sunsets. But when the oceans temporarily cool off, it does not mean that heat is withdrawn in equal measure everywhere from the upper ocean layer. As the oceans comprise a chaotic system,A7 it must be assumed that the tendencies in the entire system change when an event such as the eruption of Krakatoa takes place and has an effect over a period of three to four years. The fact that the sum of the statistical values (particularly the global average temperature) showed little or no deviation cannot be proof that the event did not have any climatic quality whatsoever. An event which reduced the solar radiation by about 10% for more than three years cannot have failed to influence ocean currents and must have had to one extent or another short- as well as long-term consequences. In addition, the possibility that the oceans reacted in some way to a three-year "cleaning of the sky" of volcanic ash, pumice dust, and sulfuric acid, more than 2/3 of which landed in the seas, cannot be categorically excluded.
After the eruption of Katmai in 1912, the temperatures in the low and middle latitudes also rose by up to 1° C. and even more in the higher latitudes. Wexler of the US Weather Bureau wrote of this in 1951: The warming in the middle and lower latitudes can be a result of clearer air and increased transport of solar energy, but the warming in winter in higher latitudes during the Arctic night will have to be explained in another way.Aa Naturally, someone should have thought of the oceans.
3. The Events from the Depths
a) The Event from Nothing - The Cold Period 1940 - 1965
It is a fact that a notable warming period began in 1920, which in 1940 changed into a cooling-off period lasting until about 1965. Referring to this, the German Parliamentary Investigative Committee (1990) had nothing more to say the following explanation:
"Unusually great temperature increases were observed in the northern hemisphere in the 1920s and in the 1980s, during which the average temperature rose by more than 0.1" C. per decade. This great temperature increase is balanced by a cooling off of the ground-level air masses of about 0.4" C. between 1940 and 1965. These great temperature fluctuations, limited to the northern hemisphere, are attributed to the interaction of various climate parameters which are particularly strong over the continents and thus in the northern hemisphere."49
A7Cf. Curt Covey, Chaos in Ocean Heat Transport, Nature, Vol. 353, 1991, Pp. 796-797.
i8Wexler, H., op. cit. (Footnote 2), P. 14.
""^Op. cit., (Footnote 5), P. 195. If this statement is compared with the graph on page 194, then it is striking that the downward trend in the southern hemisphere after 1940 is sharper than in the northern hemisphere. Cf. also Folland et.al., Worldwide Main Temperature Fluctuation, Nature, Volume 310, 1984, Pp. 670-679. Folland & Parker, in: Schlesinger, M. E. (ed), Climate-Ocean Interaction, 1990, Pp. 21-52.
The reader is allowed to guess what these “various climate parameters” might be. J. Murray Mitchell becomes more concrete when he states: The warming of the global climate during the 1920s and 1930s can in part be explained by the fact that during this time there were no volcanic eruptions, whereas the cooling-off, which reached its zenith in the 1960s, can be explained by a renewal of volcanic activity, including the giant eruption of Agung in 1963.so But Mitchell's explanations only serve to make the confusion complete. Agung was the first large volcanic eruption in a long time, Agung is in Indonesia, and in 1963 the cold period was almost at an end. Furthermore, the cold wave in 1940 came abruptly.
b) The 1940 Event from the Depths of the North Atlantic
In 1940 and the following years, the North Atlantic, particularly from the Norwegian coast to Iceland and up to Spitzbergen was the location of countless underwater explosions and extensive sea battles.'1 Although enormous amounts of explosives were also set off under the ocean's surface in the Pacific, the sea area south of Spitzbergen, where the waters of the Gulf Stream flow over difficult seabed terrain into the deep oceans, is particularly sensitive to disruptions.52
Considering the significance of the Gulf Stream for heat conditions in the northern hemisphere and in Europe in particular, it is surprising that no one has looked into the influence of conducting war at sea on the temperature drop beginning in 1940. The origin of this thought is the fact that only a very thin upper layer of the oceans displays high temperatures, while 75% of the oceans' water is colder than +4° C.
In general, water temperatures fall as depth increases. If warm surface water is exchanged with that from lower water layers, the "bath water effect" of the ocean water must decrease and the temperature of the air above it will also fall. On the other hand, the "heat which has been pushed into the depths" must some day come up again, and then the
50Mitchell, J. Murray, in: Oliver, John E., & Fairbridge, Rhodes W. (ed), The Encyclopedia of Climatology, New York, 1987, P. 326.
51ln World War I, for example, over 300,000 blockade mines and in World War II over 800,000 mines were laid; cf. Monin, Tsymbal, Schmelev: Damage to the World Ocean as a Result of the Armaments Race, in: Peace to the Oceans, Newsletter 2-90, Pp. 26-29.
52For details, cf. Aagaard, Knut, in: Parker, S. P. (ed), McCraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, 1980, Pp. 21-26; among other factors, Aagaard refers to the importance of the salt content. This was recently described in expositions by Walter Frese on NDR 3 on 1 August, 1992, "Ocean Salt: Anti-Freeze for Europe"; Hamburger Abendblatt, 22/23 August, 1992, "A Pinch of Salt Makes the Difference"; Siiddeutsche Zeitung on 27 August, 1992, "How the Oceans Determine the Climate". Note: Salt content plays a major role everywhere in the oceans, and changes have decisive effects. If the Strait of Gibralter, through which the North Atlantic receives its high salt content, were blocked up, it would not be long before the ice line would be at Scotland. For an explanation of the "flow mechanism" between Iceland and Greenland, cf. Whitehead, John A., Giant Ocean Cataracts, Scientific American, Vol. 260, 1989, Pp. 36-43.
average measured air temperature will rise more than expected. This could explain the greater temperature rise since the beginning of the 1970s. For all of the heat held by the oceans under the surface remains stored until it is transferred to the atmosphere. In addition, there must be effects on current relationships from extensive underwater explosions. In the North Atlantic, all the way up to the Barents Sea, any disruption can have a particularly powerful effect.
c) The Warm Period Beginning in 1920 - Result of World War I?
In 1920, a warming period began rather abruptly. It was found that in the peripheral regions of the northern Atlantic (and only in the Atlantic) the water temperatures suddenly began to rise strongly as of 1920. These conditions continued in the waters off Greenland until about 1930 and around Iceland and north of England until early 1940.s3 Optically, the change could clearly be seen in an unusually extensive withdrawal of the ice line in the Barents Sea as of the beginning of 1920, reports Wagner.5A He also points out that in the years between 1912 and 1918 there was a median deviation from the average water surface temperatre in the Barents Sea of -0.7° C., but that in 1920 the deviation was almost +1° C., which is a temperature increase of +1.7° C. within a very short period of time. The following quote from Wagner is also interesting:
"Finally, Scholasky notes that the warming of the polar area began in 1921 and writes: The branch of the North Atlantic current which enters the Arctic Ocean at the edge of the continental shelf near Spitzbergen, has so increased in strength that the covering layer of cold water which at Nansen's time was 200 m thick has not been reduced to less than 100 m."55
It was not necessary to wait for the explosive fire power of the Second Word War to create "disorder" in a surface layer of several dozen meters. The sea war in the North Atlantic from 1914 to 1918 was more than just a few skirmishes. As it is clear that during this time there was a drop in the average air temperatures, it is possible that this was caused by the water exchange described above. In addition, the water explosions could have had such an effect on the ocean current conditions that there was a long-term warming of the northerly part of the North Atlantic and the Barents Sea.
d) The Undiscovered Chance
Neither in 1940 nor in 1918/20 was there an atmospheric occurrence which could explain the temperature fluctuations for the periods from 1920 to 1940 and from 1940 to 1965. There were no large volcanic eruptions. CO2 cannot
"Bjerknes, J., The Recent Warming of the North Atlantic, in: Bolin, Bert
(ed), The Atmosphere and the Sea in Motion, Oxford, 1959, Pp. 65-73.
"Wagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2), Pp. 46-47, who also gives
information about the mediation deviation (D) of the ice line (in km) in the
East Spitzbergen Sea for late summer of the years 1898 to 1934, e.g.:
1914 = D +120; 1915 = D +30; 1916 = D +320; 1917 = D +100; 1919 = D -30;
1920 = D -140 (all other values through 1934 are also minus).
ssWagner, Artur, op. cit. (Footnote 2).
be the cause of the cold period. But because of the suddenness of the change, the greenhouse effect cannot be a direct cause of the warm period, either. There is also very little place for a significant indirect involvement. It was determined that in the Barents Sea the warm water masses expanded from the depths to the surface, i.e., the 0° isotherm moved upwards.36
In conclusion, it should be noted here that the climate changes of 1920 and 1940 can be evaluated only when the two sea wars of this century have been thoroughly investigated with respect to their relevance for the climate.
4. Other Events - Constant Dropping Wears the Stone
a) Poisoners of the Sea
This was the title of an assessment of the condition of the oceans published by K. A. Gourlay (London 1988)." But neither he nor other scientists have considered the influence of the enormous ocean pollution on the heat relationships or on the relatonships among the ocean currents in particular. If serious thought is given - and this is undoubtedly necessary - to the fact that emissions into the atmosphere can cause a shift in the natural equilibrium of nature, then the industrial influence on the dynamics concentrated in the oceans can most certainly not be ignored. The sinking process of the Gulf Stream in the northeast Atlantic could in the long run also be affected by the water from the North Sea or or other ocean pollution, whether with or without the pinch of salt which has recently become a topic of discussion (cf. Footnote 52).
b) Eight Times a Day to the Moon - Warming in the Wake?
It was described above how every exchange of water between upper and lower layers can have very sudden effects. There are over 30,000 trading ships registered. If half of them travel about 275 nautical miles (about 500 km) every day, then the waters of the oceans are "churned up" to a width of about 30 meters and a depth of about 15 meters over a path which is equal to eight times the distance from the earth to the moon or 1500 times the distance from the English Channel to the east coast of North America (all of these figures rough estimates). In a year, this would mean that the Atlantic from Iceland to the Ross latitudes is "plowed up" to a depth which contains as much heat capacity as the entire atmosphere. As a general rule, warm water is exchanged for cold in this process.
No one can say today what really happens and what the effects are. There are virtually no series of measurements which would permit acceptable conclusions about the isotherm structure and its development over a long period of time for the upper layer of the ocean to a depth of at least 50 meters. An on-location investigation series (apparently one of the first) by
56Cf. also the references given by Wagner, Artur, op. cit. P. 49.
37Cf. also GESAMP, The State of the Marine Environment, UNEP Report
115, 1990; OECD, The State of Environmnet, 1990 Pp. 71-93.
Caspar (among others)58 showed - although in general it was no secret -that the temperature difference between the surface and a depth of 15 meters can amount to more than 3" C. When there is a mixing, the surface temperature can sink by 1.5" C. In the long term, this can cause a warming of the ocean surface and thus an increase in the air temperature.
It would be nice if it could be proven that there is no effect on the climate resulting from the wakes of the world's trading fleets. But it cannot be excluded, and this effect is just as much in need of clarification as the greenhouse theory.
III. CO2 - Drastic Effect or Drastic Exaggeration?
Bitter and confusing, the debate over the greenhouse sheds more heat than light. The science is shaky but there's reason to act anyway, commented Newsweek on the start of the Rio Conference in June 1992." Such criticism is rare so far. Ruling opinion is convinced that the steps taken in Rio point in the right direction.60
It would be absolutely impossible for this paper to take up a full survey of the contributions to the topic of greenhouse gases. It also does not intend to suggest that the greenhouse gases have nothing to do with the warming process, just as the "butterfly effect" for events in nature's systems is not being called into question here.61
However, the dimensions of the standards on which these statements are based should be questioned. This question was in principle mentioned above in the section on statistics. Of course the emissions of greenhouse gases are a more concrete danger than the flight of millions of butterflies. Even if an otherwise dry layer of air completely filled with greenhouse gases experiences a temperature drop of about 20° C. per hour after sunset, the concept itself cannot be completely negated.62
Nonetheless, there are reasons, from a climatic viewpoint, which justify doubts in granting CO2 (as well as other greenhouse gases) a prominent
3SGaspar, Phillipe, Andre, Jean-Claude, & Lefevre, Jean-Michel, The Determination of the Latent and Sensible Heat Fluxes at the Sea Surface Viewed as an Inverse Problem, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 95, 1990, No. C9, Pp. 16.169-16.178. "Newsweek, 1 June, 1992, P. 20.
60The Int. Herald Tribune (New York Times) 16 June, 1992: "Rio Sketched the Road" (But now, after the Earth Summit, there is a road); The Guardian, 15 June 1992: "Rio: the Bucks Stop Here" (Rio has set up some machinery for effective cooperation); Financial Times, 15 June, 1992: "Many Roads from Rio" (The Rio conference was worth having - once). 61The meteorologist Eward Lorenz published a paper in 1972 with the title, "Can the Beating of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Cause a Tornado?", cf. Palmer, Tim, in: Hall, Nissa (ed), Guide to Chaos, London 1991, Pp. 69-81.
62The possibility that the CO2 thesis could be a flop is mentionened in: Newsweek, 1 June 1992, Pp. 23-24. Excerpt: "Greenhouse theory suggests that warming should peak on summer afternoons: the worst time, . . . Karl's (of the US National Climatic Data Center) work suggests nature is doing the opposite."
place in the efforts to protect the climate, e.g., the following:
1. Atmospheric dynamics come about principally from the varying concentrations of heat. While water vapor has the characteristic of appearing in various concentrations throughout the atmosphere, CO2 is distributed evenly. To this extent, it is a substance which is neutral for the climate and can appear of importance only indirectly in connection with water vapor. The following explanations refer to this:
a) Figuratively speaking, the distribution of the greenhouse gases can be compared to a gridiron whoses meshes are the same distance apart. The only variable is that the mesh network can be drawn tighter (e.g., by more CO2) or loosened. This net, by the way, changes only in accordance with the seasons and never by more than 1-2/S.
b) Water vapor, on the other hand, appears in varying concentrations. A saturated cloud has stored within a certain volume many, many more times the amount of energy as the same volume of the gridiron. A hurricane, which derives its energy from the ocean, produces about 300-400 billion kw-hours daily and releases 10-20 billion tons of water.6™1
While there is a active exchange of water and energy between the ocean and the atmosphere,6'' the greenhouse gridiron does not change.63 It would be interesting to know how many kw-hours and how many tons of water the greenhouse gridiron contributes to a hurricane as it develops and moves through a region. As the development, strength, and maintenance of a whirlwind is dependent on the condition of the ocean, such as in the case of a hurricane, it seems unlikely that the greenhouse gridiron makes a significant contribution - except perhaps in computer simulations - to this process.
c) To this extent, it is difficult to understand how any significant amounts of heat energy could be transferred from this gridiron to the ocean, thus leading to a rise in the level of the seas. Practical experience all shows that when the air is dry the land heat does not come from the air, and when warm air encounters cold water, the ocean immediately protects itself with a protective shield which can sometimes be recognized as fog. Admittedly, the interaction between ocean and atmosphere requires persistence if it is to be explained plausibly. But it is a mystery how anyone can explain with any conviction that the seas can be heated by a cloudless sky at night, for example. The oceans will steam up any argument, just as the bath water steams up the air in the bathroom.
2. More important than the arguments above is the starting point for the greenhouse debate. Put simply, it can stated thus: Because the concentrations of the greenhouse gases and the air temperatures are rising, there cannot be any serious doubt that these events are somehow
"Gross, M. Grant, op. cit. (Footnote 26), P. 119.
6AA series of other factors which cannot be discussed here, such as
plankton, salt, dust, and particularly the direct effect of the solar
radiation on the oceans, also play a significant role in this process.
65For example, it was mentioned in Umwelt-Weltweit, Report of the UNEP
1972-1982 (Volume 88A - Discussions of Environmental Development), P. 53,
that the CO? effect appeared to act differently than had been expected.
connected. To emphasize this, reference is made to the rising level of the sea, the series of warm summers, and the rising intensity of weather events.66
Viewed by a seaman, the following questions would come to mind: Are the air temperatures rising because the ocean is warming for reasons other than those attributed to COa, causing the oceans to expand, the level of the sea to rise, the recording of warm summers, more intensive occurrence of atmospheric activity, changes in ocean currents, a more frequent appearance of El Nino, the expansion of desert regions, etc. Unfortunately, there is no answer to this question. Just as one hundred years ago, the oceans are still a climatic frontier.
Although a widespread basic awareness of the particular role of the oceans is present, they remain for many people, for reasons which are difficult to understand, "very far away," as if we were talking about the "obvious" which did not need to be investigated in any more depth.67 Even the marine biologist Rachel Carson, whose book