Sunday, February 11, 2007

The evolution of the New Theory of Climate Change


When ever new or competing theories that challenge the “status quo” of existing scientific theory, we see the enigma of the existing “establishment” refuting the competitor to retain their oligarchial “market” share threatened by paradigm shifts.

"Scientists tend to resist interdisciplinary inquiries into their own territory. In many instances, such parochialism is founded on the fear that intrusion from other disciplines would compete unfairly for limited financial resources and thus diminish their own opportunity for research."

We see this today with vitriolic responses from the owners of the Climate Change franchises to competitive forces from astrophysics, and plasma particle scientists.

Those who question prevailing cultural orthodoxies are often treated as immoral, evil people and their arguments depicted as a form of secular heresy.

Many influential figures have a cavalier attitude to free speech, believing that ‘dangerous’ ideas should be repressed. Disbelief in today’s received wisdom is described as ‘Denial’, which is branded by some as a crime that must be punished. It began with Holocaust denial, before moving on to the denial of other genocides. Then came the condemnation of ‘AIDS denial’, followed by accusations of ‘climate change denial’. This targeting of denial has little to do with the specifics of the highly-charged emotional issues involved in discussions of the Holocaust or AIDS or pollution. Rather, it is driven by a wider mood of intolerance towards free thinking.

The majority of scientists in all spheres are more objective,they are interested in the evolution of the theory,its implications,its testability,and improved quatification, and experiment.

Whenever new theories are postulated the orthodoxy reacts, as it challenges the premis of many years of work, existing projects and funding.

We see the publication of new theories that bring the sun-climate coupling as an important feature of climate variability. Svensmark’s publication will bring many crys of outrage but there is a substantial difference as with all solar climate connections.

While we can say rather com-fortably that our Sun is a "typical" main sequence star, we cannot point to a "typical" planet. There is a lesson in that statement and a research challenge of considerable complexity. This monograph deals with a central component of this challenge, namely, to describe the basic structure and dynamics of the upper atmospheres and ionospheres in our solar system and, moreover, to understand their
differences.

Atmospheric scientists tend to divide the gaseous regions above a planet into two broad categories called simply lower and upper atmosphere. For Earth, the study of the lower regions (troposphere and strato-sphere) form the discipline of meteorology. The study of the upper regions (mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere) and their ionized components (the ionosphere) form the discipline of aeronomy. The negative aspect of such a two-fold division is that it encourages thinking of the various atmospheric-spheres as isolated regions of self-contained physics, chemistry, and (in the case of Earth) biology. In reality, there is consider-able coupling from lower to upper regions, an aspect of aeronomy fully appreciated only in the last decade. Com-plimenting this external influence from below, an upper atmosphere has long been known to experience forcing and coupling to and from regions far above it. Aeronomy thus deals with one of the most highly coupled systems in space science --- with neutrals, plasmas, and electromagnetic processes that link the planets, moon, and comets from their surfaces to the solar wind and ultimately to the Sun itself.


In astrophysics a similar challenge was postulated by Alfven that challenged the establishement of western science.His theories were researched and acknowledged by the soviet academies long before the US.

In the world of specialized science, Alfven was an enigma. Regarded as a heretic by many physicists, Alfven made contributions to physics that are today being applied in the development of particle beam accelerators, controlled thermonuclear fusion, hypersonic flight, rocket propulsion, and the braking of reentering space vehicles. At the same time, applications of his research in space science include explanations of the Van Allen radiation belt, the reduction of the earth's magnetic field during magnetic storms, the magnetosphere (a protective plasma envelope surrounding the earth), the formation of comet tails, the formation of the solar system, the dynamics of plasmas in our galaxy, and the fundamental nature of the universe itself.

Alfven was the first to predict (in 1963) the large scale filamentary structure of the universe, a discovery that confounded astrophysicists in 1991 and added to the woes of Big Bang cosmology. Hannes Alfven has played a central role in the development of several modern fields of physics, including plasma physics, the physics of charged particle beams, and interplanetary and magnetospheric physics. He is also usually regarded as the father of the branch of plasma physics known as magnetohydrodynamics.

Attempting to explain the resistance to his ideas, Alfven pointed to the increasing specialization of science during this century. "We should remember that there was once a discipline called natural philosophy," he said in 1986. "Unfortunately, this discipline seems not to exist today. It has been renamed science, but science of today is in danger of losing much of the natural philosophy aspect." Among the causes of this transition, Alfven believed, are territorial dominance, greed, and fear of the unknown. "Scientists tend to resist interdisciplinary inquiries into their own territory. In many instances, such parochialism is founded on the fear that intrusion from other disciplines would compete unfairly for limited financial resources and thus diminish their own opportunity for research."

Because his ideas often conflicted with the generally accepted or "standard" theories, Alfven always had trouble with the peer review system, especially as practiced by Anglo-American astrophysical journals. "I have no trouble publishing in Soviet astrophysical journals," Alfven once disclosed, "but my work is unacceptable to the American astrophysical journals." In fact, he never enjoyed the nearly automatic acceptance generally afforded senior scientists in scientific journals. "The peer review system is satisfactory during quiescent times, but not during a revolution in a discipline such as astrophysics, when the establishment seeks to preserve the status quo," explains Alfven.
Part of the reason that Alfven's work is neglected in astrophysics may be that Alfven considered himself, first and foremost, an electrical power engineer and rather enjoyed the accusation of encroachment in astrophysics leveled by other cosmologists and theoreticians. Plasma physics has traditionally been neglected in astrophysics, Alfven claimed. "Students using astrophysical textbooks remain essentially ignorant of even the existence of plasma concepts, despite the fact that some of them have been known for half a century," he argued. "The conclusion is that astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of astrophysicists who have gotten their main knowledge from these textbooks. Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory."

And here we see the Paradigm shift, the theories are TESTABLE by physical experiment not solely by some virtual experiment.

2007 is the international heliophysical year a substantial series of publications will be seen,It will be interesting to see if objectivity is still part of the scientifc norm.

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