Philosophy: Neurology: Astronomy:
An Essay on Continuity and an Awareness of Realities:
Responsibilities of Science
PART III of IV
by Tetsuo Kaneko, Inst.Gov.
Editor’s Note: The paper featured here is Part III of a four-part paper.
Parts I & II were featured in the two previous issues of this Journal. - JP
The Solar System is moving now outside of a galactic spiral arm of the Milky Way where the intensity of the galactic cosmic ray flux is lower than inside it. During the passage of the Solar System through a galactic spiral arm, the effect of the galactic cosmic ray flux allows the Earth to encounter an ice age [1-3]. Now, the effect is not expected to cool the Earth. The effect cannot help to reduce unpleasant nonlinear responses to emissions of CO2 caused  by the combustion of fossil fuels. The effect cannot contribute to reducing any additional entropy.
The whole planetary environment is not a completely closed system. People may be made to think that this fact gives no evidence of caring about the second law of thermodynamics, and the fact may make the people pleased by a subjective reason why the necessity to minimize an increase in the entropy may be denied. Certainly, entertaining imagination results from the expectation that a great technological treatment beyond all the scientific knowledge establishes an attractive situation where the second law of thermodynamics is broken down while even the impossibility of making a perpetual motion machine exist is overturned. People can be amused at the expectation. However, the possibility that the imagination helps people to recognize the various realities of the Earth must remain extremely low, no matter how entertaining the imagination is. Thus, being free from the imagination has to be helped. The consciousness harmonizing with the various realities of the Earth has to be supported in order to allow of continuing to enjoy the civilization. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) insists that an international treaty should be designed to protect the equilibrium state reached in the ecological system from anthropogenic emissions of CO2.
Warming the planetary surface is necessary. When an object being an ideal thermally conductive blackbody is located at the same distance as that of the Earth from the Sun , if about 28% of the incoming sunlight is reflected from its surface, being the same as the reflectivity of the surface of the Earth, the average temperature on the surface of the object should be about −18 °C. However, the temperature on the surface of the Earth is approximately 15 °C on average . This temperature is about 33 °C higher than that on the surface of the above object. Specific substances called greenhouse gases play a greatly important role for keeping the temperature on the surface of the Earth .
Each molecule constituting greenhouse gases in the air can absorb infrared radiation emitted from the surface of the Earth. The molecules that are excited by the absorption of the infrared radiation can emit infrared radiation both toward the Earth’s surface and toward the space. Then, the probability toward the Earth’s surface is the same as the probability toward the space. The infrared radiation that has been emitted from the surface of the Earth goes partially back to the surface for molecules constituting greenhouse gases. This phenomenon called the greenhouse effect is warming the surface of the Earth. The greenhouse effect is preventing the entire Earth from being frozen as a snowball, so that it is allowed to live there comfortably.
Water vapor (H2O) in the air causes the largest contribution to the greenhouse effect , and its degrees are between 36% and 66% for clear sky conditions and between 66% and 85% when including clouds. Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air causes the second largest contribution to the greenhouse effect , and its degree is between 9 and 26%. Methane (CH4) in the air causes the third largest contribution to the greenhouse effect , and its degree is between 4 and 9%. Ozone (O3) in the air causes the fourth largest contribution to the greenhouse effect , and its degree is between 3 and 7% .
The largest portion of greenhouse gases coming from anthropogenic emissions is occupied by CO2. The second largest portion is methane. The third largest portion is nitrous oxide (N2O). The fourth largest portion is fluorinated gases as symbolized by chlorofluorocarbons.
Measurements from Antarctic ice cores show that before industrial emissions started, the atmospheric mole fractions of CO2 had remained values near 280 parts per million (ppm). The principally natural sinks of CO2 are the dissolving of CO2 molecules into the oceans and photosynthesis of carbohydrate molecules that is performed by plants and marine plankton. If emissions of CO2 from natural sources are in equilibrium with the natural sinks of CO2, the concentration of CO2 remains constant in the atmosphere. Even for the 10,000 years between the end of the last glacial maximum and the start of the industrial era, the values remained between 260 ppm and 280 ppm .
In the air, carbon dioxide has a variable and long atmospheric lifetime, which is a period for decreasing to its half amount. The atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is estimated in the 30–95 year range . Thus, CO2 molecules can be easily accumulated in the atmosphere with resisting being removed from there. In fact, the concentration (mole fraction) of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from 280 ppm to 380 ppm since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution taken as the year 1750. First, 50 ppm of increase in the concentration of CO2 took place in about 200 years, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to around 1973. Next, 50 ppm of increase in the concentration of CO2 took place only in about 33 years, from 1973 to 2005 . Recently, the reduction of the potentiality of natural sinks of CO2 that is caused by deforestation and forest degradation allows the concentration of CO2 to increase at a higher rate. The reduction of forests is cooperating with anthropogenic emissions of CO2 caused by more combustion of fossil fuels. In 2012, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 reached 392.6 ppm  and now is 400 ppm in the northern hemisphere .
If an increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 raises the atmospheric temperature, increasing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 strengthens the contribution of water vapor to the greenhouse effect. At a more raised temperature, more water vapor per unit volume in the air can exist as is explained by the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. When increases in the amounts of the other greenhouse gases in the air increase temperature, an increase in the temperature allows the concentration of water vapor in the air to increase in each region over the marine field occupying 361.132 million km2 being equivalent to about 70.8% of the planetary surface. An increase in the concentration of water vapor allows a temperature reached for first rising to be raised again. Then, the rising of temperature allows a concentration of water vapor reached for first rising to increase again. These nonlinear responses to the first increase in the other greenhouse gases including CO2 can result in the amplification of warming owing to the contribution of water vapor. Asking someone what can be caused by the amplification should be encouraged. Thinking about events that can be induced by the nonlinearity of the amplification should be encouraged. Unexpected nonlinear responses that can be caused by an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the air should not remain unknown.
The atmospheric concentration of CO2 only does not increase, but the atmospheric concentrations of other greenhouse gases also increase. Even if the potentiality of vaporization of methane from methane-hydrate laid on the bottom of sea can be realistically neglected, an increase in the amount of garbage contributing to the fermentation process raises the atmospheric concentration of methane (CH4). The atmospheric concentration of CH4  has already increased from 0.722 ppm to 1.893 ppm  / 1.762 ppm  since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Certainly, the concentration of methane in the air is much lower than that of CO2. However, the fact that the greenhouse effect of a mass of methane is about 72 times stronger than the same mass of CO2 is remarkable . A greenhouse gas of which the atmospheric concentration  has increased from 0.270 ppm to 0.326 ppm  / 0.324 ppm  is nitrous oxide (N2O). Agricultural activities that involve the use of fertilizers contribute to an increase in the atmospheric concentration of N2O. Various increases in the concentrations of the greenhouse gases in the air permit both the temperature of sea water and the amount of water vapor in the air to increase on average.
Liquid water has the largest specific heat, so that warmed sea water most resists reducing its temperature. The temperatures of oceans are significant factors that make convection occur in the planetary atmosphere. The convection causes streams of air to occur. The streams of air are allowed to carry water vapor in large amount. Ultimately, the temperatures of sea surfaces become major determinants of weather.
Convection in the planetary atmosphere is caused to occur by the gravitation and the differences between the surface temperatures of various regions including seas. The directions of streams of air and their strengths are strongly influenced by several factors, i.e., thermodynamic factors such as the extent of areas covered with ice, the amount of ice, and the amount of radiation energy from the sun; geographical factors such as the positions of regions covered with ice and the positions and heights of mountains; geological factors such as the rotating speed of the Earth. Weather is characterized as nonlinear responses that are influenced strongly by these factors and the differences between the surface temperatures. Ultimately, the strength of greenhouse effect that is an important factor determining both the temperatures of oceans and the temperatures on the surfaces of the continents becomes a crucial factor influencing weather on the Earth.
Even if it is not easy to recognize unexpected nonlinear responses that can be induced by an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the air, the general circulation of a planetary atmosphere model and the general circulation of a ocean model allow the nonlinear responses to be estimated computationally on a basis of the Navier–Stokes equations with considering a rotating planetary sphere, thermodynamics, and various energy sources. Then, the energy sources that should be thermodynamically considered correspond to radiation coming from the sun, the latent heat on the transition between ice and liquid water, the other latent heat on the transition between liquid water and water vapor, etc. The use of the time-dependent Navier–Stokes equations and a model planet divided into three-dimensional grids constructing multi layers allows a climate model to be established as a method for mathematically and numerically estimating the global circulation. The climate model can quantitatively simulate the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. Computations of the climate model allow values of pressure, values of temperature, pressure gradient forces, winds, heat transfer, infrared radiation, relative humidity, and surface hydrology to be evaluated within each grid . The climate model is capable of reproducing the general features of the observed global temperature over the past century [17,18].
An atmospheric general-circulation-model (GCM) based on the above procedure can realistically depict monthly and seasonal patterns of atmospheric processes involving atmospheric chemistry in the troposphere. An oceanic GCM based on the above procedure can realistically depict monthly and seasonal patterns of oceanic processes. A coupling of an atmospheric GCM and an oceanic GCM allows a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) to be formed. Various AOGCMs formed by such couplings are helping to understand the behavior of the climate system and to predict future temperature changes and the dependence of climate change on the atmospheric concentration of CO2 .
Warming globally is discerned from various signs. These signs are exemplified by loss of biodiversity , changes in habitable zones for biological species , a geological change in the distribution of areas covered by ice, and regional changes in agricultural productivity. The signs are exemplified also by the occurrence of extreme weather events that have a tendency to increase their frequencies and their severities . The tendency to increase the frequencies and the severities agrees with the behavior of model climate systems that correlates with a rise in the atmospheric temperature .
Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases raises the possibility that raising globally atmospheric temperatures changes the global climate system. The IPCC recommends avoiding serious climate change that is shown as predictions of future climate based on various scenarios . According to IPCC, predictions due to several climate models show that the temperature change to 2100 is estimated between 2 and 4.5 °C as the mean global response to an idealized scenario (A2 scenario) in which CO2 is increased at 1% per year . Such temperature change depends on scenarios that describe rates of increases in CO2 emissions . In a scenario (B1 scenario) where global emissions start to decrease by 2010 and then decline at a sustained rate of 3% per year, a predicted increase in the global average temperature is 1.7 °C above pre-industrial levels by 2050, and is around 2 °C by 2100 . In a future where any efforts to reduce global emissions continue to not be made, a predicted increase in the global average temperature is between 5 °C and 6 °C by 2100 .
Certainly, there are climate prediction uncertainties depending on various unknown factors . Clouds reflect sunlight back into space, and also allow infrared radiation emitted from the planetary surface to go back to the surface . The complicated contributions of clouds are not perfectly parameterized for calculating. More precise climate predictions must be accomplished by replying both a specific necessity of more realistically applying chemistry and physics to the models and another specific necessity of more physically consistent coupling between atmosphere and ocean models. Dramatically biological and geological changes in marine systems must be triggered when the strength of the greenhouse effect reaches the threshold. This nonlinear phenomenon is not easy for being more precisely predicted. In addition, the climate prediction uncertainties come even from the fact that several factors making climate change more serious are not considered. Future scenarios do not include specific events, such as volcanic eruptions, the cooperation of strengthened solar activities with the greenhouse effect, the vaporization of methane from methane-hydrate, and so on.
The possibility that a situation where several events or phenomena cooperate with each other strengthens the greenhouse effect is unknown, but it cannot be ignored. Solar sunspot maximum occurs when the magnetic field of the sun collapses, and the maximum reverses as part of its average 11 year solar cycle. The possibility that the solar sunspot maximum cooperates with other events rises in an approximately 11 year cycle. The possibility that future technology, future breakthroughs, characteristics of future industrial systems linked with breakthroughs, and characteristics of future economical systems linked with technological conditions contribute positively cannot be denied, but it remains unknown. Certainly, an international will to aid the continuation of the technological civilization is clear. Therefore, model simulations of climate should continue to be improved to know about the future meaning of our current behavior and to prepare any actions if they are necessary.
Even if uncertainties included in scientific predictions encourages an effect of anthropogenic emissions of CO2 to global warming to be denied strongly, the sharp acceleration that has occurred in CO2 emissions since 2000 results in the increase rate of more than 2 ppm per year. This suggests that the mind is strongly concentrated on an interest in examining the stability of the equilibrium, i.e., in examining to what degree the equilibrium remains resistant to increasing emissions of CO2. The mind must allow the equilibrium state of the planetary environment to firmly shift by continually increasing emissions of a greenhouse gas CO2.
If the mind is strongly focused on an interest in attempt to continue to examine the stability, the existence of various factors that can cooperate in steeply making the equilibrium collapse at the threshold should always be considered on a basis of scientific warning. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. are not phenomena that gradually evolve, and they are nonlinear phenomena that suddenly occur when states inhibiting them from occurring reach their thresholds. In general, a specific phenomenon that proceeds with involving many elements cooperating with each other remains unclear before the degree of cooperative effects reaches the threshold, but the phenomenon can suddenly appear at the threshold.
Daily experiences must continue to allow the mind to remain confident of denying nonlinear phenomena that nonlinear responses caused by cooperative effects make occur. Hence, if science does not enable cerebral activity to become free from the recognitions coming from daily experiences, and does not help us to become independent of subjective images, then, scientific understanding will become of no value. Unless science contributes to awareness for helping to continually enjoy the civilization, the meaning of efforts to continue to make scientific consequences more precise will be unclear. Unless predictions based on scientific activities have potentialities for helping ways of recognizing to be developed or potentialities for helping ways of thinking to change for going toward images being the nearest to realities of the environment surrounding everyone, scientific investigations and researches do not keep value for helping the continuation of the civilization.
Technology always helps to strengthen desires to give technological realities to images being born from the consciousness formed through daily experiences. Science should always continue to make efforts to reveal unknown realities independent of images being born from the consciousness dependent on daily experiences. A viewpoint exemplified by the above that contrasts science with technology must offer potential for preserving agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and the equilibrium reached on the planet. The use of technology to which advanced scientific consequences are applied can sometimes require everyone to ask seriously whether ways of thinking should be reasonably changed or not. Efforts to continue to allow of generating an acceptable situation where the civilization can be continually enjoyed becomes more important than an expectation of the civilization that will be continually simply. Science must execute its responsibility for the necessity of revealing unknown realities corresponding to specific images that do not belong to the psychological territory of consciousness crystallized by daily experiences.
Fortunately, while enjoying pleasant moments, the brain consisting of over 100 billion neurons is capable of making cerebral activity independent of enjoying them. Understanding both the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change and its potential impacts is deepened, accompanying adaptation and mitigation . Accessing the current understanding of these subjects is available for everyone through reports supporting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The reports are produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is a scientific intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations. Delegates from the governments of more than 120 countries participate in IPCC activities, and thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis to writing and reviewing reports. These facts allow everyone to have confidence in a way of continuing to enjoy the civilization with allowing of preserving the equality between the current generations and far future generations. While caring about consciousness born in the brain, the brain is capable of making cerebral activity become independent of the consciousness. Even assuming that an optimistically and hopefully economic future dependent on advanced technology is strongly expected, potentialities for carefully avoiding allowing the equilibrium reached in the planetary ecological system to collapse are raised by an international will.
Editor’s Note: This concludes Part III of this four-part paper.
Parts IV will be featured in the following issue of this Journal. - JP
The author wishes to think Dr. J. L. Bernhart for having valuable discussions about roles of science and giving valuable suggestions on the manuscript, and Dr. A. Kharrazi for having valuable discussions about climate change and sustainability.
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About the Author:
Tetsuo Kaneko is a Member of the Board of Governors of the Institute for Positive Global Solutions and the BWW Society. Born on November 3, 1953, in Chiba-ken, Japan, he studied physics and chemistry at Chuo University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He pursued postgraduate work at the same university, and received a Master’s degree in 1984 for his study on the force acting upon an ion in an ion-channel.
Mr. Kaneko began his professional career as an Assistant for experiments being conducted at Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute from 1978 to 1980. He then went on to become a Radiation Protection Supervisor for Koto Microbe Laboratory from 1980 to 1982, a Staff Member for Technical Surveys of Japan at NUS Co. Ltd. from 1985 to 1987, and an Assistant for Environmental Measure performed by Tokyo Food Sanitation Association from 1987 to 1993. Mr. Kaneko also served as an Assistant for experiments at Seikei University from 1990 to 1993, a part-time Lecturer at Medic Bio College from 1994 to 1995, a Technical Assistant for IAI Corporation from 1995 to 1997, a PC Operator for DIS System Trading Co. Ltd. from 1997 to 2000, and a Technical Advisor to Kurakenchikuzoukeisha Co. Ltd. since 2000.
Since 1996 Mr. Kaneko’s main interest has consisted of studying percolation in fluids, focusing his attention on density fluctuations, which are induced as both dense and rare regions of particles by attractive forces reacting between particles in fluids. This concept stems from how the generation of a developed non-uniform distribution of particles in a fluid can cause anomalies in properties such as viscosities, electrical and optical properties of metal fluids, electrical conductivities due to charged particles, the thermodynamics, and so on. For his own percolation estimates, each dense region has been regarded as a physical cluster composed of particles constituting each bound pair satisfying a criterion expressed as “what the sum of the relative kinetic energy and pair potential requires to be negative”. In 1998, Mr. Kaneko was successful in demonstrating that such a physical cluster formed by an attractive force, with the effective range being long enough, has a developed fractal structure with the dimension 1.5. Each percolation phenomenon, due to the growth of dense regions to the infinite size, was estimated analytically using a Yukawa-type potential(s). The results of the percolation estimates were published for single-component Yukawa fluids in 1998, Coulomb fluids in 1999, and multi-component fluid mixtures in 2001.
Aside from his vocational duties, Mr. Kaneko holds memberships in a variety of organizations. He is a Life Member of the American Physical Society, and a Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Chemical Society of Japan, New York Academy of Sciences, and the Physical Society of Japan. His favorite leisure-time activities include watching soccer games, making wood furniture, and mountain climbing.
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