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02/29/2012

Part II of the chat with Dr. Robert Ballard; says both sides of global warming are right

6a00e54f7fc4c58833016763124b83970b-300wiDr. Robert Ballard is the Indiana Jones of oceanography. Dr. Ballard is scheduled to be the next speaker at the Maverick Speakers Series at Texas-Arlington. He will lecture at 7:30 p.m. on March 6 at Texas Hall on the UTA campus. Tickets are available.

Dr. Ballard is known for discovering Titantic long before James Cameron made Kate and Leo uber famous. I was a middle schooler when Ballard found the wreck, and the subsequent National Geographic issue and documentary narrated by Martin Sheen captivated my flea-like attention span ever since.

This lengthy interview with Dr. Ballard is a three-parter. 

Click here for Part I of the interview.

Here is Part II:

High_seas_600The Big Mac Blog: Is the water in the ocean getting "larger" so to speak?
Dr. Robert Ballard: Not a lot. You can do those numbers but you don't get much. If you look more into the history of the earth before there were human beings, during the crustacean period for example, there was less land. What we are finding under the ocean is a tremendous mountain range called the Mid Ocean Ridge. Largest feature on earth. Covers 23 percent of your planet. It's hot rock. It's not like the Rocky Mountains. It's recently released ocean crust that is swollen with heat energy. The rate of which it's being created varies by the speed of the plates. The faster the plates move the faster the heat comes up from the earth and the more it swells.
During the crutasean period there was more spreading going on which causes the ocean basin to swell but not the water. If you have a bath tub and you fill it up to the brim and then put in a bunch of rocks, what happens?  

The Big Mac Blog: Spills over.
Dr. Robert Ballard: Correct. That's what we are talking about. We're not talking about the water swelling we're talking about the bathtub swelling and pushing the water out. That's what we are seeing.

Globwarm_ttl
The Big Mac Blog: Then are you believer in global warming?

Dr. Robert Ballard: Yeah. But what do you mean about that? It's been doing that for billions of years. The point is are we on a warming cycle? Yep. What's causing it? You have two camps, and they are both right. There is a natural warming and a human induced warming. Who is causing it the most? That's where the argument set in.
The first casualty of war is the truth. The truth is they are both right. Unfortunately you polarize it instead of trying to reach the center where we find the truth.
Yeah, I believe in global warming and I believe both arguments are correct. It's a question of percentages - how much is natural, and how much is human induced.
You have things going on right now that accelerate it. If humans went away tomorrow, would global warming decrease? No. It's in the system. ...

Right now the permafrost is melting. The whole top Canada and Eurasia is thawing out and releasing warm methane. The cat is out of the bag. The earth is going to heat up and going to continue to heat up. The earth is responding now. A lot of people think of the Earth as this passive victim to human behavior. The earth will be here long after humans are long gone, but we don't want on our tombstone that we came and went but we were politically correct. The earth is reacting right now and honestly we don't know how it's going to react because we don't have a past history of earth reacting to human beings. So what is it going to do and how is it going to respond? Is it going to dream up some microbe that actively eliminates us? I think the Earth is an active player in this game and not just this poor victim. I'm not worried about the earth, I'm worried about survivabilty of the human race.

I am more concerned about empowering women. Because that is the only way the human is going to survive. 

Carbon-footprint-greenThe Big Mac Blog: Explain that.
Dr. Robert Ballard: What is the average age of a mother on earth right now? Teenagers, OK? What happens if you empower women? There is a lot of data on it and they stop having babies when they are teens. And the population collapses. And you are not a grand parent when you are a 30, or a great grandparent when you are 45. And you're not a great, great grandparent when you are 60. So this whole issue is really collapsing our footprint. There are different ways of collapsing our footprint; one is by not having as many people. The second is to be more conscientious about the use of energy to create a carbon footprint. 

 

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