Friday, June 18, 2010

Climate Change Jesuits

Anyone who wants to know what science has to say about global warming (and the legitimate areas for uncertainties) should read James Hansen’s  2009 magisterial book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. Hansen carefully documents why human green house gas is the culprit “forcing” climate change and , then, discusses, with great care, some remaining uncertainties about possible feed-backs  mechanisms which lead scientists to debate, somewhat, about timing, the amount of possible increases of greenhouse gas which can be absorbed , etc.
Link (here) to the full post, Merchants of Doubt  at America's blog in In All Things by Fr. John Coleman, S.J. 

Other Jesuits on climate change.

Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli speculated that fluctuations in the number of sunspots might be to blame, for he had noticed they were absent. Looking back through sunspot records reveals many periods when the Sun's activity was high and low and in general they are related to warm and cool climatic periods. As well as the Little Ice Age, there was the weak Sun and the cold Iron Age, the active sun and the warm Bronze Age. 
Link (here)

Fr. Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S.J. spent his early years in France. Born in Plaisians, France, on January 21, 1850, he attended public schools in Plaisians and the Jesuit Colleges at Avignon, France and Turin, Italy. In 1871, he joined the Society of Jesus in Monaco, and later became a member of the Turin Province of the Society of Jesus. In 1873, Jerome came to America and studied philosophy at Santa Clara College in California for several years. He was ordained in 1886, and completed his Jesuit training at Florissant, Missouri, in 1891. Then he returned to Santa Clara to teach ethics, mathematics, political economy, and history. About 1890, Father Ricard enrolled in a summer astronomy course at Creighton University and discovered that he had a passion for sunspots. In 1900, he began a systematic study of sunspots with an 8-inch telescope mounted in the Mission Gardens. The American Association for the Advancement of Science elected him a member in 1907. By then he had perfected his controversial theory, the ideal that sunspot activity affects the weather on earth.
Link (here) 

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