Posted by Doreen Higgins on Jul 02, 2019
We welcomed Michael Walters to our meeting this week. Michael is a professional actuary, a Fellow and Past President of the Casualty Actuarial Society. He is a graduate in mathematics with a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.
Michael showed us charts of world global temperatures and fluctuations over the past 4000 years. Data for the centuries before thermometers were invented were derived from such natural sources as tree rings, coral reefs and ice bores. Global warming has been seen many times – also global freezing – long before the current generation fell in love with SUVs and developed a corresponding feeling of guilt. There were warm periods in the years 1000 - 1300 and cold ones in the centuries 1400, 1500, 1600, and 1700. Farming took place in Greenland in medieval times, the Baltic Sea froze in the 1600s and in England the River Thames froze several times in the nineteenth century, ending in 1850. In other words, there have been periods of global freezing and global warming long before any of us came into existence. Michael also pointed out that:
  • Man-made CO2 is 1 part per 10,000 in the atmosphere
  • Temperature rise precedes CO2 rise
  • Warm oceans release more CO2
He asked, what of the general belief that there is more hurricane activity as a result of global warming in recent years? Not true, he said. The hurricane landfall data (from NOAA) shows that, over the past 50 years, frequency of hurricane landfall in the US is down 18% and severe storms (3, 4, & 5) are down 15%. So what’s causing the current warming trend? Michael believes the answer, at least in part, may lie in two phenomena. The first is the differential position of the earth in relation to the sun over the centuries. Glacial and interglacial periods over the last two million years have seen cyclical changes in the earth’s navigation of the sun, causing temperature variations. The second involves the changing influence of Jupiter and Saturn in terms of their gravitational pull; this may also be a part of the differential temperature phenomenon. Michael warned us of the current doomsayers on global warming, not the least because the obligation to take some action may result in unnecessary laws, restrictions, expense, and last and perhaps worst, higher taxes.