Did The Solar Eclipse Cause Natural Disasters?

Merely a Coincidence or Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria Solar Eclipse Corollaries?

Though there may be a causal relationship between the recent natural disasters — two category five (5) hurricanes hitting the Southern United States in the span of a little more than a week and a historically violent earthquake in Mexico City, — but if there is, scientists have no evidence of a connection. Though there is a correlation with respect to timing, there simply isn’t any evidence that the eclipse was the catalyst of the 2017 natural disasters that followed.

Jeff Weber, an atmospheric scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, believes an eclipse will actually lessen the odds of a hurricane developing as opposed to creating one. In an interview with 9 News out of Denver, Weber explained, “”When you think of hurricanes, they like solar energy, they like to be over a hot ocean. It’s kind of counter-intuitive that taking away solar energy would create a hurricane or even make it more intense.”

For those who don’t believe a solar eclipse has bearing on terrestrial phenomenon, the fact that, “Central America [was] rocked by an earthquake just hours before the first total solar eclipse since 1918,” probably feels like more than a coincidence. The simple logic that explains away any causal relationship between the eclipse and the hurricanes that followed isn’t as conspicuous with respect to the relationship between seismic activity and eclipse.

Eerily foreshadowing the events that occurred on August 21st, ScienceNotes.org published an article titled Can a Solar Eclipse Trigger an Earthquake on July 5th. The article explained a phenomenon called “earth tides,” the rise and fall of the Earth’s crust that tracks the moon as the satellite orbits around our planet. While only a few centimeters, earth tides are measurable. While the article’s author, Anne Helmenstine, does not claim that a solar eclipse is likely to create an earthquake, she does point out that an earthquake is three times more likely to occur when the Earth’s crust is being lifted — ever so slightly — by the gravitational pull of the moon.

There is no reason to believe Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria was related to the solar eclipse. There is also no evidence to suggest the eclipse was directly related to the earthquake that devastated Mexico. But, it might be fair to suggest the moon’s gravitational triggered the earthquake.

While the earthquake in Mexico may have done so regardless of whether or not the sun, moon, and Earth were perfectly aligned, it was certainly a coincidence.

Causal Effect Between Emissions and Global Warming and between Global Warming and Recent Super-Storms

As recently as 2005, big, influential voices debated over whether or not the dramatic changes in the weather and in storm intensity which has occurred in the last 70 years are a consequence of unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution or merely a consequence of the natural order of thing, a symptom of the Earth’s shift toward another ice age.

BBC writer Harold Evans published an article in 2005 about the “worldwide consensus [among] scientists that global warming is a man-made disaster in the making.” But Michael Crichton —  the pseudo-scientist/author who wrote Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, and a large volume of other science fiction books, — had the following to say about the fact that global warming was becoming an almost universally accepted hypothesis, “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus.”

Crichton also wrote a “32-page footnote documenting his own conviction that global warming is an unscientific scare,” in his book State of Fear, a novel that plays into the notion that global warming is a conspiracy concocted by leftist radicals who want to generate fear for profit. And for Crichton’s efforts, “The well-endowed think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy, honoured Crichton with an invitation to Washington to address its members – not on the novel, but on science policy in the 21st Century.”

But, just in the last 12 years, there has been a radical shift in thinking. Even staunch conservatives are now wondering if it is mere coincidence that we are polluting our atmosphere with 29 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year and, “since the 1970s, hurricanes both in the Atlantic and Pacific have increased in intensity by about 50%.”

Belief in Global Warming Now the Norm

A number that large — 29 billion tons of carbon dioxide — is far too large to fathom. But, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere annually is less confounding when considered in relation to the CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere annually by volcanic activity. Only 645 million tons of CO2 are released into the air each year as a result of volcanic activity.

Vehicle and human-related emissions account for 98% more of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year than volcanic activity.

Numbers that staggering are making people pay attention and the rate at which people are becoming concerned is startling. According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, from between 2001 and 2014, only 32% of Americans worried a “great deal” about global warming. In a matter of two years, that percentage jumped to 45%. In 1991, less than 30% worried about global warming.
From 2001 to 2014, only 57% of Americans believed global warming is caused by human activities. Now almost 70% believe people are the cause of global warming. Likewise, only 16% of Americans do not worry about global warming, “at all.”

If the late Michael Crichton read the polling numbers, he would likely respond in the same manner he did in 2005,  “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science.” But with respect to that logic, BBC’s Harold Evans had an interesting response to the effect of: there is a consensus that the Earth is round. To argue it’s flat merely because consensus isn’t science is absurd.

Not taking measures to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere — not using the science and technology we already have to reduce emissions — is equally absurd.


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