I have been an observer of the struggle of experts to convince politicians and the general public that the Global Warming Climate Issue is urgent ever since Dr. James Hanson’s testimony before Congress in 1988. One reason why it’s so hard to make a convincing argument is because carbon dioxide is a faceless, odorless, colorless gas that is slowly increasing in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels. It’s hard for many people to think of part of the “air” we breathe as destructive to the habitat that the human race depends on for civilization to continue. Day to day weather, particularly after the turn of this century, is being affected, but there are still enough cold events as of 2017 to sway even the most intelligent people towards the argument that climate change is either not occurring or is not a very big deal. What if a “face of evil” could be put on carbon much like there have been faces of evil throughout human history. “Carbo”, or that face of evil, is my fictional, twisted character that persuades “humans” that global warming is not a problem so that he can “release his trapped friends”. As is so often the case with “human villains”, Carbo did not intend harm but just wanted to attain a certain goal, which was only to release his fellow trapped carbon molecules. Carbo gets more evil and stronger with time. I have written that Carbo, “the malevolent molecule”, has much in common with those who are delaying any adaption and mitigation efforts to thwart climate change. These stories chronicle some of the major climate and weather related events in the history of climate change from the Industrial Revolution to the present time. In my alternative universe it’s very easy for inanimate objects to come to life in amusing and sometimes frightening ways. The stories/books get deeper and darker as Thermo and my fictional “face of evil”, Carbo matures, and the global warming problem gets worse. After the fictional part of each story I present a relatively short, educational post documenting what happened or is happening in the “real world”. I have presented climatologists and meteorologists as heroes, particularly those who I have personally known in my thirty plus year career at The Weather Channel. I hope everyone enjoys the stories and will be a little more enlightened after each chapter.
Artwork is by my friend, Alyssa Josue.
Book One: World Of Thermo: An Unfortunate Release
Story 1. Thermo Becomes Dynamic
Since 1958 Dr. Emanuel Carson had been collecting carbon dioxide samples near the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. His findings indicated that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was slowly rising due to industrialization…mainly from coal and oil being used and burned across the globe. By 1961 Dr. Carson knew there may be an eventual problem due to man-made emissions of carbon. Carson was becoming a little bored with just taking carbon samples wondering if he could make an instrument that would measure the Earth’s temperature and report back to him some important findings.
Secretly at the base of Mauna Loa in an undiscovered and camouflaged cave the ever resourceful and talented Dr. Carson played the part of Dr. Frankenstein, although in a good way. He placed a rather large thermometer and other meteorological instruments on a two by four plastic, non-flammable board, added what was then relatively new technology…four miniature jet engines… and then using bolts of electricity brought the thing to life. Walla. Thermo the Flying Thermometer was born. Carson was very pleased when he saw Thermo spring to life. Thermo was given the personality of Gumby ™, a popular cartoon of the time. Despite high praise and many public appearances, including receiving The Medal of Science, Dr. Carson kept Thermo and his Mauna Loa cave secret for his entire life except for a few discrete, select friends. During most of the mid-20th century the young Thermo was as innocent and playful as Gumby™, and very much resembled that character.
It took more than a year for Dr. Carson to program and teach Thermo basic language and motor skills in his laboratory. Carson had a devil of a time teaching the baby Thermo how to fly once he felt comfortable that the two by four thermometer was safe to cart out of the secret cave with the aid of his trusty butler, Joshua. Once Thermo was in the air it was a delight to see the little machine do cartwheels flying over Mauna Loa and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands.
Eventually, Dr. Carson wanted Thermo to fly high in the atmosphere gathering valuable temperature data on a mini computer, also unknown to the world an invention of the good doctor. He wanted Thermo to explore the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the tropics, and report on how glaciers were doing as levels of CO2 creped upward. Mini cameras were Thermo’s eyes. But first, the young Themo would just be allowed to fly fancy free playing with the clouds.
In the real world Dr. Emanuel Carson was Dr. Charles David Keeling who lived in Hawaii and was the renowned climatologist who came up with the “Keeling Curve”, which showed that the levels of Carbon Dioxide are rising due to the burning of fossil fuels. Dr. Keeling’s observatory is on Mauna Loa where CO2 measurements continue to be taken long after the good doctor’s death in 2005. Of course, thermometers cannot “fly” but recently scientists have proposed that drones be built to take weather readings inside of hurricanes, tropical storms and even tornadoes.
The text and artwork are copyright Guy Walton.