Wed | Dec 11, 2019

A global perspective on climate change

Published:Sunday | November 24, 2019 | 12:29 AM

The title Confronting Global Climate Change: Experiments and Applications in the Tropics is an summation of research documented and as seen and presented by Professor Mark Angling Harris, a senior author of approximately 30 research articles.

Looking at global issues from a regional perspective, he does an excellent job of demystifying issues of global warming, climate change, and disaster resilience, among others, and in this way has provided Caribbean scientists with a work book of sorts, to tackle these issues from a realistic and informed platform.

One particular issue that gained attention was his look at the ‘Power of ‘New’ Water Vapour’, which presents the potentially explosive power of water in its gaseous state, hitherto considered a benign compound.

He writes: “It has been scientifically established that global heat caused by water vapour condensation powers hurricanes. Pushing hundreds of millions of tons of air at speeds of up to 300kph or more, a hurricane generates 300-400 billion KW of electrical energy per i.e., 200 times the total energy produced in the US – all powered by the condensation of the water, not CO2.”

His pronouncements on the issue of cassava cultivation and processing, which is on the increase in Jamaica, and the conditions under which these take place should also generate a lot of interest. The book quotes an extract from a 2002 study by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations as follows: “Release of sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere by a cassava processor is assumed to be safe, but no systemic study has been undertaken substantiate this assumption. Sulphur dioxide is a common air pollutant and an intermediary in the production of sulphuric acid.

“Sulphuric acid fumes and mists are severely corrosive poisons, being irritants to the skins, eyes, mucus membranes and respiratory system (the liquid form readily penetrating skin to reach subcutaneous tissue) and are largely responsible for acid rain (Manahan 1989). Industrial exposure has caused tooth decay in factory workers (Manahan 1989).”

Confronting Global Climate Change: Experiments and Applications in the Tropics does much more than document problems, it balances the equation by providing a solution, a formula to redressing the issues, in, of course, an environmentally friendly way. And therein lies the appeal of this book. It uses photographs, scientific formulae, pictograms, drawings, and tables – a wide array of illustrations – in presenting the scientific realities of climate change, as it does in also pointing the way to practical and environmentally sustainable solutions.

The book was launched on October 30 at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville and can be purchased at: