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July 10, 2008

Cause of Global Warming? Reduced Pollution

Take all that smoke and pollution out of the air and more sunlight reaches the earth.

Since 1980, average air temperatures in Europe have risen 1 C: much more than expected from greenhouse-gas warming alone. Christian Ruckstuhl of the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland and colleagues took aerosol concentrations from six locations in northern Europe, measured between 1986 and 2005, and compared them with solar-radiation measurements over the same period. Aerosol concentrations dropped by up to 60 per cent over the 29-year period, while solar radiation rose by around 1 watt per square metre (Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034228). "The decrease in aerosols probably accounts for at least half of the warming over Europe in the last 30 years," says Rolf Philipona, a co-author of the study at MeteoSwiss, Switzerland's national weather service.

At least half, note.

So... we need to start running sooty factories again?

When you have the time, this long article demolishes claims of man-made global warming pretty thoroughly. This is pretty interesting:

[C]arbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation (IR) in only three narrow bands of frequencies, which correspond to wavelengths of 2.7, 4.3 and 15 micrometers (m), respectively. The percentage absorption of all three lines combined can be very generously estimated at about 8% of the whole IR spectrum, which means that 92% of the "heat" passes right through without being absorbed by CO2. In reality, the two smaller peaks don't account for much, since they lie in an energy range that is much smaller than the where the 15 micron peak sits - so 4% or 5% might be closer to reality. If the entire atmosphere were composed of nothing but CO2, i.e., was pure CO2 and nothing else, it would still only be able to absorb no more than 8% of the heat radiating from the earth.


...


We've decided to be exceptionally generous to all concerned in the debate and look at the worst-case scenario, where we'll say that all of the available heat in the CO2 absorption spectrum is actually captured. We know that man is responsible for about 3 % of it, so with the simplest of math, we have .03 x .08 = .0024. And remember that 8% figure was actually larger than reality, since the two side peaks don't have much energy to capture.

This is also interesting, explaining why it is that while increasing CO2 and increasing warmth are linked in the historical record, it's actually the increased warmth that comes first, then the increase in CO2:

CO2 is by far the heaviest of the major constituents, and the law of gravity applies to it as well. It sinks to the ground.. in fact, into the ground, and into the oceans, as well, because CO2 is very water-soluble and that's what puts the fizz in Ginger Ale.

This doesn't happen overnight. In fact, the winds and convection currents and such keep the air stirred up constantly, so it may take 100-150 years for the CO2 you are exhaling right now to make it back into mother earth, where most of it is currently locked up.

Now our puzzle is complete, and we can visualize the whole thing.

1. The sun heats the earth, repository of most of the CO2 on the planet.

2. Some stored CO2 comes out by a process known as outgassing ( from the soil ) and the champagne effect ( from the oceans ). The oceans are by far the largest source.

3. Sloppy "scientists" see the warming, and the CO2, but overlook the changes in the sun, don't see the fine differences in timing... and proceed to blame the increasing temperature on CO2 and mankind as the culprit in a classic knee-jerk reaction.

Thanks to CADaddy and cismar.


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posted by Ace at 12:47 PM

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