The Global Warming Myth
The Cap & Trade Rip Off
The Earth both receives, absorbs, and emits energy. The equation of balance is –
Energy in, minus energy out, minus energy absorbed, is equal to the change in energy required to effect temperature changes.
which in symbolic form we might write as follows:
DET = Ein - Eout - Eabsorbed
The change in energy, DET, would be what was left over to effect temperature – a net gain in energy would be required for a net increase in temperature, while a net loss in energy would result in a net drop in temperature.
The above is a simple equation, but enormously difficult to quantify for the Earth, for many reasons.
External Energy Sources
The Earth receives energy from space, primarily from the sun, but also in the form of heating from space dust and small meteors striking and disintegrating in the Earth’s atmosphere. Occasional large meteors and comets striking the Earth cause severe spikes in the Earth’s surface temperature – both temporarily heating it by heating the atmosphere, and later cooling it from airborne debris blocking sunlight.
We do not have a precise, quantifiable handle on the amount of energy the Earth receives from the sun, much of which is not in the visible light spectrum. In addition, irregular solar eruptions send enormous amounts of energy and matter towards Earth, much of which is deflected by Earth’s magnetic shield. We know that it occurs, but we cannot precisely quantify how much of that reaches the surface of the Earth.
We know that the energy of a fast moving meteorite or comet is converted to heat when it strikes the Earth’s atmosphere, but we do not have a good estimate of just how much energy is created. A rough estimate is that perhaps tons of small particle bombard the Earth almost continuously. The heat from those impacts occur relatively high in the atmosphere, which could dissipate into space without materially affecting the Earth’s surface temperature. We simply do not yet have a way to measure the energy created by impacting bodies from space.
The Earth also has internal heat which moves from the Earth’s core to land surfaces by way of volcanoes, and into the oceans by way of thermal vents. Occasional massive volcanic eruptions can also cause spikes in the Earth’s surface temperature, similar to large meteor or comet strikes – both heating the ground and the air, and often later cooling it from airborne debris ejected into the Earth’s atmosphere blocking sunlight.
We do not know what mechanism causes the heat of the Earth’s core – whether it is just residual heat left over from the Earth’s formation. Or, whether there is some empathetic resonance between the Earth and the sun that agitates the core. We do not have a good estimate on how much of the Earth’s internal heat leaks up to the surface.
Much of the sun’s energy reaching the Earth is reflected away from the Earth. The Earth’s surface is curved, and, generally, the higher the latitude, the greater the angle the Earth’s surface presents to the sunlight stream – and the greater that angle, the more the sunlight is reflected away. This results in the equatorial regions receiving significantly more energy from the sun than do the polar regions – the equatorial region receiving nearly 100%, and the polar regions receiving nearly o%. This disparity in sunlight causes the hot temperatures of the tropics, and the frozen ice caps at the poles. Reflection, however is complicated by the presence of water vapor and other high-altitude gases, such as ozone. While we can make an educated guess on reflected energy, based on the angle of incidence of the Earth’s surface, we do not have a precise measure of the amount of energy reflected from the Earth.
In addition to reflected sunlight, the Earth also loses energy by radiating it outward into space. We know that it occurs, but we do not have a good measure as to how much energy leaves the Earth as it is wafted into space. Much of that lost energy would be in the infra-red range of the light spectrum – beyond our visual range. If we had the right sensors, from a celestial vantage point, we could probably view the Earth’s heat loss much like the aurora and tail of a comet as the Earth moves through space around the sun.
Air, Land & Ocean
The sun’s energy largely passes through dry air without heating it significantly. But dry air has hydroscopic properties – it tends to absorb available moisture, up to its saturation point. The energy in sunlight is captured by the atmospheric moisture – primarily in cloud formations, but also in humid air. Energy that isn’t intercepted by atmospheric moisture is partially captured by the oceans, and on dry land, by the ground.
In the ocean, the sun’s energy is captured by water absorbing most of the energy, causing the water to warm only slightly – because water has a very high heat absorbing capacity. . Temperature variations in the ocean – from pole to equator to pole, and from surface to depth, cause complex ocean currents to form which transfer the heat energy to the ocean depths and redistributes the heat around the oceans. This redistribution of heat (and moisture) cause weather patterns to form on the ocean surfaces, and on adjacent land masses.
On the ground, sunlight falling on the bare Earth causes the ground to warm. The warming ground, which has a low capacity to absorb heat, rises significantly in temperature, causing the air adjacent to the ground to warm.
When water has absorbed enough heat energy, it will change states to a water vapor. This change of state, from liquid to gas, absorbs even more heat, keeping water temperatures from rising very high.
In contrast to the oceans, dry land warms significantly more than do the oceans. Thus, all other factors constant, we will see much more moderate changes in ocean temperatures, over both short and long cycles, in comparison to much higher temperature swings on dry land. In the daytime, land masses heat up rapidly compared to oceans, causing the warned air over land to rise, and pulling in cooler ocean air – creating the on-shore breeze at beaches. Conversely, at night, the dry land masses cool off faster than do the oceans, creating cooler air, which falls toward the ground, creating off-shore breezes on the beach. We do not have a good handle on the amount of heat that cycles in and out of the land masses and the ocean.
Sunlight is absorbed by phytoplankton and other plant life forms which use sunlight directly. When ocean’s phyto-life forms absorb sunlight, their temperatures tend to remain within a narrow band. This phyto-life feeds a chain of higher life forms, combining into a massive bio-mass – the only known bio-mass in the solar system..
Plant growth on the ground intercepting sunlight converts much of the suns light to plant bio-mass, which in-turn is consumed by animal bio-mass. Living plant bio-mass plays a significant role in stabilizing surface temperatures over land masses – where plant bio-mass have access to water, which they can use for transpiration. The transpiration converts liquid water to water vapor. The change of state, from liquid to gas, absorbs heat energy, resulting in a cooling effect around the plant bio-mass. It is not known whether there is a similar effect for ocean plant life. There appears to be a correlation between Earth temperature and bio-mass – as temperature rises, biomass tends to rise. And when Earth temperatures cool, biomass tends to decrease. However , there are similar correlations between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and biomass – as carbon dioxide levels rise, bio-mass rises.
We do not have a good handle on the relationship of energy conversion to bio-mass, except that it is significant. We also do not have a good handle on tipping points – that is, when does warming and/or carbon-dioxide levels becoming so great that bio-mass decreases (such as in a desert.) However, deserts don’t just occur in warm places, such as the Rub Al Khali, or the Sahara. They also occur in high, dry places, such as the Gobi desert, high mountain elevations, and polar regions.
The Circle Of Life
Much of the Earth’s bio-life, and bio-life by-products, recycle on the Earth’s surface – from one life form to another. But a residual portion of the bio-mass becomes trapped at the bottom of lakes and oceans and accumulates. Geologic activity might bury this stored biomass and convert it to other forms, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, where it might lie undisturbed for eons. There is even some evidence that some of these deeper nether-regions harbor living bio-mass. Other residual bio-mass is easily accessed, such as bat guano in caves.
Humans have for millenniums searched out and mined these naturally occurring materials and energy sources, bringing them to the Earth’s surface, and re-introducing many components back into the biosphere. Much of the to-do about global warming concerns this naturally occurring residual bio-mass – coal, oil and natural gas, and in particular, the components of combustion that result from burning these natural residuals.
The over-simplistic, so-called “common sense” conclusion jumped on by the “The Earth is Warming” crowd, is that the mere act of burning naturally stored bio-mass residuals (coal, oil and natural gas) is tantamount to adding energy to the planet, and therefore must be raising its temperature. This group, which, unfortunately includes many credentialed scientists, is in ardent pursuit of any indicators of rising temperatures. The result of this search for evidence to support their pre-conceived conclusion is that any isolated indicator of higher than normal temperatures is mistakenly taken as conclusive proof that the Earth is warming.
What is overlooked by the “Earth is warming” crowd is the ability and proclivity of the existing bio-mass to reabsorb this energy. Biomass has the property that energy input is converted to biomass growth – instead of a temperature increase. This is a unique property of the bio-mass. We do not know what the capacity of the bio-mass is to absorb added energy. We do know that bio-mass needs a continual stream of energy input. If that stream is ever cut off, the bio-mass will shut down. We also know that too much energy input can also destroy bio-mass.
It used to be thought that the biomass was very sensitive to fluctuations in energy levels and environmental changes. We know now that the bio-mass is fairly robust. What changes in the biomass as the environment fluctuates and changes are the types and forms of components of the bio-mass. For example, where once dinosaurs roamed and dominated, mammals now roam and dominate – because the environment has significantly changed. This is also the likely future of the bio-mass – changes in the types and form of the bio-mass components.
The question before the community of real scientists is how does this all affect humans? The answer at present is that we do not know – we do not have sufficient data, and we do not have adequate models to determine that – yet. But we should devote resources to investigate the interrelationship of the bio-mass, energy level inputs, and environmental temperatures.
MEASURING THE EARTH’S TEMPERATURE
Surface temperature variations
When sunlight hits solid ground, it warms the ground very significantly, which in turn heats the surrounding air. However, when sunlight hits the water in oceans and lakes, the water only warms slightly, and the air even less – most of the energy being absorbed by the water. And when sunlight hits biomass, it tends to be absorbed by the biomass, especially plant biomass, with the air temperature actually cooling slightly due to transpiration (liquid water changing state to water vapor).
We can notice the cooling effect of the biomass on land when we walk or ride a bicycle from a city street into a wooded area. It isn’t just the shade of the trees – it is the transpiration of the plant mass which cools the surrounding air. When, on a summer day, we go from an inland location to a boat on a lake, river, or ocean, we most likely will notice the air temperature over the water is significantly cooler than on land.
Unfortunately, our temperature measurements are predominantly located in built-up, populated areas, where temperatures tend to be higher, and insufficiently represented in rural and unpopulated areas, where temperatures tend to be lower.
Weighting Surface Areas
When we attempt to measure the Earth's average surface temperature, there is far more surface areas in unpopulated areas then there are populated areas. This causes temperature gauging to be non-uniformly distributed around the surface of the Earth. It would be erroneous to simply add up all the temperatures, average them, and call that the Earth's average temperature. To achieve a legitimate average surface temperature for the Earth, we must weight temperature measurements by the different surface areas the individual gauges represent. This is presently not being done.
Heat island Effect
“Heat island” is the term given man-made structures such as cityscapes, streets, roads, airports, parking lots, shopping centers, and other expansive structures that are devoid of bio-mass, especially the absence of trees. Trees have large transpiration rates- and thus notable cooling effect. Their removal allows barren surfaces to heat up significantly higher than surrounding wooded or grassy areas.
But what about man-made structures in dry, desert areas – do they have an extra heat island effect? The answer is, predictably, no, they may have the opposite effect – tending to cool the cityscape. Humans building in dry desert areas tend to bring in water, either from wells, ditches, or pipelines, to serve the human population, including the many transpiring trees and plants introduced by humans. In addition, evaporative cooling on the houses adds to the overall cooling effect of cityscapes in desert areas.
There are important ramifications that cities have on historical temperature comparisons. Cities tend to grow larger over time. More temperature gauges are installed in cities as they grow larger. And, most significantly, the “heat island” effect intensifies as the barren surfaces expand in area. So, it is not appropriate to compare the temperature of a city today, to a city that was notably smaller 100 years ago, or even 50, or25 years ago if a significant increase in paved area or population has occurred.
Gauging the Earth
When the Earth’s “temperature” is being measured, it is only the air temperature near the ground surface that is taken into account. Over oceans, it is only the surface temperature that is used. While we also take soundings at both altitude and depth, they are rather sparse, and infrequent. In addition, air masses move over the ground and water surfaces, exchanging heat energy. Both atmosphere and oceans have currents which move through air and water masses exchanging heat energy at latitude as well as depth and altitude. It is not adequate to just measure surface temperatures. We must also measure temperature at depth and at altitude.
These dynamic movement of heat energy require that we must take our temperature readings simultaneously, if they are to have any significance in assessing the Earth’s “temperature.” Moreover, that would include simultaneous readings at altitude and depth. We do not presently measure simultaneous temperatures over the Earth.
Most densely gauged are areas of dense human population. Less densely gauged are harsh climates such as deserts and mountains. And nearly missing are large expanses of oceans, deserts and mountains, both on the surface and at depth and altitude. We do not have adequate gauges on a large portion of the earth, and next to nothing on internal measurements.
When we measure the internal temperatures of the Earth’s mantle, oceans and atmosphere, we also need their corresponding densities, heat capacities, and, in the case wherever water exists in any form, we need to know its volume, density, and in the case of air, the relative humidity, so we can determine the total heat content. Without this information, we have no way at present to determine the exact heat content of the Earth, and how it is exchanged between atmosphere, earth, ocean, and bio-mass.
And without all the above, we cannot arrive at a conclusion that the Earth is warming or cooling.
THE POLITICS OF GLOBAL WARMING CLAIMS
There are ulterior motives by leaders of the alarmists who constantly spout warnings of global warming disasters. Al Gore and others have positioned themselves to profit enormously by the so-called “Cap and Trade” legislation that is being promoted in the US and already enacted in the European Union.
There are also reasons why socialist and communist-leaning political figures, such as Barack Obama, support these global warming alarm-isms because they offer an indirect mechanism for redistributing global wealth – from the richer nations to the poorer nations.
This “cap and trade” energy management scheme requires industries and governments that burn fossil fuels beyond an artificially imposed limit to buy “carbon credits” from industries and nations who use less than their artificially imposed limit. These “carbon credits” will be issued and traded by a select group of organizations that will buy and sell the credits to nations and industries – exacting a commission for each trade and credit.
The potential for profiting from “cap and trade” is enormous. But the benefit of actually lowering carbon emissions is highly questionable, as corporations required to pay for carbon credits are just likely to pass the cost on to consumers..
We know that the Earth has undergone warming and cooling cycles in the past – before humans existed. We do not have sufficient gauging on the Earth to conclusively measure the Earth’s average temperature. And as a consequence, we cannot say, using temperature alone, whether the Earth is currently warming or cooling.
If the earth is warming or cooling, we cannot say it is the fault of burning fossil fuels, because: there are natural causes for warming and cooling, and we only poorly understand those mechanism at best. We also know that the Earth’s bio-mass has the capability to absorb considerable additional heat energy; but we do not know its ultimate capacity or the tipping points that may effect the processes.
What we do know is that the proposed solution of “Cap and Trade” for carbon credits will be very lucrative for those positioned to trade in carbon credits, and that "carbon credits" is a means of wealth distribution favored by leftist political organizations. But we do not know that such carbon credit trade will have any effect on man-made carbon emissions, or any relation to global warming.
I am all for measuring the Earth's temperature, and calculating an average of it. But it must be done in a proper and methodical way, adequately addressing the current deficiencies set forth above, including expanding the gauging on the surface and at depth and altitude, simultaneous measurements, and temperature readings weighted by area (and volume).
The politics of global warming must be removed from the science of measuring and predicting temperatures. Individuals involved in the science of temperature must hold no preconceived attitude or belief in "global warming," or "carbon credits," as an agenda or pre-conceived "solution."
©2009-2012 Simon R Mouer III, PhD,
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