EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – APRIL 16, 2008
By Rich Trzupek
Global warming, or more properly the theory that human activity is causing global warming, died last month. It will surely take some time for the mainstream media and political types to notice the body, but we can finally say “rest in peace” with certainty. Actually, “good riddance” would be more like it.
We can thank one Dr. Roy Spencer, an award-winning atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and NASA satellites, for the evidence that put the dagger into the heart of global warming. Understanding exactly why you are now free to toss out your fluorescent light bulbs without guilt involves a bit of science, but – as always – your humble correspondent will be gentle.
You have probably heard global warming theory explained in the following way: carbon dioxide “causes global warming”, through a “greenhouse effect”. This over-simplification suggests that the more carbon dioxide man pours into the atmosphere, the hotter the planet will get, because more and more heat will be “reflected”.
Scientists (even those who support global warming theory) don’t actually believe that. For reasons that would bore you to tears, the more carbon dioxide you put in the atmosphere, the less “warming” effect it has.
The popular analogy is to imagine painting over a window. The first coat blocks out a whole lot of light, the second just a bit more, the third even less, and so on, until by the time you get to the fourth or fifth coat it really doesn’t matter anymore. We’re pretty much at that point with carbon dioxide and, except for a few goofballs, scientists on both sides of the debate have long accepted that.
So why all the panic about carbon dioxide? In order for carbon dioxide to have a substantial effect on earth’s climate, some scientist theorized that a “feedback mechanism” was at work. Under this theory, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause increased evaporation of water from the surface of the earth. This water in turn would end up in the upper atmosphere and, because water vapor is an exceptionally strong greenhouse gas, it would heat the planet up significantly.
It’s important to note that the prediction is that water vapor travels into the upper atmosphere. Because, if it doesn’t – if it ends up in the lower atmosphere – it will form clouds and be returned to the earth as rain, thus actually cooling the planet at bit.
You’re probably thinking (assuming you’re still with me) that knowing where the clouds form is kind of important. The doomsday models predict that the water ends up in the upper atmosphere, but with satellites and high tech sensors we should be able to figure out where it actually goes, right?
To quote the late, great Johnny Carson: you are correct Johnny Walker breath. And, in fact, NASA has a satellite called Aqua, with the capabilities to check it out. The returns are in, courtesy of a summary paper that Spencer released in March, and the results are…
(Drum roll please).
1) No increased high level cloud formation.
2) Increased low level cloud formation.
3) Therefore: “feedback” doesn’t exist.
So sorry Mr. Gore. No washer and dryer. No brand new car. Hope you enjoy your parting gifts and thanks for playing “Failed Divinity Students Pretend to Understand Science at Their Own Risk”. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out buddy.
Without feedback, carbon dioxide can’t play any substantial role in creating climate change. Without carbon dioxide, one can’t point the finger at power plants, or automobiles, or any human activity. We are forced to look to the heavens instead, where a big ball of plasma might provide some answers, as some of us have been saying all along.
Don’t expect to see any decrease in the official hysteria level for some time of course. Leo and Babs and George will continue to fly around the world in private jets to make people feel guilty about using energy. Al will continue to preach disaster and, for the most part, a technically ignorant media will lap it all up.
What will happen, slowly, is that scientific support for global warming theory will continue to erode. Chinks in the armor of the doomsayers have already appeared, with the head of the International Panel for Climate Changes subcommittee on feedback admitting that Spencer and Aqua are right and he was wrong.
Eventually, it will be impossible to ignore all of the dissenters and defectors. The mainstream media and politicians will begin to distance themselves from the cause, slowly backing away, oh-so-carefully, hoping no one will notice.
And, in the long run, few will remember. If history tells us anything about environmental crusaders, it tells us that being right or wrong doesn’t really matter. They’ll just move on to the next big “threat”. That’s a good thing for yours truly I suppose, since they keep me gainfully employed in the day job, but I can help but wonder: how many times do the same people have to be wrong before we stop listening to them?