Friday, November 28, 2008
Why I Do Not Believe in Global Warming
I was going to write a post about why I do not believe in global warming. I was going to write about how I did not think the phenomenon was even physically possible. I was going to say that of the various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed by carbon dioxide, only the IR absorbance was important, and that even at the low present concentrations, these absorbances would be completely saturated. Therefore, since the atmosphere is completely opaque to these wavelengths at this point anyway, any increase in carbon dioxide, even a drastic increase, would have little to no effect on the temperature of the atmosphere. I was going to say these things, and write a really cool post about the various bond stretches, bends and rotations, and a bit about the physical phenomena of how they work, when I went online to look up the values so I could write up the post and make a few back-of-the-envelope calculations. There I found that somebody has already beaten me to it. (For a look at the physics of the process, see here.) Fantastic analysis. Probably too many big words for most folks, but very thorough and convincing nonetheless, without getting into all the overbearing and naseatingly overdone academic language that makes me want to vomit. He found exactly what I was expecting from Beer's Law: the energy absorbance would increase rapidly, then flatten out as carbon dioxide concentrations increased, and present conditions would indicate that we are already so far up the curve that the energy response is flat. So it doesn't matter how much carbon dioxide we put out there. The effect is already saturated. I would also make another note: many anti-environmentalist types like to argue that carbon dioxide is so small a fraction of the atmosphere, that doubling it would still be a tiny change in concentration so it wouldn't matter. This is actually backwards! The lower the concentration, the larger the effect that results from a change. This is one reason that gasses like methane actually would matter a lot: their present concentration is so very small, that some of that radiation can still escape without being converted to kinetic (thermal) energy. Increasing the concentration would keep some fraction of this energy from escaping. So they were really arguing for the other side, its just that neither side really understood the physical phenomenon. At any rate, eventually we would suffocate ourselves with too much carbon dioxide, but that threshold is a very long way away. We are actually quite safe. Global warming is not real folks. Let's move on to the next manufactured crisis.