Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Your Air Conditioner Ate Al Gore and Saved The Planet

July 20, 2011

Thanks Paciloquy!  (Highly recommend this blog)

I finally made it through the paper by Dr. Qing Bin Lu. As you may guess I could not follow the math. But there was enough verbiage to explain his process and conclusions to make me think I grasped the point. How’s that for certitude?

In my somewhat simple terms the earth radiates energy in the form of heat and light (reflections?) in a range of the electromagnetic spectrum. At the lower ranges of the spectrum CO2 and H2O constitute the primary barriers to that radiated energy. At the higher ranges it is mostly CO2. But the middle range, where most if not much of the radiation occurs is the area where CFC’s are the primary radiant barrier.  Dr. Lu’s paper shows that the level of CFC’s has a strong inverse correlation to the amount of radiated energy and therefore a
strong positive correlation to global temperature increases. Thus, in his opinion, buttressed by his research, it is CFC’s that account for known rises in global temperature not CO2. And, which account for the decline in global
temperatures in the current decade.

Further, he questions how CO2 could be the culprit, the radiant barrier, when historic increases in atmospheric CO2 do not correspond to any increase in global temperature. Going one step further Lu shows that the recent
decades decline in global temperatures correlates to a decline in the atmospheric levels of CFC’s (albeit with a nine year lag). And he notes that the ban on CFC’s should in fact accelerate the cooling effects for a
multi-decade period in the future.

However, I am puzzled by your comments regarding some higher levels of CO2 that cause (I think this is right) climate forcing of higher temperatures.

Climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is still unsettled.  It is the slavish acceptance of some data and the rejection of other data that drives the CAGW hypothesis.  Lu makes a powerful argument for more study and perhaps a re-calibration of climate sensitivity to CO2 but he is also making the argument that the climate sensitivity is larger i.e., a larger greenhouse effect, from a higher sensitivity to water vapor.  If Lu is incorrect on CFCs and the larger water vapor sensitivity then his theory collapses.  I find Lu’s hypothesis intriguing but then that makes methane, CH4, more troublesome because the same water vapor sensitivity would apply to increases in methane.  But this is how science advances.  As to my comments on the log behavior of CO2 concentrations and sensitivity I am favoring a lower sensitivity but I believe the pure radiative potential is still 4 W/m^2 as per Modtran.  Lu is not denying the radiative potential just that it does not show up in observations so he concludes that the net forcing is much less than 4 W/m^2.

My take away, other than that air conditioners can cool the jets on Al Gore’s CO2 plane, is that we may dodge a huge economic bullet by not shutting down the global economy in a futile gesture to corral CO2 when in fact the CFC tumor is shrinking from radiation treatments. Did I mix enough metaphors there?

I also read the bit about switching from coal to natural gas as a mechanism to reduce the CO2 impact on the planet. No doubt it will do so and for economic reasons may be preferable. But is the CO2 impact in and by itself
sufficient to warrant a change? Or  would a future technological advance provide a better, cheaper, alternative mechanism. Say natural gas electric generators dedicated to creating hydrogen for fuel cells? By dedicating the electrical output the plant can run more efficiently than if it was used to buttress the variable demands of the electrical grid. Plus that way we burn hydrocarbons in a controlled process (read: cleaner) to generate future energy. As opposed to catalytic cleaners on millions of automobiles. Until we develop a vessel to handle the hot salts required for Thorium reactors of course.

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