Al Gore in Greenland as seen in “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
Many people are actively worried about global warming. And it frustrates them that skeptics and “deniers” refuse to acknowledge the “science” of such an urgent, manmade problem.
But there may be valid reasons to dispute the theory that man is responsible for climate change. And to demonstrate why the issue isn’t so clearcut, here’s a basic climate question to ponder:
As the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere increases, does its ability to absorb heat increase, decrease or remain the same?
Most people will assume the answer is “increase.” After all, CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas. Adding more of it to the atmosphere should mean more heat being “trapped.”
The correct answer, however, is decrease.
How do we know this? Because the U.N.’s very own, Al Gore-friendly Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acknowledged in its reports that CO2 loses the ability to absorb heat as its concentration increases. The IPCC explains that CO2 follows a “logarithmic dependence,” which means that it takes ever-doubling amounts of CO2 to keep adding the same amount of heat absorption in the atmosphere. In fact, CO2 absorbs only a certain narrow spectrum of infrared radiation, and the IPCC recognizes that the middle of this band is already “saturated.”
People who fret about manmade warming may find it hard to believe that CO2 actually loses “heat-trapping” ability. But they should know that even the very climate-concerned IPCC admits to such limitations. They still argue that we need to fear manmade warming, however. And their reason is simply that they believe any additional heat absorbed by CO2 will be greatly amplified by water vapor feedback.
This begs the question are they right? The answer is “No.”
Water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas of the atmosphere — and responsible for most of the warming that keeps the Earth habitable. In order to make their case, the IPCC theorizes that any additional warming from CO2 will lead to more water vapor in the atmosphere. And this water vapor will…