Fun facts about Climate change

Over the years, I’ve learnt some interesting facts about the atmosphere and climate change…

Cloud cover

  1. Water vapour is evaporated from the seas , which covers 70% of the global surface area.
  2. The warmer air is, the more water vapour it can hold. [1,2]
  3. The more water vapour there is in the atmosphere, the more cloud cover exists.
  4. Cloud cover blocks sunlight, reducing global warming.

Conclusion 1: atmospheric temperature is naturally regulated by water vapour.

Plant growth

  1. Increased atmospheric water vapour increases precipitation (rainfall).
  2. Increased rainfall increases plant growth.
  3. Increased carbon dioxide concentration increases plant growth. [3]
  4. Increased atmospheric temperature ALSO increases plant growth.

Conclusion 2: “global warming” creates a greener planet. This is a good thing.

Arctic sea ice

  1. Arctic ice is floating sea ice
  2. Floating ice displaces the same volume as melted ice. [4]

Conclusion 3: melted Arctic ice will not contribute to rising sea levels.

Inland glacial ice

  1. The worst case scenario projections of global warming/climate change estimate that the atmospheric temperature will increase by 5C over the next 100 years. Most estimates indicate a 2C rise over the next 100 years. [5]
  2. Average coastal temperature of Antarctica is -10C. The majority of Antarctic ice is much further inland, where temperatures are much much colder (in excess of -50C). [6]
  3. Greenland’s ice sheet has an average temperature of -12C in summer. [7]

Conclusion 4: “Climate Change” will not melt either Greenland or Antarctic land ice.

Sea levels

  1. Increased atmospheric water vapour increases precipitation.
  2. Increased precipitation increases polar ice.
  3. Vast majority of precipitation water is evaporated sea water.

Conclusion 5: as “global warming” increases polar ice, it may even lead to sea levels falling.

Greenhouse effect of CO2

  1. The greenhouse effect of CO2 is logarithmic [8]: the atmospheric concentration of CO2 needs to DOUBLE for warming to increase by 1.5%.
  2. Global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1C over the last 150 years.
  3. Over this time, atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from 280ppm to 415ppm.
  4. If we consider the worst case scenario, by assuming that all of global warming is caused by the rise in CO2: then a rise of 3C over current temperatures would require adding another 800ppm to atmospheric CO2.
  5. But, we have only increased atmospheric CO2 by 135ppm since the dawn of the industrial revolution.
  6. At the current rate, it would take over 400 years for atmospheric temperatures to increase 3C.

Conclusion 6:  We are nowhere near to increasing the atmospheric temperature by 3C.

Greenhouse effect of CO2

  1. The greenhouse effect of CO2 is logarithmic [8]: the atmospheric concentration of CO2 needs to DOUBLE for warming to increase by 1.5%.
  2. Global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1C over the last 150 years.
  3. Over this time, atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen from 280ppm to 415ppm.
  4. If we consider the worst case scenario, by assuming that all of global warming is caused by the rise in CO2: then a rise of 3C over current temperatures would require adding another 800ppm to atmospheric CO2.
  5. But, we have only increased atmospheric CO2 by 135ppm since the dawn of the industrial revolution.
  6. At the current rate, it would take over 400 years for atmospheric temperatures to increase 3C.

Conclusion 6:  We are nowhere near to increasing the atmospheric temperature by 3C.

Human emissions of greenhouse gases

  • CO2 contributes 26% to the overall greenhouse effect.
  • Human activity contributes only about 4% of global CO2 emissions (29 gigatons per year compared to 750 gigatons of natural CO2 emissions). [9]

Conclusion 7: Eliminating human CO2 emissions will reduce the greenhouse effect by only 1%.

The biggest greenhouse gas

  1. Water vapour is by far the most significant greenhouse gas, contributing an estimated 60% of the overall greenhouse effect. [10]
  2. There is no way to control the amount of water in the atmosphere.

Conclusion 8: Humans have very little control over global warming.

When did climate change start?

  1. Long before human activity, global temperatures have always been changing, millions of years before humans started burning fossil fuels. [11]
  2. In the prehistoric past, the world was a lot warmer but also a lot greener.
  3. In the relatively recent past (1600s), the world was a lot colder, where the River Thames in London would freeze over, an event almost unimaginable today. [12]

Conclusion 9: Climate change will occur even if all human activity never existed.

“Global Warming” vs “Climate Change”

  1. Global warming does not result in a uniform rise in temperatures – some places get hotter than others, and many places even get cooler.
  2. Climate change is often beneficial: Increased precipitation cools desert environments and warms arctic environments, greening both types of environments.
  3. Humans have always adapted to their environment: the desert nomads, the Inuits of Alaska, and the stormiest known place on earth – Kampala, Uganda… mankind have thrived and lived happy lives in these extreme climates.
  4. There is no optimum level of either CO2 concentration, or temperature for the global climate.

Conclusion 10: We shouldn’t fear changes in the climate unless it can be shown that we cannot cope with the adverse effects of change.

In summary

  1. Atmospheric temperature is naturally regulated by water vapour.
  2. “Global warming” creates a greener planet. This is a good thing.
  3. Melted Arctic sea ice will not contribute to rising sea levels.
  4. “Climate Change” will not melt land ice on either Greenland or Antarctica.
  5. As “global warming” increases polar ice, it may even lead to sea levels falling.
  6. We are nowhere near to increasing the atmospheric temperature by 3C.
  7. Eliminating human CO2 emissions will reduce the greenhouse effect by only 1%.
  8. Humans have very little control over global warming.
  9. Climate change will occur even if all human activity never existed.
  10. We shouldn’t fear changes in the climate unless it can be shown that we cannot cope with the adverse effects of change.

So what do you think? Does this make you feel less alarmed about climate change?

Feedback welcome.

References

[1] A closer look at evaporation and condensation

[2] Saturated Vapor Pressure, Density for Water

[3] Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth

[4] Why does ice melting not change the water level in a container?

[5] 2014 Energy and Climate Outlook

[6] Climate of Antarctica

[7] Climate – Greenland

[8] The Logarithmic Effect of Carbon Dioxide

[9] How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?

[10] Climate Data Information – Gases

[11] Earth’s average surface temperature over the past 500 million years

[12] River Thames Frost Fairs in London

Author: Hoong-Wai

I am a sinner. I care about people, and truth, and justice. I have an interest in dancing, economics, engineering, philosophy, and science.

One thought on “Fun facts about Climate change”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: