[ RadSafe ] RE: extremism

Johansen, Kjell Kjell.Johansen at nmcco.com
Thu Mar 22 12:50:45 CDT 2007

In his reply to Ruth  Sponsler, Steve Dapra talks about the need to
concentrate on the science and not on positions taken by extremists.
Steve, next, mentions the lack of focus on water vapor, which he quotes
from a website as being the major Greenhouse gas.  It is my
understanding from meteorology classes that while water vapor acts as a
green house gas, the amount of water vapor in the air depends upon the
temprature.  Increasing the CO2  in the atmosphere  traps more heat
which in turn generates the water vapor by evaporating liquids. Long
story short, without the driving force of carbon dioxide, and other
gases such as methane (which has about 16x more forcing power than CO2),
there would not be much water vapor to ta act as a greenhouse gas. So,
to answer the question

" would it be correct to say that blaming global warming on man-made
greenhouse gases is an "extremist" position? " 
I would say NO!!!  

I find that the climate scientists are doing a pretty good job of
describing the cause and effect of global warming.  It is a form of
reverse hubris to think that humanity can not effect global climate
change.   The biogeochemical cycles of this planet have some
selfcorrecting mechanisms which flow naturally from well known chemical
and physical processes.  To suddenly (200 years is sudden on the
geological time scale) dump large amounts of carbon which has been
sequesterd in the earth for millions of years into the atmosphere and
expect that the earth's biogeochemical cycles will not be upset is not
logical.  Try pouring 10 gallons of water into a 1 gallon bucket with
only a few holes in it.  If you pour fast enough, the flux into the
bucket will exceed the flux out of the bucket and the water level will
rise.  The gas concentrations from the ice cores show tha over a very
long time span, higher temperatures are associated with higher CO2 and
CH4 concentrations.  The models predict higher temperatures in the
future.  To claim that the models may be wrong and that nothing has to
be done ignores the fact that they could be wrong in that they are
underestimating the consequences.  

Therefore, I conclude that the extremist position is the one taken by
the person who sits around wanting more conclusive proof before taking
any action to lower the consequences of global climate change.  

Kjell Johansen
Whitefish Bay, WI

The opinions expressed are my own and are not in any way attributable to
my employment.

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