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Why Not Water?

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  • Why Not Water?

    I'm just curious - why the insistence on CO2 as culprit in climate whatever (climate change is a stupid name and y'all get all weird when we use global warming) when most of the climate guys I've heard talk about it agree that water vapor has a much greater impact? Underground aquifers worldwide are under stress and that massive usage also coincides with the Industrial Revolution (esp. the agricultural revolution that followed in its wake). Seems an obvious source for additional atmospheric water - so why CO2?

    I suspect the anti-plant lobby myself. Okay, though, seriously, I am curious.

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

    My Personal Blog

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  • #2
    Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
    I'm just curious - why the insistence on CO2 as culprit in climate whatever (climate change is a stupid name and y'all get all weird when we use global warming) when most of the climate guys I've heard talk about it agree that water vapor has a much greater impact? Underground aquifers worldwide are under stress and that massive usage also coincides with the Industrial Revolution (esp. the agricultural revolution that followed in its wake). Seems an obvious source for additional atmospheric water - so why CO2?

    I suspect the anti-plant lobby myself. Okay, though, seriously, I am curious.
    Look at all the work put into making a car that runs on hydrogen and only emits water vapor.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
      I'm just curious - why the insistence on CO2 as culprit in climate whatever (climate change is a stupid name and y'all get all weird when we use global warming) when most of the climate guys I've heard talk about it agree that water vapor has a much greater impact? Underground aquifers worldwide are under stress and that massive usage also coincides with the Industrial Revolution (esp. the agricultural revolution that followed in its wake). Seems an obvious source for additional atmospheric water - so why CO2?

      I suspect the anti-plant lobby myself. Okay, though, seriously, I am curious.
      Because it is more profitable for them to target fossil fuels, and easier to show how much those sources of energy pollute as compared to water vapor, which is everywhere. What people don't seem to realize is that the "climate change" movement is very, very likely working hand in hand with the fossil fuel companies just like the "environmentalists" were working with the plastic companies* to play both sides for profit.

      *The plastic companies themselves were just offshoots of the oil companies.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
        I'm just curious - why the insistence on CO2 as culprit in climate whatever (climate change is a stupid name and y'all get all weird when we use global warming) when most of the climate guys I've heard talk about it agree that water vapor has a much greater impact? Underground aquifers worldwide are under stress and that massive usage also coincides with the Industrial Revolution (esp. the agricultural revolution that followed in its wake). Seems an obvious source for additional atmospheric water - so why CO2?

        I suspect the anti-plant lobby myself. Okay, though, seriously, I am curious.
        Because water vapor comes back out of the atmosphere in a matter of days, meaning the atmosphere quickly reaches an equilibrium based on the prevailing temperatures. (The higher the temperature, the more water vapor on average). Even if you were to suddenly evaporate off the Great Lakes or something, it would rain back out of the atmosphere before it had time to shift the temperatures significantly.

        In contrast, the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Reaching equilibrium with current conditions takes thousands of years. That means any CO2 that's put in the atmosphere has plenty of time to significantly influence temperatures before it comes back out.


        Those are at least the general principles. As always, the reality is more complicated. You can't drive climate change with water vapor, but it's an important influence on any warming that does take place. Once the planet starts warming (for whatever reason), you get more water vapor in the atmosphere on average, and that accentuates the warming a bit. There's a lag between the atmosphere warming and the oceans warming, since it takes less energy to heat a gas than to heat water.But once the oceans do start warming, gasses become less soluble and some of the CO2 stored in them goes into the atmosphere, causing even more warming. And of course all of these things can act in reverse were the planet to start cooling.

        Scientists divide these into "forcings" that can drive climate change, and "feedbacks", which help determine exactly how much warming you get once a forcing changes.

        EDIT: quick addition: the "much greater impact" of water vapor is just that it can absorb a broader range of the IR spectrum than CO2. So, if you had 100 water molecules in a box, and 100 CO2 molecules in another box, the first would warm faster - but only if the water didn't condense back out. It's that condensation that means water has a lower influence despite its higher potential.
        Last edited by TheLurch; 10-27-2022, 09:56 AM.
        "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
          Because water vapor comes back out of the atmosphere in a matter of days, meaning the atmosphere quickly reaches an equilibrium based on the prevailing temperatures. (The higher the temperature, the more water vapor on average). Even if you were to suddenly evaporate off the Great Lakes or something, it would rain back out of the atmosphere before it had time to shift the temperatures significantly.

          In contrast, the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Reaching equilibrium with current conditions takes thousands of years. That means any CO2 that's put in the atmosphere has plenty of time to significantly influence temperatures before it comes back out.


          Those are at least the general principles. As always, the reality is more complicated. You can't drive climate change with water vapor, but it's an important influence on any warming that does take place. Once the planet starts warming (for whatever reason), you get more water vapor in the atmosphere on average, and that accentuates the warming a bit. There's a lag between the atmosphere warming and the oceans warming, since it takes less energy to heat a gas than to heat water.But once the oceans do start warming, gasses become less soluble and some of the CO2 stored in them goes into the atmosphere, causing even more warming. And of course all of these things can act in reverse were the planet to start cooling.

          Scientists divide these into "forcings" that can drive climate change, and "feedbacks", which help determine exactly how much warming you get once a forcing changes.

          EDIT: quick addition: the "much greater impact" of water vapor is just that it can absorb a broader range of the IR spectrum than CO2. So, if you had 100 water molecules in a box, and 100 CO2 molecules in another box, the first would warm faster - but only if the water didn't condense back out. It's that condensation that means water has a lower influence despite its higher potential.
          Thank you!

          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

          My Personal Blog

          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

          Quill Sword

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
            Because water vapor comes back out of the atmosphere in a matter of days, meaning the atmosphere quickly reaches an equilibrium based on the prevailing temperatures. (The higher the temperature, the more water vapor on average). Even if you were to suddenly evaporate off the Great Lakes or something, it would rain back out of the atmosphere before it had time to shift the temperatures significantly.

            In contrast, the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Reaching equilibrium with current conditions takes thousands of years. That means any CO2 that's put in the atmosphere has plenty of time to significantly influence temperatures before it comes back out.


            Those are at least the general principles. As always, the reality is more complicated. You can't drive climate change with water vapor, but it's an important influence on any warming that does take place. Once the planet starts warming (for whatever reason), you get more water vapor in the atmosphere on average, and that accentuates the warming a bit. There's a lag between the atmosphere warming and the oceans warming, since it takes less energy to heat a gas than to heat water.But once the oceans do start warming, gasses become less soluble and some of the CO2 stored in them goes into the atmosphere, causing even more warming. And of course all of these things can act in reverse were the planet to start cooling.

            Scientists divide these into "forcings" that can drive climate change, and "feedbacks", which help determine exactly how much warming you get once a forcing changes.

            EDIT: quick addition: the "much greater impact" of water vapor is just that it can absorb a broader range of the IR spectrum than CO2. So, if you had 100 water molecules in a box, and 100 CO2 molecules in another box, the first would warm faster - but only if the water didn't condense back out. It's that condensation that means water has a lower influence despite its higher potential.
            I always enjoy your input. I may not always agree (or even understand ) but I always enjoy the very clear and logical manner in which you present material.
            I wish you would post more - even if I initially disagree, I have to stop and think you might be right.
            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

              I always enjoy your input. I may not always agree (or even understand ) but I always enjoy the very clear and logical manner in which you present material.
              I wish you would post more - even if I initially disagree, I have to stop and think you might be right.
              That was the thing I liked about sylas when he posted here.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                I always enjoy your input. I may not always agree (or even understand ) but I always enjoy the very clear and logical manner in which you present material.
                I wish you would post more - even if I initially disagree, I have to stop and think you might be right.
                Well, it would save you some time to just assume I'm always right....
                "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                  Well, it would save you some time to just assume I'm always right....
                  There's that!
                  The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                    I always enjoy your input. I may not always agree (or even understand ) but I always enjoy the very clear and logical manner in which you present material.
                    I wish you would post more - even if I initially disagree, I have to stop and think you might be right.
                    Have a bit more time today, so wanted to respond in a way that was more substantial than my initial joke.

                    First off, thanks - kind of you to say that. Second off, my day job requires me to explain science to non-experts almost every day, and I've been doing it for around 15 years now. So if I weren't reasonably good at it by this point, well, i probably would have lost my job by now.

                    But the main thing I want to say is that I appreciate that you and a few other people here do engage with the sorts of detailed explanations I tend to write. On issues like the pandemic and climate change, it's clear that there are a lot of people here that will find a way to dismiss anything that doesn't conform to what they'd like to believe, which makes taking the time to explain things feel kind of pointless at times. If I go through periods where I don't post as often, that's a major reason why. (Though getting COVID twice and a hit of long COVID hasn't helped matters, either.)
                    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheLurch View Post

                      Have a bit more time today, so wanted to respond in a way that was more substantial than my initial joke.

                      First off, thanks - kind of you to say that. Second off, my day job requires me to explain science to non-experts almost every day, and I've been doing it for around 15 years now. So if I weren't reasonably good at it by this point, well, i probably would have lost my job by now.

                      But the main thing I want to say is that I appreciate that you and a few other people here do engage with the sorts of detailed explanations I tend to write. On issues like the pandemic and climate change, it's clear that there are a lot of people here that will find a way to dismiss anything that doesn't conform to what they'd like to believe, which makes taking the time to explain things feel kind of pointless at times. If I go through periods where I don't post as often, that's a major reason why. (Though getting COVID twice and a hit of long COVID hasn't helped matters, either.)
                      My wife and I got COVID very early on, and ours lasted about 30 minutes - bad headache, slight fever, then "done", though we still "tested positive" for a couple weeks. No apparent after affects -- wish all could have had that experience.

                      It's an 'art' - being able to explain high tech or scientific stuff to people unfamiliar with the subject matter. I had a role in that are for a number of years as an "IT Evangelist" - explaining technical IT stuff to CEO and CFO types. I always enjoyed it, and my presentations always seemed to be received well.

                      If you ever watched NCIS, the MaGee character always seemed to fumble badly trying to explain tech stuff to Gibbs - a good example of bad communication.

                      I don't really dismiss the notion that something unusual is happening to our planet, but I bristle at those who appear to be using the issue to make themselves wealthy, or who clearly don't practice what they preach - emphasizing "carbon footprints" while plopping down HUGE footprints of their own with their private jets, exorbitant houses, SUVs, and the like.

                      As a farmer/rancher of many years, I was raised to be a "good steward" of the earth and its resources. So, I get a little testy when these rich politicians (and other climate alarmists) try to 'regulate' my life, while racking up multiple policies that tend to violate the "unintended consequences".

                      You are one of the few "opponents" with whom I'd really love to sit down and discuss these things at length.

                      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                        I don't really dismiss the notion that something unusual is happening to our planet, but I bristle at those who appear to be using the issue to make themselves wealthy, or who clearly don't practice what they preach - emphasizing "carbon footprints" while plopping down HUGE footprints of their own with their private jets, exorbitant houses, SUVs, and the like.
                        Couple of random thoughts on this.

                        The US, for better or worse, has chosen to go for a market-focused solution to climate change. So, companies that figure out how to install solar panels more efficiently, build batteries cheaply, etc. are going to do well, and make some people rich in the process. Some of the people who might get rich are the ones who have been stating climate change is a problem, and risked their money in investments that helped with build solutions to that problem. I'd question whether it's really appropriate to bristle at that sort of behavior and outcome.

                        The second thing is that a lot of wealthy people in the fossil fuel business are spending a ton of their money on lobbying and political donations to try to stop any transition away from their industry. That behavior seems even more reprehensible to me, especially given that it's been pretty firmly established that pollution from fossil fuels kills thousands of people in the US each year.

                        All that said, I'd definitely be with you in criticizing people who are advocates for dealing with climate change but haven't taken steps to limit their own carbon emissions. I've taken a number, and none of them are especially difficult.
                        "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                          Couple of random thoughts on this.

                          The US, for better or worse, has chosen to go for a market-focused solution to climate change. So, companies that figure out how to install solar panels more efficiently, build batteries cheaply, etc. are going to do well, and make some people rich in the process. Some of the people who might get rich are the ones who have been stating climate change is a problem, and risked their money in investments that helped with build solutions to that problem. I'd question whether it's really appropriate to bristle at that sort of behavior and outcome.

                          The second thing is that a lot of wealthy people in the fossil fuel business are spending a ton of their money on lobbying and political donations to try to stop any transition away from their industry. That behavior seems even more reprehensible to me, especially given that it's been pretty firmly established that pollution from fossil fuels kills thousands of people in the US each year.

                          All that said, I'd definitely be with you in criticizing people who are advocates for dealing with climate change but haven't taken steps to limit their own carbon emissions. I've taken a number, and none of them are especially difficult.
                          Isn't Big Oil one of the biggest investors in alternative energy?

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                            Isn't Big Oil one of the biggest investors in alternative energy?
                            No, most big oil companies have made trivial investments in renewables - something like 5% or less of what they're still spending on searching for and building infrastructure for extracting more oil. It's largely a PR effort at this point.
                            "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                              No, most big oil companies have made trivial investments in renewables - something like 5% or less of what they're still spending on searching for and building infrastructure for extracting more oil. It's largely a PR effort at this point.
                              Big Oil's business is oil so I'd expect that their overwhelming expenditures would be in that direction. I'm talking about percentage of what is being invested in renewables, not including by government.

                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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