Thursday, December 20, 2012

WSJ: Embrace global warming for it is good.

In a Wall Street Journal Op-ed, Matt Ridley makes the case that 1 or 2 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise caused by the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere is no big deal so chill out people.  In fact, its going to be a good thing!  F* Yeah!

 Matt Ridley: Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change
The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F)...
A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.
Growing season will last longer, but there will be more extreme high temperature days in the middle of it.    And more rain overall does not mean there will be more rain everywhere.

For a start, water vapor may not be increasing. A recent paper from Colorado State University concluded that "we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data." And then, as one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: "We don't even know the sign" of water vapor's effect—in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.
Wrong.   As the oceans and atmosphere warm, of course  there will be more water vapor in the air.   This is a question where the numbers aren't important because the shape of the curve tells you the answer.  Warmer air has a much higher propensity to absorb water vapor than does cooler air.  This is pretty simple stuff here..    Pathteacher explains the Psychrometric Chart

As the effects of AGW cause average temperatures to rise in the oceans and atmosphere, one effect will be more water vapor absorbed from rivers, lakes and oceans into the atmosphere. But more water vapor in the air does not equate to more rain across all geographical areas including those where the farms are. Humid air must collide with enough cold air to bring the mixture below it's dew point temperature to create precipitation. But if humid air isn't chilled below it's dew point the water vapor moves along in the wind and eventually falls to the ground somewhere else.

No net cooling or heating occurs when water vapor evaporates or condenses. Both are adiabatic processes. Energy moves around, but no work is done. Clouds do affect how much sunlight reaches the earth's surface, so there is a self-correcting factor built into the water vapor cycle. But regardless, warmer air will mean more rain and snow somewhere.
I think it is reasonable to say the amount of precipitation will tend to decrease in areas where the atmosphere is typically the warmest and the amount of precipitation will tend to increase in areas where the air is the typically the coldest. So we will see more desertification along with more random destruction wherever the occasional Megastorms form. This doesn't bode well for the agriculture or property insurance industries, or for our prospects in general.

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