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Water Vapor Causing Climate Warming

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the round-and-round-we-go dept.

Science 434

karvind writes "According to BBC, new studies suggest that water vapor rather than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the main reason why Europe's climate is warming. The scientists say that rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gases are increasing humidity, which in turn amplifies the temperature rise. This is potentially a positive feedback mechanism which could increase the impact of greenhouse gases such as CO2. Even though 2005 will probably be warmest year, climatologists still differ in opinion"

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434 comments

What if.. (1, Offtopic)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018912)

So why not start mining the atmosphere for water? We're running out of clean water anyway.

Re:What if.. (5, Interesting)

pete314159 (858893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018979)

Assuming this your post wasn't completely tongue-in-cheek...

So, in order to "mine" the water vapor out of the atmosphere, you would need some way of condensing the vapor. Any sort of heat exchanger would work, but the laws of thermodynamics dictate that, in the end, you would just be heating the atmosphere up more than accomplishing anything else. This does assume that the control volume for the system is the earth itself, and you're not using space as your 'cold reservoir'--doing that gets into all sort of pesky heat transfer issues as space is rather non conductive. There is something to be said for radiation, but it would only really be effective if shielded from the sun. Anyway, since the most likely mediums for heat rejection would probably be either the atmosphere (you lose), the ocean (you lose again), or the terrestrial bits of the earth (you lose still), all you would be doing it heating the atmosphere up more and putting more water vapor into the atmosphere in the long run.

Re:What if.. (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019160)

Exactly. Which is why I had to do a 'say what' about the article. The presence of vapor is an indication of absorption of energy. Not release of energy. Vapor does not represent a heating, it represents a cooling. Its how us mammals cool ourselves.

However, if this leads to more energy absorption from the atmosphere/space I couldn't say.

News Flash! (0)

rel4x (783238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018913)

The Earth, like many of these scientists, is full of hot air! News at 6!

Bah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018915)

Climate change is a load of hot gas, nothing to see here move along.

First post goes to AC

It's not water vapor (1, Funny)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018918)

It's God sneezing

Re:It's not water vapor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018958)

GENERIC REFERENCE TO EVOLUTION vs. INTELLIGENT DESIGN GOES HERE

Now mod me up, DAMMIT!

Re:It's not water vapor (0, Offtopic)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019016)

That was a 'Generic Reference' to the generic behaviors of slashdotonians. Been there. DOne that.

proof about INTELLIGENT DESIGN (0, Offtopic)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019059)

George Bush is evidence that there is no such thing as INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

Re:proof about INTELLIGENT DESIGN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019116)

What if you wanted to design something stupid? Maybe God was huffing gas that day.

Re:It's not water vapor (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019102)

Hey, wait, come back! You forgot to fill in the blanks!

It's all in 'The Good Recipe Book' (1)

rolandog (834340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019024)

It clearly says this is all a sign of His 'Second Boiling'.

Thinking about global warming... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018919)

makes me all moist.

Re:Thinking about global warming... (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018940)

Vaporizers...

Yet another reason to keep pot illegal.

overheated discussion (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018923)

Well let's hope the scientists don't get too much overheated discussions then.... In the mean time put your stocks on sun block with heavy UV filters, they're the next business hype.

At least its a dry heat? (4, Funny)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018924)

Too bad we wont be able to say "At least it's a dry heat" if this continues.

Um... duh? (4, Insightful)

drhamad (868567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018926)

I could be missing something, but isn't this basic astronomy (or whatever science you care to term it)? Water vapor (among other gasses) is responsible for keeping a planet heated, and not a frozen ball of rock like Mars. Maintaining that delicate balance of how much water is in the air is important of course, but noting that water is causing the atmosphere to retain heat is... nothing new.

Re:Um... duh? (3, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018971)

I could be missing something, but isn't this basic astronomy (or whatever science you care to term it)? Water vapor (among other gasses) is responsible for keeping a planet heated, and not a frozen ball of rock like Mars. Maintaining that delicate balance of how much water is in the air is important of course, but noting that water is causing the atmosphere to retain heat is... nothing new.

Yes, this is not some groundbreaking new assertion. In fact it is things like this - feedback mechanisms (both positive and negative) that make climate change modelling so hard. If it was a simple matter of "C02 creates more warmth" we'd have figured it all out a while ago. More warmth can produce more water vapor, but depending on what type of clouds are formed you can end up with trapped heat, or more solar radiation reflected and a cooling effect. There are many other feedback mechanisms that I simply can't recall and many more I've never heard of. How and when they respond, and how they interact makes for a very difficult and complex problem indeed.

Jedidiah,

Re:Um... duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019065)

... and not a frozen ball of rock like Mars.

Uh, actually there seems to be global warming on Mars [mos.org] too.

So what can we do then? (5, Funny)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018929)

Scientists promptly advised everyone to:
1. Stop drinking water
2. Stop breathing
3. Stop taking showers (note: this doesn't apply to some countries such as France and Mexico)

Re:So what can we do then? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018936)

In other news, MoveOn.org has called for a full Congressional investigation of Wal-Mart, Exxon and McDonald's, becauase they must have had something to do with all this.

Re:So what can we do then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018962)

Okay, want to hear another joke? France smells! Truly I am a god of comedic genius.

Re:So what can we do then? (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018978)

On a serious note, there's currently no valid suggestions as to what we can do about global warming. People are still arguing about whether or not it exists instead of thinking about what we can actually do about it. So far a grand total of one proposal [thespacereview.com] has been made as to what we can do about global warming. It involves building spacecraft to hover at a stable point between the sun and the earth to divert sunlight off into space. Sound crazy? Ok, what the hell else can we do? Regress to living in the trees and hope it sorts itself out?

Re:So what can we do then? (2, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018994)

Ok, what the hell else can we do?

Paint Texas white?

-jcr

Re:So what can we do then? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019071)

Weel, trying to cut down on CO2 production is always a good idea, even if it's just to be able to enjoy our fossil fuels longer.

Re:So what can we do then? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019136)

Problem is though, while it was C02 and greenhouse gases (is C02 a greenhouse gas?) that began the rise in temperature, other factors (such as water vapour) are going to continue to rise it. Lessening greenhouse gas emissions would help to lessen the acceleration of the temperature, but the temperature will continue to rise regardless. We'd have to scrub the C02 back to levels lower then what they started out to be, before we began emitting greenhouse gases at ridiculous levels.

But don't expect the Australian or American government to do anything. That would hurt the economy, besides everyone knows global warming isn't happening because of humans. It's unpossible for us to stop it.

Re:So what can we do then? (2, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019145)

The problem with the issue of glboal warming has become more of a political and even moral issue. It is not any more about scientific research, it became something of a liberal vs. conservative or democrat vs. republican issue. At this point forget about any objective data and solution, it is like finding objective oppinions in the abortion debate. Every scientist already made their mind about the existance/or non-existance of global warming or some about a method to fix it if it exists (tax the oil companies, make people's cars go through e-check every year, cut down the aerosols with CFC...). Also it is a "follow the money" type issue. I am sure there can be a ton of studies sponsored by the oil companies that will make it look as if global warming is as real as tooth fairy. Others just to oppose the first group, will make up their mind that global warming will kill us in the next decade and will produce any study that will seem to show how the earth is suffocating and we'll die a slow and painfull death next year - unless of course we implement the proposed solution and give the researcher fame and $$$.

Honestly I don't know who to believe. I don't trust either camp, I don't know enough geology to critique the papers so I pretty much said "screw it". If we realize the problem together and find a solution - good, if not and we are ignorant enough to not do anything we deserve to have the dinosaurs come back and eat us.

Re:So what can we do then? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019166)

You're right that it's a political issue. The limits to growth people have latched onto global warming as an excellent reason for us to regress. What I fail to understand is how self respecting scientists can actually think that stopping CO2 production (or any passive solution) will halt global warming. If global warming really is a problem we need to actively reverse the process. If industrial activity is to blame for global warming, no amount of reduced industrial activity will put the genie back in the bottle.

Re:So what can we do then? (1)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019046)

And stop pissing into the wind! Though that seems to be the current global climate strategy.

Re:So what can we do then? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019158)

France will already be contributing enough steam once they put out all those fires...

Title and Summary are misleading (5, Insightful)

evw (172810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018930)

Warming starts with CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Warmer climate means more evaporated water in the atmosphere. Guess what? Water vapor is also a greenhouse gas. So climate gets warmer. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This isn't a story that undermines or changes the prevailing scientific view. This may allow some fine tuning of the models. Some skeptics had argued with the results of the models because they didn't believe the contribution of water vapor. This may force them to reevaluate their view. (Yeah right).

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018943)

Maybe it's in our genes. Well maybe we have to find out emperically. Or... Solution: People are allowed to spoil as much as oil as they can (without an tax ofcourse) but then they should stop making babies.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019138)

Great and once the technological societies die out, all we'll be left with is an argrarian society. That sounds MUCH better.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (-1, Troll)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018946)

Water vapour has always been the #1 greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide isn't even in the top 20. How you get to the conclusion that it must have started with a gas with a very weak effect is beyond me.

This just in: global warming is caused by increased solar radiation.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019013)

err, when we refer to global warming, we're generally talking about human contribution to the greenhouse effect. and our greatest contribution has been carbon dioxide.

and carbon dioxide causes about 1/4 of earth's total greenhouse effect [wikipedia.org]

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

evw (172810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019028)

Water vapour has always been the #1 greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide isn't even in the top 20. How you get to the conclusion that it must have started with a gas with a very weak effect is beyond me.

I'll concede that I was posting quickly. But I quote from TFA: "This is potentially a positive feedback mechanism which could increase the impact of greenhouse gases such as CO2."

It doesn't really matter which is the #1 greenhouse gas when the system is in equilibrium. What matters is what you add to the system to change the equilibrium. The point of the article is that adding weak greenhouse gases can get the temperature rising a bit which affects the equilibrium of water vapor which has a positive feedback effect.

Again from TFA: ...the natural greenhouse effect - without which the world would be considerably colder - is largely down to atmospheric water vapour.

Because human activities change its concentrations very little, it is generally not mentioned in discussions of modern-day greenhouse warming.

But climate scientists have been aware for decades that mechanisms involving water vapour could amplify temperature increases, and have attempted to model these effects in computer simulations.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1, Informative)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018963)

Warming starts with CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Twice as much water is produced in typical hydrocarbon reactions than CO2
C(N)H(2N+2)+[(3N+1)/2]O2-->(N)CO2+(N+1)H2O

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018966)

"Some skeptics had argued with the results of the models because they didn't believe the contribution of water vapor."

That argument was never made by skeptics, ever. You simply made it up.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

evw (172810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018983)

From TFA:

Researchers sceptical about projections of human-induced climate change base their criticism partly on what they see as flawed simulations of water vapour and clouds.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018990)

That argument was never made by skeptics, ever.

You are incorrect. [libertarian.to]

Look for yourself. [google.com]

Prevailing scientific dogma, you mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018967)

All scientists have are "theories" and "facts". How are we supposed to trust scientific groupthink? What is important is, many posts on the internet have repeatedly demonstrated global warming is not caused by humans. You can try to spin things all you want, but the original slashdot summary is still correct: Global warming is caused by water vapor, not man.

Duh ? (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019003)

Quote "many posts on the internet have repeatedly demonstrated global warming is not caused by humans". This is REALLY stupid. Many post of the internet just prooved me the moon landing is an hoax. Faery exists. UFO exists. Cthulhu exists. Also many post of the intenet proove that God does not exists at all. And also that it exists. Crystal do heal you. Putting a chip on your CD will enhance the quality of the 1's and 0's constituting the music. A magnet can enhance wine quality. YEAH RIGHT.

Secondly Scientific method is based on taking data, making a model of it (a FALSIFIABLE one) and checking the model against the data. If the model do not match the data then it is MERCILESSLY dropped. If you really want to see a dogma, look for religion or sect or even politics. I won't judge your post for its other argument (speaking of dogma means you probably do not understand the scientific method at all. I would even bet you are an ID believer or creationist, but that would be an ad persona attack on my part. Bad Aepervius. Bad bad.)

Re:Duh ? (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019097)

Secondly Scientific method is based on taking data, making a model of it (a FALSIFIABLE one) and checking the model against the data. If the model do not match the data then it is MERCILESSLY dropped.

Actually scientific method is based on making assumptions, taking data, and generating a model. As for "Mercilessly dropped" based on data, much of physics can't describe all data collected (eg disconnect between quantum physics and relativity). You don't always drop theories, you use the model that best fits until you come up with something better.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (4, Funny)

KylePflug (898555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018998)

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Bad idea! You're just contributing to the problem!

Hmm... *Buys stock in Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer (Kills 99.9% germs without water!)*

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019010)

*Buys stock in Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer (Kills 99.9% germs without water!)*

Yeah, but it wastes precious alcohol! Much better to drink the stuff instead, and make your body so toxic that germs die off naturally.

Re:Title and Summary are misleading (5, Funny)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019000)

Dihydrogen Monoxide has been found in *every* cancerous cell, has been attributed to thousands of deaths per year, and is now also causing global warming. Obviously this harmful substance must be eraticated!

Title and Summary are Wrong. Feedback != Forcing (4, Informative)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019141)

The parent got it almost right. evw seems to imply a runaway chain reaction, even though there is a stable equilibrium. When a true atmospheric forcing agent causes the temperature to rise more water vapor is released, amplifying the effect. But there is a finite limit, even if it is >100% amplification. In fact, H20 accounts for 1/3 to 2/3 of the greenhouse effect (compare with 10-25% for CO2.)

But this vapor is just a feedback effect, not an atmospheric forcing. This is due to the incredibly short residence time of water in the atmosphere of ~10 days. This means that even if you could somehow instantly cause the earth to have 0% humidity everywhere, things would stabalize back to "normal" within about 20-30. True forcings like CO2 have residence time of decades, which makes them the greenhouse gas to worry about.

Everyone posting here should first read this article [realclimate.org] for the full explination. The site in general is excelent.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars (1, Interesting)

halalalikwan (920395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018937)

and meanwhile the enviromentalists are pushing for fuel cell vehicles that output only clean water from the exhaust pipes. Wouldn't it be ironic if this article is correct

IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1, Interesting)

Flounder (42112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018938)

Yeah, like you didn't see that coming.

I'm just curious how many scientists have looked at the possibility that the earth warms and cools in cycles, and there's really not anything we can do to affect it, or stop it.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018945)

The fact that the Earth has had climatic ages is hardly a new discovery. The issue is how much mankind is possibly accelerating this process.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018991)

One interesting thing about that is the fact that the mean climate temperature cooled year after year from the industrial revolution until the mid-1900's. At the time, they said it was because of all the C02 we were releasing, which was called a refrigerent gas.

It wasn't until the climate started to warm again that CO2 got reclassified as a "greenhouse gas" and then the warming was our fault, too, and for the same actions that were blamed for the cooling.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (4, Informative)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019001)

I'm just curious how many scientists have looked at the possibility that the earth warms and cools in cycles

Thousands. They list glaciation, ocean variability, plate tectonics, solar variation, orbital variations, magnetic field changes, vulcanism as some of the natural causes of climate change.

And there's really not anything we can do to affect it, or stop it.

Since the industrial revolution the burning of fossil fuels has increased the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 1.5 times the level it was in the early 1800s. By 2100 we are expected to be at double the 1800s level, resulting in a temperature increase of about 2 to 5 degrees celsius. So yes, we can affect the global temperature.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1)

kastberg (726375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019032)

and if that happens, the temperature would be back at 2000BC levels, oh noes.
(I just read some stuff over here here [stanford.edu] , sounds quite rational but this whole discussion has got the better of me)

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019153)

That link is to the Hoover Institution located at Stanford.

A quick google shows this:
Founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, the Stanford University-based Hoover Institution is one of the country's oldest research institutes. With eight fellows on the Bush administration's Defense Policy Board (DPB), as well as several current and former associates like Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice serving in the country's highest policy-making posts, the influence of Hoover is difficult to overestimate. Hoover DPB members include Richard Allen, Martin Anderson, Gary Becker, Newt Gingrich, Henry S. Rowen, Kiron Skinner, and Pete Wilson. (7)

Hoover's connection to the Bush administration and its hardline defense policies has been a source of continuing controversy at Stanford. According to journalist Emily Biuso, in early 2003, various campus groups organized a series of protests calling for Hoover's ouster from the university, which donates about $1 million to the institution every year. (3)

Hoover's focus is not limited to foreign and defense polices. Reports Mediatransparency, "The Hoover Institution's well known antipathy to federal social welfare policies was . . . expressed by the chair of the Hoover board when he declared that 'there is growing realization that we either must accede to the gathering force of the welfare state or return to the more promising ways of freedom.' Hoover . . . has focused particular attention on tax policy, promoting the flat tax for well over a decade and organizing policy briefings and conferences on the issus. . . . It was, according to one well-placed journalist and author, one of four leading policy institutions that pulled the nation's economic policy debate to the right in the early 1980s." (5)

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019038)

This is being taken into account, but it's never got so hot so fast before. It's quite worrying that it is so quickly. A few years ago I remember wet summers in England, it was warm but not THAT warm. Now we're seeing repeatedly that the summers are blisteringly hot and it's a very harsh heat with very few storms (most of them being extremely heavy but very short).

Somethings going on and it's better to go "Hey maybe we're the problem" than to go "screw it, lets see what happens".

But that doesn't take into account global cooling..

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019079)

Global warming doesn't imply every area in the world is going to get warmer. Some areas will get very warm, while others will cool down. The issue is that AVERAGE temperatures will go up.

Also, bonus points for realising that it's the RATE of warming that's a cause for concern. The cycles of the world climate is well known, but the acceleration the cycle is currently undergoing is unprecedented as is the main cause for concern.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019049)

The earth does warm and cool in cycles - very long, slow cycles. The thing is, it's currently warming up about 30x faster than ever before (as far as we can tell). That's why this whole "global warming" thing is a problem.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1)

Alcemenes (460409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019082)

I'm curious to know how many scientists have taken into consideration the billions of humans exhaling carbon dioxide.

Re: IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019094)

> I'm just curious how many scientists have looked at the possibility that the earth warms and cools in cycles, and there's really not anything we can do to affect it, or stop it.

Are you suggesting that we couldn't cause global warming even if we tried to?

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (5, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019100)

I'm just curious how many scientists have looked at the possibility that the earth warms and cools in cycles,

Yes. All of them. Find an atmospheric science textbook. It's in there.

and there's really not anything we can do to affect it, or stop it.

You're asking whether atmospheric scientists, people who study the atmosphere and its behavior, think that the manner in which earth's chaotic, multi-factored atmosphere behaves over time is fixed, unchanging, and can never be effected by anything.

No, none of them think that. The cycles themselves, which are quite erratic, demonstrate that changes can happen: For one thing, the cycles obviously happen for some kind of reason. For another thing, the cycles to which you refer haven't always happened. Further back in the past the climate's cycles operated differently. [scotese.com]

The way in which the atmospheric cycles have operated for the last 2 billion years or so-- long stable periods followed by slowly increasing, then sudden and dramtic shifts-- suggest not that climate is some preplanned externally determined thing, caused by the hand of God moving a knob on a thermostat somewhere. What they suggest is the idea of the earth's atmospheric state having a number of equilibrium points, and we are moving back and forth between those equilibrium points. This is exactly what the article slashdot links here is about-- feedback mechanisms. The idea is that as you move further away from a stable equilibrium point, positive feedback mechanisms come into play which move you further and further away from that equilibrium point, and negative feedback mechanisms which were keeping you stable at that equilibrium point shut down. Once you nudge things away from the place where they were, the more the mean temperature rises the more the mean temperature is inspired to rise further, and the more the CO2 concentration rises the more the CO2 concentration is naturally inspired to rise even further. The lesson to take away here isn't to blame the cycles; the cycles themselves need that nudge to start. The lesson to take away is, you don't want to nudge the atmosphere out of that stable state, because once you start it may be too late to nudge it back.

Re:IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019132)

This got modded up? No shit, there are multiple factors to account for.

Welcome to ten years ago (4, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018941)

The reason we don't know how much global temperatures are going to rise is because we don't know enough about water vapor. Water vapor is thousands of times more potent than man made greenhouse gas. The main reason we can't 100% accurately predict the temperature is because we don't know for sure where the water vapor goes in the atmosphere. However, that does not mean that water vapor is causing global warming. Human emissions are the reason why there is more water vapor in the air than ever before. This isn't really knew, mainstream science has known this for ten plus years.

Accepted facts about global warming are as follows:
a)We are putting more greenhouse gases into the air than ever before.
b)Greenhouse gases trap heat.
c)The earth is getting warmer.

No one disagrees on these facts. The only legitamite disagreement is on how much warmer the earth will get, and this is because we don't know where the water vapor sits in the atmosphere. Supercomputers estimate the temperature increase will be between 1.5 and 11 degrees celcius in the next 50 years. At the low end we are seriously screwed. At the high end it is the end of civilization as we know it.

Re:Welcome to ten years ago (1)

halalalikwan (920395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018961)

At the high end it is the end of civilization as we know it. Ahhhhh, evolution continues.....Nice!

Re:Welcome to ten years ago (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019055)

Supercomputers estimate the temperature increase will be between 1.5 and 11 degrees celcius in the next 50 years.

Yet the harder they estimate the quicker it raises.

Re:Welcome to ten years ago (-1, Troll)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019089)

Couple of things:

First, can you prove that man made greenhouse gases are the sole reason behind global temp. increases, can you prove it isn't volcanos or decomposing plant matter?

Second, what temp. is the correct temp. for the Earth? I mean if you go back to the start of the planet when it was a ball of molten lava, tempuratures were way hirer, so maybe we should push to get the temp. right back up there. Course during the ice age, Europe was frozen over, so maybe we should cool the planet, or if we look back to the start of the industrial revolution, the average temp. was 1.2% lower. So what should the correct temp. be?

Liberal types need to ask themselves this "Why do the see a need to pass laws and regulations in an effort to keep the natural temp. right? Wouldn't the naturally temp. be whatever naturally occurs?

Oh, how the hippie tree huggers are silly. They talk about science, when they cannot even follow the basic concepts behind science. Where is the control experiment? What is the proper temp. for the Earth in its controlled state? How do we determine that temp.? How do they conduct experiments in the atomsphere and only change one variable at a time?

Here is a fact: People who worry about things like global warming are dumb. Before global warming it was over crowding, in time I am sure it will be something else, probably something anti-meat.

So, in short. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14018947)

This basically tells us two things:
  1. There are factors other than human interference in global warming.
  2. Not every scientist in the world agrees on everything.
This allows us to draw two important conclusions:
  1. Humans are not responsible for global warming.
  2. Climatology, a "soft" science, will never be able to provide the kind of reliable conclusions on which to form policy which "hard" scientists, such as libertarian economists, provide.
Discuss.

Re:So, in short. (0, Redundant)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018974)

This allows us to draw two important conclusions: 1. Humans are not responsible for global warming. 2. Climatology, a "soft" science, will never be able to provide the kind of reliable conclusions on which to form policy which "hard" scientists, such as libertarian economists, provide. Your two conclusions preclude each other. If the statement "Climatology will never provide reliable conclusions is true, then we cannot conclude that humans are not responsible for global warming, since the the latter conclusion assumes that there is at least one case in the universe of discourse such that Climatology provide us with a valid conclusion x.

Sorry about the bad formatting of the lass almost (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018989)

This allows us to draw two important conclusions: 1. Humans are not responsible for global warming. 2. Climatology, a "soft" science, will never be able to provide the kind of reliable conclusions on which to form policy which "hard" scientists, such as libertarian economists, provide.

Your two conclusions preclude each other. If the statement "Climatology will never provide reliable conclusions is true, then we cannot conclude that humans are not responsible for global warming, since the the latter conclusion assumes that there is at least one case in the universe of discourse such that Climatology provide us with a valid conclusion x.

Re:Sorry about the bad formatting of the lass almo (0, Offtopic)

halalalikwan (920395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019012)

Yeah? Well my dad can beat up your dad!

Re:Sorry about the bad formatting of the lass almo (1, Offtopic)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019022)

My dad can use AOL better than your dad.

Re:Sorry about the bad formatting of the lass almo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019039)

So what! My dad looks at more porn than your dad.

Re:Sorry about the bad formatting of the lass almo (1)

halalalikwan (920395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019051)

that's because he's got a porn addiction. Just kidding...funny reply :) if only i was a mod

Dihydrogen Monoxide (2, Funny)

Arramol (894707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018952)

I knew I should've voted for the EPA to ban that blasted dihydrogen monoxide!

Re:Dihydrogen Monoxide (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019037)

I knew I should've voted for the EPA to ban that blasted dihydrogen monoxide!

Yea, that's some nasty shit if you snort it. Some people are so addicted that they try to breathe the vapors. It's gotten so bad that now it's ruining the enviroment.

Isn't this like saying: (1, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018968)

As it turns out, guns aren't responsible for killing people. You see, guns fire bullets, and it is the bullets that kill people. So stop trying to blame guns. Guns don't kill people.

?

Re:Isn't this like saying: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019133)

FYI, Guns don't kill people. Dangerous minorities do.

Re:Isn't this like saying: (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019140)

They're not assigning blame per-se. What they're doing is starting to understand the cycle better. You cannot repair that which you don't truly understand... that's why you have so many twits thinking they're "computer techs" out there that are really good at... reformatting.

Re:Isn't this like saying: (2, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019173)

As it turns out, bullets aren't responsible for killing people.

A bullet fired from a gun does not cause death! It's the injury that causes death.
If the injury happens to be caused by a bullet, that's the injury's fault. But just firing bullets does not kill people.

Some bullets cause injuries that cause death, but some bullets cause injuries that don't cause death.
Also some injuries caused by things other than bullets do cause deaths, and some deaths happen without injuries.

You can't tell, by just looking at a bunch of bullets, which ones would cause a deadly injury, which ones would cause a non-deadly injury, and which ones would fall harmlessly somewhere or end up in the drywall.

Finally some bullets are never fired.

So stop trying to blame the bullets. Bullets don't kill people.

Here's the Deal (5, Insightful)

mouse_clicker (760426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14018995)

(Hopefully) before this ends up in a big pissing match over whether or not global warming is real, I'd like to lay down some ideas.

Our climate changes- it has for billions of years and it will for billions of more years.

Our climate is *incredibly* complex, so accurate prediction either way is nigh impossible (and I think it's arrogant to imply we know enough about our climate to even try to control it).

Global warming *is* happening, but factually only in the sense that our planet has been getting warmer- the debate is over whether or not man is to blame. Keep in mind, we just came out of an ice age several thousand years ago, so global warming is basically a given until we enter the next ice age.

There is NO consensus on whether or not man-made global warming is happening- anyone who claims to have "climatologist" friends who say it most definitely is or isn't real and that all the real scientists agree are just pulling stuff out of their ass (and it's pretty obvious, too, so don't even try to do it).

Not everyone who believes global warming is caused by man is a crazy hippy and not everyone who believes it isn't caused by man is some money-grubbing republican. It's that kind of black and white approach to this and other topics, both by the people and especially the media, that has trivialized the issue at hand.

Please try to keep this in mind.

-Moses

Re:Here's the Deal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019015)

There is NO consensus on whether or not man-made global warming is happening

Actually, there is a consensus, among scientists.

The debate over global warming has essentially been one with scientists on one side, and ideological conservatives and their paid pressure groups on the other. This is neatly demonstrated by the way in which people trying to brush off the scientific evidence invariably do so not by responding to the scientific evidence in a scientific way, but by relying on non-scientific, philosophical arguments like "we can't know anything about the climate".

Not everyone who believes global warming is caused by man is a crazy hippy and not everyone who believes it isn't caused by man is some money-grubbing republican.

Certainly not everyone who believes global warming is not caused by man is a money-grubbing republican. Crazy hippy libertarians also believe that global warming is not caused by man.

Re:Here's the Deal (1)

mouse_clicker (760426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019030)

Wow, thank you for proving my point.

Everyone, don't do what THIS guy did. He applies labels to people who disagree, herds them all into a forced idealogy, and then rail agains THAT. That's bad debating, that's bad science, that's just not good common sense. Don't do that.

-Moses

Fascinating debating style (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019042)

"I'm right!"

"Don't try to tell me I'm wrong. If you tell me I'm wrong you're just pulling stuff out of your ass. And it's pretty obvious, so don't even try it."

[Someone suggests you are wrong]

"Oh man, nobody do what this guy did! That was just what I was expecting you'd do."

Re:Here's the Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019107)

Nice. Next time, you can just shorten that to, "I have my fingers in my ears, so don't even try swaying me with 'facts.'"

Re:Here's the Deal (4, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019118)

It's that kind of black and white approach to this and other topics, both by the people and especially the media, that has trivialized the issue at hand.

it's always useful to apply Fisher's deduction:

"The more issues a person attempts to shoehorn down into an artificial liberal/conservative dichotomy, the more certain you can be that the person is an American."

Debate about climate change is a debate in the US because the whole issue is deconstructed and soundbitten into a pair of simplistic politicised extremes with nary a scrap serious reasoning left. If you actually read the IPCC reports, and the peer reviewed criticisms (as opposed to the op-ed pieces) there's a lot less debate than you might think, and neither position is anywhere as extreme as the soundbites and op-eds make out. The climate is warming, we have some decent ideas as to what factors are causing it (and they are many and diverse), and it seems human actions are somewhat of a factor. Don't take my word for it though, actually do some reading on your own.

Jedidiah.

Re:Here's the Deal (4, Interesting)

Budenny (888916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019148)

"Global warming *is* happening, but factually only in the sense that our planet has been getting warmer"

I wouldn't dispute that, since about 1800 it has. But there is a problem, which I've never seen adequately addressed, with the IPCC Hockey Stick curves. This the controversy with Mann et al. We do know from historical evidence that there actually was a Medieval Warm period, and the evidence is that it was hotter than now. There was also a cool period in around 1700. Both of these vanish from the record with the IPCC hockey stick curves. Then, if you get into how these curves were derived, lets say just that the derivation is very remote from any observational evidence.

So two things trouble one. First, the rewriting of history without apparent reason. Second, the lack of any explanation of what caused the Medieval Warm period. Not human activity, that's for sure - or at least, not the industrial revolution. And what caused the decline after it?

Positive feedback couldn't stay stable this long (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019009)

In the planet's history there have been many fluctuations in temperature larger than what we are seeing currently. If water vapor were truly positive feedback ( and of such magnitude that we need orry about it ), then the climate would have already settled in a very hot or very cold state. But it hasn't. Therefore there must be some stabilizing negative-feedback mechanism at work that we don't know about. It might involve water vapor, it might not.

worst summary ever (3, Insightful)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019031)

So greenhouse gases are causing the earth to get warmer, thus increasing the rate of evaporation of water above previous levels.

And somehow its the water vapor that is released from this evaporation, from increased heating, that is warming the earth?

If I hit my tumb with a hammer, and it starts bleeding. It would be like saying it is the blood that is causing the pain.

Worst article summary ever!

Re:worst summary ever (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019151)

The analogy is almost correct. Now imagine the blood did cause pain, perhaps even more pain than the initial hammer blow. (Who knows, perhaps you an Alien?)

But what's the solution?
A. Soak up the blood temporarily untill it bleeds back out causing more pain again.
B. Stop hitting your fingers with a freakin' hammer.

Why none of it matters at all (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019033)


I think it's time to admit that we're all in a race with each other to use fossil fuels.

The fact is most of the coal and petroleum will be burned, one way or another. The question is, who gets the benefit?

Those that race to burn it first get the benefit. Anyone that reduces their consumption suffers with a competitive disadvantage.

It's a classic tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org] situation.

If this is true, what about hydrogen fuel cells? (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019047)

The exhaust from combustion of hydrogen is water vapor. If this is a more serious greenhouse gas than originally thought, can hydrogen really be considered an eco-friendly fuel? We'd probably have to have condenser units in the role of catalytic converters in hydrogen power cars.

Re:If this is true, what about hydrogen fuel cells (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019110)

Are you fucking serious? Are people really this dumb? What the hell man. Fucking honestly. Seriously. What the fuck?

Eh... (1)

Now.Imperfect (917684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019068)

What avout the Sun's age? I've read the Sun is getting hotter, and of course it'd be getting hotter since the sun is getting older.

Re:Eh... (1)

Capitalist1 (127579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019125)

Add to the mix the fact that the other planets are warming up, too, and you've found out the secret. Welcome to the club.

Re:Eh... (1)

therodent (253032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019181)

Other planets are warming up too? I have not heard this one.

Water vapor biproduct of hydrogen fuel? (1)

ssundberg (539828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019098)

Hydrogen-powered engines have been bandied about as a solution to using petroleum. So, wouldn't the use of hydrogen increase water vapor and -- and as a result -- contribute to global warming to much the same degree as the use of internal combustion engines?

Enough already (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14019106)

It's clear from all the discussions in previous articles about global warming that no amount of science is going to convince anyone of anything.

Therefore, I'm sticking with the eminently reasonable position that global warming is caused by Republicans.

Re:Enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019126)

And I stick to the position that "Global Warming" is caused by all the hot air coming out of Climate "Scientists".

Have a nice day.

Fir5t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019114)

fly...don3't Fear

In the models all along. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019154)

I'm pretty sure this has been a part of the greenhouse effect model all along--I have a strong memory of reading forecasts of exactly this at least ten years ago.

Simple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14019174)

These climatologist chaps are smart people. But generally they are involved in a lot of fabrication and cover-up when it comes to climate change. This George, the President of the United States, has gone on the record as saying there is no such thing as climate change. If you live in the US, to openly defy the president is to risk death by violent anal intrusion.
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