Friday, October 01, 2010


"They’re still unwilling to accept that the huge gas giant in the sky can really influence the weather but the car you drive can."

Some climate change news updates. The next report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) apparently is going to include solar activity as a much greater force than previous reports. This is good, since they admitted that in previous warming periods the sun was the primary driving force and it obviously does heavily affect world climate.

Scientists already are pretty certain that sun spot activity is related to global temperature somehow (more spots = warmer, fewer = cooler) and the previous IPCC report specifically mentioned that for previous warming and cooling periods, but dismissed that for this latest warming period.

The Daily Bayonet has a roundup of environmentalist nonsense news every Friday I encourage you to check out, and in the roundup for last week, this number was highlighted:

3.86×1026 J is the amount of energy put out by the Sun every second. It’s a big number. Even varying it by 0.1% is still a big number.

380 parts per million is (roughly) the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s a small number. It gets smaller when you take out all the natural sources of CO2 and accept that man’s contribution is only a very small percentage of that 380 ppm.

Which do you suppose might affect the weather more?

Let me put that number into more easily visualized form:

The sun puts out 386,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy per second of which about 30-40%* actually hits the earth (because the rest is blasted out in other directions from the sphere of the sun). That's every second of every day, of every year, of every century, of every millennia, as long as the earth has existed.

*Commenter Tom Dickson-Hunt corrects my estimate here: "The Earth is tiny in the sphere of its orbit; the real number is in the neighborhood of 10^-5 %. "

By comparison your 100 watt lightbulb puts out 100 joules per second. A .44 caliber handgun bullet puts out 450 joules on a very small point of impact. The head of a matchstick has about 1000 joules of energy in it.

That sun is so hot it burns skin in a matter of hours and can completely blacken and burn tissue within days. Its so hot it warms an entire planet in a matter of hours by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That immense ball of energy up there affects the temperature of the earth - and every other planet in the solar system.

Oh, and that arctic sea ice that Al Gore is weeping over? A recently released peer-reviewed (the magic words which the alarmist loves to throw around) study shows that arctic sea ice in the north pole is unusually high these days. Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That has the details:
A peer-reviewed paper published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences finds that Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the 20th century was more extensive than most of the past 9000 years. The paper also finds that Arctic sea ice extent was on a declining trend over the past 9000 years, but recovered beginning sometime over the past 1000 years and has been relatively stable and extensive since.
This begs one of those questions alarmists never seem to be able to answer: what, exactly, is the proper temperature of the earth? How do we know if its getting too warm or cold, unless you have that number? Preservationists seem to think that the way things were when they were younger is the way they should remain forever without any change. The world just ain't like that, kids.


alethiophile said...

The number 30-40% for amount of solar radiation that hits Earth is just plain wrong. The Earth is tiny in the sphere of its orbit; the real number is in the neighborhood of 10^-5 %. About 30% of the solar radiation that hits the earth's atmosphere hits the surface, but that's a very different number.

Christopher Taylor said...

Thanks for the correction, I was making an estimate without actually looking up the data! I'll correct the post accordingly.

Donutwarrior said...

You should check out "The Chilling Stars" by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder. This provides the link between sunspots and temperature on earth. The sunspot cycle is connected with changes in the sun's magnetic field, which is strongest during periods of high sunspot numbers and lowest during low number periods. The sun's magnetic field shields earth from a varying fraction of cosmic rays (charged particles emanating from supernovae). This results in lower flux during high sunspot number times, (like 1990, 2001). The particles create a wake of ions as they enter earth's atmosphere which form the nucleii of cloud particles. Thus earth's overall cloud cover is partly a function of varying cosmic ray flux. This would (and I believe does) have a significant impact on earth's "tempearture". This theory has the advantage of actually having been tested experimentally. While it is early for this theory, and much work needs to be done, I think this is a better explanation of things than CO2 "forcing". Satellite measurements of earth's radiation budget (measurements of how much is "trapped" by the greenhouse effect) do not conform with AGW theory, ie no evidence of trapped radiation. AGW is a bogus theory, I believe.

I used to believe in AGW, but after some research concluded it is more a theory of taxing and money for more research than good science.