Global Cooling

3 03 2013

For at least twelve months now, Climate Change deniers have been arguing that the planet hasn’t warmed for sixteen years, something that really gets up my nose…..  For some time, I’ve been arguing that it’s likely a considerable amount of energy (heat) trapped beneath the CO2 blanket we have created for ourselves has been used up to melt the ice in the North Polar region.phasechange

Phase change is what occurs when a solid becomes a liquid, or a liquid becomes a gas.  Like ice >> water >> steam.  The amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a set amount of ice by one degree, say from -40°C to -39°C is a well known and defined quantity.  But as the ice reaches 0°C and starts melting, something odd occurs……  it takes 80 times as much energy to fetch the next degree and turn the ice to water.  Try this experiment…  fill a saucepan with ice cubes, and stick a thermometer in it.  The water forming at the bottom will be at 0°C for as long as there is ice in it.  Now put the saucepan on the stove (ensuring the thermometer isn’t touching the metal base of the saucepan).  The water temperature won’t rise, until at least most of the ice has disappeared.  Where’s the heat gone?  Into melting the ice………..  The same thing happens with water boiling.  Once the temperature of the water has reached 100°C, it won’t go any higher (water cannot exist at 101°C – at least not at normal atmospheric pressure), the heat is going into making steam.

Now while I still believe the extraordinary level of ice cap melting at the North Pole must be responsible for some of the “missing” warming, a new study seems to have found the major culprit……

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight—dozens of volcanoes spewing Sulphur dioxide.

The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulphuric acid and that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet.

Neely said previous observations suggest that increases in stratospheric aerosols since 2000 have counterbalanced as much as 25 percent of the warming scientists blame on human . “This new study indicates it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been slowing the warming of the planet,” said Neely, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a joint venture of CU-Boulder and the .

The new project was undertaken in part to resolve conflicting results of two recent studies on the origins of the sulphur dioxide in the stratosphere, including a 2009 study led by the late David Hoffman of NOAA indicating aerosol increases in the stratosphere may have come from rising emissions of sulphur dioxide from India and China. In contrast, a 2011 study led by Vernier—who also provided essential observation data for the new GRL study—showed moderate volcanic eruptions play a role in increasing particulates in the stratosphere, Neely said.

volcanic so2

So there you have it.  Climate Change is not going away any time soon, which is a great shame really, if there’s one thing I’d like to be wrong about, it’s this one.

I just wish all those deniers out there would have a little more faith in Science, because eventually scientists will get to the bottom of everything, and as long as the deniers have the capacity to slow or even halt any progress to do anything about the dilemmas we now face, the harder we will fall.

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7 responses

3 03 2013
Don

On Deniers
I find it amazing the way climate change deniers accept scientific discovery and fact when this produces things that they like or things that make their lives more interesting and comfortable, but when science comes up with discoveries that they don’t like they refuse to accept them.

4 03 2013
gbell12

So if the scientists (Hansen, et al) who predicted warming for the last few decades neglected to include something as basic as phase change, how can we trust them to have gotten the more complicated stuff right?

4 03 2013
Don

Read the article gbell12, the scientists have not gotten(??) it wrong. It’s just that the output of volcanoes has changed in the meantime. The scientists do not have a crystal ball and only say that their studies indicate unlike amateurs who are always certain.

4 03 2013
gbell12

Read my reply, Don. I’m addressing Mike’s idea that phase change has absorbed some of the extra atmospheric energy.

4 03 2013
mikestasse

To start with, you have to realise that when the IPCC releases a new report, it’s an amalgamation of thousands of different scientists’ opinions, and it’s the IPCC’s task to reach “consensus”…. or in other words, some sort of “average outcome”.

Some, like Hansen, are quite adamant that things are actually a lot worse than the IPCC’s reporting….. so I wouldn’t quite go criticising him….. the ice IS melting a lot faster than was ever predicted, but I’m sure that SOME of the scientists predicted exactly what is happening…. while others were more conservative. Whose work would YOU accept?

Models are fine tuned AFTER observing events. So now the ice is melting faster, they’ll have to work out why, and add those reasons to the model. AND don’t forget, I am no climate scientist, so the chances I am completely wrong would hardly be surprising..!

I’m of the opinion that trying to model the world’s climate, not to mention the changes we are causing by our reckless consumption, has to be just about the hardest thing ever undertaken. Landing on the Moon is a picnic in the park by comparison. I personally hold those guys in the highest esteem… especially when you think about the way they are constantly under attack from all the vested interests from all over the world….

2 04 2013
Stu L

Yeah okay then, so why is Antarctica’s ice extent increasing?

2 04 2013
mikestasse

It’s not THAT simple…….. for starters, its ice is increasing on one side and decreasing on the Antarctic shelf side. Increasing ice in Antarctica is perfectly in line with global warming modelling. Higher temperature means more evaporation = more snow fall. BUT, snow freezes at ANY temperature below zero… so temperature can go up, and ice still increases. We won’t see the shit hit the fan there until it gets warm enough to melt the whole lot, by which time we will be in deep deep water!

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