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Human climate disruption [Jun. 18th, 2006|09:27 pm]
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Update post coming soon, but first:

I read this annoying editorial in the newspaper this morning about global warming (which I'm going to refer to as "human climate disruption" instead, because calling it "global warming" misleads the discussion). Actually, I only read about half of it, because as I said, it was annoying.

I was pondering a counter-letter to the editor, but then I realized that it was unlikely to do any good if I didn't address the issues in contention. If you're going to try and change somebody's mind with new information, you have to figure out what information would actually matter, or all you're going to do is add heat to the disagreement.

And so, a quiz:

So, whaddaya think about anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change?

A) It's totally happening
B) A lot of people say it's true, but I'm not convinced
C) I hear arguments for and against, and I'm not sure what to think
D) I think it's some kind of hoax
E) Other

If you answered anything other than A, I'd like to try and change your mind, so leave a comment explaning why (generally speaking) you don't find the idea persuasive.

I was thinking that I'd write a short explanation of the physics involved, because it's actually pretty straightforward. But I want to know whether that's actually where the disagreement arises...

[User Picture]From: madbodger
2006-06-19 02:42 pm (UTC)
I don't agree that it's that simple at all. You seem to be assuming that releasing trapped carbon and the resulting carbon dioxide and its infrared absorbtion are the whole problem. And this is where I disagree.

Yes, CO2 absorbs some infrared wavelengths. Others, it doesn't. Remember that it does this in both directions (IR coming to earth and IR coming from earth). Now add in carbon monoxide, methane, oxygen (and ozone), water vapor, and many other gases, along with their effects. And the changing albedo of earth, which of course also varies with wavelength. And those are just some of the first order effects. Simple? Hardly.

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