Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Global Dimming

The Unintended Consequences of Addressing Global Atmospheric Pollution

Global Dimming is the reduction of sunlight striking the earth's surface as a result of particulate matter in the earth's atmosphere. "Particulate matter may be generated by natural processes (e.g., pollen, bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, yeast, salt spray, soil from erosion)," suggests a paper titled Particulate Matter TSP and PM-10 in Minnesota, "or through human activities, including diesel trucks[all forms of fossil-fuel transport], power plants, wood stoves[and oil, NG, and coal stoves] and industrial processes." It is also affected by chemtrails, contrails and aerosols such as CFCs.[2]

Particulates are differentiated from atmospheric gases such as carbon-dioxide, sulfur-dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. It is, in fact, these two different categories of atmospheric pollutants with their opposite effects that I prefer the title Climate Change over Global Warming. It more accurately reflects the variety of effects of anthropogenic atmospheric pollution than does global warming alone.

Recent studies suggest that global dimming was responsible for a global temperature reduction or .5-2.3C per decade from the 1950s through the 1980s[2, 3]. At first glance this appears implausible in the face of the mounting volume of evidence supporting global warming. How can you have global warming and global cooling at the same time? This was the paradox for decades in the study of the impact of atmospheric pollution on global climate. Scientists wanted to treat the whole atmosphere and all the human-caused pollution together, as a single phenomenon.

Can't be done.

Earth's atmosphere is very complex, with or without considering greenhouse gasses, aerosols, particulates and other pollutants. One can no more understand it without understanding all of the constituents than one can understand the oceans without understand what they are composed of. To try to understand the impact of atmospheric pollution on global climate by only studying greenhouse gasses ultimately leads to an incomplete and inaccurate picture.

Atmospheric pollutants fall into a number of distinct categories, each with its own impact on global climate. There are, of course, the greenhouse gasses (natural and anthropogenic) like CO2, SO2 and methane. But there are other critical components as well; water vapour, fine particulates (natural and anthropogenic), course particulates (natural and anthropogenic), aerosols, and more. There are natural sources for many of the particulates in the atmosphere (e.g., pollen, bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, yeast, salt spray, soil from erosion) as well as many resulting from human activity. In general the man-made fine particulates originate from our burning of fossil fuels.

The different categories of atmospheric pollutants have been the source of several major paradoxes and contradictions in climate study, such as being both a source of global warming and global cooling at the same time. Other contradictions included particulates being responsible for both a reduction in photosynthesis and an increase in photosynthesis, global dimming being responsible for increased droughts and increased cloud cover at the same time, particulates being responsible for increased cloud cover and being lower during the rainy season, and more. The answers, of course, depend on what type of particulates you are studying, where, when and how you are studying them.

Fine particulates, such as those generated from burning fossil fuels (but also containing a number of serious carcinogens), are lighter than course particulates, stay suspended in the atmosphere for much longer periods of time, occur at much higher altitudes, and travel much greater distances, often many thousand kilometers. They are less likely to settle out of the atmosphere like course particulates and more likely to form the core of rain drops and be removed from the air by precipitation. Fine particulates have been found in air and ice samples at both poles and in air samples from the mid-Pacific far from any land our any source of man-made pollution.

Fine particulates in the atmosphere cause a much greater dispersal and diffusion of sunlight. It is this that scientists now understand increases the overall level of plant photosynthesis as more diffuse light reaches the undergrowth of plants where clean, unfiltered light strikes top layers of plants and casts darker shadows on the undergrowth. This was not fully realized until the 1990s. At this time the concentration of atmospheric particulate matter was on the decline because of global efforts to alleviate atmospheric pollution. While it was expected this would result in an increase in plant photosynthesis it actually resulted in a decrease. It had been believed, up until that point, that higher levels of particulate matter in the atmosphere reduced overall photosynthesis. It does, but this is a result of only the fine particulates. Since course particulates, which cause light diffusion, settle out of the atmosphere more quickly than fine particulates, as the impact of the efforts to reduce global atmospheric pollution began to be felt, it was the course particulates that were reduced first. The greater level of sunlight striking the earth's surface by reducing those course particulates, because the higher levels of diffusion dropped because only the fine particulates were still present, resulted in an overall reduction of photosynthesis as the visible pollution decreased.[2] At the same time the much hoped-for reduction in pollution-induced illness and disease was disappointing.[1] Most of the atmospheric carcinogens and breathable particulates in the atmosphere are fine particulates which persist in the atmosphere for much longer periods than the visible course particulates. Even now, after over a decade of global efforts to reduce visible pollution, major segments of pollution-induced illnesses such as childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments are still on the increase.

The results of the various studies that have finally revealed the full interrelationships between atmospheric pollution, global warming and global dimming have highlighted some truly alarming insights into the impact on agriculture, our ability to produce food, the quality of the food we produce and the overall carrying capacity of the earth both now and in the near-term future on the other side of peak oil and the peak in the other fossil fuels.

1. The impact of global dimming on reducing global temperatures from 1950-1990 softened the impact of global warming during that period. The escalation of global warming as we have tackled visible pollution since 1990, rather than an expected decrease in global warming, indicates that anthropogenic global warming is much greater than studies previously suggested. The introduction of particulates into many of the advanced climate models is validating this.

2. While global dimming increased the overall level of photosynthesis, the greater plant growth resulting was accompanied by a general reduction in plant nutritional value as natural soil fertility is in decline throughout the world.

3. While the arguably beneficial effects of global dimming disappear the full impact of global warming will be on the rise. Growing zones will shift toward the poles with global warming meaning that the means of production will shift increasingly away from the poorest and most densely populated equatorial regions of the planet.

4. The intensity of tropical storms will no longer be neutralized by global dimming but will increase due to accelerated global warming while the water vapour content of the atmosphere which feeds the tropical storms remains high because of the slow removal of fine particulates, which increase cloud formation, from the atmosphere.

5. The increasing levels of soil toxicity that will result from the eventual settling out of the atmosphere of the fine particulates will further degrade the food-producing capability of much of our agricultural soils.

6. The long-term retention in the atmosphere of a still-increasing level of fine particulates still leave us at risk that there may be an interruption of the seasonal shift of the Asian monsoon belt from the tropics to the northern latitude sub-tropics, putting a third of the world's population in China and the rest of Asia at risk from multi-year droughts similar to those that killed hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia and the rest of East Africa during the 1970s and '80s.

7. As the pace of global warming accelerates with the overall reduction of global dimming, the increased atmospheric vapour absorption and retention from the warming and cloud formation from the fine particulates will mean an overall increase in drought levels in the mid latitudes and an overall increase in clouds, precipitation and flooding in the temperate latitudes, most notably in Europe and North America. Both of these will have devastating impacts on agricultural production.

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References
1) Particulate Matter TSP and PM-10 in Minnesota
2) Global Dimming
3) Goodbye sunshine

2 comments:

Steven Craig said...

Science may have missed something Super Cooling that earth just lost, but I being called all kinds of names for pointing it out.

For just saying plants release oxygen from water people claiming to be scientists chemists, biologists and horticulturists called me more names in a few hours then had ever been said directly to my face.

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis, the internet’s largest encyclopedia, I cut and pasted its second sentence under Photosynthesis: “Oxygen is also produced, as a result of splitting water.” I included the address for you to check for yourself.

Several weeks ago, after starting a patent process, I began pointing out on the internet that it appears that theory science has not accounted for earth’s resent 40-90% loss of Atmospheric Photosynthesis, do to the clearing of most of earth’s thick surface vegetation, which would have to have an extreme effect on Global Warming, if this expansion does occur.

At typical earth surface temperatures, when 2 atoms of hydrogen exist in one molecule with one atom of oxygen, they are a condensed into a very dense liquid you may have hard of, water, H2O.
But separated, at these same temperatures, they are very sparse gases unless held under great pressure.

At sea level the difference in weight of water to air is about 800 times. So I added the observation that when Photosynthesis separates the water, (to remove the hydrogen to mix with the carbon they take from Co2 in the air to make Carbohydrates, plant food) the released oxygen (or the space between its atoms) must instantly expand somewhere around 800 times.

If the oxygen released from water did not expand as it reverted back into gas from liquid it would exist at 800 times greater density then the sounding atmosphere at seal level can maintain without being contained, which also means that this density would keep the liquid oxygen at 297.3 degrees below zero (F), (liquid Condensation point for oxygen ).

It would make no difference if Photosynthesis is a thermal, chemical, mechanical or a photo reaction because neither it nor the plants burn or use up the oxygen, so it still started as liquid about 800 more dense then its gaseous state at seal level so no matter what process they theorize about, it still has to expand into our environment. Here is why this may be so important:

Expansion is nature’s only one step super cooling process, for three simple reasons:
1. Heat always comes from a heat source.
2. Cold is only the lack of heat. No heat would be absolute cold.
3. So as matter expands the heat in it is spread out thus casing cooling, unless another heat source, like (friction) was also added.

We often think of heat causing expansion, but the heat came first, as the resulting expansion is the matter trying to cool itself down. A fire cracker may reach 3000 degrees in the first .0001 of a second after it ignites, but before that same second ends it's hottest piece may not be over 300 degrees, still hot enough to burn so we don't notice the cooling of expansion.

An expansion rate of 800 times would be a massive expansion greatly thinning the heat because the same amount must now heat the same mass at 800 times more volume, thus the temperature of the expanded oxygen has to plummet.
But no one making up theories has accounted for this.

It is not easy to notice because earth also gets its new oxygen gas massively cold one molecule at a time spread out over countless square miles of the surface of green vegetation, instead of the nuzzle of a spray can, but we can feel a coolness in leaves during strong growth or food production, on a hot day in direct sun.

So after realizing that earth has been cleared of its natural mechanism that normally counteracts extra heat sources, (more heat causes more sea evaporation thus causing more rain to spark more Photosynthesis), no Global Warming theory can be accurate if they did not account for the bitter cold effects of oxygen’s expansion, being reduced by likely over 50%.

With over one hundred responses that called me names, from people claiming to be pros, the closest they came to explaining how greatly compressed Oxygen does not expand was a guy claiming to be a scientist saying that “the oxygen released by plants comes from CO2, not water, so it is already a gas”.

This is so basic that all theories about GW are not valid without this consideration. So after the science world has pointed out fossil fuels as the cause, it turns out we simple mowed down earth’s natural cooling system.

They blame the CO2 that if the forests were not removed would have been converted into plant food instead of air pollution.

They want to launch a space umbrella when all that is needed is to divert the fresh water that just flows out major rivers into the salty seas (and desalinization) to the hottest deserts, so they can generate massive amounts of Atmospheric Photosynthesis, year around.

Denial is the common reaction of intellectuals when they missed something extremely obvious.

Paul Harvey recently told a "Rest of the Story" about the American Medical Society rejecting the idea that surgeons should also wash their hands for 40 years after some Europeans proved that infections are caused by contamination.

Maybe one year of denial is mistake or an oversight, but 40 years is a standard operating procedure for intellectuals who assume they already know.

I could easily be wrong but not a single response explained how a liquid becomes a gas without expanding, in a way any average person with a calculating mind could comprehend. But they sound so smart from people with loads of letters after their names that most people would feel stupid for questioning their complication. But I know that sweat, a car motor, a tree or a pot of stew turns liquid into gas it expands. So how can that oxygen released from water not expand?

I even had a man claiming to be a research scientist claiming that expansion is not a cooling effect. Go ask any manufacturing engineer about that.

Because everyday I show myself how little I and humanity actually know, I know I am stupid so I'll just keep asking about this likely missing expansion (major missing cooling effect) because that won't make me feel what I already do. So until someone can explain how this expansion does not happen in a way that can be demonstrated at least in principle, or until sciences admits that it has missed something extremely cold about Global Warming, I'll just keep asking..

Please don't take science's word for things just because they sound smart and complicated, this expansion is only one single step so they should be able to demonstratible it in principle. I won't accept anything else, and the world should not either because if what I suspect is right, then earth's cooling system has been massively reduced by mankind's constant mowing down of earth's thickest vegetation, we may not have 40 years for that typical Intellectual Denial of the most simple things.

One more note, I had a few blow this off because most of earth's oxygen comes from plants in the sea. I don't disagree with that it is just that I see no evidence of an 80% loss in the oceans, just in the atmosphere, and cold sinks anyway.

Steven Craig

BHUVAN CHAND said...

I have a blog containing good information on global warming. Ozone has doubled since the mid-19th century due to chemical emissions from vehicles, industrial processes and the burning of forests, the British climate researchers wrote. Carbon dioxide has also risen over that period. History of global warming is very deep since 1850.