Posted by MataHarley on 27 July, 2008 at 2:56 pm. 36 comments already!

As Curt points out in his post a round up of the AGW and energy news, the debate is raging in Australia , where they are finding resistance to their AGW mandates in the wake of Dave Evans (the man who designed FullCAM – the model that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol) – switch from proponent to skeptic

Meanwhile, enviros and agenda driven pols around the world do their level best to halt any constructive means of affordable, clean energy production, as well as increasing the world’s supply of oil.

There’s no dearth of “cures” offered by “the debate is settled” crowd. And one of these is everyone’s favorite – the electric car. To this I can only say… where is the logic?

To draw the parallel between the “problem” and “cure”, we need to talk water vapor. According to the pro AGW EurCarbon

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gaseous components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes between 9-26%; and ozone, which causes between 3-7%, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons. The greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere, do not remain there eternally. They can be withdrawn from the atmosphere:

Some of the beef of many skeptics is that water vapor is not included as mitigating factor in the IPCC’s “consensus” of perceived global warming – now called “climate change” since the 10 year global cooling, most likely to protect the activists/alarmists’ credibility.

EurCarbon argues that naturally occuring water vapor isn’t a factor since it’s duration in the atmostphere is short term (days) and is removed via condensation and precipitation (assuming that we are not in drought conditions, I would guess) while CO2/carbon dioxide is a variable. Again, according to them…

CO2 duration stay is variable (approximately 200-450 years) and its global warming potential (GWP) is defined as 1.
Methane duration stay is 12 +/- 3 years and a GWP of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide)
Nitrous oxide has a duration stay of 120 years and a GWP of 310
CFC-12 has a duration stay of 102 years and a GWP between 6200 and 7100
HCFC-22 has a duration stay of 12.1 years and a GWP between 1300 and 1400
Tetrafluoromethane has a duration stay of 50,000 years and a GWP of 6500
Sulfur hexafluoride has a duration stay of 3,200 years and a GWP of 23900.

Despite CO2s low rating, and ratio compared to water vapor, per the pro AGW proponents, it’s the main culprit attacked. Which now brings me to one of their solutions… electric cars for everyone.

Yet the hydrogen/electric car engineering emits… uh… water vapor… the single largest greenhouse gas effect. Should the world revert to all electric cars, that’s a lot of water vapor emitted that is dependent on condensation and rain for removal.

So the question that comes to my mind… just what bright lightbulb thinks it’s a great idea to change the world to cars emitting an increased amount of water vapor (the largest contributor to warming), and then depend on preciptation to remove that water vapor?

Let’s pile on more to their arguments… AGW proponents seem to suggest that our action is necessary to reduce reduce tropical storm activity (BS in itself) and other weather disasters Yet those typhoons and hurricanes they wish to control are a natural factor in cleaning out the high content of water vapor, burying it in the oceans. And if we’re adding more water vapor to the atmosphere, exactly how do they propose this will dissipate without falling back to the earth, producing more violent snow and rain storms, flooding, and other natural disasters?

This strikes me as counterproductive, especially since they are talking about adding massive amounts of water vapor with the electric car emissions.

In fact, this whole notion seems to run contrary to AGU’s explanation of Water Vapor in the Climate System.

There are many atmospheric greenhouse gases, some naturally occurring and some resulting from industrial activities, but probably the most important greenhouse gas is water vapor. Water vapor is involved in an important climate feedback loop. As the temperature of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere increases, the atmosphere is able to hold more water vapor. The additional water vapor, acting as a greenhouse gas, absorbs energy that would otherwise escape to space and so causes further warming.

Then we come to the known anomalies of measuring water vapor, and in which level of the atmosphere it is concentrated. It’s variance in not only amounts, but the distribution over the globe, can be seen in as little as minutes, to decades. Again, from the AGU website on water vapor, they fully admit that better ways to study measurements and the water vapor distribution is required to assess the largest contributor to greenhouse gases and it’s effect on climate.

There are questions about how well the current models, both those used in climate studies and those used in forecasting the daily weather, treat water vapor. Modeling would be improved by systematic examination of models’s treatment of water vapor in light of what is now known of its distributions. Some of the questions arise because of the lack of good water vapor observations. The likely benefits of improved water vapor data include better weather forecasts as well as improved climate models.

Different types of measurements are complementary and useful. The challenge is how best to merge the available information on water vapor distribution into an improved description of the time and space variations of water vapor to enhance climate studies.

Since water vapor represents the largest contributor, it seems that is further proof that alarmists are jumping the gun with proposed “cures” for climate control… a rather lofty goal in itself.

Instead… in the effort to curb the global warming that is really global cooling in the past decade… we’re planning on releasing vast amounts more water vapor into the atmosphere. And all without a full understanding of how this will affect climate.

I’m no scientist nor chemist, but there’s something that strikes me as odd here. If the atmosphere will hold less water vapor if we cool the planet, but yet we’re planning on releasing more of it that may end up in the upper atmosphere, aren’t we risking a man-made ice age?? Read more to see how I get to that…

ScienceDaily has a couple of articles about the dangers of increasing water vapor levels… not only those we are proposing with a world filled with electric car emissions, but also methane (which turns to water vapor in the atmosphere). From an April 2001 article, NASA has warned that increasing water vapor in the stratopshere may delay ozone recovery, and accelerate climate change. And this is from a AGW believer, as he states:

“Climate models also indicate that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane may enhance the transport of water into the stratosphere. Though not fully understood, the increased transport of water vapor to the stratosphere seems likely to have been induced by human activities.

“Rising greenhouse gas emissions account for all or part of the water vapor increase,” said Shindell, “which causes stratospheric ozone destruction.”

So now we’re discussing water vapor present in the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere as an effect. A week later, another article was published in the Science Daily, “Most-Serious Greenhouse Gas Is Increasing, International Study Finds”.

“Half the increase in the stratosphere can be traced to human-induced increases in methane, which turns into water vapor at high altitudes, but the other half is a mystery,” said Mote. “Part of the increase must have occurred as a result of changes in the tropical tropopause, a region about 10 miles above the equator, that acts as a valve that allows air into the stratosphere.”

Readings of water vapor increases 3 to 10 miles up are more ambiguous, Mote said.


“A wetter and colder stratosphere means more polar stratospheric clouds, which contribute to the seasonal appearance of the ozone hole,” said James Holton, UW atmospheric sciences chairman and expert on stratospheric water vapor. “These trends, if they continue, would extend the period when we have to be concerned about rapid ozone depletion.”

Atmospheric heating happens when the Earth’s atmosphere and surface absorb solar radiation, while cooling occurs when thermal infrared radiation escapes the atmosphere and goes into space. If certain key gases that absorb and emit infrared radiation, the most important being water vapor and carbon dioxide, were not present in the atmosphere, Earth’s temperature would cool to minus 19 degrees celsius, or minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The global annual mean temperature is 14 degrees celsius.

Consider that statement… CO2 and water vapor keep us from being at a mean average of 2F degrees… I’d say that’s an ice age. Yet here we are, sans complete science on water vapor, in a race to increasing water vapor, and decreasing CO2…. two necessary ingredients for our liveable climate. How do we know what that change in balance will do? Ice age? Or perhaps even more warming instead?

In the NASA site version of the same story, Shindell is quoted:

“It’s hard to tell if those great international agreements [to ban CFCs] work if we don’t understand the other big things that are going on in the stratosphere, such as increases in greenhouse gases and water vapor,” Shindell said. The stratosphere is a dry atmospheric layer between 6 and 30 miles (9.7 and 48.3 kilometers) up where most ozone exists.


One simulation isolated the impacts of CFCs on ozone, and showed that as CFCs decline, by the year 2040 overall ozone makes close to a full recovery from current low levels. When CFCs, water vapor and temperature changes were all combined in a computer model, by 2040, overall ozone levels recovered only slightly from their current low point.

These computer simulations suggest that climate change from greenhouse gases may greatly slow any anticipated ozone recovery. Shindell said the effects of climate change need to be better accounted for as scientists and others try to track the success of international agreements, like the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned CFCs.

The paper appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres.

It can be simply said that what we know most of water vapor is that we know very little … nor have we had adequate technology and accurate measurements to use to study of it’s effects with any degrees of accuracy.

With this increased focus on water vapor, we can also conclude that legislative mandates and cures thrust upon the global community – all with very damaging economic repercussions – are extremely premature. Needless to say, it’s entirely possible their cures are worse than the problem they suggest exists.