Rushville Republican

October 29, 2013

Man is no match for atmosphere

By Paul W. Barada
Rushville Republican

---- — I have always suspected that all the consternation regarding global warming caused by man’s use of fossil fuels was overstated. It just has never made sense that anything done by man could significantly alter the temperature of this massive planet. The belief that mankind could, through the use of fossil fuels, increase the temperature of the planet really overestimates, I believe, the influence of man. I have also suspected that the atmosphere surrounding the earth was so huge, for lack of a better term, that man’s use of fossil fuels could easily be absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere without changing its temperature at all. It would be like emptying a bottle of red ink in the ocean and expecting all the water to turn pink! The atmosphere is just too vast for anything man does to impact its natural cycles of warming and cooling.

Now there is some solid research to back up my speculations. Not long ago I read an article by Doug McKelway that appeared on FoxNews.com. Here’s part of what McKelway wrote: “A peer-reviewed climate change study released...by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change finds the threat of man-made global warming to be not only exaggerated but so small as to be ‘embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system and not dangerous.”

The study, which is a 1,000 page document, was prepared by 47 scientists and scholars who examined most of the same journals and studies prepared by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change and came up with entirely different conclusions. If this new study is correct, one has to ask what the economic consequences will be as a result of the recent increase in regulatory restrictions on the fossil fuel industry, which includes the use of coal, natural gas, and oil to produce energy. The study, according to the author, “...provides the scientific balance that is missing from the overly alarmist reports [that] are highly selective in their review of climate science.”

In addition, a new United Nations report shows that “surface temperature increases have been statistically insignificant for the last 15 years, and that Antarctic sea ice is increasing, not decreasing. Furthermore, “new satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice show it has increased this year.”

Those who contend that the earth is getting warming can whip out studies that support their point of view, but it’s also clear that all sorts of studies can be developed with the intention of producing a desired result “because they support their political interests, not because they represent good science.”

Well, imagine that! Who would have thought that the myth of global warming could produce a whole industry devoted to the restriction of the use of fossil fuels in favor of wind mills, alternate sources of renewable energy, and all sorts of novel schemes that, as far as I can tell, usually don’t work. From a geopolitical standpoint, one has to wonder how much longer we’re going to remain dependent on foreign oil when we have plenty of reserves right here in the United States - particularly in light of the fact that it’s very clear that mankind isn’t doing much of anything to harm the atmosphere.

Just to give an idea of how much “atmosphere” there is surrounding the earth, most scientists agree that it goes up 36,000 feet from the surface. Above that altitude the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner to the point where scientists say “outer space” begins at about sixty-two miles above the earth’s surface. So, how much atmosphere is there surrounding the earth? Expressed in cubic miles its 1,007,633,587 or stated another way, it’s one billion seven million, six hundred and thirty three thousand, five hundred and eighty seven cubic miles. What’s a cubic mile, you ask? A cubic mile is as the volume of a cube with sides of one mile in length. So, there are well over a billion cubic miles of atmosphere surrounding the earth. That’s a lot of atmosphere!

More importantly, our atmosphere doesn’t just sit around the earth. It’s a dynamic and ever changing gaseous entity, the study points out, composed primarily of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% argon, and .03% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. And as everybody knows, it is the movement of the atmosphere that gives us our weather patterns. Some days are rainy, some sunny, some windy, some a combination of various weather conditions, depending on the season of the year. Other factors also influence our weather, but with over a billion cubic miles of atmosphere, it only makes sense that there isn’t much the human race can do to adversely affect anything that large! When one considers that the atmosphere also tends to cleanse itself as atmospheric circulation takes place throughout that one billion cubic miles, it makes it even more unlikely that anything mankind can do to pollute something that vast and that dynamic!

Does it make sense to avoid polluting the atmosphere? Sure it does, but it seems clear that man isn’t doing any major damage to the atmosphere that should cause us to avoid using fossil fuels that are right beneath our feet. Protecting the atmosphere is obviously a worthwhile thing to do - as long as we don’t let the effort become an excuse to support senseless political interests!

That’s -30-for this week.