RE: The North Pole is Missing! [NYT]

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From: Jim Whitehead (
Date: Mon Aug 21 2000 - 13:55:15 PDT

Two factors aren't addressed here:

(a) Heat on planet Earth is not stored only in the rocks and soil -- a fair
amount is trapped in the atmosphere itself, in water vapor. H2O(g) is the
most potent greenhouse gas, far more than CO2. It's not a topic of
discussion because, on a planet whose surface is predominantly water,
limiting water vapor seems pretty pointless. If you reflect the heat away
from the ground, you will end up increasing the heat in the atmosphere.

(b) Similar to the water vapor, if you reflect more energy back intot he
atmosphere, it will increase the amount of energy retained by CO2, methane,
and other greenhouse gasses. They absorb energy equally well no matter what
direction a photon strikes them.

Still, I agree with the article's closing sentiments -- technical solutions
to global warming should be on the table, not just rejected out of hand.
Although, since the entire article is premised on global warming being
something that we should be concerned with, taking a swipe at "greens" seems
a little like biting the hand that feeds you.

- Jim

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