Monday, February 18, 2013

Toldja so. I think.

Some years ago, so my memory could well be, shall we say, inexact, I suggested at Thought Mesh that the 144,000 terawatt hours of annual global energy use could — must — be contributing to the increase in global temperatures.

AOG, whose technical and mathematical skills dwarf my own, was singularly unimpressed. His argument, and it persuaded me, was human energy use was such a small proportion of that coming from the sun that, while true in theory, as a matter of practical fact the effect would be immeasurably small.

Yes, but. According to A New Study:

Researchers using a computer model of the atmosphere found that activities from urban areas can warm the air as far as 1,000 miles away. In some areas, that increase was as much as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

The temperature changes were caused by human behavior in cities, like heating buildings and powering vehicles, rather than natural heat that was captured by paved surfaces. The heat entered the atmosphere directly above cities, the scientists said, but was then dispersed by the natural movements of the global jet stream.

As it happens, Watts Up With That has noticed that many weather measuring stations are poorly cited in ways that must result in systematically biasing temperature readings upwards.

However, if this article says what I think it says, and if The Study is sound, then two things must be true:

  • Since most weather stations are where people are, and most people are near urban areas, then most even apparently well cited stations are, in fact, irretrievably poorly situated. Consequently, their temperature changes over time are, at least in part, proxies for economic activity.
  • The magnitude of the urban induced temperature change is very nearly the magnitude of global warming over the last forty years. Therefore, temperature records may be, albeit indirectly, measuring the global urbanization occurring over the same period.
Unsurprisingly, "to better represent the effects of global warming, climate scientists should consider incorporating the effects of urban areas, they concluded." If this sentence says what I think it says, then it means that what has been taken for greenhouse gas induced climate change is, in fair measure, actually a simple consequence of energy usage. Which, in turn, means that climate change must be less disastrous than Warmenists believe, and that the only way to reduce such warming as there has been is to return to the stone age.

Which Warmenists may believe and desire, but will not admit.


Blogger Bret said...

And speaking of Restating the Obvious, here's a excerpt from one of today's posts:

"The [telescope] is intended to spot an extrasolar planet whose inhabitants use 1% or more of their star's energy. (Earth is at about 0.4%.)"

These seems to imply that human energy consumption is not infinitesimal compared to the solar energy the earth receives. (On the other hand, I can't quite make sense of the rest of the numbers in that post, so don't bet your life on this one either).

February 18, 2013 10:17 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Yeah, I realized that was ludicrous the moment I read it. I provided some more reasonable numbers in a response.

The 1% number is what is meant by a Type II Civilization and it is huge beyond vastness compared to a Type I like ours. It is further beyond us than we are beyond the Stone Age.

February 18, 2013 10:25 PM  

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