COLD BURN: Science journalist Russell Seitz (one of the rare guys who looks good in a bow tie), writing in Tech Central Station says that “Preoccupied with constant vigilance on ozone depleting gases, and greenhouse heavyweights with the lifetime of Methuselah, the Jeremiah’s of the atmospheric modeling world neglected to pay much attention to the flyweight champion of the Greens, hydrogen.”
Seitz says that “As usual, the answer required a lot of calculation, and Cal Tech scientists only applied themselves to the requisite calculating when it became evident that the Bush administration was getting serious about the future of the hydrogen economy.”
A growing amount of hydrogen has radical implications for the Earth’s ozone layer, as well as the potential for global cooling:
But there’s more, and it will not give Greenpeace joy.
Clouds happen. The higher water vapor goes, the more counterintuitive things it can do. Above the stratosphere lies the mesosphere, where higher grows colder, again. There is no law that says natural history has to be simple, and sure enough, after the mesosphere comes the thermosphere, where higher is very hot indeed. But in the high region where the stratosphere and mesosphere merge, water can turn to ice, and wispy, but spectacularly reflective noctilucent clouds can alter the Earth’s albedo. The paler the planet gets, the less solar energy heat it collects, and when that energy gets reflected by the highest of clouds, it’s the stratosphere that feels the cooling.
What’s more, adding hydrogen can change the concentration of hydrogen dependant chemical species, like the hydroxl radical, which affect the lifetime in the atmosphere of everything from methane to carbon monoxide. So all previous modeling work will have to be repeated with corrections for the hypothetical future hydrogen that has so far been overlooked.
As Seitz says, “Pass the popcorn; this is getting interesting again.” He’s right–read the whole thing. (Possibly a couple of times–it’s writing that’s dense with scientific jargon, but fascinating stuff nonetheless.)
UPDATE: Speaking of scientists and global warming, Iain Murray, a member in good standing of The Volokh Conspiracy, says, “greenhouse theory is manipulated”:
The base theory suggests warming that isn’t happening to the extent it should. Science then suggests something else. A new theory is produced, or an old one updated, to make the new data fit with the base theory. Worst-case scenarios are dreamed up and promulgated, normally worse than before. Action is then demanded now from policy-makers to avert the worst-case scenario.
Whatever this is, it isn’t real science. It’s science distorted to fit a politically-accepted view of nature. Those who question the progress of the science are vilified and pilloried. Galileo would recognize what’s going on here, I think.
Even more damning, Shell of Across The Atlantic compares the global warming scientists to creationists.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Sgt. Stryker weighs in on a similar story.