The Motley Fool Discussion Boards
Miscellaneous / Climate Change
|Subject: Re: IT's all a scam! Gov't comes clean||Date: 9/6/2013 3:04 AM|
|Author: AstroPhool||Number: 44805 of 71115|
This entire thread is a prime example of the old maxim about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. Let me go through this mishmash of pseudoscience piece-by-piece. But before I start, be aware that this "research article" came from "Principia Scientific International". Thsi isn't a real professional organization -- it appears to exist solely to discredit the idea that greenhouse gases warm the earth. Its first Chair was Tim Ball, who had a pivotal role in establishing PSI.
Now to the science ...
NASA's Langley Research Center has collated data proving that “greenhouse gases” actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun.
This statement is PSI's spin. And what exactly are these "harmful solar rays"?
The data was collected by Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, (or SABER). SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth’s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances thought to be playing a key role in the energy balance of air above our planet’s surface.
NASA's Langley Research Center instruments show that the thermosphere not only received a whopping 26 billion kilowatt hours of energy from the sun during a recent burst of solar activity, but that in the upper atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide molecules sent as much as 95% of that radiation straight back out into space.
This statement describing SABER is correct, although I haven't confirmed the energy values quoted. There is no contradiction between the paragraph above and greenhouse theory. The "harmful solar rays" being referred to are high-energy electrons from the solar wind. These electrons *never* reach the Earth's surface, whether the solar wind is active or not. Electrons are charged particles and they are mostly deflected away from the Earth by the Earth's magnetic field. A small number get trapped in the Earth's magnetic field and spiral down toward the Earth's magnetic poles. They end up exciting oxygen and nitrogen molecules high in the upper atmosphere (the very tenuous mesosphere), which causes the aurora. These electrons never reach the earth's surface or into the denser parts of the atmosphere responsible for weather. The energy contribution to the heating of the Earth by this "leakage" from the solar wind is negligible. Think about it! -- do you really believe that the aurora are a significant source of heating, enough to significantly affect the Earth's energy balance? Have you ever spent a winter in the Yukon?
The way the aurora forms is simple: solar wind electrons collide with atoms in the Earth's atmosphere and in doing so occasionally excite one of these atoms to an excited energy level or state. Atoms or molecules don't like to stay in an excited state for long, and try to get