Here’s why our collective focus on high and rising CO2 as an agent of global warming and climate change is misplaced. But at the same time our need to reduce CO2 emissions is more urgent than ever.
Fossil CO2 that has been and is being spewed into the planetary air and oceans is indeed the root of a major planetary environmental crisis. Part of that crisis may indeed become one of climate change but that is a long slow path.
The most immediate, potent, and dangerous role of CO2 on this planet is in how the majority of life, plant life, is inseparably tied to CO2 and as such so are we.
There is a crisis of CO2 on this planet. It is one of how high and rising CO2 is devastating plant life in oceans. Ocean plankton pastures are dying from the effects of our deadly CO2. Those ocean plants make 85% or more our oxygen.
If you can breathe thank ocean phyto-plankton for that!
What has happened is that climate physicists have Lorded over the world of climate and environmental science for decades based on some nonsensical assumptions they made which excluded the role of life on this planet when it came to creating their simplistic theories and models of climate physics. One can’t really blame them for their narrow-mindedness and the exclusion of the impossibly complexities of biology in creating simple computer models that can only handle a variables for which physical “Laws” dictate behaviour. But then again it is imperative that such criticisms be seen.
The chart here shows the actual data that shows rising CO2 which ought to have had, in lock step, water vapour rising. In fact the water vapour content of the air is falling in opposition to the CO2 levels.
Global warming and climate change models are programmed with an alarmingly false assumption. All such models use as a foundation that carbon dioxide is a major driver of global temperature via a forcing mechanism. They accept that the changes in amounts of CO2 we are facing and projecting don’t have this driving quality inherent in the CO2 alone.
So the modellers took the next step and forced the models to assume that as carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere even slightly, more water will evaporate (water vapour is a much stronger greenhouse gas), thereby producing “an enhanced greenhouse effect” i.e., a strong positive feedback producing a much larger warming.
Why would anyone physical scientist think otherwise, we all know that the warmer the water, the more it evaporates! And of course on this blue planet of mostly water the amount of water vapour in the air must all come from the evaporation of that vast blue resource that covers 70% of the planet!
Two sets of facts now belie these foundational precepts of global warming and climate change models. The role of warming in forcing the more potent water vapour into the air is proving to be simply overwhelmed by other factors that control water vapour in the air. As CO2 has increased water vapour in the air has gone in the opposite direction!
That obvious answer to this dilemma is that the key factor influencing the amount of water vapour in the air is NOT mere temperature and the physical evaporation constants of water.
The principal controlling factor for how much water vapour is in the air is life itself. Yikes that dang biology, actually I like to think ecology, how dare it stick its upstart nose into the air of the Queen of Science — Her Royal Highness Physics.
What the data suggests is that according to global warming model dogma declining water vapour ought to be offsetting or even overpowering the global warming effects of CO2. And that is exactly what we are seeing in the world.
In short what controls the most abundant and potent “greenhouse gas,” water vapour, is not temperature but rather plant life!
Here’s two things to remember about plant life on this planet.
1. Not all plant life on the planet is the same…. some plants live on land in the dirt, but even more plants live in the oceans in water. Read this post about the Yin and Yang of life on this blue planet. for more on this idea.
2. CO2 effects both plants on land and in the oceans but not in the way many might think. Here’s a link to a post on how plants on land are the principal source of water vapour in the air!
So there you have it. Plant life, biology, runs this planet. And plants are very powerful … high and rising CO2 is greening our terrestrial plant ecosystems…
Seems like a good thing, more CO2 = more Yin, however too much Yin is killing our ocean pasture ecosystems, the far larger and more important Yang of the planet.
Yikes just when we thought we had it down… OK here’s the short take away.
High and rising CO2 = VERY BAD
Simple minded physics models = feh!
Solutions? = Choose Ocean Life! 40 million salmon can’t be wrong
Here’s a short version of the story of CO2, plants, water vapour, and global warming or lack thereof.
The recent leveling off of global warming is not evidence against the long term trend of warming.
A more plausible reason that in our high and rising CO2 world “warming” is leveling off has to be the result of a countervailing driver. That CO2 driven counter force is the role CO2 has on enhancing plant growth and at the same time reducing plant losses of water to the air.
The warming models all assumed that CO2 would drive slight rises in temperature that would drive large rises in water vapour in the air from evaporation. Given water vapour is the much more potent greenhouse gas compared to CO2 it was/is the expected extra water vapour that would produce the sustained warming that has failed to show up.
Herein lies the blunder of the climate physicists and their models. Just as one would expect the slow pace of CO2 plant changes take decades to be revealed in the global picture. Plants are responsible for more water vapour in the air than is temperature driven evaporation. The plants have dramatically slowed their contribution of water vapour and the warming slows.