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Sun, Oct. 20

Letter to the editor: Physics vs. ‘local facts’


I recall T. Cantlon claimed that global warming was caused by mankind emitting CO2 in the atmosphere and the effects of the sun were minimal, or words to that effect. The sun with a surface temperature of 5,800 degrees K produces about 3.9x10(exp 26) watts, according to the Stefan-Boltzman radiation equation. This equation can be applied to determine the power output and solar array size of Earth-based solar arrays as well as that of satellites. The amount of energy captured by the Earth and its atmosphere at the distance from the sun of 149.6x10(exp 6) km is 4.25x10(exp 18) watt-hours over one day. By comparison, the global consumption of oil is about 90 million barrels of oil, or 3,780 gallons a day Assuming all the oil is refined as gasoline, this amounts to 1.4x10(exp 14) watt-hours per day. This gasoline energy content is only 0.0034% that of solar energy, and somehow CO2 is the cause for warming the Earth. I wonder what “local facts” Cantlon checked?

After 20 years, there has not been one scientific analysis that demonstrates how a minute amount of CO2 (400 ppm), or 0.04% in the atmosphere generates global warming. The warming of a body or particles by the sun is governed by the Stefan-Boltzman radiation law, which is directly proportional to the area of the body or particles and their emissivity. The emissivity of the atmosphere is low, about 0.1 as the atmosphere is transparent and CO2 is near colorless. The average area of CO2, being a chain molecule is about 50 percent larger than the O2 and N2 molecules, so the COS is only responsible for 0.06 percent of the atmosphere power absorbed. Also, the greenhouse effect of the CO2 is less than the direct radiation effect, or warming, as the Earth’s albedo is only 0.39. Furthermore, if the greenhouse radiation is in the infrared band (700 nm) minimum, as the sun radiant energy has a wavelength as 500nm, the greenhouse effect will be further reduced by a factor of 4, by Wien’s law.

Science is not necessarily defined by the majority, after all, a few hundred years ago the majority thought the Earth was the center of the universe, the sun rotated around the Earth, the Earth was flat and was only 5,700 years old. A few still believe the latter point.

Yes, the “climate changes,” which by the quote means the climate can cool as well as warm. Until the global warming types can generate some scientific analysis to support their claims of CO2 causing global warming, I will rely on the Stefan-Boltzman and Wien’s laws that demonstrate that CO2 is not the source of global warming. It is physics that provides the method to determine the effects of CO2, not Cantlon’s “local facts.”

Jerry Fowler


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