As an observer who is neither a) a scientist or b) an armchair scientist, I find the sharply divided politics of climate change quite fascinating. For the life of me, (or the life of us) I just can't figure out why We as a People, can't get on the same page regarding the good of our planet.
That being said, the latest global warning (ahem) discussion beating a path throughout the blogosphere is atmosphere is mostly water vapor, so it can't be CO2.
I'm thinking the opposite--that CO2 and water vapor both tuck a way-too-warm blanket around the Earth--but hey, what do I know? So, I visited the blog of those who do.
The climate scientists over at Real Climate.
Upon review of the study "Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe", conducted by Rolf Philipona et al. (GRL, 2005), this is what those in the scientific know had to say regarding the media's interpretation of the Greenhouse Gas Wars: water vapor vs. CO2.
"The accuracy of the media coverage of Phillipona et al. is decidedly mixed. The BBC got the scientific story straight (warming due to water vapor amplifying anthropogenic effects, everything working as it should, no worries about the physics, mate.), but their otherwise sound article was published with the unfortunate sub-header, "Water vapour rather than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the main reason why Europe's climate is warming, according to a new study." This gives the casual reader the erroneous impression that the study concludes CO2 is unimportant. It feeds the old, discredited skeptics' notion that the water vapor greenhouse effect is so dominant that there's no need to be concerned about CO2.
National Geographic is a little breathless: " The latest villain on global warming's most-wanted list is all wet—and a little surprising. Water vapor, experts say, is the culprit behind Europe's rapidly rising temperatures." However, they get the basic scientific story straight, quoting Philipona as saying "It is an experiment that clearly shows which factors are driving the higher temperatures. It is not the clouds, not the sun, not the aerosols. It is the increased greenhouse gases and the strong water vapor impact."
UPI is probably the worst of the bunch. They state "Swiss scientists say Europe's recent rapid temperature increase is likely due to an unexpected greenhouse gas: water vapor." Unexpected?
If they were readers of Real Climate, they'd know better."
And now, We in Brevard County do.
Bookmark Real Climate here.
Labels: global warming