“October’s bright blue weather”
“O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;”
Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
Alas it is no more! It seems to me that the climate scientists are too young and work too much with computers and haven’t really observed the changes in the sky over the last 50 years!
There has been a dramatic increase in the cloudiness of the skies since the advent and great expansion of jet traffic. This has brought about cloudiness from contrails. The clouds produced by this jet traffic have reduced the solar radiation reaching the earth; a dimming of the skies due to the reflection of sunlight back into space.
It might seem that this dimming of the skies should produce cooling rather than warming. There is another more prominent effect that causes the warming. First it should be clearly stated that water vapor is the number one greenhouse gas; much more than carbon dioxide. The overall effect of the increase in the water vapor and clouds in the high atmosphere is to trap heat from radiating back into space. This is particularly a potent effect, it reduces drastically night time cooling. It is this elimination of night time cooling that has caused the “global” warming.
To understand this it is necessary to realize that water vapor absorbs heat whether or not it is visible, as in clouds. So this increase in water vapor in the skies has a much more potent effect than carbon dioxide. Jet exhaust contains both water vapor and carbon dioxide; but water vapor is a much more potent greenhouse gas. Water vapor is the number one greenhouse gas. Water vapor is effective over almost the entire infrared (heat) spectrum; carbon dioxide only over a narrow range. Water vapor is an effective greenhouse gas even when it is invisible. Water vapor, humidity, is measured in percentage; typically 30%, dry, to 80%, high humidity. Carbon dioxide is about 0.4% of the air. Carbon dioxide is heavier than water vapor so will tend to nearer the earth
An experiment was imposed by the shutdown of air traffic across the United States for a few days after 9/11. The result was a greater swing between daytime and night time temperatures; also some bright blue skies! A proof of the effect of jet air traffic. 1.
From personal experience and observation I know that prior to the advent of jet airplane traffic many times during the winter when we had clear skies the nights would become bitterly cold! The effect of the increase in cloudiness and of the water vapor in the skies has greatly reduced the night time cooling in the winter.
Since the airlines route the international flights as polar routes it becomes apparent that the most dramatic effect of this would be in the arctic and subarctic. This follows because the nights are very long there, thus very reduced cooling in the winter months. And this is the area most effected by “global warming”.
Since the major land mass and population is in the northern hemisphere and thus the most air traffic we have mostly just “northern hemisphere warming”. It is definitely human caused.
It is folly to concentrate on carbon dioxide and ignore water vapor. Carbon dioxide, CO2, is a heavier molecule than water vapor, H2O. Thus CO2 is not going to rise in the atmosphere as much as H2O. H2O is much more likely to persist in the atmosphere than CO2.
Is the effect of water vapor ignored because the effect of it is so pervasive that we cannot face the idea that to stop the warming we would have to curtail air traffic? Can we even face up to this? Can we develop electric jets for aircraft that do not emit greenhouse gasses?
From this we need to consider a possibly much more serious effect than just northern hemisphere warming? What is the effect of melting the ice masses in the northern hemisphere while the ones in the southern hemisphere remain intact? Will this unbalance in mass cause shifting in the core of earth will the result of more earthquakes and volcanoes?
1. Penn State. “Jet Contrails Alter Average Daily Temperature Range.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020808075457.htm>.