Monday, February 05, 2007

The only thing hotter than global warming is my MacBook Pro

Thanks to Jay (see assortment of comments below) my global warming research continues, although to be honest I may need to take a bit of a break from it. I've spent no less than 20 hours over the last week searching for and reading through research, which as I've said before, is often hard to find among all the "media summaries" that are out there without citing actual research.

Just now, I got a whole new list of links to check out from Jay (also below) which I haven't even touched on. However, I did want to make a few more comments on things before too many more days pass and it slips my mind.

First, one of the links below takes you to a wikipedia page of human caused global warming skeptics. I hadn't seen that one before, and I haven't yet even started to try and read through what all was there. But, I did notice that one of the scientists listed was Henrik Svensmark, who is the guy that has been researching how changes in cosmic radiation affects (thanks Jay) cloud formation, and is doing so by [GASP!] formulating, conducting, and observing experiments.

The information I was reading about his work came from his university website here, where you'll find his various journal articles and come peer-commentary on them. There have also been a number of other media reports touting an upcoming journal article, but since I've not seen that actual journal article, I can't give them a whole lot of credit yet.

Finally, there is an explanation (I think) as to why water vapor is left out of the warming calculations explained here (also a Jay link). Basically, the theory is that water vapor levels are reacting warming and not causing the warming, and by extension, water vapor levels are reacting to CO2 levels and aren't changing on their own. There is some math at that link that suggests why CO2 is the primary affector (is that a word?), and not some other greenhouse gas. I have another thought on that in just a sec...

Of course, Dr. Svensmark's work suggests that water vapor *is* reacting, just like the theory goes, but that it's reacting to something besides CO2 levels. And I'm not saying he's right, but at least, again, he's got some experimental data.

I continue to be nothing short of amazed and the seemingly completely lack of actual in-lab experimental data to support the whole linkage between CO2 and warming. Now, I'm no climatologist, but I've spent enough hours in a lab environment to have some idea as to how things work, and I really find it hard to believe that someone, somewhere, hasn't put a bunch of water vapor, CO2, and methane in a box, passed solar radiation through it, and measured the resulting heat levels over time. Then, added CO2, and done the same. I'm sure more would need to be done than that, but seriously, does that sound like a terribly complex experiment that can never be done?

Instead, the data continues to come from associated evidence measured from the atmosphere itself, which by it's very nature, is anything but a controlled environment (hence this whole debate).

While you can't prove a negative, I've come to the conclusion that such experiments have not been conduced (or at least, not published), and therefore data from that sort of experiment just doesn't exist. I don't know how or why thousands of scientists would all jump on board something that is nothing more than a hypothesis when experimentation seems well within out technological capacity, but it's happened. Weird.

Finally, doing hours or research right before bed every night has caused me to have some strange dreams. A few nights ago I had a dream that all branches of science had decided that circumstantial evidence was enough and that actual experiments were no longer necessary to declare something a fact. In this dream I wasn't feeling well so I went to the doctor. He said "well, you don't look good, and you don't feel good, but there's nothing obviously wrong with you, so it must be cancer."

"Cancer!?!" I said. "Don't you need to run some kind of test for that first?"

"Nope, we're just going to start you on chemotherapy now, because if we don't and it turns out to be cancer, you'll have wished that we did."

What the heck.

(No, I'm not making this up. This is the dream I had. Be warned that extensive global warming research can lead to annoying, unappealing dreams... or do the dreams cause the global warming research? I'm not sure.)

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