I sent the letter below to scientists who prepared a report from NOAA and NASA titled Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols (www.gcrio.org/library/sap-final-reports.htm). It’s become the primary focus for the new direction we’re heading with our greenhouse gas policies. There really isn’t much new in the report other than their claim that soot from China might cause warming trends here in the Midwest by the year 2050, at least that’s what their computer models tell them if the trends they used in their modeling don’t change between then and now. Up until now, their theories have been bent more towards soot actually contributing to a global cooling.
The highlight of the report is their recommendation that we limit our emissions of volatile organic compound (VOC’s)and carbon monoxide (CO) because they are what is causing our climate change problems here in the US. It’s revolutionary that they’re drawing so much serious attention to what they call short term gases being the cause of the weather pattern changes that we previously have been attributing to a global warming process caused by long lived gases like carbon dioxide. But it’s been known for a long time that VOC’s and methane reacting with water vapor in the suns rays effect regional weather pattern changes, it’s just been more publically popular to talk about carbon dioxide and global warming.
The letter -
I read about how soot from China will cause warming in the Midwest in a news article published by the Associated Press titled “Asian soot, smog may boost global warming in US” by Seth Borenstein on September 4, 2008. It came following the release of your report titled “Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols” authored by Hiram Levy II, NOAA/GFDL; Drew T. Shindell, NASA/GISS; Alice Gilliland, NOAA/ARL; M. Daniel
Schwarzkopf, NOAA/GFDL; Larry W. Horowitz, NOAA/GFDL
and Anne Waple, STG Inc. l (their personal profile information can be easily accessed by searching their names).
I am happy to see that the administration is adopting your new perspective on climate change. I am however disturbed that the news media is choosing to focus on the more salacious speculative predictions in your report about how China is going to cause the US climate warming problems in the future while basing their assertions your computer modeling for the next 90 years. They seem to have missed altogether the real world recommendations you made calling for immediate reductions of carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) here in the US while your department is doing nothing but encouraging them to focus in this direction.
You claim that reducing CO and VOC’s can have significant benefits for climate change which means your research clearly shows they are problematic. So what you’re really saying is that the CO and VOC’s we’re emitting into the atmosphere now are causing the weather pattern problems we’re having now and doing it at a local level where the emissions come from. There is no other way to view your work unless you are claiming that in the future, you expect these gases to change their physical properties and start causing us problems.
If they will cause problems in the future, then they can cause problems now. It’s not at all complicated. If these kinds of short term gases cause climate change and we are experiencing climate change while emitting huge quantities on these same pollutants, then the strange changes we’re seeing today in weather patterns are being caused by these pollutants as we emit them because they don’t have a long enough shelf life to cause problem in the future. And these are regional weather problems caused by short term gases where the pollutants originate from, not part of a global warming process as has been thought. So changes in habits that lead to high levels of short-term gas emission in a particular region can offset the weather pattern problems they are causing for themselves there now.
So really the most important part of the report we ought to be paying attention to is about VOC emissions because there is a large volume of them coming from a particular source that we can actually do something about – ethanol being used as fuel and its production. Ethanol increases by a wide margin the amount of VOC’s emitted into the troposphere from the way it’s refined and coming from ignition systems it’s used in when mixed with gasoline. In fact both its production and use produces excessively high nitrogen oxides (Nox) emissions that are premixed with VOC’s while ethanol refinery emissions come already blended with billions of tons of water vapor from distilling corn beer and then re-distilling the resulting hydrous ethanol into anhydrous ethanol.
According to your science, these pollutants and the forcing they produce when combining in UV-C rays to produce low level ozone would have an exceptionally dangerous effect on atmospheric water vapor even if it wasn’t emitted already mixed with millions of tons of hot steam before it leaves the distillery. I mean it doesn’t take a bunch of rocket scientists to figure out that if we pump billions of gallons of water out of the ground and send it into the atmosphere that it will result in flooding. Newton proved that with his apple. Even a child knows that what goes up must came back down.
Really this is nothing new. Research at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has been fairly conclusive in understanding how trees and plants emit the same kind of pollutants to aid in the forcing of the hydrologic cycle to function the way it always has. So really we’re looking at an already delicate system that we’re tampering with the vital functions of while pretending that long term gases and whole world global warming is what causes changes in weather patterns, at least as long as you don’t step up and make clear what is really going on. And don’t excuse yourself from this debate claiming your forte is not public relations or policy making while believing personally this science is too complex for the American people to understand.
What no one understands is how CO2 can cause the problems we’re seeing today. But that actually makes us intellectually superior to many members of the scientific community because it turns out that CO2 isn’t the problem and it should have been obvious to them all along that it wasn’t. But the little story about the water vapor mixed with gases that explode when the suns rays mix with it, that’s not at all hard to figure out. And then the part about how when we add more of these gases than is normal to the process, it causes it to change. This is something everyone can relate to adjust their habits around. It really all quite simple now that you have finally figured it out.
Since it appears the news media likes to view climate computer modeling as something they can report on without taking seriously the recommendations that result from it, do you know of science being done or would you consider creating or inspiring some that would include real world/ real time studies of the cause and effect that VOC emissions have on regional and national weather patterns as related emissions coming from ethanol production and use? I believe this can be easily done by assessing when and where ethanol production and use began while comparing the before and after effects it had on weather patterns.