A Primer on CO2 and Climate
Howard C. Hayden
• Paperback: 65 pages (including 3 pages of references & a 9 page appendix)
• Publisher: Vale Lakes Publishing LLC (2007)
• Language: English
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Dr. Hayden says:
“I am just now getting it registered on Amazon.com. In the meantime, you can tell your friends that they can order it from me at $10 instead of $13.95 from Amazon. A friend of a friend...”
Review on 12 September 2007 by Donald N. Anderson.
Dr. Hayden (Professor Emeritus of Physics from the University of Connecticut) has written a wonderful little book giving a non-technical description of the role of CO2 in the atmosphere. In 53 pages he lays out a large number of facts about CO2 and it’s possible contribution to a warming earth.
He covers the general questions:
Dr. Hayden uses 36 figures and 8 tables to clearly illustrate his points.
His summary is succinct and he reaches each point very quickly. He starts with the greenhouse gas phenomenon and contrasts the role of the CO2 absorption spectrum with the role of the spectrum of H2O, it’s dimmer and trimmer.
He discusses the increase in CO2 in recent years and then goes back to discuss the CO2 and temperature graph covering the last 400,000 years publicized recently by Al Gore. He also covers the 1812 – 1964 period, and then discusses CO2 over about 500 million years (the CO2 was many times higher in almost all earlier geologic periods).
Dr. Hayden points out many of the difficulties in making reasonable temperature measurements and argues (successfully in my opinion) that by far the best global temperatures are those from satellites. These currently show (Dec. 78 – Jun. 07) an increase below 0.13 degrees / decade. The short time satellites have been in orbit covers less than 30 years. Many think this period records the most rapid global temperature increase in the last 150 years, so I believe this small temperature increase cannot be reasonably counted as part of a long term trend. The shorter trends often reverse several times in a 100 year period so the record does not yet permit reasonable extrapolation.
He also discusses how the discredited 1,000 year “hockey stick” graph of temperatures (Mann, et. al.) has been corrected and shows higher temperatures in the 1400’s than at present. The hockey stick appearance was a statistical error that is common among non-statistically trained economists and financiers. Physical evidence in the form of 1,000 and 5,000 year old tree stumps above the present tree line, confirm a warmer period in earlier human history.
He provides a brief discussion of O-18 measurements as a proxy for long term temperature trends as well as C-14 and Be-10 and their use in measuring past solar activity.
Dr. Hayden has an excellent discussion backed up by several illustrations of carbon flows into an out of the various sinks. The biggest flows of carbon into the atmosphere are the it’s release by warm ocean water and soil respiration. The biggest flows out of the atmosphere are photosynthesis on land and CO2 uptake by cold ocean water. These are about 30 times and 40 times respectively the flow of carbon into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. He also provides a brief explanation for the decreasing greenhouse effect for each addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. There is also a comment on the retroactive causality implied by suggesting that increases in CO2 cause increases in temperature.
His discussion of computer models is dear to my own heart as I spent several years modeling infinitely simpler flows using the best research at the time (early 1980’s). We found that our 2 phase, crude, water, gas flows with pressure, temperature and orifice variations were only going to be able to predict a short distance from measured conditions. Those predictions required “training” on a longer past measured history and even then were subject to occasional contradiction by the real world. The only justification was they were better (fewer million dollar mistakes) than an experienced engineer’s top-of-the-head guess. I believe the global climate models suffer from so many omissions and even some assumptions that seem to violate physical laws that any reliance on their predictive ability is religion not science.
This summary work has discussions of the special temperature situation in the Antarctic, the claims of more violent storms, the effects of aerosols, correlations, solar activity, glacial retreat, polar ice caps on Mars, sea levels, mosquitoes, and the supposed scientific consensus.
When discussing anthropogenic global warming in his summary, Dr. Hayden concludes that “yes, the earth has been warming up.” Are humans responsible “to some minor extent, probably; to a large extent, no.” He argues that, based on past history, warming may be good for some areas and bad for others.
Assuming the foregoing summary is incorrect and humans are causing our planet to warn, Dr. Hayden discusses the political solution and what he calls “Engineering Dreams by non-Engineers.” He discusses the problems with 6 of these “Dreams” including: greater efficiency, sequestration, renewables, fission, fusion, and hydrogen. While some can be useful, none offer a replacement for fossil fuels to the level the global warmers deem necessary.
I have read a number of interesting papers covering many of the topics he includes, but Dr. Hayden has produced a remarkable summary of the global warming issue in a very small book.