Friday, April 08, 2005

Ah, Breakthroughs Are Fun.

So an argument has stumped me since freshman year (or at least, partially stumped). In discussions of global warming, people have said "Volcanoes produce more greenhouse gas than man ever has".

Now, I point out that man has done so quickly, with uniquely qualitative results, that the impacts are real and that volcanoes are part of a natural equilibrium, but nonetheless, the argument threw me off.

Then today, I learned something, or rather relearned it. Volcanoes produce sulfur and various contaminants that fill the stratosphere and REFLECT, not trap, light. They don't produce many greenhouse gasses at all, but even if they did, the science shows that their effect is, in NET terms, a cooling factor. After all, the volcano that erupted in the 80s caused snow in the midst of July in New England. Volcanic activity has been associated with the ONSET of severe crippling ice ages, not the end of them.

There are more greenhouse gasses than there ever have been in all of history, even at the peaks of normal variation. We are also augmenting the Earth's reflectivity and eliminating the Earth's natural carbon sinks.

Whenever I have doubt about how to defeat an argument, my discovery of it shows me what little respect the conservative leaders have for the intellect of their minions.


Post a Comment

<< Home