The human impact

02/03/2019 18:23 - Posted by Tom van Leeuwen
Humanity tends to overestimate its influence on the environment. In reality, the influence of human activity is tiny compared with the enormous forces of natural processes. Here we make a rough comparison between the total amount of energy humanity has consumed since the Industrial Revolution and the amount of energy needed for a natural process: the end of a glacial period.
This is not about the scientifically exact values of these processes. In part, we use estimates and approximations to indicate the order of magnitude of the differences.

The end of a glacial period

At the coldest point of the last glacial period, about 25 thousand years ago, both of the Earth's ice sheets together were 52 million cubic kilometers (5.2 x 107 km3) larger than today.
One cubic kilometer of ice weighs 919 billion kilograms (9.19 x 1011 Kg.)
So the total weight of the melted ice was 5.2 x 9.19 x 107 x 1011 = 4.8 x 1019 Kg.

Melting one kilo of ice takes 3.34 x 105 Joule of energy.

For melting all that ice, 1.6 x 1025 Joule was needed.

The energy required to heat ice from approximately -10°C to 0°C and water from 0°C to 10°C is less than 1% of this amount. This is smaller than the rounding error and therefore we won't take it into consideration.

Mankind's energy consumption since the Industrial Revolution (1850)

In 2013, the total, global energy consumption of humanity was 5.67 x 1020 Joule. In 1973, that consumption was less than half of that amount and if we go further back in time, the consumption decreases gradually.

It seems safe to assume that since the Industrial Revolution, humanity's total energy consumption has not exceeded 100 times the 2013 consumption, i.e. 6 x 1022 Joule.

The result of this rough approach is that the amount of energy required 15 thousand years ago to partially melt the ice sheets was about 270 times greater than all the energy that humanity has consumed since the Industrial Revolution.

Another comparison: The total proven reserves of fossil fuels are the equivalent of 6,894 x 1012 barrels of crude oil. Each barrel of crude oil provides 6.1 109 Joule energy. The total amount of energy stored in the form of fossil fuels is thus 4.2 1022 Joule.
So the completely natural process that melted the ice caps at the beginning of the Holocene consumed 380 times the total amount of energy stored in the form of fossil fuels.

The energy consumption of humanity is thus almost irrelevant compared to the enormous amounts of energy required for the natural processes that control the Earth's climate.


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The fingerprints of the greenhouse effect

The hypothesis of "man-made climate change" tells us that the increase in the concentration of CO2 enhances the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere and has global warming as a final result.

Since the beginning of the industrialized era around 1850, man emits relatively large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere through the use of fossil fuels. The consequence of these emissions is that during that period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased sharply from about 300 parts per million to more than 400 ppm, an increase of almost 40%. The average temperature increased in the same period more or less 1.5 °C with a small variation depending on the data source used.

Why did the warming stop?

The political reports of the IPCC are based on the hypothesis that CO2 is the most important control knob of the Earth's temperature. The problem is that this hypothesis does not correspond at all with the empirical data available to science. Forecasts are made using models that are not capable of 'predicting' the past.

Temperature versus CO2 – the big picture

When discussing “Climate Change” it’s good to have an understanding of how the Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That will give us a reference to decide whether the current changes are normal or not.

Global temperatures have varied a lot over the last 500 million years. Depending on the timescale used, the current temperature is either cold or hot, so when you want to know the “normal temperature” you’ll have to indicate what timescale you’re using.

Dutch Warming

In the Netherlands, the day-to-day whether depends heavily on the direction the wind is coming from. Being a small country, the wind direction is quite homogeneous for the whole country, specially on higher altitudes where the bulk of heat convection is taking place.

Due to its geographical position, midway between the icy-cold Arctic to the north, the dry and hot Sahara to the south, the Eurasian land-mass to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, every wind direction comes with unique weather characteristics.

North - cold,
East - dry,
South - warm,
West - wet whether.

Satellite temperature observations

This month of January 2023, the average satellite temperature published, by Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer (University Alabama Huntsfield) had a negative deviation, compared with the average monthly measures between 1991 and 2000.

Of course, this value does not mean much, it's definition is full of arbitrary begin and endpoints, but anyway it doesn't sound like a lot of warming has taken place over the past 30 years, and even less "catastrophic warming" we're reading about in the Mainstream Media, newspapers and TV stations.

CO2 saturation

This graph is all you need to understand that CO2 is not the Earth's Climate Control Knob.

On the horizontal axis, we see the Infra-red (IR) spectrum wavelengths, that is like "IR colors" were this kind of radiation visible to the human eye.
The vertical axis shows to energy flux, that is the energy emitted by the Earth, as seen from outer space.

The graph itself shows how the Earth's atmosphere filters the IR radiation emitted by the Earth's surface and the role of the various greenhouse gases in that filtering process. The green line is the filter of the Earth's atmosphere without any greenhouse gases.

Video - Who are the real climate deniers?

The climate has shown many fluctuations during the Holocene. The difference between the highest and lowest average temperature of the past 10 thousand years is about 3 °C.

Climate alarmists, led by the IPCC, are trying to deny this, and understandably so. This variation means that without human influence there was climate change as well.

This undermines their hypotheses and often their jobs depend on it.

Climate change seen from a historical perspective.

Satellite Earth temperature February 2022

The satellite temperature departure measurement for February 2022 is exactly 0° C.

This means that Earth temperature during February 2022 was exactly the same as the average from 1991 to 2020.

Satellites are the best way to have insight into the short-term temperature variations. They measure the whole surface, independent of weather station distribution, Heat Islands, measurement failures, surface condition (land or water).

There is a step-wise increase in temperature, triggered by two very strong El Niño events (1998 and 2016.) The energy that welled up from the deep oceans established a new level in these two ocasions, where the warming paused. This is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with CO2, or human activity.

Where is the Climate Emergency? It just does not exist.

Wake up and spread this information to your government!

Tom van Leeuwen, March 1st, 2022.