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"The main gas producing the green house effect is water vapour.", I think that he means that the concentration of water vapor in air is so much higher (than the other compounds that contribute to the warming) that the total heat contribution is higher for the water vapor. Problem with that is that water vapor in the atmosphere is always substantial. Of course, it varies, but a rise in the concentration is generally a result of, before it becomes a contributor to, increased temperature.

So - the root cause of global warming is increases of concentration in other molecules. Clearly, concentrations of CO2, NOx, and sulfate ions in the atmosphere have been on the rise since not-long-after the start of industrial development. CO2 shows the largest increase - for obvious reasons, since the main energy sources have been combustion of hydrocarbons - and, in fact, there is significant correlation between the rise in CO2 levels and the rise in temperature, using reasonable estimates of the data.

After temperatures rise, other factors, such as methane release from previously-frozen Siberian bogs, become significant factors. Also, once glaciers melt, the exposed ground absorbs heat that the glaciers tend to reflect. These kinds of thresholds are almost irreversible, once started. So - we have to work on the factors that we can control. The Professor isn't helping in that regard, when he makes statements in a popular journal that undermine action concerning CO2 reduction.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 03:55:26 PM EST

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