Jack Koenig
Mysterious Climate


The Mysterious Climate Project - Part III

Understanding The Troposphere

Review
In the last section of “The Mysterious Climate Project” we identified the four layers making up our atmosphere as:

  • The Troposphere
  • The Stratosphere
  • The Mesosphere
  • The Thermosphere

We also learned that overall, the earth’s atmosphere is primarily composed of:

  • Nitrogen (78.08%)
  • Oxygen (20.95%)
  • Trace Gases (0.97%)

Furthermore, since nitrogen and oxygen have only limited interaction with incoming solar radiation and don’t directly impact infrared radiation leaving earth, we can ignore them in our greenhouse gas discussion and focus on that tiny 0.97% of atmospheric gases called “Trace Gases.”

Preview
In this section, we’ll start exploring the troposphere and discuss its pivotal role in making Planet Earth safe and habitable for humans.

The Troposphere
The troposphere is that portion of the atmosphere closest to the earth. Beginning at sea level and rising five to nine miles upwards (depending on your location or latitude), the troposphere houses elements providing Planet Earth with its “goldilocks” atmosphere… not overly hot like Venus nor overly cold like Mars. This natural temperature modulating function is accomplished with our atmosphere’s natural trace gases, a name derived from the fact they represent such a miniscule volume in our atmosphere. Trace gases are also referred to as “greenhouse gases,” a name we’ll use throughout the remainder of “The Mysterious Climate Project” series.

Those Incredible Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse gases are quite different from nitrogen and oxygen in that they absorb and emit infrared radiation, thereby controlling the speed at which heat can escape earth. This “throttling” effect shields earth from temperature extremes.

The greenhouse gas (trace gas) category consists of:

  • Water vapor (95.00%)
  • Carbon Dioxide (3.62%)
  • Methane (0.36%)
  • Nitrous Oxide (0.95%)
  • CFC’s and other miscellaneous gases (0.07%)

As is readily apparent, the most abundant and powerful greenhouse gas is water vapor. However as important as this fact is, water vapor is all but ignored by those promoting anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. The reasons for concealing this fact will become more and more apparent as we progress through “The Mysterious Climate Project” series.

Some believe the greenhouse gas category is getting out of balance because of air pollution created by man’s activities. But that raises another obvious question: what is air pollution?

Air Pollution
According to Webster’s, air pollution is defined as the degradation of air quality resulting from unwanted chemicals or other materials occurring in the air.

Encyclopedia Britannica describes air pollution as the release into the atmosphere of gases, finely divided solids, or finely dispersed liquid aerosols at rates that exceed the capacity of the atmosphere to dissipate them or to dispose of them through incorporation into the biosphere.

    Volcanic activity is a major source of natural air pollution, pouring huge amounts of ash and toxic fumes into the atmosphere. Particulate and chemical air pollution from desert dust storms, as well as smoke from forest and grass fires, also contribute to the natural side of the equation.

In summary, air pollution can be defined as the placement of unwanted chemicals or other materials in the atmosphere, regardless of their source.

Natural Versus Man-Made “Air Pollution”
Pollution comes in both natural and man-made varieties.

On the natural side, volcanic eruptions propel mega tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and a host of other gases into our atmosphere. Oceans constantly sequester and release water vapor and carbon dioxide; wetlands, gas hydrates, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, non-wetland soils, and wildfires release methane; forest fires release dust, soot, ash, and carbon dioxide; decomposing vegetation releases carbon dioxide, and finally, methane from animal flatulence, like all the others, is believed to be carried to our upper troposphere by natural air currents.

On the man-made side, carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere as energy is converted and used for purifying our water supplies, lighting and heating our homes, cooking our meals, producing our food supply, home and office construction, road building, sustaining our commerce, and just about everything else associated with a healthy, prosperous civilization.

But, some ask, is having a healthy and prosperous population worth it if we trigger some type of tipping point and cause a cataclysmic environmental disaster?

As you’ll discover in upcoming releases, the probability of that happening is about remote as the probability of us colonizing the sun.

Summary
In this section, we discussed the troposphere and those gases contributing to earth’s natural greenhouse effect. We also questioned why man-made global warming proponents ignore the most powerful and abundant of all greenhouse gases, water vapor. Finally, we discussed sources of pollution and showed how the same pollutants often come from both natural and man-made sources.

Coming up…
In the next section, we’ll make serious inroads into explaining how the greenhouse effect actually works, how the sun’s energy impacts different parts of our earth and atmosphere, how the majority of the sun’s energy is absorbed by our land masses and oceans, and how some energy from earth is carried to our atmosphere and regulated by our greenhouse gases.

But for now, you might start wondering why so much noise is being made regarding carbon dioxide when water vapor, exponentially far more abundant and far more powerful than carbon dioxide, is all but ignored by promoters of man-made global warming in their discussions!

Those blockbusters will be addressed in an upcoming edition of “The Mysterious Climate Project.”

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