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Global Warming? No Shit! September 18, 2008

Posted by Patrick in Science.
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First let me start with a disclaimer, I’m not a scientist, just an engineer applying some logical thought.

So let’s get one fact down: Energy! It can’t be created or destroyed. (You must have heard this before)

So thanks to all the dead dinosaurs earth has lots of oil. (This isn’t a fact, but I like the idea) So now this oil, it contains energy that can be released through either compression or combustion. (That’s how most engines work) Gas engines have an efficiency of about 30%, that means 70% of it’s energy is lost while running a car. So where does that energy go? Some of it is turned into heat from the engine, some is spit out as carbon. So we have how many cars on this rock? Looks like 600 million. So you’ve got all those cars, who’s hot engines are running and giving off heat. But there’s more when it comes to cars, they’ve got a lot of energy when they’re cruising along. And how do we stop them? Brakes, steel on steel action provides friction. Well friction turns one energy (motion) into another (heat). And where does the heat from our breaks go? That’s right, into the atmosphere. Ok, so enough about cars.

You know what it’s like to have an old house in the winter? You’re heating bill is horrible, because it’s hard to keep the heat inside the house. I wont go into the details of how R values change and all that. Everyone knows that we run our heaters almost all winter long. And again, energy can’t be destroyed so eventually all (or at least most of) that energy eventually escapes the house. Where does it go? Into the sky of course!

Now cars and houses are just two small examples, so now think of this, humans (well, humanoids) learned about fire about 790,000 years ago. Since then we’ve been finding more and more ways to turn wood, oil, coal, gas, pretty much anything we can into heat in some form. And we do it more and more as the world is industrialised. So I couldn’t imagine a situation where the world wouldn’t be slowly getting warmer and warmer.

Now this isn’t perfect logic, I’m ignoring the magical thing called an atmosphere. It works kind of like our house insulation, it protects us from extreme heat and cold. It doesn’t, however, have a special thermometer that know exactly how hot/cold to keep the earth. So my guess is, the more heat we keep creating on the surface, the more we change the ‘accepted’ temperatures.

Again, this is half science and half assumption, which doesn’t make for perfect results. I just wanted to show how easy it is to understand the possibility of warming. All we need is some genius scientist to figure out exactly how the atmosphere works. If we know what gasses to increase/subtract I think engineers could develop a way to make it happen.

If someone out there sees flaws in my logic (which I’m sure there are) feel free to drop me a comment and help me better understand things.

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