pbs Digest, Vol 36, Issue 5

Dennis Szeszko dszeszko@gmail.com
Thu, 05 Jan 2006 20:56:57 PST
There is an off-setting effect from increasing the amount of water vapor in
the atmosphere.  On the one hand, as both Arnold and Alberto noted in their
respective messages, increased moisture in the atmosphere *could* augment
the amount of solar radiant energy trapped by the atmosphere.  This is one
possible effect.  However, the increased moisture in the atmosphere will
result in increased cloud-cover as well.  This increase in the cloud cover
over dry land and oceans *could* also reflect solar energy back into space
and prevent it from reaching the earth's surface.  This would have the
effect of cooling the earth rather than heating it.

Currently, climatologists are not sure what the end result of increasing
atmospheric moisture will mean to our climate and whether it will result in
a net loss or gain of thermal energy.  Perhaps these tendencies fully
offset...who knows?  But I tend to agree with others that "something" is
going on and that it merits thoughtful consideration.  Some corrective
action would perhaps be warranted, but we know so little about the earth's
climate on a macroscopic scale that it would be foolhardy to advocate any
course of action without fully knowing what its long-term impact would be.


If there is "global-warming" trend, then that might explain the 80 degree
temperatures in Dallas, Texas in the middle of January.  Regardless of the
explanation as to "why?", I'm enjoying the weather.

So can this contribute to "greenhouse effect" by increasing the water
> vapor in the atmosphere.
> Arnold

I had assumed that global warming automatically meant increased rainfall but
> it does not seem to be so.
> Alberto

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