Posts Tagged 'Hurricanes'

Global Warming

Lots of discussion these days about what we mean by the term. Arguments and maybe battles over how such a thing might affect us and who caused the change are being waged.

There are those who, during a winter storm will stick a thermometer into the air and say “not warmer yet.”

That is why I don’t like the term “global warming.” I prefer something more descriptive, such as global energy gain.

If we consider the average world desk globe, say 16 inches in diameter, our breathable atmosphere could be represented in thickness by thin tissue paper and mountains by a tiny grain of sand. That atmosphere is where we live. The only place we can find a tolerable temperature and harvest energy. A place we can find water in all three states. It is also the place all meteorological events occur.

Along about this time you are probably asking “well, is he fer it or again’ it?” What I think doesn’t matter. What is important is that we arm ourselves with the facts. When we talk about solar energy gain, we are NOT talking about the temperature of the air we breathe, our atmosphere. We are talking the total kinetic energy in the effective surface of the earth. In other words, the interface of surface and atmosphere.

You will remember from your ninth-grade science class that all particles (atoms, molecules) are in constant motion with respect to each other, and the measure of average kinetic energy (motion energy) is called temperature. Also, since they are constantly running into each other, the faster the particles move, the farther apart they become (expansion.)

As water molecules gain energy they move farther apart and take up more space. This is not an opinion, but a fact we must live with. Ask the people of Miami. They are now experiencing street flooding at high tide as water flows backwards from the Atlantic through storm sewers. In other areas of the world, people are being moved out of houses which must be rebuilt on higher ground.

Most of the earth’s surface is covered by water and water is about seven times more efficient in absorbing and storing energy as air. Remember that energy is not created nor destroyed (except in nuclear reactions) but can be converted from one form to another. Energy always flows from greater to lesser (downhill.)

When you see a tropical depression form off the west coast of Africa, it gains strength as it travels over water, especially over the Gulf Stream. This current brings warmer water to the surface, primarily near the Gulf of Mexico.

Two factors vital to the strength of hurricanes are moisture and energy. Plenty of  these over open water and hurricanes are gaining strength each year. But whatever kind of storms, even winter storms, they all take energy from global energy sources.

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