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Climate Change, the Real Explanation*

 Dave Cummins (retired, Chevron), Moraga, Ca

November 2020

It's not talked about, but all evidence to date of " Climate Change " is that it's particularly a N. Hemisphere phenomenon. The N. Hemisphere is warming and Arctic ice is rapidly melting. However, this is in stark contrast to the S. Hemisphere where there is little evidence of warming nor Antarctic ice melt. This has puzzled climate scientists, since there is just as much "Greenhouse Gas" in both Hemispheres! Unfortunately for all of us, this puzzlement is because they are overlooking the real explanation for climate change. One that's logical, readily understood, undeniable and importantly quantifiable. Yes, you have a choice, and here's the 2 minute explanation of what the other one, the real explanation, is.

For almost two hundred years it has been known that there is an atmospheric phenomenon described as an Urban Heat Island, or " UHI" . It describes the fact that urban areas are warmer than their surrounding rural areas. It simply means that the creation of any urban area results in atmospheric warming. Its cause is the replacement of all vegetation, which through evaporative cooling are natural air conditioners, with stone, brick concrete and asphalt, which are simply man-made, natural radiators. For the atmosphere, it has the identical result of you turning off your home air conditioner and switching on its furnace. The air gets warmer.

And for the last 130 years we have been creating and growing UHI's all over the globe. Today, if you put them all together it would be at least a 1.5 million square mile city. A UHI so large it would take almost three hours to fly over it. An artificial desert half the size of the Sahara. In the process, we've eliminated at least 1.5 million square miles of natural air conditioning. And unfortunately replaced it with 1.5 million square miles of small, large and sometimes enormous brick, stone, glass and concrete monoliths surrounded by more concrete and asphalt. All man-made radiators. It's a recipe for a thermal disaster and we're seeing it. It's an accepted fact that New York has its own climate, so too does London, Paris, Tokyo, Delhi, Manila, Mexico City, Seoul, and Sao Paolo. They all have their own climate. The list is endless. And, unfortunately we can now add Beijing, Shanghai, Guanghzou, Wuhan and other enormous Chinese cities to that list. Brand new cities that didn't show up on the radar 20-30 years ago. All cities are UHI's, it's an indisputable fact. And the more we build and expand them, the warmer the atmosphere will get. That's the definition of UHI. As a result, today, we are evaporating less water and capturing more solar energy than any time in human history.

And if we apply process engineering 101 fundamentals, we can quantify the consequences. Less vegetation, equates to less evaporation. Compared to 130 years ago, we're evaporating at least 2.9 billion acre/ft less water annually. Consequently there's 2.9 billion acre/ft less rainfall annually. Since 2010, enough water to fill the 5 Great Lakes. It has resulted in historic N. Hemisphere summer droughts and has devastated forests.

Less evaporation equates to less evaporative cooling, and it's enormous cooling. The loss of 2.9 billion acre/ft evaporative cooling annually means the atmosphere circulating today, compared to 1890, has the potential to melt a 1.5 million square mile block of ice 21 ft tall, annually. And, that's not all. Add to that the sensible heat gain resulting from the replacement of the vegetation with man-made radiators, the horizontal concrete and asphalt ones, together with the massive vertical ones. And that's conservatively another 3 ft of annual ice melt. In total it means that, compared to 1890, the global UHI we've created results in the atmosphere circulating today with enough retained heat to potentially melt a 1.5 million square mile block of ice 24 ft tall, annually!

What happens next? Letís combine that with another atmospheric phenomenon described as the Coriolis effect. In each hemisphere, the atmosphere is essentially contained, it circulates within it. The atmosphere in the N. Hemisphere circulates in the N. Hemisphere, and the atmosphere in the S. Hemisphere circulates in the S. Hemisphere. The circulation pattern in both hemispheres is from the equator to the poles. Since 90% of that enormous, global, 1.5 million square UHI is in the N.Hemisphere, 90% of the potential ice melt is in the Arctic. And it means that just in the last 10 years, enough heat has been circulating in the N. Hemisphere compared to 1890, to potentially melt a mountain of ice 430 ft tall the size of Greenland!! In the S. Hemisphere the story is much different. With only 10% of the global urban development, there is little warming and little evidence of Antarctic ice melt. There is less rainfall too, but it's only reduced by one tenth as much as the N. Hemisphere. However in Australia, which has little rainfall anyway, any less rainfall has serious consequences

That's it. The 2 minute summary. In 2 minutes I've explained not only why nearly all the disappearing ice is in the Arctic, I've quantified it. I've also explained why some parts of Europe are experiencing historic droughts. Finally I should add that from 1940 through 1974, we were not building new cities, but destroying old ones and then rebuilding them. Which is why atmospheric temperatures didn't rise in that period. Another fact which has puzzled the climate scientists.

That's it. No smoke, no mirrors, just indisputable facts. The undeniable, irrefutable, UHI, explanation for "Climate Change".

And the remedy. Evaporate more water, plant trees. Billions and billions of them. Within 30-40 years, the temperatures will fall, the droughts will end Arctic ice will return, and forest fires will diminish. It may have taken 130 years to get here. But it takes a lot less time to rectify it, because we have the knowledge and tools to fix it relatively quickly.

So now you have a choice, one explanation that no one can understand and is refuted by the evidence. Or one that everyone can understand and is supported by the evidence.



Suggested Reading:


Urban Heat Island

Cities Cover More of Earth Than Realized

Top 10 Biggest Megacities in the World! 2018

US Cities Factsheet  "Urban land area is 106,386 square miles, or 3% of total land area in the U.S., and is projected to more than double by 2060."

Urban Land Area World Bank Map, 90% is in the Northern Hemisphere.

Urban Land Area World Bank 2010 estimate: 3.6293 million sq. km (.3861) = 1.4 million sq. mi. (growth is exponential)


The north is melting:

World of Change: Global Temperatures

Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches New Record Maximum



Water Use by Agricultural Crops and Riparian Vegetation: An Application of Remote Sensing Technology

Evapotranspiration and the Water Cycle USGS - "An acre of corn gives off about 3,000-4,000 gallons (11,400-15,100 liters) of water each day, and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) per year."

Water evaporated from trees cools global climate



Worst Mediterranean drought in 900 years has human fingerprints all over it | John Abraham

Nasa climate study warns of unprecedented North American drought  Nasa blames "carbon pollution"!  CO2 is not a pollutant!

Rainforest Makes Rain


The Coriolis Effect:

The Coriolis Effect

Coriolis Effect: Air Circulation in the Atmosphere - Earth How

Global Circulation Patterns


* Posted by David Cummins in the AICHE Engage / Discussion Central discussion of Sustainability and CO2, the longest discussion in AICHE history.

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