With all the worry about Global Warming (Anthropogenic-man made-Global Warming, AGW) wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone made an air conditioning machine big enough to cool the entire world? That would be just grand! The Cat’s Pajamas! A real Doozie!
Right about now, I suppose that you are saying to yourself: Self, that Steamboat Jack’s evil twin has gotten the better of him! He’s lost his last shred of sanity!
Hang with me for a minute though.
The basics of an air conditioning machine are as follows.
At one location, a liquid, used as a refrigerant, absorbs heat and turns into a gas. The gas, with the heat, is transported to a second location where it gives up the heat and turns back into a liquid. It is now ready to start all over again. That’s the very basic idea of how your refrigerator and your air conditioning work.
But, let’s get more personal. Let’s say you are doing a strenuous physical activity, like mowing the lawn (heavens forbid!). You and I sweat (the Love of my Life says that she doesn’t sweat; she glistens. Sweating is too inelegant.). Your body puts a liquid, in this case sweat, on your skin. The water in the sweat evaporates, i.e. absorbs heat and turns into a gas, and that cools you. The now gaseous water goes somewhere, gives up heat, and comes back down as rain. Instead of using a refrigerant such as R-12, R-134a, etc. you are using WATER as a refrigerant to keep cool.
“Cool”, huh? On to the next step.
During day time and particularly during the summer, the sun shines on the Earth. The Earth (dirt and ocean) absorbs the sunshine and heats up. (AGW theory says that certain gasses, CO2 among them, block the heat next to the Earth. That, in turn, supposedly causes temperatures to rise.} But in real life something rather spectacular happens.
The warming causes two things to happen: First, water evaporates; absorbing heat energy, Second, the air above warms. The warm, moist air is lighter than the cool air above. So, it will break through the layer of cool air and rise up into the sky. This is where the spectacular parts comes in: a thunderstorm. As the warm moist air rises it cools and the moisture condenses; it turns back into liquid as rain. The amount of rain that falls during a thunderstorm can be estimated. And we know the amount of energy released when a given amount of water condenses. So, we can estimate with a fair certainty the amount of energy released in a thunderstorm. The amount released in an “average” thunderstorm is about the same as the energy released by the Atomic Bomb that President Harry Truman (D-MO) dropped on Japan.
So…….why doesn’t your neighborhood look like Hiroshima after the bomb? You’ve had a thunderstorm or two, haven’t you?? Where DID that energy go?
The heat carried aloft by the rising air is carried up above 40,000 feet. That is well above the greenhouse gasses. The heat from the condensing water vapor is then radiated out into space; away from the Earth. This may annoy the Martians or the Man in the Moon, but it does remove a lot of heat from the Earth.
So, Bunkie, there is a giant air conditioner keeping the Earth cool! And it works just like the one that keeps your house cool! Well the same in theory, anyway. Just a little different in practice.
As they say on late night TV: But Wait! There’s More!
Have you ever noticed that from underneath that clouds look dark and gray? But on top, they are bright and white? Are they two tone, dark on the bottom and white on the top?
(Come on-stay with me here. This is an important point!)
They are that way because the clouds are reflecting sunlight back into space. They are literally shading the Earth and helping to keep the temperatures down!
So, two points: 1. Increasing temperatures initiate a process to “pump” heat from the surface of the Earth and dump it into outer space. 2. Increasing temperatures create clouds that limit the amount of sunlight getting to the surface and thereby limiting the temperature increase.
And a hurricane does the same thing but they are 1,000 times larger than a thunderstorm!
The more I learn, the more I marvel at the glory of the Lord’s work. I really love to watch the splendor and magnificence of a thunderstorm. It’s a geek thing: to marvel at an air conditioning unit at work!
Steamboat Jack (my evil twin)
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