Letter: If human activity is not responsible for climate change, then what is?


I would like to address Tugg Thomson’s comments regarding climate change in his Aug. 17 letter to the editor.

• Water does expand with higher temperature. A graphic example was Henry Ford’s Model T, which used the “thermal siphon” system to circulate the engine cooling water through the radiator without using a water pump. The vapor pressure of liquid water also increases with riding temperature.

•Water vapor is a major greenhouse gas and the amount that the atmosphere can hold varies directly with temperature; i.e., the higher the atmospheric temperature is, the more water vapor the atmosphere can hold.

• Regarding carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, for millions of years the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere varied between 200 to 300 ppm. Between 1950 to now, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased from 300 to over 400 parts per million . If humans continue to burn fossil fuel at the present rate, NASA estimates the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will eventually increase to 1,500 ppm. Go to the NASA website and read about “the relentless rise of carbon dioxide.”

Average atmospheric temperatures have been increasing at a faster rate since 1950. There may be a variety of reasons; NASA says that rising carbon dioxide level is an important contributor, possibly the trigger which allows more water vapor into the atmosphere.

A logical approach to attempt to slow or eliminate global warming is to limit the amount of fossil fuels we burn, limit forest fires, slash burning of rain forests, etc.

Plants take oxygen out of the atmosphere and the carbon goes into the structure of the plant. If not oxidized (burned), it eventually turns into fossil fuel stored in the ground. The oxygen goes back into the atmosphere. We should be protecting existing plants and, as much as possible, reestablishing them where they have been removed.

If human activity is not responsible for the increase of 33 percent in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels recently, then what is? We don’t want to foul the planet that we all depend upon, as there is no place to run and hide if we do.

Dave Jorgensen

Oak Harbor

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