Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NBC-Washington meteorologist weighs in on climate change


Bob Ryan, a meteorologist for NBC-Washington (Channel 4 in Washington DC) offers a three-part series on climate change and global warming on the NBC4 website. The link is here.

He divides the presentation into three parts and offers many colorful graphs. He starts with his own philosophical discussion of science, which is almost “Rosenfelsian”. He goes on to lay out the observations.

Some detailed points: on Earth, 80% of the “greenhouse” effect comes from water vapor. Commercial airlines appear to add water vapor to the upper atmosphere. (He doesn’t mention that after 9/11, when airlines were shut down for four days, global nighttime temperatures fell by 2 degrees F). But the rest is mostly from carbon dioxide and, to some extend, methane and hydrocarbons. He compares Earth to Venus whose atmosphere is almost entirely Carbon Dioxide. (He doesn’t mention Titan, discussed Monday, which actually has a “reverse greenhouse effect”).

Much as Al Gore did in his “Inconvenient Truth” film and book, Ryan presents evidence that overall climate is warming, even though over shorter periods of time there is a great deal of uncertainty about weather.

The three parts each have attracted numerous comments.

Last December 1, Doug Hill, from ABC’s WJLA station in Washington, along with Adam Caskey, did a presentation on television meteorology at Wakefield High School in Arlington. Hill declined to speculate on global warming after a question from the audience, and indicated that the issue had been highly politicized (as if by the political Left). I see that I put the account of this event on my "drama blog" on Dec. 1, 2008, link here.

Picture: NASA JPL picture from the surface of Titan, from Wikipedia, stated as in public domain. Temperature, about -280 F.

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