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SciTech Watch: The Wrong Greenhouse Gas

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A new theory by Vladimir Shaidurov postulates that we may have been atrributing the warming of the Earth to the wrong greenhouse gas. Rather than carbon dioxide, Shaidurov presents evidence that past temperature variations can be linked to water vapor concentrations in the far upper reaches of our atmosphere.

He believes the initiating event of the current global warming behavior is not the accumlation of carbon dioxide from human activities, but was set in motion by the air-burst explosion of the Tungus on June 30th, 1908. This force of this explosion is now estimated to have had a force equal to fifteen million tons of TNT. The force of this explosion forced water vapor into the upper atmosphere where a stable layer of water vapor and ice crystals formed. This layer acts in the classic greenhouse fashion reflecting infrared energy back to the surface of the earth gradually raising the earth’s temperature.

Shaidurov’s paper “Atmospheric hypotheses of Earth’s global warming” is under consideration for publication in the journal Science First Hand, published by Russian Academy of Sciences (Editor-in-Chief, Acad. Dobretsov, Vice-President Russian Academy of Sciences, President of Siberian Branch RAS). A preprint is available online and was published originally as University of Leicester Technical Report No. Ma-05-15.
From the Leicester press release:

As such, Shaidurov has concluded that only an enormous natural phenomenon, such as an asteroid or comet impact or airburst, could seriously disturb atmospheric water levels, destroying persistent so-called ‘silver’, or noctilucent, clouds composed of ice crystals in the high altitude mesosphere (50 to 85km). The Tunguska Event was just such an event, and coincides with the period of time during which global temperatures appear to have been rising the most steadily — the twentieth century. There are many hypothetical mechanisms of how this mesosphere catastrophe might have occurred, and future research is needed to provide a definitive answer.

Eurekalert.org has the text of the press release from University of Leicester.

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About johniac

  • sal m

    wait, does this mean that there is actually science that may indicate that man is not responsible for the production of greenhouse gases that may be affecting the earth’s climate?

    could it be that the automobile does not represent the greatest danger to mankind afterall, and that mother nature may be her own worst enemy??

  • egbooth

    I encourage all of your readers to read the response by a climate expert at NASA/GISS to Shaidurov’s press release here:

    Basically, Shaidurov makes a ridiculous amount of errors in his analysis. His theory is completely bunk.

  • Whoops. This has the theory backward. The if Shaidurov’s “Silver Cloud” hypothesis right, the meteor thinned that high layer of cloud letting more of the sun’s rays through and starting a self-sustaining release of carbon dioxide previously trapped in marshes, etc.

    I’ve put up somefurther analysis of the new theory along with a corrected summary of what (I believe) it says, and other evidence he doesn’t mention that seems to support it.

  • As for ebooth’s enthusiasm for the extraordinarily shallow analysis at realclimate.org (which to be fair isn’t intended as more than an immediate, off the cuff reaction), I can’t share it.

    I’m convinced global warming is our greatest challenge, and I expect Shaidurov’s theory is wrong, most new theories turn out to be. Our knowledge of the mesosphere is so sketchy I wouldn’t rely on any theory of what’s going on there right now.

    That said, the reasons given at realclimate don’t bear any examination and don’t help the cause or help create much respect for science. The comments there don’t rise much above gainsaying, and speak volumes about the quite understandable past frustrations scientists have experienced in getting the public and politicians to take any global warming theory of any kind seriously. This isn’t a very worthy discussion about the merits or demerits of the “Silver Cloud” theory. Science can’t be deciding so quickly.

    Which doesn’t mean I could necessarily have done better reacting instantly, off the cuff: but off-the-cuff-science is a contradiction in terms.