I’m reading James Lovelock’s latest book. He’s the scientist who came up with Gaia theory, the idea that the biogeochemical system of our planet can be considered as a self-regulating superorganism (who has a temperature, thanks to US, national pun intended). For the climate skeptics, let me use an example from the pages i’m on right now. In the summer of 2007, 3 million square kilometers more floating Arctic ice than usual melted, although global temps actually FELL a bit. The reason has to do with “latent heat,” a concept i always had trouble with in meteorology class when dealing with cloud formation. It takes 81 times as much heat energy to melt an ice cube than it does to raise the same quantity of already-liquid water by one degree (being a scientist, and a Brit, he’s probably talking Celsius).
So once the ice is gone, the open polar water will absorb a lot more heat, and the warmup will escalate. I like the example he uses of making a cup of tea with boiling water but wanting to drink it right away. Adding cold water won’t do the trick, but adding an ice cube will, because of the latent heat effect. Again, i’ve been studying science my whole life, but all that latent heat and enthalpy stuff is still difficult for me to wrap my gray matter around. And yet we have people getting their opinions on global warming from non-scientists and uneducated talk-show hosts. That windbag Rush Limbaugh flunked out of Southeast Missouri State University in his 2nd year, folks, and that’s not an easy school to flunk out of. Beware of letting idiots do your thinking for you!