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Old 01-04-2013, 09:40 AM   #333 (permalink)
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What is causing the Arctic ice to melt; if not higher temperatures? Why are virtually all glaciers around the world melting? Why is the ocean level rising? Why is the ocean more acidic?

Yes, methane and nitrous oxide are more insulating (by volume?) than is carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide comes from the water soluble nitrogen fertilizers and methane comes from fracking (about 9% of natural gas from gasfields leaks out into the air) and the largest animal source is termites - and a very large amount of methane is being released by the melting tundra (what used to be called "permafrost"). Why is it melting, I wonder?

The methane source that many people think of (cow farts) is actually largely caused by us feeding cows things they are not evolved to eat in our factory farms - when they eat grass (this is why they have FOUR stomachs) they don't get indigestion. And this is not adding "new" carbon to the atmosphere since it comes from food that was grown recently. The chemical fertilizers used to grow most food, on the other hand, are a big problem.

It is fossil methane that matters; the nitrous oxide comes from fertilizer made from natural gas, and the melting tundra is also increasing the GHC in the atmosphere. Both methane and nitrous oxide break down - into carbon dioxide among other things, and carbon dioxide is very stable and doesn't go away very quickly at all.

Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas, and while a certain amount of carbon dioxide is required for our survival (about 270ppm was almost perfect!), we humans have been burning fossil fuels at a rapid rate and that has resulted in a huge increase in carbon dioxide, which is causing the overall warming trend. More insulation changes the balance in the climate.

Same goes for oxygen as for carbon dioxide - we require a certain amount to survive, but too much or too little will kill us.

We know that the burning of fossil fuels is the source of the carbon dioxide several ways: the level of oxygen is accounted for, the isotope (carbon 12) level can only come from "old" carbon, and the timing of the change is directly connected to humans burning fossil fuels.

The laws of physics cannot be denied.
Sincerely, Neil