Why water is the most potent greenhouse gas
Is Climate Change on your mind?
Climate Change seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. The addition of man-made CO2 to the earth is causing the temperature of the earth to increase. Were you aware that CO2 is not the gas with the high global warming potential?
Seven gasses of record which cause global warming
The seven gasses which contribute to global warming (man-made and natural) are water, methane, nitrous oxide, chloro-flourinated carbon compounds (CFC’s), ozone, sulfur hexa-fluoride (SF6) and of course, carbon dioxide. These are all naturally occurring gases and without them the Earth would be far too cold to support life. The relative amounts of gasses present play a role in their impact on global warming. For instance, CO2 is present in the Earth’s atmosphere about 0.038 per cent by volume. As result of the high global warning potential of some of these gasses (with CO2 used as baseline) pronounced effects are possible even though these gases may be present in small amounts. The time these gasses reside play a role as well. CFC’s can persist for over hundreds of years.
Water the most potent Greenhouse Gas
Water is the most potent greenhouse gas because by mass there is much more water in our air than the other gasses. Man has little control over the amount of water vapor since is a naturally occurring gas with about 99.99 per cent of the water coming from natural sources. Water vapor accounts for about four per cent by volume. The important point about water vapor is it acts as a feedback mechanism rather than a forcing mechanism, unlike all other man-made greenhouse gases. A warmer atmosphere will hold more water vapor, which traps more heat, which then amplifies the initial warming. Water vapor leaves the air via precipitation (rainfall), but the warmer it gets, the more water vapor the can be hold until equilibrium is reached.
The greenhouse gas we can control
Research indicates the higher the level of greenhouse gases of which man-made CO2 is a component, the higher the Earth’s temperature is likely to be. The effects of higher temperatures could be catastrophic, as a planet should we take chances on the health of the planet which is responsible for our survival?