Category Archives: Global Carbon Transfer

Global carbon transfer has been a polarizing topic for my entire life. I post on it periodically.

Heat Capacities of the Atmosphere and the Oceans

  • Volume of the atmosphere: not really meaningful.
  • Volume of Earth’s oceans: 1.335×1018 m3
  • Mass of the atmosphere: 5.15×1018 Kg
  • Mass of the oceans: ~1.4×1021 Kg
    • Average salinity: 0.035 Kg salt per Kg water, so 3.5% by mass.
  • The oceans are 272x the mass of the atmosphere.
Specific Heat
  • Specific heat of “air” at 250K is 1005 J/KgK
  • Specific heat of ocean water is ~4000 J/KgK
Total Heat Capacity
  • Total heat capacity of the atmosphere: 5.2×1021 J/K
  • Total heat capacity of the oceans: 5.6×1024 J/K
  • The heat capacity of the oceans is ~1,077x the heat capacity of the atmosphere.

I think it’s interesting that the ocean is only 272x the mass of the atmosphere. That is knowable intuitively if you know the approximate pressure deep-sea subs deal with or know that 10m of water is equal to about 1 atmosphere of presure.

Another interesting scale to put in perspective is that the hydrosphere is about 0.023% of Earth’s total mass. So the Earth mass is about the mass of 4,300 oceans.

Global Carbon Transfer, and Evidence for Global Warming

Global Carbon Transfer

I have said before that we should call this concept we are all familiar with Global Carbon Transfer. That is what it is and always has been.

Global Carbon Transfer is directly measurable.

The term “Global Carbon Transfer” is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon.

The name “Global Carbon Transfer” allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about.

We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.

Simple Man’s Evidence for Global Warming

I personally believe that global carbon transfer is causing significant man-made global warming. Here is a list of the evidence that shapes my concept of the world, my personal observations that lead to my belief:

  • I learned in Physics class in high school in ~2001 that carbon dioxide reflects infrared light / heat more than the other more highly-abundant components of the atmosphere. This makes sense to me. It would be difficult to fake this, easy to confirm or refute. I put this under the heading of scientific fact.
  • We learned what the greenhouse effect is, and I have personally been inside both a hot car in the sun, and an actual greenhouse. Fact.
  • I have personally seen an equilibrium exhibit a large change based on a small increase in a catalyst. For example:
    • Milk goes sour if you drink from the carton.
    • I saw chemicals abruptly change color in chemistry class after just drops of liquid entering.
    • If I had drunk two beers this morning instead of two cups of coffee, my blood would have changed by less than one percent, but I would absolutely not have written this post.
    • Small change can yield big change.
    • Catalysts exist.
  • I have seen man affect the environment, both for good and bad. Some of these I didn’t personally see of course, but they happened:
    • Water quality in Columbus, Ohio versus Rio de Janeiro.
    • Chemical disaster in Bhopal, India 1984.
    • Smog in LA.
    • Scale of the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
    • Personal accounts of the reduction in litter in the United States following anti-litter campaigns in the 1970s.
    • Chernobyl of course, but that’s nuclear not chemical, a whole ‘nother level.
    • Urban sewage management, cities now versus 200 years ago.
    • Forests versus fields.
  • I see carbon entering the atmosphere that used to be in the ground from sources that are less than a century old. Sound ridiculous? It’s everywhere. Everywhere. Try not seeing it! We could not transfer more carbon if we started a campaign to transfer more. Everything we do contributes to carbon transfer, and is mostly new!
  • The earth is really really old. There has been a lot of time for plants live, absorb carbon dioxide, respire oxygen, die, and be buried in the ground. Let me repeat, really really old, and a lot a lot a lot a lot of time. A lot. There has been so much time in fact that I no longer view the air I breath as coming from “the earth in general,” but as being the breathed out breath of plants. Call me a tree-hugger, but it is an accurate concept, much more accurate than the “general earth air” idea that comes easy. The atmosphere is and always has been a product of life and vice versa. It is a two-way street.
Some more carbon numbers, click here.

John Oliver, Archetype of the Cancer that is the Media

The News Story:

Bill Nye (of “The Science Guy” fame) recently sold out and went on John Oliver’s late night show:


Full bias disclosure: while I believe that John Oliver and for example, Donald Trump, are near equals in the damage that they do by being entertaining idiots / bullies in the media (both are both, if you can’t see that, then you are stuck firmly on one side), when they face off, I personally would enjoy watching Trump name-call John Oliver instead of the reverse. This is probably very simply because Oliver seems like a little weeny to me.

The subject of this post, whose name I am finished using so that you and I can successfully forget it as soon as possible, does not himself warrant a post. However, he so acutely represents a form of the cancer that is the mainstream media that his name gets to appear in my title here on Rage and Frenzy Politics, the most prestigious place it will probably ever be written.

I am going to use the stupid media term “global warming” here, rather than the more accurate and effective term, “global carbon transfer,” because we are talking about media bias, not the actual phenomenon.

The Perceived Problem

The perceived problem, judging by Bill Nye’s calling somebody “you f***ing idiots” (we don’t swear here at, but in this case, it is a direct quote), is that global warming is caused, or at least allowed to continue, by some portion of the population who isn’t smart enough to understand global warming. I assume the idea is that this idiot portion of the population is voting for selfish policies that exacerbate the problem, and also probably spreading conspiracy theories that discredit the basic science behind global warming. I personally believe that these things have some truth to them, but what follows is the actual problem.

The Actual Problem

The actual problem is that we – and I do mean we human beings, all of us, especially those of us living in industrialized nations – are logistically supported by the energy that comes largely from transferring carbon from the ground into the atmosphere. Keep in mind, I did not say that we are the problem, I am saying that our source of energy can cause problems that we did not foresee when we started using it.

The current population of the world is 7 billion +. That is seven times the population of just 200 years ago, and ~25x the population of about 1,000 years ago. That is a significant increase. On top of that, we use a lot more energy per person now than we did 1,000 years ago. This is great, and I am happy to be a beneficiary of this energy wealth, but we should recognize that we should conserve the resources that produce it.

The Mainstream Media

What does the mainstream media say?

One side of the media says that global warming is not happening at all. This side actually will go so far as to say that it is impossible to the point of ridiculous to even suggest that mankind could affect the entire atmosphere and the climate. The main evidence that I have heard cited for this idea is that some scientists faked data, and that there are large global climate cycles. Both are almost certainly true, neither is evidence one way or the other.

The other side says that global warming is definitely happening, and does things like have a “Science Guy” put safety glasses on, string swear words together, and take a torch to a globe while a laugh-track rolls. Very constructive, subject of this post, you little weeny. I agree with your science, but you are the ring leader of a half-political laugh-track circus whose carbon footprint is the size of most third-world countries. Your team of writers puts its energy toward corrupting Bill Nye The Science Guy into insulting half the country because it is more entertaining to call somebody stupid than to say something smart. Are you even the leader? I find it hard to believe. Who writes your teleprompter? Who tells that person what to write and not to write? Who pays that person?

My Opinion

I think I editorialized this post enough that you know my opinion.

The Solution

The solution is for us to identify things that we do that use a lot of energy, especially energy that transfers carbon into the atmosphere, and stop doing those things. The first thing that comes to my mind is the military-industrial complex. If you don’t know what the military industrial complex is, you should. Click the link for the Wikipedia article.

The military industrial complex is not a new concept. One of the greatest warfighters in our history recognized the military industrial complex and preached about it in 1935. Click for the PDF: War is a Racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC

Stopping doing many things that transfer carbon into the atmosphere will be difficult. For example, if we fight fewer wars, trade routes will close, and prices may go up. This may include the price we pay for gas at the pump. This would be difficult. We would have to coordinate with each other and carpool to work for example. We might even have to live closer to work and bike there.

Global Warming: Some Numbers, and My Opinion

In this post, I put the numbers that we as individuals can know with reasonable certainty in perspective. I cannot say based on these numbers whether man-made climate change is or is not happening. What I can say is that the numbers show human carbon transfer is large enough to possibly have an effect. Because I believe the burden of proof should be on those saying there is no change, then I assume man is affecting the global climate.

This phenomenon should be called “Global Carbon Transfer.”

Below are some numbers to put our effect as humans in perspective. I have heard both sides of this polarizing issue for a long time, and have been meaning to put some numbers to my own intuition. I chose numbers that can be intuitively understood and, though they are estimates, can be measured fairly directly. As far as I know, the following is not seriously in dispute.

Reference for Perspective

5.15 x 1018 Kg = total mass of the atmosphere.

3.0 x 1015 Kg = total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The following macro numbers are so huge as to be meaningless without some reference for scale. I use this quantity, 3.0 x 1015 Kg, total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere, simply to compare to other huge numbers to get some perspective. They are not directly related to each other within the equilibrium.

CO2 Concentration in the Atmosphere

0.0582% = CO2 in the atmosphere by weight. It makes up a very small portion of the atmosphere.

Mass of CO2 Released Annually by Humans

35.9 x 1012 Kg = annual CO2 released by human activity, 2014.

1.2% = mass of annual CO2 released by humans as a fraction of the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere = [35.9 x 1012 Kg] / [3.0 x 1015 Kg]

Mass of CO2 Released Since the Start of the Industrial Revolution

2.0 x 1015 Kg of CO2 = total CO2 released from 1870-2014.

67% = [2.0 x 1015 Kg] / [3.0 x 1015 Kg] = mass of CO2 released from 1870-2014 as a fraction of the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere.

What it Means… and Doesn’t Mean

The amount of CO2 released by humans can be measured fairly accurately. Annually, it equals ~1.2% of the total weight of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is not to be confused with a ratio comparing to the amount of CO2 released naturally annually. We are one source of many in an equilibrium. Though that would be a more meaningful ratio, I did not use it because the amount released and consumed naturally cannot be measured as directly, and is beyond the scope of this post. I stick to numbers that I can know and verify with reasonable certainty.

The amount released by humans since the beginning of the industrial revolution can also be estimated. This equals ~67% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the best I can do as an individual debating this topic, but the total we have poured into the atmosphere  over that amount of time is like measuring the amount of water you put into a bucket with a big leak. How much is still in the bucket? It depends on the leak!

My conclusion: the amount that humans release is not massively alarming in proportion. I cannot prove or disprove man-made climate change. However, it certainly is a relevant amount, we should pay attention to it, and I personally believe man-made global climate change is happening.

The Volcano Effect

~200 x 109 Kg = mass of CO2 that volcanoes release annually on average. This number is widely disputed, and is known to be not well measured.

[200 x 109 Kg] / [35.9 x 1012 Kg of CO2] = .56%,

The CO2 released by volcanoes continuously is less than 1% of the amount released by humans continuously, based on this estimate. How much does a big eruption produce? …

The Tambora Eruption of 1815

Regardless of what you believe, you have to read about this! The magnitude is unbelievable. Fun to read about.

The Tambora eruption was possibly the largest in the last 10,000 years:

Tambora released up to 120 x 109 Kg of SO2 and likely caused the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816:

What is the long-term effect of one huge volcano? How does that compare to our human effect? I do not know.

My Opinion

I personally believe that yes, the earth is warming because we continuously release significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. It makes common sense. Almost everything we do releases CO2. More CO2 changes the reflective properties of the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect as a concept is a proven fact. If it is possible to change the temperature by adding CO2, we are doing everything we can to make it happen.

What do I think we should do? What do I think government policy should be? Regardless of climate change, I believe that reducing dependency on carbon-based fuels is a worthy challenge. Regardless of climate change! Even though I believe global warming is happening, I can’t prove it. Nobody can. Even if it can be proven, can we stop it or reverse it? Well, who cares? Alternatives are cleaner, more renewable, and we could use a good challenge anyway! I think the government should set policy–yes including raising taxes on carbon-based fuels–such that the price is at a level where people have to make significant life choices to economize, but can still live comfortably. For example, car pooling and public transportation are a lot more attractive at $5 / gallon than at $2 / gallon. This simultaneously buys time to find alternate solutions, spurs market ingenuity, provides a meaningful challenge that encourages people to work together, and even supports national security by reducing dependency.