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The Expansionist
Monday, September 20, 2010
 
Clintonian Idiocy: Whitewashing Roofs! Bill Clinton, the pseudo-Democratic former President, was on Letterman tonite, in part to promote the idea that people should whitewash tar roofs all over the Nation, in order to cut air-conditioning bills. Astounding. What a complete jackass he is. In a large portion of the urban areas of the United States where there would be black, flat, tar roofs, most people do not HAVE air-conditioning, and their greatest expenditure for energy is NOT in the summer but in the WINTER. Thus, if the roof of a building plays any part in the energy use of urban residents, especially poor urbanites, the saving more important by far to make would be winter energy use, for HEATING. If a black roof in summer increases people's energy use — for people who have air-conditioning, which not remotely everyone in large parts of American cities has — then it follows that a black roof in winter would reduce people's energy use, and EVERYONE in the cities of the North has heating in the winter. So if they whitewash their roof, they will INCREASE their energy consumption in the winter, and LOSE money. What a moron.
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Then the idiot talked about increased costs of natural disasters being a consequence of "climate change", which in today's parlance actually means "man-made climate change", a fantasm of the feeble-minded. Clinton admitted that the Haiti earthquake (listed by Letterman among the disasters we have seen in recent times) was not due to climate change, except he didn't SAY that it was not at all due to climate change but "not so much" due to climate change! Astounding. People are supposed to take seriously this Republican in Democrat's clothing when he says such endlessly stupid things?
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Albedo. Many people are unfamiliar with this term from climatology. It is a hugely important term that we need to understand.
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Albedo is the reflectivity of a surface. In climatological terms, the more of the surface of the Earth that is white or very lite in color, the more of the sun's energy is reflected out into space rather than absorbed. The effects of a change in albedo may be self-magnifying. That is, if, over the past 150 years, the proportion of the Earth's surface covered in highly reflective ice and snow has gradually decreased, the temperature of the Earth might be increased disproportionately. How?
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If the energy from the sun does not change, year to year, but the percentage of the surface of the Earth that reflects solar radiation (heat) decreases and the area that absorbs solar radiation increases, the temperature of the surface of the Earth will increase. That in turn further reduces the area covered in snow and ice, for much or all of the year, and thus reduces the reflection out into space of solar heat, which in turn increases the surface temperature, which again reduces the percentage of the surface covered in snow and ice. Onward and onward, absent a reduction of solar radiation, each year a little more of the surface is darkened, as snow and ice retreat, so more of the surface increases in temperature. Winds move heat from dark surfaces to lite surfaces, melting more of the snow and ice, increasing the area that can then absorb a lot more heat, and melting even more of the snow and ice, which produces more dark surface to absorb more heat. This is because the effects of absorption of heat by dark surfaces are greater than the effects of solar radiation on a lite surface. That is, black or even brown (bare dirt), absorbs MUCH more heat than does white, so one square mile of newly darkened soil will absorb many times as much heat as a square mile of ice. It's not a one-for-one exchange. One unit of dark absorbs much more heat than the same unit of white, then puts part of that absorbed heat out where it can melt ice in the vicinity. By contrast, a unit of ice puts out almost NO heat to melt other ice, at or below freezing. Above freezing, a unit of ice absorbs some heat, but not nearly as much as does a dark area of the same size. To put this another way, a unit of bare ground increases temperature by, say, 6X, whereas a unit of ice may decrease surrounding temperatures by 2X. (Figures are indicative, not arithmetically precise.)
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This process requires no input from human activity in order to self-intensify. Nor can human activity reverse it unless, for instance, we paint large areas of the planet's surface white that are now dark. Not a few hundred thousand tar roofs, but millions of square miles. If we are to whitewash roofs, it should be in areas that are hot year-round, not those that EVER get cold. We could also change the material for roads in hot areas from blacktop to concrete or some other whitened surface. Is it possible to change asphalt from black to white? There is "glasphalt", of course, but it is not significantly more reflective, except at nite, than regular asphalt. How much could we increase the beaded-glass component to increase the albedo of our roads without blinding drivers?
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Turning dark, ant/arctic areas white would probably be more productive of such little change as we could make in natural processes than would painting more temperate areas white, because the low angle of the sun in polar regions for much of the year would intensify the effect of reflectivity in affecting temperature, and thus "store up cold" in the polar regions' respective winters to "play out" during summers. Contrast the Sahara desert to Greenland and you may see my point. If the albedo of Greenland and the Arctic Ocean is increased, ice will be formed at higher rates. If, however, you increase the albedo of the Sahara desert (which is already very high, because desert sand is very reflective, even tho the desert is very hot), you might reduce the temperature by a (very) few degrees, but it would be a transitory and inconsequential difference. No ice will form there, and the next day's heat will resume quickly and spread out with the winds, with no long-term cooling to the planet.
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All of which is to say what? The seemingly non-linear rise in planetary temperatures is almost certainly NOT a result of increased human activity. That's another way to say that "man-made [or "anthropogenic"] global warming" is almost certainly NOT REAL.
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,421 — for Israel.)



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