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Letter: The Balance Has Tipped Against Us

To the Editor:

The global warming we are experiencing is unquestionably man-made. Carbon-based fossil fuels are a form of stored solar energy made from decomposed animal and vegetable matter. When we burn them we release this energy into a system, which is heated primarily by radiant heat from the sun. Heat moves from the sun to the Earth by radiation, which moves from the sun to the Earth at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. Heat also moves by conduction and convection. Conduction moves through a solid, as seen when a spoon is left in a hot cup of tea or coffee. Eventually the handle gets hot ... this is conduction from the coffee or tea to the handle from the hot liquid. Heat moves warm air heater to colder air via convection. The sun heats the ground which heats the air by conduction which heats the colder upper air by convection.

When we didn’t use fossil fuel, we had no effect on global weather.

We have introduced heat-trapping gases and heat into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to hold more heat, which causes it to hold more moisture. Add the rotation of the Earth, about 1,040 miles per hour at the equator. The atmosphere, held to the Earth by gravity, rotates at almost the same speed. At the equator the earth receives maximum sunlight every day of the year, heating the earth. All that heat conducted to the air makes it rise, causing strong weather conditions coming north and south from the equator, meeting weather conditions from the poles. More heat in the system, wilder and more destructive storms. As the heat continues to increase, there will be melting of the polar ice caps, a resultant rise in ocean levels, which will eventually sink our coastal cities...world wide.

Let’s concern ourselves with Syria, the Ukraine and other political brouhahas and keep denying global warming. I am afraid the balance has tipped against us already.

Herbert A. Knapp

Orford