It is indisputable that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, but...

...nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of Plate Tectonics.

08 December, 2009

Dam it all... Dam everything... Dam everywhere

I just presented a summary of climate change science and the basis behind cap and trade legislation at a regional Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning. Just days before the presentation I learned that an AGW proponent was to be speaking just before me and I learned something from my counterpart from the other side of the climate coin.

During his presentation he discussed sea level change to, what I thought, was a disproportionate degree. In the midst of his lengthy but by no means complete discourse on sea level change, he displayed a graph of dam construction in the States since 1950. After showing pictures of dams he then made the point that - by damming major streams, we are impounding water which would otherwise be measurable as an ADDITIONAL sea level increase!!!

OK gang. Time to get out the nasty ol' calculator and check this one out.

The oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface - that's 3.6 x 10^14 meters: or for those not versed in scientific notation 3,600,000,000,000,000 square meters.

So, in order to raise sea level by even 1 cm (0.01 meters) requires - come on, how much water?

(3.6 X 10^14) X (.01) = 3.6 x 10^12 cubic meters of water. That is 1.3 X 10^14 cubic feet of water.

Well, that doesn't mean much. How about this - 9.5 X10^14 gallons. Ready? 9,500,000,000,000,000 gallons.

Let's put it in a context to which we can relate. A pool of water one foot deep would cover a land area of 1.3 X 10^14 square ft. At 43,560 sq ft to the acre, that's roughly 3 billion acres of water (3 billion acre-ft).

Well .... The land area of the conterminous 48 United States is 2.5 billion acres.

OK. So let's be more realistic and make it 10 feet deep. That, then, is a pool 10 ft deep over 300,000,000 acres. That's about equivalent to the combined land areas of Texas, California and Arizona covered with 10 feet of water!!!

That's the volume of water it would take to raise sea level by 1 cm - less than a half inch. But he thinks that the volume we ARE currently impounding would make a measurable increase in sea level?

What he doesn't even consider is that a dam is only a storage unit. The volume of water that flows through a dam is EXACTLY the volume that flowed through the previously undammed stream. We just have storage of some finite volume, and an uncalculated loss to evaporation, which is pretty significant.

And now, the rest of the story.

That speaker went on to reveal the AGW crowd's real goal. Cap and Trade is JUST the beginning. His entire presentation boiled down to this salient point:

If we want to have any effect on global temperatures we must ELIMINATE all emissions of carbon dioxide - NO BURNING OF ANYTHING combustible - by the year 2030!!!!!!

And THEN... he put up a slide to depict our alternatives - and they were pictures of a nuclear power plant and a hydro-electric power station at a major dam.

Go ahead. I dare anybody here to take either of those proposals to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and see if you can still crawl to get back out of the door.
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