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LETTER: Budyko foresaw global warming

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Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network


In 1956, an international conference of the Committee on Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was held in Washington D.C. Attending was Russian scientist Mikhail Budyko who presented an English-language summary of his energy-mass balance theory for the earth's surface. Budyko's work was translated into the book 'The Heat Balance of the Earth's Surface,' Washington, 1958. The WMO logo is on all UN IPCC reports starting in 1990.

Budyko says that global warming is mainly due to three causes: (1) increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, (2) increased production of energy by man, and (3) aerosols in the atmosphere with the reservation that some aerosols cause cooling.

Focusing on (2); the energy consumed by man is converted to heat. Budyko says, "only hydro-energy and the energy contained in wood and agricultural products are part of the transformed energy of solar radiation annually absorbed by the earth. The expenditure of these kinds of energy does not change the earth's heat budget and does not cause additional heating."

Budyko then says, "The energy obtained from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, and nuclear energy are sources of heat that are not related to the transformation of solar radiation energy in the present epoch.” Electricity generated from nuclear fuels or fossil fuels causes additional heating not related to the annual transformation of solar radiation energy - hence change the earth's heat budget and contributes to global heating.

Missing from Budyko's list is man changing the earth's albedo.

Tony Lloyd,

Mount Stewart

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