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EXPLANATION

Since global warming appeared during the last decade as a serious environmental
issue, it has been the subject of a lot of debate. Global warming is defined as the
warming of the earth by greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere naturally or
by mankind. But there are many questions about global warming, from its causes to
its full effects.

Many people even question whether or not global warming exists. And if global
warming does exist, people question why it exists. But there is one fact that no one
has questioned - the surface temperature of the earth has increased 0.45 - 0.6
degrees Celsius in the past century.

Is the increased temperature something we need to worry about? Well, there


are two different viewpoints. The believers in global warming think that the increased
temperature proves that global warming exists, and that it's a significant problem that
should not be taken lightly.

Skeptics of global warming believe that the increased temperature is a natural


phenomenon, and that if global warming does exist, it's not something to be worried
about. What makes this debate so interesting is that there is valid scientific data to
prove either side.

Global warming has been proven and disproven using computer climate models.
Believers in global warming use them to show that in the next century there will be a
significant rise in the Earth's temperature, and an increase in the height of sea level.
Global warming skeptics suggest that the models are not entirely based on fact, and
that they can not be trusted.

There are many arguments for and against the existence of global warming. We'll take
a look at some of the arguments for both sides on the following pages, starting with
the believers in global warming.

According to a new study, the current global warming tendency is not driven by the
burning of fossil fuels but by a natural event that changed the distribution of water
vapors in the atmosphere. Water vapor are the main cause of greenhouse effect,
having much more influence on the temperature than carbon dioxide and methane. In
the same time, they are virtually completely outside of our control. The studies that
claimed the importance of carbon dioxide and methane assumed that the levels of
water vapors are unchanged. However, according to Vladimir Shaidurov of the
Russian Academy of Sciences this is not so.

According to the Russian scientist the event that propped up global warming was the
Tungus Meteorite that struck Earth in a remote part of Siberia, northwest of Lake
Baikal on the 30th June 1908 (known as the Tunguska Event). This has released as
much energy as fifteen one-megaton atomic bombs and blasted an enormous amount
of dust into the atmosphere. Shaidurov suggests that this explosion has caused a
"considerable stirring of the high layers of atmosphere and changed its structure."

According to him, this event had a dramatic impact on the tiny ice crystals that can
be found at different altitudes in the atmosphere. The reason why water vapors and
ice crystals are so important is that they determine what types of clouds form and at
what altitudes. In the end, what counts most is the reflectivity of the clouds. Even a
small

changein the clouds can produce large changes in temperature because more or less
sunlight reaches Earth's surface.

In order to prove his assumption concerning the Tunguska Event he looked at the
temperature record over the past 1000 years. He has found a constant and slow
decline in the temperature until around the meteorite strike. After the event one can
see a sharp increase of the average temperature (see picture below). This increase
has stopped only during the time of the nuclear tests in the atmosphere.

Shaidurov writes: "From the standpoint of atmosphere hypothesis the nuclear tests in
the atmosphere are opposite to consequences of the Tungus meteorite. When a
nuclear charge explodes at the Earth's surface or in the atmosphere, the shock wave
vents water vapor from the troposphere to the stratosphere through tropopause. For
some period (aprox. 3 years) water vapor in the stratosphere and aerosol, and dust in
the troposphere and stratosphere suffice for the defense of the Earth from solar
radiation. But then all gradually settled, and global warming continued."

Of course this does not mean the nuclear tests in the atmosphere were good -
the entire Earth is a little bit more radioactive because of those tests! (There were
some eccentric scientists who proposed the use of thermonuclear bombs against
hurricanes: one could detect the hurricane from satellite and than throw an H-bomb in
its center literally blowing it off before it got very large or near the coast.)

Moreover, Shaidurov explains that the levels of carbon dioxide and methane, the
other two greenhouse gases are not the cause behind global warming but the effect
of global warming. That this might be so has long been speculated, because global
warming seems to have preceded the increase in carbon dioxide and methane. But
Shaidurov also explains the mechanism:

"The point is that the average increase of land and ocean temperature produces
higher average absolute humidity. In its turn, this raises the assimilation ability of the
atmosphere even at constant content of carbon dioxide. But increasing the average
ocean temperature is responsible for lower water solubility of carbon dioxide, which
then arrives in the atmosphere. Moreover, increase in land temperature is responsible
for growth of bogs, at least in Northern Russia, due to the removal of permafrost deep
down. The rise in area and activity of bogs leads to more active production of
methane. Thus, a self-stimulated process was launched for the increase of average
temperature of the Earth's surface. Therefore the rise of greenhouse gas
concentration is more a consequence of warming but not a main reason."

Therefore, there exists a positive feedback mechanism at work: the Tunguska Event
has changed the distribution of water vapors and ice crystals in the atmosphere (the
nature of the clouds) and has started the global warming; global warming produces an
increase in the levels of the other greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and
methane, and these in turn also contribute to the increase in global warming.
However, the CO2 and the methane are negligible compared to the water vapors. A
rise of just 1% of water vapor could raise the global average temperature of Earth's
surface more then 4 degrees Celsius.