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Thread: Water Vapor

  1. #1 Water Vapor 
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Intro:

    My argument here rests probably on a shaky foundation, but it can be summed up in one word: Equilibrium.

    As you can decipher from the topic title, I've been thinking about water vapor. I must admit that my knowledge within climate change is quite limited, but let's get to the argument in detail.

    Argument:

    I have the suspicion that when temerature goes up, and more water evaporates and becomes water vapor, more light is blocked by the water vapor, and the climate reaches equilibrium. Temperature goes down again and the process of equilibrium repeats.

    Problems:

    The reason I think this rests on a shaky foundation is because I don't know how much light the water vapor deflects and I also don't consider other greenhouse gasses. However, I consider the argument that the climate always will always reach a point of equilibrium, whether humans contribute with extra CO2 or not, probable. Though with my limited knowledge I'm unsure.

    I would love to get critique against this idea, considering all the things I don't know and have not included.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The role of water vapour is one that is fully recognised by climatologists and included within their models.
    I suggest, as a starting point, exhausting the resources on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/


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    Where did the water come from in the first place?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    The role of water vapour is one that is fully recognised by climatologists and included within their models.
    I suggest, as a starting point, exhausting the resources on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/
    I understand IPCC has gotten a lot of critique. It will take a long time to go through their report though :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I understand IPCC has gotten a lot of critique.
    From the Bush administration. From certain oil companies. From the short sighted, the conspiracy merchants and the congenitally dumb.

    They have also got a Nobel Prize. If any criticism can rightly be levelled at them it is that they have watered down their concerns and recommendations in order to include the most optimistic researchers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    I understand IPCC has gotten a lot of critique.
    From the Bush administration. From certain oil companies. From the short sighted, the conspiracy merchants and the congenitally dumb.

    They have also got a Nobel Prize. If any criticism can rightly be levelled at them it is that they have watered down their concerns and recommendations in order to include the most optimistic researchers.
    Ah, well in that case...
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    You might also look in realclimate.org. They have some discussions on water vapor that are a bit more accessible than the IPCC reports.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Where did the water come from in the first place?
    Selene

    Water is everywhere in the universe where there are stars.
    The 'solar' eruptions are chemical explosions of hydrogen and oxygen. The byproduct is water.

    There are large numbers of impacting objects (mainly comets) on the Sun that contain oxides of different elements.
    In the intense heat, the oxides separate to release the oxygen. Result? A powerful explosion that results in water vapor plus other particles and elemental ions.

    The current science teaches that these eruptions are caused by magnetic energy field concentrations.
    I refute that.

    Cosmo
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo
    Water is everywhere in the universe where there are stars.
    The 'solar' eruptions are chemical explosions of hydrogen and oxygen. The byproduct is water.

    The current science teaches that these eruptions are caused by magnetic energy field concentrations.
    I refute that.
    Cosmo, this is not the pseudoscience section. Thank you for stating clearly that this hypothesis is not what science holds to be true, but let's keep the posts relevant to the thread topic. Discuss your own theories within pseudoscience if you wish, or within a separate thread in Earth science if you believe you can offer up enough supporting evidence. Otherwise lets try to keep it tight. Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Where did the water come from in the first place?
    Selene

    Water is everywhere in the universe where there are stars.
    The 'solar' eruptions are chemical explosions of hydrogen and oxygen. The byproduct is water.

    There are large numbers of impacting objects (mainly comets) on the Sun that contain oxides of different elements.
    In the intense heat, the oxides separate to release the oxygen. Result? A powerful explosion that results in water vapor plus other particles and elemental ions.

    The current science teaches that these eruptions are caused by magnetic energy field concentrations.
    I refute that.

    Cosmo
    Thank you Cosmo

    For taking the time to explain where water comes from.
    It is something i have often wondered about.

    Ophiolite does seem to like the colour red, but then so do bulls as the saying goes....

    Anyway, apparently stars contain oxygen and the hydrogen exists in space. When the star explodes and both gases mingle in the chill of space they fuse, so this person says:
    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/que...php?number=195

    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?

    Perhaps we should start a new thread and save certain people having high blood pressure?

    All the best
    Selene
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?
    Possibly, but more likely, given the hardness of the vacuum in outer space, any surface tension or attraction between the molecules will be unable to hold them together and (unless they accumulate amongst hard or hard/wet objects like asteroids and comets) they will therefore be more like individual molecules of water floating around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?
    Possibly, but more likely, given the hardness of the vacuum in outer space, any surface tension or attraction between the molecules will be unable to hold them together and (unless they accumulate amongst hard or hard/wet objects like asteroids and comets) they will therefore be more like individual molecules of water floating around.
    I'm not sure I understand this, Shanks. What forces in outer space will be pulling apart the ice crystals?
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    Why would they clump together in the first place?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?
    Possibly, but more likely, given the hardness of the vacuum in outer space, any surface tension or attraction between the molecules will be unable to hold them together and (unless they accumulate amongst hard or hard/wet objects like asteroids and comets) they will therefore be more like individual molecules of water floating around.
    I'm not sure I understand this, Shanks. What forces in outer space will be pulling apart the ice crystals?
    Your physics is a darn sight sharper than mine, Harold. I suppose I made the assumption that the kinetic energy of the molecules, low though it might be, would force them apart were there not the pressure of surrounding molecules (as is usual in conditions on earth) preventing them from doing so.

    There's also Bunbury's point - in space it's pretty hard for two molecules to find each other: depends upon the molecules' provenance I suppose.

    What are your thoughts then?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?
    Possibly, but more likely, given the hardness of the vacuum in outer space, any surface tension or attraction between the molecules will be unable to hold them together and (unless they accumulate amongst hard or hard/wet objects like asteroids and comets) they will therefore be more like individual molecules of water floating around.
    I'm not sure I understand this, Shanks. What forces in outer space will be pulling apart the ice crystals?
    Your physics is a darn sight sharper than mine, Harold. I suppose I made the assumption that the kinetic energy of the molecules, low though it might be, would force them apart were there not the pressure of surrounding molecules (as is usual in conditions on earth) preventing them from doing so.

    There's also Bunbury's point - in space it's pretty hard for two molecules to find each other: depends upon the molecules' provenance I suppose.

    What are your thoughts then?
    I hadn't thought about it much. I guess it might tend to evaporate or sublimate if it had any thermal energy, but it's pretty cold out there too. You could be right.
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    Ok i think i get it, but some of the physics of forces goes over my head.

    So how come this water in space doesn't make the moon damp for instance or Mars? Or does it?

    If i'm asking poopy questions just say.

    I'm really fascinated by this because of the question of life on other planets and the need for water to assist it. If there's water molecules floating about in space wouldn't there be lots of it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Ok i think i get it, but some of the physics of forces goes over my head.

    So how come this water in space doesn't make the moon damp for instance or Mars? Or does it?

    If i'm asking poopy questions just say.

    I'm really fascinated by this because of the question of life on other planets and the need for water to assist it. If there's water molecules floating about in space wouldn't there be lots of it?
    This might answer some of your questions.
    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives...5882.As.r.html
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    As we all doubtless know, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Oxygen is the third most abundant element. Where temperature is sufficiently low to allow molecular species to survive, water moelcules will form. Water vapour has been detected and found to be common around newly forming stars.

    In the accretion discs of such stars, more distant from the proto-star, temperatures are suffciently low that ices will form. These progressively grow through collision and gravitational attraction, forming planetesimals composed of ices and mineral grains and organic molecules. Some of these contribute to the formation of gas and ice giants, such as Jupiter and Neptune, others will provide the oceans of Earth analogues. while many millions will be cast into the outer darkness of the system as comets.
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  20. #19  
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    Weird that the discussion in this topic changed like this But I'm glad it did. This is quite interesting
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    MMmmm....that's interesting

    Thank you Harold for the link and Ophiolite for the info...i will go and do some research....

    Apologies Obviously for sending the topic off course, it is interesting, but so is your query about water vapor.

    Water is taken for granted, yet it is one of the most fascinating substances on the planet!
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    I have the suspicion that when temerature goes up, and more water evaporates and becomes water vapor, more light is blocked by the water vapor, and the climate reaches equilibrium. Temperature goes down again and the process of equilibrium repeats.
    Back to your original topic, if you have had a chance to read about water vapor in either the IPCC or realclimate you will know by now that your above idea is wrong. Water vapor is relatively transparent to the wavelengths coming into the atmosphere from space, but relatively absorptive to the different wavelengths trying to escape, so the net result of increased water vapor in the atmosphere is that the temperature rises further. There is no known mechanism that will cause it to peak and then come down again. An initial temperature rise (due to anthropogenic or non-anthropogenic causes, take your pick) is amplified by this water vapor feedback.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Back to your original topic, if you have had a chance to read about water vapor in either the IPCC or realclimate you will know by now that your above idea is wrong. Water vapor is relatively transparent to the wavelengths coming into the atmosphere from space, but relatively absorptive to the different wavelengths trying to escape, so the net result of increased water vapor in the atmosphere is that the temperature rises further. There is no known mechanism that will cause it to peak and then come down again. An initial temperature rise (due to anthropogenic or non-anthropogenic causes, take your pick) is amplified by this water vapor feedback.
    Ah, well then my argument falls through the shaky foundation it was standing on It was just a thought I had one day, but I wasn't sure if it held up to evidence. Thanks for proving me wrong :-D (or, well. I'll have to take your word for it now until I read the facts of course. But I don't see why you would lie )
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  24. #23  
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    I wouldn't lie, but I could be mistaken. That's why you should check one of the references mentioned above.
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    Rule 1. in new knowledge and research Obviously ( and probably the most important!)

    NEVER take one persons word for it!

    Always look at as many other sources as possible

    And obviously not four people all working for the same department!

    You are a very nice caring person, but too trusting sometimes x
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    Back to your original topic, if you have had a chance to read about water vapor in either the IPCC or realclimate you will know by now that your above idea is wrong. Water vapor is relatively transparent to the wavelengths coming into the atmosphere from space, but relatively absorptive to the different wavelengths trying to escape, so the net result of increased water vapor in the atmosphere is that the temperature rises further. There is no known mechanism that will cause it to peak and then come down again. An initial temperature rise (due to anthropogenic or non-anthropogenic causes, take your pick) is amplified by this water vapor feedback.
    I believe this is incorrect. If this was true then the Earth would have been in a constant state of heating

    There are several mechanisms that regulate water vapor in the atmosphere by the process of cooling, radiational cooling and phase change, just to name a couple.

    Temperature is the regulatory factor. Heat will allow more water vapor in the air and cooling will send it back down.

    Vincent
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    So I've done a little research and I'm partially confused. I've been reading about water vapor here. I don't think I understand too much here :?

    I've also been reading a little on wikipedia (here and here) and came over this figure which seems to support Bunburys' statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Water vapor is relatively transparent to the wavelengths coming into the atmosphere from space, but relatively absorptive to the different wavelengths trying to escape
    Here's the figure:



    I'll be doing more research when I find time. Oh, yeah. I also found this, but I haven't read it yet

    I manily found the other sources using wikipedia's references.
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    Solar radiation is just a part of the equation.

    To say there is no mechanism for the peak not to come down is incorrect. Every time it rains or snows is the atmosphere sending water vapor back to the ground.

    The atmospheres ability to hold water vapor is dependent on the amount of heat in the atmosphere. Take Mars for example, the total water vapor present in the atmosphere during diurnal conditions is less than .03%. Doesn’t sound like much but its as much as the atmosphere can hold due to radiational cooling at night. In the coldest time of night the relative humidity is near 100%.

    Hope that helps.

    Vincent
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Rule 1. in new knowledge and research Obviously ( and probably the most important!)

    NEVER take one persons word for it!

    Always look at as many other sources as possible

    And obviously not four people all working for the same department!

    You are a very nice caring person, but too trusting sometimes x
    Yes, you're right I guess. But in an attempt to justify my gullibility, I did say I was going to verify the statement that was made :wink:
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent
    Solar radiation is just a part of the equation.

    To say there is no mechanism for the peak not to come down is incorrect. Every time it rains or snows is the atmosphere sending water vapor back to the ground.

    The atmospheres ability to hold water vapor is dependent on the amount of heat in the atmosphere. Take Mars for example, the total water vapor present in the atmosphere during diurnal conditions is less than .03%. Doesn’t sound like much but its as much as the atmosphere can hold due to radiational cooling at night. In the coldest time of night the relative humidity is near 100%.

    Hope that helps.

    Vincent
    I guess that's useful information, but in what context? :? I was talking about how much radiation water vapor deflects, absorbs and lets through. The figure I found showed that the radiation being deflected/going back to space gets more absorbed than the radiation coming in to earth, thus proving my argument, that water vapor deflects incoming radiation, faulty.

    I am curious though if there's anything else that might imply that earth will always reach a state of equilibrium/balance. It seemed like a good idea in my mind
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    This is a simple qualitative description taken from the following link, which is recommended reading before you delve into the quantitative part. In this description he is talking about CO2, but water vapor has the same qualitative effect and is present in much larger amounts in the atmosphere. Water vapor content increases as a feedback to the CO2 increase.

    A rough explanation goes like this. Visible sunlight penetrates easily through the air and warms the Earth’s surface. When the surface emits invisible infrared heat radiation, this radiation too easily penetrates the main gases of the air. But as Tyndall found, even a trace of CO2, no more than it took to fill a bottle in his laboratory, is almost opaque to heat radiation. Thus a good part of the radiation that rises from the surface is absorbed by CO2 in the middle levels of the atmosphere. Its energy transfers into the air itself rather than escaping directly into space. Not only is the air thus warmed, but also some of the energy trapped there is radiated back to the surface, warming it further.
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm
    Wow! That's a lot of reading
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    Oh, equilibrium.

    That is the reason for the season so to speak. Everything wants it. That fuels the weather on Earth. Warm air heading north, Cold air heading south. Airmass formation, gradient, then the Storm.

    You can think of the Earth as a dog chasing its tail. It will never catch it. A sphere with unequal solar incidence can not reach equilibrium. Even Venus with its run away greenhouse, I call greenhouse enhanced, will never reach it. The discovery of the super polar vortex on Venus like on Saturn will be better understood as more data arrives.

    Equilibrium is the driving force but will only be reached when the atmosphere is gone. The Earths Moon is as close as you will get.

    Vincent
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Wow! That's a lot of reading
    It's a good reference to dip into. You don't have to read the whole thing at one go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo
    Quote Originally Posted by Selene
    Where did the water come from in the first place?
    Selene

    Water is everywhere in the universe where there are stars.
    The 'solar' eruptions are chemical explosions of hydrogen and oxygen. The byproduct is water.

    There are large numbers of impacting objects (mainly comets) on the Sun that contain oxides of different elements.
    In the intense heat, the oxides separate to release the oxygen. Result? A powerful explosion that results in water vapor plus other particles and elemental ions.

    The current science teaches that these eruptions are caused by magnetic energy field concentrations.
    I refute that.

    Cosmo
    Thank you Cosmo

    For taking the time to explain where water comes from.
    It is something i have often wondered about.

    Ophiolite does seem to like the colour red, but then so do bulls as the saying goes....

    Anyway, apparently stars contain oxygen and the hydrogen exists in space. When the star explodes and both gases mingle in the chill of space they fuse, so this person says:
    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/que...php?number=195

    So does that mean water droplets are floating about in space?

    Perhaps we should start a new thread and save certain people having high blood pressure?

    All the best
    Selene
    Thank you for the support but my specialty is astronomy and cosmology.

    However, I would like to add this comment:
    I think the water is created as a byproduct of the explosion on the Sun.

    Cosmo
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