Monday, January 18, 2010

How energy use warms the earth

One of the things that is very little appreciated is the amount of warmth caused by our energy use. the average American citizen uses 10,380 watts of energy. A watt of energy is a joule/second.

Temperature is a measure of radiation per square meter. The Stefan-Boltzman law relates the electromagnetic radiation to the fourth power of temperature. If you are equationophobic, skip this.

Watts/meter^2 = σT^4

The thing that should interest us is how much does the energy use of the average American warm a small city. The global warming advocates claim that rural areas are not affected by urban heat and they too have warmed. By this the claim is made that the globe's warming is not due to urban heat effect but to CO2.

We are going to test that. Riverton, Wyoming is a tiny town of about 11,000 people in central Wyoming. I lived there for a month in 1973, working on a seismic crew when my career started. Looking on the internet, I find that there are 367 people per square kilometer in Riverton. At 10,380 W per person, divided by the million, that works out, using the above law, to an additional .65 deg C added to the ambient, and natural, temperature. This is exactly what the global warming advocates say the earth has warmed by over the past century. It truly is interesting that the energy use in a small town causes the same warming that CO2 is said to have caused.

Let's look at Dallas, Texas. There are 1427 people per square kilometer, which, at 10380 watts per person, adds 2.5 deg C of unatural warming.

The interesting thing is that GISS and NOAA make all sorts of corrections for the errors in the temperature measurments, but none of them corrcct for the energy use density expected from the high energy lifestyle of modern cities.

Below is a chart showing that energy use affects the temperatures of the cities. The base level is 295 deg K. As population density rises, the heat generated in the city rises as well. And it doesn't take much of a city to cause this heat, as is seen with the 10,000 population of Riverton, Wyoming.


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