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By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Influence of Greenhouse Gases: The past two TWTWs discussed that when liquid water changes phases and turns into a gas, water vapor, it absorbs heat energy, which is not measured by temperature. By convention, the energy is called latent heat. Most, but not all, of the idealized process takes place in the tropics or what was once labeled the Torrid Zone, lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In the idealized model, solar energy transports the water vapor to the top of the troposphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) where the water vapor condenses into rain, or freezes into ice, releasing the latent heat.
This idealized process, which TWTW called the weather engine, apparently accounted for a major amplification of the greenhouse gas effect emphasized by climate modelers discussed in the 1979 Charney Report. The speculated impact is called the “hot spot” and is common to global climate models. As TWTW previously discussed, 40 years of comprehensive atmospheric temperature trends and 60 years of more narrow weather balloon temperature measurements by separate instruments do not reveal an unusual rate of warming at the speculated (hypothesized) region. Thus, the prediction fails and one should no longer assume the speculated warming exists.