MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Does man-made microwave radiation warm the atmosphere?

Date: Mon Dec 30 12:59:44 2002
Posted By: Renafaye Norby, Faculty, Science Education
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1039369446.Ph

It is fair to say that all forms of man made radiation is insignificant 
compared to the total energy in the form of radiation that we receive from 
the sun. Given that almost all of the energy humans use to generate 
radiation (coal and gas fueled electric power plants, wood burning stoves 
and fireplaces) comes from a small portion of the sun's energy, converted 
by photosynthesis to fossil or other burnable fuels. The radiation that is 
generated by man in the form of microwaves can be kilowatts or megawatts, 
but even the percentage of the sun's energy (for all wavelengths ) is more 
on the order of 10 to the 15th power kilowatts.
one internet source -- a Harvard astrophysicist --for this discussion 
states that:
"Two conclusions can be drawn about global warming and human energy use:

1.  No catastrophic human-made global warming effects can be found in the 
best measurements of climate that we presently have. 
2.  The longevity, health, welfare and productivity of humans have 
improved with the use of fossil fuels for energy, and the resulting human 
wealth has helped produce environmental improvements beneficial to health 
as well. "

the entire article can be found at

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