H20 the Gorilla Climate Molecule

Science Matters

In climate discussions, someone is bound to say: Climate is a lot more than temperatures. And of course, they are right. So let’s consider the other major determinant of climate, precipitation.

The chart above is actually a screen capture of real-time measurements of precipitable water in the atmosphere.  The 24-hour animation can be accessed at MIMIC-TPW ver.2 .  H/T Ireneusz Palmowski, who commented:  “I do not understand why scientists deal with anthropogenic CO2, although the entire convection in the troposphere is driven by water vapor (and ozone in high latitudes).”

These images show that H2O is driving the heat engine through its phase changes (liquid to vapor to liquid (and sometimes ice crystals as well).  And as far as radiative heat transfer is concerned, 95% of it is done by water molecules.  Below is an essay going into the dynamics of precipitation, its variability over the earth’s surface, and…

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