Mini-Science Q & A – What is the role of climate scientists in the climate change debate?

Mini-Science logo At the conclusion of each Mini-Science lecture, audience members submit their questions to the evening’s presenter, who answers as many as possible on the spot. Three of the unanswered questions are sent to the presenter for posting here. Here are questions from Dr. Bruno Tremblay’s lecture “What is the role of climate scientists in the climate change debate?” (April 14, 2010).

Q: Is it possible that the increase in ocean level and therefore ocean weight, might account for the apparent increase in earthquakes?

A: No.

Q: In the Vostok data it showed an extreme rise in the levels of CH4 [methane]. Would the levels of this ion not create a huge electron-attraction to the atmosphere? And with that increase the temperature?

A: The extreme increase of CH4 were actual measurements taken recently and these were pasted on at the end of the Vostok curve. This was not discussed in the Mini Science presentation but it is a very good point that should have been addressed. In terms of CH4 it is not an ion it is a molecule with no free electron. In any case this electron is not really relevant to temperature increase.

Q: Does “jet trail” from the daily aircraft travel in the upper atmosphere have an effect on the earth’s reflectivity of solar radiation?

A: I feel that jet trails DO most certainly have an impact on the earth’s reflectivity. After the 9/11 incident scientists tried to test this assumption because there was a short period of time when all air traffic was suspended. I recall that there was an impact but that it was not statistically significant; i.e., the time series was too short to say that jet trails conclusively affected the earth’s reflectivity.

Please visit the Mini-Science website for more information about the lecture series.

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