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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Guest Author:  Carl Brehmer
Date:  January 19, 2013
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Topic category:  Climate/Climate Change/Weather

If Water Vapor Were a “Greenhouse Gas” Droughts Would Cause Cold Snaps Not Heatwaves

Here we go again. Multiple news outlets have been asserting of late that manmade global warming is causing the current Australian drought and heatwave.

Here we go again. Multiple news outlets have been asserting of late that manmade global warming is causing the current Australian drought and heatwave. During the summer of 2012 it was the drought and heatwaves of the Central Plains of the United States that were said to be proof of manmade global warming; in 2011 it was the drought and heatwaves in Texas; in 2010 it was the drought and heatwaves in Russia. Just two months ago the World Bank released a report entitled, “Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, Turn Down the Heat,”[1] which has since been cited in dozens of news outlets bolstering the mass hysteria currently sweeping the globe over impending catastrophic manmade global warming. Attributing droughts and heatwaves to manmade global warming they wrote, “an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred in the last decade; major food crop growing areas are increasingly affected by drought” and “Increasing vulnerability to heat and drought stress will likely lead to increased mortality and species extinction.” Regardless of how alarming these reports may be and how frequently they are cited in the news they all betray an unfortunate reality; those who fret over impending catastrophic manmade global warming don’t even understand the scientific hypothesis upon which it is based—anthropogenic humidity.

To review, the hypothesis in question asserts that at current emission levels carbon dioxide will not by itself cause significant “greenhouse warming” but will induce the oceans to evaporate more and more water into water vapor, which is said to be the most powerful, heat trapping, “greenhouse gas.” This “anthropogenic humidity”, in turn, is anticipated through “positive feedback” to cause the catastrophic global warming that is presumed to loom over the horizon. The problem with this hypothesis is that the heatwaves mentioned in the above news reports were not caused by humidity, anthropogenic or otherwise; rather they were caused by its absence; they were caused by droughts, which is a dearth of humidity. If the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis were true, if “greenhouse gases” cause atmospheric warming then droughts would cause cold snaps not heat waves!

You see, the IPCC asserts that the “greenhouse effect” causes ~33 °C of atmospheric warming and other sources assert that water vapor is responsible for at least 20 °C of this warming. Therefore, when nature creates a drought and takes at least half of the water vapor out of the air in a particular region the temperature in that region should drop at least 10 °C (18 °F), but the opposite occurs—heatwaves ensue. Let’s take a look at a several recent and historical examples of this natural phenomenon.

2013- Australia: The current heat wave[2] occurring in Australia has been preceded by 5 months of unusually low rainfall. “Severe rainfall deficiencies persist across most of South Australia and in southern Queensland. This follows below average rainfall across eastern Queensland, central and northwestern New South Wales in December, and persistent dry conditions over southeast Australia since August.”[3].

2012- Central Plains of the United States: Last years heatwaves afflicting the Central Plains of the United States were brought about by a concomitant drought.[4]

2011- Texas: The Texas heatwave of 2011 was also brought on by a drought.[5]

2010- Russia: The record breaking Russian heatwave of 2010 resulted from the worst drought in 40 years.[6]

1923 & 1924 Marble Bar in Australia: “The town is far enough inland that, during the summer months, the only mechanisms likely to prevent the air from reaching such a temperature involve a southward excursion of humid air associated with the monsoon trough, or heavy cloud, and/or rain, in the immediate area.”[7] Said humidity, clouds and rain were very low during these years.

1936- North American Dust Bowl: “The phenomenon was caused by severe drought . . .”[8]

1976- Great Britain: “. . . from June 22 until August 26, a period of nine weeks, the weather was consistently dry, sunny and hot. It should also be remembered that summer 1976 marked the culmination of a prolonged drought which had begun in April 1975.”[9]

Even though it is typically reported that a heat wave will bring on a drought the opposite is always the case—heat waves are invariably preceded by lower than normal precipitation just as deserts, which are places of permanent drought, are invariably several degrees warmer on average than their more humid counterparts along the same latitude. If droughts where, in fact, caused by the heat trapped by water vapor via a “greenhouse effect” then as soon as the water vapor was wrung out of the air the temperature would plummet since the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis asserts that without the presence of “greenhouse gases” the atmosphere loses its capacity to prevent heat from escaping into space.

You will not find in any history book an incident of a heatwave being brought on by too much rain—by too much humidity—and this is no small technicality. Take Atlanta for example in the summer of 2011; when the temperature reached 105 °F after a month of no rain a calamity was declared, while in arid Phoenix when temperatures routinely reach 110 °F in July these are seen as typical balmy summer days. So again, if the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis were true droughts and heatwaves could not co-exist, because the dry air in drought stricken regions would be deprived of the atmosphere’s most powerful “greenhouse gas” and temperatures would plummet. Since temperatures in drought stricken regions sore instead of plummet we must conclude that water vapor is not actually a “greenhouse gas” because it causes atmospheric cooling rather than atmospheric warming and that the planet and humanity have nothing to fear from “anthropogenic humidity”.

Carl Brehmer


  1. Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, Turn Down the Heat, A Report for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics © 2012 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington DC 20433
  5. Blanley, Betsy (May 9, 2011). “Texas Drought 2011, State Endures Driest 7-Month Span on Record”, Huffington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2011.

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