Its even worse than Al Gore said

February 8, 2013

I was amused to read the meme about global warming being like the explosion of 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day on the planet.  Both James Hansen and Al Gore have made this claim.

Guess what? They could be right!

And here is another thing: The CFL bulbs in my basement are like the detonation of a pound of TNT every day!

First, the 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs meme

Presumed extra CO2 forcing: This value is highly debatable, but I will play along with a commonly quoted warmist value: 0.6 Watts/m2 = 0.6 Joules /( s  m2 )
Surface area of the Earth: 5.1 x 1014 m2
Seconds in a day: 86,400 s / day
Yield of Hiroshima bomb: 15 kilotons of TNT
Kilotons of TNT to Joule conversion: 4.2 x 1012 Joules / kilotons of TNT

So, presumed total forcing due to CO2:
{0.6 Joules /( s  m2 )} x {5.1 x 1014 m2} x 86,400 s / day
≈ 2.6 x 1019 Joules / day

The yield of Hiroshima bomb in Joules:
{15 kilotons of TNT} x {4.2 x 1012 Joules / kilotons of TNT} = 6.3 x 1013 Joules

Number of Hiroshima bomb equivalents per day:
{2.6 x 1019 Joules / day} / {6.3 x 1013 Joules} ≈ 400,000 / day

Detonation of TNT in my basement

Number of CFLs in main basement room: 6
Power of each CFL: 16 Watts = 16 Joules / second
Operating time each day: 6 hours = 21,600 seconds

energy released by the CFLs in my basement:
6 x {16 Joules / second) x {21,600 seconds} ≈ 2.1 x 106 Joules

Equivalent mass of TNT:
{2.1 x 106 Joules} / {4.2 x 1012 Joules / kilotons of TNT} = 5 x 10-5 kilotons of TNT
=  0.5 kilograms of TNT ≈ 1 pound of TNT

But it gets even worse

As if it weren’t bad enough having the equivalent of a pound of TNT blowing up in my basement every day – there is something worse. Much worse.

The sun irradiates the surface of the planet with enough energy for my own personal Hiroshima atomic bomb blast every 40 days or so.  And your own personal blast. And a blast for every single man, woman and child.  The equivalent of 7 billion Hiroshima blasts every 42 days!

Average insolation at the surface of the Earth: 250 W/ m2 = 250 J / s /m2
Surface area of the Earth: 5.1 x 1014 m2

Total solar power at the surface of the Earth:
{250 J / s /m2} x {5.1 x 1014 m2} ≈ 1.25 x 1017 J / s

So how long does it take for the equivalent of 7 billion Hiroshimas?

Energy of 7 billion Hiroshimas / total solar power at the surface of the Earth
= {7 x 109} x {6.3 x 1013 Joules} / {1.25 x 1017 J / s} ≈ 3.6 x 106 s ≈  42 days

So there you have it, we all get our own personal Hiroshima every 42 days.