We Need to Measure Water Vapor (Humidity) Footprints of Hydroelectric Reservoirs Built in the Cryosphere

We measure carbon footprints of fossil fuel power plants but we don’t measure the evaporation rates of hydroelectric resevoirs or their water vapor (humidity) footprints.

“Water vapor is Earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. It’s responsible for about half of Earth’s greenhouse effect– the process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat,” and “some people mistakenly believe water vapors are are the main driver of Earth’s current warming. But, increased water vapor doesn’t cause human-produced global warming. Instead, it’s a consequence of it. Increased water vapor in the atmosphere supercharges the warming caused by other greenhouse gases. It works like this: as greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane increase, Earth’s temperature rises in response. This increases evaporation from both water and land areas. Because warmer air holds more moisture, its concentration of water vapor increases. The water vapor then absorbs heat radiated from Earth and prevents it from escaping out to space. This further warms the atmosphere, resulting in even more water vapor in the atmosphere. This is what scientists call a ‘positive feedback loop’. Scientists estimate this effect more than doubles the warming that would happen due to increasing carbon dioxide alone.” (Steamy Relationships: How Atmospheric Water Vapor Supercharges Earth’s Greenhouse Effect by Alan Buis, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, February 8, 2022)

It is my opinion that this hypothesis is seriously flawed because it does not take into account the increased water vapor from the proliferation of large and mega hydroelectric reservoirs in the subarctic and Arctic regions. For example, fourteen years after Russia built the 280 mile long Vilyuy Hydroelectric Reservoir in Siberia, “the average annual temperature at Chernyvsky has risen from 17 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit, ” Boris A. Bedvedev said “and now the summer temperatures are cooler and season longer, influenced by the 33 percent increase in humidity, from the huge reservoir, the engineer said.”

(Environmental Change Tied to Soviet Dam published in the Jackson Sun of March 26, 1981)

The Vilyuy Reservoir’s water vapor emissions forced a cataclysmic regional climate change. It is my hypothesis that the cumulative impact of multiple thermal water vapor footprints from large Canadian and Russian human vaporizing reservoirs forcing climate change in the Arctic. The proliferation of reservoirs has supercharged the arctics humidity levels and that has led to warmer temperatures which causes more evaporation and water vapor to be absorbed into the atmosphere. These dams are causing human produced Arctic and global warming and we need to measure their evaporation rates and thermal and water vapor footprints.

— Stephen Kasprzak April 4, 2022

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