Carbon dioxide emissions are the driving force behind the Earth’s Greenhouse Effect. However, there are untold stories how Hydro-Quebec’s and Russia’s human produced water vapor emissions are not only the catalyst but also the supercharger of an unprecedented Arctic Greenhouse Effect.
The Soviet Union announced its hypothesis in 1950 to use evaporation from its proposed mega reservoir hydroelectric power schemes in the watershed of the Kara Sea to increase the humidity of central Siberia and melt the Kara’s sea ice.
An example of Soviet intentions from a credible source: “For each step outlined here the computations have been made and verified; how much electric power can be produced; how great the evaporation will be; how many calories will be transmitted to the atmosphere in one area and taken to another to change the climate of the Arctic and the desert.” By William Mandel from California Eagle ( Los Angeles, California) 2 February 1950 Thursday.
Seventy years ago the Russians hypothesized that the cumulative impact of water vapor emissions from artificial Lakes, 200 to 300 miles long, would cause human produced warming in the very arid Arctic region. According to NASA, “…increasing water vapor leads to warmer temperatures, which causes more water vapor to be absorbed into the air. Warming and water absorption increase in a spiraling cycle.”
The merit of these Russian hypotheses was fully supported by a September 14, 1975, Miami Herald article by John Dornberg entitled, Huge man-made lakes warming up Siberia. “Ten years after its completion… the Bratsk dam and others like it along the Angara River have warmed up central Siberia by at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Since 1975, more mega dams have been built in the Kara’s watershed on the Angara,Yenisei, Ob and Irtysh Rivers and this has greatly intensified the Arctic Greenhouse Effect in central Siberia and the adjacent Arctic Seas. For example, “The Kara Sea has experienced the most dramatic boost in air temperatures over the last 20 years. Since 1998, the average temperatures in the area have increased by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit” (Staalensen, 2018).
Between 1980 to 2020, the amount of August sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk by 1,000,000 square miles according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder. About one third of the Arctic’s reduction in sea ice occurred in the Kara Sea’s 340,000 square miles alone. SMK/rdw Page 1 September 28, 2022
Human enhanced Arctic solar absorption and evaporation
The very cold natural water cycles of the Canadian and Russian rivers have been replaced by human regulated and unnaturally warmer water cycles, intensifying both solar absorption and water vapor emissions.
The new presence and extraordinary volume of fall and winter water vapor emissions from Canadian and Russian hydroelectric reservoirs have supercharged regional humidity levels and this has led to warmer temperatures, which causes more unprecedented evaporation and water vapor emissions.
Scientists call this Arctic Amplification or “positive feedback loops” and this has radically altered the natural and delicate balance between regional evaporation and precipitation rates.
Hydro-Quebec has built cascading mega dams over a 900 mile long continental section starting from the mouth of the LaGrande River entering Hudson Bay, extending eastward through Quebec to Newfoundland and Labrador and ending at the entrance of the Churchill River on the Labrador Sea. They include the 4th, 11th, and 12th largest in the world by volume and two others which are the 5th and 13th largest by surface area.
Russia has radically altered the natural water cycles between the Yensei-Angara and Ob-Irtysh Rivers and the Kara Sea by building a series of 8 major hydroelectric reservoirs. Three of them are the 2nd, 9th, and 10th largest in the world by surface area and four others are the 2nd, 9th, 13th, and 14th largest by volume.
During summer, solar energy is absorbed by these artificial lakes warming their waters. By early fall, the large temperature differences between the cold air and warmer water surfaces in reservoirs and downstream rivers provide exceptional conditions for high evaporation rates to release copious water vapor emissions. These emissions release the stored heat of the waters until the reservoir surfaces freeze over. In addition to this source of water vapor, there are hundreds of miles of the downstream river waters that never freeze over throughout the winter due to the winter flow discharges releasing deep warm reservoir waters through the hydro turbines. The regulated warm dam discharges are typically 5 to 10 times the volume of natural winter river flows.
Fall and winter evaporation are supercharging Arctic Greenhouse Effect
It is my hypothesis that the fall and winter water vapor releases from the downstream warmed rivers may exceed the reservoir emissions prior to icing over and thus are also a major driving contributor supercharging the Arctic’s Greenhouse Effect
For example, “ the Krasnoyarsk Dam significantly influences the local climate; normally the river would freeze over in the bitterly-cold Siberian winter, but because the dam releases unfrozen water year round, the river never freezes in the 200 kilometer (120 Mi) to 300 kilometer (190 Mi.) stretch of river downstream from the dam. In winter, the frigid air interacts with warm river water to produce fog, which shrouds Krasnoyarsk and other downstream area.” (Pacific Environment 2013 and Gotlib 1996)
Hydro-Quebec and Siberian artificial lakes and their warm outflow releases experience some of the highest evaporation rates in the world.
These reservoirs and the Great Lakes both experience a similar annual loss of about two feet of water annually through evaporation. A high percentage of this 2 foot loss of lake elevation occurs in the cold seasons.
“This is because evaporation is not directly driven by warm air temperatures but instead by warm water temperatures (Lenters, 2004). More specifically high evaporation requires three factors : 1) a large temperature difference between water and air (i.e. warm water and cold air), 2) low relative humidity, 3) high wind speeds. If all three ingredients are present, as often occurs in the fall and winter, evaporation rates for the Great Lakes can get as high as 0.4 to 0.5 inches a day. To put the number in perspective, a 1-day loss of 0.5 inches of water from the total surface area of the Great Lakes (94,250 square miles) represents a volumetric flow rate of 20 Niagara Falls”. (Lenters, 2011)
If a “volumetric flow rate of 20 Niagara Falls” can occur from the surface area of the Great Lakes 94,250 square mile, then how great is the annual volume of water vapor emissions from the 1,000,000 square miles of the Arctic’s coastal seas that are now ice free each year?
Throughout the winter, long sections of the downstream unfrozen rivers warmed by the hypolimnial deep dam releases, continually contaminate the atmosphere with great volumes of water vapor emissions. Never before in geologic history have rivers openly flowed through the frigid Arctic winter exposing vast surface areas of now unfrozen water to such full combinations of evaporative forces.
This human produced warming is a powerful contributor to earlier ice out and later freeze up dates in James and Hudson Bays, Arctic Ocean and its Kara Sea.
Many in the scientific community hypothesize that the increase in the average annual global temperature of about two degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years is the major driver of increased Arctic water vapor emissions. For example, in February 8, 2022, Alan Buis, of NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote the following in Steamy
Relationships: How Atmospheric Water Vapor Supercharges Earth’s Greenhouse Effect:
“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.”
The Buis hypothesis may be flawed because it does not take into account how the human produced water vapor emissions from Hydro-Quebec and Russian colossal artificial lakes in this very arid region have first created and then intensified the Arctic’s Greenhouse Effect.
We need to measure Arctic regional precipitation and humidity levels post-dam and compare them to pre-dam data. We also need to quantify the evaporation rates from the following:
1. James and Hudson Bays and Kara Sea.
2. Hydro-Quebec and Russian Reservoirs and and their regulated warm hypolimnial winter discharges.
3. The long sections of ice free downstream rivers which are warmed by the hypolimnial deep dam releases.
Until we quantify and understand the impacts of water vapor emissions (footprints ) from these regional hydroelectric reservoirs on the Arctic’s Greenhouse Effect, our efforts to mediate the Global Greenhouse Effect shall be greatly handicapped.