If it were possible to spread the annual world oil production (32 billion barrels) out over the entire planet (197 million square miles on planet earth) What would that look like?
Do you follow?—Over the land, the oceans, the Artic, the Antartic—everywhere.
If that were possible, it would be roughly 5,375 times thinner than a dollar bill. (A dollar bill measures 0.0043 of an inch thick.) It would be an infinitesimal 0.0000008 (8 ten millionths) of an inch (.02 microns—or 2 hundredths of a micron) burned daily.
It would be invisible.
The thinnest oil slick that can be seen on water is a rainbow colored oil sheen 0.000039370 of an inch (1 micron). The 0.0000008 inch (thin) oil slick is thinner than that. It would be roughly 49 times thinner than the thinnest oil sheen that can be seen on water…….That’s all of the world’s oil production for one year that’s used daily! Oil 5,375 times thinner than a dollar bill is much thinner than a molecule of oil… I held a dollar bill and felt it’s thickness and couldn’t imagine it’s thickness if it could be divided over 5,000 times thinner.
“So what?” you ask?….What’s the significance of that fact besides it being at cute piece of trivia? …
Happy you asked!
But first :
This is not meant to argue as to whether CO2 levels have risen or not—we don’t know, we don’t care—just that it may not be “man-caused.” by human activity. I say “may not” so as to leave it up to readers to come to their own conclusions. It’s obvious where I stand. The natural processes of the earth will play out no matter what humans do. But hey, if the earth warms, let’s all take our beach towels to Greenland and enjoy the palm trees!…Sadly, if that were to happen it would be in generations hence, making it unlikely we’d be around to enjoy those palm trees.
This is about why humans may NOT be affecting global climate and is in a series comparing human activity to the size of the earth and its atmosphere. Humans burn fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil, natural gas and wood, and even cow dung and who knows what else. It just may be that comparisons made in this way of human activity to the size of the planet might be helpful in seeing how puny the nature of burning fossil fuel and human activity actually is, and how little impact humans actually have on the planet.
Previous articles here have explored the area humans actually occupy on the surface of the planet, and that turned out to be less than three tenths of one percent of the entire planet’s surface.
In addition, if all the humans on the planet were put together in one huge pile, their volume would be 0.1 (one tenth) of a cubic mile ( a cube of 2500 feet on all sides) and all humans on earth would fit into the crater of Mt. St. Helens.
Also in another article, the volume of annual world oil production, which turned out to be 0.97 of a cubic mile was compared to the planet. That volume would also fit into the crater of Mt. St. Helens.
Since the sources of CO2 from burning fossil fuels are smokestacks and tailpipes, if all those were put together into one huge smokestack, the smokestack required to burn all the fossil fuels humans burn in one year would be less than 2 miles in diameter, and that was compared to earth’s 197 million square miles and 12.4 billion cubic miles of atmosphere.
In another article, the amount of CFC’s put into the atmosphere from aerosol cans was explored to find all the aerosol cans used annually worldwide would likely fit into two warehouses.
Beyond these being cute pieces of trivia, all that’s required is to look at these with the basic science of common sense to understand the possibility that human-caused climate change is non-existent.
Getting back to the imaginary oil slick spread over the planet.
Imagine the amount of CO2—or “smoke” of any kind that would be released into the 62 vertical miles of atmosphere (12.4 billion cubic miles)over head if that thin puddle were to burn all at once all over the planet each day. Of course it is burned all over the planet each day, confined in “millions” of fuel tanks….. That’s the entire world’s annual oil production that’s burned on a daily basis, and again that thin of an oil sheen cannot even be seen. It would be hard to imagine any “smoke” could be seen from it’s burning. You’d probably dare stand on it while it burned. It would burn without the benefit of the various environmental devises employed to minimize it’s various emissions….
If you can imagine that, could you still imagine that thin of an oil sheen, and the CO2 and anything else that would come from it’s burning, could affect even the first 10 feet of atmosphere, let alone the 62 MILES of atmosphere over head? Can you imagine the burned remnants of that being dispersed into 12.4 BILLION cubic miles of atmosphere? Could you still believe burning oil has any effect on global climate? Imagine the “pollution” it would (NOT) put into the atmosphere.
What difference does it make if oil is burned in a million different places every day as it is now, or theoretically as a single layer of oil 5,375 times thinner than a dollar bill spread over the entire planet at once and burned daily that way? It’s still the exact same amount and would put the exact same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere daily no matter how it’s burned.. The only difference it should make is in the understanding that no matter how or where it’s burned it has zero impact on the planet and the 12.4 billion cubic miles of atmosphere over head…
Why can’t it be thought of that way, spread out over the whole planet? After all, it is “global” warming isn’t it? You know, “arctic and antarctic icecaps melting” “the seas rising” and all that? That’s what the doom-sayers are screaming ; that humans, by burning fossil fuels, are putting too much CO2 into the atmosphere causing the temperature of the earth to rise, which will melt the polar ice caps, which will flood the earth. It must be that CO2 is spread all over the planet as well….
As far as the north polar icecap melting and flooding the earth, consider this : When you put an ice cube into a glass of water, the level of the water rises because the ice displaces the water. When the ice melts, the water in the glass doesn’t rise…because it has already been displaced by the volume of the ice cube when it was put into the glass…. The north polar icecap is mostly already underwater and has displaced most of the water it lies in with most of it’s mass already, so if it were to melt, it’s questionable how much the ocean would rise at all…. Though it is fresh water ice in salt water, so more of the ice is above the surface because salt water is denser than fresh water….. Nevertheless, the doom-sayers tell us if the polar icecaps melted, the earth would be covered in hundreds of feet of water. And did they get you biting your nails at that? Stand in the arctic for 6 months of 50 below temps and try to convince yourself the icecap will ever disappear….Al Gore predicted NYC would be under 20 feet of water by 2015…..That didn’t work out so well. Hey, but keep trying Al.
Oil is burned in millions of places around the planet. When it’s thought of as being burned in automobiles and power plants, it’s very hard to see over the horizon to conceive of the whole planet, with all those autos looming ahead on the interstate. That’s a local reality that doesn’t serve us well when trying to conceive of the whole planet. So looking at it in these other ways aims to give perspective to human impact on the planet.
We use about 32 billion barrels of oil every year.
If you’ve done any exploring of this subject you will have realized that 32 billion barrels is only the current production. 30 years ago it was about 20 billion barrels (only 64% of today’s production) and in the year 2000 it was about 25 billion barrels.(80% of todays production) What that means of course, is that 30 years ago and beyond, going back through time 50, 60, or 100 years, production dropped off accordingly, making the impact on the planet from the burning of oil to drop off accordingly also. That pathway of realization also applies to the other forms of fossil fuels such as coal. That also means the “warmists” argument of “CO2 levels” rising since the beginning of the industrial revolution has lost the wind in that sail.
If you’ve been curious about “global warming” you may have also discovered that thirty years ago or so “scientists” were warning (fear-mongering) that the earth was cooling (due to human activity) to the point that soon we would be in another ice age….
That didn’t work out so well either.
So now, those “scientist” offer yet another scenario of (fear-mongering)—that the earth is warming due to human activity. So what is it? “Global cooling”? ”Global warming”? …….(”Better be safe and just call it “Climate change”! “That way we can be right no matter what we say!”)
As mentioned above, the total annual world production of oil is 32 billion barrels. The oil slick cited above (0.0000008”) is only for the amount of annual world oil production that is actually burned. Of the 32 billion barrels produced, only about 26,4 billion barrels (or less) are actually burned annually, and of that, what is burned daily.
Not all of a barrel of oil is used as fuel. Roughly 20% to 35% of a barrel of crude is never burned. A portion of a barrel is used to make thousands of products which are used daily such as plastics, and the hundreds of thousands of miles of roadways used to get back and forth. Other things are also removed from a barrel of crude such as water and sulfur. Though it could be as much as 35% or more of a barrel of crude oil is never burned, 20% is used here.
Possibly, the thought may have occurred to someone that since the imaginary oil slick cited is burned daily, it must build up over time as the Warmists claim. Then, try this :
If you were to spread all 32 billion barrels over the planet before reducing it by 20% for oil never burned and before reducing it to daily consumption it would be 0.00037 of an inch spread over the planet. That’s still over twelve times thinner than a dollar bill. You’d probably still dare stand on it while it burned. It shouldn’t take much imagination to see burning that little puddle of oil all at once, let alone over a full year, would have no impact on the atmosphere…The earth wouldn’t even notice.
That’s all of annual world oil production just as it comes out of the ground before taking out all that other stuff.
Still less than a worldwide puff of smoke
Into 62 miles of atmosphere over head.
The earth would have a full year to scrub even that out of the atmosphere.
That being so, then 0.00037 of an inch of oil less 20% for oil never burned is 0.000296 (296 ten thousandths) of an inch, (14.5 times as thin as a dollar bill) which is how thin that imaginary oil slick would be if that were spread over the whole planet. Remember though, that is the entire annual world production of oil that is actually burned worldwide annually—but it would be burned over 365 days….
A case could be made that 35% or more of a barrel of crude is never burned….What would that look like if spread over the planet?….It would be in the neighborhood of 5 ten millionths of and inch used daily and be 8,000 times thinner than the dollar bill….. Into all that atmosphere? That tiny little puddle of oil “polluting” that? Once again, could you imagine an oil slick 5,375 times thinner than a dollar bill having any effect on even the first ten feet of atmosphere, let alone the remainder?
An afterthought :
You might be interested to know; about a trillion barrels of oil have been taken out of the ground world wide since 1859. That amounts to a cube of 38 cubic miles measuring 3.36 miles on a side and would weigh …147,000,000,000 tons (147 billion tons) The cube would cover 11.3 square miles of the surface of the earth. If all of the one trillion barrels were burned in just one year instead of the nearly 160 years since the first barrel was taken out of the ground by Edwin Drake in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania and spread out over the planet it would be 0.01 inches thick, and daily 0.00003 of an inch would burn and (still) be 143 times as thin as the dollar bill. But reduce that by 20% (or more) for oil never burned and it would be 179 times thinner than the dollar bill. Imagine it! All the oil we’ve ever used, if we burned it all in one year would STILL be so very thin! You’d have to ask yourself then, what kind of effect that thin puddle would have on the atmosphere?
Once again as last time : “You can skip over this last section if you don’t like numbers—this is only for those who want to see how the numbers cited came to be….But be warned, it’s written with someone in mind who’s numbers skills are lacking and can’t add “their way out of a paper bag”. 🙂 If you’re interested enough to read this in the first place you probably don’t need these spelled out, so please be patient or skip it.”
Reduce 32 billion bbls by 20% for what is actually burned, That would be 25.6 billion barrels …
….25.6 billion barrels x 5.6 cubic feet in one barrel = 143,360,000,000 (143.3 billion) cubic feet in 25.6 billion barrels
Divide the number of cubic feet in 25.6 billion bbls. by the number of cubic feet in one cubic mil
143,3 billion cubic feet in 25.6 billion barrels, divided by 147,197,952,000 cubic feet in one cubic mile = 0.9739 of a cubic mile (0.97 of a cubic mile.)
A cube of 0.97 of a cubic mile is a cube measuring 0.99 lineal miles per side (0.99 x 0.99 x 0.99 = 0.9703 ( about 5,230 ft. per side ) It would sit on the earth covering 0.98 square miles (0.99 x 0.99 = 0.98 of a square mile and have a smokestack of that size)
Spread the 0.97 cubic mile out to a 12 inch layer and you would have an area of 5,230 sq. miles. Divide that in half to a thickness of 6” and an area twice 5,230 to 10,460 square miles. Eventually, when you reached the area of earth you’d have a thickness of oil of about 0.0003 of an inch and divide that by the number of days in the year (365) and that would come to 0.0000008 of an inch and be 5,375 times as thin as the dollar bill.