Sunday, September 29, 2019

When Localized Greenhouse Effect Works For You

One evening, while living in the Rio Grande Valley and helping my father cover his citrus trees to help protect them against a freeze predicted for later that night, I found myself hoping and praying for heavy overcast to replace the current clear skies. We’d never heard of the greenhouse effect at that time, but we knew that a blanket of clouds (water vapor) would slow down the escape of Earth’s heat.

My dad had already flooded the ground around the trees and prepped his smudge pots to be lit at the appropriate moment (for the blanketing effect of carbon laden air).

As the thermometer continued to slowly but surely drop, we nervously sat listening to the reports on the radio. Then, just as temperatures neared freezing, a bank of clouds moved in over the region and the rate of temperature decrease slowed and stopped at 30 degrees (F.). An hour later, the sun peeked over the horizon and very slowly the temperature began to rise. Damage to the fruit and trees was avoided.

My point is that even though some people may not believe in the greenhouse effect, they’re almost certainly not citrus growers.