Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: Bryan Howser on 10/07/2008 21:56:23

Title: Is heat from human bodies causing global warming?
Post by: Bryan Howser on 10/07/2008 21:56:23
Bryan Howser asked the Naked Scientists:

My name is Bryan and I am a nursing student in New Mexico US. i look forward to listening to your podcast (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/) weekly on my way to school.

I was wondering with all of the calculations done on the rate of rising temperatures, eg carbon emissions and such, have such figures taken into account the radiant heat given off by human bodies? With rising populations can this be a factor; both locally and globally?

Thanks,
B

What do you think?
Title: Is heat from human bodies causing global warming?
Post by: LeeE on 12/07/2008 10:59:51
I think not, on any measurable scale.  The heat that our bodies generate comes from the sun via the plants that we end up eating, one way or another.  If we, or other animals, didn't eat the plants they would give up the energy they absorbed when they die and decay (the bugs and microbes take up the energy instead).  If there were less plants to absorb the light some would be absorbed by the ground and then released at night, when it's cooler, or be reflected back into space.
Title: Is heat from human bodies causing global warming?
Post by: superskunk on 15/07/2008 14:42:16
All valid points! I've recently written an article on reducing co2 emissions, it might be worth a view.
here's the link:
http://squidoo.com/cdemissions
Title: Is heat from human bodies causing global warming?
Post by: blakestyger on 22/07/2008 12:23:05
Interesting point  - but probably worth noting that as a proportion of the total biomass on Earth  generating heat through respiration humans probably only represent a very small percentage.

I've seen estimates of between 0.13% and 0.33%.