Does Body Heat contribute to Global Warming?

A couple of friends of mine and I were talking about this the other day. Does the body heat of approx. 7 billion people contribute to the overall warming of the Earth? Is there an equation that proves or disproves this. When we hit 10 billion people are we endagering ourselves by melting the ice-caps with all those additonal bodies milling around at 98.6 degrees???

as follow up… Has anyone else put forth a theory like this? If not we can call it the Scriblerus theory on global warming :stuck_out_tongue:

You have to look at it from a conservation of energy standpoint. I think you can do the thought experiment without having to resort to math which will at best consist of from real guestimates on several things.

Think about how the planet can warm up:

  1. More heat is retained than reflected back into space. This is what people believe ‘true’ global warming is resulting from. That is, that increased levels of some gases in the atmosphere change the amount of sunlight that is trapped on Earth, and thus the temperature increases.

Now, an increased population is going to have so many indirect and direct effects on that that it is hard to quantify. But if you try to remove all other factors - that is, think of a completely agrarian vegetarian society that could somehow exist…well, we would not really produce much more excess CO2 - biomass crop use can be up to 99% carbon neutral, but we typically assume 96%. As opposed to coal or gas combustion, which is 0% carbon neutral.

You have to think that natural processes could easily regulate such a small level of “escaped” CO2 emissions.

I think the correct answer would be “possibly, but if at all it would be insignificant and impossible to measure, and the planet would most likely correct for it”.

  1. Heat which was stored on the planet in the past is relased over a short time. This is what happens if you are able to say, burn all of the coal deposits in the World at once (geologically speaking), which of course contain the energy of millions of past sunshiny-days. But if we are talking about a completely non-technical agrarian society, trying to isolate just the human factors, then this might not be a problem here.