Atmospheric Greenhouse effect on AGW

by Leonard Weinstein, ScD.

Background and the Issue

The material in this first section tries to define the issue clearly rather than get into specific numbers and results. The comments may include discussion of specific results, but interpretation of available data is given in later sections. Before I describe the atmospheric greenhouse effect, I need to make three points:

The first is that the effect is not like a greenhouse for growing plants. That type of greenhouse actually is convection limited (trapped gas) volume, where the interior gas is heated, but can’t convectively carry the heat away. Heat conduction in a gas is far less effective that convection to transport energy, and radiation is limited in the amount of heat transfer for these cases. It is the same effect you get in an enclosed car in sunlight, where the interior gets very hot. Open the windows and the car cools quickly due to the ability for convection to the atmosphere.

The second point is that the atmospheric greenhouse gases act as radiation insulators but the atmosphere can freely convectively transport thermal energy. This radiation insulation effect is often described as causing additional heating from back radiation. While there is absorption and re radiation of thermal energy, including back radiation, that description is misleading and in fact wrong in its implication. A later section shows the result, which requires an addition effect to result in the heating.

The third point is that the concept of average planet temperature is quite flawed. Since temperature varies a lot day to night, at different latitudes, and different seasons, the fact that the black body radiation is highly non-linear (fourth power effect), and that local regions vary so much, just doing a linear average of temperatures is generally inaccurate in characterizing what is going on. However, it is the metric used, and will be assumed here to be adequate for the comparisons, although I have serious doubts on that assumption.

Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse gases

There are several gases (and particles) in Earth’s atmosphere that are relatively transparent to incoming sunlight but optically absorbing of most of the thermally radiating outgoing energy. The principal one is water vapor, which absorbs about half of the thermal energy from the surface. In addition, water droplets in clouds absorb about half of the remainder, and also absorb some of the incoming sunlight. Dust particles and aerosols also absorb some incoming and some outgoing energy. The next main gas is CO2, which has been described as absorbing 8% to 20% of the outgoing energy (by different authors). Methane and other gases absorb the rest that is not directly transmitted. In addition, about 8% of the surface and atmospheric absorbed radiation is directly radiated to space through optical “windows” in the GHG (spectral regions which are not absorbed).

Atmospheric greenhouse effect

Once a sufficient amount of atmospheric long wavelength IR absorbing gases (called atmospheric greenhouse gases by convention) are present, they reduce the direct radiation transmission to space enough so that convection and relayed radiation becomes the dominant modes to transport energy from the surface (and from absorbed incoming energy) to a high altitude where it is radiated to space. The only way the energy can be radiated to space from the high altitude is from the absorbing and radiating gases. Once this situation is encountered, adding more absorbing and radiating gases (but not enough to significantly increase the total mass of the atmosphere) do not change the fact that convection is still the dominant heat transport mechanism. In fact, this reduces the radiation conduction, so that convection carries even more of the total energy. However, adding more absorbing gas does raise the altitude of outgoing radiation somewhat (not because of the tiny added mass, but because the height where the radiating gas concentration is suitable to radiate to space is increased). It is this increase in altitude of the outgoing radiation that results in the slight temperature increase.

Once the dominant mode of heat transport is convection (buoyancy, winds, and turbulent mixing), the atmosphere will form and maintain (on the average) an adiabatic lapse rate. This lapse rate is a temperature gradient due to the cooling effect of rising gas in a dropping pressure (due to gravity). Evaporation from the surface and condensing water vapor in the atmosphere change the level of the lapse rate from the dry air value, and this is called the wet adiabatic lapse rate. The outgoing radiation has to equal the incoming absorbed radiation unless the temperature is changing, but here we consider the case where the temperature has leveled off for simplicity (as it has on Earth for the last decade or so). In that case, the match of radiation out to space, from a particular effective altitude, to absorbed input radiation, determines the effective temperature of the gas at that altitude. This temperature is then added to the lapse rate times the effective altitude of outgoing radiation, and this gives the ground effective temperature. The combination of moving the location of the effective level of the atmosphere, where the radiation to space occurs, to a higher altitude, and adding the effect of the lapse rate times increased altitude is the source of higher low altitude and surface temperatures.

Feedback effects and sensitivity

The issue is actually more complex than indicated above due to what are called feedback effects in the sensitivity (sensitivity is defined as the change in average temperature caused by doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, including feedbacks, and is thought to be approximately constant for CO2). The increase in CO2 comes mainly from burning of fossil fuels, manufacture of cement, and land use practices. The argument goes this way:

The doubling of the CO2 concentration would cause a temperature rise of about 1.2 C if that were the only change. However, the small temperature rise causes increased water vapor content, since vapor pressure increases with temperature. In addition, the higher temperature in the oceans would cause more CO2 to be released into the atmosphere, since solubility of CO2 decreases at higher temperature. An additional effect would come from more melting of sea ice at the high latitudes from the warmer temperature, which decreases the average albedo of Earth, and thus increase absorbed solar energy. All of these effects drive the temperature even higher, until the rapid nonlinear increase in black body radiation with increasing temperature stops further increase. However, there are other effects that also occur. The main ones are:

  1. Clouds may increases, increasing albedo and decrease rather than increase sensitivity.
  2. Aerosols, also produced by the burning of fossil and other fuels, reduce incoming solar energy.

The main issue of the anthropogenic global warming debate is what is the net effect of all feedbacks. If they were strongly positive, the sensitivity would be much larger. If negative, the sensitivity would be smaller. Many scientists posit a net sensitivity of 2 to 6 C, while some skeptics think it is 0.2 to 1 C. The entire debate hinges on the actual value.

Possible other causes of temperature change

In addition to atmospheric greenhouse gas changes and feedback effects, there are numerous other possible causes for short term and longer-term temperature changes. Some of the main ones in order of increasing time scale are:

  1. Large volcanic eruptions (typically negative effect lasts one or at most a few years)
  2. Solar activity (spots, spectral variation, and insolation)
  3. Cause of cloud forcing from cosmic radiation variation
  4. Long period ocean current variation (PDO, ENSO, AMO, etc.)
  5. Planetary tilt and orbit variation
  6. Land movement, which also changes land at high latitudes and ocean circulation

The Logical Flaws in the CO2 Positive Feedback Argument

The increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration in the last 150 years can reasonably be blamed on human activity such as the burning of massive quantities of fossil fuels. CO2 is an optically absorbing (and emitting) gas in part of the wavelength range of thermal emission from the Earth.

The presence of atmospheric gases that absorb in the thermal wavelengths has the effect to raise the location of outgoing radiation to space that matches the absorbed solar input radiation. This effect, in conjunction with the formation and maintenance of the atmospheric adiabatic lapse rate, causes the surface and lower atmosphere temperature to be higher than for the case with no absorbing gases. This effect is called the atmospheric greenhouse effect (AGE).

The effect of increasing the quantity of any absorbing gas in the AGE is to raise the location of outgoing radiation, and this in conjunction with the lapse rate increases the surface temperature. Calculations based on the absorption spectra of all the absorbing gases indicate that water vapor is by far the main greenhouse gas, and clouds have the next highest effect. CO2 is third (although aerosols have a large and less known effect).

Calculation were made assuming that the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere was doubled from recent levels, and also assumed that all other contributors to AGE were not changed, to see what effect this would have on the temperature. The calculations indicated that about 1.2 C increase would occur for each doubling of CO2. In fact, other factors might occur if the doubling of CO2 occurred. The vapor pressure of water would increase at the slightly higher temperature, so potentially more water vapor would amplify the effect. This could cause more clouds, which could decrease or increase the effect depending on details. Also more CO2 could be driven out of the ocean due to the higher temperature, increasing the effect. Finely, ice could melt over large enough areas, so solar absorption could increase. The net effect of all these contributions is a temperature increase that may be higher (or possibly lower) that due to CO2 alone. The net increase from this doubling of CO2 is called the sensitivity of temperature to CO2 doubling.

There are three main factors I will examine here as relating to the CO2 sensitivity. They are the water vapor feedback effect, the CO2 from seawater feedback, and the melting ice feedback. The cloud effect and aerosols are not well enough defined, and are not considered here, but note that both are probably significant negative feedback causes.

Before discussing the three, I want to point out that since the adiabatic lapse rate is maintained even though there is some net radiation flux through the atmosphere, that whatever happens in the lower several km of atmosphere does not matter by itself. Only the change in effective location of outgoing radiation determines the surface temperature. Thus the only effective greenhouse gas concentrations that matter are the ones located at the altitude of outgoing radiation. The only net effect of adding absorbing gases is to move this effective location up a bit.

The first example is the so-called water vapor positive feedback effect. For this effect to be active, the absolute concentration of water vapor must increase along with the CO2 increase at higher altitudes. It has been clearly shown that this water vapor concentration does increase near the surface, but contrary to expectations, it not only did not increase, it slightly decreased in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere in recent times. The limited data accuracy and short time for data do make this not the final word. However, this reduction at altitude rather than increase refutes any present positive water vapor feedback claim until contradicted by new data.

The second so called positive feedback is the addition of more CO2 to the atmosphere from seawater due to warming. However, there is also a claim the increasing CO2 dissolving in seawater is acidifying it. That is, the seawater is a sink, not source. You can’t have it both ways. It presently is a sink and will remain so for the future of excess CO2 production. This makes it a negative feedback.

The third so called positive feedback is exposure of more absorbing area to sunlight due to sea and land ice area decreasing from the warming. It is true that the Arctic sea ice and some lower elevation Greenland ice has reduced during summers, although black carbon seems to be at least partly to blame, and also the ice seems to be partially recovering from the recent melt. Also many smaller land glaciers have been reducing since the end of the LIA. However, the Antarctic land and sea ice has been generally increasing over most of this time. The total global ice coverage has only reduced by a very small amount over the last 50 years, and the exact amounts were not known accurately prior to that to determine the level. Since the high latitude ice is exposed to a low Sun angle at most, the ice area effect is not a significant factor in feedback for periods short as we are considering.

We have thus shown that the three main positive feedback terms are not doing what is required, and we know clouds and aerosols tend to reduce heating, so the effective sensitivity is very likely less than 1.2 C per doubling.

Long Term CO2 and Water Vapor Effects on Heating

It has been pointed out and emphasized that it is necessary for the sensitivity to have significant positive feedback in order to explain the temperature CO2 correlation that has been observed over Geological time scales. The three main sources of possible positive feedback are water vapor feedback, ocean degassing of additional CO2 with rising temperature, and ice melting, decreasing the effective albedo of Earth.

Since many of the periods in the last 600 My were essentially glacier and polar ice free, the change in ice is not a viable feedback for these periods. Since the CO2 level that actually was present is supposed to have been determined, the source, and possible ocean feedback on CO2 level can’t be isolated, so any ocean contribution has to be considered as part of the source, not a separate feedback. The only remaining positive feedback is increased water vapor that increased at higher altitudes. We know that at the present, even though CO2 has increased about 40% from 150 years ago, and the temperature has increased about 0.8 C over that time, that the upper atmosphere water vapor did not increase (although there are accuracy of data questions). This does not support the supposition of positive water vapor feedback.

However, a more direct question occurs. If a small temperature increase from any source occurs (changing solar heating, biomaterial changing albedo, very long term ocean current variation due to land mass movement, etc.), why would this not also cause a positive water vapor driven feedback. What is so special about CO2? One argument given is that CO2 has a much longer persistence in the atmosphere and thus is not directly coupled to temperature variation. This may be a factor for a period of a few years or even a few decades, but we are talking about Geological periods of Millions of years. It is pure nonsense to talk about the CO2 persistence effect at those time scales.

32 thoughts on “Atmospheric Greenhouse effect on AGW”

  1. Excellent summary and arguments. The ace in the hole, of course, is cloudiness. It is very responsive to temperature and water vapour, and is, IMO, THE dominant (negative) feedback mechanism. If, for some reason, all clouds were eliminated the planet would fry in a hurry.

    Typo/malaprop: "Finely, ice could melt". Crudely speaking, it's "finally" not "finely". 😉

  2. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 8, Leigh,
    You have asked several very good questions. I will try to answer them, but if I miss some point please repeat or modify you response.

    Please understand is that the description I gave was a simplified one, and thus easy to confuse.

    To start, remember that light consists of photons with a range of energies. This is also equivalent to different wavelengths. The first point was about the atmosphere window. This window is due to the fact that the solar heated ground, oceans, and even some atmospheric materials (aerosols, clouds, and even some gases) absorb solar energy (photons) with relatively short wavelengths (most in the range of 0.3 to 3 microns, with a peak at about 0.5 microns). Most of the atmosphere, including the so-called atmospheric greenhouse gases, is mainly transparent to this range of wavelengths (there is some of the specific short wavelengths absorbed going down, but it is small for gases). The Earth absorbs these photons, and this heats it up. The initial thermal radiation from the Earth is nearly like that of a black body that radiates longer wave thermal energy outward corresponding to the surface temperature (most is in the range of 4 to 20 microns). There are some gases in the atmosphere that absorb very strongly in certain spectral regions of that outgoing radiation. The main one is water vapor, and the second is CO2, but others, such as methane also contribute some. These are the ones called atmospheric greenhouse gases. However, the absorption is not uniform, but in selected spectral bands (mainly due to specific molecular vibration modes). With the combined absorption bands of all absorbing gases (ignoring clouds and aerosols) there still are spectral regions not being absorbed on the average. These result in some radiation direct from Earth's surface to space (about 8%). A point to note is that the wavelengths that exist in the “window” came only from the surface. Those wavelengths absorbed and those radiated by the gases are not in the “window”, so this window does not repeat as you go up re absorbing and re radiating.

    Gases that absorb the long wave radiation also radiate long wave radiation at wavelengths determined by their local temperature. The absorbed wavelengths and re radiated wavelengths have to travel a certain distance before about 50% of the energy at that wavelength is absorbed. Twice that distance results in 50% of the remainder being absorbed and so on. That is, it takes a finite distance to absorb a certain fraction of any absorbed wavelength (due to interacting with a finite number of molecules per area over a distance). The atmospheric density drops with increasing altitude, so the amount of a particular absorbing gas per volume also decreases with increasing altitude. Thus the distance to absorb a certain fraction of a given wavelength gets larger with increasing altitude. At some point, most the energy at that particular wavelength escapes to space because there is not enough of the blocking gas left over it. Increasing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (for example) means that the concentration at a particular altitude increases, and you have to go higher to be clear enough of more molecules to escape. This is not a sudden process. Some photons escape from lower altitudes, and the relative amount escaping increases with increasing altitude. Thus the so called altitude of outgoing radiation is not a specific altitude, but a band of varying transmission, and it can be a fairly large thickness. I use an effective average to describe this band only to simplify the discussion. However, the effective average altitude increases with increased concentration (it is not the atmospheric density that matters, but the number density of the greenhouse gases), and this was the point I was trying to make.

    The comment on convection is only to indicate that most of the radiation from the ground does not go directly to space, but is absorbed and re emitted several times before going to space. If the radiation heat transfer were strong enough, it would lower the lapse rate, and we know the lapse rate is the adiabatic lapse rate. Therefore the convection heat transfer has to be dominating to assure the lapse rate will be the adiabatic lapse rate. In order to understand the effect of adiabatic lapse rate you would best go to the wiki write up. The adiabatic lapse rate is not a set of particular temperatures it is a temperature gradient. You have to specify (force) the value of a specific temperature at a particular location to then specify the actual temperature variation with altitude (you only need to force it at one location).

    If there were no atmospheric greenhouse gases, the absorbed solar energy at the ground would have to match the radiated thermal energy from the ground, and this would result in an average ground temperature about 255 K (-18 C). The atmospheric temperature would then decrease above the ground by about 9 C drop per km altitude (dry adiabatic lapse rate assuming no water vapor). With the actual gases in the atmosphere, the “effective” location in the atmosphere where the temperature is about 255 K (the temperature needed to match outgoing energy to incoming) is about 5 km, and the adiabatic lapse rate we need to use (which is different due to liquid water evaporation) is 6.5 C drop per km (the so called wet adiabatic lapse rate). The 6.5 C times 5 km plus 255 K gives the ground temperature of 288 K (15 C). This is an over simplification, but basically correct.

    Back radiation is not the cause of anything, it is a result of the fact that atmospheric greenhouse gases absorb and radiate long wave radiation. I realize it is non obvious, but the greenhouse gas is a radiation insulator but the atmosphere heat transfer is dominated by unbounded convection. The up and down radiation at the ground will be larger than expected from direct absorbed solar radiation, but the up and down heating will be exactly balanced, and is based on the absorbed solar heating, the effective location of outgoing radiation, and the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Quit chasing photons, convection dominates up to near the outgoing radiation.

  3. Leonard @13, I wrote this. I wrote the basic outline to cool off some overly skeptical heads at a private Google group "climateskeptics" about 2 years ago. They laughed, basically. Recently I expanded the essay reflecting the request for definitions, with few more details. So, if you have questions or disagreements, I will be glad to explain and discuss further.

  4. Dr. Weinstein, May I ask you on one specific topic. You say "The third point is that the concept of average planet temperature is quite flawed" I agree completely. According to my calculations, the rate at which energy escapes from different parts of the earth's surface, varies by over a factor of 10.

    However, I think that temperature anomalies do have a meaning. Reductio ad absurdum, if you consider a building with two rooms, one of which is at +50 C and the other at -50 C, it makes no sense to say that the average temperature of the building is 0 C. But if the first room warms to +51 C and the second to -49C, then it does make sense to say that the building has warmed 1 C. Would you agree?

  5. Leonard Weinstein: I have read your presentation several time, partially and I am puzzled by several of your numbers primarily about the 8% absorbsion of outgoing IR radiation by 400 ppm of CO2 and that a significant amount of the absorbsion by H2O/lvs. Knowing that as a general statement that H20/lvs as clouds can absorb and radiate lots of energy in all forms including UV, visible light and IR it seems some of your assumptions may need to be modified.
    As a general bite of information there is a just released two part book titled: Slaying the Sky Dragon –a compellation by about 10 renowned physicists and real climate scientists. The list includes Dr. Charles R. Anderson. Dr. Martin Hertzberg, Alan Siddons, Tim Ball, Hans Schreuder, Joe Olson , Claes Johnson, and others.
    The book has just about everything that Dr. Ed will need to prove his point that the Greenhouse gas effect has been a violation of the fundamentals of physics and thus is a Fairy tale, a political hoax. As an additional document to ponder is an experiment that demonstrates that the “ghg effect” does not exist.
    The Hypotheses (ghg effect) that failed and the experiment that demonstrates why the Hypotheses (ghg effect) fails!

    Dear Dr. H. Lewis: I am aware that you do not believe in the "greenhouse gas effect" We need an experiment that proves that the ghg effect does not exist. Would you please review the experiment that I have performed that I believe proves that the "ghg effect" does not exist. Review the logic and the math etc. I have shared this with several other physicists including Dr. Charles R. Anderson and Gerlich & Tscheuschner and others.. If you can find the time I'd appreciate your comments and your time.
    Berthold Klein P.E.

    The Hypotheses (ghg effect) that failed and the experiment that demonstrates why the Hypotheses (ghg effect) fails!
    By Berthold Klein P.E November 16, 2010 revision 11-19-2010 revised 11-24-2010

    The hypotheses of the “greenhouse gas effect” is the process where a combination of IR absorbing gases including Water/vapor/liquid/solid, CO2.CH4. NO2 and others are super insulation and cause the atmosphere to be 33 degrees warmer than would be explained by the “black body “temperature.
    How is this done? The hypothesis says that the IRag’s absorb the IR radiation then it is “back radiated to earth causing the earth to be warmer by the resonating of this heat energy.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg of the magic caused by the “greenhouse gas effect”
    as has been said the truth is in the detail.
    As others have not started to define “The greenhouse gas effect” lets start with what are the “features that should be testable!” Because water/liquid, vapor, solid (H2O /lvs) is different than gases IRag's as CO2 ,Ch4,NO2 and others -this will deal first with the non H2O ,IRag’s.
    Critical features:
    1. The IRag’s absorb the IR radiation and thus prevents it from escaping into space reducing the rate of atmospheric cool- it causes the air to be warmer.
    2. The IRag’s will “back radiate” IR radiation to earth to cause increased heating of the surface.
    3. The IRag’s will heat up by the absorption of the IR radiation thus heating the air.
    4. The IRag's have different levels of “back-forcing”. Having ask others how this is determined,( no answer yet) ,it is assumed that someone has reviewed the amount of IR that a particular molecule absorbs by a spectrophotometer analysis then comparing this to the absorption of CO2. (I have not seen any experimental data that the “back-forcing” relates to absorption).(an assumption based on The Bohr model however a time factor is needed)
    5. The higher the concentration of IRag’s the greater the amount of “back-radiation” the higher the “global atmospheric temperature will become.(were is the experimental data )
    6. The concentration of CO2 found in million year old Ice cores can be used as proof that the “ghg effect” exists. When there is no experimental data that proves that the “ghg effect” exists.
    7. Where does this lead?
    We all know that the “greenhouse” effect exist. Anyone that has gotten into a hot car on a sunny day. (Summer or winter). Has walked into a store with south facing window , its temperature will be much higher than a car ,or window in the shade. This is caused by confined space heating- this was established in 1909 by R.W. Wood a professor of Physics and Optics at John Hopkins University from 1901 to 1955.
    What experiment could be performed to “prove” that the ''greenhouse gas effect exists.
    All the AGW point out it is impossible to simulate what actually happens in the atmosphere therefore they propose using computer models, the problem with “computer models'' is that unless all the factors that effect the atmosphere are included into the program it is “garbage in is garbage out”. When this is tried there are no computers made that have sufficient capacity to handle all of the factors. Many of the factors are not even fully know yet. Then the big guess is what are the factors to include and which are really of minor importance and can be left out and still get usable results. To data no one has come up with the “right model”

    Using the list of “critical factor” lets see if there are some way of indicating if the concept may exist.
    To use the concentration of IRag’s in the atmosphere for testing does not work otherwise there would not be the controversy that exists today. In the field of engineering and research there is the use of “models'' that are either similar in behavior or can be proportioned to a larger or smaller series of events that relate to an actual set of events.

    As the amount of heating that is supposed to be is on the order of fractions of a degree per year- we need a more dramatic experiment to show that the concept actually exists. If the experiment at a much higher concentration does not demonstrate the effect then the Concept does not exist. If the concept works at high concentration then it can be tried with lower and lower concentrations until a threshold of effects is reached.

    Some numbers are needed now: By definition 10,000 ppm is 1%, therefore 100 % equals 1million parts per million ( 1×10+6) . The atmosphere is supposed to contain 400 ppm (round Number) therefore a concentration of 100% CO2 is 2500 time that of what is in the atmosphere. If the effect exists it should be much easier to measure and demonstrate.
    Now it is claimed that CH4 is from 23 to 70 time the effect of CO2,thus using the lowers figure by using a concentration of 100 % CH4 ,the effect should be 57500 time stronger that using CO2. It is claimed that NO2 is 100 time more powerful that CO2 thus it should cause 250,000 X the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere
    As CH4 is found to be about 2ppB ( 2 X 10 -9)in the atmosphere , a concentration of 100 % CH4 should give a results that is 5 X 10 + 10 times what exists in the atmosphere.
    . Now if CH4 is 23 times the effect of CO2 another longer chain hydrocarbon molecule will be even more powerful thus the proposed experiment shown below was done with 100 % butane.
    The experiment shown below substituted “natural gas” a mixture of 70% CH4 about 29% CO2 and the remainder is H2 and other trace gases. This is readily available for test purposed from any natural gas stove. Now 100 % CO2 is available for several sources, but one that is not too expensive is from any Paint ball supply store, another is from a supplier of Dry ice. Do not use Alka Seltzer as you have to put this in water to get the CO2 thus you have a mixture of CO2 and water and water vapor – you are not testing the effect of CO2 only. Discussion of H2O/lvs in the atmosphere will follow later.
    The natural gas mixture should have a combined effect of less that 100% CH4 by a weighted average of 70% CH4+ 29% CO2or 3.500000725X10+9 times the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. If this occurs the temperature increase must be measurable.

    How does the experiment contain the high concentration of the IRag’s for this test? Having reviewed several experiments that contained the IRag’s is glass containers then they measures the increase in temperature of the gas which had increased, they claimed this increase was do to the “ghg”effect , they are absolutely wrong. The cause of the temperature increase was do to the heating of the glass by its absorbing the IR and the glass heating. ( A Master's thesis (peer reviewed) with this information is available on request). Another failure of these tests was their including a black cardboard inside the containers, thus additional heating of the IRag's from conduction of heat from the black cardboard. (They created a Greenhouse effect-confined space heating)
    The proper way to contain the high concentration of IRag’s is in a thin walled material that will not absorb the IR and heat. The experiment used crystal clear Mylar balloons. They are available in various sizes, several 20 inch diameter (major diameter) were chosen. If you want you can use larger ones to contain larger numbers of IRag molecules.

    Now lets discuss the experiment.
    1. Fill the balloons with the various IRag’s, and one with dry air as a control.
    2. Let the balloons reach ambient temperature. If you are going to use sunlight let it adjust outside in the shade.
    3. Use an IR thermometer to check the temperatures of each balloon, use a digital thermometer that reads to 0.1 degree to check air temperature in the shade. Record data.
    4. Take a large black mate board or a large black cloth or sheet and lay it on the ground in the sun. Use the IR thermometer to check the temperature as it raises in the sun. Record the data. When it appears to reach a maximum then go to step 5.
    5. Suspend the balloons over the black background (about 1 foot above) and measure the temperature of the balloons initially. Record the temperature.
    6. Measure the temperature of the black background in the “shadow” of each of the balloons also measure the temperature of the black background outside of the “shadows” of the balloons.

    Now lets repeat the Critical factors and note the result of my test to the critical factor.
    Critical features:
    1. The IRag’s absorb the IR radiation and thus prevents it from escaping into space reducing the rate of atmospheric cool- it causes the air to be warmer. The air between the balloons and the black background did not change temperature.
    2. The IRag’s will “back radiate” IR radiation to earth to cause increased heating of the surface. The black background did not change temperature either in the “shadow” of the balloons containing the high concentrations of IRag’s or outside the shadow. The temperature of the black background heated to 20 t0 30 degrees above ambient before the balloons were placed over the black background. When this was done outside in bright sun light the black background heated to 130 to 140 degrees F. Similar temperature can be measured from black asphalt. When the experiment was done with the 500 watt power shop light (see below)inside the black background went from ambient of 70-72 degrees to 100 -110 degrees. Again when measuring the temperatures of the black background with the IR thermometer there was no measurable temperature difference anywhere along the surface.
    3. The IRag’s will heat up by the absorption of the IR radiation thus heating the air. The balloons did not warn any warmer than ambient. The IRag’s in the balloons will not warm because that would be a violation of the Bohr Model.
    4. The IRag's have different levels of “back-forcing”. Having ask others how this is determined,( no answer yet) ,it is assumed that someone has reviewed the amount of IR that a particular molecule absorbs by a spectrophotometer analysis then comparing this to the absorption of CO2. (I have not seen any experimental data that the “back-forcing” relates to absorption).(an assumption based on The Bohr model however a time factor is needed) As there was no temperature difference under any of the balloons, there was no stronger “back-forcing” because the IRag absorbed more IR radiation.
    5. The higher the concentration of IRag’s the greater the amount of “back-radiation” the higher the “global atmospheric temperature will become. (Were is the experimental data )
    6. The concentration of CO2 found in million year old Ice cores can be used as proof that the “ghg effect” exists. When there is no experimental data that proves that the “ghg effect”exists the "ice core data is meaningless..
    Specifications of the IR thermometer: model: MTPRO laser-Micro Temp; temperature range: -41degree C/F to 1040 degrees F. IR range 5 to 16 nm. Angle of view D:S =11:1
    cost about $60.00. many other models available.
    I have thought about several refinements, but it would not change the bottom line that the “ghg effect” is a fairy-tale.

    I'm sure that the AGW's will not believe this proves that the “greenhouse gas effect does not exists, therefore I challenge them to come up with an experiment that they claim “proves the existence of the “greenhouse gas effect”.
    As an alternate light source the experiment has been performed with an incandescent light. By using a 500 watt shop power light which because of the temperature of the filament approach the spectral characteristics of the Sun light ( should have more long wave IR because of a lower temperature) It was place one(1) meter away from the balloons to avoid conduction and convection heating of the balloons. As is stated above there was no difference in the final results.

    Now lets talk about water (H2O/lvs):
    Yes H2O/lvs has a major effect on weather conditions, where I'm at in Northern Ohio it just started to rain; if it gets any colder we will have snow or sleet. Of course tomorrow it may be sunny and clear. As is said in the Great Lakes region if you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes and it will change. Now the “climate” has not changed for the last 300 years just as the Indians.
    Any way let’s look a H2O/lvs in the atmosphere: If its clear the humidity can be from near 0 % relative humidity to 100%. Now if it’s cloudy the “relative Humidity” can vary from 30 to 100% depending on temperatures, Now we know that the air temperature where the clouds are forming is at or below the “dew point”, now as the H2O vapor cools to form clouds there is a release of energy ( Heat of condensation), if the general air temperature is low enough ( below freezing) more energy is released as ice or snow is formed. This energy has to be dissipated either as IR radiation or as lightening or probably high winds or tornado.
    This is only one phase of the complex weather conditions when H2O/lvs is being evaluated another is the solar heating of clouds both day and night. During the day the warming of the top of clouds is obvious but it is also relevant that in spite of significant solar absorption the “clouds “ have not absorbed enough radiation to convert the water or solids back to vapor; there is probably a rapid turbulent exchange of energy in both directions from evaporation/ sublimation to condensing, to freezing. This is why “climatologists” can not get the correct “sign” on the “forcing” it is a constantly changing set of conditions, non are wrong and non are correct.
    Now lets add the next variable- solar heating at night of the clouds. Having taken IR radiation measurements at night for the last year at many different times by solar time it is apparent that when the sun goes down below the visible horizon , the clouds are still receiving solar energy. This has been confirmed by both measurements and visible lighting (multiple colors ) of the clouds. The clouds and the atmosphere cool until about 2:00 am when there are measurable increases in cloud temperatures and air temperatures. This warming continues until daylight is visible. The degree of warming is related to the time of year and what is happening with the jet stream and arctic storms.
    There are other factors that are being monitored by real astrophysics researcher that are showing that Solar flares, and different type of radiation have an effect on cloud formation, this is only a beginning of learning about our atmosphere.
    There is no way in the world of Fairy-tales that CO2 can have an effect on weather or “climate”

    The nice thing about this experiment is that it can be done by high school physics classes or Freshmen College physics lab classes. It would teach a very important lesson in that “not all experiments have to have a “positive” end result to be meaningful.
    Mann-made global warming is a hoax, because the “greenhouse gas effect” is a fairy -tale.

    Berthold Klein P.E.
    November 19, 2010

  6. @20 Berthold,

    Your reference to Slaying the Dragon begs some physical discussion. Here is a quote from a page in the book that you may read here:

    Rather than limiting the area in which heat-loss occurs, then, a radiant absorber constitutes no barrier to radiation at all — it's merely a second radiator that relays heat away. And, just as there’s no such thing as "back-convection" — where a flame makes itself hotter by the air currents it creates — or "back-conduction" — where a colder object raises the temperature of what it’s in contact with — there’s no such thing as "back-radiation."
    Redirecting radiant energy back to the source cannot increase its temperature.

    Let's look at physics for a moment. Consider two parallel planes, one at temperature T1 and the other at T3, where T1 > T3.

    Assume any one wavelength for simplification. Assume each plane captures all radiation at this wavelength and emits freely at this wavelength. The net heat flow R13 between these 2 planes is:

    R13 = k (T1^4 – T3^4) where k is a constant.

    The radiation T3^4 may be considered "back radiation." It really exists until we make the thermodynamic approximation.

    When the difference between T1 and T3 is small compared to their absolute values, we can expand the above equation to get, approximately,

    R13 = 4 k T^3 (T1 – T3)

    where T is between T1 and T3. This is the thermodynamic approximation. The "back radiation" has been replaced by net heat flow.

    Now, if we insert a third plane at temperature T2 between planes 1 and 3 and allow it to come to equilibrium then the net heat flow R13 will be replaced by R12 and R23, as follows:

    R12 = R23

    4k T^3 (T1 – T2) = 4k T^3 (T2 – T3)

    T1 – T2 = T2 – T3

    T2 = (T1 + T3) / 2

    We see easily that the heat flow R12 is now about half the original heat flow R13 or:

    R12 = R13 / 2

    Therefore, the presence of an absorbing and emitting layer between the planes T1 and T3 reduces the rate of heat flow from T1 to T3.

    This is not to say our atmosphere is this simple.

    But this does illustrate the physical concept that an intermediate absorbing and emitting layer between two temperature sources will add a resistance to heat flow. And if plane T1 is subjected to a constant inflow of heat then the temperature T1 will increase until its net heat flow is zero.

    It also illustrates that the book Slaying the Dragon does not describe this concept correctly.

  7. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 19 Jim
    What you said is true for the building, but that does not apply for radiation/energy considerations, and can give quite wrong results depending on the details. If we look at two objects (assume black bodies) heated different amounts by solar radiation, and that only lost energy by radiation to empty space, they will come to different equilibrium temperatures. If one came to -50 C and the other to +50 C then you change the amounts of radiation to cause one to go to -51 C and the other to +49 C, you might think the change in total energy in and out were the same size as if the final conditions were -49 C and +51 C. Both have changed 1 C by averaging, however, the change in energy is not the same. Also if you went from -50 C and +50 C to -51 C and +51 C you would think the average temperature is the same for both, so the average energy is the same. NO. It is energy that has to be compared, not temperature. If different regions have different temperatures and you average the temperature rather than energy, and assume the total energy of the system was conserved you get the wrong answer. Remember: Energy = absorption or emission coef. times sigma times temperature to the 4th power, and it is even more complicated if you are not radiation to space, but to a warm absorbing gas. The least that is needed for a fair comparison to show continual heating is to convert temperature variations to energy balances and show that for a fixed total solar energy input, the indicated surface radiation out (based on T to the 4th) is increasing. The difference between indicated surface radiation out and input radiation is in fact the greenhouse heating effect.

    @ 20 Berthold,
    Please read and understand what I say before commenting. I said that 8% of the outgoing long wave radiation is NOT absorbed by any greenhouse gas (or clouds or aerosols) and thus directly escapes to space. That means that all greenhouse gases plus clouds plus aerosols do absorb the rest (92%), then emit based on their local temperature. However, since the emission is omnidirectional, the result is a limit in net radiation heat transfer. The convection does the rest.

    I am aware you don't believe in ghg effects. I do believe in them, but think the CO2 increase has a small and not dangerous effect. The real issue is not the physics of the validity of the effect, but the magnitude of the feedback effects.

  8. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 20 Berthold
    I need to repeat what I have been saying, since you do not get it. The atmospheric greenhouse gases (plus clouds and aerosols) do NOT heat the atmosphere or ground by back radiation or thermal insulation! It is the adiabatic lapse rate that does this, but the atmospheric greenhouse gases are critical to make it work by moving the location of outgoing radiation to a high altitude. The back radiation occurs, but is not allowed to do the heating because the free convection prevents it.

  9. Jim @19, it does not matter whatsoever if these are absolute temps or "anomalies". This is a linear relationship, the global average goes up 1 deg.C, and "anomaly" also goes up 1 deg.C, no difference.

    Also, what is your definition of "warmed up"? As Leonard said, the measure of warming up or down for a planet should be considered with respect to global energy imbalance, which eventually comes down to purely radiative exchange with absolutely cold outer space. Therefore, in terms of radiative balance, the your example can be represented by CASE_1 in the attached table.

    CASE_1 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 324.0 224.0 274.0 383.8
    anomaly: 1.0 1.0 1.0 5.1

    The table shows an initial state of the system as "state1", with T1=+50C and T2=-50C for "rooms", or better, for two distinctive "climate zones". The next column is "globally averaged T", (T1+T2)/2, and the last column shows corresponding amount of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR, in W/m2, assuming blackbody emission). The second row shows the system parameters in a state it has evolved into, "state2". The last row shows corresponding changes between the two states, or "anomalies" (assuming initial state1 as "baseline").

    So yes, it can be said that the system is "warmer" in your example: the global OLR is bigger by 5.1W/m2, so the system must be "warmer" to emit 5.1W/m2 more relative to its initial state.

    The important moment however is that in reality the "rooms" do not warm up all at once; climate records show that zonal climates vary in different directions, some zones warm-up, some cool down. Even more, even nearby stations can show 100-years long trends that are in opposite directions. So, the "global average" gets even more convoluted. Knowing these realities, we can construct several other variants of how the "rooms" can behave, and what the state of energy balance could be in result. For example:

    CASE_2 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 322.0 226.0 274.0 378.8
    anomaly: -1.0 3.0 1.0 0.0

    CASE_3 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 321.0 227.0 274.0 376.3
    anomaly: -2.0 4.0 1.0 -2.4

    These two cases have identical "global anomaly" of +1 deg.C, just as the CASE_1 has. Yet CASE_2 has no change in OLR (and therefore the system is neither cooled or warmed), and CASE_3 has NEGATIVE anomaly in OLR, which means that the system is actually "cooler" than it was before.

    Likewise, if the global "anomaly" is negative, the system could be either "warmer" or "cooler:

    CASE_4 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 322.0 222.0 272.0 373.7
    anomaly: -1.0 -1.0 -1.0 -5.1

    CASE_5 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 325.0 219.0 272.0 381.5
    anomaly: 2.0 -4.0 -1.0 2.8

    Alternatively, the "global temperature anomaly" can remain unchanged from state1 to state2, yet the system can be "warmer" or "cooler", as the sign of OLR anomaly indicates:

    CASE_6 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 324.0 222.0 273.0 381.3
    anomaly: 1.0 -1.0 0.0 2.6

    CASE_7 T1 T2 <> <>
    state1 323.0 223.0 273.0 378.7
    state2 321.0 225.0 273.0 373.7
    anomaly: -2.0 2.0 0.0 -5.0

    CONCLUSION: changes in globally averaged temperature (in form of anomalies or not) are no indication of system energy imbalance.

  10. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 25 Leigh,
    I will make 3 points. If these are not sufficient, come back again.
    1) There is a very small but finite probability that even photons in a range normally absorbed can directly get through the entire atmosphere. If the depth where 50% of photons of a specific wavelength are absorbed is 100 m, then the effective absorbed fraction through the entire atmosphere would be ~(1-.5^50), or about 0.999999999999999. This assumes the effective atmosphere is equivalent to 5 km deep at the ground level density (a reasonable number). Obviously if the 50% absorption depth is larger, more gets through. The absorbed photons end out slightly heating the surrounding gas, but the gas also heats the emitting molecules, which emit about the same amount of energy as was absorbed, and the net effect is generally very small. If there is a net heating or cooling from an imbalance of radiation, buoyancy and convection adjust it out.
    2) It is true that at the poles, with a clear sky and no wind, radiation could possibly be a larger source of heat transfer. I don't know if it ever could exceed convection. However, from the energy balance in the literature, water vapor and condensation along with convective heat transfer and buoyancy are the largest source of heat transfer. As long as they dominate enough to maintain the adiabatic lapse rate, it does not matter what the radiation transfer rate does.
    3) Look at a totally opaque atmosphere for the thermal radiation (but transparent for solar radiation in). That is, it totally blocks any outgoing radiation at all up to a given altitude. This means that 100% of the surface thermal radiation is trapped. This would make no difference to the ground temperature as long as the upper edge of the atmosphere radiating to space were the same altitude as the present Earth's. The key is that the hot ground would cause convection and buoyancy to carry the energy up to where it could be radiated, and the lapse rate would still set the ground temperature. Radiation to the ground would be back radiation plus solar radiation. Radiation out would exactly equal back radiation. Convection heat transfer would exactly equal absorbed solar heating. Net radiation heat transfer would equal zero.

  11. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 25,
    I think I see where you and many others get confused over the back radiation effect. The confusion is over the difference between energy transfer and heat transfer. If two hot surfaces of equal temperature faced each other, there would be a large number of photons sent and received. A lot of energy. However, it is the difference of the numbers sent and received that determine the net energy transfer, which is the heat transfer. If there is no heat transfer, there is no heating.

    This is confusing for a planet, as the question arises, if there is no heat transfer, how did the surface get hotter. The answer is that there is a transient heat transfer due to thermal capacity of the ground (water) and air to initially heat up, but once the initial heating settles out, the examples are as described.

  12. Leonard: go back to your entry at the beginning of this phase of data discussion.
    copied from it: "The next main gas is CO2, which has been described as absorbing 8% to 20% of the outgoing energy (by different authors). Methane and other gases absorb the rest that is not directly transmitted. In addition, about 8% of the surface and atmospheric absorbed radiation is directly radiated to space through optical “windows” in the GHG (spectral regions which are not absorbed)."
    You repeated a number of" (by different authors)" that is nonsense. As I said before you need to reexamine your hypotheses and then get some real numbers either from experiment or valid measured and verified atmospheric data, both temperature and optical.
    Leonard < I suggest you look up the web-site you may have to look at the archives of about 3 years ago that presents data that shows that the rate of IR escaping the atmosphere can be about 5 times what is inbound.
    You keep talking about “lapse rate”- you may have defined it but will you repeat your definition?
    The significance of H2O/lvs is important is the weather of the earth, but to anyone that has seen a satellite view of the earth it is obvious that the distribution of cloud is quite variable. The generally accepted amount of H2O/lvs in the atmosphere is a maximum of 6%. It is not evenly distributed! To say that H2O/lvs can absorb up to 92% of outbound IR is beyond believe.

    To Tom Curtis @30: The reason the word "shadow" was set in quotes is to tell the reader that there was no visible difference in "brightness" under the balloons compared to the surrounding. ( this definition will be included in the document for better understanding )
    Your own comments about IRag’s radiating the absorbed IR in all directions are exactly the point that the "ghg effect" is a fairy-tale. If you think you understand the physics give the world an experiment that proves that the "ghge" exists!
    Be sure to perform the experiment yourself before you share it with the world.

  13. To Al re #10, #36 and G2: Thanks to you and Dr. Ed!! I will put G1, G2, your and Leonard's comments, some materials I have by Lindzen and Roy Spencer's defense of the GHG effect and comments on backradiation, and cogitate. I have a hunch that we are not really disagreeing, but perhaps only looking at the same picture from different angles. Maybe not. And, keep passing the open windows!

  14. Leaonard: I have a remark on the section "Possible other causes of temperature change" of the root article G1.

    There must be at least one other item on the list:
    7. [global average] temperature can change for no reason and without affecting the radiative energy balance of the globe.

    See my example 4@57:

    For another example constructed for Jim@19, see Cases 6 and 7, G1@26.

  15. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 29 Tom,
    The mid summer at the poles has nearly 24 hour Sun. However, right at the poles, the Sun angle is zero (just at the horizon). Higher Sun angles or lower latitudes are associated with Sun angle near sinusoidal variation. Since the Sun goes so close to the horizon even when below it, the sky can be bright at night, but no direct insolation. The max 24 hour insolation accumulation is even far less than I previously pointed out.

  16. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 44 Tom,
    You must have missed my @43, where I caught my own error before you responded. However, I think the year round absorbed insolation at polar regions is only significant if larger areas are ice free than have occurred. If the Arctic minimum continues to heal, the issue is moot. If it continues to increase melting, it will clearly be a problem. I also note the wiki comment on your last comment "Note that this data is from a climate model, not observation." I don't know what limitations that causes, but I would take the result with a grain of salt.

    I couldn't access the first two of your sources, and noticed the dates (2002 and 2006) of the others. Sorry, later work disagrees with those. Look at:
    I realize these may not be the last word, as the data is not conclusive (accuracy limitations) and satellite data is too short a period, but papers claiming otherwise clearly cherry picked what to emphasize.

  17. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 44 Tom,
    It is true the CO2 from heating from the oceans (natural causes), and CO2 due to humans, which causes the oceans to be a CO2 sink, are different. Also high levels of CO2 in the past are neither of the above, but almost certainly continual volcanic activity (source) exceeding sink effect (due to land location, ocean currents, type of life, surface rock exposure, etc.). The point is that CO2 from the oceans completely satisfies the assumption of CO2 CAUSED by increased temperature releasing it for the glacial/interglacial transitions. There is no necessity to invoke positive feedback for the temperature except that the detailed understanding for the level of heating is not yet understood. Invoking a cause because you don't understand what else it could be is not good science.

    The human caused CO2 increase, even combined with other human activity (farming, deforestation, cement manufacture, etc.) occurred at a time of a natural recovery from a particular period of unusual cold in the holocene, and was preceded by even larger variations (although the proof of global average is not proven either way). Thus the need to assert that it has to be human caused is patently unreasonable at this time.

    I will add more later, but good night for now.

  18. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 44 Tom,
    ScienceofDoom's was models, and DelGenio was 2002. Fetzer was 2005, and I can't open the other 2. However, there are several more recent sources, but for a start look at:….
    and also:
    Paper published in the journal of Theoretical and Applied Climatology (~ May 2009) entitled: ‘Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data’ by Garth Paltridge1 , Albert Arking2 and Michael Pook3

  19. I am looking forward to Dr. Eric's responses, but as an environmental engineer (with two grandchildren ) I am very concerned that the world has wasted trillions of dollars and EU for a fairy-tale ,there is no scientific proof that the "greenhouse gas effect" exists. Some people claim that there is circumstantial evident to its existence.
    As I have presented my experiment that demonstrates that the "greenhouse gas effect "does not exist, Where is the experiment and data that proves that it exists?
    As an environmental engineer knowing that the infra structure of the U.S. is in need of major repairs ,replacement and upgrading , the trillions of dollars could have been better used to provide a good environment for Dr. Eric's and my grandchildren now, instead of using a fortune teller's flat screen crystal ball to avoid a problem that does not exist.
    Dr. Eric if we follow your concept the trillions of dollars spent to now will be fractions of the cost that your and my grandchildren and their children and grandchildren etc. will be burdened with,thankfully you are wrong.
    In addition to the financial disaster being cause by continuing the hoax of the "greenhouse gas effect" there is my concern and many other about the loose of individual and corporate freedom when the EPA puts the screws on us all to enforce polices that have not and can not be proven by real science. Knowing that the Federal EPA has just crammed down the throats of the NEORSD and the people of Cuyahoga county,Ohio a 3 billion dollar settlement to correct a non-problem that might effect less than 1% of the flow being treated by the NEORSD. What a waste! The EPA is a tyrant with no sense of reality or mercy. THE SKY DRAGON!

    I am looking forward to Dr. Ed's presentation.
    Having read only parts of the new book “Slaying the SKY Dragon” but having read presentations by most of the authors (physicists), it appears that they have made a case for ending this “Hoax of Mann-made global warming” being caused by CO2. If someone want to read fairy-tales there is Mother Goose Rhymes or scientific fiction of Star Wars OR Star Trek.

  20. Leonard, One example of your wishful intuitive reasoning that does not hold up to closer examination is your comments concerning the ocean as a sink or source of CO2. We've been over this before but let's do it again. You say:

    "The second so called positive feedback is the addition of more CO2 to the atmosphere from seawater due to warming. However, there is also a claim the increasing CO2 dissolving in seawater is acidifying it. That is, the seawater is a sink, not source. You can’t have it both ways. It presently is a sink and will remain so for the future of excess CO2 production. This makes it a negative feedback."

    If you envision a volume of air over water with some CO2 in both, it is certainly true that the fraction of the CO2 in the air will go up at temperature increases. That is, CO2(gas) = CO2(water) is shifted to the left at T is increased. Now if you add more CO2 to this enclosed system (at any temperature) the amount of CO2 in both the air and the water will go up.

    However, the increased CO2 in the water (that is, carbonic acid, H2CO3, because CO2 + H2O is H2CO3) will cause the H+ concentration to increase slightly. This will cause a slight shift in the equilibrium reaction, H2CO3 = H+ + HCO3, to the left. This will cause the water FRACTION of TOTAL CO2 to decrease slightly – even though the absolute amount of CO2 in the water has been increased.

    So your comment "you can't have it both ways" is flat out wrong. With the addition of EXTRA CO2 to our atmosphere we can expect higher temperatures, leading to an increased fraction of total CO2 in the atmosphere due to this temperature affect AND an increased fraction of total CO2 in the atmosphere due to the increase in ocean acidity. At the same time, of course, that increase in TOTAL CO2 in the air/ocean system will cause an increase in that absolute amount of CO2 in both the air and water.

    If you doubt any of what I have said here, do the equilibrium calculations involved in order to calculate the fractional partitioning of CO2 in a gas / water sytem. This is a classic system often used in classical textbooks concerning basic chemical equilibria.

  21. Dr.Eric wrote @52:

    "… you have paid insufficient attention to a fundamental aspect of science … Upon inspecting the CO2 and temperature data of the past (provided by the ice core record, in particular), it seems very likely that sensitivity to doubled CO2 is about 3 degrees C over short periods, rising to 6 degrees over longer periods"

    It appears that it is you who have paid insufficient attention to a fundamental aspect of science – to data, of ice core record in particular. It has been shown to you that the formally derived "climate sensitivity" from Vostok record is 18C/2xCO2, as illustrated here:

    It was also shown to you that your wishful 1/2 correction for "polar amplification" is not supported by instrumental records,


    It is painfully clear from huge discrepancy between modern data ("sensitivity"=2.4C/2xCO2) and Vostok data ("sensitivity"= 18C/2xCO2) that the entire concept of high climate sensitivity to variations in current CO2 concentrations is utter absurd. Please stop lie to yourself and people and stop spreading debunked arguments.

  22. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 52 & @ 53 Dr Eric,
    If you had simply asked me what I meant I would have replied. I fully understand the chemistry of sea water, but my prose is not always as clear as I would like. The points I was trying to make were that in GENERAL, the only three major causes of positive feedback are melting ice, CO2 increase from warming oceans, and water vapor increase in the suitable altitude in the troposphere.

    The excess production of CO2 from volcanoes, relative to removal, that occurred in long ago geological times was not a feedback, but a different basic condition, so I was not examining that period as compared to the present here. Mentioning that may have confused the issue some.

    The periods I was pointing out as compared to the present were the last several hundred thousand years, where the Earth went through several glacial to interglacial cycles. These were periods with little or no human component until the very recent part of the last few decades. Prior to human contribution, as the Earth started to come out of a glacial cycle the temperature warming (from ice melting changing the albedo) then increased water vapor and increased the CO2 coming out of the oceans. These were the three effects I was referring to, and are the only major positive feed backs.

    The period of the last 150 years or so were different. The CO2 increase was not mainly from warming, but a human contribution. Since the CO2 gas level was increasing faster than the small change in temperature would decrease the solubility in water, the net effect was that the present period is resulting in CO2 being dissolved rather than emitted from the ocean. That is all I was trying to say. That the three possible sources of positive feedback became just two, and the dissolving of some CO2 in the oceans made it a negative feedback (i.e., there is less effect than if there were not some of the CO2 going into the ocean). That made no comment on the amount of direct temperature increase from the CO2, it just was a comment on feedback.

    However, I think your claims of 3 C FAST and 6 C SLOW feedback from a CO2 doubling (from whatever cause of CO2) is pure bull. There is NO evidence for such an increase in the world. You can go back to the distant past where CO2 was about 4,000 ppm, or 4 doubles of 290 ppm (1850 level), and 4 doubles would result in a gain of 24 C over the 1850 temperature (average). This would be unlivable for animals, and much of those periods were rich in life. The more recent change from glacials to interglacials did not start due to CO2 and claiming a large positive feedback is pure speculation with zero evidence. You have no case at all.

  23. @55 Leonard,

    Once again, you indulge in over-the-top hyperpole when you say:

    "However, I think your claims of 3 C FAST and 6 C SLOW feedback from a CO2 doubling (from whatever cause of CO2) is pure bull. There is NO evidence for such an increase in the world".

    Did you not read my post #6? Or are you once again claiming that the work of Hansen et al. and numerous others whose work is also cited in that paper constitute nothing more than shit that can be dismissed as "NO evidence"?

    Like Al has clearly done many times before (and whose comments I consider to be the purest form of absolute shit and scientific mischieviousness), you also increasingly demonstrate to me that you are an irresponsible advocate of your point of view who has far too little respect for the work of persons of much more professional accomplishment than yourself.

    And I misunderstood what you were saying, did I? If so, please explain what you meant by your comment, "you can't have it both ways" with respect to the acid base and CO2 partitioning equilibria that was under discussion there.. It is not possible for me to discuss a given topic with a "moving target", such as you, whose only objective appears to be to put some "stuff" before the public that looks good enough to fool them without having to stick to the topic and defend one's comments.

  24. Dr.Eric wrote: “ … whose [Al Tekhasski] comments I consider to be the purest form of absolute shit and scientific mischieviousness”

    I am really sorry if my comments cause you “annoyance, harm, or trouble”, and are “maliciously or playfully annoying”( But you put yourself into this position by audaciously electing to present and prove the case of CO2 causing climate disruption, and you are in a hole.

    Again, one more time. As you say, Mother Nature takes care of all feedbacks if you consider historical records. Consider two records:

    Record1: 50 years of Antarctica temperatures, from 1955 to 2005 (Steig et al., Nature 2010), gives about 0.6C increase. At the same time, well mixed CO2 rose from 314ppm to 378ppm, all according to your lovely Keeling Curve.

    Calculating: 0.6 = K*ln(C/Co), K=>3.2345, which gives “climate sensitivity” as 2.24C/2xCO2.. Please make note that this is likely a maximum, because other factors as black soot are warming the surface up as well.

    Record2: Vostok ice cores, located also in Antarctica, [Petit et al, Nature 1999]. Figure3 identifies isotopically-derived surface temperature anomaly as 12C. This temperature change corresponded to 280-180ppm change in CO2 concentrations.
    Calculating again:
    dT = 12 = K*ln(280/180); K = 27.16, which gives 18.8C per CO2 doubling. As you said yourself, Mother Nature accounted for everything in this relationship.

    Now, since I selected data from the same continent and climatic zone, there is no need to trouble yourself with fudge factors as “polar amplification”, because if there is any, it is already accounted for.

    So, what do we have? 2.24 versus 18.8. The discrepancy is huge, 8X. So, either ice records are brutally misinterpreted and completely bogus, or the idea that change in CO2 concentrations define climate warming is bogus. You pick.

    I suspect that you stopped digging and responding to my "annoying" constructions because you realize that you are in a deep hole, so it was a smart defensive move of yours. Please however be aware of the following:

    "If an honest man is wrong, after demonstrating that he is wrong, he either stops being wrong or he stops being honest." – by unknown

    – Dr. Al Tekhaski

  25. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 56,
    Dr Eric,
    I came into this issue accepting initially what the "experts" such a Hansen and others claimed. There are several highly capable scientists in that group. However, I also read many of the technical reports and started reading the blogs. At some point several years ago I concluded these people made a big mistake. When Hansen made claims of NY flooding by 2000 or so, and other outrageous claims, and when the temperature did not nearly go where predicted, I totally lost respect for them. That doesn't mean their not smart, it just means they are wrong. There are many scientists of major status that disagree with them, and based on the actual data, I disagree with them. If your best argument is to rely on "AUTHORITY" rather than observe the facts, I am sorry, but you are wrong.

  26. @57 Al

    From the ice core record you report:

    "Record1: 50 years of Antarctica temperatures, from 1955 to 2005 (Steig et al., Nature 2010), gives about 0.6C increase. At the same time, well mixed CO2 rose from 314ppm to 378ppm, all according to your lovely Keeling Curve.
    Calculating: 0.6 = K*ln(C/Co), K=>3.2345, which gives “climate sensitivity” as 2.24C/2xCO2.. Please make note that this is likely a maximum, because other factors as black soot are warming the surface up as well."

    You got one thing backwards. Warming by black soot is a minor effect relative to that of reflection by SO2-based particulates (see the figures showing other effects on T in my Post 7). Accounting to this, the sensitivity you calculated above would be a minimun, not a maximum, estimate and correction for both particular effects would just happen to raise your value to about 3 degrees which, of course, is in good agreement with that of Hansen et al for fast-feedback sensitivity.

  27. @58 Leonard,

    You know that its not just Hansen that has come up with estimated of sensitivity that are in the range of 2 to 5 degrees C. Scientists that determining sensitivities from the historical records all use measurements and get roughly the same uncomfortably high values. Just because Hansen, Al Gore, or Mickey Mouse speculated that NY would experience floods in the 2000's does not provide as good a test of the AGW notion as the historical record. You know very well that the prediction of weather details is much more complex and uncertain than long term climate changes.

  28. Leonard Weinstein

    @60, Dr. Eric,
    The latest NASA and NOAA estimate of the sensitivity is only a bit over 1.6 C, which is almost half of your 3 C fast, and close to a forth of your 6 C slow numbers. See:
    Those numbers are based on model results, which I think are still about a factor of two high due to assumptions of feedback. See:….
    Also, models are not reasonable for determining sensitivity or long range predictions as shown by:
    Anagnostopoulos, G. G. , Koutsoyiannis, D. , Christofides, A. , Efstratiadis, A. and Mamassis, N. 'A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data', Hydrological Sciences Journal, 55:7, 1094 – 1110 :
    Please read these and I would be glad to discuss the points in them.

  29. Leonard Weinstein

    @ 60 Dr. Eric,
    I keep seeing that statement "You know very well that the prediction of weather details is much more complex and uncertain than long term climate changes". I certainly do not know that and neither do you, despite what you have read. Real statisticians and mathematicians say that the long range forecast of climate is actually even less certain than predicting weather even a few days in advance. It is true that models can show a trend of certain inputs, but this is superimposed on a broadly chaotic process. There is NO evidence that any predictions show any skill, or ever will, for this super complex non linear system.

  30. @61 Leonard,

    The results of theoretical models vary a lot (see my figure 11 in post 7). One can pick the one you like best. None, however, are considered to be the last word – the task is too difficult. The best indicator of the future is the past and that past suggests a suggests a Sensitivity of about 3 degrees over the short term and 6 over the long term.

    Again, "theory guides, but experiment decides" In addition the model you cite is certainly not the lastest and best by NOAA and NASA. It is simply another model in which different assumptions were made. In addition the details in this model concerning the albedo effect of plant life is very uncertain. It's assumption that increased CO2 will facilitate plant growth is OK perhaps, but at the same time they ignore the loss of plant life that is expected to occur in many regions with increased tempertures.

    Again Mother Nature has done these experiments in the real word and has left a record of the result in the ice cores and other places. Why is it that the skeptics of AGW always attack the computer models rather than the historical record – when the former is less relevant to reality than the latter? The answer, of course, is that the models are, indeed, more vulnerable to attack and the skeptics try to give the public the mistaken impression that the AGW argument depends more on the model than on the historical record – thereby fooling them into thinking the AGW notion is much more suspect than it really is.

  31. @63, Dr. Eric,
    It is one thing to say Mother Nature has done the experiment over millions of years and quite another to claim you have properly interpreted this grand experiment.

    As I will show in my rebuttal in January, your attempt draw a conclusion about climate sensitivity from long-term proxy records is not science but balderdash. There is no way to extract a value like climate sensitivity from such records. There are too many unknown variables to constitute a scientific experiment. You cannot satisfy Occam's Razor criteria . You cannot distinguish cause from effect. You reject cause-effect relationships that conflict with your desired conclusions. You assume cause-effect relationships which produce garbage out, and you presume the garbage out is climate sensitivity.

    When good scientists show you evidence that your conclusions are wrong, you challenge their expertise or "qualifications." This is an unsupportable position when 1000's of top scientists, some with Nobel Prizes in science, have signed statements saying the AGW hypothesis is invalid … to put it nicely. You must topple the reputations of 1000's of scientists before you can climb to the top of this mountain.

    You have produced no valid testable scientific hypothesis. You have produced no testable predictions. As your excuse, you claim the climate problem is too complex for the demands of the scientific hypothesis. Which leaves you in the area of pseudo-science.

    If this pseudo-science fraud is what has been taught to our university to grade school students, it amounts to the biggest travesty forced upon America's public in our history. You may as well teach astrology and claim it should be a basis for public policy.

    The Aztecs had more scientific basis for believing they could improve their crop production by cutting out beating hearts, than you have presented as a basis for your support of AGW.

    Even your public readers are dropping out. One wrote yesterday, "The AGW skeptics have won," saying he was leaving the debate without even waiting for my rebuttal.

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