G2. Greenhouse Gas Effect

By Al Tekhasski, Rev.0.4 11/26/2010

1. Introduction

Greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) is an effect on a scale of a planet. It should not be confused nor conflated with glass panes or polymer films over a bed of plants. It does not matter how bad the name is; it is what it is. We can call it “greenfruugh effect,” or “greencheese effect,” the name does not make any difference. In addition, the existence of greenhouse gas effect must be differentiated from how its magnitude actually varies (or not) with change in GH gases concentration, which is sometimes dubbed as “enhanced greenhouse effect” and is the cornerstone of AGW theory. This article deals only with existing effect as it currently is. Changes in GHGE should be considered in a different article.  For conceptual simplicity, the effect of condensable substances (like water vapor) is omitted as well.

2. Definitions

As usual, there are several ways to define an effect. I will use a top-down definition approach.

Definition: Planetary Greenhouse Gas effect is the difference between effective emission temperature of a planet and global average temperature of its surface.

Definition: Effective Emission temperature is the temperature that a blackbody planet would need in order to emit the same amount of IR radiation as it could be measured from outer space by remote observer. This concept came from astrophysics, and it is a measurable quantity. It is just a different representation of total outgoing radiative energy of a warm body.

To measure this “temperature”, one needs to register outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) from the object, then calculate corresponding surface flux knowing the distance to observer, effective diameter of emitting body, and assuming spherical symmetry. Then calculate the number as (OLR/sigma)^0.25, where sigma is the classic Stefan-Boltzmann constant. In astrophysics this “temperature” is just a convenient ballpark number to compare stars, and somewhat less convenient when comparing heat balance of a planet.

[Footnote: because planets usually don’t have substantial internal heat source, and rely on external radiation to heat its surface, so (a) some overlap with “pumping” spectrum can occur, and (b) surface temperature loses spherical symmetry.]

Definition: Global Average [Surface] Temperature is an arithmetic mean of daily mean temperatures taken at a grid of stations around the globe. Climatology considers this temperature as a proxy for warming. This quantity can be formally calculated for any spatial distribution of grid stations, but it has the intended meaning only if the surface is totally spherically symmetrical, meaning that the actual temperature is the same at any point on the globe, be it at equator or at poles (in which case it would suffice to take measurement only at one point).

Definition: Daily mean temperature is an arithmetic mean of minimum and maximum temperatures of air recorded 2 meters above the surface at a certain arbitrary location on the globe. Strictly speaking, this temperature also has no definite meaning as a proxy for energy exchange without additional assumptions about actual shape of diurnal temperature variations. Most temperature records came from min-max thermometers, so the actual time when the min or max occurred is unknown.

Now we have the definitions, and even methods how to calculate these quantities. In populist literature it is commonly estimated that the average radiation flux density into Earth “low troposphere” is 240W/m2 of shortwave radiation after accounting for 30% reflection called “albedo”. When a planet is in stationary state (considering that the planet is more or less in this condition for millions of years), then an external observer should expect the planet to emit the same 240W/m2 of total emission, but now in IR, as it is appropriate for emissions from warm bodies.

For the expected stationary state with pass-through flux of 240W/m2, the effective emission temperature (Te) calculates as about 255K. However, the statistics of global average surface temperature (Ts) comes up as 288K. Climatology calls this formal difference of 33K as “greenhouse effect.”

3. Mechanism of greenhouse gas effect

To simplify things and illustrate the main physics of how the effect works, lets assume that air is really filled with GH gases and other particles/aerosols, such that it looks (absorbs and emits) as a blackbody in IR range when air density is high enough. But at the same time the air is still fully transparent to SW radiation of Sun to let the energy in. To have physically meaningful temperatures, we have to assume spherical symmetry. This is the usual (but not spelled out) assumption in all classic classroom calculations of GHGE. It is obvious that this condition would be difficult to satisfy with one-sided heater position of the Sun even if the planet rotates. To get uniform heating, the Sun (or Earth) must rotate like crazy in randomly changing directions, or the surface must have infinite thermal conductivity.  Alternatively, the SW radiation could be replaced with a uniformly distributed electric heater with power density of 240W/m2 everywhere on the surface.

Lets hypothetically assume that there is so much absorbing material in the air that it is completely non-transparent to IR at ground level. For simplicity, the effect of water evaporation and vapor condensation will be temporarily omitted. Also I will assume that we start from a planet that is somewhat colder than the stationary state would otherwise require. Then the following would occur:

(1) Sun radiation (minus whatever was reflected back) hits ground surface, and gets fully absorbed. Surface heats up. We assume the globe-averaged radiation flux from Sun as 240W/m2.

(2) Surface transfers the heat to air (and into ground) by all means: conduction, evaporation (which we ignore in this example), convection. Radiation does not play any essential role at the surface because whatever is being radiated by surface is equally compensated by back radiation from IR-dark air. Likewise, upflux and downflux of radiation at any virtual horizontal surface above the ground cancel each other. In astrophysics is it called “Rosseland approximation,” in engineering they call it “diffusion approximation.” The radiation “diffuses” through air similar to regular temperature or trace GH gas, except when the air becomes very thin, literally and optically. The ground surface continues to heat up because the thermal conductivity of air is low, and net IR radiation at the surface is nearly zero.

(3) In the field of gravity, the atmosphere density gets gradually thinner with height. Therefore at some point it cannot be considered as being IR-dark; Therefore the IR dark absorbing media has a top somewhere, which is called “radiative TOA,” top of atmosphere, or “effective emission layer.” Figure 1 illustrates the concept:

Figure 1. IR-opaque atmosphere. The radiation escapes only from the “topmost layer.”

(4) At the radiative TOA, there is only one sink of energy to outer space – radiation. The amount of emitted radiation depends on local temperature of this layer in accord with Stefan-Boltzmann law.

(5) The surface continues to absorb all Sun radiation, and its temperature rises and rises.

(Some people do not appreciate this effect of unbounded rise in temperature. To convince themselves, they should try a simple experiment – take a 100W light bulb, and cover it with Styrofoam, and see what would happen with bulb temperature.)

(6) Rising bottom temperature (together with Coriolis forces) eventually triggers a massive instability in atmosphere (due to buoyancy of warm air), and various weather patterns stir the air until some sort of dynamic equilibrium occurs that is called “convective equilibrium.” The convective equilibrium forms a gradient of temperature due to thermodynamics of air mass movement known as “lapse rate.” As result of this “lapse rate,” temperature of the “effective emission layer” at TOA is generally lower than the ground temperature.

(7) The process of ground temperature rise (and corresponding intensification of convective patterns) continues until the TOA warms up to a temperature of about 255K, and thus would emit about 240W/m2 in IR. This is a special point because this amount of OLR is equal to incoming solar flux, so the system reaches a steady state frequently called as “equilibrium.” This “equilibrium” should not be confused with thermal equilibrium, and many classic theorems of Thermodynamics may not hold here.

The difference between the average ground temperature (Tsurface, Ts) and the temperature at radiative TOA is the GHGE. Figure 2 illustrates this geometrical relationship.

Figure 2. Vertical temperature profile of atmosphere follows lapse rate and has to meet the only defined boundary condition of T=255K for the effective emission layer (circled).

Please note that the radiative TOA is not the same as tropopause, it is about half way in between. The height of effective emission layer doesn’t have an easy definition and is usually estimated by backward calculations. It goes like this: the temperature of this layer must be 255K. Assuming wet-adiabatic lapse rate (Lr) of 6.5K/km and allegedly known “surface temperature” of 288K, the emission layer must reside at 33/6.5 = 5km. Interestingly, this estimation suspiciously coincides with the height of layer where most atmospheric water is residing.

As we can see, there is no warming going from “cold body” to “hotter body,” and no violation of any known law of thermodynamics takes place. All it is a flow-through heat transfer system: SW radiation hits and heats the ground; ground transfers this heat into air. The air carries the heat and expands when parcels float up, and cools off quasi-adiabatically. The top air is still warmer than outer space, so it will cool off by radiation.

This concludes the continuing passage of energy across the weather system. Without the escape route for energy the surface would heat up without a limit. Fortunately, the energy can and will escape from the top in the form of IR radiation, where the air is generally colder than at the surface, all due to the lapse rate. This creates and maintains the difference between bottom and top temperatures, just as any imperfect heat transfer system would have. In engineering this effect is associated with “thermal resistance” (of atmosphere) to heat flux, just as in ordinary electrics.

In the above construction, the ground temperature is initially undefined and is unknown. However, in process of convective stirring the surface temperature automatically adjusts itself to a value that provides sufficient and necessary heat transfer from the surface to air (and eventually to TOA) via various direct paths and feedbacks. The only formal boundary condition for the entire system is that the overall vertical profile of air temperature must reach the Te=255K at the radiative TOA. The height H of this outer boundary is determined by optical properties of air. Thus the formula for sustained ground temperature Ts is:

Ts = Te + Lr*H

The thermal link between ground surface and TOA is complex and involves radiation and convection (and latent heat transport, which is temporarily excluded from this illustrative example). However, it is incorrect to say, “convection is dominant”; it is formally not. But it does not matter because convection continuously re-balances the fluxes such that the final value of lapse rate is maintained the same regardless of what the other heat transfer paths are. This process is complicated, it depends on complex boundary conditions with many parameters, it is turbulent, and we cannot calculate this process with contemporary computing technology, and probably never will.

4. Conclusion

Planetary greenhouse gas effect is a self-sustained phenomenon when hydrodynamics of near-surface layer heated from SW radiation drives an atmosphere into convective equilibrium forming a mechanically controlled lapse rate. The control feedback mechanism is such that the surface temperature rises until the entire system meets its outer boundary condition of OLR = 240W/m2 at a certain height defined by IR opacity of air. Therefore, the entire effect is a product of two inseparable components – (1) presence of atmospheric lapse rate, and (2) finite opacity of air in IR region. Because the lapse rate is a necessary element, the effect cannot be reproduced under room conditions unless the gravity acceleration is somehow scaled proportionally.

It should be obvious that gradual changes in our initial extreme assumptions about optical air properties don’t fundamentally change the magnitude and sign of GHGE. The above construction would undergo some adjustments for realistic properties of air like “IR window” and other non-blackbody deviations in emission/absorption spectrum. Inclusion of water cycle will deform the value of lapse rate from dry 9.5K/km to observed wet rate of 6.5K/km, but the described essence of GHGE would remain the same. Latent heat transformations and atmospheric IR window would add additional escape routes for energy flux across the bulk of atmosphere, but these “resistive” paths would not change much the average magnitude of lapse rate because it is the hydro-mechanical feedback process that keeps it constant.

The GHG effect is straightforward under the initial assumptions of full spherical symmetry and very optically dense atmosphere that emits as a blackbody. In reality, the one-sided heating creates longitudinal temperature gradients and other non-homogeneities in polar-wise heat transport related to cellular structure of global circulation in atmosphere, which highly complicates things. The absorption-emission properties of rarefied gases are far from blackbody, and gray (or band-) averaged approximation may not correctly represent changes in radiative fluxes when mixing ratio of GH gases changes.

The mechanism above was derived from general concepts presented in the following sources:

[1] http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1981/1981_Hansen_etal.pdf

[2] http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/annrev00.pdf

[3] http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/files/pr49.pdf

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Comments

  1. 1
    Berthold Klein says:

    There are so many assumptions made that one wonders where physics starts and fairy-tales begin. If anyone has looked at the full solar spectrum both in wave lengths and intensity it is obvious that there is far more long wave IR in the inbound radiation to satisfy the the activation of all the CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere that there is very few molecules of either of these IRag”s available to absorb outbound long wave IR from the earth. This shoots down one of many erroneous assumptions made by the AGW crowd. When on looks at IR photographs of earth from satellites (readily available by Goggling IR photos of Earth ) that the atmosphere is not opaque to out bound IR of any wave length. Yes clouds absorb significant amounts of IR and are discernible as clouds but the earth masses are also discernible. If the supposed “GHE” layer blocked all this long wave IR as assumed the land masses and water areas would be indistinguishable.
    As stated by more and more prominent physicists , The greenhouse gas effect is a hoax.

  2. 2
    Leonard Weinstein says:

    @ 1 Berthold,
    You don’t “activate” GHG to get the effect. The atmosphere is in LTE. This means that absorbed photons are almost immediately used to put energy in all the surrounding gas (by collision) and could heat them some. However, the surrounding gases are at some temperature (with a velocity distribution including some higher velocity ones), such that the GHG gives off photons, and the lost energy is replaced from the surrounding gas collisions. The balance of absorbed and INDEPENDENTLY emitted photons determines if the radiation contributes to some heating or cooling of the local gas. However, whichever occurs, free convection mixes and readjusts the gas temperature profile to fit (on average) the adiabatic lapse rate. Thus incoming absorbed energy makes no difference to the so called atmospheric greenhouse effect. The papers you keep quoting do not in general totally disagree with what Al and I keep telling you. They just disagree with a claim that back radiation is the cause of heating, and it is not as I clearly stated. They just do not go on from there to explain what the cause of heating is. Both sides on this issue seem to confuse cause and effect.

  3. 3

    @00
    For the expected stationary state with pass-through flux of 240W/m2, the effective emission temperature (Te) calculates as about 255K. However, the statistics of global average surface temperature (Ts) comes up as 288K. Climatology calls this formal difference of 33K as “greenhouse effect.”

    For the sake of clarity.
    The “effective emission temperature” (Te) and the “global average surface temperature” (Ts) are VERY different things.
    The former is a temperature of an isothermal body in equilibrium with radiation while the latter is a surface integral on any heterogenous non isothermal body regardless whether it is or not in equilibrium with radiation.
    As both bodies behave very differently from the radiative point of view , adding, substracting or comparing Te and Ts doesn’t make physical sense.
    That’s why the often quoted number “33°C” which is obtained by substracting Ts-Te doesn’t mean anything physical.
    The only correct conclusion is that the real Earth with its real Ts is in average warmer than would be an isothermal Earth without oceans and atmosphere in equilibrium with radiation.
    Of course as the real Earth is neither isothermal nor in equilibrium there are plenty places were it is colder than this theoretical isothermal body and plenty other places where it is much hotter.
    So while the GHE changes Ts indeed , it is clear that the “amount of change” is positive but not equal to Ts-Te, e.g 33°C.

  4. 4

    @2
    The balance of absorbed and INDEPENDENTLY emitted photons determines if the radiation contributes to some heating or cooling of the local gas.

    This is not correct .
    Because of LTE , emission and absorption is locally EXACTLY balanced.
    For instance in the first meter the absorbed IR is exactly reemitted (half up , half down) .
    What happens is that the temperature in the next meter is slightly lower because of the lapse rate and density so that the absorbed and emitted amount is slightly less , both being still exactly equal.
    Finally the way I see the GHE is as being a property of the lapse rate and isotropy of the emission by the GHG .
    Both combined have for result that there is an IR flow in both directions up and down , the net flow being from down to up but the up to down flow is non zero .
    It is the existence of this up to down flow which explains why the surface is warmer than what it would be without GHG .
    The GHG actually “warm the ground” only in the first bottom meters of the atmosphere .

  5. 5

    @5 Barnes,

    If you have money sitting in a bank account for many years at say only 1% interest, over many years, it would accrue significant total interest. The CO2 man adds the the atm on top of what Mother Nature does, works in a similar fashion. That is, if he puts in 3% of the total, at least 1/3 of that excess CO2 remains in the atmosphere for many many years. Thus the excess CO2 accumulates with time. Today, we have almost 40% more CO2 in the atmosphere than at the beginning of the Industrial age. The key point here is just as in a good bank where your small additional interest input stays in the bank, the small extra CO2 we put into the atm, stays in the atm.

  6. 6
    Barnes Moore says:

    I am a lay person who follows this debate and I have what I think is a simple question. I’ve read that naturally occuring Co2 represents about 97% of atmospheric Co2 which would mean that man contributes 3%. If that is true, then, if my math is correct, it would mean that man’s contribution to Co2 levels is about .00114% or 11.4 ppm. So my first question is – do stuies confirm that 97% of Co2 is naturally occurring? If the first question is true, how probable/possible is it for such a small % to so dramatically affect a system as complex and chaotic as climate?

  7. 7

    Barnes,

    OK, now in terms of the investment analogy, consider the fact that this accumulation of the Extra CO2 occurs repeatedbly every year. Note that a 1 % interest rate results in an increased of more that 40% after 40 years.

  8. 8

    @7 Barnes,

    And that other material you have been reading is not correct – the effect of increased CO2 is not yet “saturated” and has not yet reached a point of diminishing effect. If you happen to think so, read up a bit on the planet of Venus.

    The Sensitivity of the Earth to a doubling of CO2 is about 3 degrees C over short periods and about double that for long periods. Thus, by about the year 2080 with business as usual, the temperature of the Earth is expected to increase by about 3 degrees relative to that in 1850 (and, in case you don’t know a 3 degrees C increase is very bad news.

    I realize that there are scientific quack out there that would have you believe that the effect of CO2 is near saturation and that in 2080 the T increase will only be about 0.1 degrees C. Sadly, such self-proclaimed scientists are wishful thinkers, at best, usually with fossil fuel backgrounds, who promote a juvenile interpretation of the greenhouse effect in order to provide “scientific comfort” to their financial benefactors (they are being handsomely rewarded for their “assistance”, of course). As an excellent example of such a person, Google the name “Leighton Steward” and read about his unique “theory” of climate change, hard-earned through his own “personal studies” in retirement following a long career on the oil business. Though paper thin, his opinion appears to be highly regarded within the petroleum industry of my fossil fuel rich state of Montana.

  9. 9
    Barnes Moore says:

    Thanks Dr. Eric. I still have a problem with the number from an absolute perspectective. I assume by your response you confirm that 97% of Co2 is naturally occuring leaving a 3% contribution by man, or 11.4 ppm. If 1/3rd, or 3.8 ppm hangs around for an extended period of time, it’s an even smaller number. If other material I’ve read is accurate, that increases in Co2 have a diminishing effect on warming and at some point becomes capped, and that the absorbtion spectrum of Co2 overlaps with other gases, like water vapor, it would seem likely that Co2 from man has a negligible effect on warming. Likewise, a $3.80 return on a million dollar investment would be pretty meaningless as well.

  10. 10
    Al Tekhasski says:

    Dr. Eric,

    As I see, you have some burning desire to engage, and continue to push for your 3 degrees per CO2 doubling. Then could you please outline your concept of why the temperature will be forced. As I heard, true climate scientists have calculated some “radiative forcing” from CO2 doubling that causes “global radiative imbalance”, right? Could you please submit some convincing arguments that this is true, especially the magnitude of imbalance? Preferably with some observational support. Feel free to refer to the pictures above.

  11. 11

    @5 Barnes, to correctly answer your questions:
    1. Based upon carbon isotope data, human-produced CO2 is between 3% to 4% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere, as you have suggested.
    2. Based upon this small amount of human-produced CO2, one would make a preliminary conclusion that human CO2 is insignificant. However, it is necessary to drill-down at least one level in physics to demonstrate this is true.

    That’s it. No more complications. No more hand waving. This is physics, not banking and interest. The claim in @9 that

    “the temperature of the Earth is expected to increase by about 3 degrees …”

    should be rephrased for clarity:

    “Dr. Eric believes the temperature will increase by 3 degrees …”

    Warmists like to use passive voice sentence construction because it sounds more ominous and authoritative. But putting a sentence in active voice makes it clear where the errors are originating.

    @6, @8, and @9 is balderdash. Best to forget all of it.

  12. 12

    See @14 (comment was duplicated)

  13. 13

    @Barnes,

    Sorry, but Dr. Ed does not understand the isotope data he provided you in his comment 11. He said that 3 to 4% of the carbon in the atmosphere came from man and therefore that reprepresents the total contribution. What he does not seem to realize is that when man contributes more CO2, that carbon gets mixed into the total carbon cycle – including the carbon in the atmosphere, plants and the oceans’ surface layers. Since only a small fraction of the total remains in the atmosphere. Thus the 3 to 4% number refers to the total carbon man has contributed to the sum of all of these carbon reservoirs. This result from the accumulation effect I was describing.

    Thus, Dr. Ed comment “Based upon carbon isotope data, human-produced CO2 is between 3% to 4% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere, as you have suggested.” is dead wrong and in it the word “atmosphere” should be changed to “total carbon within the biological carbon cycle. If referring to the atmosphere, one would say that about 40% of the CO2 has come from the effects of man’s emissions.

    (Get it, Ed? I would be glad to explain further, if necessary)

  14. 14

    @11 Ed,

    Whenever you attempt to answer scientific questions addressed to me, perhaps you should first get some help from your adviser so that the reading public is not mislead by your input.

    In @11, you forcefully referred to my statement as constituting “bashderdash” while it turns you that you were the one full of it up to your eyebrows and revealed once again that you are not, in fact, up to speed on the science of AGW. Now, I suppose we will get from you another off the point pissing match in which you try to rescue your image – rather than simply admitting that you didn’t know of what you spoke.

    In order to avoid this silly detours, such as this one and others (remember our prior discussions concerning Venus?) perhaps you should stick to issues concerning the Scientific Method, while letting Leonard, for example, handle the science – at least when the questions of the readers have been addressed to me.

  15. 15

    @17 Ed,

    As I suspected you would, you now are venturing off on a detour in order to assign other meanings to your silly comments.

    Note that back in @ 11, we have already discussed comment #1, and the meaning you meant to portray is made clear by your next comment, which is:

    “2. Based upon this small amount of human-produced CO2, one would make a preliminary conclusion that human CO2 is insignificant. ”

    Oh sure, a 3 to 4% human contribution to the total carbon in the total biological cycle is “insignificant” !!!!!! Imagine that – 3-4% of all carbon in the bio cycle is due to that which man has added. No wonder atmospheric CO2 is 40% greater than in 1850.

    Keep on shoveling Ed in order to further explain how man’s contributions are insignificant.

    And concerning this present pissing match started this morning – please get it straight who started it. Am I supposed to “take it” without response when you confuse a member of the public with garbage and then tell that reader that everything I said was “balderdash” when it is you that is full of it. I will freely admit that I have some difficulty in suffering a fool gladly.

    Concerning your irrelevant comments about Mr. Steward, I didn’t know and don’t care if he spoke at the U of M, which by the way I have never had any affiliation with (I worked at MSU Bozeman – in case anyone cares). My comment concerning Mr Steward, however, was relevant to the question I was answering for a reader.

    Ed, I don’t mind if you add insight to my responses to readers – as long as a they serve some legitimate purpose other than to confuse the reader with irrelevant or inaccurate statements. Again, if you are unable to do this all on your own, please get some filtering of your comments first in order to avoid silly pissing matches such as this one. We get enough ill-informed comments from readers and don’t need more from one of this site’s two main players.

    And please don’t worry so much about my nerves – they are doing just fine.

  16. 16
    Leonard Weinstein says:

    @ 11 Dr. Ed,
    The 3 C claim is the one that several supporters of CAGW, including Hansen, consider the most likely value for sensitivity, with all feedbacks included. The 6 C was assumed as being due to ALL glaciers and ice melting, thus reducing albedo. The later would take several thousand years even in the fastest case, and by that time the interglacial period would have ended, and cooling toward a glacial period returned, so is a non-starter. The 3 C claim has some data and arguments that have been construed as supporting it, but there is more data and arguments that indicate a more likely value in the range of 0.2 C to 0.8 C. The issue is not fully resolved, but if the temperature continues flat to down (on the average) for the next 10 or so years (as is expected), that will falsify the 3 C claim completely. Until the claim is falsified, just state your choice of evidence for a much lower value, rather than just stating it is so.

  17. 17

    @12, Leonard,
    No argument at all. My point in my @11 was only about the manner in which Dr. Eric phrased his quaint belief as if it were the unanimous conclusion of ALL scientists, rather than of the diminishing group of scientists on his side. I considered his phrasing a sneaky form of lying. It reflects the kind of brainwashing that occurs in our universities.

  18. 18

    @14 is another example of the misrepresentation by Dr. Eric of a simple statement. My @11 sentence is:

    Based upon carbon isotope data, human-produced CO2 is between 3% to 4% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere

    Dr. Eric changes my above sentence to set up a straw man in this form:

    He said that 3 to 4% of the carbon in the atmosphere came from man and therefore that reprepresents the total contribution.

    where his nervousness shows in his misspelling. Clearly, I did not say anything about “total contribution.” I was only providing Barnes a direct answer to his question … something Dr. Eric seems emotionally incapable of doing.

    Does Dr. Eric disagree that human CO2 constitutes only about 3% of all the CO2 in our atmosphere? This is a simple question. He should be able to answer Yes or No without further discussion. Is he capable of stating his answer to this simple question?

    Dr. Eric’s invalid claim I “do not understand” based upon his “straw man” is a cheap way to confuse the public. First change my statement. Then attack his own version of my statement.

    For example, Dr. Eric’s diatribe extending even into taking a cheap shot at Leighton Steward goes way beyond the context of Barnes’ question.

    I don’t know why Dr. Eric has this thing about Leighton Steward, unless Dr. Eric is upset that last spring, Steward negotiated his way into speaking at the University of Montana, Dr. Eric’s hallowed ground, thereby bringing a few hours of enlightenment to the students.

    In his @16, Dr. Eric says:

    In order to avoid this silly detours …

    Say what? Go back and read Dr. Eric’s comments and decide for yourself who has taken silly detours. Honestly, Dr. Eric sounds more and more like a lawyer for a person who has lost his case. The tactic is to change the subject and attack people as an attempt to confuse the jury.

    So, Dr. Eric, do you agree or disagree with my simple sentence:

    Based upon carbon isotope data, human-produced CO2 is between 3% to 4% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere

    …. ?

  19. 19

    @21 Anthony,

    Let me explain using an over simplified example. Let’s momentarily assume that we are back in the year 1800 that there is suddenly an enormous ignition of a huge coal field – so huge that this fire suddenly doubles the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (from 280 to 560 ppm). Now, that fossil fuel based carbon carries its isotopic signature so that if one mass analyzed the atmospheric CO2 right away, we would, of course find that 50% of the atm CO2 at that point in times cames from that fossil fuel fire.

    Now, wait just a couple decades and see what happens. First, all carbon in the biological cycle gets passed around quite quitely between plants, the surface layers of the ocean, animals and the atmosphere. Therefore, that isotope signature in that atmosphere would get diluted very quickly – down to less than 1% – since most of the total carbon in the biological cycle resides in the plants and especially the surface layers of the ocean. Therefore, in a couple decades the labeled C in the atmosphere from the big fire will be essentially gone and largely reside in the plants and oceans.

    At the same time, however, and because it takes so long for the total EXCESS CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear (several centuries), the atmosphere would continue to have a large exess of CO2 – again while most of the individual carbon atoms from the big fossil fuel fire would have been lost into the plant and ocean reservoirs within a few decades.

    Therefore, you can hopefully see from this example that the fraction of isotopically labeled C found in the atmosphere in NOT a direct measure of man’s affect on the atmosphere. Man has caused atm CO2 to rise by 40%, not by 3-4% with the rest being caused by “something else”.

  20. 20
    Berthold Klein says:

    Not having commented for a while I’ve been preparing a response to Leonard,
    @ 2. but Where is the proof that the GHG effect Exists? Until someone shows some real experimental data that relates a rise in CO2 to an actual measured temperature change the resist of this string is like one fairy tale writer trying to out do the next fairy tale writer. Dr. Eric is not aware that there is an NASA report that claims to show that the 3 degree projection is wrong and it should be only 1.4 degree. I’m sure that next week they will come out with a report proving it should be -1.4 degree.
    With more than 1000 noted scientists saying that the “GHG effect” does not exist; Where is the experimental data by Dr. Eric showing its existence? Circumstantial evidence does not convince me of anything.
    The only comment there has been to my experiment that demonstrates that the “GHG effect” does not exist is a clarification on how “shadow” was used.

  21. 21
    Al Tekhasski says:

    Berthold @18, you continue to mix the effect itself with dependence of its current magnitude on CO2 change. These are two different things. Regarding the existence of GH effect itself, let me try to sort items out:

    (1) Do you agree that the average surface temperature index come out as 288K?

    (2) Do you agree that Earth receives 340W/m2 of shortwave radiation from Sun (day-night average)?

    (3) Do you agree that after 30% is reflected back to space, the total flux absorbed by climate system (ground-water-air) is about 240W/m2?

    (4) Do you agree that the energy does not accumulate nor disappear, such that the 240W/m2 flux is converted into heat, and a heated body will eventually emit this same energy to outer space, which was measured by satellites?

    (5) Do you agree that a warm physical body with reasonable emissivity must have certain temperature to emit 240W/m2 of infrared radiation?

    (6) Do you agree that Stefan-Boltzmann relationship F = ε.σ.T⁴ is an established law of physics, such that the emitting body must have only about T=255K to emit all this 240W/m2 to outer space, give or take?

    (7) Do you agree that 288 > 255, which they call as GH effect?

    Then what is your objection?

  22. 22
    Anthony Bowler says:

    This is very interesting. Dr. Eric still does not actually state his answer to whether the following is true.

    Based upon carbon isotope data, human-produced CO2 is between 3% to 4% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere

    If true, then I would assume that the majority of the increase in CO2 has been due to temperature even in human times, something that I had not even considered previously, because as Dr. Eric says, “CO2 is 40% greater than in 1850″. If 4% is caused by man, then 36% is caused by something else — presumably temperature.

  23. 23

    @22, Finally Dr. Eric made a statement precise enough for a response.

    What Dr. Eric says is true … up to a point. The only problem with his statement is at the end. His mental model assumes natural processes are constant during the decades of the hypothesized waiting time. In fact, natural processes are a function of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

    A sudden doubling of atmospheric CO2 will increase rate of transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the other CO2 or C reservoirs. Therefore, the end result will not be what nature would have done without the sudden addition of CO2 PLUS the sudden addition of CO2. Nature will proceed toward an equilibrium between atmospheric CO2 and the earth’s CO2 reservoirs.

    Finally, Dr. Eric has by no means proved in all of climate clash that human emissions have caused a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2. The reason is because he has not yet properly accounted for the natural exchange rates between the earth’s CO2 reservoirs. So that 40% is only a hand-waving claim, not a fact. His statement:

    … because it takes so long for the total EXCESS CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear …

    is also not proven.

  24. 24
    Berthold Klein says:

    Dear Al: I have reviewed your comments and see that all I have to do to show how little you know about physics is to show you that the earth is not a “theoretical black body” and that it can not have a temperature based on a theoretical body that is totally different than the real Earth.
    Look up the work of Kirchhoff and others that contributed to the field of thermodynamic.
    Now a theoretical black body is a homogeneous material that can be heated and have it radiate both IR and other wavelengths depending on the degree of heating. Many of the early experiments were done by heating large balls of Iron to very high temperatures and determining the types of radiation that were given off. The surface is supposed to be smooth.
    Now lets look at the Earth;
    1. The earth is not homogeneous.
    2. The earth is covered by about 70% water or its solid form ice and snow.
    3. The parts of the earth that are not covered by water are covered by vegetation, mountains, deserts, and even a minimal amount of man made structure. Now on top of all this every thing gets rained on.
    4. The core of the earth to the best of our knowledge is a molten core of Iron and nickel. Then this core surfaces often as volcanoes, and hot springs.
    5. Realize that the oceans are many thousand of meters deep.
    None of these can be applied to the theoretical black body.
    The next and maybe the hardest for you to understand is that with the earth having any atmosphere it will have a different temperature than a planet that does not have an atmosphere even if there is not one molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    There is no experimental data that proves that the greenhouse gas effect exists.

    @19
    Al Tekhasski says:
    December 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm
    Berthold @18, you continue to mix the effect itself with dependence of its current magnitude on CO2 change. These are two different things. Regarding the existence of GH effect itself, let me try to sort items out:
    (1) Do you agree that the average surface temperature index come out as 288K?

    No I do not agree that the average temperature index of the surface of the earth is 288 degrees K. There are many physics and math papers that show how stupid this statement is! Educate yourself and read http://www.climatedepot.com and many others.

    (2) Do you agree that Earth receives 340W/m2 of shortwave radiation from Sun (day-night average)?
    (3) Do you agree that after 30% is reflected back to space, the total flux absorbed by climate system (ground-water-air) is about 240W/m2?
    (4) Do you agree that the energy does not accumulate nor disappear, such that the 240W/m2 flux is converted into heat, and a heated body will eventually emit this same energy to outer space, which was measured by satellites?
    (5) Do you agree that a warm physical body with reasonable emissivity must have certain temperature to emit 240W/m2 of infrared radiation?
    (6) Do you agree that Stefan-Boltzmann relationship F = ε.σ.T⁴ is an established law of physics, such that the emitting body must have only about T=255K to emit all this 240W/m2 to outer space, give or take?
    (7) Do you agree that 288 > 255, which they call as GH effect? Yes I agree that 288 is greater than 255 but this has nothing to do with the fairy tale that so environmental wackos call a greenhouse gas effect.

  25. 25
    Al Tekhasski says:

    Berthold,
    Could you elaborate on why do you think that the number “288” calculated from daily averaged readings from 4000-some thermometers from scattered locations around the globe and averaged over several years is a “stupid statement?” The data are collected (with possible small errors), and averages are calculated by several group of dedicated people. What is so stupid to state that they have this number, 288? Whether their activity is stupid or not, but they have this number. If not 288, which other formal number would you agree to?

    Also, could you elaborate on why do you think that water, ice, lands, and vegetation are not black bodies, especially when Sun does not shine on that areas? What do you believe the “color” of night side of Earth is? Is not it “black”? True, it is not exactly the Planck function, but close enough for illustrative and educational purposes. It it is not exactly as Planck function, what difference would it make for quantitative estimation? In your opinion as an expert in Physics?

    Also, I didn’t get it, do you agree with points (2) to (6), or not?

  26. 26

    @23 Ed, the major posts I have previded (#’s 1, 6, and 7) where put there for a reason – that is, to be read and considered. Thus, in response to your comments in @23, let me simply refer you do the figure that previously related material that you claim I have not provided. Now, if need additional explanation of any material, you should specify what that might be rather than say “Dr. Eric has not proved ……”

    So in response to your comments, in quotes below:

    “@22, Finally Dr. Eric made a statement precise enough for a response.
    What Dr. Eric says is true … up to a point.”

    Great! I am finally getting through to you the point that the isotopic information you offered does not mean that man’s effects have been negligible. On the contrary, that information indicates that man’s effects have on the total carbon cycle have been very, very significant.

    “The only problem with his statement is at the end. His mental model assumes natural processes are constant during the decades of the hypothesized waiting time. In fact, natural processes are a function of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. ”

    Of course that was my assumption in this oversimplified view of a “plus” of CO2 whose only purpose was to make one single point – that the isotopic label dissappears from atmospheric CO2 very quickly while the EXCESS CO2 does not.

    “A sudden doubling of atmospheric CO2 will increase rate of transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the other CO2 or C reservoirs. Therefore, the end result will not be what nature would have done without the sudden addition of CO2 PLUS the sudden addition of CO2. Nature will proceed toward an equilibrium between atmospheric CO2 and the earth’s CO2 reservoirs.”

    Yes, of course, as we have discussed here many times and as was shown in my Post 7, Figure 14.

    “Finally, Dr. Eric has by no means proved in all of climate clash that human emissions have caused a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2. The reason is because he has not yet properly accounted for the natural exchange rates between the earth’s CO2 reservoirs. So that 40% is only a hand-waving claim, not a fact”

    Ed, Look again at Figure 3, Post 7. Are you suggestiong that the 40% increase clear shown in atm CO2 following the Industrial Revolution is merely a coincidence and that Mother Nature did that? If so, Ed, your view is extraordinary – even among the very hard core sceptics of AGW. You should get straightened on this point (Leonard, maybe you could help Ed with this one?) so that the readers don’t think you are a total wacko.

    and finally:

    “… because it takes so long for the total EXCESS CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear is also not proven.”

    Again see Post 7 Figure 14, This information results from years of research on the subject of CO2 exchange between the atm and the oceans. Your use of the word “proven” is intentionally confusing in that nothing of this complexity can be “proven” to be absolutely true beyond all levels of doubt (as an expert in the Scientific Method, you should know this). Nevertheless, the great body of “evidence” supports my statement. If it were not true, why would atm CO2 have increased by 40% from emissions by man that currently are only about 3% of what Mother Nature puts out?

    If it would help you, consider again why only a small interest rate on a savings account in a good bank results in significant enhansements of the total investment over many years – it is because nothing is removed. I realize this analogy is not pure “physics”, and, therefore, by your strange criteria might not be of interest to you. It is simple math, however, and provided an apt analogy. If you require additional explanation of either the analogy or its relevance to the atm CO2 phenomenon, please let me know.

  27. 27

    Leonard,

    Finally some good news here. That is that as long as man is around, we will never again have to deal with another glacial period. See Figure 4 of my Post 6. The net forcing caused by GHG’s are far stronger than the subtle effects of the Milankovitch Cycles. So we are not now and, if you use rather than abuse our growing understanding of climate change, we will not move back towards a glacial period in the future. CO2, of course, can do this job as could just one factory during out a hydrofluorocarbon (ozone friendly, but very strong GHG).

    The far greater concern for the future will be that the warming we are sure to get will set in motion reinforcing feedbacks that will be very difficult or impossible to turn around. Release of methane clathrates, for example, about which so little is known, is just one realistic possibility.

    In short, you should not be comforted by the possibility that a turn in the Milankovitch Cycle will “cool things off” in the future.

  28. 28
    Berthold Klein says:

    To Al @ 25
    You do not made averages of unrelated data and expect to have something that means anything. If I have a hot frying pan at 500 F and a glass of ice water at 32F the average temperature is 266 F does this mean that if I touch the frying pan I’ll only have a small burn or if I stick my finger in the ice water after I touch the frying pan that I’ll still get more burns from the average temperature being 266 F( above the boiling point of water @ 212 F)?
    To take a temperature reading from the tropics and a temperature from the North pole and average them This does not get you the temperature of New York City at the same time on the same day.
    Al please go back to high school and take some classes is physics and statistics, your ignorance is obvious from the nature of your questions.
    Even if I agreed to 2thru 6 which I do not, there are errors in the wording and the physics that you use ,its not relevant because you have not presented any data or experiments that demonstrate that any quantity of CO2 or any other IRag’s can result in the trapping of “heat” different than the O2 or N2 in the atmosphere.
    I don’t claim to be an expert in physics although I have had ,college level physics including nuclear and intro to quantum physics.

  29. 29

    @31 Ed,

    How can you edit when you have yet to write a coherent statement concerning any of the science pertaining to AGW? (Please do prove me wrong by writing one).

    Furthermore, I doubt very much that you will ever be able to write such a statement (without a great deal of help), because every time you do, you expose your ignorance on even the most elementary aspects of climate science. While any grade schooler can import a picture of Albert Einstein from an encyclopedia, it takes far more than that to carry on a debate concerning a complex aspect of science.

    In short, your efforts to maintain some credibility has by now worn exceedingly thin -to the point of your exposure as being little more than a scientific quack (which would be no surprise in view of the contents of your other web sites and a total lack of visible credentials and accomplishments in science). If we have any hope of continuing a useful conversation here on the subject of AGW, I would advise you to hand your role over to someone of more experience and scientific understanding and someone who does not have the nest of alterior motives that you have demonstrated here and on your other web sites (AGW stands for Al Gore Warming?).

    Alternatively, you could just declare victory and go home. That alternative might be far more attractive to you than actually delivering your promised scientific response to my three major Posts #1, 6, and 7. While for the sake of my grandchildren, I would like to learn that we have nothing to fear from Business as Usual, I have lost all hope that I will learn anything of that nature from you. And I don’t really take any perverse sort of pleasure in beating up on you like this, but will continue to do it as forcefully as I can because of the great damage you and your ilk are doing to all future generations.

  30. 30
    Al Tekhasski says:

    Berthold,
    First, we can’t have any progress if you will change topic on every post. You asserted @24 that oceans, ice, vegetation, rain drops are not acting as good approximation of black bodies in relevant (infrared) spectrum. Could you please proceed with admitting that your assertion is wrong?

    Again, I did not ask to what extent the global average temperature makes sense or doesn’t, it is a different question. If you are paying any attention to blogosphere, you should know that I was persistently pointing that small changes in global average temperature index is no “proxy” for changes in radiative balances. It depends on the level of details. However, in the global context, I asked if you agree that this number (no matter how odd do you think the index is) is around 288K.

    Then, please carefully consider my points (2) to (6), and formulate your answers. These points are important in my chain of reasoning. But if you a going to deny that some reasoning must be involved, then we really have a difficulty here.

    Also, when presenting your reasoning (or whatever it could be called), please stick to scientific units, and not to some veterinary units, “the mouth or under the armpit of Farenheit’s wife”.

    BTW, the average of tropical mean temperature (300K) and average North Pole temperature (256K) gives you the annual mean temperature in NY with about 2% accuracy. Please make note that the entire abstraction goes beyond “same day and same time”.

  31. 31
    Berthold Klein says:

    Dr. Eric;@12/16/10 7:47 pm You just got the Mother Goose award for Fairy-tales. The newest release from NASA is that we may be going into the next ice age.
    I’d suggest you buy more long underware especially where you live and for any family or friends in Florida.

  32. 32

    @27, Dr. Eric,

    First, let me edit your comment so I can find whatever essential information you intended to communicate, hmmm:

    @23 Ed, the major posts I have previded (#’s 1, 6, and 7) where put there for a reason – that is, to be read and considered. Thus, in response to your comments in @23, let me simply refer you do the figure that previously related material that you claim I have not provided. Now, if need additional explanation of any material, you should specify what that might be rather than say “Dr. Eric has not proved ……”
    So in response to your comments, in quotes below:
    “@22, Finally Dr. Eric made a statement precise enough for a response.
    What Dr. Eric says is true … up to a point.”
    Great! I am finally getting through to you the point that the isotopic information you offered does not mean that man’s effects have been negligible. On the contrary, that information indicates that man’s effects have on the total carbon cycle have been very, very significant.
    “The only problem with his statement is at the end. His mental model assumes natural processes are constant during the decades of the hypothesized waiting time. In fact, natural processes are a function of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. ”
    Of course that was my assumption in this oversimplified view of a “plus” of CO2 whose only purpose was to make one single point – that the isotopic label dissappears from atmospheric CO2 very quickly while the EXCESS CO2 does not.
    “A sudden doubling of atmospheric CO2 will increase rate of transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the other CO2 or C reservoirs. Therefore, the end result will not be what nature would have done without the sudden addition of CO2 PLUS the sudden addition of CO2. Nature will proceed toward an equilibrium between atmospheric CO2 and the earth’s CO2 reservoirs.”
    Yes, of course, as we have discussed here many times and as was shown in my Post 7, Figure 14.
    “Finally, Dr. Eric has by no means proved in all of climate clash that human emissions have caused a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2. The reason is because he has not yet properly accounted for the natural exchange rates between the earth’s CO2 reservoirs. So that 40% is only a hand-waving claim, not a fact”

    Ed, Look again at Figure 3, Post 7. Are you suggestiong that the 40% increase clear shown in atm CO2 following the Industrial Revolution is merely a coincidence and that Mother Nature did that? If so, Ed, your view is extraordinary – even among the very hard core sceptics of AGW. You should get straightened on this point (Leonard, maybe you could help Ed with this one?) so that the readers don’t think you are a total wacko.
    and finally:
    “… because it takes so long for the total EXCESS CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear is also not proven.”
    Again see Post 7 Figure 14, This information results from years of research on the subject of CO2 exchange between the atm and the oceans. Your use of the word “proven” is intentionally confusing in that nothing of this complexity can be “proven” to be absolutely true beyond all levels of doubt (as an expert in the Scientific Method, you should know this). Nevertheless, the great body of “evidence” supports my statement. If it were not true, why would atm CO2 have increased by 40% from emissions by man that currently are only about 3% of what Mother Nature puts out?
    If it would help you, consider again why only a small interest rate on a savings account in a good bank results in significant enhansements of the total investment over many years – it is because nothing is removed. I realize this analogy is not pure “physics”, and, therefore, by your strange criteria might not be of interest to you. It is simple math, however, and provided an apt analogy. If you require additional explanation of either the analogy or its relevance to the atm CO2 phenomenon, please let me know.

    Oh. Now I see … you did have these relevant comments hidden in there:

    Ed, Look again at Figure 3, Post 7. Are you suggestiong that the 40% increase clear shown in atm CO2 following the Industrial Revolution is merely a coincidence and that Mother Nature did that?

    and finally:
    “… because it takes so long for the total EXCESS CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear is also not proven.”

    Again see Post 7 Figure 14, This information results from years of research on the subject of CO2 exchange between the atm and the oceans.

    Nevertheless, the great body of “evidence” supports my statement. If it were not true, why would atm CO2 have increased by 40% from emissions by man that currently are only about 3% of what Mother Nature puts out?

    Dr. Eric, your claims and comments in italics above are reasonable in the context of our debate. Of course, I disagree with them but that is why we are having this debate.

    But I suggest that just because you made those claims in your post 7, does not mean you have “proved” your claims. The debate is not over. For us to argue these points, however, we will need a separate post. In these G2 comments, all we can do is to state our positions and agree to disagree.

    Meanwhile, you should hold your evangelistic extensions of AGW while we are still in our debate. My comments above are mostly just countering your claims that we are still debating, and which you have not proven. Your comments put me in the position that if I say nothing, our public audience might conclude I agree with your comments and nothing would be further from the truth.

  33. 33

    Barnes Moore @7, what may not be apparent above is that it is possible (and in fact, the case) that only a small percentage of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere comes from anthropogenic emmissions, while approximately 100% of the increase in CO2 concentration was caused by human activity. This apparent paradox is possible because CO2 in the atmosphere constitutes only a small part of the total CO2 at the Earth’s surface. Considering only those reservoirs of CO2 in approximate equilibrium, the CO2 in the atmosphere constitutes only 1.6% of that at the Earth’s surface (or 9% excluding the deep ocean). (There is far more CO2 stored in rocks, but exchange rates between that CO2 and the atmosphere is so slow that it can be neglected.)

    The exchange of CO2 between the major reservoirs at the surface is very large. Around 100 Gigatonnes of Carbon (GTC) in the form of CO2 is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean every year. About 120 GTC is exchanged between the atmosphere and the terrestial biosphere. This compares to a total annual anthropogenic emmissions of about 7 GTC. Given the relative sizes of the natural exchanges of CO2, most of the anthropogenic emmissions are quickly flushed from the atmosphere into either the terrestial biosphere or the ocean. Of course, given the size of the fluxes, the anthropogenic CO2 having been flushed into the ocean or terestial biosphere does not stay there. Rather, it is recycled into the atmosphere and back to the other reservoirs repeatedly. However, because of the sheer size of the other reservoirs compared to the atmosphere, this means that only about 3-5% of CO2 in the atmosphere is of anthropogenic origin.

    Based on his comments @11, Dr Ed would restrict your understanding to no more than that discussed above. He insists that that limited information is sufficient to conclude that “… human CO2 is insignificant”, and further insists that there are “… no more complications”. The important fact he wants you to neglect is that the reservoirs are approximately in equilibrium. That means that for nearly every molecule of CO2 dissolved into the ocean from the atmosphere, another passes from the ocean to the atmosphere. The same is true for the terrestial biosphere, although in that case there can be a delay of months, or even years in the exchange. Because of this exchange, any anthropogenic molecule of CO2 lost from the atmosphere to the ocean or terrestial biosphere is replaced by another molecule of CO2. So even though the number of molecules in the atmosphere that have actually come from a power station or internal combustion engine is decreased by the exchange, the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to build up. Further, it builds up because there were those additonal molecules of anthropogenic origin available to exchange for molecules of natural origin from the ocean or terrestial biosphere.

    For ease of exposition in the preceding paragraph, I mentioned the approximate equilibrium between the surface reservoirs. Strictly speaking, however, for every 100 molecules the atmosphere exchanges with the ocean or terrestial biosphere, it only gets approx 98 back. The result is that the ocean is gaining CO2 at sufficient rate that it has halved the increase in CO2 that would have occured in the atmosphere without these exchanges.

    Contrary to Dr Ed’s claims, there are several more complications to this story. One is that as sea surface temperatures rise, the proportion of CO2 in the ocean decreases, and that in the atmosphere increases. The second is that as CO2 is dissolved in the ocean, it decreases the ph of the ocean; which in turn reduces the proportion of CO2 dissolved in the ocean, and increases the proportion in the atmosphere. A third, more important complication is that the system has not yet reached an eqilibrium, and will be slow to do so. If we stopped emitting CO2, it would take around 200 years for the CO2 content of the atmosphere to reach equilibrium with the ocean, at which time the excess CO2 in the atmosphere will have reduced to about a quarter of the peak level. (It takes hundreds of thousands of years for the remaining excess to be removed by geological processes.)
    science.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2010/04/01/global_flows_carbon.jpg
    climateclash.com/files/2010/11/Eric14.jpg

  34. 34

    Dr Ed @31, this entire post appears to me to be personal grandstanding. It contains no content relevant to the debate (except that quoted from Dr Eric), and appears to be empty verbiage generated to evade discussing a point on which you are being mauled.

    You claim that Dr Eric has not “proved” the claims made in post 7. Perhaps, but he has provided supporting evidence – and if actually challenged, no doubt he could supply more. You, however, have not challenged the evidence. You have not provided counter evidence. You have merely insisted that he not make use of statements for which he has provided evidence, and for which you have provided no counter evidence, in other areas of the debate. This is a standard you do not hold yourself to, and naturally so, for it is a ridiculouse standard.

  35. 35

    Bertholdt Klein @30, would you please quote a link or source so that we can confirm your claim?

  36. 36

    @33 Tom, You have missed my whole point of @31. We cannot digress into these issues in G2 comments. At this point, Eric and I can agree to disagree. It is not proper for either of us to claim to our public audience that we have “proved” a point that is still in debate. We will get into this issue in January. I am taking a Christmas vacation.

    I agree that this comment and your @33 contain no relevant content.

  37. 37
    Leonard Weinstein says:

    I want to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  38. 38
    Tom Curtis says:

    Dr Ed @23 says that the claim that human activity has caused the approx 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 is “handwaving”.

    To put that into perspective, in the 10 thousand years preceding the industrial revolution, the CO2 content of the atmosphere did not vary by more than 146 Gigatonnes of CO2 (40 GTC; or 20 ppm). In the 1800 years before the industrial revolution, it did not vary by more than 100 Gigatonnes of CO2 (28 GTC, or 14 ppm). Yet, at the same time that humans put 1600 Gigatonnes of CO2 (440 GTC), the CO2 content of the atmosphere jumped by 730 Gigatonnes of CO2 (200 GTC, or 100 ppm); and apparently Dr Ed believes that to be a coincidence. Not only that, but the increase of atmospheric CO2 has marched in lockstep with the cumulative increase of emmissions, with a correlation coefficient of 0.998 (R^2 = 0.997); but that is just coincidence, according to Dr Ed.
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/dc_co2_hol_fl02.txt
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/law/law2006.txt
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html#The_process_characteristics

    Not only is Dr Ed choosing to ignore this remarkable correlation, he is ignoring strong evidence that it has not come about simply from exchanges between reservoirs.

    Specifically:

    1) The increase in CO2 concentration has been matched by a decline in C14 abundance. This shows that the source of the additional CO2 is one with a low abundance of C14, ie, a fossil source. The terrestial biosphere has a slightly reduced C14 content compared to the atmosphere, and the ocean an even more reduced level; but both still contain significant levels of C14. Only a source of CO2 with zero C14 is consistent with the observed decline in C14 levels in the early 20th century. The only two potential sources meeting this criteria are fossil fuel emissions, and volcanic emissions. (Nuclear testing greatly increased C14 levels, so post 1945 this measure is not as easily interpretable.)

    2) The increase in CO2 has been matched by a decline in C13. Biological sources of carbon, and also volcanic sources are both deficient in C13. Because fossil fuels are derived from biological sources, they are also deficient in C13. The ocean, however, is not deficient in C13. Consequently the decline in C13 shows us the ocean is not the source of the excess CO2.

    3) Increase in CO2 content in the atmosphere has been matched by a decrease in the oxygen content of the atmosphere. This is consistent with the source of the excess CO2 requiring combustion (ie, being a fossil fuel, or of biological origin), and is inconsistent with the source being either oceanic, of volcanic emissions.

    4) Though the CO2 content of the atmosphere is known to fluctuate with temperature, this effect is known to be very small. For instance, the difference between the highest concentration in the MWP (283.9 ppm, 1142 AD) and the lowest in the LIA (271.6 ppm, 1613 AD) is just 12.3 ppm. Given that the temperature difference between the MWP maximum and LIA minimum is expected to be about the same as that between 1850 and the present (AGW supporters) or significantly greater than that (AGW opponents), the expected increase of atmospheric CO2 due to increases in temperature is not greater than about 12 ppm. This again shows the CO2 excess has not come from the ocean.

    5) While the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased, the CO2 content of the ocean has also increased. This is inconsistent with the source of the excess CO2 being oceanic outgassing.

    6) The increased CO2 in the ocean is largely confined to the surface, or locations of downwelling waters. This is consistent with the source of the extra CO2 being subarial (ie, not lying under the ocean), and inconsistent with it being benthic (at the bottom of the ocean). In other words, the source of the excess CO2 cannot be suboceanic vulcanism.

    7) Surveys of land based and oceanic volcanos and other sources of geological CO2 show that their total annual emissions average at around 0.35 to 1 gigatonnes of CO2. Human annual emissions are about 29 gigatonnes of CO2. Therefore, for vulcanism to supply even half of the excess CO2 (ie, match human emissions), the surveys of geological sources of CO2 must have underestimated the actual outgassing by a factor of between 30 and 80. What is more, because of the location of the excess CO2 (point 6), this missing CO2 must be coming from land vulcanism where it is particularly hard to hide.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    Of course, Dr Ed does not expect this strangely hard to find, and strangly timed vulcanism to merely match the human contribution to the excess. He expects it to far excede it, perhaps by as much as twenty times. That means the missing subaerial vulcanism must emit some 2400 times the amount it is observed to emit. It requires that excess to bring it into a 20/1 ratio to human emissions.

    Of course, to bring this huge excess of emissions back to the observed increase, we also need the sequestration of CO2 by geological processes to also have increased a thousanfold – and both these sudden surges have to happen at the same time, and in lock step with human emissions of CO2.

    It is clear from this that denial that humans are responsible for the great increase in CO2 concentrations in the twentieth century ceases to be scientific scepticism; and enters fantasy land.

  39. 39

    @35 Dr. Eric, Sad to see you cannot resist making ad hominem attacks in a science debate. Your personal attacks show your lack confidence in your science and they do not make your case for AGW any stronger.

    Your continuing concern about “credentials” shows your lack of understanding of science. Are you willing to compare your scientific papers in climate science against those of Richard Lindzen and a thousand other atmospheric science professionals who rank your case for AGW right up there with ancient astrology?

    The core of this AGW debate hinges around climate sensitivity. When we get to that part, it will be obvious that you have no case for AGW. All these little side skirmishes are entertaining and interesting but they do not constitute the core case for AGW.

    Regarding your grandchildren. I will bet you $1000 that within ten years it will be obvious, maybe even to you, that my efforts to save our economy and our freedom will have been more important for your grandchildren than your efforts to save our planet from CO2.

    I notice you did not join the public fight to save Demari DeRue of Columbia Falls from the unjust treatment by her school administrators and school board.

  40. 40

    @37 Leonard, Thank you. I also wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I recommend we all take some time off now and regroup about January 5th.

  41. 41

    @38 Tom, I was happy to make a special approval of your comment. I won’t address your comment until we return on January 5th.

    I want to personally thank you for your participation in climate clash and for your challenging and well-presented comments. Although we may have roughed each other’s feelings, we have benefited from the friendly competition.

    My best wishes to you and I hope to converse with you again in January.

  42. 42
    Berthold Klein says:

    To Tom Vonk@3:”For instance in the first meter the absorbed IR is exactly reemitted (half up, half down) “.
    This part is nonsense: (half up, half down) we like in a 3 dimensional world- look up some spherical geometry.
    To Tom Curtis on @30- I did not find the exact link but I suggest you look at http://www.climatedepot.com were they have a list of references that is at least one long page plus links to many more that talk about the coming of the New ice age. Many of the references are from NASA sources.

    To Al : I’m looking up more data that prove that water, vegetation and other surface properties of the earth prevent the Earth from being considered as a “theoretical black body”
    To Dr. Eric: I am preparing a reference that burst you balloon that Venus supports the Hypotheses of the “ghg effect” The full reference is 12 pages therefore I’ll provide the title and the Analysis.
    Leonard Weinstein : I’m working on my responce to your comments @G-2;3
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Buy more long underwear.

  43. 43
    Berthold Klein says:

    To all:another link to many, many articles on “global cooling”http://www.isthereglobalcooling.com/
    One of my above comments applies to G_2;4 not G-2:3.
    Again Merry Christmas. More coffin nails for the coffin for Mann-made global warming will follow later.

  44. 44
    Berthold Klein says:

    Here is why Dr.Eric is wrong about “ghg effect” on Venus:
    This is an excerpt from the complete 12 page document. The mathamatics is in the pape.
    If you can not find it in its entirety please let me know.

    Determination of the Effective Total Emissivity of the Carbon Dioxide in the Venusian Atmosphere, and the Mean Free Path Length and Crossing Lapse (Delay) Time of Photons into the Troposphere of Venus.
    By Nasif S. Nahle
    University Professor, Scientist and Scientific Research Director at Biology Cabinet.
    August 10, 2010.
    * The author is grateful to TS for his kind assistance with the text.
    Abstract
    This assessment on the effective total emissivity of the carbon dioxide in Venus, and the mean free path length and the crossing lapse time of photons through the Venusian atmosphere demonstrate the ―greenhouse‖ effect in Venus does not exist.
    Introduction
    Logic does not always reveal the truth behind natural phenomena. For example, if a rooster crowed at midnight and an hour later rain began to fall, one might logically deduce that the rooster was somehow sensitive to impending precipitation. If the rooster crowed again, and two hours later a tornado demolishes the barn, one might logically deduce that the rooster was somehow capable of predicting the occurrence of tornados. However, we know that the rooster is not a meteorologist and that he can barely comprehend the world around him.
    By the same logic, one might deduce that Venus is hotter than Mercury and Earth because it holds 43.56 x 10^17 tons of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere (around 95% of the composition of the atmosphere of Venus). As a matter of fact, this is one of the main arguments, which is often wielded by the proponents of the anthropogenic climate change and global warming (CAGW) in support of their ideas. Nevertheless, scientific truth is not on their side — as we shall see.****

    Analysis:
    The results of the algorithms in the preceding analysis illustrate quite clearly the fallacy of a ―greenhouse‖ effect on Venus caused by carbon dioxide. There is no such ―greenhouse‖ effect on Venus that can be attributed to a high mass fraction of CO2. The highly misleading schemes on Venus, routinely bandied around as an example of the existence of a ―greenhouse‖ effect here on Earth, can be obtained only by flagrantly ignoring the laws of physics, in particular the expansion of matter as its temperature increases before a change of phase.
    From here, we deduce that the cause of the surface temperature anomaly on Venus cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide, but to another factor which has not been properly accounted for. Let us examine some of those features of Venus that have been routinely disregarded by CAGW proponents.
    First of all, in considering exclusively the incident solar radiation upon the surface of Venus, we notice that the temperature of the surface of Venus, i.e. the Venusian land, is considerably higher than expected. (Ref. 7)
    Another Venusian feature routinely ignored by CAGW proponents is that the temperature of the planet’s atmosphere is always lower than the surface temperature of the planet (7, 8 and 10), day and night, such that it is impossible for the atmosphere to heat up the surface — as is also the case here on Earth.
    The third feature stubbornly ignored by CAGW climatologists, and which is the principle factor behind the warming of Venus, is that, unlike Earth, Venus does not have a magnetosphere, or magnetic field. Superheated plasma particles strike the atmosphere of Venus directly and drag its components, especially water vapor, out towards space (see an image below) (10 and 11).
    Notice that water vapor is quite abundant in the outer layer of the Venusian atmosphere and that it has thermal capacities which make it a highly efficient absorber and emitter of thermal energy, unlike carbon dioxide. The absence of a magnetosphere thus allows superheated particles of solar plasma to reach the planet’s surface -such that there are two mechanisms heating it up, i.e. the incident solar radiation striking on the surface and the superheated solar plasma particles.
    The differences between Venus and Earth are so great that there is no point of similitude between the two planets. The ―greenhouse‖ effect seems to be a myth.*****
    Conclusion:
    Concluding, there is no point of comparison between the temperature on Venus and the temperature on Earth for the following reasons:
    1. The temperature of the Venusian atmosphere is 2.5 greater than the temperature of the atmosphere on Earth; therefore, the carbon dioxide on Venus, though more abundant than on Earth, is greatly dispersed by the thermal expansion effect caused by the high temperature. The thermal expansion is a law of physics and is applicable everywhere and whenever in the known universe. (Ref. 5 and 9)
    2. Carbon dioxide cannot be parceled in an open atmosphere like the Venusian atmosphere because a substantial volume of matter is dragged out towards the space by solar wind. On the other hand, the volume of the carbon dioxide increases as its temperature increases; consequently, the volume expansion nullifies the effect of the density of the gas.
    3. Venus does not have a magnetic field protecting it from the superheated particles of solar plasma striking directly on the Venusian atmosphere and thereby transferring energy to the molecules of gases comprising the atmosphere of Venus. (Ref. 7, 10 and 11)
    4. Solar plasma particles strike directly on the surface of Venus so that the surface is heated up beyond predictions based on only incident solar radiation striking the surface of the planet. The thermal energy and momentum of the solar plasma particles are transferred to the molecules comprising the surface of the planet, thereby heating the molecules up beyond predictions.
    5. The water vapor and a portion of the remaining gases of the Venusian atmosphere are dragged out towards space by the solar wind (Ref. 10 and 11). This generates friction and the transfer of thermal energy and momentum from the plasma particles to the molecules of gas in the lower layers of the atmosphere of Venus.
    This analysis demonstrates that the ―greenhouse‖ effect on Venus is a myth.
    Bibliography on the Total Emissivity of a mixture of air containing Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor:
    1. Manrique, J. A. V. Transferencia de Calor. 2002. Oxford University Press. England.

    2. Modest, Michael F. Radiative Heat Transfer-Second Edition. 2003. Elsevier Science, USA and Academic Press, UK.

    3. Pitts, Donald and Sissom, Leighton. Heat Transfer. 1998. McGraw-Hill, NY.
    4. Van Ness, H. C. Understanding Thermodynamics. 1969. General Publishing Company. Ltd. Ontario, Canada.

    5. Engel, Thomas and Reid, Philip. Thermodynamics, Statistical, Thermodynamics & Kinetics. 2006. Pearson Education, Inc.

    6. Nahle, N. Didactic Article: Induced Emission and Heat Stored. 21 May 2009. Biology Cabinet Organization. http://www.biocab.org/Induced_Emission.html

    Bibliography on the FEATURES OF VENUS:
    7. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/venusfact.html (last reading on August 10, 2010)

    8. http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/V/Venusatmos.html (last reading on July 4, 2010)

    9. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html.

    10. http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Venus_Express/SEM0G373R8F_1.html Caught in the Wind from the Sun. ESA-Science. Last visit: August 10, 2010.

    11. Suplee, Curt. The Plasma Universe. 2009. Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society. Cambridge University Press. NY. Pp. 34-37.

  45. 45

    @39 Ed,

    The answer to your question,

    “Are you willing to compare your scientific papers in climate science against those of Richard Lindzen and a thousand other atmospheric science professionals who rank your case for AGW right up there with ancient astrology?”

    The answer is YES, so please do indicate who those thousand scientists are who have provided significant publications in the field of atmospheric science or climate change (in which evidence concerning AGW has been presented)..

    Concerning your comment,

    “The core of this AGW debate hinges around climate sensitivity. When we get to that part, it will be obvious that you have no case for AGW. All these little side skirmishes are entertaining and interesting but they do not constitute the core case for AGW.”

    I agree entirely, of course, and have done my best to get to the heart of the matter. Thus, I have entered 3 posts concerning AGW and the Sensitivity to CO2 in a timely manner, while you have provided no posts, to date, in support any value for Sensitivity that would suggest that the effects of AGW will be negligible. I and others look forward to inspecting your scientific arguments for a lower value for Sensitivity “when we get to that part” (I thought we have been at “that part” for some time now).

    Likewise, we look forward to your upcoming explanation of why the activities of man and fossil fuel combustion is not responsible for the 40% increase atmospheric CO2 that has occurred during the last 150 years. If you can support these two claims, I will readily admit that you will have won this debate. However, because the loose talk we have witnessed so far carries no weight on a scientific platform, we do indeed look forward to seeing your evidence and your interpretation of it.

    Concerning your offer:

    “I will bet you $1000 that within ten years it will be obvious, maybe even to you, that my efforts to save our economy and our freedom will have been more important for your grandchildren than your efforts to save our planet from CO2.”

    Even though I am quite certain that I would win that bet, the reward you offer would be a pittance relative to the impending losses of my grandchildren and their generation. So I’ll pass on the bet. In addition, I have no need for an improvement in my “freedom” ??. I have always felt and still do feel that in my country, I have been able participate in its political and civil systems and have no desire to move to a country (such as Somalia?) where one does not have a government limiting one’s behavior. But now I digress – I am looking forward to seeing your comments concerning the science of AGW far more than any implications these thoughts might have on your concern for my “freedoms”.

  46. 46

    @47 Mr. Moore,

    50 million years ago, the atmosphere is thought to have contained about 1,500 ppm CO2 and the temperature was much higher. Sea levels were about 200 meters higher, 70 meters of which was because there was no ice on Earth and the rest due to thermal expansion. Yes, indeed, the Earth still existed with animals living on it. Aligators, for example, did quite nicely – in Alaska.

    So yes, of course, the Earth will exist no matter how bad AGW turns out to be. The ONLY ? problems that will be caused with Business as Usual is the impacts these changes will have on existing civilizations. By mid century, the Earth is expected to hold 9 billion people, as very large fraction of which depend on the maintenance of existing conditions for their survival. A rise of sea level of just a few meters will essentially eliminate the existing habitat of billions. Other factors, such as increased deluges in wet areas and desertification in dry areas will also continue as the atmosphere get warmer and holds more water.

    Note also that these predicted effects are delayed a few decades due to the thermal inertia of the Earth, but relentlessless persist because of the exceedingly slow rate at which the EXTRA CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by natural processes.

    Hope this helps answer your question. There are, of course, many other concerns in addition to the few I have mentioned here.

  47. 47
    Berthold Klein says:

    Climate Realists Article
    http://climaterealists.com/5783
    ALAN SIDDONS   HEADLINE STORY   JOHN O’SULLIVAN   NASA  
    NASA in Shock New Controversy: Two Global Warming Reasons Why by John O’Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists
    Thursday, May 27th 2010, 3:06 PM EDT
    Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
    NASA covered up for forty years proof that the greenhouse gas theory was bogus. But even worse, did the U.S. space agency fudge its numbers on Earth’s energy budget to cover up the facts?

    As per my article this week, forty years ago the space agency, NASA, proved there was no such thing as a greenhouse gas effect because the ‘blackbody’ numbers supporting the theory didn’t add up in a 3-dimensional universe:

    “During lunar day, the lunar regolith absorbs the radiation from the sun and transports it inward and is stored in a layer approximately 50cm thick….in contrast with a precipitous drop in temperature if it was a simple black body, the regolith then proceeds to transport the stored heat back onto the surface, thus warming it up significantly over the black body approximation…”

    Thus, the ‘blackbody approximations’ were proven to be as useful as a chocolate space helmet; the guesswork of using the Stefan-Boltzmann equations underpinning the man-made global warming theory was long ago debunked. If NASA had made known that Stefan-Boltzmann’s numbers were an irrelevant red-herring then the taxpayers of the world would have been spared the $50 billion wasted on global warming research; because it would have removed the only credible scientific basis to support the theory that human emissions of carbon dioxide changed Earth’s climate.

    But, until May 24, 2010 these facts remained swept under the carpet. For the Apollo missions NASA had successfully devised new calculations to safely put astronauts on the Moon-based on actual measured temperatures of the lunar surface. But no one appears to have told government climatologists who, to this day, insist their junk science is ‘settled’ based on their bogus ‘blackbody’ guesswork.
    NASA’s Confusion over Earth’s Energy Budget

    But it gets worse: compounding such disarray, NASA, now apparently acting more like a politicized mouthpiece for a socialist one world government, cannot even provide consistent numbers on Earth’s actual energy budget.

    Thanks to further discussion with scientist, Alan Siddons, a co-author of the paper, ‘A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon,’ it appears I inadvertently stumbled on a NASA graph that shows the U.S. space agency is unable to tally up the numbers on the supposed greenhouse gas “backradiation.” Why would this be?

    In its graphic representation of the energy budget of the Earth the agency has conspicuously contradicted itself in its depiction of back-radiation based on its various graphs on Earth’s radiation budget.

    As Siddons sagely advised me, “This opens the question as to WHICH budget NASA actually endorses, because the one you show is consistent with physics: 70 units of sunlight go in, 70 units of infrared go out, and there’s no back-flow of some ridiculous other magnitude. Interesting.”

    Climate Sceptic Scientists’ Growing Confidence

    Thanks to Siddons and his co-authors of ‘A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon,’ the world now has scientific evidence to show the greenhouse gas theory (GHG) was junk all along.

    As the truth now spreads, an increasing number of scientists refute the greenhouse gas theory, many have been prompted by the shocking revelations since the Climategate scandal. The public have also grown more aware of how a clique of government climatologists were deliberately ‘hiding the decline’ in the reliability of their proxy temperature data all along.

    But NASA’s lunar temperature readings prove that behind that smoke was real fire. Some experts now boldly go so far as to say the entire global warming theory contravenes the established laws of physics.

    How NASA responds to these astonishing revelations may well tell us how politicized the American space agency really is.

    ##############################################################

    Short bio: John O’Sullivan is a legal analyst and writer who for several years has litigated in government corruption and conspiracy cases in both the US and Britain. Visit his Website: http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/johnosullivan

  48. 48
    Barnes Moore says:

    Tom #32 & 38. Thank you for the explanation. One point of my question still has to do with the absolute numbers and their relationship to catastrophic global warming. Even if man is responsible for 100% of the increase in Co2 (from approximately 280ppm in 1850 to about 380 ppm today), we are talking about very small numbers. If other material I’ve read is true, that in the geologic history of the planet going back a few hundred million years, not just a few hundred thousand or a few million, Co2 concentrations were far higher than today – as high as 7000ppm, and for long periods of time, in the 1500 to 3000 ppm range. So, today, we are agonizing over an increase of 100ppm and claiming that it will cause catastrophic global warming. If Co2 is such a powerful GHG such that it is capable of overwhelming all othe forcings, why didn’t the earth experienc catastrophic global warming before now?

  49. 49
    Leonard Weinstein says:

    @ 44 & 45, Berthold,
    When invoking emissivity and energy balance, storage and long time ENERGY BALANCE has to be considered. Averaging temperature directly gives the wrong result due to the non-linear temperature vs energy relationship, and storage complicated it. Thus any simplistic calculation for the Moon that does not take these into account will give the wrong answers. However Earth has far less temperature variation than Luna due to much shorter days, and wind and ocean currents distributing energy. However, the basic concept of atmospheric greenhouse gases is valid.

    The papers you quoted are simplistic and short sighted papers that miss the physics of what is going on. Showing those weakens the honest skeptics position by indicating that we believe in nonsense. The entire valid skeptics position is based on the FEEDBACK.

  50. 50
    Barnes Moore says:

    @48, Dr. Eric – then my next question has to do with the tipping point frequently referenced by AGW advocates. If we are at or near the tipping point now, why weren’t we past the tipping point at 1500 ppm?

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