A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

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There is no Proof that CO2 is Causing Global Warming

(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic guide)

This article has moved to ScienceBlogs

It has also been updated and this page is still here only to preserve the original comment thread. Please visit A Few Things Ill Considered there. You may also like to view Painting With Water, Coby Beck's original fine art photography.

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65 Comments:

  • At March 13, 2006 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is not even any compelling evidence that increased CO2 concentrations cause any observed global warming. Only poor circumstantial evidence has been presented. Do CO2 increases cause temp increases, or is it the other way around? The Vostok ice cores seem to indicate the latter. Temps decreased from 1940-1975 while CO2 concentrations were on the rise. With all the complex feedbacks in the atmosphere, are we SURE that additional CO2 will have a warming effect? The historical record seems dubious.

     
  • At March 13, 2006 8:46 PM, Blogger coby said…

    No compelling evidence? Hmm. Have you seen the IPCC TAR? Start there, there is poenty more in recent research.

    Yes, the ice core records show that temperatures moved first. CO2 was both a cause and an effect, this is a typical feedback. See here.

    Re "Temps decreased from 1940-1975 while CO2 concentrations were on the rise" check this latest article. Just a temporary cooling from increases in aerosol pollution.

     
  • At March 28, 2006 9:06 PM, Anonymous Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm) said…

    It is quite simple to debunk the attempt to veneer philosophy in place of science to justify 'greenhouse concepts'.
    The materials present and involved by the 'greenhouse theory' do not present even 'greenhouse behavior' as a natural response.

    This is known, you can refer to discussion and material contained within the link:-
    http://www.climateimc.org/?q=node/312

    This was known and was the basis for the greenhouse theory failing its validation on all three (3) occasions within the 20th Century.

    There is no 'higher principle'; CO2 is not capable of displaying behavior as described as being 'greenhouse behavior'.

    There are, in effect, no 'greenhouse gases' within the atmosphere as such behavior is described by the 'greenhouse theory'

    There is also that numerous other sources exist, you can look at

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/h2ovibr.html
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/index.html
    http://www.ipr.res.in/~othdiag/fir/stability/node12.html

    for more information.


    Your's, Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com

     
  • At March 29, 2006 1:23 PM, Blogger coby said…

    "This was known and was the basis for the greenhouse theory failing its validation on all three (3) occasions within the 20th Century."

    References, please. Preferably not your own writings.

     
  • At April 05, 2006 7:28 PM, Anonymous Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm) said…

    It is possible to see these dated validation failures even cited in the 'history of greenhouse' where you will find the 'spin' places the processes of SCIENCE as 'slow' and that the 'brilliant few' felt the need to "take the problem with warning, direct to the people". These 'references' are easy to find, you need to realise the meaning of the justifications made however, not try to rationalise them as some philosophical expression of a 'moral dilemma'. The real issue was that there was NOT a valid theory in SCIENCE to produce such warning from.

    The 'readings' occurred in the mid 1930's (1934 from memory), in the late 1940's and the 1950's. These dates are all mentioned in the more complete 'histories of the greenhouse concept', just not validly detailed. The reason for this string of failures is that the 'valid physics' was NOT being validly implemented within the improving knowledge of SCIENCE.

    Also, the determinations of more modern SCIENCE was showing more clearly that the REAL behaviors of these materials did NOT support the 19th Century hypothetical effect.

    "Ancient History":-
    ["In 1827, a French mathematician named Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Fourier came up with an interesting theory."]
    ["Two scientists in the nineteenth century expanded Fourier's theory. In 1861, English physicist John Tyndall said that certain atmospheric gases, such as carbon monoxide and water vapor, warmed Earth's surface. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius made the greenhouse theory clearer in a scientific article."]

    ..and look at http://physicist.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    where you will see the great failure of the 'greenhouse theory' in NOT noting the KNOWN remittance behaviors of these material. Absorbance is only HALF the situation.

    Infact the ENTIRE production of 'greenhouse support' is based in supposition and inference with regard to the 'measure of temperature' and 'CO2 quantity', not in any manner is noticed the actual PROPERTIES of CO2 as they are now known.

    Your's, Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com

     
  • At October 12, 2006 10:11 PM, Anonymous Craig said…

    Wasnt sure where to post this one, so apoligies for putting it in the wrong place.

    I have a few naive questions.

    The theory that man is the cause of global warming seems very strong to me. We know the globe is warming. We know that C02 has a warming effect. We know that we have added c02 to the atmosphere. Therefore we are causeing GW. Very powerful logic to me. 2+2=4 stuff

    However, critics like to raise the possibility that the global warming we are seeing is being cause by "natural processes". What I'd like to know is what other things can cause global warming? Is it possible to rule these other possible causes out as the cause of the current warming we are seeing?

    I read (i believe it was on a skeptics site actually) that there are 4 things capable of warming the planet on a global scale.

    1)the sun
    2)the movement of the continents
    3)Milankovich cycles
    4)Green house gases (water vapour, c02, methane)

    Is this list correct? Are there any other possibilities?

    Ive read here that the sun cant be responsible for GW. There is no global warming on mars (or very scant evidence for it) which is another argument used by deniers to try and prove that the sun is the cause of GW.

    But what about Milankovich cycles. Sorry, i couldnt find them in your FAQ. How do we know they arnt the cause?

    What about continental drift?

    Are there any other "natural processes"?

    I ask because, while i feel fairly confident that i can put an argument forward that defends the main stream theory of GW (man's co2 emissions is causing it) on a very basic level, I'd like to extend that arguing ability to a point where i can say to a critic that X cant be the cause, nor Y, nor Z, and therefore you have nothing.

    This is a great site BTW. Thanks for any replies I might recieve in advance...

     
  • At October 12, 2006 11:27 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Craig,

    This seems as good a place as any to ask, the only disadvantage being that blogger has no proper "recent Comments" facility, so only you and I will know this article is having an active thread. Comments on recent articles are the only ones that show on the top... oh well. This blog is really more for google and the archives than daily conversation. (see here for some amusing google hits!)

    I read (i believe it was on a skeptics site actually) that there are 4 things capable of warming the planet on a global scale.

    1)the sun
    2)the movement of the continents
    3)Milankovich cycles
    4)Green house gases (water vapour, c02, methane)

    Is this list correct? Are there any other possibilities?


    I would add to that list aerosols which cause cooling. Sources for this are human, volcanic and asteroid impacts. Single volcanos can have global, though short lived effects. Pinatubo in the 90's caused a two or three year dip in global temperatures. Massive eruptions like the Decaan Traps are a candidate for an ancient climate change that caused one of the extinction events in earth's geologic history. Global Dimming from particulate pollution has had a significant effect on the 20th century but is very uncertain in its total impact.

    Changes in albedo (the amount of sunlight immediately reflected back to space) are another factor. When caused by land use changes it is a forcing factor, but in natural processes I think it is more of a feedback than a root cause of changes. The most clear example being as icesheets melt albedo decreases because of less bright white snow which in turn accelerates warming.

    There is another potential influence that sceptics like to bring up which is Galactic Cosmic Rays. It is not as ridiculous as it sounds but it is very speculative. The idea is that cosmic rays influence the earth's cloud cover by ionizing the atmosphere. Real Climate has discussed it, they don't have a high opinion of this theory.

    You can see here the 10 forcing factors that the GISS climate model takes into account. Milankovich cycles and continental drift are much too slow to factor in a 100 year prediction.

    But what about Milankovich cycles. Sorry, i couldnt find them in your FAQ. How do we know they arnt the cause?

    I do mention them a bit in this article and in passing in a few others. Basically, these cycles should have us very slowly cooling right now. And before the sceptics jump on this with "aha! CO2 is saving us from an ice age!" we should note that the next ice age is not due for 30 to 50 thousand years!

    What about continental drift?

    Continental drift is much too slow. It is a multi-million year factor. Configuration of continents help explain climates of 10's and hundreds of millions of years ago, but only rarely result in noticeable climate shifts. IIRC, the closing off of the isthmus between N and S america explains some changes, and the seperation of SA from the Antarctic some 40 million years ago allowed the formation of the antarctic circumpolar current which then allowed the formation of the antarctic ice sheets.

    Are there any other "natural processes"?

    Ocean currents are another important process in heat distribution. So in short you could add to your list, which is a mix of general factors and climate forcings:

    - aerosols
    - albedo changes (from both land use changes and ice and snow feedbacks)
    - cosmic rays (maybe, but it will come up eventually!)
    - ocean currents
    - air currents
    - clouds (can have cooling and warming effects, very complicated and poorly understood)
    - volcanic action (both for aerosols and for CO2 if the scale is large enough)
    - asteroid impacts

    I ask because, while i feel fairly confident that i can put an argument forward that defends the main stream theory of GW (man's co2 emissions is causing it) on a very basic level, I'd like to extend that arguing ability to a point where i can say to a critic that X cant be the cause, nor Y, nor Z, and therefore you have nothing.

    I find there are very few alternatives offered, just hand waing about "natural causes". If you have the stomach for it, the IPCC report has a whole section on attribution, which is exactly this issue of investigating and eliminating all other possible causes. It is important to remember that no one is claiming that CO2 is the only factor, just that it is the primary factor.

    This is a great site BTW. Thanks for any replies I might recieve in advance...

    Your welcome, and thanks for the feedback!

     
  • At November 07, 2006 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been searching online for any evidence that human produced CO2 causes warming. After searching hundreds of sites discussing Global Warming, I have been unable to find anything. In fact, based on observational data it seems unlikely that there is a very close correlation for the following reasons:

    1) If historic correlations remained consistent it would be a lot hotter right now based on increases in observed CO2 levels.

    2) Current warming is predictable based on historic ice core trends. (without accounting for human produced CO2)

    3) CO2 is reportedly not particularly effective at blocking
    radiation at the wavelengths being reflected by the earth.

    Basic research could be conducted and published to establish a causal relationship, but the lack of any initiative to do so indicates to me that it is well known that the results would argue counter to the claims.

    Experiments that would help might include:

    1) increasing temperatures in a biosphere to see if CO2 levels rise.

    (A rise in CO2 levels would indicate that temperature causes the CO2 rise, rather than the reverse)

    2) In a controlled environment, radiation (in the same wavelength as being reflected from the earth) could be aimed at a gas mixture similar to our environment, and CO2 could be increased and decreased at proportions representing current changes.

    (radiation reflected could be measured to see what the results might be expected in nature)

    I, for one, could be convinced if basic research were conducted. The lack of it indicates a complete lack of a scientific basis for the argument.

     
  • At November 07, 2006 1:19 PM, Blogger coby said…

    I have been searching online for any evidence that human produced CO2 causes warming. After searching hundreds of sites discussing Global Warming, I have been unable to find anything.

    Considering that answers to all your questions are available right on this site, I guess that is not surprising.

    Not that I think you are really trying, but you should read the IPCC TAR report, linked in the sidebar. It is required reading for anyone with any interest in climate change. It includes all the basics you are under the misimpression hae not been done.

     
  • At November 08, 2006 2:25 AM, Anonymous Craig said…

    Thanks for the helpful reply to my post up there too Coby. It pointed me in the right direction. I found it very useful. I still need to learn a lot and am currently doing some reading (Im not sure if i really want to get bogged down in all the detail however), but your post certainly helped clarify my thinking. I use it as basis for a post whenever i run into GW sceptic on the net (they're about). Same with your blog too, its been very helful. I link to it often.

    Hopefully this GW problem can be nipped in the butt. Currently down here in Australia the public seems to have hit a "tipping point" in relation to climate change. Its become a real issue due to the drought. Maybe we'll sign kyoto, though i think its going to take removing the government before anything like that happens (so fingers crossed for next year). Meanwhile i think im gunna concentrate on making my house more energy efficient. cheers!

     
  • At November 08, 2006 9:47 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Thanks for the feedback, Craig, glad you put the blog to good use!

     
  • At November 13, 2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Anonymous]: 'I have been searching online for any evidence that human produced CO2 causes warming. After searching hundreds of sites discussing Global Warming, I have been unable to find anything. [... snip ...]'.
    [Coby]: Considering that answers to all your questions are available right on this site, I guess that is not surprising'.
    Whereabouts on this site is the answer to the following (from the snipped section) then? Vis.: [quote]: '... 2) In a controlled environment, radiation (in the same wavelength as being reflected from the earth) could be aimed at a gas mixture similar to our environment, and CO2 could be increased and decreased at proportions representing current changes. (radiation reflected could be measured to see what the results might be expected in nature'. [endquote].
    *
    [Coby]: 'Not that I think you are really trying, but you should read the IPCC TAR report, linked in the sidebar. It is required reading for anyone with any interest in climate change. It includes all the basics you are under the misimpression hae not been done'.
    Whereabouts in that report is the basic experiment expressly detailed (in the snipped section now re-presented above) to be found?
    *
    The reason for those two specific requests is as follows:
    [Coby]: 'In the case of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, what we do have is a theory (first conceived over 100 years ago) that is based on well established laws of physics ...'.
    According to Mr. Spencer Weart (at www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm) a few years after Mr. Svante Arrhenius published his hypothesis in 1908 Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it.
    Unless/until replicable experiments to the contrary have been conducted then ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’ remains a falsified hypothesis (and thus not a theory), does it not?

     
  • At November 13, 2006 4:09 PM, Blogger coby said…

    [Coby]: 'Not that I think you are really trying, but you should read the IPCC TAR report, linked in the sidebar. It is required reading for anyone with any interest in climate change. It includes all the basics you are under the misimpression hae not been done'.

    [Anon] Whereabouts in that report is the basic experiment expressly detailed (in the snipped section now re-presented above) to be found?


    I recommend starting on this page and following up on the reference papers. They either are or will lead you to the primary research you are interested in.

    The reason for those two specific requests is as follows:
    [Coby]: 'In the case of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, what we do have is a theory (first conceived over 100 years ago) that is based on well established laws of physics ...'.
    According to Mr. Spencer Weart (at www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm) a few years after Mr. Svante Arrhenius published his hypothesis in 1908 Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it.


    Sigh. And on that very same page it describes the continuing progression of the science. Why did you stop in the early 1900's? If one were sincerely interested they would read the whole history and not stop reading at a point where there preconceptions appear validated. Jump ahead to 1938, quote:

    "This rise, Callendar asserted, could explain the observed warming. For he understood that even if the CO2 in the atmosphere did already absorb all the heat radiation passing through, adding more gas would change the height in the atmosphere where the absorption took place. That, he calculated, would make for warming."

    IOW, the lower atmosphere gets warmer. One must be careful when extrapolating a limited lab experiment to effects on a large and complex system like the climate.

     
  • At November 14, 2006 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Coby]: '(...) you should read the IPCC TAR report, linked in the sidebar. It is required reading for anyone with any interest in climate change. It includes all the basics you are under the misimpression hae not been done'.
    [Anon]: 'Whereabouts in that report is the basic experiment expressly detailed (in the snipped section now re-presented above) to be found?'
    [Coby]: 'I recommend starting on this page [www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/277.htm] and following up on the reference papers. They either are or will lead you to the primary research you are interested in'.

    Thank you for the prompt reply.
    Those reference papers, upon being followed up, neither are nor lead to any such basic experiment as expressly detailed ... to wit: [quote]: '... 2) In a controlled environment, radiation (in the same wavelength as being reflected from the earth) could be aimed at a gas mixture similar to our environment, and CO2 could be increased and decreased at proportions representing current changes. (radiation reflected could be measured to see what the results might be expected in nature)'. [endquote].
    Whereabouts, then, in that report is the basic experiment expressly detailed?
    Also, whereabouts on this site is such an experiment as that to be found (as per the '... answers to all your questions are available right on this site ...' asseveration)?
    *
    [Anon]: 'The reason for those two specific requests is as follows: [Coby]: 'In the case of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, what we do have is a theory (first conceived over 100 years ago) that is based on well established laws of physics ...'. [endquote]. According to Mr. Spencer Weart (at www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm) a few years after Mr. Svante Arrhenius published his hypothesis in 1908 Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it. Unless/until replicable experiments to the contrary have been conducted then 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' remains a falsified hypothesis (and thus not a theory), does it not?'
    [Coby]: 'Sigh. And on that very same page it describes the continuing progression of the science'.

    Virtually nowhere on that very same page does it describe the continuing progression of [quote] 'the science' [endquote] as what is mostly presented are some of the many and varied mathematical calculations/mathematical models which pass for same in this current era.
    [Coby]: 'Why did you stop in the early 1900's?'
    As that page (and others) was read right through, very thoroughly, any such query adds nothing to discussion (other than an insight into the character of the querier).
    [Coby]: 'If one were sincerely interested they would read the whole history and not stop reading at a point where there preconceptions appear validated'.
    As that page (and others) was read right through, very thoroughly, any such presumption adds nothing to discussion (other than an insight into the character of the presumer).
    [Coby]: 'Jump ahead to 1938, quote: "This rise, Callendar asserted, could explain the observed warming. For he understood that even if the CO2 in the atmosphere did already absorb all the heat radiation passing through, adding more gas would change the height in the atmosphere where the absorption took place. That, he calculated, would make for warming". IOW, the lower atmosphere gets warmer'.
    At least five points are immediately obvious:
    1. An assertion is not science.
    2. Something that [quote] 'could' [endquote] explain something is not science.
    3. Mr. Guy Callendar conducted no experiments to demonstrate that his understanding was evidence-based.
    4. A calculation in vacuo is not science.
    5. That quote does not even remotely address the question (whether or not 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' remains a falsified hypothesis and thus not a theory).
    [Coby]: 'One must be careful when extrapolating a limited lab experiment to effects on a large and complex system like the climate'.
    All that is be asked for is the replicable experiments which demonstrate that 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' is indeed a theory (and not a falsified hypothesis). Vis.: [Coby]: 'In the case of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, what we do have is a theory (first conceived over 100 years ago) that is based on well established laws of physics ...'. [endquote].

     
  • At November 14, 2006 4:03 PM, Blogger coby said…

    [Coby]: 'Jump ahead to 1938, quote: "This rise, Callendar asserted, could explain the observed warming. For he understood that even if the CO2 in the atmosphere did already absorb all the heat radiation passing through, adding more gas would change the height in the atmosphere where the absorption took place. That, he calculated, would make for warming". IOW, the lower atmosphere gets warmer'.
    At least five points are immediately obvious:
    1. An assertion is not science.


    It is an explanation of an observation and surely is a part of scientific method.

    2. Something that [quote] 'could' [endquote] explain something is not science.

    Yes, this is what is called an "hypothesis".

    3. Mr. Guy Callendar conducted no experiments to demonstrate that his understanding was evidence-based.

    This may or may not be true, but is irrelevant. Where is an experiment that has falsified this hypothesis? And experiments aside, we have scores of empirical observations of rising temperatures, tropospheric lapse rates, energy flux measurements at the top of the atmosphere, modelling experiments, observations of other planetary bodies (Venus is an excellent example of what happens when CO2 concentrations rise well beyond the point of spectral saturation) that all support the greenhouse theory of atmospheres.

    4. A calculation in vacuo is not science.

    So?

    5. That quote does not even remotely address the question (whether or not 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' remains a falsified hypothesis and thus not a theory).

    It shows why the early 20th century experiment you are hung up on is not falsification of AGW.

    You might find the four papers returned by this search informative:
    plass on co2 and atmosphere which I was lead to via this paper:
    http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/31525.pdf

     
  • At November 15, 2006 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Anon]: '... An assertion is not science'.
    [Coby]: 'It is an explanation of an observation and surely is a part of scientific method'.

    Thank you for replying ... since when has the mere assertion of an explanation of an observation (a public declaration of what an untested hypothesis could explain) been so surely a part of scientific method that it not only negates the experimental falsification of a previous hypothesis but elevates it to the status of a theory? Vis.: [Coby]: 'In the case of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, what we do have is a theory (first conceived over 100 years ago) that is based on well established laws of physics ...'. [endquote].
    *
    [Anon]: '... Something that [quote] 'could' [endquote] explain something is not science'.
    [Coby]: 'Yes, this is what is called an "hypothesis".

    What is the point of providing a quote pertaining to an untested hypothesis when what is clearly being asked for is the replicable experiments which demonstrate that 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' is indeed a theory (and not a falsified hypothesis)?
    Look, one way to test that 1938 hypothesis (for example) would be to send a high-tech version of Mr. Knut Ångström's ground-level experiment (the experiment which falsified Mr. Svante Arrhenius' 1908 hypothesis) to the postulated height in the atmosphere ... it is most certainly not beyond the realms of possibility because in the late fifties/early sixties the United States Air Force conducted an operation called 'Project Manhigh' and on August 16, 1960 Mr. Joseph Kittinger, in an open gondola suspended beneath a helium balloon named Excelsior III, reached a height of 102,800 feet (almost 20 miles away from the earth's surface) where he was at the edge of space with 99% of the earth's atmosphere below him.
    Given that lifestyle changes estimated to be in the trillion-dollar range are being bruit abroad on an almost daily basis the price-tag of such an experiment would be small-change by comparison.

     
  • At November 15, 2006 4:22 PM, Blogger coby said…

    [Anon]: '... An assertion is not science'.
    [Coby]: 'It is an explanation of an observation and surely is a part of scientific method'.
    Thank you for replying ... since when has the mere assertion of an explanation of an observation (a public declaration of what an untested hypothesis could explain) been so surely a part of scientific method that it not only negates the experimental falsification of a previous hypothesis but elevates it to the status of a theory?


    Relax, it was just a first step. You have to start somewhere, with an idea, an explanation, an hypothesis. That was 70 years ago, it is not the end of the story. Why are you so argumentative?

    Look, one way to test that 1938 hypothesis (for example) would be to send a high-tech version of Mr. Knut Ångström's ground-level experiment (the experiment which falsified Mr. Svante Arrhenius' 1908 hypothesis) to the postulated height in the atmosphere

    Knut Angstroms experiment was flawed, it did not falsify the theory of greenhouse effect. For you rmodified replication, what you need is a tube that is the height of the atmosphere, it needs to be such that IR does not escape or absorb through the sides. Then you see if the air at the bottom gets warmer when CO2 is increased.

    Did you read the papers by Plass?

     
  • At November 16, 2006 6:30 PM, Blogger jo_bobtwc said…

    Okay, this arguement is getting circular to the point of ridiculus. Anon ask a question (valid in my opinion) and Coby responds by addressing something unrelated. Coby why don't you just own up to the fact that you don't have an aswer for everything. Your site nor any of the sites you have linked most certainly do not address the question. Btw did YOU read the Plass arcticles? Having not wished to purchase them and thus only having read the abstracts, it would seem that they don't even begin to address the question at hand. Mentioning CO2 absorbtion of energy does not equal an experiment to determine to affects of radiation upon CO2 those arcticles seem to take the affects of radiation on CO2 for granted...not test it.

     
  • At November 17, 2006 10:03 PM, Anonymous James Shaffer said…

    From doing my own digging around I have also had trouble finding the science that 'proved' that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation. It seems to be a given ie such basic properties of CO2 (and other abundant gases) are firmly established and need not be proven time and time again.
    From my college book "Meteorology Today: An intro book to weather, climate and the environment" it seems a matter of basic physics and such that the Visible and some UV radiation reemitted by the Earth in the form of infrared radiation is absorbed by CO2 and H2O (some not all) thus heating them and they in turn heat the rest of the atmosphere.
    The key point is that, as hartlod(tm)'s little article attests to, is that all this energy eventually heads out of the Earth's system/boundry but what hartlod(tm) doesn't talk about is that the effect of CO2 and H2O's absorption of reemitted energy from the Earth which is to 'delay' the escape of the energy, thus piling it up and increasing overall temp.
    I do have to agree with hartlod(tm) that is does seem that the Greenhouse Effect (GE) cannot explain all the warming and that human population growth and with it our destruction of Nature might have an effect. I doubt it is either GE or hartlod(tm)'s hypothesis are solely responsible.
    Sorry if this is basic stuff but it seemed to me that the above would help Anon and add to the conversation.

     
  • At November 18, 2006 5:41 PM, Blogger coby said…

    [posted on behalf of Craig, whose comment blogger seems to be choking on...]

    QUOTE
    Just my 2c

    Anonymous:[i]Basic research could be conducted and published to establish a causal relationship [between c02 and temperature increase], but the lack of any initiative to do so indicates to me that it is well known that the results would argue counter to the claims[/i]

    one could turn this around and ask what the bloody hell are the sceptic community doing? Where is their initiative? Sure, they set up a lot of websites, but if such basic experiments would indeed show that this anthropogenic global warming thing is one big whack job, then you'd think they would have conducted such experiments and published the results to stop all us average joe's being led up the garden path by a bunch of scientists. But maybe they have, its just that the conspiracy is too powerful and they've had to go to ground [rolls eyes]

    [i]Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it. [/i]

    Yes ok, its already been said, but I like this analogy, i found it very helpful. Its like a muddy puddle of water. When the puddle is muddy then adding more mud to it has no visual impact. But if the pubble is clear then adding a little mud makes a big visual difference. Its the same with c02: The more you add the less is the temperature increasing effect of the last marginal unit. If we could plot a graph with co2 volume on the x axis and temperature on the y axis then the relationship between c02 and temperature would by described by a curve that eventually flattens out. Correct? The error made in the experiment was that c02 was way saturated!?!

    [i]JAMES:From doing my own digging around I have also had trouble finding the science that 'proved' that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation.[/i]

    I'm still learning all this stuff, but would this count: http://www.espere.net/Unitedkingdom/water/uk_watexpgreenhouse.htm
    They even have a nice little animation of their experiment if you wanna click on it ;)
    Clear evidence via a nice little experiment that co2 absorbs infrared, No?
    /QUOTE

     
  • At November 18, 2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous James said…

    Nice, boom! Thank you.

     
  • At November 20, 2006 3:23 PM, Blogger ankh said…

    Re putting CO2 into a tube and varying the amount and measuring IR transmitted -- this is dealt with at RC by Ray Pierrehumbert (look for "science fair") and at the AIP History page. There's a difference depending on air pressure; to simulate the actual effect you need a tube divided so some of the CO2 is at pressure like that at top of atmosphere.


    ";As for CO2 itself, the old measurements made at sea-level pressure had little to say about the frigid and rarified air in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where most of the infrared absorption takes place. In the early 1950s precision measurements at low pressure, backed up by lengthy computations, showed that adding more CO2 really would change how the atmosphere absorbed radiation. While the total absorption might not change greatly, the main site of absorption would shift to higher, thinner layers. And as Callendar had explained, shifting the "screen" in the atmosphere higher would mean more radiation going back down to warm the surface."
    http://www.physicist.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm

     
  • At November 20, 2006 3:23 PM, Blogger ankh said…

    PS, Coby, a plea to prune threads? There's an awful lot of accumulated bafflegab in comments, along with the good answers.

     
  • At November 20, 2006 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Anon]: '... one way to test that 1938 hypothesis (for example) would be to send a high-tech version of Mr. Knut Ångström's ground-level experiment (the experiment which falsified Mr. Svante Arrhenius' 1908 hypothesis) to the postulated height in the atmosphere ...'
    [Coby]: 'Knut Angstroms experiment was flawed, it did not falsify the theory of greenhouse effect. For your modified replication, what you need is a tube that is the height of the atmosphere, it needs to be such that IR does not escape or absorb through the sides'.

    Thank you for replying ... as a tube the height of the atmosphere is a physical impossibility is Mr. Guy Callendar’s 1938 hypothesis unfalsifiable, then?
    [Coby]: 'Did you read the papers by Plass?'
    The first one ... yes; the other three (the ones about water vapour, the colour of the ocean, and laser radiation) ... no.

     
  • At November 20, 2006 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [jo_bobtwc]: 'Okay, this argument is getting circular to the point of ridiculous. Anon ask a question (valid in my opinion) and Coby responds by addressing something unrelated. Coby why don't you just own up to the fact that you don't have an answer for everything. Your site nor any of the sites you have linked most certainly do not address the question. Btw did YOU read the Plass articles? Having not wished to purchase them and thus only having read the abstracts, it would seem that they don't even begin to address the question at hand'.
    Thank you for responding ... the first article can be freely accessed by left-clicking the 'Send PDF' button at the following URL: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1950ApJ...112..365S
    In total it comprises fourteen pages of mathematical calculations, by Mr. John Strong and Mr. Gilbert Plass (pps 365-379 in The Astrophysical Journal of November 1950, Vol. 112, No. 3), and indeed it does not even begin to address the question at hand.
    Furthermore, on 22 April 1981 Mr. Gilbert Plass wrote that, whilst on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University during that period (1946-1955), he became interested in infrared spectroscopy – specifically in regards to pressure broadening of spectral lines (in explaining radiative transfer in the earth's atmosphere) – and collaborated with Mr. John Strong in the above article because the need for [quote] 'mathematical methods' [endquote], applicable to water, carbon dioxide and ozone, was obvious to him then. Vis.: www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/classics1981/A1981LQ21800001.pdf
    Even more to the point, he goes on to state that [quote] 'The regions of validity of the linear, square root, and nonoverlapping approximations were considered in this article ...' [endquote] and notes that the summary of the [quote] 'various models and approximations for band absorption' [endquote] given in that article had apparently been useful in many later studies requiring [quote] ‘mathematical calculation' [endquote] of the radiative exchange by infrared bands.
    Thus there is no point in downloading the other three articles (the ones about water vapour, the colour of the ocean, and laser radiation) ... or, for that matter, anything else by him.

     
  • At November 20, 2006 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [James Shaffer]: 'From doing my own digging around I have also had trouble finding the science that 'proved' that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation’.
    Thank you for responding ... the question at hand is not about whether carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation: what is being asked for is the replicable experiments which verify the hypothesis (postulated by Mr. Guy Callendar et al) that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would change the height where the absorption took place. Vis.:
    [Coby]: 'Jump ahead to 1938, quote: "This rise, Callendar asserted, could explain the observed warming. For he understood that even if the CO2 in the atmosphere did already absorb all the heat radiation passing through, adding more gas would change the height in the atmosphere where the absorption took place. That, he calculated, would make for warming". IOW, the lower atmosphere gets warmer'. [endquote].
    [James Shaffer]: ‘From my college book "Meteorology Today: An intro book to weather, climate and the environment" it seems a matter of basic physics and such that the Visible and some UV radiation reemitted by the Earth in the form of infrared radiation is absorbed by CO2 and H2O (some not all) thus heating them and they in turn heat the rest of the atmosphere'.
    It would appear that (for as far as has been ascertainable anyway) those basic physics mentioned in that college book are actually quantum physics ... and thus are mathematical models.
    The following is of interest in this regard:
    • '[Jules-Henri] Poincaré put forward important ideas on mathematical models of the real world. If one set of axioms is preferred over another to model a physical situation then, Poincaré claimed, this was nothing more than a convention. Conditions such as simplicity, easy of use, and usefulness in future research, help to determine which will be the convention, while it is meaningless to ask which is correct. The question of whether physical space is Euclidean is not a meaningful one to ask. The distinction, he argues, between mathematical theories and physical situations is that mathematics is a construction of the human mind, whereas nature is independent of the human mind. Here lies that problem; fitting a mathematical model to reality is to forcing a construct of the human mind onto nature which is ultimately independent of mind'. (www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/World.html#s54).

     
  • At November 20, 2006 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Anon]: 'Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it'.
    [Craig]: 'Yes ok, its already been said, but I like this analogy, I found it very helpful. Its like a muddy puddle of water. When the puddle is muddy then adding more mud to it has no visual impact. But if the puddle is clear then adding a little mud makes a big visual difference. Its the same with C02: The more you add the less is the temperature increasing effect of the last marginal unit. If we could plot a graph with C02 volume on the x axis and temperature on the y axis then the relationship between C02 and temperature would by described by a curve that eventually flattens out. Correct? The error made in the experiment was that C02was way saturated!?!

    Thank you for responding ... the question at hand is not about whether the carbon dioxide was saturated: what is being asked for is the replicable experiments which verify the hypothesis (postulated by Mr. Guy Callendar et al) that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would change the height where the absorption took place. Vis.:
    [Coby]: 'Jump ahead to 1938, quote: "This rise, Callendar asserted, could explain the observed warming. For he understood that even if the CO2 in the atmosphere did already absorb all the heat radiation passing through, adding more gas would change the height in the atmosphere where the absorption took place. That, he calculated, would make for warming". IOW, the lower atmosphere gets warmer'. [endquote].

     
  • At November 20, 2006 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    [Ankh]: 'Re putting CO2 into a tube and varying the amount and measuring IR transmitted -- this is dealt with at RC by Ray Pierrehumbert (look for "science fair") ...'
    Thank you for responding ... as a search for [RC "science fair" Ray Pierrehumbert] yielded nil results some more information would be appreciated.
    [Ankh]: '... and at the AIP History page. There's a difference depending on air pressure; to simulate the actual effect you need a tube divided so some of the CO2 is at pressure like that at top of atmosphere’.
    Whereabouts is that experiment to be found (as in who conducted it and when and where)?
    [Ankh]: '"As for CO2 itself, the old measurements made at sea-level pressure had little to say about the frigid and rarified air in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where most of the infrared absorption takes place. In the early 1950s precision measurements at low pressure, backed up by lengthy computations, showed that adding more CO2 really would change how the atmosphere absorbed radiation. While the total absorption might not change greatly, the main site of absorption would shift to higher, thinner layers. And as Callendar had explained, shifting the "screen" in the atmosphere higher would mean more radiation going back down to warm the surface". http://www.physicist.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm'.
    Four (similar) points are immediately obvious:
    1. Whereabouts are the replicable experiments to be found which demonstrate that most of the infrared absorption takes place the frigid and rarefied air in the upper reaches of the atmosphere?
    2. Whereabouts are those early 1950s precision measurements to be found which demonstrate that adding more carbon dioxide really would change how the atmosphere absorbed radiation?
    3. Whereabouts are the replicable experiments to be found which demonstrate that the main site of absorption would shift to higher, thinner layers?
    4. Whereabouts are the replicable experiments to be found which demonstrate that shifting the [quote] 'screen' [endquote] in the atmosphere higher would mean more radiation going back down to warm the surface?

     
  • At December 05, 2006 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    email me at xxyardmanxx@hotmail.com with reply. The reason i post this is because you rarley hear this arguement, people think of alot of things that cause global warming, and there is ALOT of things that contribute to GW.

    Dictionary of Scientific Literacy by Richard P. Brennan. Foreword by Dr, F, James Rutherford American association for the Advancement of Science

    “Astronomical Cycle: Scientists believe astronomical cycles touch off changes in the ocean- Atmosphere system that drives the world’s climate. Glacial cycles (ice ages) are set in motion by (1) periodic wobbles in the tilt of the Earth’s rotation, (2) changes in the tilt of its axis, and (3) the shape of its orbit occurring over tens of thousands of years. By altering the angles and the distances from which the sun’s energy reaches earth, the three overlapping cycles control the timing of global warming and cooling, and the long=term advance and retreat of glaciers. See Climate.”

     
  • At December 06, 2006 6:56 PM, Blogger coby said…

    What you are talking about are Milankovich cycles and they are not controversial and reasonably well understood. According to forcing from these various orbital cycles and oscillations the climate should be stable with a very slight cooling and the next ice age would have been in 30-50K years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovich_cycle#The_future

     
  • At December 16, 2006 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While we all get hung up here on technical terms for which I find myself reinforcing my command of the English language, let's clarify that yes, without facts, it isn't science. However, hypothesis and theory are synonymous, therefore, cannot be elevated from one another.

    James, I liked your post and it contributes well.

    As for bafflegab...love it...learned a new word. lol

    The point was somewhat lost on me several posts ago. Since I appear to be the most lay of men or women posting, let me ask how we define CO2? Here's Merriam Webster's version: Main Entry: carbon dioxide
    Function: noun
    : a heavy colorless gas CO 2 that does not support combustion, dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, is formed especially in animal respiration and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter, is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis, and is used in the carbonation of beverages

    I know you'll all correct me if i'm wrong in stating if CO2 has no scientific facts supporting global warming based upon a factor of greenhouse gases (as opposed to solar radiation in another post, which would be defined by variations in earth, space, or similar factors), then where does science determine that CO2 "disolves in water to form carbonic acid" and is "absorbed from the air by plants in photosythesis"? Utilizing that basic information, I am putting 2 and 2 together to get acidification of the ocean is probably due to CO2 levels and carbon sinks that could be carbon sources may also be effects of CO2 levels (http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/04_12/296.htm) making both of them scientificly proven as possible factors. I say possible because we have no ability to eliminate and test each one individually as you would in a scientific experiment unless of course someone knows of a link or study that has recreated all of the exact factors of earth in its entirety starting with our solar system.

    So, can we bring this back to the real world discussion of what's actually possible & studied?

    For me, that means I'd like to see it broken down, which Coby has done well so far, by (these are just examples i'd like to see):
    Factors and evidence supporting or effectively debunking
    a)ocean acidity, which in itself has produced a number of alarming effects including less saline density in turn causing a slowing of thermohaline circulation (such as the gulf stream)
    b)photosynthesis - carbon sinks vs. sources or any direction that you'd like to take using what science knows CO2 to have an effect on.
    c) add your own, but I agree that continental movement spans too great a time to be effective in this discussion.

    And perhaps you could pretend you're trying to persuade children. I'm not ashamed to say I'm no Stephen Hawking.

    Babs

     
  • At February 04, 2007 2:56 PM, Anonymous Jacob said…

    Sorry, I'm new to this 'blogging' thing. I'm just responding to something that was said WAY up:


    3) CO2 is reportedly not particularly effective at blocking
    radiation at the wavelengths being reflected by the earth.


    That's correct, but it's also pointless. What CO2 blocks is not reflected light - that is, light that hits the Earth and bounces off. It blocks light that is radiated by the earth due to it being a warm object. Let's not get the two confused, okay?

     
  • At February 04, 2007 3:08 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Jacob,

    Welcome and thanks for the comment. That's a good point, I hadn't noticed.

     
  • At February 20, 2007 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is a thinly veiled attack on scientific method but relies on misunderstanding what that method is. Define "proof", try to draw out what the objector is waiting to see but take the high road and concede what is essentially a meaningless point.

    ___________________________

    Define 'the scientific method'.

     
  • At February 23, 2007 2:05 PM, Anonymous Jacob said…

    The "scientific method" is the practice that pretty much defines whether you're a scientist or not. Most people learn it in grade school, but it was only really developed in the past couple centuries, and some would say, has been responsible for the rapid technological gains that our society has achieved since then.

    Essentially, you
    1. Think of a question ("Does carbon dioxide affect the climate")

    2. Come up with a hypothesis ("Carbon dioxide affects the climate")

    3. Test the hypothesis ("Look at this overwhelming collossal mountain of data") and make observations

    4. Refine the hypothesis ("An increase in carbon dioxide causes an increase in temperature")

    5. Test it again ("My analysis of ice cores reveals...")

    6. Draw your conclusions ("The data supports my hypothesis").

    There is no step for 'Proof'.

     
  • At March 01, 2007 9:37 PM, Blogger birdbrainscan said…

    Hats off to Coby for fielding all these blasts of questions. Thanks for a great site.

    To anonymous:
    You are mistaken to claim there have been no experiments to confirm that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation. This is simply a fundamental measurement that would occur in any atmospheric physics lab. It's known as spectroscopy. It has been done many times, and on every conceivable element and compound, not just CO2. There are reference books filled with the results. You might not find a recent journal article on the specific CO2 experiment, because it was settled a long time ago, before most journals went to electronic publishing. Today's researchers simply take it as given and build from there.
    I'm currently attending a course on "Radiation in planetary atmospheres" that works through all the steps in the reasoning process to confirm the theory of the "greenhouse effect" for CO2 and to compare predictions we can make of its strength and its effect on temperature to measured results taken via satellite and by instruments sent aloft by balloons (radiosondes) - an experiment performed daily, around the world, over the past several decades.
    The steps to working out the theoretical prediction of how strong the greenhouse forcing for CO2 should be are rather long, and they rely on some calculus. There is a draft of a book by Ray Pierrehumbert online that goes over all this in detail, but with very clear description in the text. I really like his writing for spelling out in plain English what the question is, and how we can go about answering it. Here's a link to his draft; try this and see if you find it helpful:
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateVol1.pdf

    Anyway, you might as well drop your game of telling us all how you've discovered the experiment has "never been done" or is impossible. The entire field of atmospheric physics is filled with people who have done the experiment with a tube, varying amounts of CO2, and an infrared laser. As Coby says, the research did not stop in 1908. And yes, more CO2 does indeed absorb more infrared. And yes, that matters in the real atmosphere under today's conditions and CO2 concentrations.

     
  • At March 06, 2007 8:02 AM, Blogger Jack said…

    This is a wonderful site. There are so many global warming skeptics, it is imperative that we be armed with the facts when talking to them. That said, let me tell you all about what I've done to lower my GHG load. I had a 93% furnace installed, to replace my old 63% one. That reduced my natural gas use by 33%. Next I had the walls and attic of my 66 yr old, wood frame house insulated with blown-in cellulose. I then had 9 out of 13 of the original windows replaced with high efficiency ones. I turned the stat down to 63F in the winter(wear thermal underwear and a jacket). I use the central air on only the very hottest summer days, maybe 10/yr. I went from vegetarian to vegan about 12 yrs ago, thus cutting my GHG load by the equivalent of 1.5 tons of CO2/yr. I use my feet, or bicycle around town(Toledo, Ohio), 8 months/yr. Being retired, I use my small, 4 cyl. car sparingly.
    All told, those moves have reduced my CO2 equivalent emissions by 8 tons/yr. My heating use is now only 330 ccf/yr, and my electric is only 1900 kwhrs/yr. The hot water heater and clothes dryer use 120 ccf of gas/yr.
    If everybody could do the above, we could meet the reductions Dr. James Hansen says we must make, not by 2050, but now. At least on a personal level, that is. The stuff I buy from overseas, and here, is still responsible for a lot of GHGs.

     
  • At March 06, 2007 1:58 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Thanks very much for the comment, Jack, and congratulations for all your personal conservation efforts!

     
  • At March 08, 2007 4:24 AM, Anonymous John A said…

    No compelling evidence? Hmm. Have you seen the IPCC TAR? Start there, there is poenty more in recent research.

    Yes, I've seen the IPCC TAR - its the one that presented the Mann Hockey Stick to the world as the official reconstruction of past climate.

    Shame that its been shown to be an artifact of bad mathematics and spin by the authors, and is now widely discredited and discounted, even by scientists who believe in AGW.

    Yes, the ice core records show that temperatures moved first. CO2 was both a cause and an effect, this is a typical feedback. See here.

    No, that's an example of "Humpty Dumpty" pseudoscience in which effects (temperature rise) precede causes (carbon dioxide rise) by centuries. Every time. In no ice core record does the carbon dioxide rise precede temperature rise.

    Even with feedbacks, cause must precede effect.

    Re "Temps decreased from 1940-1975 while CO2 concentrations were on the rise" check this latest article. Just a temporary cooling from increases in aerosol pollution.

    That's an explanation after the fact used in climate models. There is no empirical evidence of such an aerosol effect being largely or wholly responsible.

    What it means of course is that the fact that temperatures are currently rising and carbon dioxide levels also rising is an example of the fallacy of "correlation implying causation".

    Temperatures have been generally rising since the early 17th Century, well before carbon dioxide began its current rise.

    It means that the Greenhouse Theory is a hypothesis at best, and contrary to the facts. Every ice core says so.

     
  • At March 08, 2007 2:10 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi John A,

    It is ludicrous to reduce the entire WG1 TAR report to a single study, MBH98. Even if what you say about this study were true, it is of very minor consequence in the larger array of evidence. Have a look at this article:
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/03/hockey-stick-is-broken.html

    About the ice cores, there is no reason two phenomena can not be both causes and effects of each other. The whole concept of a feedback relies on this common situation. In the ice core records there is no event that caused non-temperature rise related CO2 increases, this is why that particular record does not contain an analogue to today's warming. There are others in more ancient records however, eg the PETM event.

    WRT mid-century cooling, I don't know why you would say there is no data about aerosols, or why you think it is suspect to come up with an explanation after something happens. If it doesn't happen it needs no explanation. This is why observation usally comes first, theory second.

    AGW theory is much more than an assumption that correlation implies causation. After all it originated long before there were any indications of a global temperature rise.



    Temperatures have been generally rising since the early 17th Century, well before carbon dioxide began its current rise.

    It means that the Greenhouse Theory is a hypothesis at best, and contrary to the facts. Every ice core says so.

    Thanks for the comment!

     
  • At March 23, 2007 9:03 AM, Anonymous Hamman said…

    I have a dialog on another blog about AGW, And oneof the sceptics claims that there is not enough CO2 being added to the atmosphere to make a difference.

    Such as:
    The global warming crowd has chosen the conclusion that man made changes are the root cause of these phenomena. I personally do not believe it at all. We have (apparently) increased the CO2 content of the atmosphere by .00005%. When measured that way, CO2 hasn't varied by much at all.

    And:
    As a check you can use the known PPM of around 350 / 1,000,0000 =.00035
    take that and multiply it by 100 and get the current concentration of .03% found in the link I posted.

    Therefore, we have increased the CO2 content of the the atmosphere (again assuming we are the cause) by 0.0064% (not 0.000064%). I was off by a factor of 100 in my calculations. Either way, you are still looking at statistically insignificant numbers. Six one thousandths of a percent is hardly a drastic alteration.


    Where are the stats on how much CO2, and hos much is significant?

    Thanks
    John

     
  • At March 23, 2007 10:48 AM, Blogger scottab said…

    No, that's an example of "Humpty Dumpty" pseudoscience in which effects (temperature rise) precede causes (carbon dioxide rise) by centuries. Every time. In no ice core record does the carbon dioxide rise precede temperature rise.

    Even with feedbacks, cause must precede effect.


    Effects can have multiple causes, and feedback means that the effect of phenomenon A is phenomenon B, which (for positive feedback) increases phenomenon A, which in turn increases phenomenon B, etc.

    It doesn't follow from "historical warming periods started before CO2 rise started" that "CO2 doesn't cause part of the warming".

    Something other than CO2 initiates a warming trend. A few hundred years in, CO2 levels rise. For several thousand more years temperatures and CO2 levels both increase.

    Did the CO2 contribute to the several thousand years of subsequent warming, making the warming period longer and/or making the total temperature increase higher? You can't tell that from this observation alone, but there's other observations and experiments for that.

    Now, independent of CO2 release from any natural warming cycle human activity is releasing more CO2. The ice core observations tell us that warming cycles can be triggered by phenomena other than CO2 levels, but they certainly don't provide evidence that rising CO2 levels won't cause warming.

     
  • At April 01, 2007 5:56 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi John,

    Sorry for the late and thin reply. This fellow's numbers are good enough but his understanding is poor. There are countless examples in natural processes, especially chemical ones, where minute quantities have significant effects. One could ratlle of dozens of toxins that would be lethal to a human in quantities far less than .03% of your body mass.

    The fact is that the likely effect of a doubling of CO2, even from the tiny .028% of the atmosphere to the still tiny .056% of the atmosphere will be a change of 3oC (btw, what % change in absolute global temperature is that in measured in Kelvin? Around 3/288)

    You antogonist's remark about these numbers being "statistically insignificant" is gibberish.

     
  • At April 12, 2007 2:49 AM, Blogger v1u1ant said…

    Im no scientist, so i have questions.
    What effect is HAARP and other such devices having on the climate, if any?

    The other thing that strikes me is that as far as im aware if we did not have global dimming then the planet would actually be warmer (considerably so i believe)than it is at present. If that is the case then how can CO2 emissions be an effector in global warming if it is CO2 parts that make up global dimming? By this arguement CO2 emissions are contributing to keeping the planet cooler than it should be.
    If we reduce CO2 that means global dimming is decreased, which would lead to the planet just becoming warmer anyway.




    Apologies if im getting all this wrong, like i say im not a scientist.

     
  • At April 12, 2007 5:06 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi v1u1ant, thaks for the questions.

    I have not heard of HAARP before, but it looks highly doubtful to me that it could have any effect on global climate. That is hardly an expert opinion, BTW, just a superficial reaction. In general, human activities are an a tremendously smaller scale compared to the amount of energy fluxing in and out of the global climate system. Even the serious effect CO2 is now having has taken many decades to build up to the problem level it now is.

    You have one basic misunderstandiing about global dimming, it is not caused by CO2 but by SO2 and particulate pollution, what are called aerosols. CO2 is transparent to visible light, the majority of the suns output, and so no matter how much is up there it will not stop any incoming shortwave radiation. It is however not transparent in the infrared frequencies, those emitted by the earth's warmth. That is what makes it a greenhouse gas.

    It is important to keep in mind that there are many factors that affect the climate, CO2 is just one. It happens that at the moment CO2 is the most significant factor in the current climate change.

     
  • At April 13, 2007 4:28 AM, Blogger v1u1ant said…

    Coby. thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding of what creates global dimming.
    Is dimming diminishing now that aerosols have stopped (or lessened) being produced? If so then the planet is likely to get warmer than it already is, isnt it?
    What about methane from cows? Hmm maybe i should read tha IPCC TAR doc. Although ive been led to belive that this document has been dressed up for political purposes and that half the scientific community who worked on the document left half-way through its writing. Those scientists who left were still referenced as contributors to the document to beef up the significance of the IPCC doc, even though the scientists who left didnt agree with all that was being said in the document. Please correct me if im off the mark with this.



    HAARP. Well its a bit open ended as to what HAARP actually is beyond it being a HIGH FREQUENCY ACTIVE AURORAL RESEARCH PROGRAM.

    This is part of the article from (the not very accurate) wikipedia:

    "The objectives of the HAARP project became the subject of controversy in the mid-1990s, following claims that the antennae could be used as a weapon. A small group of American physicists aired complaints in scientific journals such as Physics and Society, charging that the HAARP could be seeking ways to blow other countries' spacecraft out of the sky[citation needed] or disrupt communications over large portions of the planet. The physicist critics of the HAARP have had little complaint about the project's current stage, but have expressed fears that it could in future be expanded into an experimental weapon.

    These concerns were amplified by Bernard Eastlund, a physicist who developed some of the concepts behind the HAARP in the 1980s and proposed using high-frequency radio waves to beam large amounts of power into the ionosphere, energizing its electrons and ions in order to disable incoming missiles and knock out enemy satellite communications. The US military became interested in the idea as an alternative to the laser-based Strategic Defense Initiative. However, Eastlund's ideas were eventually dropped as SDI itself mutated into the more limited National Missile Defense of today. The contractors selected to build HAARP have denied that any of Eastlund's patents were used in the development of the project.

    After the physicists raised early concerns, the controversy was stoked by local activism. In September 1995, a book entitled Angels Don't Play This HAARP: Advances in Tesla Technology by the former teacher Nick Begich, Jr., son of the late Congressman Nick Begich, claimed that the project in its present stage could be used for "geophysical warfare". The HAARP has subsequently become a target for those who have suggested that it could be used to test the ability "to deliver very large amount of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth", CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS, blocking all global communications, disrupting human mental processes and mind control, causing earthquakes, and "x-raying" the earth. These claims are generally disregarded by scientists and those involved with the project as being completely baseless." END QUOTE.

    However i have a few friends in russia who say that their version of HAARP (SURA) has been used to alter the atmosphere/weather for a number of years now. But im sceptical about this.
    HAARP does have its own website here. http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/


    Im trying not to get caught up in conspiricy with this, but i am surprised that as HAARP is apparently messing with the upper atmosphere that someone would know something about it. It wouldnt surprise me to hear the answer that 'HAARP's effect is too insignificant to be an influencing factor on earths climate'


    Well i hope this contributes to the discussion and doesnt trivialise it.

     
  • At May 07, 2007 8:46 AM, Blogger Gus said…

    are there any experiments that show co2 retains heat ?

     
  • At May 07, 2007 11:53 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Gus,

    This property of CO2 is very well established physics and the the same property of all kinds of gases is the basis of a great deal of what we know about the universe, such as size, motion, composition, age etc.

    The radiative properties of all gases have been measured with extreme precision in experiments for a long time.

     
  • At July 03, 2007 1:10 AM, Anonymous Hans Erren said…

    'Mr. Knut Ångström sent infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. He put in as much of the gas in total as would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas in half or doubled it'.

    That's because Ångström used sunlight, The CO2 absorption bands are in the near infrared, in the tail of the planck curve, so there is almost no CO2 absorption in te first place. Absorption due to CO2 doubling is simply below the detection threshold of a panchromatic instrument of the type that Ångström used.
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/angstrom1900/index.html

     
  • At July 26, 2007 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "There is no 'proof' in science."

    That's one hell of a sweeping statement.

    I think there is proof in science, just not a lot of it when it comes to climate change.

     
  • At July 28, 2007 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've done research and come to absolutely accept the following points:

    1. The Earth is warming.
    2. CO2 levels are rising.
    3. Mankind is responsible for the increases in CO2 levels throughout the 20th century.

    But whenever it comes to the fourth point, necessary to conclude the argument in favor of AGW - namely, that CO2 increases drive temperature increases - I have only ever gotten one of two responses:

    - Anyone with half a brain about radiative physics knows that CO2 DOES increase temperatures, or
    - Anyone with a half a brain about radiative physics knows that, while CO2 does increase temperatures, saturation levels in the IR band make it an uninfluential factor past a certain point.

    Either people say, duh, everyone knows that, or they say "saturation levels" about ten times. I just can't seem to get a straight answer on it, and it's driving me nuts! I want to not just be TOLD that there is solid physics behind it: I want to see the numbers, I want to see this "saturation levels" argument disproven, etc.

    I've Googled the question, looked on blogs like this one or RealClimate, etc. etc., and for the life of me I can't find that information! Can anyone help out with that? I'm not doubting the fact, but I have to see it myself to accept it, and both sides of the issue are so convinced that they feel they need not even present an argument. This FAQ is a good example of that; when someone says there's no "proof" for it, they probably mean that they have never been shown the fact that CO2 DOES, as a SCIENTIFIC FACT, increase temperature according to very precisely-defined parameters.

    If anyone could help out, it would be much appreciated. Thanks

     
  • At July 29, 2007 11:16 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Anonymouse,

    You must have missed the one perfect article on RealClimate for your question:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    with a part two followup here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/

    It addresses exactly this point.

    As for the general CO2 warms the planet point, you should look for some basic climate science primers. Also the IPCC report has basic background info. It is one of those principals that is so well supported and accepted that it is sometimes hard to find where it is clearly demonstrated. I recommend having a look at Spencer Weart's history of climate science

     
  • At July 30, 2007 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok, thanks! That was EXACTLY what I had been looking for. You're right; like I was saying, no one feels the need to even mention the basic science for it. I hear all manner of negative arguments on both sides of the issue, but never any positive assertions. I think that the info on that article is important enough to put on this site, probably in this question.

    So if I understand the science right, here, then the upper troposphere should increase in temperature while the stratosphere should cool? I've seen satellite data that claims that the upper troposphere has not shown that to be the case, but that the data has been in some way reconciled. I'll check out that information elsewhere.

    And just so you know, you may have made a convert out of me. I was once firmly in the anti-AGW camp, and after a lot of research I had fallen into the "everyone's just being dogmatic with agendas" camp. But I'm starting to lean toward the pro-AGW view. Keep up the good work!

     
  • At September 13, 2007 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The ethos of this site is that the anthropogenic CO2 theory is a faith to be spread rather than a theory to be tested.

     
  • At October 04, 2007 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am an historian, but I am very interested in all sciences.

    That said, I recently received the newest National Geographic. In it is a map showing possible global warming impact areas. It also has a wonderful graph going back about 40,000 years (I may be wrong on that number, the magazine is at home and I am at work) and I was dumbfounded looking at it. The correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global temperatures (I assume the global temperature readings are through Oxygen isotope analysis, but I am not sure how the CO2 readings were determined). The temperature and CO2 concetrations were in lockstep. The scary part is that the CO2 in the atmosphere is well above ANYTHING in the last 40k years.

    This poster, with a simple, easy to understand graph, scares the living hell out of me, especially since I have children who will inheret this mess.

    Can someone clue me (remember, I majored in history) in on why anthropomorphic global warming is still doubted by anyone outside the fossil fuels industry?

     
  • At December 13, 2007 6:19 PM, Blogger Will Nitschke said…

    The gist of this article is "nothing can be proved with 100% certainty". That may be true, but since it is true of everything it is in essence a tautological statement and of no value.

    Some genuine sceptical concerns this article should have addressed:

    Why hadn't there been a strong past correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures?

    Why do certain ice core records show that temperatures rise, then CO2 levels follow? (Since the cause-effect relationship is back the front here.)

    If the typical explanation that rising then creates a feedback loop that increases temperatures, and so on, why doesn't this cause a runaway greenhouse effect? Why is this a plausible scientific explanation and not just an ad hock attempt to save the theory from being disproved? And to confirm that the CO2 hypothesis is real science and not just ideology, what kinds of observations and measurements disprove the theory?

    There may be or should be good answers to all these questions if the theory is solid. If you add them to your article, it will not appear as weak as it does at present, and should be more convincing to intelligent sceptics.

     
  • At December 15, 2007 12:56 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Will

    your specific concerns are addressed in other articles in the How to talk to a Skeptic guide. Look for CO2 Lags, not Leads and many others.

    The reasons enhanced GH warming does not produce a runaway warming are varied but the most basic answer is that CO2 forcing is logarithmic, not linear, so each additional ppm has less effect than the last.

    What kind of observations would you find convincing?

    Thanks for the comments.

     
  • At February 05, 2008 11:37 AM, Anonymous Steve Case said…

    The two IPCC Assessment Reports that I can read on line, the third and fourth, do not address the physical properties of CO2 as they relate to absorption of heat. One would think that would be the centerpiece argument from which all the other data would lead back to, but it is missing. Why do you suppose that is?

     
  • At February 08, 2008 5:12 PM, Blogger billisfree said…

    Can anyone explain my one most important question - What experimental apparatus is used to measure of the effect of each greenhouse gas? How are these values derived and used in calculations for the computing - global warming in a small area such as a 10x10 mile square of ocean?

     
  • At February 08, 2008 5:16 PM, Blogger billisfree said…

    Can anyone answer one BIG question for me? What scientific apparatus was used to derive and prove the power and effect of each greenhouse gas?

    How are these derived values used to compute how much a square mile of surface is expected to warm up?

     
  • At February 20, 2008 10:26 AM, Blogger snorbert zangox said…

    Steve Case and billisfree

    You can look at spectral absorption bands for water vapor, carbon dioxide and oxygen/ozone at http://brneurosci.org/co2.html.

    Spectrophotometers measure the absorption of infrared by compounds. These devices contain diffraction gratings, which separate the wavelengths of infrared radiation in much the same way that a prism separates visible light into colors. Parallel beams of separated infrared radiation pass through a parallel cells. One cell contains a known concentration of the gas of interest the other contains nothing. Detectors measure the attenuation of the energy through the cell with the experimental compound as a function of the wavelength of the radiation.

    A 1-ft long path containing 100 ppm absorbs the same amount of energy as a 10- foot column containing 10 ppm.

     
  • At March 03, 2008 8:54 PM, Blogger barry said…

    While the graphs in that paper are about right (they're logarithmic, note), the author is not a climate scientist (neuroscientist), and the conclusions should not be given credence per se.

    That an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could producing warming has been verified in simple lab experiments. Direct radiation through a tube (useful length is about a meter) of CO2 at atmospheric standard, take a reading. Then increase the amount of CO2, direct radiation through the tube and take a new reading. Result: less radiation gets through, ergo, more CO2 impedes radiation.

    That's one way to do it (you can also change the length of the tube). The HITRAN database details the spectral bands at which CO2 (and many other compounds) absorbs.

    This factoid is not in question. What is more difficult to ascertain is how much absorption/warming in the actual atmosphere is changed by adding 'x' amount of CO2.

    It is difficult to get free access to studies on this, which is understandably frustrating, but it is unreasonable to suppose this subject has been fudged or under-investigated by climate scientists.

    One reason studies are hard to find on the net is that most of the original work is 40 years old and hasn't been transferred to electronic media. Another, in regards to modern calculations, is that atmospheric measurements are usually restricted to a small number of absorption bands, owing to the limits of technology. I guess that calculations of the total atmosphere relies on a great many individual studies of small groups of absorption bands.

    But again, it's difficult to get the hard data, and you have to pay for most on-line papers, so the frustration, and lack of resolution on the matter is understandable.

    Papers are copyrighted for obvious reasons. Although much of the work is government-sponsored, the authors exercise their rights to intellectual property, as does the government that finances it. This is true for any science field, and most easily corroborated when looking up medical studies.

    Cheers,

    Barry.

     
  • At April 17, 2008 12:22 PM, Blogger Rachel said…

    This compendium of scientific papers on this exact topic is what convinced me (available on the new scholar.google.com):
    http://books.google.com/books?id=g-dBljfKBDUC&printsec=frontcover&sig=Sb-o3OcPbikaJk5EBJdzthM3zIM

     
  • At July 04, 2008 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All these articles read like propaganda and spin. They say, Yes, you were correct, but from a certain angle and a certain way of thinking AGW is still happening. I still haven’t found the link that explains away the relationship between observed sun-spots and the emanated radiation which results interrelating with cosmic rays to affect cloud cover and so follows Earth’s service temp. The graph of the before mentioned much more closely correlate with observed temp change. I noticed the proposed “carbon tax” is carefully avoided, and the push for world government is not mentioned. This web-site is clearly one-sided and political. I see a lot of extra words that make the sentences convoluted. I do not sense straight talk. This web-site stinks of wrong-doing.

     
  • At July 11, 2008 10:49 PM, Blogger yezi said…

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