Pielke Sr. on Revkin’s question

Update To Andy Revkin’s Question In 2005: “Is Most Of The Observed Warming Over The Last 50 Years Likely To Have Been Due To The Increase In Greenhouse Gas Concentrations”?

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/images/pr20070104.gif

By Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

In 2005, I posted an answer to Andy Revkin’s question on climate change;

Response to Andy Revkin’s Science Question of August 26, 2005

“Is most of the observed warming over the last 50 years likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”?

My answer in 2005 started with the text

On Global Warming:

There are natural explanations for global warming of which a change in the output of solar energy is a candidate. However, none of the published work has convinced me that this can explain much of the observed global warming over the last several decades. Volcanic emissions are another natural global forcing, and it is well known that they produce cooling, such as after the eruption of Mount Pintatubo, where in August of 1991 it was estimated as -4 Watts per meter squared. There have not been eruptions of that magnitude since, such that the absence of such major eruptions might permit greater absorbed solar radiation in the climate system than otherwise would occur. However, this absence of eruptions resulting in any positive radiative imbalance for a period of time well after a major volcanic emission has also not been shown to occur. This leaves anthropogenic emissions as a source for global warming.

There is new information, however, that prompts me to update my answer.

This is based on insight provided by Roy Spencer, as summarized in his post  of April 20 2010 titled

The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists

where he presented his new book with the same title published by Encounter Books.

The text in his April 20th post that provides this perspective of the natural climate system is

“The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.

How could the experts have missed such a simple explanation? Because they have convinced themselves that only a temperature change can cause a cloud cover change, and not the other way around. The issue is one of causation. They have not accounted for cloud changes causing temperature changes.”

Other colleagues whose studies, in combination, have convinced me of a larger natural variability with respect to global warming and cooling, include as examples, the following papers, blogs and presentations

Baldwin, Mark P.   and Timothy J. Dunkerton, 2001: Stratospheric Harbingers of Anomalous Weather Regimes. Science 19 October 2001:Vol. 294. no. 5542, pp. 581 – 584 DOI: 10.1126/science.1063315

Posts by Joseph  D’Aleo on  http://www.icecap.us/ [see http://icecap.us/index.php/go/about-climate-change]

Compo, G. P., and P. D. Sardeshmukh, 2009: Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics, 32,333-342. [see my post on this paper in 2008]

R.S. Lindzen, M.-D. Chou, and A.Y. Hou (2001) Does the Earth have an adaptive infrared iris? Bull. Amer. Met. Soc. 82, 417-432

W. M. Gray, 2009: Climate change: Driven by the ocean – not humans. The Steamboat Institute Conference, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, August 29, 2009.

Stephens, Graeme at the August 2009 GEWEX meeting in Melbourne Australia in a talk titled “Earth observations and moist processes”.

Sun, D.-Z., Y. Yu, and T. Zhang, 2007: Tropical Water Vapor and Cloud Feedbacks in Climate Models: A Further Assessment Using Coupled Simulations. J. Climate [a powerpoint talk of this research was completed for my class in 2007 Human Impacts on Weather and Climate(see Validating and Understanding Feedbacks in Climate Models).

Thompson, D. W. J. and J. M. Wallace, 1998: The Arctic Oscillation signature in the wintertime geopotential height and temperature fields. Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 1297-1300.

Trenberth, K. E., D. P. Stepaniak, and J. M. Caron 2002: Interannual variations in the atmospheric heat budget J. Geophys. Res., 107, D8, 10.1029/2000JD000297.

A.A. Tsonis, K.L. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov, 2007: A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/ 2007GL030288.

A.A. Tsonis and K.L. Swanson, 2006: What do networks have to do with climate? Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. doi:10.1175/BAMS-87-5-585.

Marcia Wyatt, Ocean Heat, April 27 & May 4, 2007 in my class on Human Impacts on Weather and Climate [natural climate variability is currently her Ph.d. dissertation topic working with A. Tsonis and S. Kravtsov].

I am also further convinced based on the recognition that there is “missing heat” in the climate system (e.g. see the recent set of posts on this topic starting with this one). The long term variations in atmospheric and ocean circulation features, with resulting global average changes in radiative forcing, can explain at least part of the reason for this “missing heat”.

In 2005 I wrote a post

What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?.

Roy’s perspective, bolstered by such colleagues as listed above, provides convincing further evidence that such variations in regional heating and cooling can alter significantly the global average heating more than has been indicated by the IPCC-type multi-decadal global climate model simulations.

The solar influence also appears to be larger than was understood in 2005, as illiustrated by these papers

Scafetta N., R. C. Willson (2009), ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05701, doi:10.1029/2008GL036307.

Lean, J. L., and D. H. Rind (2009): How Will Earth’s Surface Temperature Change in Future Decades?,
Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2009GL038932, in press. (accepted 9 July 2009).

The 2010 answer to the question by Andy Revkin

“Is most of the observed warming over the last 50 years likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”?

remains NO.

The added greenhouse gases from human activity clearly have a role in increasing the heat content of the climate system from what it otherwise would be. However, there are other equally or even more important significant human climate forcings, as I summarized in my 2005 post and in the 2009 article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

We now know, however, that the natural variations of atmospheric and ocean circulation features within the climate system produces global average heat changes that are substantially larger than what was known in 2005. The IPCC models have failed to adequately simulate this effect.

The answer to Andy’s question from 2005 is an even more clearly No.  That is  a signficant fraction of the observed warming over the last 50 years is NOT due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”?

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59 Responses to Pielke Sr. on Revkin’s question

  1. Enneagram says:

    Facts about CO2:
    CO2 it is not black, but trasparent and invisible
    CO2 is the gas you exhale. You exhale about 900 grams a day of CO2
    CO2 that you exhale is what plants breath to give you back O2 (oxygen) for you to breath. Then it is neither a pollutant nor a poison, it even rejuvenates!!!:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1485258/carbon_dioxide_therapy_carboxy_therapy_pg2_pg2.html?cat=69
    CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn´t fly up, up and away CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038 per cent of it, or 3.8 parts per ten thousand.
    The atmosphere, the air you know, does not have the capacity to “hold” enough heat, it only “saves” 0.001297 joules per cubic centimeter, while water , the sea you know, has 3227 times that capacity (4.186 joules).
    Would you warm your feet with a bottle filled with air or filled with hot water?
    The so called “Greenhouse effect” does not exist, see:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/28018819/Greenhouse-Niels-Bohr
    But if you have been cheated to the core and still believe in it, think the following:
    Svante Arrhenius, the guy of the greenhouse effect, said he thought CO2 acted as the “window panes” of a green-house, but as its concentration in atmosphere it is just 3.8 per ten thousand, you would have a greenhouse with 3.8 window panes and 9996.2 empty holes.

  2. Math Ias says:

    Good post, as usual. I have theorized for a long time that since the earth still has it’s athmosphere along with the flora and fauna, 4,5 billion years with a 4,5billion year uptime, it really must have both a tolerance for different temperature ranges and some sort of “internal adjustment” to keep it from reaching conditions where “the oceans boil into space” or it is generally gets “worse than we thought” ;)

    It is common sense that more heat = more evaporation and clouds. Someone needs to find a way to calculate the difference in net energy with no cloud cover and with an overcast situation. On the surface it sure is way colder on cloudy days but does the “missing heat” – pun intended, get trapped in higher altitudes or is it mostly reflected into space?

    Keep up the great work, love reading this blog!

  3. Mark L says:

    I am convinced that the temperature record is plain wrong, especially for North America, and the actual “anomalies” are not as high as reported.

  4. PhilC says:

    Thank you Dr. Pielke for collecting some relevant studies that show that there are more possibilities for mechanisms that would warm, or appear to warm, the earth. It’s been obvious from day 1 that most of the scientists studying the climate had glommed onto the first readily available explanation and simplified the earth’s climate into essentially a one variable model, and had little interest in applying creative thinking to possible other explanations. It takes just a few, simple back-of-the-envelope calculations to show that there are many other mechanisms in the global climate system with effects equal to or greater than CO2.

    Good Job.

  5. The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:

    Could contrails have a major effect on warming?

  6. Enneagram says:
    May 6, 2010 at 8:08 am

    This is what gives sceptics a bad name. All the false arguments on a row:
    - CO2 indeed is transparant for visible light, but it absorbes infrared in the part that is emitted by the temperature of the earth. It is measurable and measured.
    - The CO2 that is exhaled by humans (and all animals) doesn’t play any role in the greenhouse effect, as that was originally captured by plants a few months to a few years ago. We only release that again, but that doesn’t change the CO2 content of the atmosphere. It is the current burning of very old burried fossil plants that changes the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Again measured, as about halve of the emissions remain in the atmosphere.
    - CO2 is heavier than air, but with sufficient wind, it is dispersed and mixed near equal over the whole globe within days/weeks in the same latitude/altitude band, within weeks to months over the altitudes in the same hemisphere and within 14 months between the NH and the SH. Only the seasonal changes and the SH lag give some delay (as 90% of human emissions are in the NH).
    - Heat capacity of the atmosphere has little role in the greenhouse effect, it is the capture and re-emissions which plays the role of the greenhouse effect. Even if CO2 is only 390 ppmv (but the role of water is more important). Absorption and re-emission IR by CO2 has been measured.
    - While the quantity of CO2 is small, its effect is measurable: about 4 W/m2 for 2xCO2. That is not much, but observable and not zero. The direct effect is about 0.9 K increase in temperature. If that leads to more or less increase, due to feedbacks, that should be the real discussion between sceptics and warmers, not the previous facts, which are quite solid and questioning them only distracts from the real problems which the climate models have. Like cloud cover changes (cause and effect, as Dr. Spencer and Dr. Pielke showed). And aerosol influence (largely overblown, even the sign may be wrong).

  7. I would find these arguments much more persuasive if they came with more than a ‘gut feel’ that one theory is better than another. Specific measurements and predictions which can be confirmed within 5 years for example. If it is the clouds, how come we can’t calculate the energy balance? If the missing heat is not missing but non-existent, are we at the stage of being able to model ocean heat given a knowledge of the forcings (so not a prediction, but a model which can be checked against new data)

  8. I would also suggest that a contributor to warming which is a result of human activity but not gas emissions, would be vegetation clearing. On a very small scale, in a very small garden, if you have multi-layers of cover, each layer contains it’s own micro climate area which is progressively cooler as you get closer to the ground. The top canopy (trees more than 6ft high) provides a space underneath which is cooler than up in the open exposed air, under that you have some bushes or shrubs and they are protected by the upper vegetation, under the bushes you have another space which is more protected still from UV, heat and evaporation, and under those bushes you have even smaller plants which under those, have leaf litter which again, under that has more space and is cooler and more moist and more protected still. If I walk from the exposed pavement in my street to my garden, I immediately sense the change in climate, It’s a couple of degrees cooler, more moist. If I kneel down and poke my head under a bush, it is even cooler and moister. OK, on a larger scale, much larger, you have land clearing going on on a massive scale daily, forests, land, jungles, even urban areas for housing, and then again people’s gardens because they want to remove an old large sheltering tree and let more sun into the garden for their citrus tree or something. Each day several football fields worth of vegetation and habitat are removed in Brazil for palm oil plantations for instance. OK, think of this as an explanation; If you have a canopy of trees, they are doing two things; They are stopping heat from reaching the ground and cool moist air from evaporating away, but also they are absorbing-up solar energy and taking it in to use as food. This energy is being removed from the atmosphere as it arrives here. That energy then gets eaten by the tree, which acts like an umbrella by maintaining the cooler conditions underneath, processed and then transferred into material which goes down into the food chain for other plants and insects and then birds etc. The solar energy is absorbed into a complex chain and does it’s thing that way. But, if you remove the top layer of trees, the shield, the provider and protection to the rest of the underlying vegetation, that solar energy is still coming down. It will then get absorbed by the next layer. That will be plants which are not as well suited by natural evolution and selection to fully absorb and use the full amount of solar energy coming down naturally. They might die a bit from over exposure. Then, as more vegetation disappears, more tree canopies I mean, the energy still comes down from the sun, but now, it has nowhere to get absorbed to and just hits the gaps in between the plants, and then as the plants get less and less, the bare ground. The energy which is always falling, was always absorbed and turned into life force energy, now it is falling and being absorbed into the ground and being turned into heat energy. It is still energy falling at a constant rate, but it is being converted into heat instead of life because there’s no tree canopy to start the natural process. Some areas are desert and are hot, others are forest and cool, the ocean has it’s own temperature function also. But as we remove more and more forest, concrete more and more roads and build more and more buildings, the solar energy we are receiving daily and will always be a constant, is being transferred into more and more heat. It does not get processed by a life force like a tree canopy and turned into life, it simply gets absorbed into a hard surface and radiates back out as heat. Magnify the removal of tree canopies over massive areas and then add the slow time factor of accumulated energy being turned into heat over time instead of life energy and it might explain, at least partly, how man has contributed to the slow warming of the planet. That is my explanation concerning man-made causes of the planet warming.

  9. Enneagram says:
    May 6, 2010 at 8:08 am
    but as its concentration in atmosphere it is just 3.8 per ten thousand, you would have a greenhouse with 3.8 window panes and 9996.2 empty holes.
    Ozone in the stratosphere is 8 molecules ozone per one million molecules, so by your ‘logic’ one would have 8 panes and 999992 empty holes. Yet ALL of UV below 240 nm is absorbed by those 8 panes… Perhaps you can see the flaw…

  10. kim says:

    Now surely you’ve read Pielke Pere’s post, Andy. C’mon, let’s hear from you.
    =================

  11. KevinM says:

    Do you trust that Hadley chart you posted?

    I think data collection/processing/presentation accounts for most of the temperature increase over the specified period.

  12. PJP says:

    The Nils Bohr reference above (Enneagram post) I have seen before, but not really thought through the implications. I spent more time thinking about the rock salt/glass greenhouse experiment.

    However, thinking more about the explanation that CO2 absorbs IR radiation and moves to a more excited state leads to some interesting questions (in my mind, at least).

    The explanation (energy levels) sounds believable. We know that CO2 does behave this way because we have CO2 lasers which depend upon this effect. Also, absorbed energy has to go somewhere, and this explains where.

    The implication is that once a CO2 molecule becomes excited enough to jump to its higher energy state, it will not absorb any more IR energy. This implies that as CO2 is exposed to higher and higher intensity of IR, more and more atoms will become excited, and the CO2 will become more and more transparent to IR.

    This should be relatively easy to test experimentally.

    If there are any physicists reading this with access to appropriate equipment, I don’t think this would take long to test. A plot of IR intensity vs absorption would be very interesting.

    I would also be very surprised if this has not already been explored and documented somewhere. If not, here is your chance for a very important publication :-)

  13. I think Dr. Pielke Sr. is on the right track and has been from may years. I suspect most if not all readers of WUWT would agree. Reading his blog illustrates that complex, dynamic and chaotic systems are never easy to work with. Blind acceptance of ideology and dogma, often oversimplified, lead one not do the garden path, since we learn eventually where it goes. It leads one to wonder in the wilderness instead.

  14. kwik says:

    Enneagram says:
    May 6, 2010 at 8:08 am

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/28018819/Greenhouse-Niels-Bohr

    Very interesting! Not included in IPCC reports of course.

    But again, that is understandable, since the IPCC mission statement was so uncientific as it could be.

    “Age of Reason” enden in about 1970.

    “Age of Emotions” has taken over.

  15. gcb says:

    I tried to add a quote from this to Roger Pielke, Sr.’s Wikipedia entry – my edit was rejected as “not from a reliable source”…

  16. Fresh Air says:

    Perhaps I’m missing something. Didn’t we conclude several months ago that there was, in fact, NO warming over the past 50 years, and that substantially ALL of the supposed warming was due to the heat island effect?

    Why does Roger Pielke give any credence at all to this ridiculous theory? You must never pull your punches with these zealots:

    A. The discernible amount of warming not due to heat islands is negligible.
    B. Whatever warming there was has been done for 10 years.
    C. There is no proof whatsoever linking man to warming.

  17. Vincent says:

    Dr Spencer suggested that lack of clouds cause warming and not the other way round. The question is then, what causes these increases and decreases of clouds on decadal time scales?

  18. Spector says:

    What is being portrayed here is circumstantial evidence:

    You walked by the dog house. The dog died. You killed him.

    The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased. Global temperatures increased. CO2 made global temperatures increase.

  19. Gail Combs says:

    You seem to assume the graph you show is factual. So what is the actual error that goes into these global indexes? A. J Strata formerly of NASA answered that question here.

    “….I am going to focus this post on two key documents that became public with the recent whistle blowing at CRU. The first document concerns the accuracy of the land based temperature measurements, which make up the core of the climate alarmists claims about warming. When we look at the CRU error budget and error margins we find a glimmer of reality setting in, in that there is no way to detect the claimed warming trend with the claimed accuracy.

    The second document contains 155 graphs showing the raw global temperature measurements and ‘trends’ for every country from 1900 though today. It contains two version of the CRU ‘processing’ – one from 2005 and one from 2008. What is just amazing from this ‘raw’ data is the realization that many areas of the Earth are not showing a huge upswing in temperature. The raw data paints a completely different picture than the final ‘results’ we see in Al Gore’s charts. And we also get a glimpse at the ‘1940’s blip’ that was the subject of so many emails….”

    Here is the second problem I have with the graph you show. Compare it to this one (and yes I know it is only the USA but the authors are in the same group of ….(self snip))

    The third problem I have is with the short time frame which is very nicely pointed out in this presentation.

    Once those issues are acknowledged the cause of the climate CYCLES can be addressed.

  20. Douglas Proctor says:

    The entire argument of global warming, AGW or not, depends on an accurate and true record of global temperatures rise. The Hockey Stick graph was brilliant in that it showed a dramatic and unequivocal rise, one unprecedented for 1000 years and tied well to not a recovery from the Little Ice Age, but the Industrial Revolution. Yet the temperature record has been repeatedly modified, with older temperatures depressed and recent ones enhanced. Sphagetti graphs have been thrown in not to demonstrate additional support for the earlier reported trend, but, through an appearance of openness blended with eye-numbing confusion, to disincline the reader from questioning further. Aggregating data of different qualities, sources and “corrections” is an extremely dangerous but appealing way of finding a global trend where one may not exist. Strangely, the New Zealand, Australian, Russian, small European and even American local trend data from which the global trend has been created, often do not show the global trend, yet this fact is not discussed. The “bigger” picture is always in focus. All those dealing with disparate data know that regional trends will appear during a combination if a local trend is sufficiently dominating. If the UHIE is not appropriately accounted for, and is sufficiently great, it will create an upward trend by itself, or create an extreme increase if a small increase is actually occurring (likely, as we came out of the LIA in the 1850s). The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and the current 150-year temperature global profile gives me a bad taste. If a series of clean, individual, raw temperature profiles for rural, land and marine sites can’t be used as proof of the alarmist trends, then I fail to understand why we should trust the results of homogenized, historically corrected, merged profiles. If I climb a thousand mountains, chart their inclines, and then add them together, I will not get an accurate idea of the overall gradient of mountains, should Everest be one of them. Has the problem of data combination and modification not shown up already in land based versus satellite measurements, urban vs rural trends, local clusters of data (county or country level) versus global clusters? I do not dispute the rise in the global temperature (as we came out of the LIA). I dispute the graph on even this posting that shows – again – the 30′s and 40′s as being significantly cooler than the present. Smaller scale rural raw data does not show this to be true. But he raw data is not presented or discussed to any great extent. Why not? The health of a food chain is dependent on the base. The health of a conclusion is dependent on the observations. The conflict between the massaged data and the original data is the critical issue of discussion.

  21. A C Osborn says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 9:13 am
    Ozone in the stratosphere is 8 molecules ozone per one million molecules, so by your ‘logic’ one would have 8 panes and 999992 empty holes. Yet ALL of UV below 240 nm is absorbed by those 8 panes… Perhaps you can see the flaw…

    Perhaps you can explain just how that works, how do 8 molecules per million molecules manage to intercept every single part of UV below 240nm?

  22. Luboš Motl says:

    There’s a huge fundamental problem with the “most warming” claims. If the man-made CO2-induced warming were more than 1/2 of the overall warming, it still doesn’t mean that it was the largest effect. That’s because there can be both negative and positive terms, both groups may partially cancel, and both groups may contain terms that are bigger – in absolute value – than the man-made CO2-induced global warming.

    I think that most people and institutions that talk about “most of warming” usually make the incorrect assumption that all contributions to the changing global mean temperature have to be positive.

  23. Enneagram says:

    PJP:
    There is no experminetal science anymore…until the next “turn of the screw” i.e. until current paradigms of children playing with computer games changes.

  24. A C Osborn says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:21 am
    Perhaps you can explain just how that works, how do 8 molecules per million molecules manage to intercept every single part of UV below 240nm?
    First, it is an observable fact that something absorbs the UV
    Second, one cubic centimeter at 35 km height still contains 300 billion O3 molecules. Over a ten kilometer slab [between 30 and 40 km] that comes to a column [with a cross-section of 1 square centimeter and 1000000 cm thickness] with 300 quadrillion O3 molecules. Enough absorbers to do the trick.

  25. Enneagram says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:40 am
    There is no experminetal science anymore…until the next “turn of the screw” i.e. until current paradigms of children playing with computer games changes.
    Of course there is. The problem is that the Internet has dumbed down the ordinary Joe with its overload of pseudo-science and ignorant crap. These things have the easy appeal that even Al Gore relies on. Real science is hard work, and it takes an effort to understand the issues. Most of you don’t want to go to that effort and fall for the easy nonsense that there is in abundance. To wit, some of your [and other's] postings.

  26. james says:

    “Perhaps you can explain just how that works, how do 8 molecules per million molecules manage to intercept every single part of UV below 240nm?”

    Disclosure — I have no training in climate science

    Intuitive answer to this question — Layers

    onions have layers…atmospheres have layers. UV radiation goes through enough layers of molecules and it will eventually hit an ozone molecule.

    reminder to read the disclosure…

    James

  27. A C Osborn says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Thank you for the information.

  28. PJP says:
    May 6, 2010 at 9:18 am
    The Nils Bohr reference above (Enneagram post) I have seen before, but not really thought through the implications. I spent more time thinking about the rock salt/glass greenhouse experiment.

    The implication is that once a CO2 molecule becomes excited enough to jump to its higher energy state, it will not absorb any more IR energy. This implies that as CO2 is exposed to higher and higher intensity of IR, more and more atoms will become excited, and the CO2 will become more and more transparent to IR

    The Niels Bohr reference didn’t show a difference, simply because CO2 doesn’t absorb in the (small) band of IR that the sun emits! CO2 absorbes parts of IR of much longer wavelengths where the earth’s temperature emits. The spectra of incoming sunlight and outgoing IR from the earth have practically no overlap…

    Anyway, in about the same time frame as Niels Bohr, others have done experiments with free flow CO2 over a flame and captured the emittance of the CO2 molecules on a thermocouple through a small hole: they measured the temperature increase from the extra radiation. I have to lookup the reference…

    Don’t forget the time frame in the CO2 laser: the excitation lasts only a fraction of a second, before the electron falls down to its original state, emitting a photon, which is what drives your laser (even then, 90% of the energy supplied is heating up the laser which needs to be cooled)… In the free atmosphere at a density not too far from the surface, even during this fraction of a second, the possibility of a collission with neighbouring O2 or N2 molecules is huge, which means that a large part of the absorbed energy is transferred to the rest of the atmosphere as an increase in motion, thus temperature.

  29. A C Osborn says:
    May 6, 2010 at 11:15 am
    Thank you for the information.
    You are welcome. Did it sink in?

  30. Richard M says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    May 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Good response, I really dislike it when posters overstate the case against AGW. There’s plenty of evidence based on sound science to refute the scares.

    There’s one thing I have been trying to find with little success. We know the increase in CO2 has led to an increase in biomass, both in oceans and on land. This increased biomass then necessarily utilizes energy which can no longer be used to heat the atmosphere. This is clearly a negative feedback. Is there anyway one could determine what percentage of the W/M2 attributed to CO2 increases is utilized by the added biomass?

  31. Phil. says:

    PJP says:
    May 6, 2010 at 9:18 am
    The Nils Bohr reference above (Enneagram post) I have seen before, but not really thought through the implications. I spent more time thinking about the rock salt/glass greenhouse experiment.

    However, thinking more about the explanation that CO2 absorbs IR radiation and moves to a more excited state leads to some interesting questions (in my mind, at least).

    The explanation (energy levels) sounds believable. We know that CO2 does behave this way because we have CO2 lasers which depend upon this effect. Also, absorbed energy has to go somewhere, and this explains where.

    The implication is that once a CO2 molecule becomes excited enough to jump to its higher energy state, it will not absorb any more IR energy. This implies that as CO2 is exposed to higher and higher intensity of IR, more and more atoms will become excited, and the CO2 will become more and more transparent to IR.

    No completely wrong, if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on.
    In our atmosphere this isn’t very likely because collisions with other molecules happen so rapidly that it gets deactivated to the ground state so fast. Of course once there it’s free to absorb again!

  32. Jimbo says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

    “The problem is that the Internet has dumbed down the ordinary Joe with its overload of pseudo-science and ignorant crap.”

    Absolutely true. It is also true that it has enabled the CRU emails to gain wide circulation. It has enable hard working scientists who are not in universities to communicate a little easier and publish their work (whether peer reveiwed or not). I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the internet there would not be as many sceptics around today.

  33. Jimbo says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

    “The problem is that the Internet has dumbed down the ordinary Joe with its overload of pseudo-science and ignorant crap.”

    One last thing the “pseudo-science and ignorant crap” has also been emanating from the AGW camp too.

  34. Jimbo says:
    May 6, 2010 at 1:15 pm
    One last thing the “pseudo-science and ignorant crap” has also been emanating from the AGW camp too.
    Yes, it is widespread.

  35. Bart says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    May 6, 2010 at 11:27 am

    The Niels Bohr reference didn’t show a difference, simply because CO2 doesn’t absorb in the (small) band of IR that the sun emits! CO2 absorbes parts of IR of much longer wavelengths where the earth’s temperature emits. The spectra of incoming sunlight and outgoing IR from the earth have practically no overlap…

    I don’t think you understood the experiment. In the experiment, Wood filtered out the incoming IR from the Sun. Thus, you have no IR coming into the two enclosures. But, the black lining should emit IR, and the IR trapping glass enclosure should therefore become hotter under the Greenhouse hypothesis. It did not, or at least, not significantly. As in the Sun/Earth system, there was no overlap between the incoming and outgoing IR. I’m not hanging my hat on this experimental outcome, just trying to clarify what is being discussed.

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

    “Enough absorbers to do the trick.”

    But, these are two very different systems. The ability to block incoming UV is not a function of the number of molecules, but of their spatial density, which has to be on the order of a wavelength. Back of the envelope calculations based on your numbers show the O3 is distributed densely enough to intercept UV. Is that also true for CO2? I take it for granted it is, but I’d like to see the calculation.

  36. Gail Combs says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

    “The problem is that the Internet has dumbed down the ordinary Joe with its overload of pseudo-science and ignorant crap.”
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Lief it is not the Internet to blame but an educational system that produces “team players” with just enough education to be useful as factory drones… well maybe.

    “For 10 years, William Schmidt, a statistics professor at Michigan State University, has looked at how U.S. students stack up against students in other countries in math and science. “In fourth-grade, we start out pretty well, near the top of the distribution among countries; by eighth-grade, we’re around average, and by 12th-grade, we’re at the bottom of the heap, outperforming only two countries, Cyprus and South Africa.” Source: http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0804/0804textbooks.htm

    “… Surveys of corporations consistently find that businesses are focused outside the U.S. to recruit necessary talent. In a 2002 survey, 16 global corporations complained that American schools did not produce students with global skills. United States companies agreed. The survey found that 30 percent of large U.S. companies “believed they had failed to exploit fully their international business opportunities due to insufficient personnel with international skills.” One respondent to the survey even noted, “If I wanted to recruit people who are both technically skilled and culturally aware, I wouldn’t even waste time looking for them on U.S. college campuses…..

    …the U.S. ranks 21st out of 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in mathematics scores, with nearly one-quarter of students unable to solve the easiest level of questions…. In 2000, 28 percent of all freshmen entering a degree-granting institution required remedial coursework”
    Source: http://www.edreform.com/_upload/CER_JunkFoodDiet.pdf

    The kids in my neighborhood can not even add single digit numbers! At least with the internet they can learn to read, spelling and grammar not so much.

  37. rpielke says:

    Ben – Thank you for your edits! I have made them in my post.

  38. Bart says:
    May 6, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t think you understood the experiment. In the experiment, Wood filtered out the incoming IR from the Sun. Thus, you have no IR coming into the two enclosures. But, the black lining should emit IR, and the IR trapping glass enclosure should therefore become hotter under the Greenhouse hypothesis. It did not, or at least, not significantly. As in the Sun/Earth system, there was no overlap between the incoming and outgoing IR. I’m not hanging my hat on this experimental outcome, just trying to clarify what is being discussed.

    You are right, the experiment had a different purpose. I suppose that the none-outcome was mainly a matter of conduction, which removed most of the heat, not by radiation.

  39. Dave Springer says:

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is correlated with higher temperature in the same way shoe size is correlated with higher income.

    Correlation does not equal causation!

  40. Invariant says:

    I am now reading Climate Confusion (Spencer, 2008) http://amzn.com/1594033455.

    I can confirm that this book is concord with solid Feynman class Physics, and I am happy that Pielke Sr. is in the same ballpark.

    I am looking forward to read The Great Global Warming Blunder (Spencer, 2010) http://amzn.com/1594033730.

  41. PJP says:
    May 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Here is the reference to the experiment done around 1860 by Tyndall, proving that water, CO2, O3 and other gases were “greenhouse” gases (where “greenhouse” is the wrong description…), thus absorbing IR waves. It is not the reference I was looking for, but a similar experiment, where the re-emission of IR by CO2 was measured in a similar upset by measuring the heat radiation above a flame (without radiation of the flame itself) with and without CO2 addition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TyndallsSetupForMeasuringRadiantHeatAbsorptionByGases_annotated.jpg

  42. cba says:

    leif,

    here’s a really peripheral question. It came up recently (at my work) about BB continuum emissions by gases. The general consensus was that gases can emit continuum bb radiation (at reduced rates) and that is how the solar photosphere works (and by inference – something that goes on within the atmosphere. This is of course not my view – at least at lower T values though it’s obvious there is a continuum emitted by the photosphere – and it isn’t just lines with doppler (or pressure – LOL) broadening. With somewhat limited time here, what I think I found was that the ‘continuum’ which is essentially BB in the photosphere is caused by free electrons and formations of things like H- ions (hydrogen with 2x electrons) and not some sort of gas continuum emission from standard atoms & molecules like H, H2, and He – or other trace metals in the photosphere. Also, mutliple scatterings seem to have an impact but I thought the photosphere was not even a complete pathlength for most of the curve.

    Is this correct and if so, where does one find a decent source stating it? Wikipedia and online encyclopedias are not really appreciated and it appears to be beyond the usual modern physics textbooks.

    thanks in advance and appologies if this is too far off topic – but it suggests (assuming I’m wrong and there is a straight continuum emitted) that co2 absorption should have much less of an impact than presumed, even when including particulates, dimers, and cloud tops.

  43. Bart says:

    Phil. says:
    May 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    “No completely wrong, if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on.”

    I think Pauli would disagree with you.

  44. WestHoustonGeo says:

    Quoting Invariant:
    “I can confirm that this book is concord with solid Feynman class Physics”
    Commenting:
    You remind me of my favorite book – “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman”.
    Just imagine what he would have had to say about all this!

  45. Gail Combs says:
    May 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    Lief it is not the Internet to blame but an educational system that produces “team players” with just enough education to be useful as factory drones… well maybe.
    Well, of course, it is primarily the education system [and the US is probably one of the worst among the richer nations]. but afterwards those kids find the Internet and WUWT and find the easier-to-understand [and therefore seductive: "Hey, guess what, even I can understand this stuff, must be right"] pseudo-science as a substitute for the much harder to grasp real science, to wit many posts on this very blog [most of us here know who they are - even if they themselves don't].

    cba says:
    May 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm
    With somewhat limited time here, what I think I found was that the ‘continuum’ which is essentially BB in the photosphere is caused by free electrons and formations of things like H- ions (hydrogen with 2x electrons)
    This is basically correct, but with a twist. The negative H- ions are the cause of the continuum radiation. This was discovered by Wildt in 1938. Until then, the mechanism that is responsible for 95% of the Sun’s radiation was not known. Detailed and difficult quantum mechanical calculation by Chandrasekhar et al. showed that the wavelength dependence and magnitude of the photospheric opacity that the H- ion would have matched the observed photospheric opacity. An opaque body radiates with a continuum spectrum, that is the key. Now H- is formed by the weak electrostatic attachment of a second electron to the nucleus of atomic H, because it is not completely ‘neutral’ as the sole electron does not cancel the proton at all angles around it. The electrons that are attached come from metals such as Na, Mg, and Fe, that have a low ionization potential [that is the twist - and has some implications for stellar evolution because these 'metals' did not exist in very early [old] stars] and are thus ionized even at the low temperatures in the photosphere that is not enough to ionize the H atom. So, bound-free H- absorption makes the dominant contribution to the photospheric absorption in the visible and near-infrared, even though there is only one H- ion per 100 million H neutral H atoms. Contrary to common belief, the photosphere is very weakly ionized [less than seawater, in fact]. At longer wavelengths free-free opacity of Hi dominates. So H- makes the photosphere opaque and hence the continuous spectrum.

  46. Anthony Scalzi says:

    Richard M says:
    May 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    There’s one thing I have been trying to find with little success. We know the increase in CO2 has led to an increase in biomass, both in oceans and on land. This increased biomass then necessarily utilizes energy which can no longer be used to heat the atmosphere. This is clearly a negative feedback. Is there anyway one could determine what percentage of the W/M2 attributed to CO2 increases is utilized by the added biomass?

    This is just a WAG, but perhaps it’s the missing heat rumored to reside in the ocean.

  47. Phil. says:

    Bart says:
    May 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm
    Phil. says:
    May 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    “No completely wrong, if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on.”

    I think Pauli would disagree with you.

    If he did he’d be wrong, but I think you’re the one who’s wrong in this case.

  48. Jon-Anders Grannes says:

    Well after finding out that most of the rural and polar stations are not significantly warmer today than in the 1930s (Jones et al land air temperature anomalies only on a 5° by 5° grid-box basis).

    And that this picture was somewhat radical changed , in time for the IPCC 2007 report, with the HadCRUT3v Land- and Sea-Surface Temperatures data set, and the Climategate, I have simply have problems in beliving in these datasets.

    And the fact that polar regions should warm more than the total global temperature and they dont.

    Is it not then a red herring to ask the Critics to explain scientifically something that most probably is not a scientific fact?

  49. Jörg Schulze says:

    I am missing a reference to the works of Henrik Svensmark, who connects the differences in the sun’s magnetic field, cosmic rays and cloud cover, do you not know that theorie, or do you reject it?
    Together with the works of Nir Shaviv it explains the earth shifting from the state of “snowball earth” to “tropical earth” with no icecaps and back.

  50. cba says:

    Leif,

    that brings another question. This opacity would seem to me to be simply a kirchoff’s law (absorption/emission equality) situation and not some cause of BB emission because it’s opaque. Rather it is indicating sufficient amounts of gas present to provide significant emissions and perhaps scrambled enough to better approximate a BB curve.? Also, do the free electrons play a significant role or only after they are captured into an H- ion? One has the problem in astronomy of the term metals – which can refer to chemical metals like Mg and Fe or they can refer to anything heavy – O, N, C,Si. Your answer seems to indicate periodic table of the elements term metal. If not, this really makes me wonder what one should see looking at a white dwarf or red dwarf remnant from a 1st gen. star that isn’t going to have anything beyond C or O.

  51. Pascvaks says:

    “The answer to Andy’s question from 2005 is an even more clearly No. That is a signficant fraction of the observed warming over the last 50 years is NOT due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”?” Pielke Sr

    The bottom line (above) says it all.
    _____________________

    Ref – Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm
    Gail Combs says:
    May 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    GC- “Lief it is not the Internet to blame but an educational system that produces “team players” with just enough education to be useful as factory drones… well maybe.”
    LS- “Well, of course, it is primarily the education system [and the US is probably one of the worst among the richer nations]. but afterwards those kids find the Internet and WUWT and find the easier-to-understand [and therefore seductive: "Hey, guess what, even I can understand this stuff, must be right"] pseudo-science as a substitute for the much harder to grasp real science, to wit many posts on this very blog [most of us here know who they are - even if they themselves don't].”

    I believe we have a global pandemic and no one seems to care. Alas, when people get to this point they tend to compound the errors they make in daily decision making; radicals proliferate; depression is epidemic; the state assumes more and more control; taxes rise; the value of money falls; industries fail; unemployment skyrockets; colleges and universities cater more to the masses and fail; religion is attacked; divorce rates rise; murders increase; terror becomes more frequent; politicians become more inept; discontent is universal.

    Well, at least, thanks to Pielke Sr. and a few other true scientists, we have something for a few more of the masses to put their teeth into, “It ain’t the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” But this is small potatoes. It will only save a few of the lemmings from running over the cliffs. I guess it really doesn’t matter what infected crazy people yell about, they’re actually driven by something else altogether. Its a crying shame that so many of the ‘elite’ among us have caught this bug before the common folk. Who will save us now?

    PS: The first sign of infection is the claim to be just one of the common folk and screaming “WHO WILL SAVE US NOW?”

  52. cba says:
    May 7, 2010 at 5:24 am
    Also, do the free electrons play a significant role or only after they are captured into an H- ion?
    There is also a [smaller] contribution from free electrons when they pass by a ‘free’ hydrogen atom. The net result of all this is an opacity that is almost independent of wavelength. This is characteristic of a graybody, which the Sun thus seems to be.

    One has the problem in astronomy of the term metals
    In this connection, what is important is whether the ‘metal’ has a low ionization potential [as real metals have].

  53. HR says:

    Seriously OT sorry

    If Roger Pielke is reading this. There seems to be a huge error in
    Recent Variations In Upper Ocean Heat Content – Information From Phil Klotzbach

    “decrease in upper ocean heat content from March to April was 1C”

    the spreadsheet doesn’t indicate that.

  54. Bart says:

    Phil. says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    “If he did he’d be wrong, but I think you’re the one who’s wrong in this case.”

    Of course. What the hell did Bohr and Pauli know about quantum mechanics, anyway?

    “…if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on.”

    That is a mind-boggling stupid statement. Stop digging.

  55. Phil. says:

    Bart says:
    May 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm
    Phil. says:
    May 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    “If he did he’d be wrong, but I think you’re the one who’s wrong in this case.”

    Of course. What the hell did Bohr and Pauli know about quantum mechanics, anyway?

    Plenty, what’s in dispute is your knowledge of quantum mechanics.

    “…if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on.”

    That is a mind-boggling stupid statement. Stop digging.

    Really, so exactly how do you think the upper vibrational levels get populated?

  56. Bart says:

    Phil, the levels are not infinite, and they are not linear. Quit arguing something you know nothing about. I’m embarrassed on your behalf. Here’s a little discussion of the subject. Pay special attention to pages 3 and 16.

  57. Bart says:

    Until you show even a rudimentary understanding of the issue, you will merit no more input from me, so make whatever ignorant follow-up comment you like. I’m done with this thread.

  58. Phil. says:

    Bart says:
    May 8, 2010 at 11:23 am
    Phil, the levels are not infinite, and they are not linear. Quit arguing something you know nothing about. I’m embarrassed on your behalf. Here’s a little discussion of the subject. Pay special attention to pages 3 and 16.

    The only embarrassing part is your demonstrated lack of knowledge on the subject. Your lecture notes from your class are quite basic but don’t refute anything I said. As for “the levels are not infinite, and they are not linear”, I assume that you mean that there aren’t an infinite number of vibrational levels, if so what does that have to do with my statement? Similarly what is meant by “they are not linear” in the context of my remarks? All you have done in this thread is make a couple of remarks which have little relevance to what I posted and without any substantiation!

  59. Bart says:

    Phil. says:
    May 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    “Your lecture notes from your class are quite basic…”

    But, apparently, beyond your level.

    “…don’t refute anything I said.”

    “…if a ground state CO2 molecule absorbs a 667cm^-1 photon it’s promoted to the 010 state, there’s nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 …”

    From the link:“If there are no available quantized energy levels matching the quantum energy of the incident radiation, then the material will be transparent to that radiation.”

    The next energy level corresponds to a 2326cm^-1 wave number. You cannot absorb another 667cm^-1 photon until the associated energy state is free again.

    “…don’t refute anything I said.”

    “I assume that you mean that there aren’t an infinite number of vibrational levels, if so what does that have to do with my statement?

    “…nothing to stop that molecule absorbing another 667cm^-1 photon and being promoted to the 020 state, and so on [ad infinitum].”

    You have no clue. Typical of AGW supporters, you make up the physics to match what you want them to be, and expect to be taken seriously.

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