Al Gore and Bill Nye FAIL at doing a simple CO2 experiment

Replicating Al Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment (from the 24 hour Gore-a-thon) shows that his “high school physics” could never work as advertised

Readers may recall my previous essay where I pointed out how Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 Video, used in his “24 hours of climate reality”, had some serious credibility issues with editing things to make it appear as if they had actually performed the experiment, when they clearly did not. It has taken me awhile to replicate the experiment. Delays were a combination of acquisition and shipping problems, combined with my availability since I had to do this on nights and weekends. I worked initially using the original techniques and equipment, and I’ve replicated the Climate 101 experiment in other ways using improved equipment. I’ve compiled several videos. My report follows.

First. as a refresher, here’s the Climate 101 video again:

I direct your attention to the 1 minute mark, lasting through 1:30, where the experiment is presented.

And here’s my critique of it: Video analysis and scene replication suggests that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project fabricated their Climate 101 video “Simple Experiment”

The most egregious faked presentation in that video was the scene with the split screen thermometers, edited to appear as if the temperature in the jar of elevated CO2 level was rising faster than the jar without elevated CO2 level.

It turns out that the thermometers were never in the jar recording the temperature rise presented in the split screen and the entire presentation was nothing but stagecraft and editing.

This was proven beyond a doubt by the photoshop differencing technique used to compare each side of the split screen. With the exception of the moving thermometer fluid, both sides were identical.

difference process run at full resolution – click to enlarge

Exposing this lie to the viewers didn’t set well with some people, include the supposed “fairness” watchdogs over at Media Matters, who called the analysis a “waste of time”. Of course it’s only a “waste of time” when you prove their man Gore was faking the whole thing, otherwise they wouldn’t care. Personally I consider it a badge of honor for them to take notice because they usually reserve such vitriol for high profile news they don’t like, so apparently I have “arrived”.

The reason why I took so much time then to show this chicanery was Mr. Gore’s pronouncement in an interview the day the video aired.

His specific claim was:

“The deniers claim that it’s some kind of hoax and that the global scientific community is lying to people,” he said. “It’s not a hoax, it’s high school physics.” - Al Gore in an interview with MNN 9/14/2011

So easy a high school kid can do it. Right?

Bill Nye, in his narration at 0:48 in the video says:

You can replicate this effect yourself in a simple lab experiment, here’s how.

…and at 1:10 in the video Nye says:

Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.

So, I decided to find out if that was true and if anyone could really replicate that claim, or if this was just more stagecraft chicanery. I was betting that nobody on Gore’s production team actually did this experiment, or if they did do it, it wasn’t successful, because otherwise, why would they have to fake the results in post production?

The split screen video at 1:17, a screencap of which is a few paragraphs above shows a temperature difference of 2°F. Since Mr. Gore provided no other data, I’ll use that as the standard to meet for a successful experiment.

The first task is to get all the exact same equipment. Again, since Mr. Gore doesn’t provide anything other than the video, finding all of that took some significant effort and time. There’s no bill of materials to work with so I had to rely on finding each item from the visuals. While I found the cookie jars and oral thermometers early on, finding the lamp fixtures, the heat lamps for them, the CO2 tank and the CO2 tank valve proved to be more elusive. Surprisingly, the valve turned out to be the hardest of all items to locate, taking about two weeks from the time I started searching to the time I had located it, ordered it and it arrived. The reason? It isn’t called a valve, but rather a “In-Line On/Off Air Adapter”. Finding the terminology was half the battle. Another surprise was finding that the heat lamps and fixtures were for lizards and terrariums and not some general purpose use. Fortunately the fixtures and lamps were sold together by the same company. While the fixtures supported up to 150 watts, Mr. Gore made no specification on bulb type or wattage, so I chose the middle of the road 100 watt bulbs from the 50, 100, and 150 watt choices available.

I believe that I have done due diligence (as much as possible given no instructions from Gore) and located all the original equipment to accurately replicate the experiment as it was presented. Here’s the bill of materials and links to suppliers needed to replicate Al Gore’s experiment as it is shown in the Climate 101 video:

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BILL OF MATERIALS

QTY 2 Anchor Hocking Cookie Jar with Lid

http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=187543

QTY2 Geratherm Oral Thermometer Non-Mercury http://www.pocketnurse.com/Geratherm-Oral-Thermometer-Non-Mercury/productinfo/06-74-5826/

QTY 2 Globe Coin Bank
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150661053386

QTY 2 Fluker`s Repta Clamp-Lamp with Ceramic Sockets for Terrariums (max 150 watts, 8 1/2 Inch Bulb) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fluker-s-Repta-Clamp-Lamp-150-watts-8-1-2-Inch-Bulb-/200663082632

QTY2 Zoo Med Red Infrared Heat Lamp 100W
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200594870618

QTY1 Empire – Pure Energy – Aluminum Co2 Tank – 20 oz
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190563856367

QTY 1 RAP4 In-Line On/Off Air Adapter
http://www.rap4.com/store/paintball/rap4-in-line-on-off-air-adapter

QTY 1 flexible clear plastic hose, 48″ in length, from local Lowes hardware to fit RAP4 In-Line On/Off Air Adapter above.

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Additionally, since Mr. Gore never actually proved that CO2 had been released from the CO2 paintball tank into one of the jars, I ordered a portable CO2 meter for just that purpose:

It has a CO2 metering accuracy of: ± 50ppm ±5% reading value. While not laboratory grade, it works well enough to prove the existence of elevated CO2 concentrations in one of the jars. It uses a non-dispersive infrared diffusion sensor (NDIR) which is self calibrating, which seems perfect for the job.

carbon dioxide temperature humidity monitorData Sheet

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Once I got all of the equipment in, the job was to do some testing to make sure it all worked. I also wanted to be sure the two oral thermometers were calibrated such they read identically. For that, I prepared a water bath to conduct that experiment.

CAVEAT: For those that value form over substance, yes these are not slick professionally edited videos like Mr. Gore presented. They aren’t intended to be. They ARE intended to be a complete, accurate, and most importantly unedited record of the experimental work I performed. Bear in mind that while Mr. Gore has million$ to hire professional studios and editors, all I have is a consumer grade video camera, my office and my wits. If I were still working in broadcast television, you can bet I would have done this in the TV studio.

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STEP 1 Calibrate the Oral Thermometers

Here’s my first video showing how I calibrated the oral thermometers, which is very important if you want to have an accurate experimental result.

Note that the two thermometers read 98.1°F at the conclusion of the test, as shown in this screencap from my video @ about 5:35:

STEP 2 Calibrate the Infrared Thermometer

Since I plan to make use of an electronic Infrared thermometer in these experiments, I decided to calibrate it against the water bath also. Some folks may see this as unnecessary, since it is pre-calibrated, but I decided to do it anyway. It makes for interesting viewing

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STEP 3 Demonstrate how glass blocks IR using  the Infrared Thermometer

The way an actual greenhouse works is by trapping infrared radiation. Glass is transparent to visible light, but not to infrared light, as we see below.

Image from: greenhousesonline.com.au

Mr. Gore was attempting to demonstrate this effect in his setup, but there’s an obvious problem: he used infrared heat lamps rather than visible light lamps. Thus, it seems highly likely that the glass jars would block the incoming infrared, and convert it to heat. That being the case, the infrared radiative backscattering effect that makes up the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere couldn’t possibly be demonstrated here in the Climate 101 video.

By itself, that would be enough to declare the experiment invalid, but not only will I show the problem of the experimental setup being flawed, I’ll go to full on replication.

Using the warm water bath and the infrared thermometer, it becomes easy to demonstrate this effect.

Since Mr. Gore’s experiment used infrared heat lamps illuminating two glass jars, I decided to test that as well:

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STEP 4 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using the same equipment – duration of 10 minutes

At 1:10 in the Climate 101 video narrator Bill Nye the science guy says:

Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.

Since this is “simple high school physics” according to Mr. Gore, this should be a cinch to replicate. I took a “within minutes” from the narration to be just that, so I tried an experiment with 10 minutes of duration. I also explain the experimental setup and using the CO2 meter prove that CO2 is in fact injected into Jar “B”. My apologies for the rambling dialog, which wasn’t scripted, but explained as I went along. And, the camera work is one-handed while I’m speaking and setting up the experiment, so what it lacks in production quality it makes up in reality.

You’ll note that after 10 minutes, it appears there was no change in either thermometer. Also, remember these are ORAL thermometers, which hold the reading (so you can take it out of your mouth and hand it to mom and ask “can I stay home from school today”?). So for anyone concerned about the length of time after I turned off the lamps, don’t be. In order to reset the thermometers you have to shake them to force the liquid back down into the bulb.

Here’s the screencaps of the two thermometer readings from Jar A and B:

Clearly, 10 minutes isn’t enough time for the experiment to work. So let’s scratch off the idea from narration of “a few minutes” and go for a longer period:

RESULT: No change, no difference in temperature. Nothing near the 2°F rise shown in the video. Inconclusive.

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STEP 5 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using the same equipment – duration of 30 minutes

Ok, identical setup as before, the only difference is time, the experiment runs 30 minutes long. I’ve added a digital timer you can watch as the experiment progresses.

And here are the screencaps from the video above of the results:

RESULT: slight rise and difference in temperature 97.4°F for Jar “A” Air, and 97.2°F for Jar “B” CO2. Nothing near the 2°F rise shown in the video.

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STEP 6 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment, using digital logging thermometer – duration of 30 minutes

In this experiment, I’m substituting the liquid in glass oral thermometers with some small self contained battery powered digital logging thermometers with LCD displays.

This model:

Details here

Specification Sheet / Manual
USB-2-LCD+ Temperature Datalogger

I used two identical units in the experiment replication:

And here are the results graphed by the application that comes with the datalogger. Red is Temperature, Blue is Humidity, Green is dewpoint

The graphs are automatically different vertical scales and thus can be a bit confusing, so I’ve take the raw data for each and graphed temperature only:

After watching my own video, I was concerned that maybe I was getting a bit of a direct line of the visible portion of the heat lamp into the sensor housing onto the thermistor, since they were turned on their side. So I ran the experiment again with the dataloggers mounted vertically in paper cups to ensure the thermistors were shielded from any direct radiation at any wavelength. See this video:

Both runs of the USB datalogger are graphed together below:

RESULTS:

Run 1 slight rise and difference in temperature 43.5°C for Jar “A” Air with Brief pulse to 44°C , and 43.0°C for Jar “B” CO2.

Run 2 had an ended with a 1°C difference, with plain air in Jar A being warmer than Jar “B with CO2.

Jar “A” Air temperature led Jar “B” CO2 during the entire experiment on both runs

The datalogger output files are available here:

JarA Air only run1.txt  JarB CO2 run1.txt

JarA Air only run2.txt JarB CO2 run2.txt

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STEP 7 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using a high resolution NIST calibrated digital logging thermometer – duration of 30 minutes

In this experiment I use a high resolution (0.1F resolution) and NIST calibrated data logger with calibrated probes. Data was collected over my LAN to special software. This is the datalogger model:

Data sheet: Model E Series And the software used to log data is described here

Here’s the experiment:

I had to spend a lot of time waiting for the Jar “B” probe to come to parity with Jar “A” due to the cooling effect of the CO2 I introduced. As we all know, when a gas expands it cools, and that’s exactly what happens to CO2 released under pressure. You can see the effect early in the flat area of the graph below.

Here’s the end result screencap real-time graphing software used in the experiment, click the image to expand the graph full size.

RESULTS:

Peak value Jar A with air  was at 18:04 117.3°F

Peak value Jar B with CO2 was at 18:04 116.7°F

Once again, air led CO2 through the entire experiment.

Note that I allowed this experiment to go through a cool down after I turned off the Infrared heat lamps, which is the slope after the peak. Interestingly, while Jar “A” (probe1 in green) with Air, led Jar “B” (Probe 2 in red) with CO2, the positions reversed shortly after the lamps turned off.

The CO2 filled jar was now losing heat slower than the plain air jar, even though plain air Jar “A” had warmed slightly faster than the CO2 Jar “B”.

Here’s the datalogger output files for each probe:

Climate101-replication-Probe01-(JarA – Air).csv

Climate101-replication-Probe02-(JarB – CO2).csv

Climate101-replication-Probe03-(Ambient Air).csv

What could explain this reversal after the lamps were turned off? The answer is here at the Engineer’s Edge in the form of this table:

Heat Transfer Table of Content

This chart gives the thermal conductivity of gases as a function of temperature.

Unless otherwise noted, the values refer to a pressure of 100 kPa (1 bar) or to the saturation vapor pressure if that is less than 100 kPa.

The notation P = 0 indicates the low pressure limiting value is given. In general, the P = 0 and P = 100 kPa values differ by less than 1%.

Units are milliwatts per meter kelvin.

Note the values for Air and for CO2 that I highlighted in the 300K column. 300K is 80.3°F.

Air is a better conductor of heat than CO2.

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So, here is what I think is going on with Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 experiment.

  1. As we know, the Climate101 video used infrared heat lamps
  2. The glass cookie jars chosen don’t allow the full measure of infrared from the lamps to enter the center of the jar and affect the gas. I showed this two different ways with the infrared camera in videos above.
  3. During the experiments, I showed the glass jars heating up using the infrared camera. Clearly they were absorbing the infrared energy from the lamps.
  4. The gases inside the jars, air and pure CO2 thus had to be heated by secondary heat emission from the glass as it was being heated. They were not absorbing infrared from the lamps, but rather heat from contact with the glass.
  5. Per the engineering table, air is a better conductor of heat than pure CO2, so it warms faster, and when the lamps are turned off, it cools faster.
  6. The difference value of 2°F shown in the Climate 101 video split screen was never met in any of the experiments I performed.
  7. The condition stated in the Climate 101 video of “Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.” was not met in any of the experiments I performed. In fact it was exactly the opposite. Air consistently warmed faster than CO2.
  8. Thus, the experiment as designed by Mr. Gore does not show the greenhouse effect as we know it in our atmosphere, it does show how heat transfer works and differences in heat transfer rates with different substances, but nothing else.

Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 experiment is falsified, and could not work given the equipment he specified. If they actually tried to perform the experiment themselves, perhaps this is why they had to resort to stagecraft in the studio to fake the temperature rise on the split screen thermometers.

The experiment as presented by Al Gore and Bill Nye “the science guy” is a failure, and not representative of the greenhouse effect related to CO2 in our atmosphere. The video as presented, is not only faked in post production, the premise is also false and could never work with the equipment they demonstrated. Even with superior measurement equipment it doesn’t work, but more importantly, it couldn’t work as advertised.

The design failure was the glass cookie jar combined with infrared heat lamps.

Gore FAIL.

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UPDATE: 4PM PST Some commenters are taking away far more than intended from this essay. Therefore I am repeating this caveat I posted in my first essay where I concentrated on the video editing and stagecraft issues:

I should make it clear that I’m not doubting that CO2 has a positive radiative heating effect in our atmosphere, due to LWIR re-radiation, that is well established by science. What I am saying is that Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project did a poor job of demonstrating an experiment, so poor in fact that they had to fabricate portions of the presentation, and that the experiment itself (if they actually did it, we can’t tell) would show a completely different physical mechanism than what actually occurs in our atmosphere.

No broader take away (other than the experiment was faked and fails) was intended, expressed or implied – Anthony

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152 thoughts on “Al Gore and Bill Nye FAIL at doing a simple CO2 experiment

  1. from their web site a reply – did you notice this already? Who is right?
    “Response to Watt’s Up

    By Bill Nye | Published: November 14, 2011 – 9:31 pm

    O my friends, I have received numerous messages asking about the voice-over I did for the Climate Reality Project. My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that I’ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)

    The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well. One of our strident climate change deniers seized on their corner cutting and showed their demonstration didn’t demonstrate anything. I considered this part of healthy discourse: people cut corners; they got called on it and taken to task. Since it was my voice, I was considered to be a co-conspirator in the plot to fool the world into believing that our climate is changing. That’s reasonable in its way.

    The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When I’ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results.

    As the famous Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston remarked, “One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.” Try it; try your own version, and see if you measure a temperature difference.

    One thing to note though, the guy who called us out on this drew an incorrect conclusion, or he made an erroneous claim. He says any change would have been caused by “… a completely different physical mechanism than actually occurs in our atmosphere…” That’s wrong. It is this mechanism. The model has to be set up properly. Keep in mind that our troposphere is several dozen kilometers thick, and it doesn’t comprise pure carbon dioxide. This is a model, a demonstration. Real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex.

    Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.

  2. Applause!

    Keep up the good work. How can 3% (=man-made) of 0,039% (=total amount of CO2 in air) warm the earth? Its impossible. Co2 is about banking and total control. In fact about selling air to stupid ppl and phoney governments.
    I am more worried about the loss of Oxygen by burning all those fuels.
    Less oxygen makes ppl more sick, tired/lazy/drugged and dumb. Oxygen generates 97% of all the energy of animal creatures like us. You can live days without water and weeks without food.
    You can’t live 5 minutes without oxygen. Some say that in the ancient times there was 35% oxygen in the air. Now its ~20%. If its true or not, why do we never hear or see this kind of data?

    Animals are MUCH smaller these days than 65 million years ago. Is that because the lack of oxygen? Or because there was much more CO2 in the air? Or both?

    But.. you mention the AG video 101. There is something with that number: ‘101’.

    I forgot what. Kind of (secret) code? No time at the moment to look it up but it’s somewhere in the next video. Sorry, its a bit long… and bit over the top …but also interesting in a way.

  3. I wonder if Mr. Nye has considered what he may be seeing in his results is attributable to the gas’ Specific Heat?
    The relevant formula is
    Q=Cp*m*dT
    Where Q = the amount of heat required to change the temperature of a gas delta T or dT. “m” is the mass. The specific heat of the atmosphere (Cp) is approximately 1.01 KJ/KgK and that of CO2 is 0.84 KJ/KgK. Therefore if the energies, Q, going into the systems are the same (remember identical heat lamps?), and the mass of the system is the same (identical jars, etc.) then the lower the specific heat of the gas involved the greater the temperature change or dT.

  4. “The way an actual greenhouse works is by trapping infrared radiation. Glass is transparent to visible light, but not to infrared light, as we see below.”

    Ummm… Doesn’t a greenhouse works mainly by preventing convection rather than by the “greenhouse effect”?

  5. Sorry, I expressed myself poorly. I shouldn’t have called it the “greenhouse effect”. I first thought of saying “the greenhouse analogue of the greenhouse effect”, but realised that would be a bit confusing.

    What I meant to ask was “doesn’t a greenhouse work mainly by preventing convection rather than by trapping infrared radiation?”

  6. Oops! “work” rather than “works”, obviously. Sorry, I’m really not with it, at the moment, but I thought I ought to mention the convection vs trapping infra-red issue.

  7. So Bill Nye says “Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.”
    How does this reconcile with the US met data which says there has been no global warming since 1997 and the models look like being fundamentally flawed?: Refer: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

  8. Al Gore never learned that correlation doesn’t equal causation. I love his famous hockey stick graph which supposedly shows that CO2 rises and then temps. and then when you research the study they got their data from you learn that it was in fact the opposite, that temps rose first and then CO2 levels rose. I don’t debate climate change, we know for a fact that the earths climate naturally shifts from time to time…what I do debate is anthropogenic climate change that states it’s only happening because of us parasitic humans. Same people that believe in Darwin and natural selection but won’t let endangered species die off…uhhh, isn’t that part of natural selection?
    Its comical…

  9. Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.

    That in itself is questionable when the probable inaccuracy in the measurements is an order of magnitude greater than the differences measured. What is more important is that no one seems to be interested in looking at the detail. When you look at the temperature anomaly maps on the NASA site, particularly the sea ones it shows clearly that the temperature of the earth is on average reducing if it was not for highly localised hot spots that appear in the near polar regions.
    If the warming is caused by CO2 how is this localised transfer of 5 degrees above the ambient achieved? This is especially strange when once it arrives at the surface it manages to disperse to lower temperature wider areas as one would expect and no longer constrain itself in the same way.

  10. In response to Bonta Phillip – did you read the paper the article was referring to? Apparently not as if you had you would be aware that the MET office (UK not US) did and took the unusual step of issuing a statement highlighting their concern at the Mail’s misrepresentation of the paper. For your consideration here is a link to the paper;

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011JD017013.shtml

    and also the MET office Statement:

    https://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/

    regards

  11. I suspect that Bill Nye’s experiments did show the reading in the CO2 vessel as higher. Bill tells us that he did not clutter his containers with little extras so we can assume he simply popped a thermometer in each vessel. I suspect the long wave IR was filtered by the glass in the bulb and the vessel. Thus the atmosphere in each vessel did very little absorbing of the light energy. BUT the thermometers likely did absorb the energy and likely would have shown a similar increase in temperature had the vessels contained a vacuum. But since the air has nearly twice the thermal conductivity as the CO2 it simply removed the heat from the thermometer faster in the Air vessel. This explanation allows both Bill Nye and Anthony to be correct in their observations. But it would appear the CO2 acted as an insulator of the thermometer rather than absorbing the infrared energy and it is primarily the thermometer doing the energy absorbing rather than the CO2 gas.

    To test this explanation you can add a vessel of H2 or He gas. The He is safer and available at many Scuba shops. The thermometer in the He or H2 should not heat as fast as the CO2 or Air thermometers and the ratios should follow the thermal conductivity shown in the chart. Now there is a science project. If using H2 I suggest being aware of ignition sources, keep the vessels small and use safety goggles. A quick look in a ChemPhysHandbook should underscore the wide range of H2 to O2 mixtures that are ignitable.

  12. I don’t know, I think that a vessel with higher CO2 actually should warm up faster under IR. I don’t know why it didn’t warm up faster in Anthony’s experiments. Perhaps the IR source was not high enough intensity or warming of objects other than the air dominated the effect of air content.

    The interesting thing about this experiment is that over the long term the two jars should reach the same equilibrium temperature even though they have different CO2 concentration. The additional IR should warm the gas in each chamber, because each chamber has ability to absorb IR, but the chamber containing more CO2 should reach equilibrium temperature faster, which is why the transient effect would be jar B leading jar A as the temperature rises.

    Like I said, the two jars should eventually reach the same equilibrium temperature. Then when you turn off the lamp jar B should also cool down faster. The take away is that the co2 should cause greater responsiveness of the gas temperature to changes in IR flux.

    I agree with Anthony that this experiment does not demonstrate the mechanism whereby greenhouse gases warm the earth. You can just as easily demonstrate that CO2 will increase the rate of cooling with this experiment.

  13. This is essentially an indoor version of Wood’s Experiment of 1909, which was said to prove that greenhouses trap solar heat principally through lack of convection, not through IR blocking.

    Wood’s Experiment has been repeated by at least two modern experimenters, and interestingly, they disagree about the outcome. Vaughan Pratt of Stanford reckons that Wood was wrong and that the box with a far-infrared blocking window material gets significantly hotter. Meanwhile, Nasif Nahle finds the opposite, that IR-blocking material actually prevents some of the Sun’s rays from entering the box, causing marginally slower warming than in the box with the IR-transparent window.

    Nahle’s experimental method seems to be by far the more meticulous, and on that basis I’m inclined to accept his findings in preference to Pratt’s. Though, I do find it perplexing that that no agreement can be reached within the scientific community over the results of so simple, so easily repeated a test. If no agreement can be reached even on this, what trust can be placed in more complex forms of climate science?

    http://boole.stanford.edu/WoodExpt/

    http://principia-scientific.org/publications/Experiment_on_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

  14. There are some very substantial problems with this experiment. First, they are using an infrared lamp; second the amount of CO2 in the ‘atmosphere’ in the bottle is substantially greater than the amount in the earth’s atmosphere; and finally, the gases are not acting as the atmosphere, the glass of the bottle is.
    The gases in the atmosphere absorb the radiant energy from the sun based on the wavelength of the radiant energy and convert that to heat energy. Carbon Dioxide is most effective at absorbing infrared wavelength light and converting it to heat energy. By using an infrared lamp and a CO2 atmosphere they have magnified the amount of heat produced compared to Earth’s atmosphere by a huge margin. Finally, the heat energy produced from the absorption by the gases in the atmosphere is radiated out from the atmosphere in all directions, with more than half of that heat energy being directed out to space. The glass of the bottle prevents that heat from being radiated out and traps it in the bottle thus causing an extra temperature rise.
    These so-called scientists should be ashamed of how they conduct experiments – this particular experiment only shows that a CO2 saturated atmosphere is more effective at absorbing infrared radiation and converting it to heat energy than the regular atmosphere, it does not demonstrate that AGW is a threat or even if it is occurring.

  15. Good work. Thanks from a non-scientist for making the effort.

    Suggest that your challenge Bill Nye to get in the same room with you and conduct his experiment to prove his result with complete transparency and advance agreement about how the experiment is set up.

    In fact, why not agree with each other as to the setup and then conduct it with both of you together and an agreement that the results will speak for themselves.

    I doubt, however, that Bill Nye will rise to such a challenge.

    Dwight Oglesby

  16. So after all this do you think that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that increases the temperature of the atmosphere?

  17. Sorry – didn’t read your update. So you agree CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Then the next question is do you think that CO2 introduced by humans is contributing to the warming of the planet and therefore global climate change?

  18. But glass (or other material ) greenhouses or your car parked in the sun for that matter “heat up” by trapping the heated air that would otherwise convect away into the free atmosphere and be replaced by cooler air. Professor Wood’s 1909 experiment, replicated by Professor Nahle, clearly demonstrated a few things

    – the solar radiation contains significant IR which glass blocks; and,
    – the increase in temperature by “trapping” of IR in a heated glasshouse cannot be measured whilst there is a clear effect by preventing convection to the free atmosphere.

    Note that these say nothing about absorbing or emission of IR by gases which I do not dispute BUT it is a fact that all things radiatedependent on their temperature and therefore the vast bulk of the atmosphere must radiate IR yet this 99% of the atmosphere is ignored where the “backradiation” of greenhouse gases is considered – it just doesn’t make sense to me that less than, at the most, a few percent of the atmosphere can be responsible for all the IR – the vast bulk of the atmosphere is not at absolute zero after all.

  19. The atmosphere around the real Earth is not glass … The direct heat from the Sun is what reaches us and heats us up, land and oceans and us. This has been taken out of the AGWScienceFiction energy budget. You’ve left out the direct heat from the Sun which can actually physically really heat matter and substituted shortwave visible light from the Sun, which can’t.

    This is so totally ludicrous it’s beyond a joke.

  20. As noted before Bitskeptic, human emissions are just 3% of 0.039% of total atmospheric CO2. That’s just 0.00117%. No wonder they can’t find the anthropogenic signal amongst the natural noise.

    Any actual warming would be arising from the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI), where roads and building retain heat for longer, but that escapes into space on a clear night. Notice how cities always have a higher overnight temp forecast? But that’s only localised. Out in the city fringes and the prairies, temps aren’t really affected at all.

    Note that the Earth having a total area of 510,072,000 km2 and (from what I could gather – somebody correct me because I couldn’t find the exact figure), around 300,000 km2 of global city area that’s capable of measurable UHI, I doubt there’s a problem.

  21. Meant to say earlier that I am pleased Anthony approached this as a clear, concise and repeatable experiment.

    He has clearly summed up the situation correctly – the IR lamps primarily heat the glass jars which conduct heat to the gases therein – the gases did not heat substantially by absorption of IR which the glass blocks effectively.

    Why didn’t Gore and his “expert” forsee this basic criticism and use a different heating method ?

    Wood’s 1909 experiment showed almost no temperature effect by the glass box “trapping” IR compared to the rock salt box which passes IR at ~100% at the temperatures reached – the consequence of this is that the surface heats the atmosphere primarily by conduction and convection – radiation effects were not measurable.

    It seems inconceivable to me that the Earth’s surface, heated by the Solar radiation, predominantly heats the atmosphere by radiating to greenhouse gases which then spread the heat around (which must be kinetic energy as the bulk of the atmosphere doesn’t appreciably absorb IR) – I simply do not believe this and Professor Wood demonstrated this.

    Obviously radiation to space is the only method of removing energy from the atmosphere.

  22. I’m surprised the temperature profiles in the two jars were so close, given the potential manufacturing differences in the bulbs and the jars (the glass is not going to be uniform in thickness, among other things). There are so many ways the experiment could have been faked, but it’s pretty clear the thermometers were not in the jars when the video was running. Using a 50W bulb for one jar and a 150W bulb for the other would be an easy way to fake it in a “live” test. Realistically, the conditions for both jars were not the same: both should have had tubing running into them, so that both were open to “the atmosphere” and both should have had identical temperature gas running into them. A better solution is to have proper laboratory jars that allow hoses to be attached so that there could be no uncontrolled leakage.

    Nye’s response is interesting, if you can put up with/get past the rhetoric. He provides some interesting bits of information:
    1) He acknowledges that Team Gore made up their own experiment, and lists numerous failings of it.
    2) He notes that in his own experiments he used a “bright hot lamp” though he doesn’t indicate if it’s an IR or visible light lamp. A hot bulb radiating heat is likely to cause the jars to heat to some degree, which will complicate the issue.
    3) Nye also acknowledges that such experiments are grand simplifications of the real atmosphere, models of which “are astonishingly complex.”
    4) Nye encourages people to make up their own model and see what happens. That’s all fine and dandy, but that’s where Team Gore went wrong in the first place: they made up their own experiment and botched it, but then said their results were valid…

    In many ways, Nye provides good evidence that he is above the fray, but it’s hard to get to that point after he shows his apparent true colors as he refers at the very top to “one of our strident climate change deniers.” And to think I actually let my children watch his show when they were young…

  23. Actually, this whole concept of a green house like effect surrounding the earth like a pane of glass is a ludicrous attempt to present a vision in children’s heads and I well imagine many adults also believe this. The question is, when was the last time anyone was able to “capture” anything with a gas? That this ubiquitous, odorless, colorless, and benign trace gas essential for life on earth, CO2, that is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere (maybe there is intelligent design after all because everything that utilizes CO2 is on the surface of the earth) and be reminded that it constitutes only .037% of the total atmosphere of our planet can have basically anything to do with the earth’s climate can not and never will be shown by ANY experiment to do so.

    That H2O is what causes the green house effect should be realized by anyone that has ever noticed that the coldest nights of the winter occur when there is no cloud cover and this is why the deserts can get to 130*F during the day and freezing at night, no cloud cover.

    Carbon dioxide is one and one half times heavier than “air”. This point was sadly proven on Aug, 21, 1986 when Lake Nyor in Cameroon released about 1.6 million tons of CO2 that spilled over the lip of the lake and down into a valley and killed 1,700 people within 16 miles of the lake. “Carbon dioxide, being about 1.5 times as dense as air, caused the cloud to “hug” the ground and descend down the valleys where various villages were located. The mass was about 50 metres (164 ft) thick and it travelled downward at a rate of 20–50 kilometres (12–31 mi) per hour. For roughly 23 kilometres (14 mi) the cloud remained condensed and dangerous, suffocating many of the people sleeping in Nyos,Kam,Cha,andSubum.
    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…

    This coincides with the above fact about CO2:
    ppm of CO2 with altitude and mass of CO2 in atmosphere to 8520 metres beyond which there is practically no CO2

    http://greenparty.ca/blogs/169/2009-01-03/ppm-co2-altitude-and-mass-co2-atmosphere-8520-metres-beyond-which-there-practic

    (It is strange that I happened on this above at the Green Party of Canada’s site)

    There are some obsessed with the supposed increase of 280 ppm to 392ppm of CO2 and I hope that this information will help them to sleep better at nights.
    This, I hope, will put this into some kind of a perspective that makes one understand just how insignificant this increase is.
    A part per million is like 1 drop of ink in a large
    kitchen sink.
    A large kitchen sink is about 13-14 gallons. There
    are 100 drops in one teaspoon, and 768 teaspoons
    per gallon.
    Some other things that are one part per million are…
    One drop in the fuel tank of a mid-sized car
    One inch in 16 miles
    About one minute in two years
    One car in a line of bumper-to-bumper traffic from
    Cleveland to San Francisco.
    One penny in $10,000.
    I know that you understand that these 112 additional ppm are spread out over this 16 miles in different one inch segments and wouldn’t it be a task to be told to sort out the 392 pennies from the number that it would take to make up $10,000.
    At 392 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
     
    Let’s picture this in another way to really get an idea of the scale of CO2 compared to the total atmosphere. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is 324 metres high (1063ft). If the hight of the Eiffel Tower represented the total size of the atmosphere then the natural level of CO2 would be 8.75 centimetres of that hight (3.4 inches) and the amount added by humans up until today would be an extra 3.76 centimetres (1.5 inches)

    http://a-sceptical-mind.com/co2-the-basic-facts

  24. I don’t know why folks like Jdouglashuahin are hung up on the “minute” quantities of CO2. Forcing mechanisms are often absolutely small but can have huge effects when their relative size changes dramatically; and a doubling in quantity is huge. I ask him: If you were forced at gunpoint to either drink a glass of water “A” that has one drop of arsenic in it, or “B” that has two drops — which would you chose?
    Sine the author here acknowledges the radiative forcing effects of CO2 (and all the naysayers who responded should reread his acknowledgement before posting their congratulations), who cares what happens in a glass jar? It might be entertaining to see Bill Nye try to demonstrate his experiment, but the bottom line (once again, acknowledged by the author) is that they’re just straw men in this debate.

  25. I wonder if there’s any utility in taking two sets of concentric transparent latex balloons and filling the outer one with atmospheric air, and filling the other one with atmospheric air at 500ppm CO2. The inner balloons of each concentric latex balloon set could be opaque, and represent the Earth. Assuming no leaks occur, and letting both concentric balloon sets reach thermal equilibrium, place them both outside in direct Sunlight. Check the outside diameters of each concentric balloon set over time. I would expect that if CO2 content drives temperature, then in a given time period, the concentric balloon that has 500ppm CO2 in its outer balloon should have a larger outside diameter. The scale and the volumes of atmospheric air and of CO2 is important in order to detect a noticeable outside balloon diameter difference. That’s just my intuition there. Also, try this experiement using Methane gas instead of CO2. We know that Methane gas has been claimed to be a much more terrible greenhouse gas than CO2.

    Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources.

    So, it is hoped that in doing this, greenhouse gas content (ppm) should affect the rate of expansion of the outer balloon in the concentric balloon set. It’s a tricky demo, and may or may not be definitive. Just a thought experiment for me at this time.

  26. I Am not a science guy but I always suspected that the idea of Co2 heating the Earth is
    just another means to reach the goal of the Georgia Guide Stones. Meanwhile I pay my ever increasing carbon tax’s and hydro bills here in BC Canada. I wonder if there will ever be courts proceedings for fraud or even mass genocide on this matter.
    Question – How did people farm on Greenland in 1000 BC when it is presently covered in ice? This fact tells me that the climate is always changing and that we should be more worried about global cooling.

  27. This is The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change and you can’t miss the fact that an example of global warming alarmist prophecy — Arctic Sea Ice Nearly Disappears September 22nd, 2012 (1 month to go) — will soon be falsified and yet Leftists’ refusal to admit that people like Mann and Gore are charlatans is not recognized as abnormal social behavior is evidence of a dysfunctional society.

  28. Looks like Gores & Nye’s experiment is a Misrepresentation.
    Their Thermometers were obviously fudged post-production.
    The video of Gore & Nye, constitues then a Criminal Offence.

    Under US Law Title 18 U.S.C. , § 1343 (Wire Fraud) – Provides that :
    “Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

    When will some D.A. take action
    and indict Gore, or Nye, or both ?

  29. I offered up several examples of why the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the example that CO2 is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere to show that it has basically no influence on the earth’s climate and I get some asinine comment about being given a choice of drinking arsenic from a glass. Where is the connection, one might ask? I attempted to demonstrate just how insignificant one ppm is but it seems to have gone over Stan’s head.
    A part per million is like 1 drop of ink in a large
    kitchen sink.
    A large kitchen sink is about 13-14 gallons. There
    are 100 drops in one teaspoon, and 768 teaspoons
    per gallon.
    One inch in 16 miles
    About one minute in two years

    I use to live in Fairbanks, AK where there is naturally occurring arsenic in well water.
    “Following the discovery of high concentrations of arsenic (up to 10,000 μg/liter) In the well water of a residential area near Fairbanks, Alaska, an epidemiologic study was undertaken in September, 1976, to assess exposure, absorption, and clinical sequelae of chronic arsenic ingestion.”

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/108/5/377.abstract

    Below is what REAL scientist do, they devise experiments and conduct them to either prove or disprove their theories and anthropogenic global warming has not even evolved to that level of being a theory because it is still just a hypothesis.
    “Svensmark: Evidence continues to build that the Sun drives climate, not CO2″

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/svensmark-evidence-continues-to-build.html

    More sunspots, less cosmic rays, warmer earth. During the last 50 years or so, there have been record numbers of sunspots, low cosmic ray fluxes and somewhat higher temperatures. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.504.html

    “For the first time, we want to do definitive, quantitative measurements of the underlying microphysics”, states Kirkby.

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/journal/CERNBulletin/2009/47/News%20Articles/1221077?ln=de

    This New York Times site is interesting because it shows just how much of the earth is cloud covered.
    “One Year of Clouds Covering the Earth ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/01/science/earth/0501-clouds.html

  30. Some thoughts about the video:
    -The author is listed as ‘reality’. This seems to be a banner word in one camp – think realclimate, or the idea that ‘deniers’ are those who refuse to awknowledge a truth apparent. If their opposition can be said to rally behind one label, it would probably be ‘audit’. For an auditer, it is not important to generate anything entertaining or thought provoking, it is enough to simply verify the banal but fundamental facts in the debate are being answered in earnest behind the scenes. In this case of Gore Nye 2011 and Watts’ reponse is a microcosm of the reason climate science is experiencing a credibility crisis.
    While Gore and Nye insists their monopoly on ‘reality’, they seem eager to explain that just because the experiment didn’t work in “reality” (even though it was shown in video implied that it did) it doesn’t mean anything. All too frequently, it is considered irrelevant to get the actual experiment right, before going on to proclaim the solution is ‘settled’. If skeptics wanted a gotcha example, I’m not sure anyone could dream up a juicier scenario then: Gore proclaims the science “is so easy, a high-schooler could do it”. Then is unable to succesfully make the high-school experiment work, and shows false results.
    I don’t think it will ever make sense to an auditor why someone would play with the facts-on-the-ground so liberally and then demand to be taken seriously. And it will never make sense to a Warmists why the problem can’t be settled when so many scientists are behind science – if scientists are so dumb how am I typing this comment over the internet right now?
    To be fair, the video is deliberately light and a little campy. But when it gets to the Suggestions portion, the imagery they chose is rather striking. The audience is shown a multiple choice question with three answers and then is shown which is the correct one to fill in. Upon which, an unknown room of people erupt into applause. Having someone tell you which choice to circle is not science, nor is it the appropriate approach to climate policy (easy as A, B, C?). Simple answers are for bjective fact – eg does this experiment work? The actual AGW thesis set forth by the IPCC itself is quite complex and filled with uncertainties. In the process of understanding our planet, the people who are most in-need are those who can ask probing questions, not those who always circle C.

  31. It would seem this is a debate about a non sequitor. Nye’s claim that he has run the experiment repeatedly, successfully and before audiences is dissapointing. It may make good theater. It may appear without much introspection to connect to greenhouse warming but it is no better than a parlor trick of Houdini’s age. Nobody has turned the sun off! It’s been on for billions of years. A relevant demonstration would have three jars not two. One with CO2 lowered to a ppm level of some pre industrial date. The second jar would have normal contemporary air, as would the third. After leaving all three jars out in the sun for four hours the third jar should have jar temperature CO2 pumped in to replicate the presumed future ppm level. Then and only then should temperatures be compared. Does anyone doubt there would be little or no differences in the jars?

  32. The fallacy of the entire experiment is that Jar A already has “unacceptable” levels of CO2 in it. How much more does Nye pump into Jar B? And why not run the expirement with plants, not globes, inside both jars for a month and see which one grows a better tomato?

  33. It amazes me how someone can say “So you caught me fudging my experiment but the results are still accurate”.

    Actually, no it doesn’t. Students do it all the time. Any HS chemistry teacher who ever ran a lab on cation identification knows that you can sneak a drop of blue food coloring into a test tube and and some kid’s gonna swear he got a positive test for copper.

    I’ve one small issue with your table on the thermal conductivity of gases. Please note that ammonia is NH3, not H3S.

  34. Similar to the mythbusters experiment, except that unlike Gore and Nye those guys had read the “Note on the theory of the Greenhouse” by Professor R.W.Wood and avoided the use of glass.

  35. Mythboxes.
    These people have been fingered by the “authorities” with “vested interests” too many times.
    Transmission, absorption, re-radiation, conduction and convection.
    I imagine the control as pure nitrogen or air. Very good insulators!
    Still wondering why the backing plates in the boxes were black when the Earth is blue & white.

  36. The point about the thermal conductivity of the various gases has to be significant – how can there be any “radiative forcing” effect that is somehow seperate from thermal conductivity ? Thermal conductivity is determined experimentally and the test subjects cannot be instructed to stop radiating for the duration.

    On the point about IR absortion not occurring in the experiment because the glass blocks IR from the lamp we all should have thought more about this. The glass obviously heats up and conducts energy to the gasses in the jar but the internal surfaces of the glass would also be emitting their own IR into the gas inside the jar – thus demonstrating IR absorption has little effect as confirmed by thermal conductivity and other thermodynamic properties.

    I personally do not believe in the “greenhouse effect” in the atmosphere and find it difficult to believe that any significant heating effect can occur from a gas with very low thermal conductivity at a density of ~1.205 k/cubic metre to substances like soil where the density is ~1600 kg/cubic metre (albeit a lower heat capacity) and especially water with a density ~1000 kg/cubic metre and a heat capacity 4 times that of air. Factor in the concentrations of ~2% water vapour and ~0.04 % CO2 and the whole idea appears absurd to me.

    I simply do not believe it – I think the opposite occurs. The Sun heats the soils and the oceans and these in turn heat the atmosphere which then convects the heat high into the troposphere wher it becomes weather and also radiates to space.

    The atmosphere removes heat from the Earth’s surfaces – else how do you explain the fact the Earth never approaches it’s theoretical blackbody temperature even factoring in albedo and nothing like the extreme of the Moon’s daytime – the strength of the solar radiation is similar outside the atmosphere ?

  37. “That H2O is what causes the green house effect should be realized by anyone that has ever noticed that the coldest nights of the winter occur when there is no cloud cover and this is why the deserts can get to 130*F during the day and freezing at night, no cloud cover.”

    Uh….you ever camped in the desert? That’s a wive’s tale. I don’t care how clear it is, if it hits 130F during the day, it *might* drop into the 90s at night. But that’s about it. Look as much as you want, you will never be able to produce an actual example of what you have stated.
    Yes, the desert is capable of wide swings in temperature from day to night, and the reason is low humidity, hence low heat capacity of the air. There’s very little water in the air, so the air can’t hold nearly as much heat. The source of heat goes away (the sun), and so does a lot of the heat. A lot more than if you are in Ohio and the RH is 90%.

    Yes, water vapor is a greenhouse gas. But your explanation of why this should be obvious is flawed.

  38. Does anyone have any information regarding the combination of other known greenhouse effect gasses? Methene is a known greenhouse gas and has been known to trap more IR as heat. Water vapor too can do this, and that is a direct byproduct of burning petroleum.

  39. I would say this is just another example not of Al Gore’s basic ignorance but of his attempt using knowledgable scientists to contrive fraudulent demonstrations to con the community through the mass media. Al Gore is the equivalent of Goebbels in the socialist movement. Its also a mechanism to destroy the natural skepticism of the human mind and erode logical reasoning in the average citizen. This is a propagandist softening technique so that these minds will more readily accept irrational conjectures from the World wide socialist order they hope to establish. Just as the Nazi’s used propaganda to incite average citizens to committ genocide of the jews.To portray guys like Gore as merely misguided is a dangerous tact and ignores the danger of their hidden agenda.

  40. Here’s the global warming problem as I understand it. The Earth receives approximately 2.9 million terawatt-hours worth of energy from the sun every day. This energy arrives in the UV, visible light, and very short IR spectrum. The Earth radiates approximately the same amount of energy back into space every day, using infrared wavelength from 3 microns up to 50 microns.
    The IR spectrum in the 3 to 50 micron range is sensitive to the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While transparent to most IR photons, CO2 molecules are opaque to 15 micron photons. In other words, they capture them and release them, often sending them sideways or back to the surface.
    This behavior has been confirmed by satellite readings of the infrared spectrum radiating away from the Earth. Not nearly as much IR energy escapes into space in the 15 micron wavelength as in neighboring wavelengths.
    What’s interesting is that the IR radiation at that wavelength isn’t zero. So there’s still a chance for it to be suppressed further. And a presumptive likelihood that rising CO2 levels will slowly but steadily curtail the amount of IR energy the Earth radiates into space in that part of the IR spectrum.
    Think of it this way. A rising stock of atmospheric CO2 interferes, ever so slightly but cumulatively, with the Earth’s natural cooling system. Infrared OUT no longer offsets one hundred percent of Solar IN.
    In round numbers, climate scientists tell us that the Earth receives 2.9 million terawatt-hours worth of solar energy every day. As a result of rising stocks of atmospheric CO2, the Earth retains about 6 thousand terawatt-hours worth of energy and radiates all the rest back into space. The retained heat very very slowly warms the oceans, to a depth of a few hundred feet, and as it does, the rising thermal energy of the oceans raises the overall temperature of the planet. By about one-eighteen thousandth of a degree Celsius per day.
    Some parts of this process are predictable. The more fossil fuels we burn, the more CO2 we emit; the more CO2 we emit, the higher the cumulative stock in the atmosphere, and the higher the stock, the higher the ultimate temperature.
    And one part is not so predictable. Higher temperatures alter climate behaviors, but it’s not linear. Small temperature adjustments can cause qualitative changes in climate.
    That’s the base case the climate scientists have made.
    Does an experiment involving carbon dioxide inside a glass bottle have any bearing on this? No. The Earth doesn’t operate inside a glass bottle.
    But that’s not the issue that should concern us. I would love to see the skeptics prove that rising CO2 levels really don’t matter. It would make things so much easier. But they can’t. They have to have to show that Infrared OUT doesn’t get suppressed, AT ALL, in any wavelength, as the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere climbs. Currently it’s up forty percent. It’ll be up sixty percent by 2040 and eighty percent by 2070 at current rates.
    It won’t do for skeptics to argue that maybe there are offsetting dynamics. More clouds, perhaps, at an altitude where clouds reflect solar heat, or fewer clouds, at an altitude where clouds trap solar heat. Maybe this, maybe that – “Maybe” just isn’t good enough.
    What skeptics have to prove is that the suppression of outgoing infrared in the 15 micron wavelength has already hit a hard stop. Yes, up to a certain concentration level, atmospheric CO2 affects the Earth’s natural cooling system, but, no, after that point the effect stops. Abruptly. Completely. And permanently.
    And their proof has to be so compelling that we can safely bet the future of the Earth’s climate on their say-so. That’s the due diligence challenge they face.

  41. I’m just an ordinary non scientist person who learned in high school that over the 13+ billion years that we believe the planet earth existed there have been warm and cold periods in which intelligent life (animals) had no role. We know that since the last cool period or ice age, the planet has been getting warmer and as Stephen Howard says C02 plays a role. Natural causes of CO2 like volcanoes and the oceans produce scads more CO2 that animals could ever produce, so given history and the role and sources of CO2, I have trouble believing animal behavior is influencing the warming of the earth, and it would be stupid and vain to undertake trying to do so. Besides, CO2 is essential to life through photosynthesis, and the evidence is that warm climates are more conducive to prosperous living than cold climates, so we should be preparing for better times with lower heating cost and less CO2 generation. Oops, hope that will not send us back into the next ice age. BTW, we should be more concerned about the damage caused by the deciept of politicians like Mr. Gore than global warming and climate change.

  42. They should have taken Argon – a nobel gas – instead of Carbondioxide – the measured effect would even improve (if there was a measurement at all) – it’s all about heat capacity … tabloid climate “science”….

  43. What global warmers believe is that the class of gases which block 50% of incoming infrared from the sun, for a total of 25% of the earth’s total energy, is doing something called ‘heating’ when that happens.

    Also when mankind releases some more of that gas in the air, and it blocks some more incoming infrared gas before it can ever get here, that is called ‘heating’.

    Also when you remove the atmosphere from an object in space and it’s temperature soars to 130 C

    that is warming.

    But when you place the earth’s atmosphere around that object and it’s temperature goes up to 40 C
    that atmosphere ‘warmed’ the body that was previously 130.

    When things cool to below zero C in space, this is cooling,

    When things don’t cool down so much with the atmosphere present, that is called warming.

  44. Albert, that’s not the way it works. The Earth receives energy from the sun. In order to maintain a stable temperature, the Earth has to radiate an equal amount of energy back into space. The energy radiated back into space stretches across the infrared spectrum, from 3 microns to 50 microns. Compared with the rest of the infrared spectrum, the 15 micron wavelength is a bit sluggish. It doesn’t radiate as much energy into space, because that’s the wavelength at which an infrared photon radiated into the atmosphere is likely to get trapped by a CO2 molecule and then transferred as heat to the next molecule over, or randomly re-radiated. Its chances of ultimately getting radiated into space are well below one hundred percent.

    Here’s the issue. This wouldn’t matter if the total stock of CO2 in the atmosphere were stable, but it’s not. It’s rising, and doing so quite rapidly. In 1960, it was 13% higher than in pre-industrial times. 1970, 16% higher. 1980, 21% higher. 1990, 26.5% higher. 2000, 32% higher. 2010, 39% higher. The CO2 overload is presently rising by seven percentage points a decade. In other words, we humans are indirectly interfering with the Earth’s natural cooling system, and doing so with rising intensity.

    Satellite measurements of the Earth’s infrared spectrum show the impact of carbon dioxide. Not nearly as much infrared gets radiated into space in the 15 micron wavelength, and the overall amount radiated into space is slowly shrinking.

    If the Earth’s total infrared output were already zero in the 15 micron band, we wouldn’t have to worry. Adding CO2 wouldn’t matter any more. But it’s not zero. It’s a substantial number, and that means we have a lot of leeway to interfere even more with the Earth’s natural cooling system.

    Scientific measurements suggest that the Earth’s temperature is rising by about one-eighteen thousandth of a degree C every day. Hard to notice, from one day to the next, but it’s essentially irreversible. From one decade to the next, the overall heat content of the ocean rises, and rises some more, and rises some more.

    This has not been well-explained, so it’s understandable that folks get confused.

  45. Steven Howard Johnson,

    Isn’t it a bitch when Planet Earth, the ultimate Authority, falsifies your belief system?

    The long term global warming trend since the LIA has been the same, whether CO2 was low or high. There has been no recent acceleration in the [very mild] long term warming trend — and recently that warming has stopped.

    Also, let’s see those verifiable, empirical, testable measurements you’re claiming, which supposedly show thousandths of a degree changes. As if.

  46. A measurable warming trend of 0.2 C per decade translates into one eighteen-thousandth of a degree per day. As to the measurements, I refer you to Cal professor Richard Muller, whose team of skeptics scrubbed a century of global temperature data, applied analytic techniques they trusted, and concluded that their skepticism wasn’t supported by the data. He summarized his findings in the Wall Street Journal last year. Dr. James Hansen of NASA recently made a presentation to a weekly meeting in Washington that Grover Norquist hosts. If you go to Dr. Hansen’s website, I believe you’ll find a copy of the paper he presented at the Norquist meeting.

  47. SHJ,

    As expected, you produced no testable, verifiable measurements to support your belief system.

    Further, Muller is no scientific skeptic, and his attempt at getting his faked results to pass peer review failed. You didn’t know that? Do an archive search of “Muller” to learn about his phony ‘science’. Muller is a self-serving, self-aggrandizing politician. As is his devious grant trolling kid.

    Don’t quote James “Coal Trains of Death” Hansen here, either. Hansen has zero credibility. Wake me when Hansen stops his unexplained temperature “adjustments” — which always go in the scariest direction.

    Run along now back to Pseudo-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, the thinly-trafficked echo chamber where they eat up that sort of anti-science nonsense.

    The rest is just politics, not science. But nice try, and thanx for playing. Vanna has some lovely parting gifts for you on your way out. ☺

  48. Really well controlled science experiment. I enjoyed every moment, even when you went to dinner. If this was a science project in high school, you would fail (get an F) because everyone knows in the academic world that CO_2 causes catastrophic warming. It’s taught in all the schools now.

  49. @stanrose June 21st

    I am intrigued by people that talk of CO2 ‘forcing’. I presume this is supposed to mean there is an amplified positive feedback from the alleged temperature increase as a result of increase in CO2. There is no empirical evidence for this. Indeed, if this claim was true then the atmospheric temperature would have increased enormously when CO2 was at 4400ppm by vol. in an earlier geological epoch leading to even more CO2 and so on.

    In fact the evidence points to increasing CO2 having less and less effect, if any. Positive feedback is rare in nature, eg. a woman having birth contractions or a fission bomb and Le Chatilier’s Principle prevails thus ensuring stability and equilibrium.

    The so – called forcing introduced by the climate model speculators is because their models do not work when comprared with empirical evidence.

  50. There’s scientific discussion and there’s bullying. There’s also the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Hansen is sincere. He may not always be right, but he reports the evidence as he sees it. Bearing false witness against Hansen, or against anyone whose conclusions differ from yours, is damaging to our society’s ability to conduct rational discussion without bullying and without slander. You don’t like the temperature trends that have been compiled from thousands of measurement stations from around the world so you dismiss them. I imagine you’ll see Chasing Ice by James Balog and claim that he’s run the movies backward. That the glaciers he shows as shrinking are in fact growing.

    Glaciers are shrinking – most of them – around the world, and the rate has accelerated since 1990. Scientific American reports slow warming on the West Antarctic peninsula. The area of the peninsula that stays below freezing all year round is getting smaller; the area that rises above freezing during the Antarctic summer is getting larger.

    The scientists who use gravitational measurement to determine mass change on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet find accelerating mass loss on Greenland and on the west part of Antarctica. They find a bit of ice growth on the main part of Antarctica, but it is only a small fraction of the ice loss on West Antarctica.

    We cannot be good patriots if we throw away valid evidence that doesn’t fit our emotional needs. And America cannot be a capable nation if we cannot approach scientific matters with an open mind. There is a lot of bullying on the internet, and the people who suffer from it the most are the people who practice it. America is one nation – with a toxic locker room. And locker room toxicity is damaging our team spirit and our competitive ability.

  51. Steven Howard Johnson:

    At December 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm you assert

    You don’t like the temperature trends that have been compiled from thousands of measurement stations from around the world so you dismiss them.

    I don’t “dismiss them”. I point out that they indicate global warming ceased 16 years ago.

    Richard

  52. Global temperature is a bumpy curve. The 1980s were warmer than the 1970s, but there were big dips in the 80s. The 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, but there were big dips downward in the 1990s. The 2000s were warmer than the 1990s. And it is true the decade was less bumpy. There weren’t the upward jumps of previous decades. There also weren’t the downward dips of previous decades.

    The noise is interesting. Scientists talk about two sources – sunspots and El Nino. When sunspots are frequent, global temperatures rise a bit. When they’re rare, global temperatures dip a bit. As I understand it, there was an extended solar minimum at the end of the 2000s decade, so what’s remarkable in a way is that there wasn’t a steep dip.

    When the Pacific is in its La Nina phase, its surface waters move away from the Americas and cooler deep ocean waters are drawn to the surface along the coast of the Americas. And that’s how La Nina produces measurable cooling. When the Pacific switches, and its surface waters move toward the Americas, there’s a measurable upturn in warming. Deep ocean waters stay deep.

    These trends are understood. No doubt there are many others that are not so well understood. Who knows when ocean currents might change in an unexpected way? And produce more warming than before? Or more cooling?

    What we do know is that the carbon dioxide overload is up 40% compared with the pre-industrial era and that it’s growing by 7% a decade. And we know that this will affect, further, the Earth’s natural cooling system. As time goes on, escaping infrared in the 15 micron band will diminish a little more, and a little more, and a little more. This retained energy will accumulate, almost imperceptibly but inexorably, in the ocean as heat. And as time goes on it will have a cumulative effect on the Earth’s overall temperature, and on the behavior of the climate.

  53. Steven Howard Johnson,

    You make a whole lot of assertions. I suppose the fact that the planet is debunking your belief system is remedied by your cognitive dissonance.

  54. Steven Howard Johnson:

    At December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm you assert

    What we do know is that the carbon dioxide overload is up 40% compared with the pre-industrial era and that it’s growing by 7% a decade. And we know that this will affect, further, the Earth’s natural cooling system. As time goes on, escaping infrared in the 15 micron band will diminish a little more, and a little more, and a little more. This retained energy will accumulate, almost imperceptibly but inexorably, in the ocean as heat. And as time goes on it will have a cumulative effect on the Earth’s overall temperature, and on the behavior of the climate.

    Bollocks! We do not know any such thing!

    We do know the ‘hot spot’ is missing so the “science” which indicates the “retained energy will accumulate” is wrong.

    And we do know the “committed warming” has vanished so there is no “retained energy”.

    It is always a bummer when reality shows a cherished hypothesis is wrong, isn’t it?

    Richard

  55. Well, Richard, it’s an interesting point. Bruce Bartlett recently wrote a long piece about his break with conservatism because it had become a closed system completely immune to evidence and logic. How much time do you spend collecting information from various points of view?

    Conservatives I know locally – very dear people in many ways – cannot bear the idea that Al Gore might have been right about ANYTHING. So here’s where they wind up:
    “I hate government.”
    “If global warming is real, government will have to act.”
    “Therefore global warming isn’t real.”

    I take it you accept measurements that seem to confirm your conclusions and reject measurements which seem to cast doubt on your conclusions.

    I don’t, by the way, have a high regard for the way Al Gore approaches this issue. For all the years he’s been working on it, I think he fumbles a number of the important points. But it really isn’t up to you or me or Al Gore or anyone else. This issue is driven by a series of realities: the reality that the Earth’s infrared radiance functions as its natural cooling system; the reality that CO2 molecules are opaque to infrared photons in certain frequencies; and by the reality that atmospheric CO2 levels are sharply up as a result of human consumption of fossil fuels.

    These realities combine to hinder, by just a touch, the daily amount of infrared energy escaping into space. You can lecture me all you like, but nothing you say on the internet will affect the nature of the Earth’s natural cooling system, nor will it affect the opacity of CO2, nor will it alter the present reality that the CO2 overload is rising by 7% a decade.

    Given these realities, can we say with a high degree of confidence that fossil fuels are safe? That they completely pass a tough-minded due diligence test? The presumption has to be No. They don’t. Not only because of the heat retention trends and climate dangers they present, but also because of the ocean acidification trends they promote.

    Yes, conceivably they might turn out to be safe, but we cannot know for sure until we’ve passed the point of no return, and if we’ve been wrong all along, there’s no way back. Our descendants will be irreparably damaged by our folly. Richard, it won’t be enough for you to say, in forty years, “Oops. I was wrong.” Because when that point comes, you and all your allies will be powerless to make amends.

  56. I had always like Bill Nye. He is very entertaining and a great educator on a wide range of science topics.
    Sadly, I have had to re-evaluate him since he has come down firmly on the side of ‘We understand the climate and can predict the future feedbacks with accuracy’.
    I still think he has much to offer and does a great job making science fun and interesting. However, I have doubts about his critical thinking now..

  57. @Steven Howard Johnson:
    I agree with 99% of your first 5 paragraphs (the exception being O2 overload. I would just describe it as the C2 level).
    However, your belief that we shouldn’t do anything (burn coal, burn oil, burn natural gas) until we know it to be safe is not a harmless proposition. There are real costs to taking the steps proposed to mitigate CO2 releases, and these steps cause harm. This is not abstract harm, it’s real money, jobs, and lives. The effects of economic poverty are tremendous and the harm is almost impossible to calculate. What is the cost of starving 100 million people over the next 50 years? I don’t know, but preventing 1/3 of society from rising out of extreme poverty will do much more harm than that. Economic growth is the only way to prevent that, and that means efficient economic activity.
    In terms of the fantasy, that moving to a green economy will create jobs and have a net positive affect on economic growth, it is ridiculous, and everyone knows it; they just ignore that part when they talk about it. Efficiency drives economic growth. If the green economy was more efficient, we wouldn’t need a global protocol to force it down our throats. Any rational company would take advantage of it. However, solar and wind are not efficient yet (they may be eventually, but not b/c of a international accord, it will be b/c the technology gets better and it becomes cheaper to produce/install them). Nuclear is also not more efficient (costs little to produce a kilowatt hour, once you have invested the $10 billion to make the plant and the 10 years to build it. But no one wants to take the risk with that long an investment horizon and such a low ROI).
    So it comes down to a risk analysis of the cost of doing nothing and the probability of that being the wrong choice, to the cost of doing something and the probability of that helping in a meaningful way. Even the most ardent supporters of AGW agree that what is on the table is not going to do much, according to their models, so the potential benefit is near 0. Regardless of the probabilities, that makes it a risky choice.

  58. CO2 overload, and CO2 levels (my keyboard sometimes doesn’t get those characters and I am too cheap to replace the whole laptop)

  59. Steven Howard Johnson:

    Your post at December 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm begins by saying to me

    Well, Richard, it’s an interesting point. Bruce Bartlett recently wrote a long piece about his break with conservatism because it had become a closed system completely immune to evidence and logic. How much time do you spend collecting information from various points of view?

    Conservatives I know locally – very dear people in many ways – cannot bear the idea that Al Gore might have been right about ANYTHING. So here’s where they wind up:
    “I hate government.”
    “If global warming is real, government will have to act.”
    “Therefore global warming isn’t real.”

    I take it you accept measurements that seem to confirm your conclusions and reject measurements which seem to cast doubt on your conclusions.

    That is so wrong that I did not bother to read any more of your rubbish.

    I am not a “Conservative”: I am a left-wing British socialist of the old-fashioned kind.

    I assess evidence – all of it if I can get it – but you make false assumptions.

    Apologise and I may make the effort to read the rest of your twaddle.

    Richard

  60. When Jack says that the green economy is not efficient that depends on what you mean by efficient. Sure it’s true that the conversion efficiency of current photovoltaics are at best a bit better than 15% in terms of converting the energy from light into electricity. But that 15% is free and clear with respect to the lifecycle of biproducts coming from energy production. If the true cost of the pollution created by burning fossil fuels were taken into consideration a green economy would be more feasible. Consider the current energy panacea: hydraulic fracking. What most people don’t hear about is that a single fracking well requires around 2 million gallons of water to be injected into the ground. But in order for the process to work they also inject 300,000 gallons of chemicals many of which are extremely carcinogenic. Chemical such as benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – just a few in a list of over 70. The problem is that 70% of the water that goes into the well comes out mixed with these chemicals – (plus radon from the ground). So what happens with that now seriously contaminated water? How do you attach a dollar figure to the contamination of the water and air from these chemicals? It’s not easy because once it is released, it winds up in streams and tributaries. It is much more difficult to track or understand the negative impact- it becomes diffuse but none the less widespread. However if you did attach a dollar figure to it the cost of the contamination would be very high and the economics of green energy would become much more competetive with that produced from oil and other fossil fuels. But oil companies do not figure the detrimental impacts of energy production from fossil fuels into their cost structure – or what little of it they do does not address the much larger issues created by fossil fuels.

    Oil production gives us many products nearly impossible to derive from other means. The planet needs to conserve oil as a resource for the future and the way to do that is toresponsibly transition to a green economy – and the faster the better.

  61. Jack O’Fall raises some serious concerns. What of all the companies, communities, and individuals who are presently employed somewhere in the fossil fuel value chain? What if the long-term cost curve for clean energy never brings the price down to a point where it’s truly competitive with fossil fuel energy? Won’t we hurt our economy by making (forcing) a shift away from fossil fuels? And don’t we face a prospect of doing more damage in the shift, than we face from staying with fossil fuels (and accepting the consequences)?
    First, let’s recognize the ratchet effect. Once carbon dioxide gets in the atmosphere, it will stay for a very long time. As the stock of CO2 rises and rises, temperatures will slowly but inexorably get warmer. Laws of proportionality will govern the temperature rise produced by rising CO2 levels. Tipping point behaviors will occur as climate adjusts to rising temperatures. Small shifts in temperature can and will produce significant shifts in climate behavior.
    Areas of the planet that ought to stay cold will get too warm. Satellite measurements show accelerating melt rates for both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. There’s forty feet of sea level rise locked in those two ice sheets – what’s the cost to future generations of abandoning coastal cities where hundreds of millions of people live? How does that compare with the cost of shifting from fossil fuels to alternate energy sources? No one knows exactly, but the eventual cost is way way higher.
    Areas of the planet that are already warm will get too hot. Some areas will get more severe drought, others will get more severe rainfall. Plants don’t germinate properly if the weather is too hot, so permanent damage to some agricultural regions is likely.
    And the amount of carbonic acid in the oceans will continue to rise, with adverse affects on much of the marine life in the ocean.
    The due diligence analysis of staying the course with fossil fuels is filled with possibilities that can (and probably will) become quite costly.
    Second, what’s the timetable, were we as a society to say “Time to shift to post-fossil fuel energy”? At least thirty years, probably forty or fifty, till America’s energy portfolio had left fossil fuels behind entirely. That’s a long enough period to give existing industries and communities quite a cushion.
    Third, we have a tendency to overestimate conversion costs. Remember the auto industry reaction to the idea that cars should have seat belts? “It’ll be too expensive, no one will buy, sales will fall, jobs will be lost,” all that sort of thing. Seat belts and a variety of other safety measures have been making their way into our society for a long time now. In the early 80s, America had 50,000 auto deaths and 3 million auto injuries a year; now it’s 30,000 auto deaths and 2,000,000 auto injuries a year. Still big numbers, but much better than three decades ago. We’ve made it happen and we’ve realized a great benefit.
    Fourth, unit costs do matter, as Jack O’Fall points out. But unit costs are also a function of adoption levels. The more extensive our adoption level, the lower the unit costs. If industrial countries take the lead on rapid adoption, costs will come down more rapidly. Everyone will benefit. In time, low unit costs for clean energy will make it affordable even in poor countries, and then global adoption of a clean energy portfolio becomes a realistic prospect.
    Finally, let’s imagine a carbon tax. It starts low and then it inches up. Most of it gets rebated back to American families, some of it goes to clean energy R&D, and some of it goes into a fund to defray the transition costs for communities that today depend heavily on fossil fuels. By slowly rising the cost of existing fuels, the carbon tax invites investors to develop and market post-fossil fuel alternatives. Market shares shift, clean energy volumes rise, and unit costs/prices fall.
    This can be another of America’s new technology adventures. It’s not just a pain; there’s a lot of genuinely exciting work ahead.

  62. First, let’s recognize the ratchet effect. Once carbon dioxide gets in the atmosphere, it will stay for a very long time. As the stock of CO2 rises and rises, temperatures will slowly but inexorably get warmer. Laws of proportionality will govern the temperature rise produced by rising CO2 levels. Tipping point behaviors will occur as climate adjusts to rising temperatures. Small shifts in temperature can and will produce significant shifts in climate behavior.
    Areas of the planet that ought to stay cold will get too warm. Satellite measurements show accelerating melt rates for both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. There’s forty feet of sea level rise locked in those two ice sheets – what’s the cost to future generations of abandoning coastal cities where hundreds of millions of people live? How does that compare with the cost of shifting from fossil fuels to alternate energy sources? No one knows exactly, but the eventual cost is way way higher.

    First, let’s recognize a fairy tale ….

  63. Oh, you mean the fairy tale about Russia and Canada and the US jostling for drilling rights in the Arctic Ocean whose ice cap hasn’t actually melted? And the oil companies too? How could all these powerful interests fall for a fairy tale about a melting Arctic ice cap? Such a mystery! Glad you were able to set us all straight.

  64. Hmm. Wonder what Bill Nye has to say about it? Turns out he has written a reply, available at http://www.billnye.com/response-to-watts-up/

    Here’s what it says:

    “O my friends, I have received numerous messages asking about the voice-over I did for the Climate Reality Project. My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that I’ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)

    The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well. One of our strident climate change deniers seized on their corner cutting and showed their demonstration didn’t demonstrate anything. I considered this part of healthy discourse: people cut corners; they got called on it and taken to task. Since it was my voice, I was considered to be a co-conspirator in the plot to fool the world into believing that our climate is changing. That’s reasonable in its way.

    The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When I’ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results.

    As the famous Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston remarked, ‘One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.’ Try it; try your own version, and see if you measure a temperature difference.

    One thing to note though, the guy who called us out on this drew an incorrect conclusion, or he made an erroneous claim. He says any change would have been caused by ‘… a completely different physical mechanism than actually occurs in our atmosphere…’ That’s wrong. It is this mechanism. The model has to be set up properly. Keep in mind that our troposphere is several dozen kilometers thick, and it doesn’t comprise pure carbon dioxide. This is a model, a demonstration. Real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex.

    Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.”

  65. I’d bet the experiment mentioned in this article in the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/science/panel-calls-for-broad-changes-in-science-education.html was copied from or inspired by the Nye/Gore experiment.

    “Her students, on the other hand, love topics some deem controversial, she said. She devised an experiment in which she set up two terrariums with thermometers and then increased the level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in one of them.

    The students watched as that terrarium got several degrees hotter than the other. “

  66. As a thought, as the glasses are enclosed, shouldn’t adding any glass increase the temperature in them slightly. Thus you should really have three experiments. Control CO2, NON-CO2 gas being added in the same concentration as CO2.

    If you are adding more gas into a closed container, the Temperature should rise anyway due to the increase in pressure of the container.

    Maybe I’m missing something……..

  67. With that table of heat-conducting, can I assume that methane can do real “greenhouse effect”? Are we going to get vegetarians because of cattle-produced methane?

  68. Question: If you have two identical silica glass bottles (closed to the air), except one is filled with nitrogen/oxygen, and the other with 100% CO2, and you put them in identical sunlight for the same amount of time, which bottle interior will be warmer and why?

    Would it be unreasonable to say that the one with some oxygen in it would be WARMER? Yes, I said warmer, albeit slightly, just as in Anthony’s experiment. The glass in each bottle would block the UV and IR components of the spectrum of sunlight equally. According to the absorption spectrum info below, oxygen appears to absorb a tiny bit in the visible spectrum (400-700 nm), whereas carbon dioxide does not. Hence, the gases in the nitrogen/oxygen would tend to warm relative to the CO2 bottle.

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=absorption+spectrum+carbon+dioxide&qs=n&form=QBIR&pq=absorption+spectrum+carbon+dioxide&sc=0-21&sp=-1&sk=#view=detail&id=8131DB44279F9512E8E54B66AE5BF0E152936FBF&selectedIndex=3

    I would add that this experiment cannot be generalized to the Earth’s atmosphere, as it is
    1) not enclosed by glass
    2) not enclosed at all, thus permitting convective and radiative heat transfer
    3) also contains water vapor

    Opinions, please.

  69. I love how you point out that the two thermometers shown side by side are the same thermometer, as if you’ve exposed some great hoax. Protip: people use video editing to save time. The spinning earth being hit by the little ping pong balls also wasn’t the actual earth! Oh my god, what a sham! Why would Bill invite people to try an experiment that he KNEW was fake? Jesus…

    REPLY: You’d have a point except, Nye says, “you can try this experiment at home”. I did and it fails. Get over yourself and learn to recognize when you are being lied to. Don’t be a sheep. – Anthony

  70. Well, Anthony, if you’ve been to Bill Nye’s website, you know that he has criticized Gore’s approach to the experiment and has described a more reliable way to carry it out. If you want to criticize Nye, you might want to start by looking carefully at his own description of how the experiment should be performed.

    REPLY: I’ve seen it, but talk is cheap. I actually did the experiment, and it fails. It appears neither Gore nor Nye ever did the experiment themselves but instead simply chose to let post production tricks do the work for them. I’ll point out that Gore still as the video on his Climate Reality website, and Nye has not called for it to be taken down or redone to be accurate. So much for integrity. – Anthony

  71. As I expected you deleted my comment with the trite “off-topic” because I elevated the discussion to the core issue of your blog. So transparent – There are like 5 clearly spam entries above that don’t discuss anything even remotely about your topic but you felt it fine to leave them in right… Because they are just so on-message…

  72. [snip ] So you tried the experiment and it failed. What about all the people on Youtube, for example, who did the experiment successfully? A middle school-grade science experiment was not fabricated as part of an elaborate hoax to fool the masses. It’s conspiracy theories like this that undermine the credibility of the AGW skeptic movement.

    REPLY: References? Show me those experiments, and we’ll see if the did them correctly or not. If its the one from the BBC kids show, that one has already been shown to be flawed. You are conflating what I think about the greenhouse effect (it is real) with poorly designed experiments such as Gore’s that don’t actually demonstrate it, and would fail no matter how careful you conduct them. If they worked, they wouldn’t need to fake it in post production. That’s the point.

    But feel free to think whatever you please, I simply don’t consider the opinion of an angry anonymous coward in comments to be worth anything. – Anthony

  73. What’s wrong with the Mythbusters’ experiment?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPRd5GT0v0I
    What’s wrong with this kid’s experiment?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0kIaCKPlH4

    I’m not saying these experiments prove global warming. I’m saying the idea that a basic science experiment has been fabricated as part of a massive conspiracy sounds more absurd than anything coming from the pro-AGW camp.

    REPLY: I’ll look at those. In no place do I mention “massive conspiracy” in my rebuttal, that’s all you. I simply point out with my own work that Gore’s experiment fails the science test and the integrity test, since Nye is clearly aware of the flaws, but has done nothing to get them corrected, leaving a video in place that was not only faked in post, but irreproducible. – Anthony

  74. The tone of the post implies that the experiment was intentionally faked in order to dupe people, which in the context of this entire website sounds like you think the experiment is part of an intentional campaign to misinform the public. But you’re right, you didn’t actually mention a “conspiracy.” That was presumptuous of me.

  75. Steven Howard Johnson:
    Thank you for your clear articulation of the proposed mechanism for global warming. I have a question though. When CO2 molecules absorb 15 micron energy they will shed that energy in some way, so it seems that the net effect will be total amount of energy radiated to space at other wavelengths will increase ever so slightly (maybe imperceptibly) in response, so that the total amount of energy radiating back into space is the same regardless of the slight diminishment of energy radiated at the 15 micron level. A sort of analogy might be something like this situation: Suppose you have big pot of boiling water on the stove that is at equilibrium – the amount of heat going into the pot at the bottom is exactly equaled by the amount of heat going out of the pot through escaping steam molecules, IR radiation, convection, etc. But if you put a relatively small floatable thing in the pot (say a plastic checkers piece or something that floats) then the question is, “will this cause the water to heat up because the plastic chip is covering part of the surface that used to release steam so that small amount of energy is now “trapped” in the pot ?” I think the answer would be “no,” the rest of the surface of the water will simply release more steam to compensate. I hope the analogy isn’t too much of distraction … I realize it has problems … but what am I missing overall?

  76. Here’s my understanding of what happens. A CO2 molecule absorbs an infrared photon that happens to have a 15 micron wavelength. One of two things can happen. It can transfer that new energy by convection to a neighboring molecule, most likely nitrogen or oxygen. Or it can re-radiate an infrared photon – presumably the same wavelength, because that means the energy re-radiated is exactly the same as the energy absorbed. If it re-radiates the photon, it can go sideways, it can go down, it can go up. The greater the intensity of CO2 in the atmosphere, the more chances for IR photons to be bounced back toward the Earth. This ever so subtly reduces total output across the entire IR spectrum, and ever so subtly increases heat retention. But the heat retention is cumulative, and most of it gets taken up by the oceans. So the oceans become a “thermal flywheel” if you will, storing the Earth’s slowly rising heat. If there is a pot analogy to be made, perhaps it could be made with a pressure cooker. If one changes the top of the pressure cooker from the 5 pound setting to the 10 pound setting the steam won’t be able to escape as rapidly and the heat inside the pressure cooker will rise.

  77. If a CO2 molecule transfers energy to a neighboring molecule (which it certainly will because molecules are always running into each other) then those neighboring molecules will pick up some energy from the collision and then eventually give it up as some form of radiation which will escape into space. Also, if a CO2 molecule absorbs 15 micron radiation, shouldn’t it shed that “extra” energy over the whole spectrum (similar to black body radiation)? CO2 like other molecules absorb radiation at multiple wavelengths, what is special about the 15 micron wavelength? In other words, all the molecules, of all different kinds in the atmosphere, are constantly absorbing and emitting and transferring energy amongst each other at any given instant – why is the 15 micron CO2 reaction so important?

  78. Actually, CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons in most wavelengths. They absorb IR photons only if they are at precisely the right wavelengths, and the 15 micron wavelength is the most important. This effect can be seen in satellite measurements of IR intensity by wavelength. (Measurements of IR that has already escaped the atmosphere.) Escaping IR intensity is dampened much more strongly at the 15 micron wavelength than at other wavelengths. Here’s what’s important about the satellite measurements. Yes, IR intensity is dampened considerably, meaning that CO2 has a very pronounced effect. But it isn’t eliminated completely. So there’s still room for it to be dampened further, which is what happens over time as the CO2 concentration rises.
    Your mental image seems to be that it doesn’t matter how much the IR bounces around because odds are that equal amounts of IR will escape into space no matter how much CO2 it hits along the way. It’s a hard question to figure out with pure logic, but it’s an easy question to answer by looking at satellite measurements of outbound IR. It turns out that CO2 presence dampens considerably the intensity of outbound IR in those wavelengths of IR to which CO2 molecules are opaque.
    Here’s the key point. Outbound IR is the Earth’s natural cooling system. By adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere, we humans are suppressing the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system. ENERGY OUT is no longer equal to ENERGY IN, it’s a little smaller. That’s how the retained heat gets produced, that’s how the oceans are warmed, that’s how global temperatures are given a steady upward nudge, that’s why climate behaviors are being altered.

  79. With CO2 Experiments, they are increasing the pressure inside the container.

    What would happen if you conducted this experiment with any gas as a controlled area.

    Not just increasing the CO2 level. As the volume of the gas increases inside the container, the pressure and temperature must increase as well.

    Basis physics 101. Pressure, volume, Area,Temperature.

    You would really need three experiments to do this correctly IMHO.

    One CO2 one a gas other than CO2 but increased in the area in the same quantities as CO2 and the control……

  80. I found the experiment interesting and read some of the comments and would like to make the following observation:

    It appears in the graphs that the CO2 jar warmed more slowly and if so, could that indicate that CO2 could be a lagging indicator?

    I saw nothing related to this in any of the comments that I read…

  81. Holey Cow, Anthony, how do you have the patience to go through all this. I salute you, and, although being unemployed at present, send you $20. Just a spectacular performance.

  82. Dear Anthony:

    Please try this:

    1 – go to costco and get two very large jars of pickles. Empty and wash the jars.
    2 – go to a welder or welding supply store and get an argon cylinder with a valve and some
    hose
    3 – go outside on a bright sunny day, put your jars upside down on a smooth surface like finished plywood with the thermometers inside near the bottom but positioned so you can read them

    4 – introduce some significant amount of argon into one jar
    5 – go have a beer or a coffee or whatever for about 30 minutes

    6 check the temperature readings.

    You will discover that the jar with the argon now shows a higher reading then the one without.

    That’s the gore effect – achieved without recourse to magic.

    And here’s the weird part: I’ve reviewed the science back to the 1890s and not found a more credible demonstration of the CO2 “greenhouse” effect than this.

  83. Excellent job replicating the Al Gore-designed experiment!! You established solidly that the experiment did not and could not work as advertised, that the thermometer movements were products of editing, and the premises were flawed. You definitely established that the physical effects demonstrated basically compare air and CO2’s insulating properties, and that CO2 is a somewhat better thermal insulator than air. As to the Mythbusters demonstration, having watched your experiment, I found far too little information presented by that show to prove a damned thing. No idea what the ratio of gases was in the experiment chambers, as another reader pointed out and WHAT WAS THE CALIBRATION OF THE THERMOMETERS???? I should think the mixture ratios would be, oh, VITAL for quantifying how much gas of each type would be needed to raise the temperature 1 deg C in each chamber… not to mention, since both CO2 and CH4 are heavier than air, anything significantly less than full saturation might not result in the right LAYER of gas mixture being exposed to the light!

  84. D$, from what I was seeing in the Watt experiments, the glass jars were not hermetically sealed, so any increase in pressure in either jar would merely result in outgassing which would equalize the pressures. The CO2 largely remains in the experiment jar because it is heavier than air with only the exception of the outgassed portion. If you noticed, after doing a couple of those experiments he also increased the ambient CO2 reading for the room itself to about 700 ppm. Time to open a window ;)

  85. Call Mr Science guy Nye out!

    How did he set up and permorme his successful “experiment” wouldnt it be a victory to be able to repicate them on a “deniar site” as proof of the imminant climate threat, and to shut some up?

  86. Hi Anthony,
    I looked through your notes on the replication and I did not see you actually recreate the experiment. Did I miss a step where you actually tried this with CO2 on one of the jars? Also, it would be better if you use a different thermometer as oral thermometers do not accurately measure air temperature. I appreciate your points on the thermometers and if the actual thermometers were not used, then I agree with you that they should have been. It looks like they are teaching an experiment that can be done at home rather than demonstrating an experiment that they have done. Has anyone here tried this at home who could please post a video for us? Please do not use oral thermometers though for this one. They will not be accurate for air. If I can find the materials for this, I would be happy to try it with my class and repost. Any ideas for what to use for pumping CO2 in for the experiment?

  87. Nice work Anthony.

    I’ve been thinking about how to design an experiment to actuall measure the “green house gas effect”. The obvious problem is the wavelength. CO2 absorbs at around 15um and glass stops being transparent around 5um. So one needs to put the light source inside the container. Except for that it should be pretty strait forward to evaluate the effect. Boundary conditions could be discussed, should you use glass or a thermos like design insulating the system….anyway, I would be interested in knowing the size of the effect at different levels of CO2 content. Does an increase of 100ppm really make a difference. Pure CO2 is obviously completely irrelevant.

    What do you think?

  88. I can’t figure out how to separate the glass effect from the CO2 effect. But that’s not the real issue, as we all know. The real issue is whether rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will interfere with the Earth’s natural cooling system. Satellite measurements of infrared radiation from the Earth give us the answer. If CO2-related wavelengths were irrelevant, infrared radiation would be just as strong in CO2-affected wavelengths (e.g. 15 microns) as in other wavelengths. If CO2 were truly saturated, there wouldn’t be any infrared radiation into space at 15 microns and other CO2 wavelengths. Alas for those who think CO2 doesn’t matter, the amount of infrared radiation making its way into space at 15 microns is partially reduced but not driven to zero.

    So what this shows is that “more CO2″ will have an intensifying effect. The more CO2 we add via fossil fuel combustion, the more we affect the amount of infrared energy the Earth sends into space. And the more we reduce the amount of infrared radiation sent into space, the warmer the planet becomes.

    I know it’s easy to sympathize with the fossil fuel industry, but let’s not fool ourselves. The longer the fossil fuel industry operates, the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires. And the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires, the more infrared radiation it blocks. The more IR it blocks, the warmer the Earth’s climate becomes.

    Does this matter? Well, look at extreme weather events. Colorado’s front range just got hammered by an extreme weather event. These events are increasing in frequency. My church will be underwater someday because a bunch of kooks like to pretend that rising CO2 doesn’t matter and that we shouldn’t do anything. My church is less than 30 feet above sea level. Warm the climate enough and eventually the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica disappear. There is no such thing as a half-melted ice cube. Ice either stays frozen, forever, or it melts, completely. There is no middle ground. Anthony may be right about Gore’s experiment, but he isn’t right about fossil fuels, the Earth’s natural cooling system, and what it takes to destroy my church.

    Anthony, you are a major disappointment.

    REPLY: I didn’t say anything about what it takes for your church being destroyed, and wouldn’t, since even the IPCC says weather is not climate.

    IPCC Confirms: We Do Not Know If The Climate Is Becoming More Extreme

    The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where “right” means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while. –Roger Pielke Jr, 28 March 2012 http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/03/handy-bullshit-button-on-disasters-and.html

    Nature journal too:

    Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/19/nature-editorial-dashes-alarmist-hopes-of-linking-extreme-weather-events-to-global-warming/

    Your uninformed opinion is a major FAIL, just like Gore’s experiment. – Anthony

  89. Steven Howard Johnson says:

    The longer the fossil fuel industry operates, the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires. And the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires, the more infrared radiation it blocks. The more IR it blocks, the warmer the Earth’s climate becomes.

    That Belief has been so completely debunked by the real world that it is astonishing anyone would make those incredible assertions.

    Listen up: There is NO measurable, testable evidence showing that CO2 has the effect that you claim. As you can see in the chart linked above, CO2 has been steadily rising, while global temperatures have been steadily declining. Any rational person would observe that situation and conclude that the CO2 = catastrophic AGW claim is nonsense.

    At least you had the courage to admit that your True Belief is based on religion. Because there is no verifiable scientific evidence to support it.

  90. Here in the real world, temperatures are actually rising.

    /Users/stevejohnson/Desktop/Land-Ocean Temperature Index.jpg

    Conservatives have a different take. It runs like this:

    “I hate government.
    If global warming is real, government will have to act.
    Therefore global warming isn’t real.”

    Mother Nature doesn’t give a rip about the self-deceptions of conservatives. If the Earth cannot shed as much energy as it receives, it will get warmer. It is a law of physics that rising levels of CO2 will interfere with the Earth’s ability to radiate as much energy back into space as it receives. You can give us all the ideology you like, but physics is physics. CO2 interferes with outbound infrared radiation, and CO2 is up by 42% and rising 7% a decade. It is an extraordinarily reckless act to pretend that we humans can raise the CO2 levels of the atmosphere by 7% EACH DECADE and have no effect whatever.

    The laws of physics aren’t popular among conservatives, I realize, but that doesn’t prevent them from operating.

  91. Steven Howard Johnson:

    Your post at September 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm is daft.

    It starts saying

    Here in the real world, temperatures are actually rising.

    No. I don’t know which “real world” you are living on but here on planet Earth global temperature has not risen for at least 17 years according to all of the data sets.

    You then go on about what you assert “Conservatives” think.
    So what?
    Climate realists like me consider what the scientific data says and we ignore political claptrap of the kind you spout. Importantly, we climate realists include all political opinions; for example, I am a left wing socialist of the old-fashioned British kind, and would consider an accusation of me being a “Conservative” as being an insult..

    And you assert

    CO2 interferes with outbound infrared radiation, and CO2 is up by 42% and rising 7% a decade. It is an extraordinarily reckless act to pretend that we humans can raise the CO2 levels of the atmosphere by 7% EACH DECADE and have no effect whatever.

    Atmospheric CO2 is rising but it is debatable as to what – if any – extent that is a result of human activity. Assuming human activity is responsible for all of the CO2 rise, then so what? The rise in CO2 has not resulted in a rise of global temperature for the last at least 17 years.

    Please take your ridiculous political propaganda elsewhere.

    Richard

  92. So, Richard, what you’re saying is that the Arctic Ocean ice isn’t shrinking and that there are no commercial freighters plying the waters from Murmansk through the Bering Strait and down to China and back again. Right? So the New Yorker article that describes one of these voyages is complete fiction. Right?
    And that satellite measurements of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet show no melting whatsoever. Right?
    I shouldn’t believe the article I read in the Stanford Business School magazine about the trip that Stanford students, and the dean, made to West Antarctica where they observed evidence of progressive warming in that ice sheet.
    What you’re saying, I gather, is that anything that contradicts your viewpoint has been entirely fabricated. The New Yorker made up its article, the scientists who have measured Greenland ice sheet melting have fabricated their data, and the Stanford business school publication that descries progressive melting of West Antarctica is also fabricated.
    Wow. You know so much.

  93. Steven Howard Johnson:

    I asked you to desist from posting your political claptrap here, and your response is your post at
    September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm which claims I said things I did not.

    I said NOTHING about the Arctic Ocean and I certainly did NOT say it is “shrinking”. It is not. The Atlantic Ocean is growing but there is no significant change to the area of the Arctic Ocean. I don’t know where you get such strange ideas. Take a basic course in plate tectonics if you want to know which oceans are changing size.

    And I said nothing about ice breakers transiting the Bering Strait as they have been doing for decades.

    The WAIS and Greenland ice sheets are reducing as they have been doing for the last 10,000 years with no observed increase to the rate of their loss. But Antarctic ice reached a new record high area this year.

    I did not say anything was “fabricated” but much is. For example, see this

    or, if you are capable, read this especially its Annex B (and its Lead Author)

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc0102.htm

    And I do NOT “know much” about climate; NOBODY DOES. But it is clear that I know a lot more about it than you whose knowledge – you say – is gleaned from newspapers and propagandist magazines.

    Richard

  94. Steven Howard Johnson says:
    September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    1) The East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains most of the land ice on Earth, is gaining, not losing mass:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7425/full/nature11621.html

    Analysis of radionuclides in the soil exposed around the margins of the EAIS show that it stopped retreating at least about 3000 years ago.

    2) Are you aware that the Pine Island Glacier ends in a floating ice shelf? If the shelf melted, it would have practically no effect on sea level. Did you know that an subglacial volcano warms the ice near the PIG, & has shown increased activity lately? Apparently not.

    http://www.livescience.com/2242-buried-volcano-discovered-antarctica.html

    The grounded part of the glacier drains only about ten percent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If it’s moving more rapidly, it’s because of increased snow fall.

    3) Did you know that Arctic sea ice was similar in extent to now during the 1930s, when the USSR made use of the seaways which so excite you now? And that sea ice extent was much less than now during thousands of summers just in the past 8000 years, especially in the Holocene Climatic Optimum, let alone during previous, warmer interglacials? It’s true.

    4) That West Antarctica is progressively melting is a fabrication. If you have evidence to this effect, other than the possible melting under the PIG, please present it. Thanks.

    PS: I’m a Stanford biology & history undergrad, not B-School grad, so learned at a young age that academics lie in pursuit of their ideological & financial objectives, & even more now than 40 years ago.

  95. Why is Greenland called Greenland?
    Does a fluids’ capacity to hold dissolved gasses change if it is heated/cooled?
    If glaciers/ice sheets melt, do they release the trapped carbon dioxide that could be used for ice-core proxies of historic carbon dioxide levels?

  96. As a teacher I’d give your experiment an “A” while flunking Gore and Nye. (Gore should be used to that, he got a ‘D’ in science.)

    The hoaxers are up in arms because you proved they could not have done the experiment they claimed to have done. This is of course the heart of the scientific method and their failure to adhere to is it why so many intelligent, thoughtful people view them as on the same level as snake oil salesmen.

  97. It looks like Bill Nye summarized the Climate Project in general quite well in his own quote:
    “The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well.”
    Why should we believe anything they do or say if they can’t get a simple high school experiment correct? When things are faked, it undermines our trust. That’s why Media Matters.

    Keep in mind Anthony’s main point here:
    No broader take away (other than the experiment was faked and fails) was intended, expressed or implied – Anthony

  98. Slow day in work, I’v worked my way though the 101 video, the recreation videos and read most comments. To those defending the 101 vid or getting all irate about how scientifically inaccurate the gas mix was in the jars etc, , the recreation isnt trying to prove anything other than the fact the 101 video was blatantly faked and that Nei and Gore are a pair of con artists. Personally I reckon the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere are not the primary driver of world climate change or any of that AGW propaganda, Its mainly the big class M star in space…

  99. I’m a professional infrared astronomer who spent his life trying to observe space through the atmosphere’s back-radiation that the environmental activists claim is caused by CO2 and guess what? In all the bands that are responsible for back radiation in the brightness temperatures (color temperatures) related to earth’s surface temperature (between 9 microns and 13 microns for temps of 220K to 320 K) there is no absorption or radiation by CO2 at all. In all the bands between 9 and 9.5 there is mild absorption by H2O, from 9.5 to 10 microns (300 K) the atmosphere is perfectly clear except around 9.6 is a big ozone band that the warmists never mention for some reason. From 10 to 13 microns there is more absorption by H2O. Starting at 13 we get CO2 absorption but that wavelength corresponds to temperatures below even that of the south pole. Nowhere from 9 to 13 microns do we see appreciable absorption/radiation bands of CO2. This means the greenhouse effect is way over 95% caused by water vapor and probably less than 3% from CO2. I would say even ozone is more important due to the 9.6 band, but it’s so high in the atmosphere that it probably serves more to radiate heat into space than for back-radiation to the surface. The whole theory of a CO2 greenhouse effect is wrong, yet the halls of academia have gone to great lengths trying to prove it with one lie and false study after another. I’m retired so I don’t need to keep my mouth shut anymore. Kept my mouth shut for 40 years, now I will tell you, not one single IR astronomer gives a rats arse about CO2. Just to let you know how stupid the global warming activists are, I’ve been to the south pole 3 times and even there, where the water vapor is under 0.2 mm precipitable, it’s still the H2O that is the main concern in our field and nobody even talks about CO2 because CO2 doesn’t absorb or radiate in the portion of the spectrum corresponding with earth’s surface temps of 220 to 320 K. Not at all. Therefore, for Earth as a black body radiator IT’S THE WATER VAPOR STUPID and not the CO2.

  100. Mike Sanicola, don’t know if you realize just how important your comment above is for those scientists from unrelated branches and science enthusiasts on this matter of the infrared passage and redirection within our atmosphere. If you are truly free now to speak your thoughts and share your experiences in this area of infrared so many fellow commenters here would greatly appreciate it.

    For instance, just the infrared transmittance spectrum via your link From Handbook of Infrared Astronomy by I.S. Glass with explicit parameters is quite invaluable, especially since it is horizontal at the surface, and such information seems very hard to come by, so much is hidden behind pay-walls.

    Hope to read more of your comments from someone with real infrared astronomy expertise.

  101. I am a bit mystified by Mike Sanicola’s comments. It is well-known that CO2 is transparent to infrared photons in almost all wavelengths, including the wavelengths he refers to in his post.

    Wikipedia says the following: “CO2 is an important component of Earth’s atmosphere because it absorbs and emits infrared radiation at wavelengths of 4.26 µm (asymmetric stretching vibrational mode) and 14.99 µm (bending vibrational mode), thereby playing a role in the greenhouse effect.” If one is to discuss CO2’s effect on infrared, surely one has to focus on those wavelengths where CO2 is known to make a difference. Do satellite measurements of infrared radiation from the top of the Earth’s atmosphere show any decline at the wavelengths of 4.26 and 14.99 microns? If so, how much?

  102. The reproduced data showed that CO2 container is cooler than plain air. This prove that CO2 is not a green house gas. And it may EVEN prove that CO2 could actually be the opposite- Let me be the first to coin the phrase “ICE BOX GAS”. And to prove my case even further, we look at the atmosphere of Mars(over 99% CO2). Why is Mars so very cold? Is it because of the CO2? LOL. I always thought the premise that CO2 could have any greenhouse effect on earth was a flawed. I did some checking to find when this thought developed. To my surprise it was very recent. It was first used to explain why Venus (atmosphere of Venus was 95% carbon dioxide) is hotter than Mercury. Space probe Venera 4 entered the atmosphere of Venus on October 18, 1967, making it the first probe to return direct measurements from another planet’s atmosphere. The capsule took many measurements of temperature, pressure, density and composition of the atmosphere. It discovered that the atmosphere of Venus was 95% carbon dioxide. Venera 7 on December 15, 1970. measured surface temperatures of 855 °F to 885 °F. Much hotter than expected and this was explained with the birth of the modern CO2 green house theory. Earth’s atmosphere mainly consist of 2 gasses 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen which accounts for about 99% That leaves about 1% everything else. Of that “everything else” not even half is CO2. The amount is so little, why is this theory even considered?????

  103. has any one compared an actual greenhouse that increases its co2 to 1000ppm to one without. Or just do the experiment out of interest.

  104. Brian raises a question that has a solid answer. Why is carbon dioxide more important to the temperature of the Earth than oxygen or nitrogen? The answer: the physics of heat balance is affected by carbon dioxide. It isn’t affected by oxygen or nitrogen. Let’s begin with the energy the Earth receives from the sun – roughly 2.9 million terawatt-hours a day worth of photons in the ultraviolet, visible light, and short infrared spectrum. Why doesn’t the Earth just get hotter and hotter? Because the Earth also radiates energy out into space, in the longer infrared spectrum, with wavelengths (if memory serves) from 3 microns in length to 50 microns. So long as the Earth is able to pump 2.9 million terawatt-hours/day of infrared energy back into space, we can pretty much count on the overall temperature of the planet to remain stable. That’s called heat balance.

    Oxygen and nitrogen molecules are transparent to the entire infrared spectrum. So they have no effect on the Earth’s energy outflow. But carbon dioxide molecules – while transparent to infrared photons in most wavelengths – will snap up infrared photons in a couple of infrared wavelengths, and then re-radiate them in a new direction (or, I suspect, transfer the energy as heat to a neighboring molecule).

    Boost total carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by more than forty percent, as we humans have done in the age of coal and oil and natural gas, and we dampen just a bit the amount of infrared energy that makes it through the atmosphere. A tiny fraction of the energy that ought to have escaped gets captured, and stored as heat, mostly in the ocean. It’s a cumulative process, this slow warming of the ocean, and that’s why there has been a slow upward creep in the Earth’s average temperature. it’s not always easy to detect – think a daily increase of one eighteen-thousandth of a degree – and as this website generally observes, the noise-to-signal ratio is pretty high.

    Those who worry about global warming point out, quite legitimately, that the CO2 concentration is rising by seven percent a decade, versus the pre-industrial standard. They also point out that this increase is essentially irreversible. If it turns out that burning fossil fuels becomes a bigger mistake than we realize, we humans will have painted ourselves into a real serious corner.

    Heat balance physics are an irrefutable reality. The Earth cannot maintain a stable temperature without sending as much energy back into space as it receives. That this energy is radiated into space in the infrared spectrum is also irrefutable. That carbon dioxide suppresses this radiation, in just a couple wavelengths – that, too, is a law of physics.

    Here’s the question: What do satellites see when they look at the Earth’s infrared signature? Do they see no effect from carbon dioxide? No, the carbon dioxide effect is evident. Or do they see complete suppression of infrared in those two wavelengths? If that were the case, we wouldn’t have to worry about adding further CO2, would we? Alas. What satellites see is a smaller flow of energy in those wavelengths, but not zero. There’s still room for added CO2 to trap still more heat.

    Anthony Watts has a thousand ways to show that the warming signal is weak, relative to the noise in the climate system. But Anthony can’t show an absence of heat balance physics. And he can’t show that CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons. So he can’t show that global warming doesn’t exist at all. Further, and most important, he can’t show that the accumulation of CO2 is reversible by means that are fast and affordable. So he can’t prove – in a due diligence sense – an absence of risk for the endless reliance on fossil fuels. He can surmise, but he cannot prove.

  105. Steve Johnson says:

    Anthony Watts has a thousand ways to show that the warming signal is weak, relative to the noise in the climate system. But Anthony can’t show an absence of heat balance physics. And he can’t show that CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons. So he can’t show that global warming doesn’t exist at all.

    Steve, Anthony has never said that CO2 has no warming effect. Where did you get that strawman from? Anthony points out that the effect from CO2 at current concentrations is so minuscule that it is not even measurable. It is an insignificant forcing, and as such it can be disregarded.

    Steve also writes:

    The Earth cannot maintain a stable temperature without sending as much energy back into space as it receives.

    It’s interesting, isn’t it, that global warming has stopped for the past ≈17 years?

    Steve also says:

    Boost total carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by more than forty percent, as we humans have done in the age of coal and oil and natural gas, and we dampen just a bit the amount of infrared energy that makes it through the atmosphere. A tiny fraction of the energy that ought to have escaped gets captured, and stored as heat, mostly in the ocean.

    Yes, we have increased CO2 by ≈40%. There has been no measurable warming as a result. That is because of this.

    Your argument seems to be of the “what if” variety: What if there is heat lurking in the deep ocean? But the ARGO buoy array shows that with the exception of one minor strata, the global ocean is cooling. It is not even staying neutral. The ocean is cooling over all.

    The entire “carbon” scare has been falsified so many times that honest scientists no longer argue about it. CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. There is no evidence to the contrary.

  106. No gain over the past 17 years?
    The World Meteorological Organization has published the average temperatures for each decade from the 1880s to the 2000s. Here’s what they say, in Celsius, about the four most recent decades. (See “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes, Summary Report.”)
    1970s – 13.95 C
    1980s – 14.12 C
    1990s – 14.26 C
    2000s – 14.47 C
    Do the math. Decade by decade gains are 0.17 C from the seventies to the eighties, 0.14 C from the 80s to the 90s, and 0.21 C from the 90s to the 00s. Which of these gains is the largest? The most recent.

  107. What Bill Nye “presented” could not be considered an experiment. The jars could hardly be considered sealed with hoses sticking out of glass lids that were not sealed. So right there what was on the screen was just a prop not an experiment. Next Mr Nye made assumptions in his statements about how long the proecesses have been going on that are not proven. Next he made statements about current observations for which he made no attempt to present proof.

    So basically Mr Nye engaged in propoganda not education.

  108. If CO2 has such a powerful heating influence on the atmosphere, then why can’t its effects be felt on the dark side of the planet on a winter’s day? Or on the sun side on a cloudy winter day? Sorry, but CO2 just doesn’t seem to cut it as a heat source.

  109. Is CO2 a heat source? Not really. It’s better understood as a filter that subtly weakens the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system.

    Under normal conditions – before the Industrial Revolution, say – the Earth maintained itself in a state of heat balance. The Earth received heat energy from the sun, the Earth radiated its own heat energy back into space, and with the amount being sent back into space a good match for the amount being received, “heat balance” was maintained.

    Then we humans discovered the joys of burning coal and oil and natural gas. By adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, we humans continue to boost – every so slightly – its ability to trap heat within the atmosphere. Roughly one twenty-thousandth of a degree per day, or so. An imperceptible amount, but also cumulative in its impact.

    Each day the Earth’s atmosphere traps another smidgeon, and then another, and they add up. So long as Energy OUT remains just slightly below Energy IN, the Earth will continue to get slowly warmer.

    If we weren’t adding new CO2 every day, “heat balance” would eventually be restored. But we do add more CO2 every day, which is a good way of scooting the bunny down the race track, always one step ahead of the greyhounds. The Earth’s natural cooling system never fully catches up. Incremental warming persists, day by day, smidgeon by smidgeon.

  110. Steve Johnson,

    Well, that is nonsense.

    It has been about 6,500 days since global warming stopped. By your reckoning, the planet should have warmed by about one-third of a degree.

    But it hasn’t warmed at all. The real world debunks your belief. [That chart is derived from satellite data — the most accurate data there is. Therefore, the WMO is emitting noise.]

    That’s science. You should be happy that runaway global warming is a crock. But are you happy that none of the dire predictions have happened?

    The “carbon” scare has run its course, for one reason: there is no empirical evidence to support it. None.

    So don’t worry, be happy! Global warming isn’t gonna getcha.

  111. With Lord Monckton as one’s source, I guess one can “prove” anything one likes, but he’s essentially a propagandist, not a careful analyst.

    How about the World Meteorological Organization as a more credible source? Its average global temperatures by decade are as follows for the past four decades:
    1971 – 1980: 13.95 C
    1981 – 1990: 14.12 C
    1991 – 2000: 14.26 C
    2001 – 2010: 14.47 C
    (WMO: The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes; Summary Report)

    You do point to an issue that deserves everyone’s attention – the complexity of the climate and the mixture of “noise” and “signal.” Sometimes the “noise” from other sources will amplify a modest global warming “signal” and make it appear bigger than it really is; sometimes the “noise” from other sources will dampen a modest “signal” and make it appear smaller than it really is. But the presence of “noise” doesn’t disprove the presence of “signal.” The two phenomena coexist.

    What you duck – in your comment above – is the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system. The Earth maintains “heat balance” when Energy OUT (in the infrared spectrum) fully offsets Energy IN (from the sun). The Earth is thrown out of “heat balance” when Energy OUT declines, even by modest amounts. What should we expect to be happening as a result of the Industrial Revolution in its current phase? Carbon dioxide is up 42% from its pre-industrial norm, and it’s presently rising 7 percentage points a decade.

    As it happens, CO2 isn’t transparent in all wavelengths of infrared. It selectively intercepts infrared photons in a few wavelengths, and reduces the Earth’s ability to shed energy into space in those wavelengths. By boosting total carbon dioxide, steadily, day by day, we humans inherently interfere – in small but cumulative increments – with the Earth’s natural cooling system.

    DBStealey, if you wish to argue – convincingly – that rising CO2 has no effect on the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system, you’ll have to base your argument on the laws of physics. You’ll have to show that you understand the operations of the Earth’s natural cooling system. And you’ll have to work forward from there.

  112. Steve Johnson,

    When someone starts off with an inaccurate ad hominem argument, we know they have already lost the debate. This is not about Lord Monckton. This is about Anthony’s debunking of Nye’s pseudo-science.

    Next, when I stated that the WMO was emitting “noise”, I was referring to the nonsense that they can measure the global temperature to hundreths of a degree. Sorry I wasn’t more clear about what I meant about WMO noise. The WMO has an agenda. Satellite measurements contradict their narrative. You can believe the WMO. I prefer satellite data.

    Next, there is no AGW “signal”. There is no testable scientific evidence measuring any human “fingerprint of global warming”. None at all. No such “signal” has ever been measured.

    Next, the ‘energy out’ you refer to is LWIR, which has not increased as predicted. I am not bothering to link to a chart of LWIR, but it does not reflect what you claim. Next, you say:

    Carbon dioxide is up 42% from its pre-industrial norm, and it’s presently rising 7 percentage points a decade.

    So what? CO2 is simply not doing what was endlessly predicted. Any warming from CO2 is so minuscule that it is swamped my many other factors. See, global warming stopped more than 17 years ago. Where is your god now?

    Next, you say: if you wish to argue – convincingly – that rising CO2 has no effect on the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system, you’ll have to base your argument on the laws of physics.

    I do even better: I base my argument on empirical observations, which flatly debunk the endless failed predictions of climate calamity. You just cannot accept the fact that there is zero testable, measurable scientific evidence for AGW. You are still waiting for your global warming catastrophe.

    You will never change your mind, because you cannot. CAGW is your religion. You have spent so much of your life trying to convince everyone of your belief system that it would trigger extreme cognitive dissonance if you admitted the truth: that Planet Earth has decisively falsified your True Belief.

    Therefore, I cannot, as you say, argue “convincingly”, because there is no way to convince you of anything. A new Ice Age could appear, and glaciers could cover Chicago a mile deep again — but you would still be preaching catastrophic AGW.

  113. Steve Johnson says:
    April 29, 2014 at 7:42 am

    (Replying to DBStealey, by attacking Lord Monckton personally …)

    With Lord Monckton as one’s source, I guess one can “prove” anything one likes, but he’s essentially a propagandist, not a careful analyst.

    How about the World Meteorological Organization as a more credible source? Its average global temperatures by decade are as follows for the past four decades:
    1971 – 1980: 13.95 C
    1981 – 1990: 14.12 C
    1991 – 2000: 14.26 C
    2001 – 2010: 14.47 C
    (WMO: The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes; Summary Report)

    Rather, let me correct your cherry-picked “impartial” source oh-so-slightly: This will show why your supposed “scientific” argument fails when you quote a World Organization whose sole funding in today’s politicaized world of “science” is warped by greed and envy for control of the world’s political power and physical energy.

    “With the World Meteorological Organization as one’s source, I guess one can “prove” anything one likes, but they are only supporting those who fund their research, so they are merely paid propagandists, not impartial, nor even careful, analysts.

    How about using WMO data more accurately? We are now halfway through 2014, 45% through the next decade AFTER your carefully picked “decades” of that old report! What are the WMO average global temperatures by decade for the following 10 year periods?

    Just to be fair, I’ll even let YOU do the averaging!

    
    1946 - 1956: _____ C?
    1956 - 1966: _____ C?
    1966 - 1976: _____ C?
    1976 – 1986: _____ C?
    1986 – 1996: _____ C?
    1996 – 2006: _____ C?
    2006 – 2014: _____ C?
    
    

    Gee. That’s funny.

    Same source of data. But while CO2 has constantly increased, look!

    Since 1966, ten-year global temperature averages from the WMO have become MORE stable and have increased LESS the more CO2 has been added to the atmosphere!

    CO2 has risen dramatically for sixty years now, and look! Temperatures have fallen, or been steady, for more decades, for more years, than they have risen!

  114. I’ll reply both to dbstealey and to RACookPE1978. It’s not clear to me that either of you can explain the physics of the Earth’s natural cooling system. That’s not unusual – our culture is so careless with ideas there’s probably not one person in a hundred, on either side of the global warming debate, who can actually describe the essential physics of the Earth’s natural cooling system.

    There’s a second point. One cannot weigh this issue properly unless one is able to distinguish between “noise” and “signal.” The Earth’s climate system is driven by a great many variables, and it’s capable of producing quite an assortment of “noisy” behaviors, which at any given time can either mask a global warming signal, making it seem smaller than it really is, or amplify it, making it seem larger than it really is.

    So – if one sees less “signal” than one expects, what is one to conclude? That AGW doesn’t exist? Or that there’s unexpectedly strong “noise” – hiding the presence of a real signal?

    Let’s step back a bit, to the higher level public question. Are fossil fuels provably safe? Can we know, for certain, that the endless consumption of fossil fuels will cause no serious damage? No serious damage to the global climate? No serious damage to the health of the world’s oceans?

    If you’re not able to describe, accurately, the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system, you probably won’t be able to give a credible opinion on the issue of fossil fuel safety.

    And if you’re not reach to weigh the issue of “noise” and “signal,” you’re also not ready to sort out the question of whether fossil fuels are safe, in perpetuity, as our fuel of choice.

    We live in a cause-and-effect world. We also live in a culture of hasty certainties. Reach conclusions however you like, but if your conclusions are driven by your favorite hasty certainties, there’s always a possibility that your conclusions won’t properly reflect the cause-and-effect realities of the world in which we live.

    So. I would love to have you refute my views by explaining carefully and fully just how the Earth’s natural cooling system actually operates.

  115. Steve Johnson says:
    May 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I’ll reply both to dbstealey and to RACookPE1978. It’s not clear to me that either of you can explain the physics of the Earth’s natural cooling system. … So – if one sees less “signal” than one expects, what is one to conclude? That AGW doesn’t exist? Or that there’s unexpectedly strong “noise” – hiding the presence of a real signal?

    Let’s step back a bit, to the higher level public question. Are fossil fuels provably safe? Can we know, for certain, that the endless consumption of fossil fuels will cause no serious damage? No serious damage to the global climate? No serious damage to the health of the world’s oceans?

    Cooling system? Ultimately, radiative cooling to space.

    Now, let’s examine your “assumption” – rather “requirement” that man’s use of fossil fuel must be restricted as an insurance policy – debunking the “precautionary principle” actually.

    Now, man’s use of fossil fuel this year creates wealth, creates health, happiness, warmth and shelter from the harsh deadly environment (where needed) and coolness and shelter from the deadly environment (where needed.) Man’s use of fossil fuel saves food, grows food, fertilizes food, irrigates food, stores it against insect and animal damage, preserves it, and plants it for next year. Man’s use of fossil fuel transports fuel, itself, food, clothing and shelter and water and all of the things we need in life every hour of every day. Are you going to dispute these “inconvenient facts”?

    Thus, man’s use of fossil fuel today, last year, last decade, and every decade going back to the 1810’s is beneficial to mankind.

    Man’s use of fossil fuel for the next 85 years (through 2100) will be necessary to continue to save lives, preserve food and fuel and lives, and to allow people to live. YOUR requirement that we curtail fossil fuel use as a “precaution” against “potential harm” (of some unknown but exaggerated “probability” of harm on some unknown but exaggerated numbers of people at some unknown but exaggerated cost to save some unknown but exaggerated prices) IS GOING TO KILL billions and cost billions more trillions of dollars.

    With no benefits to any but the “elite” who have killed the innocent in their greed and hatred of life.

  116. Like other folks, we Americans aren’t comfortable with ambiguity. If fossil fuels are “good” they can’t also be “bad.” If fossil fuels are “bad” they can’t also be good.

    I have a real affection for fossil fuels. They’ve been a real boon to human progress over the last two centuries and more. And the jobs that bring them to us are heroic – is there a more romantic job than coal mining? Or working on an oil rig?

    But you exaggerate their irreplaceability. Some day they’ll run out, and some day our descendants will figure out a host of perfectly good replacements. Here in America, we consume about 57 terawatt-hours a day worth of energy, mostly from fossil fuels, but we also receive about 50,000 terawatt-hours a day worth of ambient sunshine. Were we to capture and harness but a thousandth of America’s ambient solar energy, we’d have all the energy we need for a prosperous modern society. It’s odd that you have so much faith in fossil fuels and so little faith in humanity’s ability to innovate and discover replacements.

    I worked for Cummins for two years, at a plant that made diesel engines. Some of the world’s best. When I was there, I was in on the early part of a paradigm shift away from corrective action quality and just in case inventory. Those habits were replaced with preventive quality and just in time inventory, and the plant today is far more robust than it was twenty-five years ago. But Cummins wasn’t a unique example of using dramatic paradigm shifts to make progress – humans will always have an enormous ability to find new and better ways of doing things.

    I’m pushing for an end to fossil fuels partly because I trust the human ability to innovate. I’ve been in it; I’ve been part of it; I’ve seen it; it’s exciting and it’s a capacity we’ll always have.

    I’m also pushing for an end to fossil fuels for three major reasons. Irreversibility. Accumulating Damage. Uncompensability.

    At present, we have no way to get rid of excess carbon dioxide. If we wake up one day and realize that burning fossil fuels was a terrible mistake, we’ll be stuck. I wish it weren’t true.

    The dangers of global warming are predictable. The dangers of climate change are not predictable. Small changes in temperature can create significant changes in climate behavior. Why are the pine forests of the Colorado Rockies and the Glacier National Park now dead? The winters were too warm to kill pine beetles. And now – the pine beetles have killed the pine forests. Just in the last six years or so. Climate change is real – go to Glacier. See for yourself.

    Who would have expected the most powerful typhoon ever to hit the Philippines? But it did. Because climate shifts are more dramatic than temperature shifts. Pump CO2 into the atmosphere at full speed for a few more decades, and the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica will be yesterday’s toast. Sea levels will rise by forty feet. The Naval Academy campus will be under water. The Smithsonian will be under water. No, those dangers aren’t a hundred percent certain, but their probability level is much higher than the probabilities contained in your denials.

    And uncompensability. None of the folks who get rich from selling fossil fuels will ever be compelled to pay a nickel’s worth of damages to those they harm. If you live next door to me and set a fire in your backyard that spreads to my back yard and burns down my house, I’ll be able to get satisfaction from your insurance company. Will the same thing be possible for victims of climate change? Heck, no. No one harmed by climate change will get anything from Exxon or BP or from Chevron.

    Irreversibility. Accumulating Danger. Uncompensability. Three excellent reasons for finding ourselves a safer and smarter energy future. We human beings are more than smart enough to figure out a safe energy future for ourselves.

    I’ve been through a paradigm shift that worked amazingly well. We humans have far more possibilities than you give us credit for. And there are more of us than you may realize with a capacity for ambiguity.

  117. All IPCC reports should feature the “DRAMATIZATION” disclaimer. My guess is that a thermometer with a lighter 1″ away shows more warming than one with the lighter 2″ away.

  118. There are 2 live examples in our solar system , MARS AND VENUS both have almost the same atmosphere around 95%-96% c02 , both have extreme climates . The only difference is the distance the sun , temps on Venus =approx 480c Mars -AVERAGE -81c .. . c02 is used to make dry ice not power stoves . Hang 2 plastic or paper bags in the sun 6ft off the ground , one with c02 one without . THE C02 ONE WILL RETURN A LOWER TEMP EVERY TIME . http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Venus http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/facts/ Notice on Nasa THE C02 is so small it is not even mentioned in our stats , impossible to be the blame for the climate . Being chaotic theory it would be impossible to measure all the c02 in oceans and atmosphere even more so separating the 3% of 0.04% . Yet they want to charge us 100% of climate changes or global warming or whatever con they come up with . 1 tonne of c02 =only 1/3 of a tonne of c02 given 2 parts are oxygen and only 1 part carbon atoms .

  119. since CO2 is so small “it is not even mentioned in our stats, impossible to be the blame for the climate.” The question to ask yourself is: “How does the Earth’s natural cooling system work?” The Earth has to shed just as much energy as it receives, or it would get hotter and hotter. How does it shed its energy? By radiating it into space in the infrared spectrum. Colder regions radiate long wavelength infrared, warmer regions radiate shorter wavelength infrared. If the entire atmosphere were entirely transparent to all wavelengths of infrared, all the Earth’s infrared photons would have an easy journey into space. Most of the atmosphere is transparent – the nitrogen, the oxygen, and the argon. But H2O gases aren’t entirely transparent. CO2 gases aren’t transparent to al wavelengths of IR. Methane gases aren’t transparent to IR in a number of wavelengths. And so on. It’s the non-transparent gases that reduce the amount of IR that escapes into space. What matters, then, is whether the total amount of non-transparent gases are constant, fluctuating, steadily falling, or steadily rising.

    If the Earth’s ability to radiate IR into space is reduced by a rise in nontransparent gases, the retained IR will cause the Earth to get warmer. As it warms, it will produce more IR across the entire IR spectrum. As it produces more IR in the transparent parts of the spectrum, and sends more IR into space, its natural cooling system will have brought things back into balance. Solar IN will be fully offset by IR OUT and the Earth’s average temperature will stabilize. At a slightly higher temperature, associated with a slightly higher concentration of non-transparent gases.

    Comparing concentrations of a non-transparent gas like CO2 with the concentrations of fully transparent gases like nitrogen and oxygen is an instinctive reaction, but it misreads the key role of non-transparent gases in the behavior of the Earth’s natural cooling system.

  120. The air you used contains water vapor, over 6000 ppm by mass. Water vapor is a much stronger ghg than carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide used is pure, displacing water vapor.

    Water vapor is the primary ghg in the atmosphere, it also transports huge amounts of thermal energy from the surface to the lower condensation level, circumventing sensible temperature measurement because of latent heat.

  121. Sure, glass absorbs ir, but so do most hydrocarbon based polymers. To accurately perform these experiments, salt windows would be the most useful. The transparency of salt to ir has been known for over 150 years, see Tyndall’s work.

    The salt can be ordinary sodium chloride or many other halide metal salts. Silver chloride is used in FTIR spectrometry liquid/gas cells while potassium bromide is used for solid samples to press a matrix window.

    The lack of solid physics and chemistry laboratory methods in AGW research makes me sick.

  122. @Steve Johnson – I applaud your efforts here Steve, especially your points about human ability to innovate. It is disturbing how many people can’t accept what is so plainly happening around us. While healthy skepticism is critical to science, these people hold onto their beliefs with the fervor of a religious belief.

  123. @Kieth J – I hope you don’t take this little demonstration to represent the the level of science that has gone into the climate research. Of course the scientists know about IR, anyone in second year college chemistry has used KBr to run IR spectra. The issue with water vapor and CO2 is the specific wavelengths they absorb at – water vapor leaves a “window” of wavelengths open for radiation to pass through while the CO2 absorbs in this region, so even a small amount of CO2 begins to close this “window.”

  124. Hi Stuart, everyone –
    I don’t think I’d characterize the IR issue in quite this way. Here’s my understanding. The Earth’s natural cooling system makes use of the entire IR spectrum to shed as much energy back into space as the Earth receives from the sun. When Energy OUT is equal to Energy IN, the overall temperature of the Earth remains stable. As I understand it, the spectrum runs from wavelengths of 3 microns or less all the way up to 50 microns. Warmer regions radiate short wavelength IR into space, cooler regions radiate longer wavelength IR into space.

    Anything that boosts the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is likely to reduce the ability of IR to escape into space – not across the board, but only in those wavelengths affected by the addition of new greenhouse gases. More carbon dioxide will affect IR in the 15 micron range and a few other wavelengths. More water vapor will affect IR in other wavelengths.

    As the daily amount of Energy OUT falls below the daily amount of Energy IN, the Earth is likely to warm. A warming Earth will generate increasing amounts of IR at almost all wavelengths. In those wavelengths restricted by greenhouse gases, IR OUT barely rises. In wavelengths that are more transparent, IR OUT will rise by greater amounts. Energy OUT again equals Energy IN, because the Earth’s higher temperature compensates for the Earth’s higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    If CO2 were to stop rising, the Earth’s temperature would find a new equilibrium – at a warmer but stable average temperature. Should CO2 continues to rise, though, the Earth will be forced to get warmer, and still warmer, in its pursuit of a new equilibrium.

    I hope I’ve described this clearly enough.

  125. The amount of energy retained by additional carbon dioxide is trivial when looking at stratosphere and beyond. More interesting are noctilucent clouds and post stratopause atmospheric dynamics. What injects water vapor into the mesosphere? Strong thunderstorms? Superheated pockets from sprites? Very difficult to say since this is the realm of sounding rockets for data. Regardless, we can assume that these clouds are a heat rejection mechanism sine they appear in the hemispherical summer when insolation is maximum. And these clouds have become more apparent with rising carbon dioxide levels. Another negative feedback since the mesosphere is like the troposphere with respect to a lapse rate.

  126. Keith J says, “The amount of energy retained by additional carbon dioxide is trivial when looking at stratosphere and beyond.” That sounds like a hypothesis, rather than a proven fact. But it does point to a key issue in our search for understanding – the distinction between signal and noise.

    Rising levels of carbon dioxide, or water vapor, or methane, or any other greenhouse gas, will trap rising amounts of heat, said by climate scientists to be equal to about 2 Celsius per century, or one eighteen-thousandths of a degree per day. Whatever the realistic estimate is, let’s call the heat increase that results from rising GHGs the “signal” that we’re interested in.

    But what will scientists measure, when they measure temperatures at thousands of monitoring stations around the globe? Signal only? Or signal and noise? Obviously the second. Other factors will also shape the Earth’s temperature. El Nino periods raise the temperature and amplify the apparent amount of warming. La Nina periods reduce the temperature and depress the apparent amount of warming. Some types of clouds reflect sunshine back into space, and therefore depress the amount of warming; other types of clouds retain even more infrared and therefore amplify the amount of warming.

    Your hypothesis is that the “noise” of clouds will always have an effect that’s as strong, or stronger, than the “signal” of retained heat and its effect on the Earth’s overall store of heat. Even if this turns out to be an accurate hypothesis, it doesn’t disprove the presence of heating as a genuine signal; instead it proves the presence of reflectivity as a separate and dampening signal.

    It is very difficult to discuss this accurately if we fail to acknowledge the distinction between signal and noise. Temperature readings will always combine the two. But – if we are thoughtful about this – we’ll be cautious in both directions. Just as amplifying noise doesn’t prove that the global warming signal is as strong as it might seem to be, the presence of dampening noise doesn’t prove that the signal of global warming is as weak as it may seem to be.

    For that matter, we won’t rely solely on thermometers to assess the presence, or absence, of a heating signal. We’ll also look at physical evidence of all kinds, from all parts of the globe, to see if there is evidence of a directional trend. It’s a complex world we live in. A careful respect for hypotheses calls us to be cautious as we move from hypothesis to conclusion, and calls us to be cautious as we move from conclusion to judgment. If our conclusions are drawn too hastily, we will almost always overlook important sources of evidence.

  127. Experiments are part of science. The producers of this video must be held to scientific standards. If a result is not reproducible with the exact equipment and methodology used, it is falsified. In common parlance, that is known as lying. There is no excuse, up to and including ‘We knew it was going to work because it is well established science, so we faked it.’

    Once again, we the public are not enabled in our assessment of the magnitude of the CO2 absorption strength even though I doubt any serious scientist doubts that there is *some* effect in a jar or in the atmosphere. Please define some. In this case the experiment ironically demonstrates thermal conductivity.

    The irony derives from there being many complex mechanisms contributing to climate change of any type, including well known changes in the large ongoing thermonuclear explosion in the sky.

    Will somebody please demonstrate (not photoshopped, not IPCC) beyond healthy (not excessive) levels of scientific scepticism what the *strength* of the CO2 warming effect is in our atmosphere.

  128. The question to start with is how the Earth’s natural cooling system is affected by a rising amount of atmospheric CO2. Dogs cool themselves by panting, cars cool themselves with radiators and fans, humans cool themselves by sweating, and the Earth cools itself by radiating infrared energy into space. Total energy radiated into space has to equal total energy received from the sun if the Earth isn’t to get warmer.

    If something interferes with the amount of infrared escaping into space in a portion of the IR spectrum, the rest of the spectrum eventually has to compensate by radiating even more IR energy into space. For this to happen, the Earth has to warm in order that more energy will be generated across the rest of the spectrum.

    Does carbon dioxide interfere with outbound IR? In most wavelengths, no. But at the 15 micron wavelength, yes. Satellite measurements of IR strengths at varying wavelengths show less IR strength at 15 microns than in neighboring wavelengths. As CO2 concentrations rise, the suppression of IR energy increases at the 15 micron wavelength. When IR Energy OUT falls below Solar Energy IN, the Earth warms. As it warms, IR Energy OUT in other wavelengths will increase.

    This dynamic would bring the Earth’s temperature back into balance if the CO2 concentration weren’t continuing to rise. But endless burning of fossil fuels produces an endless increase in CO2, and therefore causes an increasing shrinkage in the amount of IR sent into space at the 15 micron wavelength.

    What will happen to your dog on a hot day if you tape his mouth shut? What will happen to your car if its radiator loses coolant? What will happen to the Earth if the atmosphere becomes increasingly opaque to IR photons at some wavelengths? Cooling systems matter for planets as much as they do for pets and cars.

  129. What was the name of the kid who was killed by the bottle of compressed CO2 gas His parents could well bring a court action against Al Gore

  130. I’ve been making the case that that experiment should be required in every high school science class for years. I am so glad to see that you have made this video. I would recommend that everyone forward on a link to a science teacher in your school district and challenge them to perform it, and send it to a local Tea Party to use in their political activities. I would also suggest repeating this experiment to measure the change in pH of ocean water. The next claim is that CO2 causes ocean acidification.

    I would also suggest some changes to this experiment:

    1) Global warming is a misnomer, what the GHG effect does is trap OUTGOING, not INCOMING heat as Al Gore’s experiment does. In reality the GHG effect is basically meaningless during the daytime as visible light warms the oceans and land. CO2 is transparent to visible light.

    2) The Earth emits IR consistent with a black body temp of around 30 degree C, or 10 microns.

    http://www.spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php

    3) Most of the earth is Water, and for the most point, the oceans are the heat sinks of the world. Water stores heat much better than sand, dirt and grass.

    4) To replicate the real world the IR lamp should be replaced by hot or warm water, placed within an insulated aquarium with a glass or cellophane top. Warm the water up to 50 degree C in both tanks. Fill one tank not with pure CO2, but with amounts varying around 400 PPM. Venus proves a pure CO2 environment can trap a lot of heat. CO2 traps more heat than a vacuum or O2. We aren’t modeling Venus, we are modeling the earth. Do the experiment with 450 PPM, 500 PPM, 550 PPM, 600 PPM, 650PPM…2000 PPM.

    6) Cool the external room to night time temperatures, and have a small slow fan in the aquarium to simulate the convection currents in the atmosphere that help export the hot air to the outer atmosphere where is can release its heat to outer space, in this case, the cooler room.

    5) Measure the temperature drop over the time span of one night. Remember, once day begins, visible light starts the warming all over again. To prove the GHG effect is warming the earth, you have to prove that it is trapping heat over night, so the day starts at a warmer point than would have been.

    6) Collect data to see if higher levels of CO2 result in slower cooling of the atmosphere and oceans.

    7) If the water remains hotter in the high CO2 level aquarium, then Al Gore has a point. If not, Al Gore is wrong.

    This pH experiment can also be run simultaneously by simply measuring the pH of the water. A slow rocker mechanism may be placed in the water to simulate ocean waves and current.

    Bottom line, the most people know about the basic science behind AGW, the less they will believe in it.

  131. “CO2 is Life” only partly understands the core scientific principles at stake. The place to begin thinking about this is with the concept of heat balance and the Earth’s natural cooling system.
    For the Earth to maintain a stable temperature over time, its cooling system has to work effectively. It has to shed heat as rapidly as it receives heat. Energy OUT has to be just as strong as Energy IN.

    Energy IN from the sun arrives in a fairly tight part of the spectrum, from ultraviolet through visible light thru high energy IR. In rough terms, if memory serves, from 0.3 microns up to 2 microns or so. Visible light and high energy IR, mostly.

    Energy OUT from the Earth’s atmosphere, into space, departs solely in the form of IR energy, covering a spectrum from roughly 3 microns to roughly 50 microns in wavelength.

    Because the Earth is warmer than absolute zero by quite a bit, all parts of the Earth generate IR energy continually. Cooler areas generate longer wavelength IR, hotter areas generate shorter wavelength IR.

    Basically, the entire IR spectrum is brought into play, 24 hours a day. It’s inaccurate to suggest that it isn’t functioning during the daytime. During the daytime, the Earth is hotter and its IR output is therefore stronger. As it cools on the night side, its IR output falls off a bit. What matters is that total energy sent into space, from the shortest IR band to the longest, 24 hours a day, ends up equaling total energy received from the sun. That’s how the Earth maintains heat balance.

    Greenhouse gases like CO2, or water vapor, or methane, along with a number of others, operate as filters in certain wavelengths. CO2 significantly dampens the Earth’s IR output at the 15 micron wavelength, and the greater the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the greater its dampening effect.

    Suppose – as a thought experiment – that Energy OUT falls below Energy IN by, oh, three tenths of a percent. The Earth’s natural cooling system loses just a bit of its efficiency as a result of greater CO2 accumulations – and other accumulations – in the atmosphere. What has to happen for heat balance to be restored? For Energy OUT to rise again, so that it fully offsets Energy IN, the way it’s supposed to? The Earth has to get hotter. Just as a hotter asphalt parking lot blasts me with more IR on a hot summer day than a cold parking lot, a slightly warmer Earth generates a little more IR across its entire IR spectrum till things are back in balance, till Energy OUT is once again back in sync with Energy IN.

    As GHGs accumulate, the filtered parts of the IR spectrum see a decline in their ability to pass IR energy into space. The unfiltered parts of the IR spectrum therefore have to see a rise in the total IR energy they transmit into space.

    It would be nice if we had a meter that showed us all these moving parts at the same time. Total Energy IN from the sun ever day. And Energy OUT, from the IR spectrum, subtotals by each IR wavelength, and the Grand Total for the entire IR spectrum. Then we’d see some bands declining, over time, as GHG concentrations rise. We’d see other bands showing rising output, to reflect the slow warming of the Earth. Combine those subtotals and we’d see total Energy OUT doing its best to keep pace with total Energy IN.

    The Earth’s natural cooling system. It’s pretty interesting. Gore isn’t particularly good at explaining it, but then who is?

  132. “The Earth receives approximately 2.9 million terawatt-hours worth of energy from the sun every day. This energy arrives in the UV, visible light, and very short IR spectrum.”

    My college degree says I’m a “political scientist” but as a very active ham radio operator for more than 60 years, I’m wondering why the quotation above doesn’t take into account the geomagnetic energy that the sun sends our way every day in greatly varying amounts. This form of energy certainly affects the capability of ham radio operators to communicate with hams in the rest of the world, and on occasion has affected critical measures of human well-being, such as the time when much of Quebec’s electricity grid was knocked offline by a solar storm. My question is, why hasn’t this form of solar energy been taken into account in the IPCC models?

  133. That’s an interesting question. My college degree says I’m a history major and my hobbies don’t include ham radio, so you’re more alert to this than I. I do know that the modelers try to track lots of minor factors, including low density greenhouse gases, soot, etc, not just CO2. If routine solar wind is known to have an effect – either on incoming sunlight or outbound IR – I imagine it does get modeled, but frankly I can’t recall reading any articles that discuss it.

    Isn’t the main issue with solar storms rather more instantaneous, that the most powerful ones would – if they hit the Earth square on – fry our electronics? My impression is that they are like tsunamis from space – sudden, unexpected, and with a capacity to cause terrible damage.

  134. My forty years of medical practice in psychiatry, neurology and my PhD in neurobiology tell me that most climate scientists know very little about the adaptability of microfauna that exists in every possible biological niche on, above and blow the surface of the earth. What I see with climate scientists is that they did not bother figuring how each biological niche will be exploited to some extent by those microfauna and the extent of the role they play beyond being potential human pathogens in terms of a dynamical system like earth’s multiple environments. If there is one thing that has always found a way to persist on earth, it is life in all of its forms at some moment or another.

    The idea of “consensus” making good science is absolutely abhorrent to me as a physician. We use consensus in making medical treatment guidelines, but we have so far been proven more wrong than right in such basic areas as cardiovascular medicine, infectious diseases (apparently climate scientists never heard of the old consensus that no new antibiotics were needed–something which nature told us no so politely that we were wrong), nutrition (the role of different vitamins and their clinical utility has changed dramatically)–and all of these clinical decisions were made based on consensus to a large extent. For that reason alone, the idea of consensus in science, which betrays its fundamental nature of doubt and skepticism as the primary drivers of new inquiry and experimentation, is ludicrous. What is even more ludicrous is the over-reliance on mathematical modeling which has always suffered from the GIGO effect.

    It’s not like politics have not invaded science before with disastrous results, and unfortunately I just don’t agree that the current climate science research model is sustainable unless it starts to produce results. We have seen that alternative energy sourcing is expensive and is not commercially viable without massive subsidies. We have also seen that most people just don’t buy global warming because it sounds like too much hokum coming from the same doom and gloom prophesies which have failed so many times. Were we not supposed to see our coastlines already inundated? Funny how that has not happened. Funny how the severity of tropical storms this season has not panned out to the doom and gloom soothsayers’ predictions. Americans are not scientifically illiterate as most climate scientists would like to crow about, but instead they are loathe to commit so many resources to a hypothesis that most of them doubt, especially in a time when their own finances and that of their government are so precarious.

    And spare us the political claptrap. There are believers on both sides, it’s just that climate scientists have not really done a good job of selling their hypothesis into the public forum. The government of Australia tried and failed. Likely they are a harbinger of what to expect with Americans when they are told by private jet billionaires that they must cut back.

  135. Sorry to say that as a 40+ year practicing neurologist/psychiatrist and neurobiologist, I am just not buying this whole silly idea of a scientific consensus. The term itself is an oxymoron of the highest degree, with a built-in irony of political overtones that just don’t work.

    Two major factors make me skeptical: a) the fact that I don’t see any mention of the effect of microfauna at all–and that is troubling for the simple reason that those primitive forms of life are the most adaptable and occupy every possible biological niche in, on, above and below the earth’s surface and yet no model I have seen validates their effects in harnessing available biological niches and exploiting them while simultaneously being the most basic part of the lifecycle; and b) I don’t trust any particular hypothesis with ambitions to explain the complexity of planetary function based solely on mathematical models with known high degrees of inaccuracy and marginal predictive value.

    I have to say as a physician who treats patients with neurocognitive deficits that Americans are not the scientifically illiterate bunch that most pompous, arrogant scientists would have everyone believe. They are very skeptical of putting even more resources into an idea that is counter-intuitive to what they have been taught for generations. We have always been taught that carbon dioxide is necessary for plant life and for microfauna at different levels of the food chain, and now suddenly it is bad? Do any climate scientists know how long it has taken those of us in medicine to get patients to accept the simple idea that a dose of a medication does not always produce purely linear results? And now you want them to accept an idea based on precepts that remain entrenched yet still scientifically valid (e.g. are climate scientists going to re-invent the carbon fixation cycle in plants?)? Sorry, but that is antithetical to human nature in general, but American reliance on tradition more specifically. If the Australian government recently toppled could not adequately sell global warming to its own voters, how on earth do you think Americans, who are beset with economic considerations, are going to react?

    Seems like climate scientists always adopt the gloom and doom approach. Nobody wants to buy into the depressive, depressing and detached world of global warming because it is sold as something where everyone must pay more taxes from money they don’t have and do with less when they already are doing with less. The psychiatrist in me wonders if global warming advocates understand just how they sound like a group of major depressive disorder support group patients? Why would anyone want to buy into that?

  136. The question of whether boosting carbon dioxide’s concentration in the atmosphere will affect the Earth’s temperature and climate is wholly separate from the question of whether scientists and environmentalists have much of a feel for how to explain this to the public. Adding carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere at a vast global scale inherently interferes with the Earth’s natural cooling system, subtly but cumulatively and also irreversibly. Do environmentalists explain this well and respectfully? No. Do environmentalists engage the public well on the question of how best to develop a post-fossil fuel energy alternative? No.

    Once you come to grips with how the Earth’s natural cooling system works, you’ll appreciate that Energy IN (from the sun) has to be offset by Energy OUT (via the infrared spectrum), because if it weren’t, the Earth would get warmer and warmer very fast. What this issue is about is how a pinched outflow in one part of the Earth’s IR spectrum requires expanded outflows in other parts of the IR spectrum so that the total outflow stays constant. But expanding the outflow in those parts of the spectrum that have a clear path into space happens only when the Earth’s surface gets warmer. Less outflow in some parts of the IR spectrum, plus more outflow in others, brings the total outflow back to an Energy OUT total that equals Energy IN from the sun.

    Does warming, by itself, matter a great deal? Maybe, maybe not. What matters is the effect on climate. If climate behaviors change significantly, and those changes become even stronger as the CO2 accumulation rises and rises and rises, then much of humanity will pay a cost.

    Incidentally, I doubt that this has anything al all to do with microfauna, as they aren’t regulators of the Earth’s outbound infrared, or of climate.

    The good news – you seldom hear it from scientists, let alone environmentalists – is that the U.S. receives about 50,000 terawatt-hours worth of sunshine every day. And consumes about 56 terawatt-hours worth of end use energy every day. All it takes to run the American economy at full speed is about a thousandth of the sunshine we now receive.

    But the effort to get from here to there? It’ll have to have enormous grass roots involvement. It can’t be dumped on people by regulators. It’ll have to be developed in the sort of handyman spirit that’s one of America’s best traits.

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