What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?

With some hubub recently over the 350.org day (designed to highlight the opinion that we must return the Earth to a 350 parts per million atmospheric CO2 level) I thought it might be a good idea to have a look at what the reversal might gain us.

For this, I’m drawing on the excellent guest post made by Bill Illis here on 11/25/2008 titled:

Adjusting Temperatures for the ENSO and the AMO

One of the graphs (along with a model in a zip file) that Bill presented in that guest post was this graph, which I’ve annotated to show the 350 PPM desired by activists, versus the 388 PPM (MLO seasonally corrected value) where we are now:

click for larger image

click for larger image

Here is the same graph, annotated again with intersecting lines and values, and zoomed on the areas of interest.

350-vs-388_logarithmic_CO2_zoomed

click for larger image

Depending on whether you believe the models or the actual observations determines what value would be gained from a  reduction to 350 PPM.

For belief in the models we’d get approximately 0.5°C drop in temperature.

For belief in the observations (RSS HadCRUT3 data) we’d get approximately 0.3°C drop in temperature.

Split the difference if you don’t like either and call it 0.4°C.

The key point here is that to get to 350PPM, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to accomplish. Alternate energy just hasn’t risen to the challenge yet, and the world populace that depends on electricity isn’t likely to tolerate shutting down their energy use to get there.

China and India have said they won’t go along with suggested reductions, and are coming up with their own ideas prior to Copenhagen. Thus is the quandary faced by 350.org supporters.

As a side note, the 350PPM target was Dr. Jim Hansen’s idea:

Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?

Since Hansen can’t even predict the effect of climate change 20 years out in his own neighborhood, one wonders why some people take the 350 PPM target suggestion seriously.

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126 thoughts on “What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?

  1. 350ppm. Sounds reasonable and modest. In fact it’s pretty extreme. Those advocating this kind of measure should be first in the queue for living without electricity or travel. Just as those who say we cannot sustain current population levels should be the first ones to lay down their lives.
    They should all be made to lead by example.

  2. The first thing is poverty. Concerning Climate no one knows. It is not established with minimum scientific certainty what some CO2 makes or not makes in atmosphere.

  3. Excuse me please, I don’t want it to drop 0.4 degrees! It’s cold enough as it is. I’d welcome a nice couple of degree increase should that actually occur. It’s cold enough up here in Canada, who wants the cold again? Not I. Cold = Death. Warmth = Life! I vote for life!

  4. Christopher Booker writes in the UK Sunday Telegraph about the real climate change catastrophe. He details the waste of billions of dollars and/or pounds in the futile chase to reduce UK emissions of CO2 by 80%.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6425269/The-real-climate-change-catastrophe.html
    The political elites who would rule us in the manner following the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD, should reflect upon this Rudyard Kipling poem.
    “My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
    To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
    When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
    But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–
    “The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
    But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
    When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
    And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing’, my son, leave the Saxon alone.
    “You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
    But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
    From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
    They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.
    “But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
    Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
    Let them know that you know what they’re saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
    Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes you all day.
    They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
    It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game in the park).
    Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well as unkind,
    For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.
    “Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
    Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
    Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
    Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!”

  5. I have read that CO2 “absorbs to extinction” at well below the 385 ppm level. As I understand it, CO2 only captures infrared in three narrow frequency bands with wavelengths of 2.7, 4.3, and 15 microns, and that these bands are already saturated. If true, this means that all the infrared that CO2 can capture is already being captured, and would be at 350 ppm. Thus, more or less CO2 in the atmosphere makes no difference. Will someone with more scientific knowledge than I have please confirm or correct?

  6. Here’s some good incite as to what the Green Agenda is all about.
    “The common enemy of humanity is man.
    In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
    with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
    water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
    dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
    changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
    The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
    – Club of Rome,
    premier environmental think-tank,
    consultants to the United Nations
    Lots more quotes like tins and other information available here.
    http://green-agenda.com/

  7. Benny Peiser, in his CCNet e-letter of 19Oct09 (161/2009) included this alarmist missive from one Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University:

    (9) PLANETARY BOUNDARIES: THE CO2 <350 PPM UPPER LIMIT OF HUMAN HABITATS
    THE RISE OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 ABOVE 350 PPM AT THE CURRENT RATE OF 2 PPM/YEAR IS TRANSCENDING ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS WHICH ALLOWED THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION AND, WITH LAG EFFECTS, IS LEADING TOWARD AN ICE-FREE EARTH AND A MASS EXTINCTION OF SPECIES
    Climate change is tracking toward levels which transcend the planetary
    boundaries which allowed the development of humans over the last 3 million years [1]. These limits have already been crossed in terms of the rise in greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, Nitric oxide) and extensive loss of species . . .

    He goes on and on with the whole litany (I won’t post it here, and there is no link, but I’m sure Benny can provide a copy if you contact him at B.J.Peiser@ljmu.ac.uk ).
    Anthony, it might be worth repeating here at the top level and having a contest: Who can provide the best rebuttal of each of Glikson’s wild-eyed claims?
    /Mr Lynn

  8. It makes no sense to think about “350” until we stabilize at some level. It makes no sense to think about stabilizing at some level until we stop increasing annual emissions. The increases in annual emissions are occurring predominantly in the developing countries, led by China and India. Unfortunately, those who logically must go first, politically and economically insist they go last.
    “Catch 22” anyone?

  9. Anthony……..completely off topic I know, but you might be interested to know (if you don’t already) that last night (Saturday 24/10/09), Carol Kirkwood on the BBC Weather Show made the following assertion as to what can be expected in coming decades……..”WE’RE LOOKING AT HARSHER WINTERS”. This was backed up with imagery of snowy scenes, just in case we were in any doubt about what was meant by the word “HARSHER”. This is a maasive departure from what the message has been until now. Deserving of further exploration perhaps?
    Ben

  10. Surely the point of the ‘350’ campaign is that we need to stop the continued rise in CO2 – it’s not just a matter of going from 388 to 350. The paleoclimate evidence suggests that we might have an ice-free world at 450ppm, but who wants to bet a human-friendly climate on that figure being exactly right? What if it’s actually 400ppm? We’ll probably be there in less than a decade at this rate.
    The point is that we don’t want to find out exactly where that point is, because by the time we find out, it will be much too late. If 350ppm is very likely to avert major climate change then doesn’t it makes sense to aim for that?

  11. So does that graph show the temp rise caused by CO2 or the CO2 rise caused by temp?
    It clearly makes the mistake (i think) of assuming that CO2 was responsible the temp increase, rather than say the observed 4% decrease in low level clouds.
    Of course how CO2 warms the planet by absorbing energy emitted at -70C is beyond me!
    As Deap dark Iowa pointed out, there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb 50% of the energy within 26m (peak 15cm) My guess is that calculations were never scaled up from the 100m experimental length to the full 6000m atmosphere distance (constant 1atm pressure) which would cause an over estimation of 2 to power 60

  12. If you read sites like PlantsneedCO2, you’ll see a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere from the current level would do wonders for plants, according to greenhouse growers the optimal CO2 level for all plants is 1000-1500 PPM, and we have plenty of time to find new technology so as to shut off CO2 production when that level is reached.

  13. Deepest Darkest Iowa (13:00:18) : I have read that CO2 “absorbs to extinction” at well below the 385 ppm level. As I understand it, CO2 only captures infrared in three narrow frequency bands with wavelengths of 2.7, 4.3, and 15 microns, and that these bands are already saturated. If true, this means that all the infrared that CO2 can capture is already being captured, and would be at 350 ppm. Thus, more or less CO2 in the atmosphere makes no difference. Will someone with more scientific knowledge than I have please confirm or correct?
    IANAP (I Am Not A Physicist) but as I understand it there are two main reasons why the “CO2 is saturated” argument fails –
    1: CO2, unlike water vapour, is fairly evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere. Regardless of the situation at ground level (even if CO2 *was* saturated), at a high enough altitude the atmosphere is so thin that most of the infrared radiation from warmer lower layers escapes to space (i.e. it’s not saturated). This *must* be true *whatever* the absorption properties of the atmosphere. Add more CO2 to this thin upper atmosphere and more of the infrared radiation will be absorbed, causing all the lower levels of the atmosphere to get warmer and infrared radiation to increase accordingly until Earth’s radiation budget once again reaches equilibrium – i.e. the Earth warms up.
    2: Absorption of infrared by CO2 isn’t saturated anyway, even in the lower atmosphere, as modern spectroscopy clearly shows.

  14. I do not believe in any visible effect of present rise of CO2 on temperature.
    1) most of the temperature increase during the 20th century occurred in 1900-1950 period, when CO2 did not increased much (but Sun cycles ramped up like hell)
    2) actual temperature difference between 40ties and 2000s ranges from negative (USA, Greenland – 30/40ties were warmer) to fraction of degree (Europe). SST as good global indicator were maybe 0.2 deg C higher in 2003 than in 40ties
    3) second half of 20th century experienced series of extra high sun cycles and to the end, combined positive AMO/PDO oscillations
    4) Satellite observations show increase of LW radiation escape to the space, contrary to all greenhouse GCM models and confirming that variations in clouds control incoming SW and outcoming LW radiation, not CO2.
    There is no space left for any visible CO2.
    Did I say global temperatures go down, despite incrasing CO2?
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2002/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2002/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/plot/rss/from:2002

  15. Icarus (13:48:15) wrote “The paleoclimate evidence suggests that we might have an ice-free world at 450ppm”
    what evidence?
    During the Ordovician, atmospheric CO2 levels were 11 times the current value and there was an ice age.

  16. Mark Morano was on the Thom Hartmann radio program a few days ago with Bill Gibbon or somebody from 350.org. Morano did a pretty good job but sounded nervous. Hartmann is intimidating with his junk science… I sure would like to hear a Hartmann/Watts debate!

  17. A return to 350 ppm would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity.
    Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.
    We have enough people starving around the world due to despotic governments (think Zimbabwe, North Korea, Burma). It would be a shame to have them starving because of an actual food shortage.

  18. There is no way to get to 350 ppm.
    First, we would have to cut our emissions from roughly 32 billion tons per year today to Zero (effective tomorrow).
    Then we would have to wait 20 years for oceans and plants to start bringing the levels down (if indeed they would continue to absorb CO2 at the rate they are today).
    I imagine the 350 ppm is just a stretch target which is based on another target set by the EU and Hansen of 450 ppm. This level is contained in Hansen’s latest paper in which he says that all the ice will melt if we get over 450 ppm but that is not supported at all by the data contained in the paper.
    Antarctica glaciated over (for the fourth time) 34 million years ago when CO2 levels were as much as 1,300 ppm and then Antarctica glaciated over again for the fifth time as well as Greenland 14 million years ago when CO2 was about 250 ppm.

  19. william (13:59:30) : Icarus (13:48:15) wrote “The paleoclimate evidence suggests that we might have an ice-free world at 450ppm”
    what evidence?

    “Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, large scale glaciation occurring when CO2 fell to 425±75 ppm, a level that will be exceeded within decades, barring prompt policy changes. If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf
    During the Ordovician, atmospheric CO2 levels were 11 times the current value and there was an ice age.
    The Ordovician was mostly a warm world. 450 million years ago the Earth was a different place – the continents were in different places (largely in the southern hemisphere) and the sun was about 2% cooler, so you wouldn’t expect any particular level of CO2 to result in the same climate as it would today. In particular, in the late Ordovician most of the dry land on the planet was centred on the South Pole – massive glaciers formed causing shallow seas to drain and sea levels to drop.
    None of this changes the fact that atmospheric CO2 is closely correlated with global temperature for many millions of years into the past… It’s a fact that higher temperatures are correlated with higher CO2, and lower temperatures are correlated with lower CO2.

  20. If we look at the red line whe should be aiming for a co2 with 600 ppm. I think that is the ideal temperature for our world.

  21. Mike McMillan (14:06:13) :
    A return to 350 ppm would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity.
    Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.
    When you understand that population control is one of their aims, it fits right into the narrative. Also, if you understand that the alarmists KNOW temperatures are actually coming down it begins to make sense. They must get these policies enacted and running so they can artificially show they are brining down the temperatures. It’s a cart-before-the-horse mentality. If they can go to a horse farm and place carts before every horse, then show that on the nightly news they can change public opinion.

  22. Icarus (14:03:10) :
    a jones (13:05:45) : As I have pointed out before fossil fuel burning has little effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
    Then how do you explain this?:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/syr/fig2-3.jpg

    How do you explain it?
    You are quite right – there is No explanation – the plots you refer to would appear to be have been selected deliberately and manipulated by some sloppy or dishonest persons to scare people – no doubt for some sort of political agenda.

  23. Icarus (14:03:10) :
    a jones (13:05:45) : As I have pointed out before fossil fuel burning has little effect on CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
    Then how do you explain this?:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/syr/fig2-3.jpg

    a) consider the source – the IPCC, land of the hockey stick
    b) a hugely condensed horizontal scale – 10,000 years
    c) the bottom two-thirds trimmed off the vertical scale – it would look completely different if the ppm scale started at zero
    d) IPCC, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis – humans contribute 2.9% of the total CO2.

  24. Mike McMillan (14:06:13) is right. CO2 is beneficial. More CO2 is better. Increased atmospheric CO2 grows plants much faster: click1, click2. It is, after all, a plant nutrient.
    Further, CO2 levels in the geologic past have been an order of magnitude higher without causing ocean acidification, or runaway global warming, or decimation of polar bears, etc., etc., etc. In fact, there is no causation between higher levels of CO2 and temperature: click.
    Regarding the UN/IPCC chart linked by Icarus above, we must keep in mind that the IPCC is run by political appointees who have their marching orders, not by climate scientists. That’s where that ginned-up hockey stick chart that Icarus posted comes from.
    Arbitrarily selecting a very recent cutoff of only the past 10,000 years is simply cherry-picking. The IPCC does this sort of thing all the time: click. They are incredible; that is why they refuse to debate their extremely questionable assertions, or answer skeptiks’ questions, or make their data and methodologies transparent. And they always seem to cut off the most recent decade from the global temperature: click.
    For a peer-reviewed chart going much farther back in time, see here [click on the chart to expand].
    Furthermore, almost all the possible warming due to CO2 has already occurred. More CO2 will cause almost no additional warming: click. But it will greatly benefit all life on Earth, because CO2 is as harmless and as beneficial to life as H2O.
    The atmosphere is currently starved of the trace gas carbon dioxide. If CO2 levels increase, then agricultural productivity will increase.
    Given the facts, anyone who truly cares about the fact that there is still starvation in the world would certainly want CO2 levels to increase.

  25. Mike McMillan (14:06:13) : A return to 350 ppm would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity.
    Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.

    Sorry, but that’s utter nonsense. Dramatic improvements in yield are due to breeding programmes, better irrigation, multiple crops, more fertiliser and other factors like that. CO2 is irrelevant unless you’re growing strawberries in a greenhouse or something.

  26. Icarus (13:48:15) :
    “Surely the point of the ‘350′ campaign is that we need to stop the continued rise in CO2 – it’s not just a matter of going from 388 to 350. The paleoclimate evidence suggests that we might have an ice-free world at 450ppm, but who wants to bet a human-friendly climate on that figure being exactly right? What if it’s actually 400ppm? We’ll probably be there in less than a decade at this rate.”
    May I be so bold as to ask you for the source of your wisdom and your Scientific Credentials!!!

  27. If CO2 is so bad then why are farm workers exposed to elevated levels of CO2 in the production of Tomatoes? It seems it is acceptable to go to levels of above 700ppm (see below). What I am unable to find out is the effect on temperature within greehouses with elevated CO2.
    http://www.hortnet.co.nz/publications/science/n/neder/co2_nr4.htm
    Elly Nederhoff – HortResearch, Palmerston North
    “The previous article in this series showed that CO2-enrichment to 700 or at maximum 1000 ppm clearly increases growth and production in lettuce, cucumber and capsicum crops. In tomato, however, the response to CO2-enrichment is sometimes less clear than in most other crops.”
    http://www.hortnet.co.nz/publications/science/n/neder/co2_nr1.htm#top
    “CO2 in low concentrations is not dangerous for humans; it is also the gas that gives the prickles in fizzy drinks. The advised maximum concentration in working places is 5000 ppm.”

  28. “Gains in land productivity have come primarily from three
    sources—the growing use of fertilizer, the spread of irrigation,
    and the development of higher-yielding varieties.”
    “With corn, now the world’s largest grain crop, the early
    breakthrough came with hybridization in the United States. As
    a result of the dramatic advances associated with hybrid corn,
    and the recent, much more modest gains associated with genetic
    modification, corn yields are still edging upward.”
    “In the United States, which accounts for 40 percent of the world corn harvest, yields are now approaching an astonishing 10 tons per hectare. Even though fertilizer use has not increased since 1980, corn yields continue to edge upward as seed companies invest huge sums in corn breeding.”
    However: “High temperatures can… dehydrate plants. When a corn plant curls its leaves to reduce exposure to the sun, photosynthesis is reduced. And when the stomata on the underside of the leaves close to reduce moisture loss, CO2 intake is also reduced, thereby restricting photosynthesis. At elevated temperatures, the corn plant, which under ideal conditions is so extraordinarily productive, goes into thermal shock.”
    CO2 has no significant effect on world grain crops, but temperature and drought certainly do.
    Still think elevated CO2 is a good idea?
    http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/book_files/pb4book.pdf

  29. Mike McMillan (14:31:50):
    With the y-axis [vertical axis] starting at zero, an honest CO2 chart is much less alarming: click. [Hey! Where did that IPCC hokey stick go??]
    The IPCC is deliberately alarming; they have an agenda to fulfill, and it has nothing to do with science. To achieve their goals, they must alarm the populace. But they don’t have the science to back them up, so they diddle with the y-axis on their CO2 charts, like this: click. See what happens when the y-axis is started near current CO2 levels? The IPCC is doing the same thing, except on a 10,000 year x-axis. The result is a scary looking hockey stick. But it’s not an honest representation.
    The IPCC is trying to convince people that “carbon” [by which they mean CO2, a tiny trace gas] is some sort of demon that will destroy the climate. Dr Roy Spencer’s CO2 chart shows an honest perspective: click [look close, or you’ll miss the CO2 boogeyman].

  30. Icarus (14:20:21) :
    “None of this changes the fact that atmospheric CO2 is closely correlated with global temperature for many millions of years into the past… It’s a fact that higher temperatures are correlated with higher CO2, and lower temperatures are correlated with lower CO2.”
    Icarus, Don’t get correlation confused with causation. It doesn’t necessarily follow that because you see a correlation in temperature with the calculated levels of CO2, that the temperature rise has been caused by the CO2, it may well be that the elevation in CO2 has been caused by the rising temperatures which themselves may be caused by some other event.

  31. Elevated levels of CO2 are used in the greenhouse production of various fruit & veg. CO2 levels of 700 – 1000 ppm are used with clear benefits. [http://www.hortnet.co.nz/publications/science/n/neder/co2_nr4.htm]
    And in terms of a polutant “The advised maximum concentration in working places is 5000 ppm.”
    So, it is acceptable for people to work in greenhouses with elevated levels of CO2. What I cannot find is whether the extra CO2 makes for a hotter greenhouse?

  32. Antarctic glaciation began with CO2 levels around 450ppm. The reason for the cooling phase is unclear, but it is a well established scientific fact that cooling results in lower CO2 levels as it follows temperature downwards. Once glaciation begins, increases the albedo leading to even greater cooling and even lower CO2 levels. It is however, a logical fallacy to conclude that glaciation forms when CO2 levels fall below 450 ppm, and I am amazed that this has gone.
    To then apply an error bar to get a lower limit and advocate 350 ppm as some sort of maximum to prevent deglaciation, achieves a perfect score in idiocy. Antarctic albedo is now so high, that it is inconveivable that it will melt away if CO2 levels are above 350ppm.

  33. Icarus (14:51:23):
    “CO2 has no significant effect on world grain crops…”
    Is that just your unfounded opinion? Let’s listen to what Prof Freeman Dyson says:

    A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes. If the air were not constantly stirred by convection currents and winds, the corn would stop growing.
    [source]

    Claiming that CO2 has no significant effect on crops is ridiculous. Without CO2 there would be no crops.

  34. @Icarus,
    are you shure about yr choosen name?
    Icarus burnt his feathers whilst flying too high.
    Are you shure not following his path?
    from a Deadalus-kind-of-mind

  35. It looks like a few from the pro-350 movement, who have never looked at the actual data, have found the site.

  36. @Icarus. When an alarmist can complete a sentence about the effect on temperature of CO2 in the atmosphere without any qualifiers (could, should, might, possibly, probably, effectively, proxy, etc.) AND provide a valid study completely sourced, with computer code, for examination by the readers of this blog, then AGW will have some credibility. Do you know of such a study? Send it to Anthony.
    The state of play as it stands now is, in laymen’s terms “we can’t account for all the warming so it must be man-made CO2”. The models were instructed to make it so and the rest is history.
    Skeptics have exhaustively, competently and repeatedly analyzed such data as can be coerced out of AGW proponents who continually act in a non-professional manner regarding their models and studies. I wouldn’t buy a used car from a guy who conducted himself in the manner of Hansen, Briffa or Schmidt. The end result is that 20 years in to this situation we still don’t know how Hansen made the determinations he made. We just know that his predictions were wrong. Pretty sad for a guy who maintains that he and his sidekick Schmidt are infallible.
    I believe that no one here would be a barrier to viable, realistic renewable energy technology that would sustain the current standard of living in the world and allow for growth. Many have said that they live in highly energy efficient homes and drive various energy saving vehicles. No one is a Luddite on renewable energy, but the bottom line is that for 60 or so years the majority of the energy generated on this planet is going to come from coal, gas, hydro and nuclear plants. Remove any of those sources in the interim and mankind will suffer tremendous hardships.
    Is this the legacy alarmists seek to leave the world? Is theirs a darker agenda to depopulate the world?

  37. Juraj V.: You ran through a sequence that included, “most of the temperature increase during the 20th century occurred in 1900-1950 period, when CO2 did not increased much (but Sun cycles ramped up like hell)”
    Whose TSI reconstruction are you referring to? The TSI reconstructions like Lean (2000) and like Hoyt and Schatten were manufactured to allow GCMs to show a rise in global temperatures during the first half of the 20th Century. The majority of the IPCCs models were still relying on obsolete TSI data for this reason for the IPCC’s AR4 20th Century hindcasts.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/ipcc-20th-century-simulations-get-boost.html
    If you assume that there was no increase in TSI during the 20th century, then you have to rely on ocean cycles to make your logic work. And you should be able to do that. But I would also suggest you replace the PDO with ENSO, since ENSO has known mechanisms to vary global temperature while the PDO does not. A smoothed curve of ENSO should provide you with what you’re looking for.
    http://i43.tinypic.com/33agh3c.jpg
    Regards

  38. A. Jones,
    Thanks for the link to CO2Science.org – I found this reminder of mankind’s contribution refreshing:
    “With such short residence times for atmospheric CO2, Essenhigh (2009) correctly points out that it is impossible for the anthropogenic combustion supply of CO2 to cause the given rise in atmospheric CO2. Consequently, a rising atmospheric CO2 concentration must be natural. This conclusion accords with measurements of 13C/12C carbon isotopes in atmospheric CO2, which show a maximum of 4% anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere (including any biogenic CO2), with 96% of the atmospheric CO2 being isotopically indistinguishable from “natural” inorganic CO2 exchanged with and degassed from the ocean, and degassed from volcanoes and the Earth’s interior (Segalstad, 1992).” ~
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N31/EDIT.php

  39. Smokey (15:14:40) : Claiming that CO2 has no significant effect on crops is ridiculous. Without CO2 there would be no crops.
    You’re being obtuse. The claim was:
    Mike McMillan (14:06:13) : “A return to 350 ppm would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity. Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.”
    The claim is nonsense because the substantial increase in grain productivity over recent decades is due to breeding, irrigation and fertiliser, so reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 would certainly not “disastrously reduce agricultural productivity”.

  40. @Greg S (14:53:59) :
    [B]

    Is this the legacy alarmists seek to leave the world? Is theirs a darker agenda to depopulate the world?
    …[/B]
    Indeed, it seems.

  41. Icarus (14:34:21) :
    Sorry, but that’s utter nonsense. Dramatic improvements in yield are due to breeding programmes, better irrigation, multiple crops, more fertiliser and other factors like that. CO2 is irrelevant unless you’re growing strawberries in a greenhouse or something.

    .
    The only thing Illinois farmers are doing differently now is incorporating to keep the government taxman from taking their farms when they die.
    Illinois corn yields have tracked CO2 closely since the end of the LIA. So closely that they make the IPCC CO2/temperature assertion look laughable.
    http://i29.tinypic.com/120ilbc.jpg
    No extra fertilizer, no extra irrigation, no multiple crops (in Illinois??), no vastly improved hybrids, no nonsense, and no strawberries. Remember that we hit 350 ppm only recently, in the late 1980’s.

  42. Vincent (15:08:24) : …To then apply an error bar to get a lower limit and advocate 350 ppm as some sort of maximum to prevent deglaciation, achieves a perfect score in idiocy. Antarctic albedo is now so high, that it is inconveivable that it will melt away if CO2 levels are above 350ppm.
    So what *is* the maximum? On what basis do you calculate it? What are the margins of error? How do we find out for sure without actually going there, by which time it would be much too late?

  43. Lord Moncton has the following approach:
    His assessment is that we need to reduce CO2 by 1 trillion tons in order to forestall the temperature by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
    Our World economy and our societies produce only 30 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.
    This is the equivalent of shutting down our entire societies world wide for a period of 33 years.
    This is an entirely pointless and unachievable operation.
    we can’t influence the earth temperature in any way.
    This now measured and verified finding (Lindzen) makes the mitigation of any CO2 emissions superfluous The last thing humanity needs is an International Climate Climate Treaty to resolve this non existent problem and a Totalitarian World Government to take control over our economies and it’s people
    http://www.breitbart.tv/the-b-cast-interview-lord-monckton-defends-his-warning-for-america/

  44. Icarus (14:34:21) :
    Mike McMillan (14:06:13) : A return to 350 ppm would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity.
    “Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.
    Sorry, but that’s utter nonsense. Dramatic improvements in yield are due to breeding programmes, better irrigation, multiple crops, more fertiliser and other factors like that. CO2 is irrelevant unless you’re growing strawberries in a greenhouse or something.”

    Does additional CO2 only work in greenhouses then? Is that why it’s called a greenhouse gas?

  45. Icarus (15:27:31),
    I quoted exactly what you wrote:
    “CO2 has no significant effect on world grain crops…”
    Now you are attempting to re-frame the argument. If you will look at the links I and others posted upthread, you will see that atmospheric CO2 concentration has an enormous impact on agricultural productivity.
    In addition, rises in CO2 follow temperature rises. The reason is obvious: click. As the oceans warm, CO2 is outgassed. That’s why warm beer quickly goes flat.

  46. “Deepest Darkest Iowa” raised a point about CO2 being saturated,
    and Icarus gave an incorrect explanation of why there can be spectrum broadening, even with saturation in some wavelengths.
    I’ll concede that have no graduate degree in physics, the following is from my undergraduate knowledge, and what I’ve picked up surfing the internet.
    Spectrum Broadening
    Some on this site have stated that H20 and CO2 can only absorb photons at
    specific wavelengths. At some level this
    may be true, but in practice it’s not, otherwise the argument about
    saturation would be correct, and nobody would give a damn one
    way or the other about further changes in greenhouse gases.
    Suppose CO2 can absorb energy only at exactly 14 nanometers. In
    practice, CO2 molecules are moving around with
    speeds of rougly 400 meters/second. Since this is small relative to
    light speed, non-relativistic physics can be applied.
    Since 400 meters/second is rougly 1/750,000 the speed of light,
    molecules moving towards a photon will see
    wavelengths 1/750,000 shorter than exactly 14 nanometers in
    length, and can interact with them. Likewise,
    molecules moving directly away will see the wavelengths as 1/1,300,000
    longer, and can interact with them, so
    in practice there are a range of molecular speeds and wavelengths
    interacting with the photons, which is why
    you get a band rather than a single set of lines.
    One result of quantum mechanical theory is Heisenberg’s uncertainty
    princible
    dE* dt> 1/2 h
    where E is energy in joules, t is time in seconds, and h is Planck’s
    constant, 6.626* 10^(-34) joule seconds.
    Energy can’t be measured closer than 1/2(6.626) = 3.313*10^(-34) joule
    seconds.
    Molecules are constanlty absorbing photons, then radiating the photons
    out in fractions of a second.
    Say the average time between collisions is 1/1,000,000 second. Then
    the energy absorbed can
    vary by a factor of 3.313* 10^(-26) joules because of the uncertainty
    principle. The collision rate
    is a function of temperature and pressure. Increase the pressure and
    you increase the frequency of collisions.
    Increase the temperature and you increase the frequency of
    collisions. Because of that uncertainty principle, the
    gas can absorb energy at the standard energy + or – that 3.313 * 10^
    (-26) joules.
    When you increase the number of molecules, most of them, in the saturated middle range of speeds, will not affect temperature any further, but the bands will widen at the extreme ends where
    there are now a larger number of molecules. Of course there are very few molecules traveling at these increased speeds, so the effect will be small.
    The combinded broadening from a normal speed distribution of molecules
    and the broadening due to the uncertainty
    principle is addressed in the Voigt temperature profile.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voigt_distribution
    Of course there’s not a neat solution for the above equation, you’ve
    got to solve it numerically using something like:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_integration
    That’s essentially what modtran does.
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/cgimodels/radiation.html
    I picked up this information on the Voigt profile from a post by
    Michael Hammer from
    Jennifer Marohasy’s blog.
    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:stSOID5eh6QJ:jennifermarohasy.co
    Specifically this letter:
    “Comment from: michael hammer May 15th, 2009 at 11:22 pm
    SJT: sorry but again i have to disagree with you. Line absorption
    profiles follow a Voigt profile. I have integrated the area under this
    profile at various concentrations. When i also included the effect of
    the analysis described in my first post on Jennifer’s site I then got
    an almost perfect agreement to a logarithmic response. Hence the
    analysis I did (which converts the loss from 10^-N to 1/N) needs to be
    incuded to get the logarithmic response.”
    For real world numbers, we get about 240 watts from the sun,
    the atmosphere greenhouse effect of about 0.625 atmospheres increases this to about 1.625*240 = 390 watts at the surface,
    and the estimated effect of a doubling of CO2 would increase this to about 393.7 watts, due to spectrum broadening, for a temperature increase of
    (393.7/390)^0.25 = 1.00236 times the original. If the current average temperature is 288 K, the increase due to a doubling of CO2 would be to 288.68K for an increase of 0.68 K. Of course
    some of this temperature increase could be in latent heat, extra
    energy absorbed in evaporating water, a negative effect to to
    a drop in temperature lapse rate, and an increase in clouds due
    to that extra evaporation and extra rain, making the actual surface temperature increase probably somewhat less than 0.68 K.
    – A McIntire

  47. What do you get when you take enough C02 out to get to 350 ppm?
    Candy-coated forecasts, teeshirts & a prize,
    That’s what you get in Carbon Tax.

  48. Icarus (15:31:17) :

    Vincent (15:08:24) : ‘…To then apply an error bar to get a lower limit and advocate 350 ppm as some sort of maximum to prevent deglaciation, achieves a perfect score in idiocy. Antarctic albedo is now so high, that it is inconveivable that it will melt away if CO2 levels are above 350ppm.’
    “So what *is* the maximum? On what basis do you calculate it? What are the margins of error? How do we find out for sure without actually going there, by which time it would be much too late?”

    Icarus, this has already been explained to you.
    Did you understand the chart at the top of this article? Did you understand what it means?
    There is nothing to get alarmed about. Almost all of the warming attributed to CO2 has already taken place. Even a further large increase would not cause noticeable — or even measurable — warming: click.

  49. RSS data before 1978 ???
    REPLY: that was a typo on my part, it is actually HadCRUT3 data. Fixed, thanks. Anthony

  50. Icarus
    You make various points that I must take issue with.
    Your answer to Deepsest Darkest Iowa is not accurate. CO2 is the most important molecule for radiating energy into space. So in spite of being a greenhouse gas it is also responsible for cooling the upper troposphere and stratosphere. It is not really an issue of saturation. The reason why increased concentrations may increase temperature is that at higher concentrations the mean free path of the photons in the three absorption bands is reduced. That means that radiation into space must take place at an increased (less dense)altitude. Since temperature reduces as one goes up (until you reach the tropopause) this implies less energy being radiated. The energy balance has to be maintained hower so the earth heats up to a level which allow radiation at all the other frequencies to inrease and compensate. However the effect is small. To get a large greenhouse effect one has to postulate increased absorption by water vapour. This is where where the arguments start since there is no evidence that this is happening.
    You say that CO2 is historically correlated with temperature. Please look carefully at the plots. You will see that CO2 follows temperature. The consequence of this simple fact is startling. The lowest CO2 concentrations have always occured at the deepest point in each ice age, That means that the most rapid rises in temperature have occured when CO2 have been at minimum. Conversely the most dramatic drops in temperature have occured when CO2 have been close to maximum. Since the rate of change of temperature should be correlated with the rate of heating or cooling the only conclusion one can come to (if you insist on causation) is that CO2 has a cooling effect.
    Lastly you argue that CO2 has no effect on plant growth, As many have pointed out this is clearly nonsense. Below about 200ppm plants will not grow at all. We are therefore very close to a critically low level. In particular higher concentrations of CO2 allow the plant to reduce the stomata openings and reduce water losses. This makes plants more drought tolerant. The effect of increased CO2 will obviously vary according to plant type but I suspect that in many situations the concentration of CO2 is the critical growth determining factor and hence its use in greenhouses. Please remember that we are all built of carbon compounds and the only source of carbon accessible to plants is CO2. All of life depends on CO2 and water in equal measure.

  51. Andy Krause (14:54:18) :
    Just a note, in Northern Illinois we don’t irrigate corn.

    Mostly we don’t, but there are some center pivot fields on the drive from Chicago to Moline. They might be worth the cost in the occasional drought year, but we have down years maybe one out of seven, and many of those are due to too much water in spring or early frosts.
    .
    Icarus (14:51:23) :
    “In the United States, which accounts for 40 percent of the world corn harvest, yields are now approaching an astonishing 10 tons per hectare. Even though fertilizer use has not increased since 1980, corn yields continue to edge upward as seed companies invest huge sums in corn breeding.” . . .
    CO2 has no significant effect on world grain crops, but temperature and drought certainly do.

    Your quotes didn’t really address the CO2 aspect. Drought, of course, but temps above 86°F don’t hurt corn, just don’t make it grow any faster.
    Sieben Hybrids, a small local company in Illinois, doesn’t have the megabucks to invest in genetic research that DeKalb, Pioneer, and the other big guys have, yet its seed produces competitive yields. I’d bet a Mannomatic PCA I would turn up CO2 as the culprit.

  52. Icarus, what would happen if the Earth did warm up? I predict if CO2 were causing warming *laughing* then we would be up to our armpits in polar bears.

  53. Stephen Skinner (14:44:53) :
    What I am unable to find out is the effect on temperature within greenhouses with elevated CO2.”
    Has been tested, 2 identical green houses under identical circumstances and different CO2 levels, no measured difference in temperature.
    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com

  54. Juraj V: you wrote, “I did not mean TSI since there are various reconstructions, but plain sunspot number. SSN increased a lot between 1910-1960.”
    But if the last three cycles only cause surface temperatures to vary 0.1 deg C, the change from SC#14 to SC#19 could only impact surface temperatures by a portion of that. And the current understanding of TSI variability is that it varies pretty much in agreement with Sunspot Number, no big dip prior to the 1940s.
    Also, another thought, your run through of the 20th Century “cycles” suggested that global temperatures rose until 1950. The early 1940s appear to be where they topped out, about the same time as the multiyear El Nino.
    Regards.

  55. “What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?”
    Higher taxes
    Higher unemployment
    Higher energy bills
    Higher food costs
    More government in my life.

  56. Nice write-up; 350 seems to be the new black. There’s an opinion piece over at Yale 360 claiming that the economic impact of drastic action to reach 350 ppm of CO2 would be cheap, here’s my Critique of the Economics of 350, basically it’s cheap if you only expect to make a 1.5% rate of return, and you fudge the climate change damage numbers.

  57. As another polar bear follow up, as a test we should relocate 10 polar bears to Oregon. Then take James Hansen, wrap him in salmon, and give him a 5 minute head start. I think they would survive just fine.


  58. Ack (16:56:54) :
    “What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?”
    Higher …
    More government in my life.

    And Iscariot will move onto to some other ‘pet’ calamity direly prognosticated to overtake humanity (or animals) if not the world …
    i.e., “Save the whales” (established in 1951 (yes, ’51!) to “reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans”).
    .
    .

  59. So they’d be happy at 350ppm would they? Funny – I don’t remember them jumping through the hoops when it was 350ppm and rising…

  60. Deepest Darkest Iowa (13:00:18) :
    “I have read that CO2 “absorbs to extinction” at well below the 385 ppm level. As I understand it, CO2 only captures infrared in three narrow frequency bands with wavelengths of 2.7, 4.3, and 15 microns, and that these bands are already saturated. If true, this means that all the infrared that CO2 can capture is already being captured, and would be at 350 ppm. Thus, more or less CO2 in the atmosphere makes no difference. Will someone with more scientific knowledge than I have please confirm or correct?”
    I am not a physicist either, but this is how I understand the theoretical function of CO2 as a so called greenhouse gas.
    The long wave black body radiation emitted from the earth with wavelengths in the CO2 absorption bands is absorbed within a very short distance. The common misconception seems to be that once the low level CO2 has done its thing, it is finished, hence the idea that more CO2 has no effect. This is not the way I understand the progress of long wave radiation from earth to space. Envision most of the long wave radiation in the greenhouse gas absorption bands being absorbed in the atmosphere close to the earth. Since the mean time between molecular collisions at lower atmosphere pressures is much smaller than the mean time that the excited molecules exist in the raised energy state, almost all the energy absorbed is turned into heat by molecular collisions in the lower atmosphere. Thus, the original energy emitted in the absorption wavelengths is diluted by being spread out over approximately the black body emission spectrum. This process repeats some number of times as the long wave radiative energy works its way up through the atmosphere but the key thing to note is the rapid dilution of long wave energy in the narrow CO2 absorption bands. This is manifest in the logarithmic CO2 warming model as shown in the graph at the start of this article. So as CO2 concentrations increase, there is diminishing “heat trapping” effectiveness. If we consider the earth to be in thermal balance, that the incoming solar energy is balanced by outgoing long wave radiation, then greenhouse gases merely serve to change somewhat the temperature profile of the atmosphere.
    This only my opinion as an educated layman but I expect that once this “evil carbon” thing blows over, we will find that the major part of climate change (either natural or man made) will be due to modulation of incoming short wavelength radiation (solar), and changes in CO2 concentration will be found to play only a minor to insignificant role at the concentrations necessary for life on this planet.

  61. “””
    Deepest Darkest Iowa (13:00:18) :
    I have read that CO2 “absorbs to extinction” at well below the 385 ppm level. As I understand it, CO2 only captures infrared in three narrow frequency bands with wavelengths of 2.7, 4.3, and 15 microns, and that these bands are already saturated. If true, this means that all the infrared that CO2 can capture is already being captured, and would be at 350 ppm. Thus, more or less CO2 in the atmosphere makes no difference. Will someone with more scientific knowledge than I have please confirm or correct? “””
    Well DDI, I don’t know if you got your question answered; I saw some attempts at explaining; which may be less than accurate.
    But first let us look at your postulates; that CO2 absorbs in three “narrow”
    bands at 2.7, 4.3, and 15 microns; and that these bands are already saturated.
    Well the wavelengths are about correct; but I wouldn’t call them narrow bands.
    The wavelength bands that are used in Atomic clocks, are truly narrow, and atmospheric absorption bands are much wider than that. As others have alluded to, the fundamental resonance frequencies du to the molecular transitions, are in practice broadened by several effects. The first is “Temperature” broadening, which is simply the doppler shift effect due to molecular motions which are a function of the molecular temperature. Then there is “pressure” broadening, which is a function of the frequency of molecular collisions; so it increases with atmospheric density.
    The CO2 band most responsible for the CO2 “greenhouse effect” on planet earth is the 15 micron band; which is actually more like about 13.5 to 16.5 microns for the standard atmospheric surface conditions.
    It is the important band, because the peak of the earth’s thermal emission (IR) spectrum is about 10.1 microns, at the 288 K mean surface temperature. That peak shifts out to 15 microns at the coldest pplaces like Vostok Station, and it drops to around 8.8 microns at the hottest desert locations.
    I don’t know if this band is saturated or not; I have never seen a curve showing total extinction for this band in the atmosphere.
    The 2.7 and 4.3 micron bands can hardly have any effect in the sense of producing any global warming; none whatsoever in my view.
    The reason is that except for the very hottest surface temperatures of say +60 deg C, the earth emits very little thermal radiation at a wavelenght as short as 4.3 microns, and virtually none at 2.7 microns. But yes CO2 can absorb IR at those wavelengths; but the only source of those wavelengths in the earth’s atmosphere is the incoming solar radiation from the sun.
    The amount of solar radiation in the 2.7 and 4.4 micron CO2 bands is very small; just from memory I would put it at no more that 1% of the total solar radiation spectrum.
    So what is going to happen if that radiation is absorbed by CO2 molecules; well it is going to heat the atmosphere, insttead of proceding down to the surface, and heating the surface; which is 73% ocean. So the 2.7 and 4.3 micron CO2 bands can heat the air from solar absorption instead of heating the surface (oceans); and when that heated air radiates LWIR radiations; about haplf of that is going to proceed towards outer space, and only half in the direction of the ground.
    So it is hardly likely that the CO2 capture of solar radiation in the 2.7 to 4.3 micron bands would cause global warming; it is a cooling effect by stopping otherwise good solar energy from reaching the ground.
    So I would say; for get the 2.7 and 4.3 micron bands; they have no evffet on global warming. Now on Venus which is much hotter, those shorter wavelength bands could be contributors, if not the major players in any Venus warming.
    Then you have to consider that water vapor is very active in absorbing solar energy from about 0.75 microns out to about 8 microns; which is also a surface cooling effect since it stops sunlight from reaching the ground.
    Direct sunlight reaching the ocean surface; results in warming of the oceans down to many tens of metres; but the surface warming effect of LWIR from the heated atmosphere is a different story, because it is absorbed in the top 10 microns or so of the ocean surface, and leadss to prompt evaporation of hotter surface waters; which conveys a lot of energy back into the atmopshere.
    Now the “saturation” idea is a bit misleading; becauseif that is true, it simply means that a thinner layer of CO2 neare the ground absorbs most of the LWIR in the 15 micron band; but that warming of the air molecules results in new LWIR emitted from the air, and some of that will be absorbed by CO2 layers above the lower one; so multiple reabsorptions keep on slowing down the eventual escape of the LWIR, which leads to atmpospheric warming.
    Now my simple minded analysis of this cascade absorption process, says that the upward direction of propagation is favored over the downeward direction. This is becausew both the temperature, and pressure drop with altitude increase, and hence the CO2 absorption band gets narrower as you get to higher layers that are cooler and less dense so the4y have less Doppler and pressure broadening. Upward propagating LWIR encounters a less absorbing layer, while downwrd LWIR encounters air layers with increasing broad absorption bands, and increased CO2 molecular density.
    I don’t think the “saturation” platform is a stable place for “skeptics” to stand.
    On the other hand the overriding pre-eminence of water vapor and water liquid, and solid in the form of clouds, in my view makes the CO2 effect somewhat inconsequential.
    If there was no CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere, I don’t think we would be much cooler than we are now; we’d have somewhat less global cloud cover; but otherwise the earth’s temperature range wouldn’t change much.
    And Water vapor is perfectly capable of starting “greenhouse” warming all by itslef; it doesn’t need any instructions from CO2 to adjust the cloud cover to provide a stable temperature range.
    George

  62. CO2 Increase in the Atmosphere: From Jan 1 to Jan 1
    Ex. 2003 – Warm Year CO2 increase was 2.15 ppm
    2004 – Colder Year – CO2 increase was 1.30 ppm
    2005 – Hot Year – CO2 increase was 2.93 ppm
    2006 – Cold Year – CO2 increase was 1.52 ppm
    2007 – Hot Year – CO2 increase was 2.53 ppm
    2008 – Cool Year – CO2 increase was 1.49 ppm
    Are we seeing a pattern, here?
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt
    It’s all about the temperature.

  63. “”” cal (16:18:18) :
    Icarus
    You make various points that I must take issue with.
    Your answer to Deepsest Darkest Iowa is not accurate. CO2 is the most important molecule for radiating energy into space. So in spite of being a greenhouse gas it is also responsible for cooling the upper troposphere and stratosphere. It is not really an issue of saturation. The reason why increased concentrations may increase temperature is that at higher concentrations the mean free path of the photons in the three absorption bands is reduced. That means that radiation into space must take place at an increased (less dense)altitude. Since temperature reduces as one goes up (until you reach the tropopause) this implies less energy being radiated. The energy balance has to be maintained hower so the earth heats up to a level which allow radiation at all the other frequencies to inrease and compensate. However the effect is small. To get a large greenhouse effect one has to postulate increased absorption by water vapour. This is where where the arguments start since there is no evidence that this is happening.
    You say that CO2 is historically correlated with temperature. “””
    Well cal; and I in turn must take issue with your explanation.
    If one were to believe your thesis; the only way that LWIR can escape from the earth into outer space, is to be captured by a CO2 molecule, and then passed on to another CO2 molecule at a higher colder less dense altitude, until the coldest highest most ethereal CO2 remaining molecules finally send it into outer space.
    But that is not what happens. As you get higher, the CO2 molecules become fewer in number, and colder, with fewer molecular collision with the air molecules; so the resonant absorption band of CO2 at around 15 microns simply gets narrower, so the upper layers of CO2 intercept less of the photons, and in a smaller and smaller band; the remaining LWIR simply escapes from the atmosphere without getting recaptured by an ever less effective diminishing CO2 component.
    Yes it is true that there is a cascade of absorptions and re-emissions; not from the CO2 molecule, but from the ordinary atmospheric gases, which are heated by collisions with the excited CO2 molecules.
    In your view of the process; the very last CO2 molecule at the top of the stratosphere captures 100% of the earth’s emitted LWIR, and then radiates it to space, at some lower effective black body temperature which is much lower than the surface temperature. In reality, a LWIR photon emitted from the surface at say 288 K temperature can proceed directly to outer space in less than one millisecond, without ever meeting up with a CO2 molecule. And those photons that do encounter CO2 molecules at lower altitudes, will eventually have their energy passed on the N2 and O2 molecules, which will launch new LWIR photons, many of which will also pass unhindered into outer space..
    It defies common snese to argue that an ever lell dense sparser CO2 population can continue to capture most of the LWIR photons, and prevent their direct passage to outer space. The upward path is favored over the downward path because of the falling temperature and pressure , which narrows the absorption bands of higher layers so they can’t stop all the photons from lower regions; the downward path however sees increasing density at higher pressure and temperature, so the CO2 absorption band continues to broaden , and be more effective in capturing downward LWIR photons, which stop sthe from reaching the surface.
    This idea that the stratosphere is somehow the source of the earth’s final LWIR emission to space, so that the stratospheric temperature is the effective radiation temperature; just defies common sense; but I know that climatologists seem to love the idea; however untenable it is.


  64. George E. Smith (18:08:51) :

    Excerpt: Yes it is true that there is a cascade of absorptions and re-emissions; not from the CO2 molecule, but from the ordinary atmospheric gases, which are heated by collisions with the excited CO2 molecules.

    No mention of the atmospheric window at 10 um (which happens to coincide with a moving (~T^4) spectral peak for temperatures of around 288 K … does it not?) which allows energy transmittal directly into space from the surface?
    How much (energy %-wise of the total IR from the surface) excapes directly into space via the 10 um LWIR window for any given surface temp (like 288K)?
    .
    .

  65. In what year was CO2 at 350 ppm? That’s how far back we’d have to turn the clock if there was no population change since then, but since there has been we’d need to turn the clock back even further to compensate for the extra population.
    If the law’s of the world change to forbid withdrawing from it after the Copenhagen meeting, what happens if the IPCC that Copenhagen is built on is proven false? I say we dump Copenhagen as the IPCC would be guilty of purgery!

  66. George E. Smith (17:41:09) :

    Now the “saturation” idea is a bit misleading; becauseif that is true, it simply means that a thinner layer of CO2 neare the ground absorbs most of the LWIR in the 15 micron band; but that warming of the air molecules results in new LWIR emitted from the air, and some of that will be absorbed by CO2 layers above the lower one; so multiple reabsorptions keep on slowing down the eventual escape of the LWIR, which leads to atmpospheric warming.
    Now my simple minded analysis of this cascade absorption process, says that the upward direction of propagation is favored over the downeward direction. This is becausew both the temperature, and pressure drop with altitude increase, and hence the CO2 absorption band gets narrower as you get to higher layers that are cooler and less dense so the4y have less Doppler and pressure broadening. Upward propagating LWIR encounters a less absorbing layer, while downwrd LWIR encounters air layers with increasing broad absorption bands, and increased CO2 molecular density.
    I don’t think the “saturation” platform is a stable place for “skeptics” to stand.

    The problem with this analysis is that radiation absorbed by CO2 is not largely transmitted upwards by multiple reradiation and absorbtion in band after band. Go outside when the eagles are flying (you won’t be able to do that much longer when wind farms are erected and kill them all, so go now). You’ll see them spread their wings and catch the ‘thermal’, rising ever higher as the hot air column punches its way through the denser, cooler air above, carrying the eagle (and the heat) to vast heights by convection, not by radiation.
    Now the thing is, the eagles circle in maybe a few hundred yards (hard to tell, distance makes judgement faulty), but definitely not anything like three kilometres, which is, I believe, the kind of cell spacing in climate models. So they completely miss the physics of the primary cooling mode involving CO2-affected wavelengths.

  67. Bill Illis “I imagine the 350 ppm is just a stretch target which is based on another target set by the EU and Hansen of 450 ppm. This level is contained in Hansen’s latest paper in which he says that all the ice will melt if we get over 450 ppm but that is not supported at all by the data contained in the paper.”
    Hansen should be tried for malfeasance.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  68. More co2 is more life.
    Is it safe to say that some who want to reduce co2 also want to reduce the population?
    Are they some of the same that want DDT kept out of Africa?

  69. Kum Dollison (17:42:54) :
    2007 – Hot Year – CO2 increase was 2.53 ppm
    2007 was a hot year? You may want to check the data again. Temperatures took a nose dive in 2007.

  70. Wow. This post fails in so many ways:
    1) By trying to fit CO2 concentration directly to temperature, it ignores the fact that the oceans have significant inertia, and that the earth system does not instantly equilibrate. eg, “warming in the pipeline”.
    2) Surprisingly, given what this website usually talks about, it totally ignores any contributions of anything other substance or system: solar changes, ENSO variability, aerosol emissions, other greenhouse gases
    3) Finally, the logarithmic relationship of CO2 and forcing is only true over a limited range of concentrations, so extrapolating back to zero ppm is ridiculous. Also temperature increases as the fourth root of radiative forcing.

  71. Deepest Darkest Iowa (13:00:18) :
    The notion that c02 increase or decrease would lead to a temperature change is deceptive. There are so many variables that overwhelm c02 that it makes no sense to compare even 200ppm to 600ppm, regardless of 390 to 350ppm since they both do exactly the same thing. Its like comparing a human who has 100,000 hairs on his head is going to conserve more heat than one who has 99,000 hairs.
    In isolated experiments, this logarithmic factor may be quite significant (although Angstrom didn’t think so when he made direct measurements of c02 doubling – radiation going through it hardly changed). On the earth however, its irrelevant whether a theoretical 100ppm extra will increase the temperature by 0.002C, particularly at the most effective point of c02 absorption requires earth’s most subzero temperatures. Since c02 absorbs all heat available to it in 12 metres, it is not possible to create extra heat even logarithmically with further additions – all that happen is the distance shortening of c02 by 6 metres, assuming a doubling. It doesn’t change the temperature. Where c02 is said to be most effective, in the upper tropopause, its peaks have already depleted and it interferes with heat at its shoulers, which is 5% as efficient as at its peaks – and this is where it competes with the bandwidths of nitrogen and oxygen to *trap* heat. there are millions more of these molecules than c02 molecules in that region.

  72. If some in government in the USA get their way the reduction in co2 will force the co2 output in the USA to equal that of Haiti :

  73. Marcus (19:41:02) :
    Marcus,
    You may want to rethink what you said in your comment. Please reread the post.
    I don’t see anywhere in the post that it is the summation of what WattsUpWithThat is all about. Did you see that?

  74. As others here and elsewhere have observed (Ian Clark, Tim Ball, Larry Lindzen in Great Global Warming Swindle, for example), the paleo record suggests CO2 is following or lagging temperature.
    With respect, aren’t you giving warmers a bit more of a boost than they need to make their case?

    what value would be gained from a reduction to 350 PPM.
    For belief in the models we’d get approximately 0.5°C drop in temperature.
    For belief in the observations (RSS HadCRUT3 data) we’d get approximately 0.3°C drop in temperature.
    Split the difference if you don’t like either and call it 0.4°C.

  75. George E. Smith (17:41:09)
    the delays inferred from c02 absorbing and emitting radiation might be useful if a time limit were put on them, which is a less than a billionth of a second for the transformation to take place. it is saturated in this period of time, in order for it to re-emit to other molecules in the atmosphere – mainly nitrogen and c02, although only the 1st point of absorbtion – at ground level to 12 metres is the only important part for the greenhouse effect – during the process of re-emission, it goes in all directions meaning no change of heat from re-emission.
    This all falls by the wayside, given convectional currents operating at this level

  76. “”” _Jim (18:44:09) :
    George E. Smith (18:08:51) :
    Excerpt: Yes it is true that there is a cascade of absorptions and re-emissions; not from the CO2 molecule, but from the ordinary atmospheric gases, which are heated by collisions with the excited CO2 molecules.
    No mention of the atmospheric window at 10 um (which happens to coincide with a moving (~T^4) spectral peak for temperatures of around 288 K … does it not?) which allows energy transmittal directly into space from the surface?
    How much (energy %-wise of the total IR from the surface) excapes directly into space via the 10 um LWIR window for any given surface temp (like 288K)? “””
    Well Jim; I could fill several Physics tex books with the things that were NOT mentioned in my post.
    I believe I mentioned that at 288K; the purported mean global surface temperature (the origin of most of the LWIR); the spectral peak of the LWIR emissions is about 10.1 microns. Now Black Body radiuation Physics tells us that very closely 25% of the energy of a BB radiator is emitted below the peak wavelength; and as you say, that is within the 10 micron “atmospheric window”. It’s a bit more accurate to describe that as the water vapor atmospheric window because it is bounded on both sides by H2O absorption bands. So yes there is about 25% of the surface emissions that aren’t going to be attenuated much on their way to outer space. And putting the CO2 band at about 13.5 to 16.5 microns; that puts it out on the falling tail of the emission peak. And for the tropical deserts, where surface temperatures might be +60 deg C or higher, the LWIR spectral peak is more like 8.8 microns, so it is even further removed from the CO2 15 micron band.
    And incidently the peak of the emission spectrum goes as 1/T; not as T^4 which you stated.
    Ron House goes on to state that the picture I painted is wrong, and the heat is carried aloft by convection. while ron is correct that a lot of heat is carried aloft by convection; that is a slow process compared to radiation. The surface radiation can escape (if it escapes) in less than a millisecond, which is how long it takes for a photon to travel 300 km. Even the most agressive convection can’t top that cooling speed; but I’m in agreement with Ron, than convection is a powerful cooling process; and in the case of the atmosphere is much more effective than conduction.
    But ultimately, it is radiation that must carry the energy out into space; convection doesn’t operaqte in the vaccuum of space; well not efficiently anyway; but even then more effective than conduction in outer space.
    I’m sure other will mention still other things I did not mention; as I said; that would fill many Physics texts.
    Why not address that which I DID mention.
    My whole point is that much of the surface emitted LWIR can exit to space in a millisecond having been stopped by nothing at all. It does not all have to pass through the hands of some CO2 traffic police; which is the inevitable conclusion of the popular notion that the radiation to space is from stratospheric cold low density CO2; and it is that radiation flux which must balance the sun’s insolation. the surface temperature must the be hotter than that high altitude space radiator. That is only the result for energy that IS transported to the upper reaches of the atmosphere by convection and radiation, and deposited there, such as by the condensation and freezing of water vapor.
    In fact radiated LWIR is emitted at all levels of the atmosphere in a manner consistent with the local temperature , which is why the observed earth LWIR spectrum, is NOT a black body spectrum, because it is not an isothermal emitter.

  77. How did Hanson arrive at a target of 350 ppm CO2? Did he work his way through complex computations of all the possible permutations and outcomes? Can we see the data and formulas to see his thought process?
    Nah, he just made a wildass guess.

  78. You are truly playing to the ignorant on this one, assuming ocean temperatures are delayed in heating then those graphs aren’t worthy of even posting.
    What you haven’t shown is 350ppm (over time) will eventually be hotter than what it is today! Look, I’ve seen better than this from you guy’s, you can do better.

  79. I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that the above reasoning is clearly not adapted to the greenhouse situation. The majority of the reabsorption of IRs takes place at the boundary between the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere, where the concentrations in CO2 is much less and hence quite far from saturation. So there’s still plenty of room for an increased greenhouse effect.

  80. Windguy,
    “What you haven’t shown is 350ppm (over time) will eventually be hotter than what it is today! Look, I’ve seen better than this from you guy’s, you can do better.”
    Criticism is easy. Why don’t you show these things you are asking others to do?

  81. As usual, lots of clever & interesting stuff here. But, thanks to this silly (& unachievable) “350” CO2 target, we are all getting hung up on CO2! There is plenty of evidence (despite Icarus) that more CO2 is good for plant yields but otherwise has little effect on anything (pretty much as you would expect from a harmless trace gas).
    Of course, this whole hoax started because of the alleged link between CO2 & temperature and the apocalyptic “scenarios” of eco-fascists and supposed scientists who tirelessly build their scary models with cherry picked and distorted data whilst refusing to allow the light of independent scrutiny to shine on the raw data and algorithms.
    Icarus and the rest of them think in accordance with this ‘orthodoxy’ and believe that warming would be a Very Bad Thing Indeed.
    Myself, I think a bit of warming would probably be more a good thing than a bad thing. But in the spirit of compromise, I have a suggestion.
    Instead of worrying about trying to reduce CO2 levels to 350ppmv, why not reduce global temperatures to what they were ten years ago! That might be even tougher of course! Reduce temperatures…..Oh, wait a minute,….errr…ummm?
    Dang it! Nature beat me to it!

  82. My understanding from the scientific literature is that the current CO2 levels are responsible for about 15% increase in growth yields.
    If I was a scientists designing such an experiment, I would set up two greenhouses, one containing 280ppm of CO2 and the other 380ppm, then plant the same crops with the same soil and nutrients and temperature and humidity and water and measure their yields.
    Surely this is how they get these figures. Why is it necessary to try and compare yields today with those 30 years ago to obtain the contribution of CO2, as one poster has claimed? It all sounds like a smoke screen argument to me.

  83. “What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?”
    A worldwide catastrophic economic depression, a least in those countries buying in to such fantasy. China and India will barely notice, as they have so much development yet to go; the world will blast past 400 ppm and they’ll keep on building their power infrastructure to satisfy their own populace’s wants.

  84. Like some others, I believe that cutting CO2 to 350 would probably have no measurable effect. And if it did, it would be bad news.
    It seems to me that nature has been conducting an excellent experiment over the last few hundred million years. For various reasons the climate has been changing all the time, sometimes slowly, sometimes very dramatically (e.g. the ice ages). Fortunately the ice cores let us observe this experiment quite accurately for the last half million years. If CO2 can drive the climate, then this should provide an unmistakable signal in the ice cores.
    The ice cores show a dramatic correlation between temperature and CO2. At first, this must have been a powerful boost for AGW. It would have seemed obvious that the ice cores proved beyond doubt that CO2 was driving the climate.
    But now we know differently. Higher resolution measurements in recent years clearly show that the CO2 graph lags behind the temperature graph by roughly a thousand years. There seems little doubt that CO2 was being driven by temperature through the action of the oceans. When Gore says “When the carbon dioxide goes up, the temperature goes up” he should have said “When the temperature goes up, the carbon dioxide goes up”.
    As far as I’m aware, the ice core data shows no trace of CO2 affecting temperatures. Surely, if the CO2 forcing used by the IPCC is right, then there should be clear evidence of this in the ice cores. But if there is no such evidence, then the only reasonable conclusion is that the IPCC is spectacularly wrong and that CO2 has a negligible effect on the climate.
    It looks like a win, win situation as far as CO2 is concerned. Increased CO2 has almost certainly increased world food production while having no significant effect on the climate. To demonise CO2 as a pollutant is completely mad and anti-scientific. CO2 is not a greenhouse gas (greenhouses work by trapping warm air and not by trapping infra red radiation). CO2 is a *green* gas.
    Many claim that the CO2 increase has made the world more stormy, with more droughts, hurricanes and floods. But, unlike the newspaper headlines, the scientific data tells a different story. And history also tells a different story. Compared to a few centuries ago, when the world was enduring the Little Ice Age, weather and climate conditions in the modern world are far, far more benign. During the Little Ice Age some storms and floods killed hundreds of thousands.
    In my humble opinion, anyone who wants to return to a colder world is completely barking mad.
    Chris

  85. >>
    Illinois corn ran around 130 bu/acre when CO2 was 350 ppm. At the current CO2 level, it runs about 180 bu/acre.
    <<
    We can increase the supply of Illinois corn by a large fraction by simply putting an end to the idiocy that we are better off when we burn corn in the form of ethanol in our automobiles. We should save hydrocarbons that are not edible for conversion into motor vehcile fuels and save the edible ones for conversion into food.

  86. Icarus (13:48:15) :
    “Ready, Fire, Aim” is not a scientific approach to resolving issues. That, I believe, has been clearly demonstrated numerous times.

  87. The great thing about a single target like this is that it’s SIMPLE. Politicians always say they need something SIMPLE to sell. And they might think that 350ppm would be simple.
    Well would it?
    1. Who would measure it?
    2. Where would they measure it?
    3. What people might try sabotaging it or releasing carbon dioxide nearby?
    4. What time of year would they measure it?
    5. How many instruments would they use?
    Well, it’s not that hard in theory.
    But the problem lies in how to get there.
    Do we have a clue how to do that?
    No.
    1. If the oceans warm as we do reduction, will we just cause release from ocean into atmosphere, thereby maintaining an equilibrium where we are?
    2. If we’re in cooling cycle and we get there, how long before it goes up again with warming oceans?
    3. If we keep cutting trees down at a rate of knots, will that prevent any good from anything else we are doing?
    All those things are going to require huge, global coordination. Are we capable of such centralised control of our entire global economy??
    Do we want to??

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

  89. Real greenhouses and carbon dioxide:
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm
    Just a few quotes from that site, which is information for people who grow things in actual greenhouses, and wish to maximize the growth of the plants:
    “For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million).” [So perhaps 1000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere is a better goal for us to get to]
    “Ambient CO2 level in outside air is about 340 ppm by volume. All plants grow well at this level but as CO2 levels are raised by 1,000 ppm photosynthesis increases proportionately resulting in more sugars and carbohydrates available for plant growth. Any actively growing crop in a tightly clad greenhouse with little or no ventilation can readily reduce the CO2 level during the day to as low as 200 ppm.”
    “As a rule of thumb, a drop in carbon dioxide levels below ambient has a stronger effect than supplementation above ambient.” [In other words, the plants are using a chemical reaction that takes raw materials and produces food products for the plant. As with nearly any chemical reaction, an abundance of the raw chemicals gives a more efficient reaction. In the case of plants: Light, heat, and carbon dioxide.]

  90. icarus:reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 would certainly not “disastrously reduce agricultural productivity”.
    No, what would disastrously reduce agricultural productivity is farming without TRACTORS and COMBINES, which run on DEISEL FUEL, which is a fossil fuel, which we can’t use anymore if we’re going to make any kind of serious effort at reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 ppm.

  91. From Vincent
    Criticism is easy. Why don’t you show these things you are asking others to do?
    —————
    It’s easy to show because CO2 isn’t quite a direct correlation to temperature. CO2 does hold in extra energy over a longer time period, but the true effector is the ocean. A simple test is if we totally removed all GHG’s from the atmosphere, the ocean doesn’t instantly freeze up into a snow ball earth the very next day. So there is a delay in connection to CO2 affecting temperature increases. Saying if we go back to 350ppm we will go back to that spot on the graph is false. Over time 350ppm will end up being about 2C increase by 2100. Really both sides of the argument shouldn’t use graphs because the main argument today is about negative and positive feedbacks and they can not be graphed.

  92. For Icarus and Mike McMillan, on CO2 and crop yields:
    Neither of you are quite correct. Yes, improved hybrids, irrigation, and genetic modification have played a part in increased crop yields over the past few decades. But Co2 has played a part as well, in the direct sense of fertilizing the crops. But, if you accept the notion that CO2 causes warming, then there is also an additional, INDIRECT, benefit to crop yields. Warmer weather means crops can be planted earlier. Between 1980 and 2006, the date at which corn planting in the US was 50% complete shifted nearly two weeks earlier in the year (based on calculations from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s weekly “Crop Progress” release; the last three years have seen the 50%-planted date shift to later again, in response to the recent cooling). Earlier planting means the crop has more time to grow and produce, and more heat units to do so. It also means less chance of the crop being killed, at the end of the season due to a freeze, because the crop will be more likely to be harvested before the freeze.
    As for “excessive” heat hurting crops, that’s just not an issue. Not in a global sense anyway. Agronomists have very reliable formulas for estimating all growth stages of corn based on accumulated heat units. These formulas show positive effects for growth and development from temperature increases throughout the range of 50 to 92 degrees of AVERAGE daily temperature. And though the benefits of additional heat stop at 90 degrees, the formulas show no negative effects at temperatures above 90 degrees. And these formulas are dead-on accurate for predicting crop growth and development. They wouldn’t be if there was some physiological negative effect that kicked in at temperatures above 90 degrees.
    Now, if “excessive” heat were accompanied by drought, that could be a problem for crops. And, in some areas of the world, you might have such a bad combination. But on a global scale, increased warmth will mean increased evaporation, which will in turn mean increased rainfall. So, for the planet as a whole, heat accompanied by drought will be the exception, not the rule. For most of the planet, the “excessive heat” will be accompanied by more rainfall. And for those areas where that’s not true, keep in mind that the extra carbon dioxide will enable crops to use the limited water supply more efficiently. And if that’s not enough, there’s always irrigation. And if even that’s not enough, then farmers could simply stop growing corn in those areas that are too dry. The increased rainfall and increased yields in other areas will more than make up for such minimal losses.
    Finally, even if high temperatures were bad for crops, that would only be the case during the hottest part of the summer, and in the hottest corn-growing areas. Areas like Illinois and Iowa, where most of the US’s corn crop is grown, are not likely to see very many 100+ degree days, even if temperatures rise 2-3 degrees. We’re talking about areas like Texas. But the thing is, if it really warms enough in Texas that August is too hot for corn, then the spring temperatures will warm even more than the summer temperatures, and planting can begin earlier, and the crop will mature earlier, probably long before the hottest part of the year. Now, although it may not be harvested by that time, as long as it’s mature before the hottest part of summer, it’s golden. You see, after the crop is mature, it’s just a matter of waiting for it to dry down enough to enable mechanical harvesting. Hot, dry weather is actually favorable for that process. You know what? If it really warms up in Texas, it would not surprise me to see farmers planting and harvesting TWO corn crops in one year, effectively doubling the yield per acre. Just plant a crop in February, harvest it in July, then plant again in August and harvest in December. That would be sweet.
    Bottom line, global warming, whether it’s due to carbon dioxide or not, is great for agricultural yields. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of acres of land that was previously too cold to grow crops, but will become warm enough if global warming continues. Between the increased yield, increased acreage, and shortened growing seasons, I believe that global potential food production would nearly double if global average temperatures went up 2-3 degrees C. Too bad they won’t, since global warming is over.

  93. seems like someone might have screwed up. I’ve seen they always talk about relative humidity staying the same. Checking some absolute numbers for a reasonableness check there seems to be some serious difficulties. H2O vapor in clear skies is responsible for around 80% of the ghg effect and CO2 around 20%. Given a rise in avg temperature to 288.2k from 255 k one sees a 33 k (or C) value for the ghgs.
    80% of that is about 26 deg C. Looking at absolute humidity for a 5 deg rise, one sees an increase of 1.3x – not a doubling from present amounts. This increase – if we make the really gross assumption that there is only 4 doublings starting from 255K, we get about a possible 3 degree rise rather than a 6.6 degree rise for a full doubling. Note too that the h2o has a 0.4 g/m^3 concentration even at -20C so its content is not zero. Judging by the actual radiative calculations for CO2 doublings/halvings, there are about 10 of them in the log area of the scale. Each one is roughly responsible for about the same amount or just under the expected amount for our next potential doubling. That means the very poor assumption about there being only 4 doublings of h2o from the condition of 0 ghg effects for a planet at 255 K is grossly over exagerating the effect of temperature rise for each doubling.
    All this leads to the final result that for a relatively constant RH, even a 5 degree C rise in temperature caused by the so-called positive water vapor forcing cannot happen because there is nowhere close to a doubling of h2o vapor in that temperature rise. Since the CO2 is contributing under one degree, the total increase will be under 4 degrees. Also, while not proven here, the number of h2o doublings and the associated effects on temperature make a doubling of h2o which is much less than 3 degrees, not 6.6 degrees.
    Note that the supplied chart tries to claim that all atmospheric heating requires a certain amount of CO2 because without it, there is no h2o vapor. This is insultingly, grotesquely wrong! At 255K, the point where a blackbody radiator receiving solar radiation at 1 A.U. with 0.30 albedo will have 0.4 g/m^2 of h2o and that probably represents several doublings worth of ghg effect. That means the temperature would be raised by a number of degrees C due to h2o vapor only, regardless of the presence of any co2 or other ghg.
    It would seem that the error is not 2+2 = 5 but rather this error seems to be much more like 2+2 = 550,321.65

  94. Kum Dollison (06:04:47) :
    The temperature drop in 2007 was a record drop for a 12 month period. It was a record. There cannot be a record drop in temperatures with a high rise in co2 if the manmade global warming hypothesis is true in the way you present it.
    Anomaly wouldn’t apply in the way you are saying. Only the actual rise or fall would mean anything since that is what you wish to portray in your comment. And there was the fastest drop in temperature for 12 months ever recorded while there was this big rise in co2 was happening that you talk about.
    The math doesn’t add up.
    In the way you present the hypothesis in your comment the actual data in the real world is more proof that the manmade global warming hypothesis is wrong. Wouldn’t you agree?

  95. Trevor (13:05:31) :
    Isn’t it funny that anyone would assert that co2 doesn’t help plants grow?!
    Only trolls would do that!

  96. Jan 1, 1988 – CO2 was 350.23 ppm
    So what’s happened since then? We had less efficient TV, cars, planes etc. The only ‘real’ difference is that there were a lot less people 22 years ago — so maybe H1N1, or H1N5 will help with that problem. Overpopulation is behind every ecological problem on earth, but if we’re not going to terminate people then we just have to adapt as best as we can.

  97. So, the human contribution of CO2 is about 3-4% of the total. To be generous, take the 4%: (388ppm)(0.04) = 15.5ppm.
    To get to 350ppm we not only have to stop emitting CO2, we have to somehow get Nature to absorb 22.5ppm more CO2 from the atmosphere.
    Ooookaaaaay.

  98. Tamara, really: Some of the CO2 is absorbed out of the air by oceans and plants and the rest just stays there. CO2, while not completely balanced in nature, is far, far, dozens of times more balanced than now, after we’ve started putting excess carbon dioxide into it. The new equilibrium is hotter (and slightly more acidic in the ocean), and takes centuries to reach. This is gross error like mistaking deficit for debt or drawdown for reserve. I don’t think you can even multiply 0.04 by 380 like that. Be glad that we’re only increasing like 2 a year instead of by the full amount that we make.
    Everyone: I didn’t read your comments. Has ANYONE mentioned so far that the flaw in this whole piece is that we are not going to stop at 380? We show NO SIGN of even slowing the rate of CO2 rise. China and India, etc. will QUADRUPLE the industrialized population this century, a demographic that currently emits 3/4 of the greenhouse gasses. Every factor in the climate equation changes /very slowly/.
    The goal is 350 by 2100 (I think). It would require massive cuts by 2050, at only -1.2% off the top of the +80% GDP growth we’ll have till then (only -0.2% at 2020), to prevent a 5% GDP loss catastrophe. It is true that we would only get about 1 degree more than currently from stopping at 380 (actually 388, whatever)

  99. Ohmygoodness, Adolpho Giufura: You need an emergency science education transplant – now! Your logic (unlike others) sounds like a creationist’s or a flat-earther’s! If anyone is genuinely convinced by this (he might even just be doing satire?), I feel sorry for you.

  100. Jason,
    “You need an emergency science education transplant”
    Speak for yourself. There is no such thing as equilibrium at any time in Earth’s history. According to the US DOE (2000) 68ppm of the increase in CO2 (288ppm baseline) was from NATURAL SOURCES. 12ppm was the result of anthropogenic emissions. So, if there is such a thing as equilibrium, then we have only displaced 18% of the natural increase of CO2 through our activities. After all, the same proportion would be absorbed by CO2 sinks, would it not?
    And, how would you calculate 4 percent of 388ppm?
    I suggest you are also math-challenged, if you can’t see that quite clearly.
    How do you figure out how much tip to leave?
    P.S. The “new equilibrium” couldn’t have taken “centuries to reach” as you stated. Human input of CO2 has only been significant for around a century, and really only since the 1950’s.

  101. It’s used to be much much closer to an equilibrium that the way it is now – and the WHOLE POINT is that the equilibrium (or close enough) won’t be reached until centuries IN THE FUTURE. Even the HUMAN COMPONENT has not leveled off by far. Look up what the population of China and India will be in 2050 (UN estimates). They will be a developed country in the far future and America’s CO2 production has not levelled off yet. Comparing 350 to 380something instead of to double (or worse) is like saying we will never have any national debt growth anymore above the current value. Why would the IPCC graph have the final concentration go up to 900 or 1200 or something if it wasn’t at least theoretically humanly possible (i.e. all the industrializing countries end up just like America instead of like Japan and Europe, the First World gets even more developter, and everyone is too lazy to develop fusion and/or fission?
    Really, could you imagine a spacefaring future civilization using 1800s technology (running on burning stuff) Internal combustion engines, power plants; as the central kingpin?

  102. cba (18:15:53) :
    … Note too that the h2o has a 0.4 g/m^3 concentration even at -20C so its content is not zero… At 255K, the point where a blackbody radiator receiving solar radiation at 1 A.U. with 0.30 albedo will have 0.4 g/m^2 of h2o and that probably represents several doublings worth of ghg effect.

    hi cba, I’ve seen your stuff before and it seems we are on the same wavelength about a few things. Where did the above statement come from?
    And the errors in the above charts are what is built into the climate models – the 3.0C per doubling proposition is really based on GHGs controlling 100% (or 95% actually) of the water vapour as well. If it is only 60% or 70% or less, then 3.0C per doubling is far too high.

  103. Bill,
    The absolute humidity is simply from a standard chart – maybe wikipedia, maybe some other internet source as I suspect the wiki article only showed a graph rather than a table of actual values. The 255K is what you get with stefan’s law assuming a heat balance for the averaged solar insolation after removing the Earth’s albedo reflected amount of incoming power.
    When (and if) I can get some time to spend on it, I’ll try to do a set of runs for various h2o vapor concentrations to ascertain just how much power it is impacting for outgoing LW in order to find out what a doubling would accomplish. I expect it to be a little more than a co2 doubling – power wise but that’s only a guess at the moment as I’ve never tried to vary the h2o in my model. Since the graph indicates that all h2o vapor is a function of co2 concentration, the 0.4 g/m^3 at 255 clearly disputes that and my guess is that having h2o vapor in the atmosphere prevents the T from reaching that low a value. Knowing how many ‘doublings’ (halvings) exist for the h2o will indicate just how insensitive the climate will be to a fractional doubling increase.

  104. cba,
    Okay, I’d like to see the further work.
    I’ve normally thought of 11 halvings from 280 ppm puts CO2 at effectively Zero. It might be just slightly higher than that but it is not 12.
    Also note that the theory says that once one gets down to about 50 ppm CO2, the effect is no longer logarithmic but is linear. I think whoever put forward that proposition had just done the math and realized that as one gets closer to Zero, the math indicates something that is not logical – ie no water vapour at all. CO2 is never going to be 40 ppm but the theory and the formulae cannot just change mid-stream just because it is not physically logical. The theory has to work backwards and forwards and this is a check I always use in other venues. It has to work over all possible values and backwards and forwards or something is wrong.

  105. Windguy,
    “Over time 350ppm will end up being about 2C increase by 2100. ”
    Can you cite evidence for this alarmists statement? The IPCC report only cites 1.5 C to 4.5C for a doubling of CO2. The errors are so large it is impossible to say 2C from 350ppm, but I suppose if you cherry pick among all the models you might find one.
    BTW, there has been no increase in OHC since 2003 (Pielke, Cazanave), so the predicted radiative imbalance appears not to exist in reality, meaning even the lower estimates seem to be too high.

  106. I did the runs for co2 a year or so back although I don’t start at288, rather more like 384 or so. I’d have to check the results table to verify exactly what it is but seems that it gave a gradually declining value per doubling.
    I did something like it for h2o today. I did a run set on the modtran calculator online while I was processing the pathlength data for atmosphere-h2o and for h2o. That took all morning so it’s got a ways to go before i Get mine up and running. I’m not trusting the modtran on this one though as it is a bit strange for what I expect. Each doubling from now for h2o vapor is growing significantly while each halving is not declining all that much. It also whimps out at 0.004 times the current level completely. There should still be an effect but it stops. This isnt the first time I’ve encountered a modtran limit out of the blue.
    What I did find was that a doubling of h2o yielded an increase of 10w/m^2 in absorption while a halving was quite a bit less than that. I won’t be believing that until I run mine and it shows something similar.
    The modtran calculator did show about 4.x w/m^2 increase for a 1.3x increase in h2o vapor – which corresponds to the increase in absolute humidity with a 5 deg. C rise. However, only a co2 doubling and this increase could attribute to the T is probably under 2 deg. C so there’s 3 deg C rise required that is unaccounted for. At least that’s most of the preliminary information I’ve got at the moment. I can’t provide the modtran results now as it is on the computer at home.
    looking at the AH chart, 255k still should have 1/16 the current 288k absolute humidity(assuming fixed RH). There are quite a few halvings below that which produce an incremental result of note. That means that without any other ghg than h2o at a 255k, the Earth would be greater than 255k due to that h2o vapor’s effect.

  107. Bill,
    Here is some more detail:
    I’m not sure what might be the difference at present time between modtran and my numbers although there are several differences, including different wavelength coverage.
    additional absorption additional absorption
    h2o fraction modtran olr 70km my olr 70km
    4 14.88 W/m^2 8.60 W/m^2
    2 10.31 8.37
    1.3 3.14 (not a doubling but AH 5 deg C rise
    1 (now) 7.87 8.09
    1/2 6.88 7.72
    1/4 6.12 7.29
    1/8 5.47 6.78
    1/16 (255K) 4.64 6.20
    1/32 3.74 5.55
    1/64 3.17 4.84
    1/128 2.39 4.10
    1/256 1.72 3.38
    1/512 1.19 2.72
    my outgoing surface radiation
    384.5W/m^2 for 288.2K
    (note my bandwidth only goes out to 65um, not 100um)
    my transmission out from 70km
    271.2 W/m^2 (current 1x h2o vapor)
    Modtran 258.9 W/m^2
    my Power absorbed and not reradiated outward (surface-outgoing from 70km)
    113.2 W/m^2
    Modtran 132.3 W/m^2
    my power absorbed by h2o vapor (none to now)
    63.7W/m^2
    Modtran 44.9 W/m^2
    note that these were all done holding fixed values for all but h2o concentration and that I used 330 ppm for co2 (1976 value) versus the modtran 375ppm roughly current value.
    The important thing to bear in mind is that there are quite a few doublings (halvings) such that each contribute within 50% of the most recent in the way of added power absorption.
    Because it’s clear skies, the h2o contribution is closer to 60% than to 90% of the total.
    Also, each W/m^2 tends to contribute 0.29 deg C to the temperature above that of 255k.
    The h2o absorption with constant RH with a 5 deg C rise increase in temperature of the whole h2o column area results in an increase of 1.3 which translates to about 3.14 W/m^2 increase or 0.9 deg C rise.
    That indicates in clear skies a doubling of CO2 contributes no more than around 1 deg C (3.6w/m^2) and even a 5 deg C total rise will not permit h2o to reach 3.14 W/m^2 which is under an additional 1 deg C which leaves over 3 deg C unaccounted for by forcing and positive feedback for our assumption of a 5 degC rise.
    At the moment, I don’t have a absolute humidity chart with less than 5 deg C resolution so it will take a bit more work to ascertain just what the h2o feedback under clear skies would result in for a co2 doubling.
    As for including cloud fractions in the mix, everything I’ve seen indicates that the more clouds present, the lower the temperature will result so that should further reduce the effect.

  108. Hi cba,
    Sorry again about the screw-up on my part.
    I’m not quite sure what to make of these numbers.
    For one, the Stefan-Boltzmann equations are logarithmic (rather than linear as it seems the climate models like to assume). Each extra watt when you are at 255K adds 0.27C to temperature but by the time one gets down to the surface at 288K, each extra watt only adds 0.18C.
    The modtran numbers don’t make any sense until you convert them back to a temperature-kind-of effect, then one gets close to a logarithmic response.
    I wouldn’t worry about not being able to go below 0.004 since if the global numbers get anywhere close to that, we will all go extinct since no plants will be able to grow either (CO2 and H20 will be too low).
    When I use the numbers, I only get a 0.6C increase for a doubled H20 (and as the halvings occur, hardly any temperature response occurs at all so something is wrong there).
    Can we convert the data into a Surface scenario like the following which just makes more sense from my perspective (OLR is going to be around 240 watts and some point in the troposphere is going to be emitting 240 watts at 255K but I’m more interested in the Surface response).
    Forcing Surface = Solar Forcing (239.7 w/m2) + Greenhouse Effect (150 w/m2) = 390 w/m2
    Temp Surface = Solar Temp Only (255K) + Greenhouse Effect (33K) = 288K
    Here is a couple of charts I drew to illustrate the idea
    http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/6840/sbearthsurfacetemp.png
    http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/2608/sbtempcperwatt.png

  109. Yeah, let’s not do anything because it’ll be inconvenient and annoying. Let’s just wait for the climate change that results from global warming and deal with the floods (like in new Orleans) the hurricanes and typhoons, and the droughts (think food is expensive now?, ha!). Anyway, our kids’ll have to deal with it, so screw them.

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