Carbon emissions are chilling the atmosphere 90km above Antarctica, at the edge of space

Ashleigh Wilson

John French, University of Tasmania; Andrew Klekociuk, University of Tasmania, and Frank Mulligan, National University of Ireland Maynooth

While greenhouse gases are warming Earth’s surface, they’re also causing rapid cooling far above us, at the edge of space. In fact, the upper atmosphere about 90km above Antarctica is cooling at a rate ten times faster than the average warming at the planet’s surface.

Our new research has precisely measured this cooling rate, and revealed an important discovery: a new four-year temperature cycle in the polar atmosphere. The results, based on 24 years of continuous measurements by Australian scientists in Antarctica, were published in two papers this month.

The findings show Earth’s upper atmosphere, in a region called the “mesosphere”, is extremely sensitive to rising greenhouse gas concentrations. This provides a new opportunity to monitor how well government interventions to reduce emissions are working.

Our project also monitors the spectacular natural phenomenon known as “noctilucent” or “night shining” clouds. While beautiful, the more frequent occurrence of these clouds is considered a bad sign for climate change.

Studying the ‘airglow’

Since the 1990s, scientists at Australia’s Davis research station have taken more than 600,000 measurements of the temperatures in the upper atmosphere above Antarctica. We’ve done this using sensitive optical instruments called spectrometers.

These instruments analyse the infrared glow radiating from so-called hydroxyl molecules, which exist in a thin layer about 87km above Earth’s surface. This “airglow” allows us to measure the temperature in this part of the atmosphere.

Scientific equipment
Spectrometer in the optical laboratory at Davis station, Antarctica. John French

Our results show that in the high atmosphere above Antarctica, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not have the warming effect they do in the lower atmosphere (by colliding with other molecules). Instead the excess energy is radiated to space, causing a cooling effect.

Our new research more accurately determines this cooling rate. Over 24 years, the upper atmosphere temperature has cooled by about 3℃, or 1.2℃ per decade. That is about ten times greater than the average warming in the lower atmosphere – about 1.3℃ over the past century.

Untangling natural signals

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the temperature changes we recorded, but a number of other influences are also at play. These include the seasonal cycle (warmer in winter, colder in summer) and the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle (which involves quieter and more intense solar periods) in the mesosphere.

One challenge of the research was untangling all these merged “signals” to work out the extent to which each was driving the changes we observed.

Surprisingly in this process, we discovered a new natural cycle not previously identified in the polar upper atmosphere. This four-year cycle which we called the Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation (QQO), saw temperatures vary by 3-4℃ in the upper atmosphere.

Discovering this cycle was like stumbling across a gold nugget in a well-worked claim. More work is needed to determine its origin and full importance.

But the finding has big implications for climate modelling. The physics that drive this cycle are unlikely to be included in global models currently used to predict climate change. But a variation of 3-4℃ every four years is a large signal to ignore.

We don’t yet know what’s driving the oscillation. But whatever the answer, it also seems to affect the winds, sea surface temperatures, atmospheric pressure and sea ice concentrations around Antarctica.

‘Night shining’ clouds

Our research also monitors how cooling temperatures are affecting the occurrence of noctilucent or “night shining” clouds.

Noctilucent clouds are very rare – from Australian Antarctic stations we’ve recorded about ten observations since 1998. They occur at an altitude of about 80km in the polar regions during summer. You can only see them from the ground when the sun is below the horizon during twilight, but still shining on the high atmosphere.


Read more: Humans are encroaching on Antarctica’s last wild places, threatening its fragile biodiversity


The clouds appear as thin, pale blue, wavy filaments. They are comprised of ice crystals and require temperatures around minus 130℃ to form. While impressive, noctilucent clouds are considered a “canary in the coalmine” of climate change. Further cooling of the upper atmosphere as a result of greenhouse gas emissions will likely lead to more frequent noctilucent clouds.

There is already some evidence the clouds are becoming brighter and more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sea ice in Antarctica
The new temperature cycle is reflected in the concentration of sea ice in Antacrtica. John French

Measuring change

Human-induced climate change threatens to alter radically the conditions for life on our planet. Over the next several decades – less than one lifetime – the average global air temperature is expected to increase, bringing with it sea level rise, weather extremes and changes to ecosystems across the world.

Long term monitoring is important to measure change and test and calibrate ever more complex climate models. Our results contribute to a global network of observations coordinated by the Network for Detection of Mesospheric Change for this purpose.

The accuracy of these models is critical to determining whether government and other interventions to curb climate change are indeed effective.


Read more: Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month


John French, Atmospheric Physicist at Australian Antarctic Division and Adjunct Lecturer, University of Tasmania; Andrew Klekociuk, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division and Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania, and Frank Mulligan, , National University of Ireland Maynooth

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

116 thoughts on “Carbon emissions are chilling the atmosphere 90km above Antarctica, at the edge of space

  1. “But the finding has big implications for climate modelling. The physics that drive this cycle are unlikely to be included in global models currently used to predict climate change. But a variation of 3-4℃ every four years is a large signal to ignore.”

    If the climate model was any good then this signal would have been an outcome of the analysis.
    If the model does not create it then the model is wrong.
    This is not science.

    • I imagine they are unaware they just pointed out the models are woefully incomplete and are therefor garbage
      And certainly cannot contribute to “settled, consensus” science

      • there is a big difference between incomplete and garbage. All models are incomplete which is
        what makes them useful. Imagine if all maps had to have a scale of 1:1, they would be 100%
        accurate but completely useless. Only when you omit irrelevant details and change the scale
        do they become useful. Models are they same — you need to omit irrelevant details and focus
        on the essentials.

        • Yeah when engineers or real scientists do that bridges collapse, rockets explode and people die. You need to be able to identify what you are omitting or you are just guessing and they can be catastrophically wrong. What you have posted is not only wrong it would be dangerous in any real field.

          • LdB,
            models are only useful when you omit details. Plane designers model the air as a fluid.
            They do not model the motion of individual atoms hitting the wing. Bridge designers
            similarly use approximate models of reality. The don’t model every nut, bolt and weld for
            example. They do design things with safety margins however to ensure that most failures
            do not end in disaster.

          • “Izaak Walton August 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

            models are only useful when you omit details.”

            Like clouds in climate models?

            “Plane designers model the air as a fluid.”

            Because it is from an aircraft perspective.

          • What are these details that you allege are irrelevant for climate models.
            Provide evidence to support your belief that they are irrelevant.

          • I understand the disdain for models expressed by any here, but the reactions to Izaak are misplaced.

            It is correct to say that models deliberately are incomplete. The very definition of a model is a simplified representation of reality. It may be a fair critique of climate models that they omit too much, but it is not a fair critique to suggest that omission of anything is wrong.

          • “The very definition of a model is a simplified representation of reality”
            What reality would that be?
            The reality that the sun shines over the whole surface of the globe instantaneously?
            The trouble with climate models is that they have gone too far, removed the existence of the night and made sunlight too weak to power the weather machine.

        • This is utter garbage itself. I use maps all the time that aren’t 1:1…and they are 100% accurate and useful.

          Scale is not accuracy. Good Lord.

          • Michael,
            no map is 100% accurate. If it was it would have a copy of the map on the map and on that
            copy of the map would be another map etc. etc. Are you also telling me that every tree,
            every building, every single geographical and other features are on the map? What about
            contour lines? Is every 1 metre contour marked? What about every 1cm contour or 1mm?

            Maps are only useful because they omit details. A map for orienteering looks very different for example to a map for driving.

          • “Maps are only useful because they omit details.”

            That is an obtuse statement. Maps are useful because of the details they include, not the ones they omit. A road map isn’t useful because it omits the speed limits on those roads; it’s useful because it shows you where the roads are, where they go and which other roads connect to them.

          • “Izaak Walton August 22, 2020 at 8:27 pm”

            I guess you have never seen or used UK OS maps. They cannot be 100% accurate because they are printed after recording, so will never be 100% accurate.

          • Road maps omit lots of details which is what makes them useful. And which details
            they omit depends on the scale. If you want to drive from Milan to Minsk you don’t
            want or need a map that shows every single road in Europe. Rather you want one that
            shows the motorways and the main A roads. The secret to making a good map is choosing
            what to omit. If look at an OS map for the same region at different scales you will see the what each one omits. And you check the actual OS database you can see that they log a huge amount of details that never make it onto any map.

          • Izaak Walton: “Imagine if all maps had to have a scale of 1:1, they would be 100%
            accurate.”

            Also Izaak Walton: “no map is 100% accurate.”

            Well are 1:1 maps 100% accurate or not? You say they would be, then say it’s impossible. A 1:1 map is no more or less accurate than the same one at 1:10, 1:50, 1:100, etc.

            Map scale is not accuracy. You seem to be talking about levels of detail and resolution, which are mostly visual artifacts.

        • Izaak said
          ” A map for orienteering looks very different for example to a map for driving.”

          Indeed, and to continue your analogy, climate models are the maps for driving (low on detail) but scientists are trying to use them for orienteering (need for high detail), and then wonder why they get lost.

          • +1

            The old adage that the map is not the territory applies. Secondly, a map is not a model in that it is merely a snapshot in time. It can neither reproduce the past or predict the future.

        • “you need to omit irrelevant details and focuson the essentials.”

          Climate models omit the relevant and focus on the non-essentials. ie CO2

          Only thing CO2 is essential to is LIFE ON EARTH. !

        • “On Exactitude in Science” by Jorge Luis Borges from “Collected Fictions”, translated by Andrew Hurley.

          …In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
          —Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Exactitude_in_Science

        • The problem is climate models do just the opposite, the include the irrelevant and omit the essentials.

          Regardless, the climate models are garbage because they can’t predict the real world.
          They also have so many tuning variables that even the modelers admit are just guessed at. They set the variables to whatever is needed to get the predictions as close as possible to what they want to see.

        • IZZY air is a fluid. A compressible fluid.
          In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a phase of matter and include liquids, gases and plasmas. They are substances with zero shear modulus, or, in simpler terms, substances which cannot resist any shear force applied to them.
          Engage your brain before opening your mouth.
          Good job LdB!!

          • What on earth did Izaak say to provoke this response? Izaak said that the atmosphere is modeled as a fluid. Which it is. Do you think otherwise?

    • As CO2 has an emission peak at -80ºC, any temperature above that in the atmosphere will trigger it to emit radiation to space. This is why it is properly called a “radiative gas” which, during the day is saturated and has no net effect, but at night, with no opposing input, it serves to pour energy out to space. Everything, essentially is warmer than -80ºC and thus CO2 is at this job all night long. It’s not rocket science but the warmist clowns refuse to learn high school science.

        • You missed the point. Lower in the atmosphere some of that energy either gets captured by water molecules via radiation or is captured by all the various elements in the lower atmosphere via collisions.

          In the upper atmosphere there is no water to capture the radiation and few other molecules to hit. Plus the intercept angle the earth offers gets less and less the higher you go. So more energy gets radiated to space than it does lower in the atmosphere.

    • Do the models give any consideration what-so-ever to the mesosphere?

      Output from the sun can no doubt influence a satellite but I suspect the sun’s variable energy output is not included in the models used to calculate satellite launch trajectories and desired orbits. Still, they work rather well.

    • rotfl!

      Except for the small provlem that global cooling (into a glacial period) is a lot bigger deal than warming. I’m hoping that human-influenced warming can prevent—or at least mitigate—the next glacial period. Then again, no one for dozens of generations will be around to witness it. Party on!

  2. “Our results show that in the high atmosphere above Antarctica, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not have the warming effect they do in the lower atmosphere (by colliding with other molecules). Instead the excess energy is radiated to space, causing a cooling effect.”

    The same is true everywhere from the surface to space. An energized CO2 molecule does not return to the ground state by colliding with another molecule transferring the state energy into the kinetic energy of motion. What happens from a quantum mechanical point of view is that the collision increases the probability that a photon will be emitted, returning the molecule to the ground state. On average, half the energy of the photons first absorbed by a CO2 molecule near the surface will eventually be emitted into space, while the remaining half returns to the surface to offset emissions greater than the incident solar forcing can achieve on its one. This is a simple matter of geometry.

    The argument that some energy is transferred to a rotational state which can then pass it on doesn’t work. What happens is that when energy is transferred is that the emitted photon is a slightly lower energy. However; the process is reversible in equal amounts where rotational state energy is combined with vibrational state energy emitting a higher energy photon upon relaxation to the ground state.

    Venus arguments are moot too, as Venus is a completely different kind of system where the clouds above and not the surface below comprises the matter in direct equilibrium with the Sun.

    • “On average half the energy of the photons first absorbed by a CO2 molecule near the surface will eventually be emitted to space, while the remaining half returns to the surface to offset emissions greater than the incident solar forcing. ” The energy from the sun every second adds 0.00288 watts (is equivalent to CO2 ground state) 22 micrometers. This incident solar forcing greater than surface emission adds (60sec*60min*6hr) = 62 watts (varies as clouds blocks sunlight) increasing surface emission. As this energy doesn’t increase CO2 energy above ground state near surface your explanation can’t be plausible. Solar incident forcing per second would have to be over 2 watts burning everything on earth to a crisp in 6 minutes. A window for surface emission to escape exists allowing photons of waves above 14 micrometers to escape to space. Otherwise the earth wouldn’t cool at night. The half returns is based on faulty climate models. The surface has heat at minimum 356 + 527 (240+287)+445+32=1360. 287 is ideal gas energy and 240 is averaged solar input and output. 32 is UV. 1004 solar irradiance makes up the 32+445+527. 356 is lowest surface emission over 12 hrs (surface emission is greater than solar incident forcing). 6000K sun in watts 73 million / earths area in meters x 10(/second) = 0.00288 watts.

      • First of all, the incident solar forcing is less than the surface emissions by about 150 W/m^2. Of the 390 W/m^2 emitted by the surface, 300 W/m^2 is absorbed by the atmosphere and 90 W/m^2 passes through directly to space. Half of what was absorbed is 150 W/m^2 which when added to the 90 W/m^2 not absorbed offsets the 240 W/m^2 of solar power. The remaining half is added to 240 W/m^2 of incident energy to offset the 390 W/m^2 emitted by the surface.

        • That’s climate model interpretation. Atmosphere is 287 28.96g(mole of air) x 0.287 x 34.53 moles = 287 watts emitted by all gases. 240 is the solar irradiance coming in and going out. Add them together you have 527w/m^2 of infrared radiation. Any object that is above absolute zero emits radiation. That includes the earth surface. The sun increases that radiation during the day and the earth surface cools back to its original emission state at night. Not lose 300 w/m2 to the atmosphere as you stated. So the solar power is 527+445+32 = 1004 at the sun’s zenith. At sunrise the solar power isn’t greater than the surface emission so radiates out to space. At the point solar irradiance is greater than surface emission then surface emission is increased. 356 is energy from the solar irradiance that escapes to space at the point surface emission equals solar irradiance. Solar incident is that increase to the surface. Models ignore heat storage in the earth that radiates out. Like siting against a radiator that has just been switched off for a short time. It cools then warms back up when switched on again. Heat doesn’t disappear when its switched off. It takes time to cool. Just like the earth surface.

          • Most of the radiation from the atmosphere comes from the water and ice in clouds and not atmospheric gasses. How else can we measure cloud top temperatures from space looking down or from the surface looking up if those clouds were not radiating? Moreover; the bulk of the 300 W/m^2 absorbed by the atmosphere is absorbed by clouds. Note that GHG’s between the surface and clouds have little incremental influence on atmospheric absorption as the clouds would be absorbing that energy anyway.

            My analysis has nothing to do with ‘climate model interpolation,’ but is what the data is telling us and what the laws of physics require. Interpolation means filling in missing data based on neighboring data. There’s no missing data to interpolate here.

            The only influence of heat heat storage is a time constant. All a time constant quantifies is the rate that the system seeks a new equilibrium when conditions change, i.e. the rate that matter warms or cools, which is proportional to its heat capacity and has little to do with the equilibrium temperature. What I’m quantifying are long term averages which are mostly independent of the effects of time constants.

            The influence of a time constant would be apparent if the rotation rate of the Earth was different. Regardless of the rotation rate, the steady state average temperature would be the same. If the rotation was faster, the difference between the day time high and night time low would be less while if the rotation rate was slower, that difference would be larger, as it is on the Moon.

          • Well stated. The unseen elephant in the room is the sun, and earth’s rotation. The temperature of the surface at the point at which the sun begins to reheat it is simply a measure of how much radiative cooling took place at night. And it has nothing to do with the so-called ‘back radiation’.

    • Even is a v e r y dry place, the air above the ground often becomes very hot. Supposedly most of the atmosphere is transparent to sunlight so, it would seem, the heat must come from the ground, which absorbes a fair amount of incoming sunlight. Conduction is said to be slow and of low capacity. There isn’t any water to evaporate and carry heat upward. How does the air become so hot?

    • co2isnotevil August 22, 2020 at 2:20 pm
      “Our results show that in the high atmosphere above Antarctica, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not have the warming effect they do in the lower atmosphere (by colliding with other molecules). Instead the excess energy is radiated to space, causing a cooling effect.”

      The same is true everywhere from the surface to space. An energized CO2 molecule does not return to the ground state by colliding with another molecule transferring the state energy into the kinetic energy of motion. What happens from a quantum mechanical point of view is that the collision increases the probability that a photon will be emitted, returning the molecule to the ground state.

      Incorrect, you should reread your quantum mechanics text book, collision transfers kinetic energy of the internal motion of the CO2 molecule into kinetic energy of the colliding partner. Often referred to in spectroscopy texts as ‘collisional quenching’.
      Collisional transfer from an electronically excited N2 molecule to a CO2 molecule is how a CO2 laser works.

      • That is correct. When a collision occurs, three things can happen:
        1. A transfer of energy occurs between the higher excited to the lower excited
        2. The molecules ‘reflect from each other. (bounce apart)
        3. A glancing blow with path diverted, but no energy transfer. (billiard ball)

        How does air cool at night? It doesn’t radiate. It doesn’t ‘sink’. That happens two ways:
        1. Air in contact with the surface cools to the surface temperature. As the surface radiates and cools, so does the air at that interface. Conduction occurs in two ways – the ones in contact with the surface, and the ones colliding with the cooler ones. A pool of cool air grows up from the bottom. Eventually, the column of cool air rises to reduce the day’s convected warm air. (ignoring whatever effect wind has.)

      • Phil,

        Quenching is not significant at the low energy levels found in our atmosphere. You pretty much need collisions with enough energy to energize GHG molecules before quenching (the reverse) can occur with statistical significance. Those quantum mechanics textbooks also tell us that state changes are an all or nothing transition, in other words, their energy is quantized. The typical kinetic energy of an atmospheric molecule in motion is about the same as the LWIR photons emitted by the surface and there just isn’t enough available to energize another molecule.

        The most likely thing to occur at atmospheric energy levels is a collision might just be enough to destabilize an energized GHG molecule causing it to emit a photon which the colliding molecule has a high probability of absorbing, thus exchanging state, otherwise some other nearby GHG molecule will capture it. Note as well, that the probability of spontaneous emission increases dramatically as a molecule absorbs more photons transitioning to even higher energy states.

  3. Our project also monitors the spectacular natural phenomenon known as “noctilucent” or “night shining” clouds. While beautiful, the more frequent occurrence of these clouds is considered a bad sign for climate change.

    Noctilucent clouds are indeed beautiful. No wonder that the ugly climate science community instinctively label them as yet another natural “enemy of the people”.

    • I saw beautiful noctilucent clouds while driving west from Calgary a few weeks ago. Brilliant! And thanks to WUWT I knew what they are called.

  4. Yes, CO2 at this altitude causes cooling, not warming. But the air pressure in the mesosphere is about 0.01 mbar, about 100,000 times thinner than at the surface.

    So, with 99.9999% of the atmosphere existing below the mesosphere, the effect of the CO2 cooling will be neglible (if even detectable), in the troposphere, where virtually all of our weather resides.

  5. I was cautiously sceptical when reading until I got to the part about models, then the stupendous BS begins.

    • Although it doesn’t say From EurekAlert!, I was sufficiently alerted by University of Tasmania. You can generally rely on Oz Unis to be piously faithful to the Green religion. Those few heretical researchers who dare to stray are thrown into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  6. These instruments analyse the infrared glow radiating from so-called hydroxyl molecules, which exist in a thin layer about 87km above Earth’s surface.

    Hilarious that they only mention the hydroxyl IR sky shine. The much stronger infrared sky shine from nitrogen (wailing and gnashing of teeth) is of course ignored. Also odd that if CO2 is so dominant in IR, why is there no IR sky shine from CO2? It’s only from nitrogen, oxygen and hydroxyls.

    Check out Stebbins et al:

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=stebbins+%09A+strong+infrared+radiation+from+molecular+nitrogen&btnG=

    https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/08/15/twos-company-threes-a-crowd-a-nitrogen-threesome-joins-the-ir-party/

    • As the article mentions, the hydroxyls only exist at that altitude. Therefore the radiation from those molecules can be used to measure the temperature at that altitude. They can’t use nitrogen or CO2 because those exist at all levels of the atmosphere, so the signal from that altitude can’t be separated from the emissions from all of the other levels of the atmosphere.

    • Mark
      Thanks.
      Is it just me or is the dominance of the sky shine in IR by nitrogen species (and apparent absence of anything from CO2) a problem for the CO2 back radiation story. Yes I know that “back radiation” is just a fairy tale for the masses and the real CAGW story is a more tortuous complicated one about emission height and IR spectral troughs having a head and shoulders. But even so, it’s kind of embarrassing to find instrumentally that “CO2 IR back radiation” is nonexistent.

  7. “The accuracy of these models is critical to determining whether government and other interventions to curb climate change are indeed effective necessary.”

  8. Aaaand…
    Above the mesosphere is the thermosphere…
    “Thermosphere:
    The layer of very rare air above the mesosphere is called the thermosphere. High-energy X-rays and UV radiation from the Sun are absorbed in the thermosphere, raising its temperature to hundreds or at times thousands of degrees. However, the air in this layer is so thin that it would feel freezing cold to us! In many ways, the thermosphere is more like outer space than a part of the atmosphere. Many satellites actually orbit Earth within the thermosphere! Variations in the amount of energy coming from the Sun exert a powerful influence on both the height of the top of this layer and the temperature within it. Because of this, the top of the thermosphere can be found anywhere between 500 and 1,000 km (311 to 621 miles) above the ground. Temperatures in the upper thermosphere can range from about 500° C (932° F) to 2,000° C (3,632° F) or higher. The aurora, the Northern Lights and Southern Lights, occur in the thermosphere.”
    So, again, what is it that Co2 does at that height that it doesn’t do at every height?

  9. As an Irish citizen with a scientific background, I took one look at University of Maynooth and the subject of climate change and just laughed, one can’t take those academics there seriously, they are just political activists to the bone (plus fully time alarmists). Johnathon Swift would have recognised them when he wrote Gulliver’s Travels three centuries ago:

    Lemuel Gulliver visits the land of Balnibarbi, where people insist on doing everything in an impractical fashion. Those few who wish to use common sense in their activities are forced by social and political pressure to conform to the impractical. The epitome of the attitudes of the people of the land is found in the Grand Academy at the capital city of Lagado. At the academy Gulliver sees all sorts of experimentation going on. The most striking aspect of the projects is their absurdity, the second is that they all require a constant flow of money, like modern research and development projects. Swift is not satirizing only general impracticality; he is also hitting some of the contemporary follies of the British Royal Academy, whose membership sometimes indulged in activities that Swift, at least, did not approve. The first projector Gulliver meets at the Grand Academy of Lagado is typical of them all:

    . . . He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt in eight years more, that he should be able to supply the Governor’s gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate; but he complained that his stock was low . . . since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers. I made him a small present. . . .

    • +1

      I’ve noticed that too. Maynooth University geography department don’t have a lot to do and it provides ample cover and income for socialists to operate. I have for many years noted their regular appearance in the media riding the coat tails of national issues to push their agenda and in their membership of the socialist think tank TASC. (In Ireland TASC is a combination of union and academic lobbyists and socialist activists that try to control the narrative in opposition to the Government funded ESRI.) They were especially noisy when the post-2008 economic collapse threatened their sinecures.

      Maynooth is home to Professor John Sweeney who Irish medias go to official climate alarmist. The other rent a quote person the Irish media use is John Gibbons.

      Here is Prof. Sweeney in action:

  10. I didn’t realize there was a 4 year oscillation…seems they would want to actually measure something…before this leap of faith…

    “We don’t yet know what’s driving the oscillation. But whatever the answer, it also seems to affect the winds, sea surface temperatures, atmospheric pressure and sea ice concentrations around Antarctica.”

    • Hitherto unknown 4 year oscillation? Maybe there are other unknown climatic oscillations with the 24 year measurement time interval being merely a fraction of a cycle. By the same token, is the Antarctic ozone “hole” man-made or has it always been there?

  11. As other have mentioned above, there is so little atmosphere up there, so I guess it is why we don’t see actual useful numbers in the description of the paper.

    And the you see see the intelligence of the commenter on the originating website:

    t would be interesting to know if cloud patterns have changed with reduced air travel because of COVID-19 and reduced contrails in the atmosphere. Also, how much is man made dust in the atmosphere (such as the dust storms produced by cattle farmers) is affecting our climate.

    I find the “dust storms produced by cattle farmers” the most amusing 🙂

    • Prior to the covid lockdown there was almost no air traffic over Antarctica, so just think how much things have changed!

    • Don’t you know? Cattle farmers like to pasture their cattle on dirt! They get fatter that way!

  12. “One challenge of the research was untangling all these merged “signals” to work out the extent to which each was driving the changes we observed.”

    Aren’t the “signals” also the observed changes? This makes no sense.

    And “untangling” time signals in the frequency domain is “challenging”? Standard stuff.

    • They are using some Climate Science butchering of standard terminology they are obviously calling natural signal as background which is indeed very weird.

      Do anything normal in science would probably be “challenging” to Climate Science.

  13. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes more plant growth, which brings about more shade, and everybody knows it is cooler in the shade, thereby global cooling. The fear is that plants will soon grow so fast and strong they will crowd us out of the green areas of earth, causing us to spend years wandering in the deserts. Al Gore will discuss this growing menace in his next movie, featuring hurricane force winds toppling supertrees able to demolish tall buildings with a single crash. The title will be “Little Planet of Horrors” and it will be shown in our schools on a regular basis, along with instructions on how to minimize breathing since every time we exhale we add more CO2 to the atmosphere.

  14. Basically there are no molecules worth mention above 32 km.

    Where do these molecules at 90 km come from?

    All four of them?

    Temperature requires kinetic energy, KE requires molecules.

  15. “We don’t yet know what’s driving the oscillation” but we blame CO2 anyway, because “[greenhouse gases] are also causing rapid cooling far above us” and we know that for sure based on our models which nobody else has.

    Also, based on our research, “Human-induced climate change threatens to alter radically the conditions for life on our planet” which is something else we discovered but don’t understand although it must be happening and caused by CO2.

    Thankfully, “The accuracy of [our] models is critical to determining whether government and other interventions to curb climate change are indeed effective,” although there’s a caveat: our models are hugely inaccurate and we don’t know why. But governments should listen to us anyhow and give us more money because OMG the seas are gonna rise and everything is gonna die!

    Cue the didgeridoo dirge. Then get out your wallets. This is Science, people!

  16. “the “mesosphere”, is extremely sensitive to rising greenhouse gas concentrations. This provides a new opportunity to monitor how well government interventions to reduce emissions are working”

    And an opportunity to provide evidence for the assumption in the absence of evidence that the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration are caused by fossil fuel emissions such that they can be moderated with climate action.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/08/22/stratospheric-cooling/

  17. I’ve been trying for years to highlight the cooling trend of the LS layer as CO2 rises. NASA have known about CO2 and NO radiating excess heat to space since the experiments they did after a massive solar flare in 2011/12. They have released papers on it but now obfuscate it with counter papers of typical pseudoscience dogma. Dr Roy Spencer is the best source of satellite measurements of the LS layer and they’re posted on this site. I don’t have a link right now but I could dig it up.
    If the cooling trend of the seventies continued this is the only CO2 effect on temperature we would be hearing about and we “must stop burning fossil fuels” they would be screaming.

  18. CO2 is cooling the lower atmosphere just the same , it is only the effect is very small and cannot be distinguished from other normal temperature variations which are far greater and happens to be currently slightly warming .
    Remember you heard it here from me first

    • Actually, I have been saying Co2 is a cooling influence for 20 years. The reason is simple – 99+% of the atmosphere cannot cool by radiation. Greenhouse gases do radiate, and by doing so, they cool. They radiate all the time, not just when they absorb a photon. They also gain energy after emitting a photon through collisions with inert molecules that are more energetic. That ‘cools’ the donor and ‘warms’ the Half of their emission is earth directed, the other half is space directed. Every part of earth radiates – from the poles to the deserts to the vegetation and the animals and insects. For every ONE photon from the atmosphere, there are probably BILLIONS of space directed photons emitted from the earth. Anyone who imagines that somehow, the Co2 photons hitting earth are ‘powerful’ enough to overcome earth’s outgoing radiation simply has no clue as the economy of scale. Let’s see…one photon hits earth, billions leave earth.

  19. Stratospheric cooling is a consequence of warming at lower altitudes. I’m unsure why some readers are struggling with the concept.

  20. Is it not scientific law from the pen of Einstein that CO2 cannot rise above the applied temp as CO2 dissipates temp at the exact same rate as it is applied to C02. Therefor C02 cannot force heating….I don’t think this has ever been disproven, and is scientific law….am I wrong? And does anyone have info on this?
    Then the Vostok ice core samples which show temps always precede CO2 levels would be the perfect piece of empirical evidence to prove Einstein’s law when discussing global boring. The ice core samples show a rise in C02 levels is due to heat forced evaporation which raises C02 levels. There is no evidence that C02 forces heating in the ice core samples, Martin Feynman would contend that this alone would destroy the global blathering theory, is this “The science” these sociopathic vermin are hyperventilating about? Are Einstein and Feynman science deniers?
    When I first heard the climate vermin saying that the science is settled and that no more debate would be entered into…the models were still not including water vapour!! The warmists recognized this was a problem and so added water vapour and their models then showed….the exact same thing, except now it was much worse than previously thought, how do you think Einstein and Feynman would react to this?
    See David Evans on climate models for a good time. . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NZuh4_A5kw

    • Available CO2 molecules “absorb” IR photons whenever one intersects with it at the right angle and energy, and perhaps position. Emission involves quantum uncertainty, it isn’t predictable but there is probably an average ‘hold’ period (if that means anything). That period is generally very short, on the human time scale, but is not related to the rate of absorption.

      • From memory, when a photon is abosorbed by a gas molecule, its energy is increased. That increased energy is generally lost either in a collision with another molecule, or by radiating a photon itself. The ‘hold time’ is on the order of nanoseconds. That’s why lasers work.

        • The mean time for emission of a photon by and excited CO2 molecule is of the order of millisecs whereas the mean time between collisions in the lower atmosphere is about 10/ nsec.

    • Thanks Bill,
      how simplistic and yet precise, well told and spot on.
      It is also interesting to read the comment from “Rod Martin, Jr.”, the top comment at moment.

    • Everyone should refresh their understanding of the ideal gas laws. The temperature of ANY gas is related to its temperature, pressure and volume. There is no special gas law for CO2, so it cannot behave differently than the other gasses in a given volume. Those are gas LAWS, not greenhouse gas HYPOTHESES (guesses).

    • Bill
      In this 1917 paper:

      http://inspirehep.net/record/858448/files/eng.pdf

      Einstein says this about radiative heating of a gas:

      “During absorption and emission of radiation there is also present a transfer of momentum to the molecules. This means that just the interaction of radiation and molecules leads to a velocity distribution of the latter. This must surely be the same as the velocity distribution which molecules acquire as the result of their mutual interaction by collisions, that is, it must coincide with the Maxwell distribution. We must require that the mean kinetic energy which a molecule per degree of freedom acquires in a Plank radiation field of temperature T be

      kT / 2

      this must be valid regardless of the nature of the molecules and independent of frequencies which the molecules absorb and emit.”

      This means the much hyped IR absorbtion bands of IR are not important since most radiation heat transfer to matter doesn’t involve them.

      https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/albert-einstein-said-no-to-co2-radiative-warming-of-the-atmosphere/

  21. “…Noctilucent clouds are very rare – from Australian Antarctic stations we’ve recorded about ten observations since 1998…While impressive, noctilucent clouds are considered a ‘canary in the coalmine’ of climate change. Further cooling of the upper atmosphere as a result of greenhouse gas emissions will likely lead to more frequent noctilucent clouds…”

    A whole ten sightings in 22 years?

  22. Every time there is a major volcanic eruption or the recent bush fires pour huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere these guys should see the change. Why does it only happen every four years? And why do they assume it’s man made CO2 that causes the changes? There are no records 100 years ago when there may have been similar occurrences so how can they say with certainty that this is man made?

  23. The absorption by carbon dioxide happens below the altitude of 1 km. At the altitude of tropopause already 98 % of the total absorption by GH gases has happened. What happens thereafter has very little to do with the climate change.

  24. Ummmm… what??? Chilling the atmosphere? Are you sure??? Are you positive????

    Well, gee, now that throws off all that stuff I was going to do at the next wicca party for keeping the Gaia freaks happy. Have to go back and redo all my ideas and — okay, I can’t do this without giggling.

    The They, those important people who think they “know better” than anyone else, found out that they’re not as “know better” as they think they are, so they will eliminate this manifestation of Mother Nature at work, keeping things balanced, because it interferes with Their Doomsday Machinery.

    Maybe someone will explain to me (some day, something like that) why it is that these people think they have to meddle, never mind create baloney reports, other than to get money. And when they’re faced with the reality that Mother Nature can take of things for us (on a much grander scale), they toss out what doesn’t suit their “meme”.

    It must be sad when they realize that they have no real control over any of it, and the only thing they have is money, which may become crypto currency, even if they don’t want that.

  25. We don’t yet know what’s driving the oscillation. But whatever the answer, it also seems to affect the winds, sea surface temperatures, atmospheric pressure and sea ice concentrations around Antarctica.

    The usual canard that correlation provides zero indication of causation certainly applies here. It’s surprising how many supposedly educated ‘scientists’ are unaware of this.

    In addition, the statement that noctilucent clouds have appeared only ten times in 22 years of observations, would preclude any conclusion about the frequency of occurrence. There is simply not enough data. This, of course, is ideal for these ‘scientists’. The only conclusion possible is that “more data are required”.

  26. While greenhouse gases are warming Earth’s surface, they’re also causing rapid cooling far above us, at the edge of space.

    Not only there. CO2 will inevitably cool the atmosphere by re-radiating incoming IR back out to space at all heights above the emission height. That is, above the troposphere, where the sky above is transparent to IR.

    This is the only place where the back-radiation story is actually true. Since there is minimal convection and water vapour, then radiation dominates heat transfer. And the effect is cooling, not warming.

    In the troposphere by contrast vertical heat transport is dominated by water vapour and convection and radiation is a minor, marginal player.

    • Not sure what you mean when you say convection is a small bit player. Ever seen a thunderhead? That is visual convection at work. Heated air rises, and that is convection. It is THE major player when the sun is present. How on earth would the air we walk around in get heated if it wasn’t from rising warming air? Radiation is the big player when the sun isn’t present.

    • No – that was my wording being not clear enough.
      I meant radiation is the marginal bit-player in the troposphere. By contrast convection and water processes are much more powerful and significant.

      The greenhouse theory is upside down like half of the data they use to justify it.

      It happens in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere a d up) and cools the atmosphere by radiating IR out to space.

      But in the troposphere it’s overwhelmed by convection and water processes and this insignificant.

  27. What you don’t know can be a bitch and the author stated, in other words, the science is not settled in spite of the prediction.

    Will be interesting to find out about seasonal cooling and warming at ground and high up. More work for researchers, and modelers, and politicians.

  28. “mesosphere”, is extremely sensitive to rising greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    The mesosphere is virtually a vacuum next to space with practically near zero ozone, water vapor (7ppm) methane and carbon dioxide. It also has the presence of oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2). Major photochemical species are O2, O3, H2O, O, O1D, H, OH, HO2, CH4, H2, and H2O2.

    The minuscule presence of CO2 in the mesosphere (virtually vacuum) means the troposphere has little more influence on the mesosphere as it would the thermosphere or the edge of space. (vacuum) Recent studies shows an increase in CO2 (~ 90–105 km is increasing at a rate of ~ 9–12%/decade) in the upper atmosphere, including the mesosphere. Like the stratosphere, observations have only been occurring during a declining solar activity period, so can’t say it’s one or the other. More likely the photochemical reactions affected by changes in UV for example from the sun, influence the cooling or warming of the upper atmosphere.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/2016JA023825

    “This four-year cycle which we called the Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation (QQO), saw temperatures vary by 3-4℃ in the upper atmosphere.”

    This corresponds to energy changes in the troposphere caused by ENSO phases close to every 4 years.

    “Over 24 years, the upper atmosphere temperature has cooled by about 3℃, or 1.2℃ per decade.”

    Over 24 years the amount cooled can occur in just 4 years, therefore this means in this case it’s indistinguishable from noise.

  29. [[Our results show that in the high atmosphere above Antarctica, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not have the warming effect they do in the lower atmosphere (by colliding with other molecules). Instead the excess energy is radiated to space, causing a cooling effect.]]

    How long can the leftist-run U.N. IPCC keep getting away with their sick fake physics CO2 global warming hoax?

    CO2 absorbs radiation at 15 microns, which has a Planck radiation temperature of -80C = 193K = -112F, which can’t melt an ice cube, whose Planck radiation max wavelength by the way is 10.6 microns.
    CO2’s other absorption wavelengths are 2.7 microns and 4.3 microns. 2.7 microns corresponds to a Planck radiation temperature of 797C (1070K) (1466F), and 4.3 microns corresponds to one of 401C (675K) (755F), neither of which the Earth’s surface is capable of reaching outside of volcanoes.

    Actually, those short wavelengths are found in the sunlight in the stratosphere, allowing CO2 molecules to absorb and block that energy from reaching the surface. You can call it a cooling effect if you want, but what’s really cooled is the surface.

    Never can CO2 heat anything, period. -80C isn’t heat. Cold isn’t heat. Cold is cold. Therefore, we never have to worry about CO2 emissions, and any attempt to punish anybody for them is a scam.

    Notice the comment “by colliding with other molecules”. As 0.04% of the atmosphere CO2 molecules constantly collide with nitrogen and oxygen molecules to equalize temperatures, which is just another cooling process. Are the hoaxers now claiming that CO2 emissions cause more CO2 molecules in the lower atmosphere to collide with “other molecules” and cause global warming? The collisions help cool not heat the atmosphere. Like they said in Smokey and the Bandit, The welcome mat is out and you’re coming home. 🙂

    96% of IPCC scientists allegedly push the -80C CO2 warming scam, so let’s cut off 96% of the funding and keep our money. After being fired the IPCC fake scientists can retrain for real careers like plumbing, hair styling, food service, and truck driving. 🙂

    http://www.historyscoper.com/mycousinco2.html

    • TL Winslow August 23, 2020 at 11:08 am
      [[Our results show that in the high atmosphere above Antarctica, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not have the warming effect they do in the lower atmosphere (by colliding with other molecules). Instead the excess energy is radiated to space, causing a cooling effect.]]

      How long can the leftist-run U.N. IPCC keep getting away with their sick fake physics CO2 global warming hoax?

      Actually their physics is correct, it is your nonsense regarding the Planck radiation temperature which is fake.
      Your -80ºC emitter emits ~6 times less 15 micron radiation than one at 300K.

  30. “>While greenhouse gases are warming Earth’s surface, <"

    In layperson's terms, has that now been proven? I must have missed that.

  31. There are no carbon emissions on this planet. You typically jump on it when it is something you don’t like to hear or read – yet here it is in your own headline…

  32. ALL gases are greenhouse gases as, like all substances, all absorb heat, not necessarily by absorbing IR, which is only one method of transmitting energy. (Others being convection, including wind, and conduction.) Therefore CO2 is a very minor greenhouse gas.

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