Guest post by Rud Istvan,
I got to thinking (always dangerous) about a couple of my last guest posts here concerning ‘Sentinel 6 SLR precision’ and CFTC ‘climate extremes endanger the financial system’. Both were ‘in the weeds’ juxtaposed against the big skeptical picture. Perhaps we need to remember in more simple sound bites the big climate picture, rather than to continue playing whack-a-mole on (admittedly important) climate weed details (pun intended, thanks to Jim Steele) like invasive cheat grass ‘grassoline’ and proper forest management concerning California fires. After all, we confront a climate change religion-like belief, aka ‘warmunism’, that is apparently immune to contra-factual details.
The Green House Effect
Of course it exists. But is often misunderstood even amongst skeptics, because does not work like a real greenhouse (inhibiting convection), so is weaker. It works by inhibiting radiative cooling to space. So is not a direct warming, is actually just an absence of sufficient IR cooling (only some of which is ‘downwelling warming’, itself a skeptical misconception resulting in endlessly ‘wrong’ SST downwelling IR debates) to balance incoming insolation.
This is caused by molecular infrared absorption by ‘green house’ gasses, and then their omnidirectional rescattering, which inhibits it all going back to very cool space. In sum, any GHE is just an indirect warming via an absence of sufficient radiative infrared cooling. A simple physics idea, which fully suffices here.
Water vapor has a much bigger ‘insufficient radiative cooling’ effect than CO2. There are two basic inescapable physics reasons worth noting.
- First, CO2 is a linear molecule, while H2O is ‘Mickey Mouse’ hat shaped. That means H2O has much more (rotational vibration rather than ‘stretching’) ‘vibrational’ sensitivity to photon absorption. This is why all microwave ovens operate at 2.4GHz on lots of water, and not on a little bit of carbon CO2 ‘stretching’.
- Second, CO2 absorption spectra overlap water spectra to a significant degree except on their absorption ‘shoulders’, so infrared water absorption always predominates. Earth is a Blue Planet whose atmosphere is dominated by water vapor, not by an invisible trace CO2 gas necessary for photosynthesis. (The AGW control knob fallacy thus simply restated.)
GHE CO2 will never saturate in effect but WILL always decline logarithmically with concentration. That is because as CO2 concentration rises, the effective radiative atmospheric threshold (ERL) also rises. An atmospheric ERL tropospheric rise means colder ERL radiation, which also means less energetic. Basic physics 101 explains the logarithmic decrease in increased CO2 concentration warming efficacy. Known since steam engineer Guy Calendar in 1938. And his ECS was about 1.7-1.8 way back then. Since proven elsewise.
GHE feedback amplification
The accepted values of temperature increase for a simple doubling of atmospheric CO2 is 1.1C (AR4) to 1.2C (Lindzen). Using Monckton’s ‘irreducibly simple’ newer equation, plus his proposed inputs, it is rather precisely 1.16C.
Now there are two main feedback sources, with all else about a wash (AR4). Mainly, positive water vapor feedback (WVF), and secondarily cloud feedback (CF)–supposed positive but intrinsically uncertain (AR5).
We know three observational ways that climate model WVF is too high:
- There is no observed tropical troposphere hotspot as almost all climate models produce (see John Christy’s Congressional testimony on same). Too much WVF in the models, especially in the tropics. WE’s ‘Tstorm’ and Lindzen’s ‘adaptive infrared iris’ explain why.
- Climate models produce about half the observed tropical rainfall. So insufficient model humidity washout via mechanisms like the Eschenbach tropical Tstorm thermoregulator hypothesis, explained many previous times here.
- Energy budget models (like Lewis and Curry, first and second papers) provide an observational ECS about half of AR5, and less than half of ‘emerging’ AR6. Its tough when observational and theoretical model methods diverge by ~2x.
As posted here and at Climate Etc. several times before, there is a theoretical/ observational reconciliation. Again just using Monckton’s previously posted equations. The WVF is about half modeled, because of observationally double rainfall. The CF is about zero, as Dessler (2010b) actually showed but did not claim. So IPCC Bode f=~0.65 comprising 0 feedback CO2, WVF ~0.5 feedback, plus ~0.15 positive cloud feedback (both inferred from AR4), is actually about `0.25-0.3’ (1/2 of 0.5 WVF plus ~0 CF) and an ECS equivalent to `1.7’ about equal to energy budget methods, derived just using the ‘simple’ Monckton equations equaling about 1.7C per doubling. All just simple arithmetic using available observations..
These have variously been invented at 2C over ~1880, or more newly 1.5C over whatever, like by Alarmist Schnelnhuber of the Potsdam Institute.
These are completely arbitrary thresholds, admitted by their inventors. In the last Eemian glacial highstand (about 125kya), the global temperature was about 2C higher (and on Greenland as much as 8C higher) and sea level was about 6 meters higher—not once, but almost twice, each highstand taking about 3000 years to reach. So about 2.2mm/year of annual sea level rise, the same as now. So we can cancel their SLR tipping point panic based on observational history. The single published Australian alternative is clearly academic misconduct (irrefutable evidence provided in essay One if by Sea… in Blowing Smoke.)
More recently, we know that during the Medieval Warm Period (nothing to do with CO2) Vikings farmed SW Greenland (barley for beer, grass for sheep and cattle), and buried their dead in cemeteries whose remains are now encased in permafrost.
Still more recently, we know the Little Ice Age caused the Thames to freeze over enabling Ice Fairs, the last of which was in 1818.
So we know that climate varies centennially independent of the supposed ‘CO2’ control knob. Just not in IPCC sponsored climate models.
The claimed since 1988 increasing harms from approaching these supposed climate tipping point thresholds do not exist. Harms supposedly include more extreme weather (not happening), droughts/floods (choose which, but neither happening), climate refugees (none), crop failures (nope), polar bear extinctions (nope) and many more—(like ski resorts closing from lack of snow–nope).
We do know via satellites that Earth is benefitting from rising fossil fuel freed CO2 (doubters,check the delta 13C/12C isotope ratios and their meaning). Earth is Greening. This is especially true in semiarid regions ( like the Sahel), and amongst C3 food crops (wheat, soy, rice, trees, fruits, and vegetables). The reason is simple. C3 plants (earlier evolved under higher CO2 concentrations) need to open their leaf stomata less to take in sufficient CO2 for photosynthesis under increased CO2. C4 less so. That means C4 plants evolved to lose less water thru those same stomata under equivalent CO2. C3 are now more thriving under more, so C3 plants grow better under more arid but higher CO2 conditions. Sahel greening is proof beyond any dispute.
Climate concerned have many times proposed ‘global warming solutions’. These have always failed, from Kyoto to Paris. Solutions fall into two main categories: developed nations must forsake fossil fuels in favor of renewables while developed nations don’t, and developed nations must fork over many reparation/mitigation dollars to developing nations who have not consumed as much past fossil fuels.
Lets take those ‘solutions’ in reverse order.
The ‘reparations/mitigation’ political nonsense was fully exposed by UN detail in my essay ‘Caribbean Water’ in ebook Blowing Smoke.
The renewables developed nation solution is always unworkable both economically and technically.
Economically, renewable investments always fall to near zero absent big subsidies—even ignoring grid externalities. They are not economically competitive, period. Hence the “Green” efforts to create ‘carbon costs’ despite there being none in reality.
Technically, renewables (other than hydro) suffer two other BIG problems.
The wind does not always blow, and the sun does not shine (not only at night). So they are intermittent, and the grid cost of this intermittency is excluded from renewable costs. See essay True cost of Wind at Judith’s for an approximation of both using the ERCOT grid for reality.
First, they are intermittent. So for grid reliability, they require by definition underutilized backup conventional generation. This has driven Germany’s variable conventional CCGT into bankruptcy despite its ability to offload excess generation to Scandinavian hydro cheap, then buy that capacity back expensive, thus more than doubling German retail utility rates (industry is somewhat more government protected to preserve jobs).
Second, they provide no grid inertia (kinetic energy of rotating generation mass providing frequency stability). So as their penetration approaches conventional rotating standby capacity, the grid becomes inherently frequency unstable independent of demand/supply balance.
So neither ‘green’ solution technically works even on the margin. As California’s new rolling blackouts demonstrate.
Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) was suspect from its 1988 beginning. Its ‘Catastrophic’ more alarming version (CAGW) was even more suspect. We now have over 30 years of failed climate alarm predictions proving both ‘suspect’ statements false. The dreaded climate problems do NOT exist. The proffered mitigation solutions do NOT work.
There is not much left to say, except in endless fact rebuttals of already failed assertions by a warmunist ‘religion’ that fades but never goes away.
 See fn 24 to essay ‘Climatastrosophistry’ for a precise derivation.