Climate Sensitivity to CO2, what do we know? Part 2.

By Andy May

In Part 1, we introduced the concepts of climate sensitivity to CO2, often called ECS or TCR. The IPCC prefers a TCR of about 1.8°C/2xCO2 (IPCC, 2013, p. 818). TCR is the short-term, century scale, response of surface temperature to a doubling of CO2, we abbreviate the units as “°C/2xCO2.” In these posts we review lower estimates of climate sensitivity, estimates below 1°C/2xCO2. In parallel, we also review estimates of the surface air temperature sensitivity (SATS) to radiative forcing (RF, the units are °C per W/m2 or Watts per square meter). The IPCC estimates this value to be ~0.49°C per W/m2.

The previous post discussed two modern climate sensitivity estimates, by Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon, that range below 1°C/2xCO2. Next, we review climate sensitivity estimates by Sherwood Idso, Reginald Newell and their colleagues.

Many comments to part 1 tried to discredit the “ECS” or “TCR” estimates made by Lindzen and Soon, completely missing their point and my point. ECS and TCR are artificial climate model constructs, with little meaning outside the confines of computer modeling. TCR is a little more realistic since we might be able to observe or measure something close to it over the next century. But ECS, or the “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity” is a totally abstract and unworldly number that could never be measured. It means if CO2 doubled suddenly, and nothing else changed for several hundred years while the oceans came into equilibrium with the new surface air temperature, what would the final surface temperature be? Air temperature would never be close to equilibrium for several hundred years, even 70 to 100 years (TCR) is a stretch.

Climate models are not the real world and the numbers that come out of them, like ECS or TCR, can be useful for showing the likely direction of temperature movement in response to changes in parameters or different model scenarios, but the numbers themselves are meaningless unless the models have previously been validated against the real world. With the possible exception of the Russian INM-CM4 model, no other IPCC model has successfully predicted future global surface temperatures. Ron Clutz discusses INM-CM4 here.

Model calculations are not observations. ECS and TCR are not real numbers, real numbers are based on observations. Thus, the model extracted values of ECS and TCR are not information, they can be used to detect the direction of change in climate forcing, if the climate model is an accurate reflection of that portion of the real world. The direction of movement of ECS and TCR, when model parameters or data tables change, is the information, not the computed value. I’m often amazed, as a former petrophysical modeler of 42 years, how often otherwise intelligent people confuse unvalidated model calculations with observations.

Scientists don’t prove things, scientists disprove ideas, that is how it works. Analogous to what Lindzen and Soon did (see part 1), we are not recommending any particular estimate of climate sensitivity, our point is that there are observations and well developed scientific, testable hypotheses (like the active TSI reconstructions or the iris effect described in part 1) that suggest TCR (and maybe ECS, as defined by the modelers) are less than 1°C/2xCO2. Arguing that the specific values computed by Soon and Lindzen are incorrect is silly, that is not their point or my point. No one knows what the climate sensitivity to CO2 is, all estimates, including Lindzen’s and Soon’s, are little more than educated guesses. They simply show that the high estimates favored by the modelers and the IPCC are too high, given the data they have seen and analyzed.

The climate effect of human-emitted CO2 is too small to measure. Nature provides some hints about the general range of CO2 climate sensitivity; these posts discuss those that suggest the sensitivity might be below 1°C/2xCO2. The “consensus” climate scientists have been trying to observe or measure the impact of human CO2 emissions for decades and have failed. Model and laboratory measurements do not count, because natural feedbacks to changing CO2 concentration and to direct CO2-induced warming are so poorly understood, the total effect could be net warming or net cooling. Two of the larger unknowns, natural solar variability, and the effect of surface temperature on cloud cover were covered in part 1.

Now we will look at older estimates of climate sensitivity. It is illuminating to compare this early work to modern the estimates by the IPCC, Lindzen and Soon.

Idso, 1998

Sherwood B. Idso was a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona and an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University. His primary area of research was the impact of carbon dioxide on plants and global temperatures. Idso cleverly evaluated eight natural phenomena or “natural experiments,” as he called them. These natural experiments provide clues to the cumulative effect of greenhouse gases on global warming. Afterward, he concluded that raising the atmospheric CO2 concentration from 300 ppm to 600 ppm should result in an increase in global surface temperature of about 0.4°C.

Idso measured downwelling atmospheric IR (infrared radiation) in Phoenix, Arizona and plotted it versus water vapor pressure (Idso, 1981). They did not correlate during the day but did just prior to sunrise. This allowed him to calculate a SATS of 0.173°C per W/m2. Thus, at Phoenix, when downwelling IR rose one W/m2, surface temperature would rise 0.173°C. At the time Idso had no reason to believe this applied anywhere except Phoenix.

The air over Phoenix has a high level of dust. The dust is 2,500 meters higher in the summer than in the winter, when it is near the surface and below a city park 500 meters higher than the city. Dust radiates in the infrared (10.5 to 12.5 μm). This results in 13.9 W/m2 more net radiation at the park in the winter. Idso’s measurements showed that the transmission of solar radiation was unaffected by the altitude of the dust, but the dust distribution did affect the radiation striking the ground. As a result, the temperature in winter is 2.4°C warmer in the city than it should be. Dividing 2.4° by 13.9 W/m2 is 0.173°C per W/m2 (Idso, 1981b). Idso did not expect these latter two SATS values to agree so well. As intriguing as this natural experiment is, Idso did not pursue it. He felt the scatter of the data was too large and the methodology too uncertain. In the end he did not use this result.

Next Idso broadened the area of his study and looked at the range of solar radiation reception at 81 sites around the U.S. (Bennett, 1975). When these values were corrected for global albedo and plotted versus the annual temperature ranges the points fell into two groups, one for the interior of the U.S. and one for the west coast. The plot for the interior was 0.171°C per W/m2, essentially identical to the value for Phoenix, the west coast value was about half that at 0.084°C per W/m2, reflecting the influence of the Pacific Ocean (Idso, 1982). Using the global ratio of land area to ocean area of 30%, Idso calculated an upper bound of 0.113°C per W/m2 for the entire planet and called it the upper bound of the global SATS factor.

This caused him to consider the effect of rising CO2 on climate. Idso estimated that the effect of doubling CO2 on downwelling radiation is about 2.28 W/m2. This is in the same ballpark as the IPCC, in AR5, they compute the total CO2 forcing from 1750 to 2011 (278 ppm to 391 ppm, ~41% increase) as 1.82 W/m2 (IPCC, 2013, p. 676). The IPCC gives a value for doubling CO2 of 3.7 W/m2, but they assume large positive feedbacks that may or may not be correct (IPCC, 2007b, p. 140). Figure 1 illustrates the IPCC estimates of human and natural radiative forcing.

Figure 1. IPCC AR5 estimates of anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing. Source (IPCC, 2013, p. 697).

Idso’s observation-based estimate for the SATS factor is then 0.113°C per W/m2. Multiplying these values gives us a range of global warming, due to doubling CO2, from 0.113 x 2.28 = 0.26°C (Idso) to 0.113 x 3.7 = 0.42°C (IPCC). Not much.

Next Idso combined the annually-averaged equator-to-pole gradients of total surface absorbed radiant energy (Idso, 1984), mean surface air temperatures (Warren & Schneider, 1979) and water vapor pressures (Haurwitz & Austin, 1944). This was done in 5° latitude slices from the South Pole to the North Pole. Idso found two distinct relationships from these slices, one from 90°NS to 63°NS and one from 63°NS to the equator. He then area-averaged these values and derived a mean global value of 0.103°C per W/m2, not too different from the preceding values. Of the values derived here, this is the one Idso had the most confidence in.

He multiplied 0.1 times 4 W/m2, and derived a climate sensitivity of 0.4 °C/2xCO2. Four was the value most often cited in 1998 as the radiative perturbation caused by doubling CO2, it was refined to 3.7 W/m2 in AR4. This increase, year-on-year of ~0.037 W/m2/year is within the calibration error of our measurements (Loeb, et al., 2018). AR5 suggests a value of about 0.3 W/m2 per decade for the period from 1951 to 2011 (IPCC, 2013, p. 699). Figure 2 compares the Warren & Schneider average surface air temperatures by latitude slice to modern ocean mixed layer temperatures. The ocean mixed layer begins just below the very thin “skin” temperature of the ocean. The mixed layer is a zone of almost constant temperature that extends from about a millimeter of depth to ~50 meters or so of depth, depending upon location and meteorological conditions. It is in close contact with the surface.

Figure 2. The blue line is the Warren and Schneider surface air temperature by latitude. The orange line is the NOAA MIMOC Ocean mixed layer temperature average by latitude.

In Figure 2 the air temperature follows the mixed layer temperature quite well from about 55°S to 45°N, but south and north of these points the ocean temperatures are much warmer than the air temperatures. This might account for some of the difference in trends observed by Idso. Idso’s plot, illustrating the two trends is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The two trends of surface absorbed radiation versus temperature observed by Idso. The numbers on the plotted lines refer to latitude north or south. Idso’s data flattens at 27°C. After: (Idso, 1984)

Next, Idso considers the faint Sun paradox. The early Sun only put out 70% to 80% of the power it sends out today, but life evolved, and the world did not freeze. Idso plotted up the appropriate CO2 concentration, solar irradiance, and temperature values he could find at 500 million-year intervals and found that he still derived 0.4°C/2xCO2.

Finally, Idso looks at the change in SST as a result of a change in downwelling radiation. Direct measurements by Francisco Valero and colleagues showed that a 14 W/m2 increase in downwelling IR caused a one-degree Celsius increase in SST. Division results in 0.071°C per W/m2, close to 0.1. The air temperature above the sea surface should be similar.

Newell and Dopplick, 1979 v. Manabe and Wetherald, 1975

As Idso explains in his 1984 paper, the current IPCC AR5 estimate for ECS of 1.5 To 4.5°C was also the prevailing estimate then. The National Research Council published the same estimate in 1979 (Charney, et al., 1979). The range of “consensus” values has not changed in 42 years and may broaden with AR6. Idso was not the only scientist at the time to protest the high estimates. Newell and Dopplick also criticized them in 1979 (Newell & Dopplick, 1979).

Reginald E. Newell was an MIT Professor of Atmospheric Physics. He and Thomas Dopplick computed a net change in CO2 RF at the surface of 0.8 to 1.5 W/m2 for a CO2 increase from 330 ppm to 600 ppm, in the tropics, assuming a constant temperature. Assuming a constant temperature in the tropics is reasonable, most of the tropics are ocean, and nearly all cooling there is via convection. This is why tropical temperatures don’t change much over time. Their value is less than the values used by the IPCC and Idso, but does not consider the possibility that a slightly higher temperature may increase total atmospheric water vapor, a very strong greenhouse gas, and thus further increase the downwelling RF.

Newell and Dopplick derived a SATS factor, for CO2 alone, of 0.03°C per W/m2 over the oceans in the tropics. His calculation of the total SATS, including water vapor and all other factors for the whole globe, is the same as Idso’s, 0.1°C per W/m2. This latter calculation was made using radiation data taken after the eruption of Agung in 1963.

Manabe and Wetherald (M&W), in 1975, derived an extraordinarily high SATS estimate of 1°C per W/m2, which is twice that used by the IPCC today (Manabe & Wetherald, 1975). This is because M&W start with a very high tropical SST of 306-307K (33°C) and finish with 310 (37°C) after the warming; and these temperatures are probably not possible. Due to the vapor pressure of water in the open tropical ocean, evaporation will limit SST to approximately 30°C, as Newell and Dopplick showed in 1978 and Willis Eschenbach and Richard Willoughby (Part 1 to Part 4) have shown at Figure 4 is Newell and Dopplick’s illustration, slightly modified.

Figure 4. Newell and Dopplick’s 1979 figure explaining how excess back radiation from CO2 can be balanced. The straight “back radiation” line is followed if the back radiation is simply emitted by the surface, the curved lines show the excess radiation carried away as latent heat of evaporation. After (Newell & Dopplick, 1979, Fig. 1).

Manabe and Wetherald claimed to include convection processes in their model, but their high sensitivity values and surface temperatures don’t make a lot of sense. Möller published a more sensible sensitivity of 0.5°C per W/m2, based on radiation balance, in 1963 (Möller, 1963). Newell and Dopplick show that, over the oceans, “the dominant factor in controlling tropical air temperature is latent heat liberation.” They realized that over arid inland regions, this is not true, so they used Möller’s radiation-balance sensitivity for those areas. Combining the two based on their respective area in the tropics, they calculated a SATS of less than 0.25°C/2xCO2.

The reasons why the open ocean surface, and the air above it, are limited to 30°C are explained very well in Willoughby’s four-part series on the topic. Basically, water vapor above the oceans works to warm the air up to 27-28°C and above that it cools the air. This can be seen in one of Willoughby’s plots, see Figure 5.

Figure 5. On the left is the percent of the ocean at specific temperatures, it peaks at different temperatures depending upon the month, but always between 28 and 30 degrees. The right plot shows the cumulative area of the ocean at specific temperatures, it reaches 100% at 30°C. Source: Richard Willoughby.

The same flat spot seen in Idso’s 1984 plot in Figure 3, is seen in the right-hand plot of Figure 5. If oceans exist, Earth’s maximum surface temperature is capped at 30°C or 86°F. Oceans cover 70% of the surface, and even when a portion of the world ocean reaches temperatures higher than 30°C for a brief time (usually in small areas of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, or Caribbean), a storm will develop to cool them, if the humidity is high enough. Chris Scotese has shown that over the past 500 million years the global average temperature has never exceeded 28°C, supporting this concept.

The high SSTs predicted by Manabe and Wetherald in 1975 have never been observed and are very unlikely to be observed in the future. This invalidates their estimate of climate sensitivity. The high SATS to radiative forcing used by the IPCC (0.49°C per W/m2) is also suspect, as it is more appropriate for deserts than the open ocean.


Looking at these early debates over the SATS factor and climate sensitivity is illuminating. Somebody will object to the age of the articles cited in this post, but if you “… do not learn history [you] are doomed to repeat it.” (Churchill, 1948, speech to Parliament). And we are repeating it, we are asking the same questions asked 40 years ago, debating the same points, and the instruments we have today still cannot detect the values we need to tell us who is correct.

The effect of CO2, man-made or otherwise, has never been observed or measured by anyone, but not for lack of trying. Some estimates are based on observations, like those cited in these posts, and some are based on climate models. The IPCC tries to digest all these indirect estimates and come up with a range of possible values, the IPCC AR5 collection of values are illustrated in Figure 6.

Figure 6. The IPCC AR5 collection of ECS estimates. Source (IPCC, 2013, p. 1110).

The IPCC does not independently estimate climate sensitivity (whether ECS or TCR), they simply collect estimates from others and make an educated guess of the likely value and range. A quick glance at Figure 6 shows that Lindzen’s estimate, from post 1, is in their list, but it is an outlier. They have completely ignored Idso’s and Newell’s estimates. Then, they pick a possible range of ECS estimates, which is an educated guess based on educated guesses. They have no independent observations to guide them, and they exclude several peer-reviewed, still-valid estimates that lie below their minimum. They give no reason why; they simply ignore Newell and Idso’s work. Soon’s work had not been published yet, so they have an excuse.

Multiple sets of observations and multiple researchers, cited in these posts, lead us to believe the climate sensitivity to CO2 might be less than 1°C/2xCO2. Further, the SATS factor may well be less than, or equal to, 0.1°C per W/m2. Contrast this with the IPCC SATS value of 0.49°C per W/m2, which is likely only appropriate in arid regions and on land. Why use it over oceans where convection does almost all the cooling?

The “consensus” estimates of the impact of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, on climate and global warming are the same as they were 42 years ago. The uncertainty has not narrowed. Observations invalidate the high IPCC modeled climate sensitivity today, just as they did for the National Research Council in 1979.

Consider that even the most alarming estimate of the warming impact of CO2 is tiny. It is so small it cannot be measured, which is the main reason estimates have not improved. How can you measure something you can’t see?

I think probably everyone recognizes that the climate sensitivity to human emissions of CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases are key to settling the great climate debate. If climate sensitivity, whether we call it ECS, TCR, or “CS,” is high or low matters a great deal. For example, if climate sensitivity is less than 1.2, which is very possible, it would take over 200 years for us to reach the “magic” two-degrees of global warming that some think is dangerous. I use “magic” deliberately because there is little evidence that 2°C of warming is truly dangerous. After all the world is now five degrees cooler than the average for the Phanerozoic and people currently live both in Greenland, where winter temperatures are -50°C, and in the Sahara where summer temperatures reach 50°C.

It is terribly sad that, after spending billions of dollars and untold man-hours, we have not narrowed the range of climate sensitivity to CO2 since 1979. It is time to grow up and realize that measuring these tiny numbers cannot be done today. We also should recognize that the climate sensitivity numbers we need to measure are so small, it is unlikely they matter. As Möller wrote in 1963:

“The effect of an increase in CO2 from 300 to 330 ppm can be compensated for completely by a change in the water vapor content of 3 per cent or by a change in the cloudiness of 1 per cent of its value without the occurrence of temperature changes at all. Thus the theory that climatic variations are effected by variations in the CO2 content becomes very questionable.” (Möller, 1963).

This is still true today. An exceedingly small change in cloudiness, or a small change in the distribution of cloud types, or a tiny, imperceptible change in total atmospheric water vapor could completely wipe out any change due to additional CO2. As Lindzen and Newell showed decades ago, these changes (or feedbacks) may be automatic. It is especially important for the climate establishment, the media and the “climatariate” politicians and bureaucrats to recognize how little we know. Model results are not observations, they may help directionally, but they are useless for determining climate sensitivity unless they can predict future climate accurately, something that has not happened to date. As far as climate change goes, humans likely don’t matter as far as anyone can see today. We didn’t matter in 1979, we don’t today, and if we did make a difference, we couldn’t measure it anyway.

Download the bibliography here.

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July 7, 2021 2:12 pm

If CO2 was not overlayed with other GHGs, if the surface was a perfect emitter and if there were no clouds, than 2xCO2 would yield a 3.7W/m2 forcing. But then, under these “idealized” conditions, with much higher emissions anyway (~350W/m2 TOA), a meagre temperature increase of 0.8K would suffice to compensate those 3.7W/m2.

In reality CO2 is overlapped with vapor, surface emissivity is only ~0.91 and there ARE clouds! Under real conditions 2xCO2 will only yield about half that forcing, ~1.9W/m2, which translates into about 0.55K response.

The difference between idealized conditions and the real world is even more severe with vapor. The reason is, other than CO2 vapor spectral lines do not reach that high up, so it is more strongly overlapped with clouds. Theoretically, holding the lapse rate fixed, vapor can produce some 30% feedback to CO2.

However this little feedback is more than compensated by a tilt in the lapse rate, due do additional vapor and an increase in latent heat. In actuality vapor turns into a negative feedback, pushing ECS savely below 0.5K.

Bryan A
Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 4:56 pm

The chart in figure 1 is very enlightening. It tells you everything you ever needed to know but we’re afraid to ask like…
What is a natural force for climate…The Sun (ALL other drivers are Unnatural)
Humans only contribute about 3% of the CO2 load on the environment so…
Virtually 100% of CO2 GHGs are attributed to Mankind.
There lies the lies
They have no, zero, zip, zilch, nada, zed, nien, nil natural attribution to natural CO2 (or CH4) GHG sourcing allowed. Man is virtually responsible for all of it, even the 97% natural sources

Reply to  Bryan A
July 7, 2021 5:35 pm

Andy, you and others I have read say that Mankind’s contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere is 3% but everywhere else, I’ve read it is 4+%. Why is there a discrepancy? I am confused by the different figures for CO2.
Thank you.

Reply to  KcTaz
July 7, 2021 7:20 pm

Our annual contribution is about 3% of total sources to the atmosphere.
However, this should be treated as a material balance calculation… Most anthropogenic CO2 emissions are no longer in the atmosphere.

That said, we have increased the total volume of CO2 in the active carbon cycle.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 7, 2021 9:11 pm

Thank you, David, but your answer raised another question when you stated, “Most anthropogenic CO2 emissions are no longer in the atmosphere.” I constantly hear them say Mankind’s CO2 stays there for either, a thousand, or thousands of years. I’ve never understood why CO2 put there by Man would last longer than CO2 put there by Nature nor have I heard a good explanation for the difference. Thoughts and corrections of my understanding would be appreciated. Again, many thanks.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  KcTaz
July 8, 2021 2:37 am

I’ve never understood why CO2 put there by Man would last longer than CO2 put there by Nature nor have I heard a good explanation for the difference.”

It doesn’t
Think of it this way …

A large crowd in a shopping mall.
At balance with those that enter it equalling those that leave.
Now increase the number entering vs leaving and the crowd gets bigger.
However that doesn’t stop those that entered recently from leaving.

The govering factor is simply the amount entering vs the amount leaving.
Without mankind the CC is in balance.
Now it isn’t …. and the crowd is getting bigger.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Anthony Banton
July 8, 2021 10:06 am

Yes, a good analogy. Now where we will probably part company is on whether a bigger crowd is better for humanity. Climate change bedwetters want to see the mall locked down. Everybody go home! That will really help the economy.

Rich Davis
Reply to  KcTaz
July 8, 2021 9:34 am

Preemptive comment: CO2 is good, it is not dangerous that CO2 levels have been increasing. It is a non-problem or a minimal problem at most.

When skeptics (my side) refer to “only 3% from our emissions”, that is basically “not even wrong”. It is a truth that misleads. I don’t mean that somebody is trying to mislead, but that many of us are fooling ourselves making a bad assumption about what is significant by looking only at one side of the balance sheet.

Imagine that you have a job making $900 a week and your expenses are $917 a week. You’re constantly short of cash. Seeing your difficulty, your uncle gives you $30 a week. Now in your less straitened circumstances, you decide to open a bank account to save your surplus money. In this scenario, after a year you will have built up $676 in your bank account.

Do you say that the reason you have that balance in the bank account is primarily due to your paycheck or to your uncle?

Of all the dollars that flow through your wallet, nearly all of them come from your paycheck. Only 3% come from your uncle. What’s $30 compared to $900?

The exact numbers are not at my fingertips, but I think it was something like 900:30 in terms of natural:anthropogenic CO2 input (source) to the atmosphere. But it is something like 917:0 in terms of removal (sink). That means that nature removes more than it puts into the atmosphere and we remove essentially nothing. The total amount of CO2 therefore increases slowly over time.

The vast majority of the CO2 molecules currently in the atmosphere came from natural sources because of the vast flows in and out of the ocean, biosphere, etc. But the natural flows (fluxes) are balanced, in fact a net sink, like your budget deficit in my example. It is your uncle building up your bank account, it is our emissions building up the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Why do so many of my fellow skeptics glom onto this factoid that only 3% of CO2 going into the atmosphere is from our emissions? Why do they ignore that nature removes 102% of the CO2 that it adds to the atmosphere while we remove 0%?

It is because it sounds like an easy way to dismiss the problem. Why worry when we are only 3% of the problem? How can that be significant? If your uncle stops contributing, that wouldn’t have any significant effect, right?

Make that argument and lose all credibility. It’s especially a shame when your basic conclusion is correct, that there isn’t a problem.

Jan PC Lindstrom
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 8, 2021 4:57 pm

I fully agree. We (skeptics) don’t have to resort to exaggurations – either way. The facts are on our side anyway.

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 8, 2021 11:49 pm

Anthony and Rich. Ok and I thank you both for your response. However, I have another problem. It is said that because of Man’s addition of CO2 to the atmosphere, the Earth is Greening. Dr. Happer, among many others have said the same thing, though, he said Earth was in a CO2 famine and our extra CO2 is helping Nature.

As the Greening is confirmed by even NASA, I accept it as true, for now. Therefore, if Nature via plants is gulping down the Man’s CO2 and using it to grow more plants, trees, etc., does it not make sense that all of the CO2 we are adding is not going into the atmosphere but a good portion of it is being put to good use by those plants and trees? Why is the assumption, despite the Greening of Earth, that all of the CO2 by Man is going into and remaining in the atmosphere. That doesn’t make sense to me. Is there an explanation for this?

I found this, below, awhile ago. It’s about actual greenhouses used to grow plants. It seems, the plants gulp down the CO2 at a rapid rate. Why would Earth not do the same, especially as the more CO2 there is, the more plants there are?

Why and How to Supplement CO2 in Indoor Farms

Most indoor growers should have CO2 levels between 800 and 1200 ppm. Some growers have used closer to 1500, but there is a law of diminishing returns at that point; for most people, 1200 is the highest they should go.

An enrichment standard of 1300 PPM was chosen as it is assumed that 1500 PPM is ideal, and that the plants will deplete the available CO2 supply by 100 PPM per hour…”

So, if plants do this in a real greenhouse, why would Earth’s plants not be doing the same thing with additional CO2? Recall, we do know that Earth is Greening significantly.

Thanks to all who choose to respond. I find this a real conundrum for the theory that all Man’s CO2 goes into and stays in the atmosphere and plants, trees etc. are not removing the majority of it, so your help in reconciling what seems to be a major contradiction to how Nature works, would be appreciated.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  KcTaz
July 9, 2021 5:51 am

“It is said that because of Man’s addition of CO2 to the atmosphere, the Earth is Greening.

Dr. Happer, among many others have said the same thing, though, he said Earth was in a CO2 famine and our extra CO2 is helping Nature.”

We should not worry about human-derived CO2 because its addition to the Earth’s atmosphere has improved the biosphere and there is no evidence that CO2 is going to raise the temperatures to a point where they are a problem to human beings, as Andy’s excellent article demonstrates.

Love that Moller!. 🙂

I guess our modern-day climastrologists find it convenient to ignore the previous scientific studies that tell the opposite story from the one the alarmists are telling.

If CO2 does make net warmth, it is so small we can’t measure it, so it is nothing to worry about, and if it makes net cooling, then there is nothing to worry about on that side of the equation, either.

We are living in a False Climate Crisis reality created by people with a political agenda. The real science says we have nothing to worry about with regard to human-drived CO2.

Rich Davis
Reply to  KcTaz
July 9, 2021 8:18 pm

The earth is definitely greening and the elevated CO2 seems to be the reason.

One point that I don’t understand in what you’re asking is why you think that it makes any difference what the source of a CO2 molecule is or how long any particular molecule stays in the atmosphere? What is a concern to some is the increasing total amount of CO2.

I don’t share their concern. All I am saying is that it is factually wrong to say that mankind is not causing the increase in total CO2 in the atmosphere, or that it is somehow uncertain.

We emit an amount of CO2 each year that is about twice the amount of the annual increase in the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. About half of what we emit gets “gobbled up” as you say. The other half causes the total CO2 content of the atmosphere to go up. Again, I am not saying it hurts anything and in fact I think it’s beneficial.

It’s a common misconception that the alarmists claim that man’s CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere forever or at least for thousands of years. That isn’t their claim. What they say is that the elevated concentration of CO2 will persist for a very long time. The distinction between our emissions and the elevated CO2 concentration is the point of confusion.

CO2 cycles through the atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere very rapidly. Around 30 times more CO2 comes from natural sources than from our emissions, but an even larger amount exits the atmosphere in the same period going into nature’s so-called carbon sinks.

The effect is that any given molecule of CO2 that we emit will probably be sucked out of the atmosphere within a couple of years to be replaced by a CO2 molecule from a natural source. The total number of CO2 molecules is going up because we emit without removing any CO2 while nature emits but actually removes a bit more CO2 than it emits. Just not enough more to totally “gobble up” everything we emit.

Nature can’t distinguish between a CO2 molecule emitted by man or one that came from natural sources. The natural sinks treat all CO2 equally once it is in the air. So it will tend to scrub out most of our CO2 in a few years, but it’s the total number of CO2 molecules that matters here, not how they got into the atmosphere.

Over many decades, the small annual contributions from that imbalance will add up.

So why do they say it will be elevated for thousands of years? It is because in any dynamically changing system, the speed of change depends on the “driving force” that is due to how far out of equilibrium the system is. If time passes and things settle down toward equilibrium, the driving force is constantly decreasing. Thus the change (in our case the reduction in excess CO2) will be constantly slowing down. If nothing else cools the earth and moves the equilibrium concentration lower, in theory the last bit of excess CO2 will indeed take thousands of years to get absorbed.

This is a nonsensical concern because there’s certainly no need to have CO2 drop all the way back to the ~280ppm level of 1850. So technically it’s true that we may not get rid of all the excess CO2, but that would definitely not be a good goal in the first place.

I hope that I’ve addressed all your questions and that this helps clear up any confusion.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 9, 2021 5:41 am

The real figure to pay attention to is the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from all sources.

We need to know how long a certain batch of CO2 spends in the atmosphere, and we need to know the amount of warmth a certain amount of CO2 would add to the atmosphere.

We currently don’t know the answers to those questions.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 9, 2021 9:08 pm

Yes that’s right. It’s about the total amount of CO2 from all sources. And most importantly how does the climate respond to that amount. Empirical evidence says about 1.7c going from 280ppm to 560ppm. Nothing to get worked up about. Maybe all beneficial.

How long excess CO2 would stay in the air if we could suddenly stop fossil fuel use is kind of an academic question since that’s not going to happen of course.

It’s practically relevant though to the strategy of using natural gas to bridge to nuclear power to stabilize CO2 concentration without crashing the economy.

Personally I think the maximum concession we should give to a Precautionary Principle is to make sure that we get safe and cost-effective gen 4 nuclear designs commercialized and optimized for a rapid deployment—and streamline the red tape so that they can be deployed on engineering timelines rather than bureaucratic timelines.

If the new nukes prove to be more cost effective than fossil fuels, let the market determine how much they dominate the energy market. If a 1.7c rise proves to be about right or even too high of an estimate, then the only considerations should be cost and actual air pollution.

If we skeptics are badly wrong, then the transition to mostly nukes would be our plan B. With breeder and thorium options, the energy problem would be solved for an indefinite period.

Eventually the fossil fuels will be too expensive to extract. Mankind will need to have an alternative in a few centuries. Do I think that it’s incumbent on those of us alive today to set up future generations with an energy system not needed for 500 years? No. We should do enough to have a contingency plan for our children and pass the baton.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 7, 2021 10:12 pm

By about 50%.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:40 am

show your math.

Reply to  Bill Powers
July 8, 2021 8:38 pm

show your math.”

We were at 280ppm, we’re now at 417.

417 – 280 = 137

137/280 = 0.489, ie about a 50% increase.

Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 9:13 pm

Thanks, Andy.

Reply to  KcTaz
July 8, 2021 1:30 am

“I’ve never understood why CO2 put there by Man would last longer than CO2 put there by Nature…”

There is no difference. The average residence time in the atmosphere for any CO2 molecule is just a few years – that is for individual molecules – cycling to and from the air/ocean/biosphere.

But if a 3 trillion ton pulse of CO2, from whatever source, is added to the atmosphere, the ppm concentration is going to take 10s of thousands of years to finally fall back to the pre-pulse level as it is sequestered and removed from circulation. The first 50% might only take a few decades to disperse, but some estimate there could still be 7% after 100,000 years.

“it is a small contribution”
No, humans have already added 1.5 trilion tons – causing a 50% increase. So by “small” I guess you actually mean large.

I hope that helps you, and Andy.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 5:50 am

Andy, the analses you’re agreeing with are a from narrow group of outliers. What about all the others? I’m hoping like hell it isn’t any more 3C because I don’t think civilisation would withstand it. I am not coming to that view based on the work of a small handfull of frankly fringe dwellers. There is great cerainty in all this of course but therefore greater risk.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 6:39 am

ugh that should be uncertainty

Bill Powers
Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:56 am

Loydo you do not have a list of scientists either agreeing or outlying. Such lists are non existent and hold no more foundation in reality then some nebulous 97% of who or what that agrees with who or what on Man Made Global Warm…ahhh we the 97% really meant climate change all along. which means cold, hot, snow, rain, drought, storm, halitosis and hangnails.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Loydo
July 9, 2021 5:55 am

They’re “fringe” if they don’t agree with you?

How about showing where they are wrong?

Reply to  Loydo
July 10, 2021 10:17 am

I don’t think civilisation would withstand it.

3 C would be beneficial, tho CO2 won’t cause that much, maybe a third of that. What you should be worried about is can civilization stand the malignant marxism/stalinism currently infecting it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 9:46 am

Andy, please consider my analogy above. It is in fact probably not significant to the climate, I totally agree with that part. But the increase in concentration is demonstrably caused by our emissions.

Maybe I’ll earn a lot of red numbers for this, but I’m standing up for truth, convenient or otherwise.

When we imply that CO2 concentration isn’t caused by our emissions because our emissions are 3% of natural outgassing, we are blowing a hole in our credibility trying to hold onto ground that is irrelevant to the question.

Yes we are responsible for those 1.5 Gt of CO2 that Loydo is wetting her bed over, AND no, it is not a problem. It will probably lead to a 1.7C increase in temperature which will be mostly or entirely beneficial.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 11:09 am

I totally agree with all that.

My point has to do with being effective at persuasion.

People who don’t understand those points you made, but hear what sounds like denial of basic arithmetic (3% can’t affect the CO2 concentration), are prone to dismissing everything you say. Call them dull, even call them griff, but don’t we want to convince the bystanders who are genuinely confused and open to persuasion?

The 3% can and does affect the CO2 concentration. We should own the 1.5Gt, call it good, ideal for plants, etc., and never give Loy and griff something to point to where we are denying basic reality or acting defensive about it. You didn’t make the statement, but you agreed with it and let it stand.

As I like to say, there is a difference between something being true and something being significant.

The bedwetters are wetting their beds over things that are true, but not significant. Plus a lot of things that are not true at all.

Reply to  Rich Davis
July 9, 2021 12:08 am

You raise another question for me. CO2 has risen and fallen throughout the history of Earth. How do we know that all of the CO2 in the atm. since industrialization is Man’s? CO2 has changed, even rapidly, long before the Industrial Revolution and the burning of fossil fuels. What caused it to change? How do we know it is not, also, changing, or being increased by some part now due to Nature?

In addition, another question I have is why, when 96 to 97% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is put there by Nature, it is claimed that only the addition made by Man affects temperatures? What is the other 96 to 97% of natural CO2 in the atmosphere doing? Is it nothing? Why is it only that tiny fraction of Man’s CO2 now doing everything? That just doesn’t make sense to me because Nature’s CO2 dwarfs Man’s CO2. One would think Nature’s CO2 does something.
These are the issues I really struggle with comprehending.
Thanks to all.

Rich Davis
Reply to  KcTaz
July 9, 2021 10:05 pm

Yes CO2 fluctuated over the past 4.6 billion years and obviously not from human emissions. CO2 follows temperature (mostly ocean temperature). Temperature over geological periods is mostly controlled by orbital mechanics and solar output.

But the fact that CO2 is going up now due to our contribution—saving life on earth for a few more ice ages by forestalling CO2 starvation of all plants and everything relying on plants—is easy to demonstrate with basic algebra.

The basic form of a mass balance is:
In – Out = Accumulation
If you put more into a bucket than you take out, the bucket fills.

The amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere minus the amount coming out is equal to the amount accumulated in the atmosphere.

Now the amount going in is a combination of anthropogenic and natural sources, so
In = In(a) + In(n)

The amount leaving the atmosphere is all due to natural sinks so we don’t need to split that out.

So we can combine those two equations to say:


Then rearrange this to:


We can estimate In(a) very closely from fossil fuel production statistics, especially if we look at a period like a decade. We can also measure the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to calculate very accurately the tons of CO2 in the atmosphere and compare the concentration at the end of the period with the concentration at the start of the period.

So that means that the left side of the equation is known with very low uncertainty. And that left side is a positive number. The amount we emit is about twice as much as the accumulation.

Now if the left side is positive in an equation, then the right side is positive too. Thus it follows that
Out – In(n) > 0
For that to be true, the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by all sinks must be greater than the amount of CO2 emitted by all natural sources.

Nature is therefore a net sink. Each year nature removes more CO2 than it emits.

The only way the concentration of CO2 can be rising (as it is), is for our emissions to be greater than the net sink of nature.

Just because CO2 is rising due to our emissions is not to say that it is the cause of recent warming. It may be responsible for most or nearly none of the warming. Don’t confuse the two. That CO2 is rising due to our emissions should not be controversial. The effect on temperature is very uncertain.

Hope that helps.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 9, 2021 6:00 am

The only fly in the ointment I see in that uncle giving you money, which accumulates in the bank, is that if that money in the bank account were CO2, it would be depleted at a certain rate, too. It wouldn’t just sit there and accumlate. Some of it in the bank account would be assimilated by the biosphere.

That’s not to say that the bank account would be completely depleted, as long as the uncle is paying CO2 into it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 9, 2021 10:15 pm

As I assume you noticed, I set the numbers up to align with the ratios of CO2 sources and sinks. If you’re suggesting that the $917 expenses are likely to go up by the extra $30 burning a hole in your wallet, enticing you to have another beer or something, I’d say you’re probably right and the analogy probably holds because a greater driving force revs up the natural sinks a bit.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:31 am

You are assuming that nature does nothing to increase the rate at which CO2 is absorbed when CO2 concentrations increase.

I love the way trolls try to make small numbers look scary by changing the units being used.
3Trillion tons sounds like a lot, but compared to the amount put into the atmosphere, and removed from the atmosphere, by nature, it’s a tiny amount.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:31 am


The key is that 50% of the added C02 would be removed within a few decades. Thanks for pointing that out. It’s easily calculated too. You can do a reasonable estimation in an Excel spreadsheet, but roughly it goes like this – The atmosphere contains about 730 Gigatons of C (carbon, not carbon dioxide). Every year about 230 Gigatons of C are released to the atmosphere from both natural and anthropogenic sources but the atmospheric load of C rises by only ~3 GT. Why? Why isn’t it going up at 230 GT per year? It’s because C is absorbed by the oceans and plant life at almost the rate that it’s emitted. Of that 230 GT, only 6 to 7 GT is emitted by fossil fuel burning and other anthropogenic sources, the rest is emitted naturally. Anthropogenic C is now being absorbed by the oceans and plant life at 1/2 the rate that it’s emitted – about 3 to 4 GT of human emissions per year is being absorbed.
The atmosphere is not at natural equilibrium at the current 415 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration so the absorption rate, driven by the disequilibrium, is very high. If we stopped emitting C, the oceans and plant life would continue to reduce the C mass in the atmosphere by that same 3 to 4 GT / year (slightly declining as CO2 drops. (Note: a reasonable expectation is that the removal rate will rise as CO2 rises). Every single year of no C production would undo ~1 year of emissions, you would see a dramatic decrease in concentration in only 30 years – enough of a decrease to get about ½ way back to pre-industrial levels.

As the equilibrium concentration is approached over time the removal gets slower, but that’s nothing to get your panties in a bunch over. Why? Two reasons: 1) A doubling of CO2 will cause limited effects – some positive and some negative. Once we reach a doubling in ~60 to 120 years (some CO2 concentration models don’t ever get to a doubling), the removal of half would put us back to the current climate and even you Alarmist nuts think that would be ok (isn’t your mantra to limit warming to 1.5 degrees?). There IS NO climate emergency, under any circumstances. 2) The removal rate will accelerate once we enter the next glaciation period.

Rich Davis
Reply to  meab
July 8, 2021 10:26 am

Very true. The e-folding rate, even if it is 27 years or something would reduce the CO2 level substantially within a generation. And that is where we see a difference between something being true and something being significant.

The bedwetters tell us that it may take 10,000 years to remove the excess CO2 that we are responsible for putting into the atmosphere. That’s another “not even wrong” factoid. If everything else stayed constant (hint: it won’t), then it would be true enough that it will take many millennia to get all the way back to 280ppm CO2. Back to the good old days of frost fairs on the Thames and crop failures. Why? Because of the driving force dissipating as we approach equilibrium more and more closely. The last couple of ppm will take “forever”.

But this assumes it is dangerous to start with. Granting that it’s dangerous for the sake of argument, unless you’re daft enough to believe as Loy and griff do, that we’re already suffering life-threatening effects, then all that needs to happen is a leveling off and slow decline.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:51 am

Explain how this statement of yours has anything to do with the scientific method Loydo.

‘…The first 50% MIGHT only take a FEW DECADES to disperse, but some estimate there could still be 7% after 100,000 years.”

You could just as accurately state we don’t really know how long it takes CO2 to disperse but some estimate it isn’t long.

Let us more accurately call what you posted – fearmongering speculation without any evidence whatsoever. Its NON-SCIENCE pronounce nonsense.

Another Joe
Reply to  KcTaz
July 7, 2021 10:08 pm

The truth is, that we might have a good understanding of the human emissions, but we have only a rough estimate of natures contributions. The 3 or 4% might even be 2 or 6% for all that we dont know.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Another Joe
July 8, 2021 9:56 am

We know pretty closely how much we emit and very nearly exactly how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. It is not in doubt in the least that CO2 in the atmosphere is going up by less than the amount that we are emitting. Basic arithmetic then requires that nature is a net sink of CO2. The fact that we might not know if nature is 30 times as much as our emissions or 31 times is not going to change that fact in the least.

Skeptics should focus on the empirically-derived climate sensitivity which shows 1.7C increase from a doubling of CO2. That’s the number to talk about being not significant and no big deal.

Another Joe
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 9, 2021 12:00 am

Nothing you should be skeptic about here.
I am just pointing out that we don’t know what nature emits.
Hence we do not know if we emit 2 or 6% of the overall emissions.

Pretty assumptions here and there from the IPCC and from yourself are not sufficient to overcome the lack of knowledge.
The ECS has nothing to do with the question at hand. Not sure why you bring this up.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Another Joe
July 9, 2021 10:49 pm

If you want me to agree that we don’t know the size of the natural sources with anything close to the accuracy of our emissions I’m happy to comply. And at the same time we are in a similar situation with the sinks.

Please review my response to KcTaz above for another approach at understanding why we know with certainty that CO2 is going up due to our emissions despite that lack of information. And why the ratio of our emissions to natural emissions is not necessary to know in order to prove that.

I have made no significant assumptions there. Of course there is inaccuracy in accounting for how much fossil fuel is produced, but the error % is reduced by doing the calculation over a longer period such as a decade. Of course you must start and end your period at the same time of year to avoid seasonal biases.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is a matter of measuring the concentration and multiplying by the mass of the atmosphere which can be derived from the surface area of the earth and mean atmospheric pressure at sea level. The CO2 content derived from that calculation assumes that CO2 is a well-mixed gas, which isn’t to say a perfectly-mixed gas.

But basically a reasonable person will acknowledge that we have a very good handle on these two factors.

The rest is algebra. It isn’t the natural sources alone that are relevant, it is the net of the sources and sinks. Solving the equation demonstrates that nature is a net sink. We don’t need to know the absolute magnitude of the sources and sinks to show that. No assumptions, only logic.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 7, 2021 6:42 pm

I believe the lower estimates of GHG effects plus natural feedbacks reduce this, not amplify. But people should have a more pragmatic scientific understanding not any one sided ideology.

Tanks A & B both hold 3000L water & are half filled. Pump A pumps 300L/day water from A to B. Pump B pumps 300L/day water from B to A. If the pumps each move the same volume of water per day (with no leaks and no evaporation) than you can hold the level of water in each tank at the same level, 1500L.
Someone then adds a much smaller pump C which moves 0.5L/day from Tank B to A. Although the 0.5L/day is very small, only responsible for <0.2% of the daily movement from B to A in 8yrs 3mths you would have drained Tank B and filled Tank A causing a major change in balance to that system. Although small, pump C was responsible for 100% of the water level changes.

Now if Tank A was the air above us, Tank B was the trees & natural carbon stores, the pumps A&B are nature, pump C was human influence. You now have an over-simplification of the problem of CO2. A small change per year can make a large difference accumulated over many decades.

The problems are:

  • the natural movement of CO2 varies & not directly measurable;
  • increasing CO2 typically increases plant growth to partially offset our influence;
  • how much do greenhouse gases (other than H2O) affect the global temperature;
  • how much do natural processes provide compensation & negative feedbacks for all climate variables;
  • the natural climate variations are far greater than can be directly attributed to AGW (short term vs long term);
  • computer models with many large unknowns should not be relied upon.
Reply to  tygrus
July 7, 2021 9:30 pm

tygrus, I love WUWT period but, especially, for the discussions.I get corrected on some things which is good and it’s equally as good that I find intelligent people who are well versed in the appropriate sciences who have problems with the CAGW hypothesis, especially, about Man’s CO2 and Earth.
I’m still struggling to comprehend how a such a minuscule amount of Natural CO2 and a far more minuscule amount of Man’s CO2 added to Nature’s minuscule amount can have such allegedly disastrous consequences for the planet. I try to imagine those few CO2 molecules bouncing around Earth and in Space in my mind’s eye and total CO2 seems to be such a tiny amount and Man’s almost insignificant that I just can’t get my head around how in the world so few molecules could matter very much.
I’m willing to accept that I’m wrong as my training is in the medical sciences, not climate, but I sure need for it to be explained by a very convincing argument that I’ve yet to hear to accept it.

Reply to  KcTaz
July 8, 2021 9:12 pm

“I try to imagine those few CO2 molecules bouncing around…”

Instead, imagine a column of air with all the CO2 molecules settled to the bottom, the layer would be about 2 feet deep. Some wavelengths just don’t make through 2 feet of CO2. It doesn’t matter whether the layer is at the top, the bottom, or distributed in 24 one inch layers a thousand feet apart, it’s going to cast the same shadow.

Reply to  tygrus
July 7, 2021 10:09 pm

Thank you for the example. Yes, small changes over along time can change many things. But in this specific example, as the tank B is getting emptied and tank A is getting filled, the NPSH of the pumps will change, affecting their performance. Pump in tank A will have higher suction pressure & pumps in tank B will have lower suction pressure. Pumps in B will shutdown soon. So the full transfer may never happen.

So the uncertainty remains….

Reply to  tygrus
July 8, 2021 12:41 am

Tygrus , your ABC equation is very unrealistic .
A .2% daily increase of CO2 equals 7.3 % total increase of all CO2 in the atmosphere per annum , not from human emissions but all emissions including natural .
Multiply that out over a few decades or centuries and we would all be dead except maybe the vegetation .

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Andy May
July 9, 2021 6:15 am

“If we were to burn all the fossil fuels that we know of in the Earth, the CO2 atmospheric concentration would be about 600 ppm.”

A very important point.

And it will take us a long time to burn all the fossil fuels. And there is no reason to assume that at 600ppm, our atmosphere would behave any differently than it does today at 420ppm.

I like this 420ppm weather. 🙂

Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 8:49 pm

Andy, nice article, but “clouds” received the usual short mention near the end.
But for us living at the bottom of the troposphere, the bulk surface temperature is determined by the amount of sunlight that gets to surface and the amount reflected back into outer space. Added to that a bunch or IR details, which everyone assumes is the climate driver. However, clouds are the controlling factor in the reflection of sunlight back into outer space. Anything, including CO2, and including sunlight that causes the surface to warm causes more water vapor to be generated, eventually causes more cloud cover to be generated, until the surface is not warm again. 400, 800, 1600 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has little effect on cloud generation, in fact, causes more cooling at the top of troposphere. So even though one can calculate 1.2C increase in a meter long tube of CO2 that is equivalent to the CO2 column in the atmosphere, such a calculation is ignoring the primary effect that H2O vapor quite suddenly transitions at saturation to a reflector of a large percentage of the input sunlight energy. One only needs to look overhead to see this transition occurring most days,
Why is Earth’s cloud cover relatively constant at around 60% ? Why is the planetary temperature about 15 C ? Why does CRE always work out to close to zero ? Hmmm…..answer is vapor pressure of water at any given temperature, not CO2….

Reply to  DMacKenzie,
July 7, 2021 9:52 pm

If I understand you correctly, you do have a lot of company among scientists who share your thoughts on clouds, among other issues. Here is one.

Another Climate Scientist with Impeccable Credentials Breaks Ranks: “Our models are Mickey-Mouse Mockeries of the Real World”
September 26, 2019

Dr. Mototaka Nakamura received a Doctorate of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and for nearly 25 years specialized in abnormal weather and climate change at prestigious institutions that included MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, JAMSTEC and Duke University.

…Nakamura on CO2
He writes:
“The real or realistically-simulated climate system is far more complex than an absurdly simple system simulated by the toys that have been used for climate predictions to date, and will be insurmountably difficult for those naive climate researchers who have zero or very limited understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics. The dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans are absolutely critical facets of the climate system if one hopes to ever make any meaningful prediction of climate variation…”

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 5:48 am

I must have missed that one at the time, excellent.

Reply to  E. Schaffer
July 7, 2021 3:07 pm

You’re using a sensitivity of 0.3C per W/m2 here. According to Berkeley Earth the planet has warmed about 1.1C and with an EEI currently at +0.8 W/m2 so that requires about +4.5 W/m2 of radiative forcing. Which factors and in which proportions do you think account this RF?

Reply to  bdgwx
July 7, 2021 3:43 pm

Mainly contrails of course!

Reply to  E. Schaffer
July 7, 2021 4:11 pm

That’s a lot of contrail forcing. IPCC AR5 WGI chapter 7SM has a summary of contrail RF estimates. Karcher 2018 has a more recent assessment, but it is inline with previous consensus. So +4.5 W/m2 would be about 2 orders of magnitude higher than current estimates. If you know of other publications I’d definitely review them.

Reply to  bdgwx
July 7, 2021 4:41 pm

Well you asked what I think. I still have to review papers dealing with this question, and find out why they are most certainly wrong (I have some ideas though). Anyhow, so far what I know is that a) CO2 can not be responsible and b) all the patterns of global warming perfectly fit the contrail theory. That is..
a) the where: warming occurs mainly in the NH, none in the Antarctic
b) the when: starting in 1970s, basically the onset of the jet era, since then in perfect accordance with the increase of air travel
c) the how: atmosphere drying, decline in pan evaporation despite higher temperatures, the lack of the “hot spot”..

PS. Even moderate amounts of cirri have a substantial radiative effect (easily in the 20W/m2 range). Then you only need to consider how much artificial cirri we put into the sky and compare that to the 0.01W/m2 in contrail forcing the IPCC suggests. It’s ludicrous.

Reply to  E. Schaffer
July 7, 2021 9:26 pm

Then why has warming levelled off since 1998 in spite of air travel growing by leaps and bounds?

Reply to  PCman999
July 7, 2021 9:57 pm

Well, certainly not because CO2 levelled off 😉

It is a random walk after all, and I am not predicting weather. However, it seems like solar activity went down since then. If we allow for it, the contrail thing fits even better. And btw., before 1970 the 2nd world war was a phase with some abundance of high altitude flights, producing contrails. Just saying..

comment image

Reply to  bdgwx
July 7, 2021 9:16 pm

“…planet has warmed 1.1°C…” compared to what? The coldest periods of the Little Ice Age or even when reliable and numerous temperature measurements began a couple of centuries ago, maybe. But compared to say the record breaking temperatures late 1930s, or to 1000 years ago when people were farming in Greenland and Iceland, growing grapes further North and at higher elevations in Germany, and generally farming further North in China than can be done today, then no the planet has not warmed, and in fact the climate has been getting progressively cooler since reaching a relatively recent peak 8000 yrs ago, after the last ice age (that technically hasn’t really ended yet). How can any scientist say we are drastically affecting climate when everything humanity has done is just a rounding error compared to the ups and downs of the climate system, even when limiting ourselves to the last few thousand years, nevermind the last few million or 100s of millions of years.

Reply to  PCman999
July 7, 2021 10:31 pm

The the LIA was just the endpoint of a 5000 year long cooling trend which, if all other thing were equal, should have just continued for a few more thousand years like other interglacials did. But all things abruptly stopped being equal.
And yes, there are plenty of people farming in Greenland right now.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 4:01 am

“The the LIA was just the endpoint of a 5000 year long cooling trend which, if all other thing were equal, should have just continued for a few more thousand years like other interglacials did.”

You have absolutely no idea about the future of the climate.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 7:13 am

“Today (2020) in South Greenland there are 36 sheep farms, one cattle farm and one reindeer farm. In Nuuk fjord there is a single sheep farmer”

‘Agriculture in Greenland’


That makes 39 farms and to you means ” plenty” ?

Reply to  Dave Andrews
July 8, 2021 9:22 pm

Those numbers are for Kujataa not Greenland. See here for more than you want to know about Greenland’s agricultural industries.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Loydo
July 9, 2021 6:27 am

The second paragraph of the introduction to the report you link to says

“The current agricultural sector in Greenland consists of 37 farms”

That link was written in 2019. The link I provided above was in 2020 with an obviously massive increase of two farms.

Do you bother to look at the things you link to?

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 7:43 am

We’re still very near the bottom of that cooling trend and the blip up so far is dwarfed historically by other up and down blips prior to significant anthropogenic CO2.

Reply to  BrianB
July 8, 2021 9:26 pm

Until I ask you to present the evidence, then there are crickets.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:36 am

I love the way Loydo tries to pretend that this 5000 year cooling trend was smooth and uninterrupted until the modern warm period started.

The reality is that there were 5 previous warm periods, all of which were greater than the modern warm period, that also interrupted this cooling trend, some for hundreds of years.

Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2021 11:38 am

Can you post a link to the global mean temperature reconstruction you are basing your claim that there were 5 previous warm periods all of which were higher than today?

Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2021 9:37 pm

Could you refrain from using my name and love in the same sentence.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 10:02 am

now “esplane” to us, oh omniscient one, the MWP sans industrialized mankind.

You are on a roll loydo. Albeit a Stupidity roll but you are accelerating nicely.

Reply to  PCman999
July 8, 2021 12:35 am

Was CO2 in 1800 really high enough to cause the abrupt reversal from cooling to warming?

Or, is what we’re seeing now similar to the brief warming spike that happened at the end of the previous Eemian interglacial?

Rapid warming at the end of the last Eemian interglacial caused sea level to rise several meters – just before ice age returned – Odyssey (

Global climate feinted at a short-lived warming, just before cooling sharply with glacial inception.

Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
July 8, 2021 4:03 am

Thats an interesting question re the Eemian. The Eemian was warmer, maybe warm enough for long enough to produce a late methane plume.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bdgwx
July 9, 2021 6:28 am

“Which factors and in which proportions do you think account this RF?”

How about data manipulation for political/personal reasons.

You shouldn’t put your faith in bogus, bastardized, modern-era, computer-generated Hockey Stick “temperature” charts like Berkeley Earth. They will lead you astray, giving you the impression that it is much warmer today than it really is, as they have done here.

Reply to  E. Schaffer
July 7, 2021 3:17 pm

With modtran it is easy to show what happens. Let’s play it through..

No GHGs except CO2, no clouds, tropical atmosphere, emissions TOA in W/m2:
400ppm: 400.664
800ppm: 395.954
Delta: 4.71

GHGs on, no clouds, tropical atmosphere, emissions TOA in W/m2:
400ppm: 298.52
800ppm: 295.191
Delta: 3.329

GHGs on, Stratus cloud top 3.0km, tropical atmosphere, emissions TOA in W/m2:
400ppm: 269.004
800ppm: 266.398
Delta: 2.606

The same 3 scenarios with U.S. 1976 std atmosphere (only deltas)

Another iteration, this time with vapor. How much do emissions decrease with a 10% increase of vapor (tropical atmosphere)?
2.826 (vapor only GHG)
2.261 (with other GHGs)
1.099 (with other GHGs & clouds)

We see how massively these overlapping issues affect the result. And that is despite we did not even allow for realistic surface emissivity. This is the issue essentially ALL ECS estimates have in common, even the one by Wijngaared & Happer.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 8:55 pm

Do you realize it is the “holy grail” of climate science??? It is not about the result, it is about the logic!

John Tillman
July 7, 2021 2:15 pm

Human activities do affect local and regional weather and climate, but their global effect is negligible. We can’t even be sure of the sign of manmade effects. The industrial revolution dirtied the air over Europe and North America, cooling the surface. Cleaning up the air there from the 1970s onward warmed those areas a little. But now India and China are polluting the atmosphere anew. In any case, the global effect is dwarfed by the mighty forces of nature.

Reply to  John Tillman
July 7, 2021 9:30 pm

The huge growth of coal power in India and especially China since about 2000 may explain why temperatures stopped their steady rise of the 1975-1998 period, and only gained since then due to ElNino periods.

Rud Istvan
July 7, 2021 2:33 pm

Andy, since Judith Curry and I had a long TCR/ECS discussion years ago, it is IMO important to carefully distinguish the two. They are not interchangeable.

TCR, the transient climate response, is the temperature (in models) after a one percent per year increase in CO2 forcing until it has doubled in exactly 70 years. In IPCC practice, it is the average of the model temperatures between years 65-75 when forced at 1% more CO2/year. It can also be guesstimated using energy budget methods even tho not yet doubled from 280ppm. See Lewis and Curry 1 & 2 for methodological details.

ECS, the equilibrium climate sensitivity, (or in energy budget methods, the equivalent climate sensitivity (missing possible long small tail) is what the stable new ‘equilibrium temperature is some hundreds of years in the future after an immediate ‘pulse’ doubling of CO2 forcing. This ‘accounts’ for everything, like ultimate change in ice, snow, and vegetation albedos; TCR doesn’t. In IPCC practice, the period is usually ‘just’ 200 years because of computational intractability—200 years requires over 4 months of continuous supercomputer computation in either CMIP5 or 6, since a run from ‘now’ to ‘just’ 2100 is about 2 months continuous according to UCAR.

If one believes the observational energy budget methods, then TCR ~1.35C is about 80% of ECS ~1.7. Callendar’s 1938 curve yielded 1.68C.

Finally, using Monckton’s ‘irreducably simple’ equation paper and his inputs, the no feedbacks case ECS is 1.16C; so logically any TCR <~0.9 or ECS<~1.2 is IMO somehow suspect methodologically since WVF should always be positive and dominates all other feedbacks of all types and signs.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 7, 2021 2:45 pm

I don’t see Andy saying that ECS and TCR are interchangeable.
His point seems to be more on the line of saying that TCR is difficult to calculate accurately.
ECS is close to impossible to calculate accurately, and as a result, both are more or less meaningless.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 7, 2021 2:46 pm

We could save the Earth by not burning so much fossil fuel to power all those long GIGO computer game runs. They’re worse for the planet than cryptocurrency mining.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 3:05 pm

They are abstract, not artificial, constructions. And the abstractions can be estimated from observations rather than climate models at least two ways: energy budget models (e.g. Lewis and Curry 2015, 2016, both available outside paywall by searching Climate Etc), or by using Lindzen’s Bode feedback method (which Monckton hates), making observational corrections to the iconic IPCC ~3C==>Bode 1/(1-f) ~0.65. The specific subject of a recent previous post explaining both reasoning and observational data sources. It comes out about 1.7C also.

Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 6:34 pm

I think the main value of these exercises, is to demonstrate that climate sensitivity to CO2 is so low that the arbitrary 1.5 °C limit might as well be an impermeable barrier… 😎

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
July 7, 2021 9:22 pm

Or impervious. 🙂

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 8, 2021 8:12 am

“…since WVF should always be positive and dominates all other feedbacks of all types and signs.”


With all due respect, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Everything I’ve seen suggests wv’s feedbacks are negative, which is a good thing given the effectively infinite source of wv here on Earth.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 8, 2021 10:55 am

Are you conflating the effects of convection with the feedback from water vapor?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 8, 2021 4:43 pm


Good question, but I don’t think so. My understanding is that the existence of GHGs (particularly WV) is a necessary condition for convection, which is how surface heat, on a net flow basis, is mainly transported aloft to where LWR to space becomes efficacious. However, here I’m looking at WV feedback in terms of cloud formation (a la Willis Eschenbach) , which I think on balance cool the Earth. I also think that WV plays a big role in allowing the Earth to recover from periods of glaciation, i.e., sea level drops (a lot) so there is a drying that promotes dust which in turns increases absorption of sunlight to offset the reduction in albedo from ice caps, etc. Thoughts?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 10, 2021 6:29 am

I think it’s absolutely true that convecting moist air is a major factor removing solar heat from the daytime tropics and that it is an emergent phenomenon. Anyone curious to learn more should search for Willis Eschenbach here on WUWT as you mentioned.

Tropical thunderstorms are a non-linear effect of temperature on the ocean-atmosphere system. In other words, it doesn’t gradually increase, there aren’t a few thunderstorms that increase uniformly as temperatures increase. Rather thunderstorms emerge suddenly above a certain temperature. They persist as long as the temperature conditions support them.

Originally I wrote “to prevent further rises in temperature”, but edited it because that sounds like anthropomorphizing the thunderstorms—as if the thunderstorms have a mind and a will to complete a mission. It is just physics. Zeus, Thor, and Poseidon are not involved.

When we talk about water vapor feedback normally in a climatology context, what is usually meant is the effect that water vapor has on inhibiting cooling via radiation, and particularly the increase in water vapor induced by warming induced by increasing CO2. So that was the reason for my question to you.

I think that you are looking at the net effect of water vapor which has this non-radiative effect but also still does have a significant radiative effect as Rud Istvan commented. I believe that he was referring to just the radiative part when he said that it must be positive feedback.

So after making me think about it for a while, I guess that I can only conclude that you are both accurately describing part of the elephant, but maybe not apprehending the whole beast. The 64 trillion dollar question is whether the emergent property will act as a thermostat countering the radiative effect.

I don’t know is never a satisfying answer.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 11, 2021 5:43 am


I thought I had responded to you earlier, but must have lost my response into the vapor. In any event, you’re summarized a lot of sound ideas in a very clear fashion. At the end of the day, I think that the hydrological cycle will always resist changes to the climate. I don’t have a simple proof for this, except to note that we’re all here today despite any number of global shocks to the system in the past that dwarf any impact we might be having today.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 10, 2021 7:19 am

I also think that WV plays a big role in allowing the Earth to recover from periods of glaciation, i.e., sea level drops (a lot) so there is a drying that promotes dust which in turns increases absorption of sunlight to offset the reduction in albedo from ice caps, etc.

I didn’t want to ignore this part, but my first reply was getting long, so I figured I’d split it out here.

The apparently emergent phenomenon that rapidly (in geological time context) drives the climate from exceedingly long periods of deep glaciation to a sudden warm interstadial like the current Holocene is a fascinating mystery.

I wish that WUWT experts would focus some time discussing the various hypotheses. I can only offer conjecture. But I love a little conjecture in the morning!

I guess that the Milankovic theory of orbital mechanics having gradual but regularly-cyclical effects on insolation is the standard model for explaining the ice ages. It satisfies me as the source of cyclical oscillation between the two states, but at the same time, the periods are not exactly aligned to the M cycles, and the onset of warming can be more or less rapid. Similarly, the descent into glaciation can be more or less rapid. Other factors are in play and seem to be chaotic and unpredictable.

To your point about dust lowering albedo, that seems very likely to me.

Contrary to what we typically hear from alarmists, I don’t see drought and desertification as logically following from warming. A warming world has more water vapor and necessarily more rain, not less.

A cooling world sees less evaporation, less water vapor, and therefore less rain. Less rain makes for drought and desertification.

An already very cold world with minimal rain and more deserts and more land area from very low sea level sounds like an environment where there will be a lot of dust.

Add to that the fact that the poles are extremely cold (much colder than current conditions), while the tropics remain warm (though perhaps reduced in area and somewhat cooler than current conditions). That extreme temperature gradient is a prescription for high winds.

So at some point, you get a lot of massive dust storms. When those storms deposit dark-colored dust onto the ice sheets and the M cycles are in the right phase to provide greater insolation over the land-based ice sheets (mostly in the Northern Hemisphere), that seems like a plausible “tipping point” driving the climate toward its warm phase.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 11, 2021 5:44 am


Again, good write-up.

July 7, 2021 2:38 pm

CO2 in the atmosphere is a function of the outgassing from bicarbonate at the equator duevto uv/ heat and CO2 dissolving back into the oceans forming bicarbonate at the poles due to coldness.

In Antarctica things have been stable over the last 40 years or so. Not so at the north pole. It got a lot warmer up there. So less CO2 dissolves.

Wake up. Warming caused nby 0.01% CO2 is nonsense.

John Tillman
Reply to  HenryP
July 7, 2021 2:49 pm

Temperature at the South Pole hasn’t changed since continuous weather record keeping began there in 1958, ie 63 years. And that despite increased human activities there.

Reply to  John Tillman
July 7, 2021 3:19 pm

All they have to do is move the temperature sensors closer to their buildings. Then they won’t have to walk as far for maintenance, etc. Win, win.

John Tillman
Reply to  Scissor
July 7, 2021 3:27 pm

Please, don’t give NOAA’s “climate scientists” any ideas. Not that they don’t hatch schemes to scam the public on their own, like the bogus second station in Death Valley, facing a cliff with southern exposure.

Reply to  John Tillman
July 7, 2021 5:08 pm

I know several of them and generally they are decent people. But you’re right.

I had to laugh a couple of years ago when one guy handed me a sealed glass ampoule that he had gotten from Antarctica. It said something like CO2 403.17 ppmv. I would have expected Ph.D. scientists to use proper significant figures.

Even Mark Serreze seems like a decent fellow, has a good sense of humor and quite a collection of weird shirts.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Tillman
July 7, 2021 9:28 pm

I once decided to try to see if I could detect the heat from magma moving under the Long Valley Caldera that might be accompanying the numerous small earthquakes.

I merged a Landsat thermal band with a visible and NIR band. Although the technique readily revealed numerous hot springs in the area, there was no suggestion of more widespread heating from magma approaching the surface.

However, it was evident that the south-facing slopes of the caldera were being heated very strongly by the sun!

Reply to  HenryP
July 8, 2021 4:52 am

Where did our 1.5 trillion tons go Henry?

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 6:20 am


Everybody wants bigger crops now, and trees in their gardens and in their reserves and woods and more people mean more lawns and more gardens. Also earth and the oceans got a whole lot greener. Where did you think did our CO2 go? It is our dung in the air, so to speak.

Once the temps. at the north pole will go down again, CO2 will also go down.

btw I checked the so-called ‘oxygen balance’. By my calculations, it did not work out.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:41 am


Michael Hammer
July 7, 2021 2:54 pm

The basis of the theory of anthropogenic global warming is that rising CO2 warms the Earth by reducing Earth’s energy loss to space (measured as outgoing longwave radiation or OLR). Yet NASA’s measurement of OLR shows that it has been rising not falling as CO2 levels increase. If real world observations show that what is happening is the opposite of what a theory predicts that theory is falsified. I keep pointing this out but never seem to get a rational explanation. The only “explanation” I have seen is that its all due to feedbacks, but feedback is a response to a perturbation ie: in this case a further change brought about by the reduction in energy loss to space due to rising CO2. But if the perturbation does not exist, then what drives the feedback. If feedback nullifies the original driver then it nullifies itself.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 4:02 am

That is a fringe paper in a dodgy journal. They cite Loeb et al 2018 as the source. But the plots given there (Fig 9) are very different and do not show such a rise.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 5:58 am

From the paper you linked ….

“It can be expected that the OLR rises with increasing global temperature. This is a mechanism by which earth can return to a climate equilibrium after an initial perturbation by an external radiative forcing”

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 7, 2021 3:20 pm

Excuse me, but your basic conception is wrong.
In the presence of GHG induced GHE, outgoing OLR NEVER falls as you assert. It simply transitorily fails to rise sufficiently to offset the hindered radiative cooling.

My basic main thing here now at WUWT is to keep skeptics from way overstating their cases, thereby providing ammo to those who seek to discredit us and WUWT. we criticize them for frequent excesses, do not let them return that fire.
Citing Lindzen and Choi 2011, a provably flawed paper, is an example. Citing Monckton on ‘zero’ or below 1 ECS is another example.

Any ECS estimate less than ~1.2C is by definition suspect, no matter the provenance, as I commented to Andy above. You really have to dig to find out why; each case different. Please do the digging.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 7, 2021 4:56 pm

“Excuse me, but your basic conception is wrong.”
I agree with Rud here. Michael Hammer seems to be resistant to the basic AGW argument here, with its energy conservation. GHG obstruction of IR does not lead to long term reduction in OLR. It can’t, for energy balance. What it means is that a larger temperature differential is needed to get the same flux through. That means higher surface temperature.

Michael Hammer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 8, 2021 4:34 am

Nick; Unfortunately your explanation doesn’t. The theory of AGW claims rising CO2 reduces energy loss to space ie: OLR. That means energy in > energy out so Earth warms. That increases OLR until eventually balance is restored at a higher surface temperature. Believe it or not I really do understand something as utterly basic as that. The problem here is that if the theory is true, OLR should fall with rising CO2 and rise with rising temperature but if Earth is continuing to warm and CO2 continues to rise then OLR must continue to be depressed (otherwise energy in is not > energy out).. The rise with temperature is simply given by the climate sensitivity. Now if you look at the graph shown by Andy May (saves me including exactly the same graph) it shows OLR rising at pretty much exactly the rate predicted by the climate sensitivity. That means incremental depression due to rising CO2 = zero. Also, there must be an energy imbalance for Earth to start warming ie: a depression of OLR but where is it. As the graph shows, not since the start of the satellite era. Surely one cannot suggest the depression all happened prior to 1980 and the rising CO2 has simply maintained that depression at constant level since, while Earth warmed?

Of course, Earth IS warming and that implies an energy imbalance. What is actually happening is absorbed solar radiation (ASR) is increasing, and, since the solar constant is indeed constant, that means Earth’s albedo is decreasing. As bdgwx correctly observes, this is occuring and is due to reduction in cloud cover. There are similar plots of cloud cover vs time and they show firstly that cloud cover is indeed reducing and that the pattern of reduction with time matches the pattern of temperature increase with time. (No correlation does not prove causation but its a good start). So why is cloud cover reducing. Well when the failure of OLR to fall was identified there was a flurry of attempts to explain it within the AGW theory. The prevailing outcome was that models showed there would be less cloud cover in a warmer world. Slight problem with that, they also showed more water evaporating as temperature rises (constant relative humidity). But more evaporation must imply more rainfall and rain only comes from low dense clouds. So we have a paradox where models suggest more evaporation but less cloud cover but for water balance more evaporation must lead to more rain thus more cloud cover. A warmer world can hardly be simultaneously both drier and wetter on average!

Nick, I have made this point many times before, please address the issue and dont try to fob me off by misdirection and trivialising my comments. If more water evaporates in a warmer world then how can that lead to less cloud cover and if it doesn’t, then how does rising CO2 cause a reduction in cloud cover all while apparently having no impact on OLR at all?

Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 8, 2021 7:02 am

I should clarify some things.

I’m not saying ASR is increasing necessarily because of changes in cloud patterns. I’m saying that changes in cloud patterns are only consistent with it. But other things are consistent with it as well like changes in snow/ice coverage. I will say that the magnitude of the OLR increase suggests that cloud patterns have changed as well. But I’ll reserve forming an opinion on that for now.

I’m also not saying that an increase in ASR is the cause of the warming we observe today. As I explained below this may be only a feedback that is caused by an increase in temperature that was catalyzed by some other agent…like say…greenhouse gas forcing.

Michael Hammer
Reply to  bdgwx
July 9, 2021 12:03 am

Hi bdgwx; I realise you are not going as far as claiming the rise in ASR is due to cloud cover changes. But I am saying that if the world is warming and OLR is rising then the only way that can happen for ASR to be rising even faster. And by far the most likely candidate for rising ASR is indeed reducing cloud cover especially since the measured reduction in cloud cover translates to a change in ASR which fits nicely with the measured warming.

Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 9, 2021 2:30 pm

I agree that reduced cloud cover is probably a key significant contributing factor to the increase in ASR. But the question remains…what caused the cloud cover changes? If it is a feedback from GHG warming then GHGs are wholly responsible for the increase in ASR as well.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 4:03 am

The OLR has increased ~2 W/m^2 since the 1980s.”
As noted above, that is a very dubious figure.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 12:54 pm

I got a very similar result plotting the raw CERES”
It isn’t very similar at all. It is about 0.6 W/m2 since 2000. But care is needed with raw CERES. Loeb et al, in Fig 9c get a similar rise. But they say
“Rather, further analysis shows that the single largest contribution to the anomaly differences during the Terra-only period is due to the diurnal corrections used in Ed2.8. Anomalies during the Terra-only period from EBAF Ed2.8 are underestimated by as much as 0.2Wm22, based upon comparisons between EBAF Ed2.8 and SSF1deg-Terra Ed3.0. In contrast, EBAF Ed4.0 anomalies are 0.07Wm22 larger than SSF1deg-Terra Ed4.0. However, there is also a 0.1Wm22 anomaly difference during the Terra only period between SSF1deg-Terra Ed4.0 and SSF1deg- Terra Ed3.0, which suggests that cloud retrieval and/or ADM differences between Ed3.0 and Ed4.0 also contribute to some of the discrepancy during the Terra only period.”

They then give a corrected plot 9d which shows very little change.

Michael Hammer
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 4:51 am

Andy; most of the rise in CO2 has occurred post 1980 so if rising CO2 is depressing OLR as claimed by the AGW theory most of the reduction in OLR should have occurred since 1980 yet OLR has risen by 2 watts/sqM since 1980 as you indeed show. This rise in pretty much in line with the claimed climate sensitivity of Earth. So where is the reduction in OLR due to rising CO2. As bdgwx correctly states Earth is warming because of a rise in absorbed solar radiation (ASR).

A problem here is that one direct impact of GHG’s is indeed a reduction of energy loss to space so why does it not show up? It is important to note that GHG’s do not ONLY reduce OLR, they also do a lot of other things such as allowing the atmosphere to function as a heat engine (by allowing a cold junction – the tropopause – from which the circulating fluid can lose energy to space – a requirement of the carnot cycle) which leads to all of weather. Without GHG’s there would be no convection, no wind, no rain, no evaporation, no clouds, an isothermal atmosphere in short no weather at all. I suspect these impacts are more significant and compensate the direct impact on OLR.

Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 8, 2021 6:54 am

The Earth likely is warming at least partly due to increased ASR, but that is not necessarily the catalyst for the warming. If ASR increased because of feedbacks related to an increase in temperature catalyzed by something else then the cause of the ASR increase is the same as the cause of the initial temperature increase. In this manner changes in ASR amplifies the warming that was set in motion by something else.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 7:46 am

“There is a serious contradiction there that needs to be explained.”
“The OLR has increased ~2 W/m^2 since the 1980s.

Regardless of the number – outgoing OLR does increase (for a while) under CO2 induced GW.
This explains……

From this paper …..

“The OLR recovery timescale is typically on the order of decades due to the fast response timescale of the surface components of the climate system and the negative LW feedbacks that strongly increase OLR with warming. Observational constraints also suggest an OLR recovery timescale on the order of decades. However, the current global energy imbalance seems to be dominated by reduced OLR because of the substantial SW forcing associated with anthropogenic tropospheric aerosols, which have directly reduced ASR and indirectly reduced OLR by curtailing global warming.”

Michael Hammer
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 3:44 pm

Andy; Many of the environmental scares follow the same agenda. Take a piece of known incontrovertible science (in this case that GHG’s do reduce OLR) ignore all other effects and exaggerate the impact of this known piece of science to justify a crisis. If the exaggeration and “crisis” is questioned, obfuscate and fall back firstly on the known bit of proven science and then on the precautionary principle “its a matter of opinion and we cant take the chance”.

GHG’s (at their absorption wavelengths) absorb radiation from the surface and replace it with radiation from the top of the atmospheric column – typically the tropopause or lower stratosphere. Why can I be specific as to the emission altitude? Because the GHG emission to space more or less defines the tropopause.

Consider, the atmosphere does work (generates mechanical energy) such as wind, and lifting water to high altitudes.; The energy which underlies this work comes from incoming absorbed solar energy. That means the atmosphere is the working fluid of a classical heat engine converting thermal energy to mechanical energy. Carnot first described how such heat engines work back in the 19th century. They require a hot junction where heat energy is injected into the working fluid and a cold junction where heat energy is lost from the working fluid (the cold junction is typically the coldest point in the system). Without a cold junction the heat engine cannot function. The hot junction is the surface but where is the cold junction? Can’t be the poles because the fact that Earth is a rotating sphere prevents it. Its why we have 3 global convective loops (Hadley, Ferrel and Polar) not one. The cold junction is the tropopause (notably the coldest point in the atmosphere) and heat energy is lost because the GHG’s at this altitude can radiate to space – they have non zero emissivity at least at some wavelengths. Without GHG such radiation could not occur, the upper atmosphere could not cool and convection would stop. That would lead to a static, isothermal atmosphere saturated wrt to water vapour. Clouds could not form because for the water vapour to condense it needs to lose energy and there is nowhere to lose it to. So no weather.

Now consider the surface where we live. Yes GHG’s do reduce the NET radiative loss by returning some of the radiated energy back to the surface but they also increase the surface energy loss by allowing thermal convection and evaporation and these two items represent more than 50% of the total surface energy loss so hardly trivial or second order effects. Evaporating water is the source of clouds which we know have a net cooling effect. Warmer earth, more evaporation= more clouds = net incremental cooling, a negative feedback loop. In fact, while the radiative warming impact of rising GHG’s is logarithmic the incremental cooling impact of clouds is much closer to linear (cloud cover is not close to saturation). A feedback situation where there is a driver and a negative feedback loop with one linear and the other non linear is a classic situation in control theory and leads to the development of a stable operating point. Very little GHG still gives most of the warming but few clouds in a very cold Earth – warming dominates. As GHG concentration rises the incremental warming impact diminishes but cloud formation on the warming planet increases and starts to dominate. The operating point is where the incremental warming and cooling impacts roughly balance.

So why is net cloud cover decreasing now? It appears we don’t know for sure but that does not mean the AGW theory has to be right, no more than witches had to exist in the middle ages simply because no one could come up with a plausible alternative explanation for crop failures. It is however worth revising Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory. To counter the argument I have seen that cosmic rays do not trigger cloud formation look up the Wilson Cloud Chamber. Seems pretty convincing proof to me that they do.

Mike Hammer (and sorry for the length of this comment)

Michael Hammer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 8, 2021 11:59 pm

Rud; you say “outgoing OLR NEVER falls as you assert. It simply transitorily fails to rise sufficiently to offset the hindered radiative cooling.” OLR does not offset radiative cooling; OLR IS radiative cooling. Now, what do you mean by the word hindered. In this context I would take that to mean impeded ie: reduced. So OLR never falls, it is simply reduced. Wow, never would have guessed!

Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 7, 2021 4:23 pm

The fact that dOLR > 0 with EEI > 0 is a clue that dASR > 0 as well. Most (not all) climate models predict this behavior so I don’t think it is fair to say it it is opposite of what theory predicts. The Donohoe et al. 2014 publication does a decent job of explain this. The Dewitte & Cerbaux 2018 publication concludes this is due to “cloud thinning” consistent with expectations from other studies and climate models.

William Haas
Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 10, 2021 5:38 pm

If any gases in the atmosphere have a tendency to trap heat energy then it would be the non-greenhouse gases because they are such poor radiators to space. The AGW conjecture must be all wrong.

July 7, 2021 3:41 pm

This is very confusing and Nic Lewis tried to find a sensitivity to cumulative co2 emissions in 2018 at Climate etc.
The Royal Society and US NAS study both accept Zickfeld et al and claim that it would take at least 1000 years before temperature would change EVEN IF WE STOPPED ALL HUMAN co2 EMISSIONS TODAY.
Nic Lewis tried to unravel this claim, but still seemed to think it would take many hundreds of years. Or am I confused by his 2018 essay?
Here’s Nic Lewis’ essay at Climate Etc DEC 2018. Andy, Rud anyone?

Reply to  Neville
July 7, 2021 9:45 pm

Temperatures change all the time, at all time scales. It’s impossible to say in a thousand years, if it’s significantly warmer than today, that it would have been because of CO2 increase. It was significantly warmer about 2000, 3200 and 8000 years ago and CO2 had nothing to do with it.

July 7, 2021 3:50 pm

You mentioned: ‘ Two of the larger unknowns, natural solar variability, …’ etc. The solar variability you believe in [your Figure 2 in part one] is much too large [by at least a factor of two and, in fact, wrong [based on outdated reconstructions] and does not correlate with temperature change. So, you can count solar variability out of the equation. Solar variability since ~1720 is well established from variations of the geomagnetic field and of cosmic ray radionuclides, so is not ‘unknown’ over the time scale of interest.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
July 7, 2021 4:08 pm

Leif, I hadn’t seen any comments from you lately. Then again I don’t read many threads here nowadays.

Glad to see you are well.


Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 10:44 pm

You disagree but don’t know why.

Reply to  Loydo
July 8, 2021 9:44 am

Reading comprehension was never your strong suit, was it.

Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 10:55 pm

Yet you show in part 1 a Figure [2] and claim that NH temperature is well correlated with what you believe is solar activity.
We do understand solar activity over the past 300 years very well. And it looks very much like said activity has very little to do with the variation of temperature. We expect a solar cycle effect of 0.05 K, but that is too small to be dug out of the noise.
Th point is that solar activity has had no measurable effect on climate over the past several centuries.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 5:44 pm

Judge, Shapiro, etc rely on assumptions of variations [of the quit sun] that have never been observed: “The Egorova et al. [5] (hereafter EEA18) and Shapiro et al. [4] (hereafter SEA11) reconstructions are based on the postulate that there are weak, small-scale magnetic features (that have not yet been detected), which generate brighter quiet-Sun emissions (that have also not yet been detected).” Mike Lockwood and William T. Ball, 2020.

 In this paper, we use recent data to place limits on the effect of the quiet Sun and show that it is below the measurement uncertainty”, the latter being about 0.5 W/m2 or ten times smaller than the postulated background variation.
You should really take the trouble to actually read this paper carefully.
If you do not, there is no real or meaningful discussion possible.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 5:55 pm

What Judge shows is an upper limit of ±4.5 W m−2 of solar forcing since 1750, i.e. the variation should not be greater than that. More precisely they found the forcing to be -1.4 ±4.5 W m−2, consistent with zero.

Reply to  Andy May
July 7, 2021 11:02 pm

You should read H&S’s paper on TSI. It is pure speculation. And is not what the TSI-community generally accepts today:

You do yourself [and the good fight] a disservice by clinging to outdated speculation.
You do not need the ‘solar connection’ at all to make your case.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 10:17 am

That debate was closed about 7 years ago [ ]. The new sunspot number and the new group number agree [and are now generally accepted] and show no secular rise in solar activity the last 300 year. As usual, there are holdouts clinging to past (wrong) versions, mostly because they support particular speculations about influence on climate, but the solar community has moved on and is leaving behind agenda-based, outdated reconstructions:

You mentioned: “there are also good cases for the view that the Sun has had a larger impact on our climate than GHGs”. That is completely besides the point as to what solar activity has been. Consider the notion that both impacts could be so minuscule as to be in the noise and not measurable with current data.

And no, it could not go either way. In your Figure 2 [part I] you have already shown your bias and agenda by agreeing to the notion that solar activity is the main factor controlling the temperature. The sad thing is that you don’t need to pay lip-service to the Soon, Safetta et al crew in order to make your point.

Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 11:03 am

One can boil down the argument to one simple question:
What are the limits on the variability of TSI?
Have TSI over the last 300-400 years varied a lot [like 6 W/m2 as claimed by e.g. Sharipo et al] or not so much [like 1 W/m2 as the modern series of solar activity would indicate]. In the first case one could argue that solar activity is important for the climate; in the second case, such solar impact would be unimportant.

A good recent paper on this question is
“Placing limits on long-term variations in quiet-Sun irradiance and their contribution to total solar irradiance and solar radiative forcing of climate” by Mike Lockwood and William T. Ball, Proc. R. Soc. A.476.20200077
Who conclude “In summary, our analysis does not replicate the extremely large changes (ΔQMM of 4–6 Wm−2) in the quiet-Sun contribution to TSI postulated by Shapiro et al. [4] and Egorova et al. [5]. 

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
July 9, 2021 2:49 am

I would think that with lower solar polar magnetic field strengths more of the most energetic particles of the sun are able to escape. Our atmosphere and magnetosphere protect us against these particles forming ozone, peroxides and N-oxides. (northern/southern light)
More ozone and peroxides etc cause less UV to get through the atmosphere and that means less heat in the oceans. Earth protects us against the most dangerous radiation but the price is cooling.

July 7, 2021 3:51 pm

Here’s the Royal Society and US NAS question 20 and answer and the link.

20. If emissions of greenhouse gases were stopped, would the climate return to the conditions of 200 years ago?Climate change: evidence and causes
No. Even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to suddenly stop, Earth’s surface temperature would require thousands of years to cool and return to the level in the pre-industrial era.comment image?la=en-GB&hash=D3DE78CFE562C3940338041FB2B69A1C
Figure 9. If global emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take a long time for surface air temperatures and the ocean to begin to cool, because the excess CO2 in the atmosphere would remain there for a long time and would continue to exert a warming effect. Model projections show how atmospheric CO2 concentration (a), surface air temperature (b), and ocean thermal expansion (c) would respond following a scenario of business-as-usual emissions ceasing in 2300 (red), a scenario of aggressive emission reductions, falling close to zero 50 years from now (orange), and two intermediate emissions scenarios (green and blue). The small downward tick in temperature at 2300 is caused by the elimination of emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases, including methane. Source: Zickfeld et al., 2013 (larger version)
If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to “pre-industrial” levels due to its very slow transfer to the deep ocean and ultimate burial in ocean sediments. Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying a long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions. Sea level would likely continue to rise for many centuries even after temperature stopped increasing [Figure 9]. Significant cooling would be required to reverse melting of glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet, which formed during past cold climates. The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales. The amount and rate of further warming will depend almost entirely on how much more CO2 humankind emits.
Scenarios of future climate change increasingly assume the use of technologies that can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. In such “negative emissions” scenarios, it assumed that at some point in the future, widespread effort will be undertaken that utilizes such technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and lower its atmospheric concentration, thereby starting to reverse CO2-driven warming on longer timescales. Deployment of such technologies at scale would require large decreases in their costs. Even if such technological fixes were practical, substantial reductions in CO2 emissions would still be essential.

July 7, 2021 3:53 pm

Climate sensitivity to CO2 is easy to measure. Simply identify locations that are shielded from the 2 major exogenous factors, the Urban Heat Island Effect and Water Vapor. when you do that you basically isolate the effect of CO2 on climate. Here is a large list of stations that show no uptrend in warming with an increase in CO2. Some show a recent spike in Temperatures, but CO2 can’t cause any temperature increase for 80 years, and then suddenly cause warming post-2000 when there were fewer clouds over the oceans.

July 7, 2021 4:15 pm

Let’s see. ECS and TCS are meaningless. Actually sensitivity itself is meaningless because it assumes falsely that CO2 uniquely determines temperature, which is absurd. That is, there is no such number.

So why are we wading through these really long technical posts?

Reply to  David Wojick
July 7, 2021 4:45 pm

There may be a misunderstanding here. The climate responds to any radiative forcing. There will be both a transient and equilibrium response to any perturbation in the planetary energy balance. These metrics can apply to any radiative forcing agent. You need to know the RF in W/m2 of the agent in question, the climate sensitivity in C per W/m2, and the amount of time it takes for the climate system to respond to an energy imbalance. Talk of TCR and ECS does not in any way imply that CO2 uniquely determines temperature. The TCR and ECS is fun because there is little convincing evidence for selecting any one particular value for TCR and especially ECS due to the difficulty in estimating them. They may (and probably) are different for different eras even. That’s why we wade through these really long technical posts…hopefully there is something there for everyone to learn. I know I learn a lot from them.

John Tillman
Reply to  bdgwx
July 7, 2021 7:54 pm

Definitely correct that the effect on temperature of CO2 depends upon the age, epoch, period, era and eon.

GCMs don’t work for the Cretaceous, for instance. The cloud problem is even worse for that period. The oceans were so hot that the air contained fewer biological cloud condensation nuclei.

At most, present calculations of climate sensitivity could even theoretically work for the Pleistocene and Holocene, with solar radiation, tectonic plate arrangement and atmospheric chemistry similar to now.

Reply to  David Wojick
July 8, 2021 4:23 am

Because lukewarmists have mortgages and bills to pay too.

Reply to  leitmotif
July 8, 2021 9:46 am

It really is fascinating how trolls automatically assume that nobody can disagree with them for legitimate reasons.
I’m guessing it flows from their inability to form coherent arguments in the first place.

Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2021 2:25 pm


Oh, my little stalker appears when I summon him.

You said previously the GHE is real because CO2 is a greenhouse gas. One does not need to be a troll to contest that ridiculous statement.

Did you actually receive any education past the age of 16? Somehow, I don’t think so or you wouldn’t be so naive and set in your ways

It really is a stupid statement you make as there are only articles on WUWT that promote the effects of back radiation and ECS and no articles that contest these.

Let’s face it MarkW, you are a mug who is easily taken in by these purveyors of sophistry and junk science.

Get an education.

Thomas Gasloli
July 7, 2021 4:30 pm

“…the numbers are meaningless unless the models have previously been validated against the real world”
“…the climate effect of CO2 is too small to measure…”

Seriously, how does this field of “science” continue to exist at all? Does anyone in climate science pay any attention to what they are writing? Could anything similar be written in any other field of science, let alone one that is used as the basis of legislation? Sociology is more rigorous then this.

Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
July 7, 2021 9:08 pm

97% of all sociologists say that paying increasing taxes solves all the worldly problems facing modern civilizations. They’ve come a long way since throwing virgins into volcanoes and burning witches was the approved sociological solution.

July 7, 2021 4:31 pm

What do we know about CO2? Plants like it. Plants make oxygen and food for animals and humans utilizing CO2. CO2 is not destroying the environment or climate OR weather. If you are too stupid to understand these facts you need to be locked in a mental institution and medicated. Heavily.

John Shotsky
July 7, 2021 5:06 pm

Almost all of the Co2 emitted each year is completely natural. THAT is not going to double. Talking about doubling of CO2 is a red herring, because that can’t even happen.
Even if human caused CO2 is adding to the total, the earth is also responding by USING some of that CO2 to ‘grow things’, which is what CO2 does for plants. The simple fact that plants grow better with addition CO2 demonstrates that they are CO2 starved, and the additional CO2 is beneficial to them, and to us, since crops grow better.

Clyde Spencer
July 7, 2021 6:59 pm

… but the numbers themselves are meaningless unless the models have previously been validated against the real world.

Then they should probably be called something like a “Doubling Index.”

Paul Johnson
July 7, 2021 7:06 pm

“We didn’t matter in 1979, we don’t today, and if we did make a difference, we couldn’t measure it anyway.”
And even the models show that nothing we do going forward will have a measureable effect.

July 7, 2021 7:21 pm

I still don’t understand the bulldog fixation with CO2. As an earlier article said there are plenty of real problems to attend to. Why are people so easily duped into CO2 is the problem nonsense?

Reply to  JoeG
July 7, 2021 9:45 pm

Because it has proved easy to monetize and/or convert into political power in multiple ways.

July 7, 2021 7:30 pm

Much of this is very technical and over my head but some, I assume, simple questions occur to me. I hope this very knowledgeable group will help me understand.

  1. CO2 and temperature has varied greatly through the millennia, long before Mankind started adding it to the atm. . What were the natural drivers of the rise and fall of CO2 and temperatures? (Obviously, Ice Ages but what caused them to come and go before Mankind.)
  2. How much of the current increase in CO2 is due to Mankind and how do we know?
  3. Since Mankind’s CO2 is only 3 to 4% of atm. CO2, How do we know, assuming it’s true, that it’s Mankind’s addition of CO2 to the atm. responsible for causing warming?
  4. Earth warmed in the MWP and cooled during the LIA and Dalton Minimum. That was preindustrial, what caused that to happen? From what I understand, that’s happened before, so is CO2 due to industrialization the why is CO2 from Mankind now the only culprit?
  5. Mankind’s addition to atmospheric CO2 is minuscule by the numbers and, as a part of the atm., natural CO2 is a minuscule part. Natural ppm CO2 has increased in modern times without our help. Is that true? If, yes, what caused the natural increase?
  6. This is the question that gives me the most trouble. If Mankind’s CO2 emissions are so powerful, why are Nature’s emissions which are the vast majority of the CO2 in the atm., apparently, totally benign? Why do they now do nothing?
Reply to  Andy May
July 8, 2021 9:51 pm

2.      Unclear. Maybe half, or less.
3.      We don’t know this. In fact, it is unlikely humans have caused the warming

This is shamefully disinformative.

Reply to  KcTaz
July 7, 2021 10:01 pm

You can add to the list, why do scientists assume natural co2 emissions and sinks are in perfect balance? Certainly the climate hasn’t been perfectly balanced the millions of years before people figured out how to burn things.

July 7, 2021 9:19 pm

Here’s the real data we all understand since we’ve started using fossil fuels over 200 years ago.
In 1800 life expectancy was under 40 for all humans. Today it is 73 for all humans and everyone is wealthier as well.
In 1800 the world population was just 1 billion and today is 7.8 billion.
Africa is the poorest continent ( 53 countries) and in 1970 the population was 363 million, but today is 1.37 billion. African Life exp in 1970 was 46 and today about 63 and urban living is increasing. YET 1 billion more people.
Who could’ve forecast such an improvement in just 50 years?
In fact Ehrlich etc told us we were heading for disaster and starvation was only a decade or so in the very near future. The world population in 1970 was 3.7 bn and today we’ve increased this by another 4.1 bn and in just 50 years.
So where is Biden’s EXISTENTIAL THREAT or APOCALYPSE or EMERGENCY??? Again here’s Dr Rosling’s BBC video of 200 countries in 200 years and only takes about 5 minutes of your time. And over 100,000 data points. When will they WAKE UP?

Reply to  Neville
July 8, 2021 2:02 am

Yes Hans Rosling’s videos are an excellent antidote to Ehrlich-esque catastrophism.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Neville
July 8, 2021 5:24 am

“Pretty neat, huh?” – Yes, thanks for sharing. The only thing missing would have been a h/t to the adaptation of market economies in the sense that people were freer to give it a go, so to speak. His graphic clearly implies that this concept in market liberalism started in NW Europe and spread from there. Your mentioning of Erich is appropriate. He is a Malthusian idiot who doesn’t understand that all of us have the means, if allowed to utilize them, to innovate and create solutions to the natural problem of economic scarcity. So his failed prognostications came during a time when even overtly socialist societies were starting to “get it” that markets deliver the goods. Unfortunately, the forces of illiberalism seem to be prevailing today, meaning we could see a reversal of the economic progress displayed in the video during the next 100 years, or so.

July 7, 2021 9:23 pm

“the early Sun put out 70 to 80%” the energy it does now. How sure are scientists of that and what were the figures during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when things were estimated to be about 10°C warmer from what I remember reading. If the is known to be warming slowly as it evolves along the Main Sequence line of stars, aren’t we going to have warming no matter how low CO2 emissions are?

July 7, 2021 10:31 pm

What about the work from Nir Shaviv regarding TSI?

The calorimetric approach about sea level rise fluctuations linked to solar cycles was quite an interesting idea and the combination of two other approaches resulting in the same ball park of underestimated solar forcing very intriguing.

If you find the same pattern in completely different datasets it is most likely not an artifact.

July 7, 2021 10:36 pm

Andy, fundamentally you are looking at a low pass amplifier response. So for the amplification in 50 years the daily and annual amplifification will be too low. And TCR will be too high and ECS is irrelevant. Therefore looking at geological response cannot be used for a calculation of climate sensitivity this century.

July 8, 2021 12:39 am

Next, Idso considers the faint Sun paradox. The early Sun only put out 70% to 80% of the power it sends out today, but life evolved, and the world did not freeze. Idso plotted up the appropriate CO2 concentration, solar irradiance, and temperature values he could find at 500 million-year intervals and found that he still derived 0.4°C/2xCO2.

So the next time someone invokes the “dim sun” to explain the absence of warming disaster in previous times with thousands of ppm of CO2, or anomalies like the end Ordovician ice age with 4000 ppm CO2 – they are obliged to accept an ECS of 0.4 deg C / doubling.

Eric Vieira
July 8, 2021 1:44 am

“Scientists don’t prove things, scientists disprove ideas, that is how it works.”
That is an absolute perfect description of what science is about… It could be that
this citation will make its way…

Reply to  Eric Vieira
July 8, 2021 1:58 am

Karl Popper got there first – whom Andy was quoting.

July 8, 2021 1:56 am

Thanks Andy for these two excellent articles setting out the tension between observation and model based CO2 sensitivity estimates.

New research (in the context of artificial life) into emergent thermal homeostasis – something that Willis has also described with the role of tropical marine thunderstorms – could be very important. This is at the whole-system emergent level beyond individual forcings and feedbacks. It seems for example that you get emergent thermoregulation in a dissipative system containing two or more reaction diffusion systems with different enthalpies.

A Precarious Existence: Thermal Homeostasis of Simple Dissipative Structures | Artificial Life Conference Proceedings | MIT Press

The climate is not just a single system. There are multiple systems and they interact in complex ways with strong emergent features. The issue may become whether one chooses to believe in emergence.

The abstract of Bartlett and Bullock 2016:

We demonstrate the emergence of spontaneous temperature regulation by the combined action of two sets of dissipative structures. Our model system comprised an incompressible,
non-isothermal fluid in which two sets of Gray-Scott reaction diffusion systems were embedded. We show that with a temperature dependent rate constant, self-reproducing spot patterns are extremely sensitive to temperature variations. Furthermore, if only one reaction is exothermic or endothermic while the second reaction has zero enthalpy, the system shows either runaway positive feedback, or the patterns inhibit themselves. However, a symbiotic system, in which one of the two reactions is exothermic and the other is endothermic, shows striking resilience to imposed temperature variations. Not only does the system maintain its emergent patterns, but it is seen to effectively regulate its internal temperature, no matter whether the boundary temperature is warmer or cooler than optimal growth conditions. This thermal homeostasis is a completely emergent feature.

Tom Abbott
July 8, 2021 6:05 am

From the article: “The climate effect of human-emitted CO2 is too small to measure. Nature provides some hints about the general range of CO2 climate sensitivity; these posts discuss those that suggest the sensitivity might be below 1°C/2xCO2. The “consensus” climate scientists have been trying to observe or measure the impact of human CO2 emissions for decades and have failed. Model and laboratory measurements do not count, because natural feedbacks to changing CO2 concentration and to direct CO2-induced warming are so poorly understood, the total effect could be net warming or net cooling.”

That’s the heart of the matter, right there. This describes our understanding of the CO2 situation to date.

So when you hear people claiming human-derived CO2 is causing some weather event or other, you will know they don’t know what they are talking about, or they are trying to deliberately mislead you, because there is no way they can know what they say is true, given our current understanding.

Jean Parisot
July 8, 2021 10:04 am

I think probably everyone recognizes that the climate sensitivity to human emissions of CO2 and other man-made greenhouse gases are key to settling the great climate debate.”

The debate should be why don’t we want a warmer, wetter world with an abundant, CO2 enriched food chain or more fundamentally, why does scientific community continue to abandon process and follow popular consensus? Maybe that’s two debates.

Matthew Sykes
July 9, 2021 12:45 am

I see no reason to think that the forcing form CO2 takes centuries to take effect.

Every day the sun rises and sets and the surface temp responds in a matter of hours.

If the sun didnt rise each day the land surface would be iced over in a few days, and the oceans in a few years. (The sea here drops 8 C in the half year to march, its lowest. Put three such half years of low (zero) solar input together and it would be ice in a few years. )

I see no evidence for large thermal inertia, I see no no reason to suggest the land surface has an ECS and TCR that are more than a few hours different. And while the few kilometers near the coast will be kept warm longer in such a ‘if the sun went out’ situation, it accounts for only a small part of the land surface. Which is where we live, and what we are interested in.

For the land surface then ECS and TCR are so close as to be one and the same.

Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 9, 2021 7:56 am

The mass of the hydrosphere is 1.5e21 kg. The specific heat capacity is 4 kj/kg.C.

The mass of the cryosphere is 35e18 kg. The enthalpy of fusion is 333 kj/kg.

An Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) of +1.0 W/m2 is 16e18 kj/yr.

With that EEI it would take 375 years to raise the temperature of the ocean by 1C.

With that EEI it would take 725 years to melt out the ice sheets.

The thermal inertia of the climate system is HUGE!

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  bdgwx
July 10, 2021 4:42 am

You can throw all those figures around yet the fact is the surface responds to TODAYS forcing, not that from centuries ago.

The sun rises, the surface gets warm, it goes down, it gets cold. There is no thermal inertia beyond a couple of hours lag. THats it.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 10, 2021 7:47 am

A tad ignorant of meteorology it seems:
You forgot the oceans – which comprise 70% of the Earth’s surface – and that store ~ 93% of absorbed solar energy.
There are still nocturnal thunderstorms over tropical oceans FI.

The UK climate and and western European type ones in general (downwind of westerlies) benefits from ocean heating during winter.
The oceans are the Earth’s central heating system. Without the Gulf stream/NA Drift, Europe would be frigid in winter.

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  Anthony Banton
July 13, 2021 1:12 am

I am talking about the LAND surface, where we live. That is driven by insolation on the day. Todays high temperature on land is not due to GH gas from 2 centuries ago and not the sea surface temperature.

Reply to  Matthew Sykes
July 10, 2021 1:52 pm

To drive an EEI of +1.0 W/m2 down to 0 W/m2 requires that the top 200 meters of the ocean to warm by about 0.2C. That requires 58e18 kj of energy. The delivery rate at that EEI starts at 16e18 kj/yr but with a linear decay it would average 8e18 kj/yr. That means it would take 7 years to deliver enough energy to work off the EEI. But not all of this energy goes into raising the temperature and thus the emission by 1.0 W/m2. Some of this energy percolates down into the deep ocean and some goes into melting ice which doesn’t raise the temperature at all and leaves the EEI as-is. When you factor in these other distributions of the energy you get an EEI that sticks around for decades. That means the EEI created decades ago is still inducing temperature changes today.

BTW…the current EEI is about +0.8 W/m2 and may even be increasing. That means the forcing may actually be outpacing the climate system’s ability to work it off. If things continue at this pace it may require a melt out of the ice sheets to restore the balance. And as I noted above this would take centuries at a minimum.

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  bdgwx
July 13, 2021 1:14 am

Yet todays high temperature is driven by todays insolation, not GH gasses from centuries.

July 9, 2021 8:16 am

Rud Istvan & others

I had a careful look at the spectrum of CO2 again.
Note that I used Wien’s Displacement Law to calculate the energy related to each stretch of wavelength between 2 successive measurements. Wien’s law is explained here: 

When looking for the cooling properties of CO2 I added up all eV disturbed 0-6um coming from the sun and when looking for the warming properties I added up all eV disturbed 6-21um coming from earth.

I am finding almost equal results for sun and earth. In other words: CO2 cools as much as it warms.

Reply to  HenryP
July 9, 2021 8:29 am

I hope you can see my results in this file. Look for the K and L column on the top end of the file, first 3 rows.

Summary of analysis CO2 spectrum NIST (1).xlsx 

July 9, 2021 7:55 pm

The moment you involve the word “climate” in relation to a globally active *minor* GHG you’ve failed right off the logic train. Climate alterations are caused by regional to multiregional changes in weather that are by definition not global. A differential must be created to change climate, not a bias. This is just like the whole “feminism is humanism” argument: bullshit.

July 10, 2021 7:42 am

Rich Davies

I saw your comments in my e-mail box. I answer at the end of the thread because it takes too much time to figure out exactly where you said what. There is something you have to understand. There are giga tons and giga tons of carbonates in the oceans. Every year ca. 1000 billion tons of CO2 gets into the atmosphere around the equator due to heat:

HCO3- + UV/heat => CO2 (g) + OH –

Obviously, to balance, the same amount must dissolve again into the oceans.

CO2 (g) + 2H2O + coldness/ darkness = > HCO3-

Like I said (and somebody confirmed) on the south pole things did not change much. So that is OK. Unfortunately, on the north pole things look very much different. It got a lot warmer:comment image

(inter alia :The graph beneath the earth picture showing the increase
in temperature versus latitude prove that it is not CO2 causing warming, click on my name)

We are looking at an increase at the arctic seas by about 0.05C per annum over the past 40 years. Obviously something is brewing underneath the arctic. That means that every year less CO2 goes back into the solution. That to me explains the zig zag of the CO2 concentration noticed in Hawaii, always leaving about 2.2 ppm more in the atmosphere.

Now Keeling did an investigation where he wanted to show the loss of oxygen.
By me I think he came to about 0.6 ppm O2 loss per annum but he used an insane yardstick to measure the missing O2 (to throw me off guard?) . Mysteriously, his graphs end in 2017. I noticed somewhere on WUWT that the atmosphere is contracting. That would imho be due to the cold, and not as alleged, due to more GHG. It would explain why Keeling’s “missing O2” graphs end in 2017…..

Reply to  HenryP
July 10, 2021 8:10 am

Oh dear. an error in my equation!

CO2 (g) + 2H2O + coldness/ darkness = > HCO3-

must be

CO2 (g) + 2H2O + coldness/ darkness = > <= HCO3- + H3O+

Understand that these equations are what we call in equilibrium.

We have to consider that all waste water from humans, animals and factories is acidic. This means that if there is more acid going into the (nh) oceans, the reaction is going to the left. Hence, more CO2 stays in the atmosphere if the oceans. Must say, seems to me nobody thought about that, either.

William Haas
July 10, 2021 5:30 pm

A radiametric calculation of the climate sensitivity of CO2 not counting feedbacks performed decades ago came up with a value of 1.2 degrees C. A researcher from Japan pointed out that these calculations neglected to include the fact that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect. This cooling effect lowers the climate sensitivity of CO2 by more than a factor of 20, form 1.2 to less than .06 degrees C not including feedbacks. The primary feedback theory is that CO2 based warming will cause more H2O to enter the atmosphere which will cause even more warming, which will cause even more H2O to enter the atmosphere and so forth. Molecule per molecule, H2O is a stronger IR absorber than is CO2 so this feedback loop must be significant. However, what has been totally ignored here is that while H2O is the primary so called greenhouse gas, H2O is also a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere moving heat energy from the Earth’s surface which mostly involves some form of H2O, to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. The over all cooling effects of H2O are evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. So instead of supplying a distabling positive feedback, H2O supplies a stabilizing negative feedback which is in keeping with the demonstrated stability of the Earth’s climate over the eons enabling life to evolve since we are here. So instead of assuming a gain factor of 3 due to H2O feedback, it would be much more logical to assume a feedback factor of 1/3 yielding a climate sensitivity of CO2 of less than .02 degrees C, an amount that is too small to measure.

The AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere caused by trace gases such as CO2 with LWIR absorption bands. The problem with this is that such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere or no any planet in the solar system with a thick atmosphere. It can be shown that it is rather a convective greenhouse effect that is responsible for the insulating effects in real greenhouse and on all planets in the solar system with thick atmospheres. Hence the radiant greenhouse is science fiction as is the assumption that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is anything but zero. Remember that in terms of gases, all good absorbers are also good radiators so that for each LWIR absorber that a molecule of CO2 absorbs that same molecule emits a virtually identical photon for a net energy gain of zero. CO2 does not trap heat energy. If CO2 really effected climate, then the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused at least a measurable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. Hence the climate sensitivity of CO2 must be zero. ..

Tom Abbott
Reply to  William Haas
July 11, 2021 4:49 am

“So instead of supplying a distabling positive feedback, H2O supplies a stabilizing negative feedback which is in keeping with the demonstrated stability of the Earth’s climate over the eons enabling life to evolve since we are here.”

I think you are on to something.

Nick Schroeder
July 11, 2021 5:49 am

“The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth.””
Richard P. Feynman, “Six Easy Pieces”

The non-radiative heat transfer processes of the contiguous participating atmospheric molecules prevent the surface from upwelling LWIR as a BB and supplying the “extra” energy need by the GHGs to warm as advertised.

A Modest Experiment 063018 R2.jpg
July 11, 2021 12:14 pm

I find the Green House climate change theory ludicrous. The atmosphere has specific heat like all other substances. That is the primary heat capacity factor. There is not enough CO2 to raise sweat on a gnat’s ass.

The atmosphere largely acts like a fluid blanket and does not really trap heat, it impedes it. Look at the math and not the pseudoscience:

Isn’t it obvious, the real science has been suppressed, ignored for the purposes of political propaganda and agendas. The GHE is bunk, atmosphere’s do not act like green houses.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  Scottar
July 11, 2021 12:58 pm

A blanket obeys Q = U A dT not sigma epsilon A T^4.
The albedo cools the lit side, the thermal resistance warms the dark.
Like draperies across a large window in summer and winter.

Earth Heating PPt Video 021518.jpg