Climate Science 101: David Siegel

An excellent presentation from David Siegel

Cutting Through The Noise

May 25: This is a new, updated video after getting feedback on the previous videos. This is by far the best climate video I have ever made. It’s a 40-minute class on climate science.

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May 28, 2022 11:09 pm

Why would I need a course in climate science? I know all the climate science I need to know. The Man Made CO2 in the atmosphere is causing the Earth to heat up dangerously.
It’s all our fault. (Though mostly yours.)
And we are doomed.

Jeroen B.
Reply to  RoHa
May 29, 2022 1:52 am

You forgot your /sarc tag.

Dan Sudlik
Reply to  Jeroen B.
May 29, 2022 2:15 am

Anyone that doesn’t know sarc here is in the wrong web site 🤪

John Hultquist
Reply to  Dan Sudlik
May 30, 2022 10:00 am

Seems so, but look at this:
Poe’s law – Wikipedia

Reply to  RoHa
May 29, 2022 10:21 am

Not so fast….if you contribute some money and do as you are told…you may survive…you should join the fight against the fossil fuelers…act now…time issa wastin’

Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 1:20 pm

Headed to the bank now to sign over the entire account…sure hope I have a good enough ESG score.

comment image

Reply to  RoHa
May 29, 2022 1:14 pm


Michael Mann We are DOOMED.jpg
Reply to  RoHa
May 30, 2022 9:15 am

You forgot to say “DOOMED, I say, DOOMED!

john harmsworth
Reply to  RoHa
May 30, 2022 2:41 pm

Yup, everything that happens is weather if it’s good and climate if it’s bad. Every bad thing that happens makes everything far worse than we had previously imagined. Especially worrisome are the many, many things that “might” happen, or “could” happen, or will “probably” happen. If that isn’t bad enough, the things that might happen will undoubtedly make the things that will probably happen ever more worserer! OMG

Last edited 1 year ago by john harmsworth
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RoHa
May 31, 2022 1:56 pm

We need to stop using warmista terminology.
No one who is not a warmista should ever use the phrase “climate science”, without making it clear there is no such thing except as a made up collection of falsehoods by money grubbing liars and crooks.
Climate science?
Climate Science™?
At least then one does not need a /sarc tag to make it clear whether one is a deluded fool/liar/dupe, or a person with some intelligence, honesty, and critical thinking skills.

May 28, 2022 11:53 pm

Remember, People who want to lower your standard of living are not your friends.

May 29, 2022 12:08 am

It was all going well till about 20 minutes in when the author uses the wavenumber version of the plank function, with its known distortion, rather than the wavelength version which corresponds more closely to terrestrial conditions.

William Wilson
Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 12:34 am

Wavenumber is universally used in chemistry for ir absorption. It is a measure of frequency. Graphs using wavelength are everywhere but use a non linear scale and look much the same. In terms of gaseous ir abs this is the fundamental underlying principle of the greenhouse effect. Frequency is more closely associated with energy of course using h x nu.

Reply to  William Wilson
May 29, 2022 2:45 am

Applying Wein’s Law to calculate the radiation peak at 320 K.
(a) For wavenumber the peak occurs at 1.95 x T = 1.95 x 320 = 624 cm-1
(b) For wavelength the peak occurs at 2900 / T = 2900 / 320 = 9.06 um
Thus, the wavelength and wavenumber versions of Weins Law give different peak Planck blackbody emissions at 9.06 um and 16.0 um (624 cm-1 equivalent) respectively.

Clearly they can’t both be right.

Indeed, one of the secrets of Physics is that if emission is considered per unit wavenumber the peak corresponds to a wavelength 70% longer than the peak considered per unit wavelength. 

Every now and then, they give this to maths students to investigate because it implies that either h or c are maybe not constant, or depend of the method of measurement.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 4:38 am

My brain grasps wavelength better than frequency. Most optical components that you purchase deal with wavelength rather than frequency, as well

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 6:31 am

You are doing the sums wrong. This may help.

See the section on different forms.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
May 31, 2022 9:31 am

Yes. There are different forms and they give different results. That is the problem.

Climate studies often show LWIR in wavenumber units as that exaggerates the role of CO2.

The same graph expressed in the wavelength domain shows that it is not CO2 but Ozone (9.8 um) that coincides with the radiation peak.

Muller suggests using fractional bandwidth instead…

Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 7:51 am

“Clearly they can’t both be right”

Guess what, they are both right! The only thing that’s wrong is you.. 😉

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Geoff
May 31, 2022 2:06 pm


Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Geoff
May 31, 2022 2:11 pm

c is only a constant in a vacuum.

Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 2:13 am

Well it may not be perfect, but it was good to see a easy to understand explanation of what is a natural system of weather.

There is far too much of the “”Small print””version of explanations that us average persons, get “Brainwashed” into believing this rubbish.

One wonders how many trees are cut down to print all the books written on the subject “”Sarc”

If only the still wealthy energy providers coal, gas & Oil, would use a little of their money to buy media space, to promote the real facts on the weather.

Instead they appear to still be competing against each other.

Michael VK5ELL

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
May 29, 2022 3:18 am

“Instead they appear to still be competing against each other.”

As much as Wall Street & corporate leadership “angrify” me to begin with, the energy
sector does so 10X as much. They’re like young teenage boys who continuously rag on
each other instead of cooperating to present a unified front to stop the CAGW nonsense.
So I feel like cheering their attackers as they got what they deserved. Unfortunately, they
will never learn as corporations are theirs to be used for self-promotion to get ahead!

Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 7:49 am

“with its known distortion” – LOL

There is no distortion, unless you introduce it! Radiation / µm (wavelength) is a different scale as radiation / WN. It is that simple. That is why peak radiation occurs at different positions.

Robert B
Reply to  Geoff
May 29, 2022 1:46 pm

Is this a test? By definition, you can only get the same result if you use either wavelength or wave number. With two definitions, you can get a factor of six difference once you mix them up.

Peta of Newark
May 29, 2022 3:21 am
  • Temperature isn’t climate
  • How did the CO2 get into the volcanoes . Modern volcanoes produce CO2 by cooking subducted Limestone, in turn that being created by Life Processes. What were those processes 5 Billion years ago?
  • For the Ocean Acidifiers out there: Silicon Dioxide aka Sand, dissolves in water in very similar manner to Carbon Dioxide to make, no surprise, Silicic Acid. Why hasn’t all that sand turned the ocean to a boiling bath of acid?
  • Please tell me I didn’t hear ‘Henry’s Law’
  • Less than 7 minutes in and he’s used the word ‘complicated’ how many times?. Has this guy any clue on what he speaks?
  • So cosmic rays affect Climate – how does that correlate to temperature?
  • The Solar System, as it moves through the cosmos, moves through a humongous Dust Cloud. Bigger than the Oort. It’s chock full of plant food, nothing else it could be.
  • 7:11 and “Positive Feedback” I ain’t gonna last much longer
  • Good Grief – which feedback is The Feedback? The one the Emperor’s wearing by any chance?
  • Why do Cirrus emit very little. They are made of water and water has, to all intents, an emissivity figure of unity

Sorry that’s it. My head hurts and I’ve lost the will.
Is this guy any relation of Jim Master of Minutia Steele? The style and content are too similar.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 29, 2022 7:52 am

For the Ocean Acidifiers out there: Silicon Dioxide aka Sand, dissolves in water in very similar manner to Carbon Dioxide”

I would imagine that calcium carbonate dissolves as well. Turns out, Limestone seems to act as a buffer, so adding more CO2 won’t acidify the oceans, it will only produce more limestone.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 29, 2022 10:29 am

I see Peta the Obfuscator is still whining about the past drubbings he got for his misinformation.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jim Steele
May 31, 2022 3:53 pm

I usually am able to restrain myself from telling the jackasses what a jackass they are, in detail…but Peta is so obnoxious I find myself unable to refrain from making exceptions in /his/her/whatever’s case.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 29, 2022 10:35 am

The emissivity of water is not 1, but ~0.91..

Why do cirrus emit very little? Because they are very cold! At 220K even a black body will only emit 133W/m2. And of course cirrus are made of ice, not water.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 30, 2022 11:30 pm

“Sand dissolves in water”. Utter BS!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 31, 2022 3:44 pm

“Silicon Dioxide aka Sand, dissolves in water in very similar manner to Carbon Dioxide to make, no surprise, Silicic Acid. Why hasn’t all that sand turned the ocean to a boiling bath of acid?”

Is this a joke?
Is it possible someone with the ability to use the internet is not familiar with the concept of solubility? or more importantly, insolubility?
Oh, right…it is Peta.
Is saying dumb things and asking dumb questions a sport for you, or is it like a nervous tic?
Is it possible you have some neurological condition akin to Tourette’s Syndrome?
It is impossible that anyone does not know that quartz is insoluble.
It is in fact the least soluble of all the minerals that commonly occur in igneous rocks, and it is the second most common mineral in continental crust.
Continental crust is notable for consisting of huge masses of an intrusive igneous rock called granite. In fact, granite can be thought of as being what continents are mostly made of: Felsic igneous rocks that have cooled slowly due to being intrusive rather than extrusive, and so they have a notably large crystal size, as igneous rocks go.
Quartz is the actually the defining mineral in granite, and so there is also a lot of it in rocks that are formed by weathering or metamorphosis of granite.

Let’s go through some of the ways what you said is utterly incorrect:
-Sand: Sand is not SiO2. Sand is a particle size. 1/16 to 2 millimeters to be exact. In between silt and gravel.
-SiO2: What you are referring to as “sand” is the most commonly found mineral on beaches in most of the world’s continental margins, quartz.
It is what is left over after everything else has weathered away, dissolved, been absorbed by living organisms, or otherwise removed from the igneous rocks from which continents originate.
Quartz sand is what is melted to make glass, which is amorphous. When it is in the form of quartz crystals, like on a beach or river bottom or wherever, it is in crystalline form, a silicon-oxygen tetrahedra framework, SiO4. But since the atoms of oxygen are shared between two tetrahedra to form the crystalline lattice, the overall formula is SiO2.

Geologically, quartz (and sand which is mostly quartz rather than something else like little pieces of shells) is what is left over after rock is weathered because it has the lowest potential for weathering in what is called the Goldich Dissolution Series. It is very hard, at 7 on the Moh’s hardness scale, which along with being insoluble is why it is so resistant to weathering.

As for silicic acid, it is not made by dissolving SiO2 in water…it can only be made using anhydrous means.

As for why the sea is not boiling acid, why would anyone be stupid enough to think that dissolving a tiny amount of something that is insoluble in water, make the water hot?
It never accumulates because there are a gazillion forms of ocean life that quickly use any silica they can find to make their shells. Diatoms, sponges, Radiolaria, and many types of phytoplankton such as silicoflagellates.

And how many times do you need to be told about the difference between weak and strong acids, anyway?
And about crystalline structure. Silica will dissolve readily at a millimolar concentration.
Quartz is several times less soluble.
On the plus side, dissolving a bunch of silicic acid in all your water has been shown to reduce the chances of dementia, so you might want to give it a try.

Hey, did you seriously compare the dissolution of a gas in water, with that of little bits of one of the very hardest and least soluble of all rocks, and say they were the same? And you think your head hurts because of something someone else said?

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 31, 2022 4:02 pm

Oh, I forgot about this idiotic musing:
“How did the CO2 get into the volcanoes . Modern volcanoes produce CO2 by cooking subducted Limestone, in turn that being created by Life Processes. What were those processes 5 Billion years ago?”

So, you conclude in one of your comments that CO2 arrives on Earth from interstellar clouds of dust as the planet moves through space, but have no idea where it may have come from when the Earth first condensed from…wait for it…a giant dense cloud of interstellar dust?


Ulric Lyons
May 29, 2022 3:39 am

A colder AMO and more Arctic sea ice during little ice age conditions in Europe is a myth and is backwards. A warmer AMO and less Arctic sea ice is normal during each centennial solar minimum, as through the 1880-1890’s and through the last two decades. British naval ships observed a great loss of Arctic sea ice 1815-1817 in the Dalton Minimum. Tony Heller found an account of Danish ships sailing far into the Arctic in the deep 1120’s centennial solar minimum.
Low indirect solar forcing means an increase in negative North Atlantic Oscillation conditions, which warm the Arctic directly with warm humidity events due to a meridional jet stream, and negative NAO conditions drive a warmer AMO.

comment image

Reply to  Ulric Lyons
May 29, 2022 10:55 am

Hmmm, Ulric claims “more Arctic sea ice during little ice age conditions in Europe is a myth”???

 The negative NAO’s more meridonal jet stream affects different regions of the Arctic differently

“strong negative correlation is observed between the NAO scaled winter circulation and the subsequent April ice extent in the Nordic Seas, this correlation becomes positive for the Newfoundland–Labrador Sea.”

from Vinje (2000) Anomalies and Trends of Sea-Ice Extent and Atmospheric Circulation in the
Nordic Seas during the Period 1864–1998

Arctic sea ice since1860_Vinje_2000.jpg
Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Jim Steele
May 30, 2022 6:26 am

Negative NAO causing less Arctic sea ice isn’t a negative correlation. Negative NAO doesn’t drive a colder AMO.

Reply to  Ulric Lyons
May 29, 2022 2:19 pm

Icelandic sea ice records beg to differ.

May 29, 2022 3:51 am

Orbital mechanics?


“According to the researchers’ modelling, the movement of tectonic plates assisted a worldwide carbon conveyor belt, which in turn regulated the Earth’s climate.

“We are the first ones to actually explicitly model all the CO2 emissions and storage processes that are embedded in plate tectonics,” says first author Professor Dietmar Müller, coordinator of the University of Sydney’s EarthByte group.”

Evolution of Earth’s tectonic carbon conveyor belt

More modelled nonsense

Last edited 1 year ago by strativarius
Old Man Winter
May 29, 2022 4:01 am

This graph, if correct, shows just how CO2 “poor” we are today relative to the past. That’s quite the
opposite of what The Team™ is scaring us into believing! Oh, noes, we’re all going to die!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Old Man Winter
Martin Mason
May 29, 2022 4:50 am


Old Man Winter
May 29, 2022 5:01 am

I may have found an error in the video concerning the morning vs afternoon USHCN (1936) data. At
about 12:03, David states that the afternoon readings run about 2°F hotter than the morning temps,
which is what I would have expected. When looking at the temp scale on the left, the exact opposite
is true- 67.5°F for the am vs 65.6°F for the pm (red line peak in the 1930s).

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Old Man Winter
May 29, 2022 7:56 pm

Of course no such blanket statement can be made. Each station is independent of any other station. Maybe it was sunny in the morning on one day and cloudy in the afternoon after a cold front moved in? How would they know? Or do they just make blanket adjustments and not worry about such “trivial” things?

May 29, 2022 5:05 am

Bravo!!!! Finally people are pointing out that Visible Radiation, not outgoing LWIR warms the oceans. If CO2 isn’t warming the oceans, it isn’t warming the globe. The one thing people have yet to address is are the Quantum Mechanics of the CO2 molecule. 15 Microns is the only relevant wavelength associated with CO2 and the GHG Effect.15 Microns is associated with -80C. His is identified in this graphic. Note the Planck Black Body Curves. Incoming visible radiation is associated with 5525K, and earth is associated with 210 to 310K.
Note where CO2 absorbs on the spectrum, it is 15 microns. Follow that peak up to the Planck Curve and you hit near the peak of the 210K Curve. 210K is -63C. Use a black body calculator to find the peak temp of 15 microns and it is -80C. The graphic however is misleading, all those blackbody curves are the same size. The Photon energy in short wave light is much higher than the photon energy of long-wavelength light.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 11:46 am

It is so dismaying to see, yet again, another tired parroting of this totally ridiculous “15 microns is associated with -80C” pseudo-scientific excuse.

Yes, an object at -80C will have its peak emissions at 15 microns. But objects of all different temperatures also emit at 15 microns. Objects even far warmer than the earth’s surface can and do emit (and absorb) at 15 microns. See attached graph.

This so-called “argument” about 15 microns and -80C is completely bogus.

Black Body Spectra 15 Micron.JPG
Reply to  MGC
May 29, 2022 1:35 pm

MGC, you really don’t get this concept do you? CO2 isn’t a black body, it has a spike spectrum between 13 and 18 microns, peak 15. CO2 emits far far far less than a black body heated to -80C. We are talking about the thermalization of a very specific wavelength on a blackbody curve. 15 micron LWIR hits CO2, it experienced a temporary dipole through a scissor motion of its O molecules. The CO2 molecule then released the photon and the CO2 molecule goes back to having no dipole. We’re talking about molecule vibrations, not kinetic thermal energy. Yes, if you heat CO2 gas to room temperature it will emit a radiation curve like a black body…but that is due to the existing kinetic energy of the molecules, not the thermalization of 15 microns, which is what is relevant to the GHG effect. If you heat a flask of gas to room temperature it will emit 9.5 micron and other wavelengths, but it will do so with or without CO2.

Here, it might be worth learning the basics.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 9:17 pm

re: “We’re talking about molecule vibrations, not kinetic thermal energy”

Molecular vibrations are thermal kinetic energy. This is introductory college physics.

Sorry, but the one here who needs “learning the basics” is most certainly not me.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 9:19 pm

2nd thought on: “We’re talking about molecule vibrations, not kinetic thermal energy”

It always amazes me to see folks, whose comments clearly demonstrate that they don’t understand what they are talking about (molecular vibrations are thermal kinetic energy) imagining that they “know better” about climate change than expert scientific professionals from all over the world. Truly dumbfounding.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 5:45 am

David S

This is a good presentation with only one significant flaw which if corrected, will change the section of the sum of figures that make the “33 degrees”.

In the video you say that the current temperature, which we take to be the air temperature, is 33 degrees warmer than it would be if there were no greenhouse gases. But there is a switcheroo in that statement, copied from the IPCC.

First, terms. We are talking about the air temperature near the surface, say 2m above the ground. A great deal of the video is on this temperature so the definition is reasonable.

Second, the heating effect of GHG’s. The plain statement should be what the effect of GHG’s in the Earth’s atmosphere, meaning an atmosphere with and without GHG’s.

But you have compared (as the IPCC does) the air temperature of an atmosphere with GHG’s to a bare planet with no atmosphere at all!
That is not reasonable, nor is it the claim of what is being shown. Famously, people use the bare moon’s surface as the source of the “33 degrees cooler” number. The moon doesn’t have any air so there is no air temperature with which to compare. It only has a surface temperature.

That is apples-to-oranges. Comparing an atmosphere with GHG’s and no atmosphere at all, cannot give a valid comparison of the air temperature with and without GHG’s. To do that, you must consider what the air temperature would be with “air” but without GHG’s.

No one is doing that, least of all NASA or the IPCC. The reason is that as the GHG concentration approaches zero, the air temperature rises dramatically because it is heated by convection but has lost its ability to cool by radiation to space. The IPCC pretends there is no convective heating, and they do that by using an airless moon as the baseline average surface temperature. It is a glaring error.

At zero GHG content, the air would be very hot indeed. More than 80 C and possibly more than 100 depending on the albedo of the surface. There would be dramatic heating of the air during the day as the insolation heating the surface would about double, and the vertical convection currents would be very strong. The air would get warm and stay warm.

One cannot say that a GHG “adds temperature” of a certain amount without also saying how much cooling it provides by radiation. One cannot provide one half of the equation. Obviously GHG’s cool the atmosphere. Where is that in the “33 degree” discussion?

Without CO2 and water vapour the air temperature would by far warmer than it is now. Adding 50 ppm CO2 would provide a strong radiative cooling mechanism. The temperature would drop.

The IPCC provided this “warm earth, bare moon” comparison and it is invalid from the get-go.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 6:05 am

That is not reasonable, nor is it the claim of what is being shown. Famously, people use the bare moon’s surface as the source of the “33 degrees cooler” number. The moon doesn’t have any air so there is no air temperature with which to compare. It only has a surface temperature.”

That is a great point. GHG’s slows cooling, but radiation is far faster than conduction and convection which also slow cooling. With our without GHGs the atmosphere would still hold heat. So what is needed is the NET impact of GHGs. One could easily test that in a lab or even using MODTRAN.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 7:38 am

I just went and tested this using MODTRAN. Looking down from 70km using Tropical, the difference between an atmosphere with GHG and without GHG is a whopping 145.16 W/M^2. What does that mean? Add cumulous clouds to the mix and it drops to 53.79. Basically, adding all the GHGs to the atmosphere used in the MODTRAN system, they amount to little more than adding a cloud layer. Do clouds change atmospheric temperature by 33C? Nope. In any case, the real impact is from adding CO2. Going from 0 CO2 to 400 ppm CO2 adds 31.18 W/m^2 of -80C energy to the system. add H20 of default 1 and the W/M^2 changes by 90.84 W/M^2.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 6:43 am

One cannot say that a GHG “adds temperature” of a certain amount without also saying how much cooling it provides by radiation. One cannot provide one half of the equation. Obviously GHG’s cool the atmosphere. Where is that in the “33 degree” discussion?”

To expand upon that, wavelengths are associated with temperature. That is identified in the attached graphic. Note the peak of CO2 absorption is 15 micron and that lines up with the 210k Planck BB Curve. 210k is -63C. The energy radiated from CO2 has less energy than the energy radiated by ice. The question then becomes, can you warm coffee by adding ice. The claim is that CO2 adds energy to the system, which is true, but that energy represents very cold energy. Ice radiates IR as well, but adding it to coffee won’t warm it.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 11:36 am

It’s quite sad to see this ridiculous pseudo-scientific excuse “15 microns corresponds to very cold temperature, it can’t warm anything up” blindly parroted over and over and over again.

The peak emission of a very cold object will be at 15 microns. But objects of all different temperatures will also emit (and absorb) at 15 microns. Objects even much warmer than the earth’s surface will emit (and absorb) at 15 microns. See graph below.

This “argument” that 15 microns IR “can’t warm” the earth is totally bogus nonsense.

Black Body Spectra 15 Micron.JPG
Reply to  MGC
May 30, 2022 6:25 am

MGC says:”This “argument” that 15 microns IR “can’t warm” the earth is totally bogus nonsense.”

Ok I’m curious.

The red dot on the 300K curve represents how many watts per square meter?

How warm would it make the earth?

What emissivity do you use for CO2?

One last question. Where in the kinetic theory of gases would vibration fit in to tell me a temperature?

Thanks in advance.

Reply to  mkelly
May 30, 2022 9:02 am

mkelly –

“how much warmer” had already been calculated way back in the late 1800s, by a Nobel Prize winning scientist who was far more intelligent than anyone here at WUWT. Further researches since then have repeatedly verified that this initial rough estimate was essentially correct.

Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 6:07 am

So you make a claim that YOU cannot answer questions about.

Is this his book where he says an increase in temperature would wholly beneficial?

What about the other three questions?

Still curious.

Reply to  mkelly
May 31, 2022 10:02 am

mkelly –

Your questions were ignored because they didn’t make any sense.

Your first question is a total non-sequitur. A single point on that graph does not provide “watts per square meter”. Your question is as silly as asking “60 miles per hour is how many gallons of gasoline?”

Your second question … “How warm would it make the earth?” is also rather laughable. If the 300K curve represents the earth’s surface, then the earth’s surface would of course be at 300K.
Duh …

These are quite typical examples of the folly of WUWT folks, who clearly demonstrate by their comments that they don’t know what they are talking about, yet they still want to pretend that they “know better” than expert scientific professionals.

The last question about vibration and kinetic theory of gases at least makes some sense. Molecular vibration adds to the total kinetic energy of the molecules that comprise a gas. And maybe you’re familiar with the fact that temperature and molecular kinetic energy are related.

Last point: Arrhenius imagined that warming would be “beneficial” only because he thought it would occur over several thousand years time, not over just a few decades.

That’s like the difference between bringing a car going 60 mph to a complete stop via slow, gentle braking, versus bringing it to a complete stop by running straight into a brick wall.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 6:44 am

Deserts get hot (and cold overnight) precisely because of the dearth of water vapour in the atmospheric column. But the lack of GHGs means that radiation from the warm earth and ocean surfaces can travel directly to space, instead of from some effective altitude in the atmosphere. GHGs slow the passage of radiated surface energy to space, and effectively convert some of it to kinetic energy in atmospheric gases, thus warning them. There is of course the further complication of the adiabatic lapse rate and the effects of gravity.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
May 29, 2022 10:37 am

It doesn’t add up, if you go around the globe using the GISS Temperature website and identify only the desert locations that are void of H20, you find that there has been no warming in the deserts for over 150 years. Until GISS changed their data Alice Springs Australia was an ideal location going back to I believe 1880 and showing no warming.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
May 30, 2022 3:41 am

It doesn’t add…

When the desert is hot during the day it heats the air by convective heat transfer – touching. During the night retained heat in the sand continues to heat the air. So – where does this daily accumulation go eventually? It radiates to space because there are radiative gases in the air. Without these GHG’s the surface would continue to heat the air but there would be no cooling mechanism, day or night, save to transfer that energy back to the surface. As soon as a parcel of air cooled against the night surface, it would create a stratification, keeping the air above hot and buoyant. That inhibits cooling.

Only wind could break up that air structure. How hot would the whole atmosphere have be to lose to convection alone the energy gained during the day? Bloody hot.

The moon surface -33 C argument for a non-GHG atmosphere is nonsense. The moon doesn’t have an atmosphere so the comparison is meaningless. Literally.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 6:47 am

This is a graphic highlighting how little energy 15-micron LWIR represents. 15 Microns isn’t even on the chart. This is very very very low energy. Simply ask yourself if CO2 at 400 ppm, or 1 out of every 2,500 molecules in the atmosphere, vibrating with the energy of something -80C can materially impact the kinetic energy of the other 2,499 molecules? If you say yes, then apply that conclusion to H2O which can be 4 parts per 100, and absorbs far more of the IR spectrum.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 11:45 am

The claim “vibrating with the energy of something -80C” is false.

Objects of all different temperatures can and do emit at 15 microns. Even objects far warmer than the earth’s surface.

re: can (CO2 at 400 ppm) materially impact the kinetic energy of the other 2,499 molecules?

Yes, of course it can. It is proven scientific fact, known since the late 19th century. No different from the proven scientific fact that oxygen supports combustion.

Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 6:10 am

Proven scientific fact?

Got a reference?

Reply to  mkelly
May 31, 2022 10:23 am


I am shocked, shocked! to find that WUWT has apparently never provided you with such references!

You could start with Arrhenius 1896. As stated before, known since the late 19th century.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 8:09 am

The 33 degree number is misleading since without GHG’s (like water vapor) there would be no clouds or ice and far less reflection. Rather than the 255K often assumed, the increased solar energy based on the albedo of the Moon would result in an average temperature closer to 271K. The 33 degrees of warming arising from GHG’s and clouds is impossible to separate from the 16 degrees of cooling caused by clouds and ice.

Regarding CO2 cooling the atmosphere, the only heat they remove is the heat they absorb and the only new heat absorbed is emitted by the surface. In addition, the N2/O2 in the atmosphere has an emissivity close to zero and doesn’t emit enough radiant energy to re-energize ground state GHG molecules in any significant amount, nor do their collisions with GHG molecules. Only the photons released as a GHG returns to the ground state has the energy required to re-energize another ground state GHG.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 8:41 am

CrispinPP….”as the GHG concentration approaches zero, the air temperature rises dramatically because it is heated by convection but has lost its ability to cool by radiation to space.”

You need to rethink your understanding of this. N2 and O2 are transparent to IR….so with no GHG the ground warmed by the sun would see directly to outer space at -270 K and thus COOL more effectively. On the other hand, there would be no clouds since water is a greenhouse gas, so the planetary Albedo would be about .13 like the Moon instead of .3 like the Albedo of Earth (which is roughly the average of ocean at .1 and cloud at .7) absorbing sunlight and WARMING more effectively.
Then there is the atmospheric lapse rate issue that results from a combination of non-condensable GHG, convection, and water vapor releasing its heat at altitude, and SW UV absorption (to simplify).
The radiative temperature of Earth is 255 K using 240 W/sq.M as the heat input, but 240 has already been reduced by 30% planetary Albedo to simplify the calcs for 1st year physics students. The average surface temp is 288 K from averaging thousands of surface thermometer readings (there’s the 33 C diff between 255 and 288 that everyone talks about)…..whereas with no GHG the surface temp IS the radiative temp, as the atmosphere is transparent to IR. The interplay between Albedo, clouds, ocean, lapse rate, IR transmission is complex in the real world.
Your conclusion is not incorrect…. for a rotating rocky GHG-free planet at the distance of the Earth from the Sun. That rocky planet’s surface would be warmer than Earth due to its cloudless Albedo of about .13 like our moon reflecting away much less Sunlight.
But saying GHG causing cooling is a bit wrong…increased cloud cover’s increasing effect on albedo is what causes the cooling.

Last edited 1 year ago by DMacKenzie
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 29, 2022 8:59 am

As an example of the jackpot one can get into…..if you use 340 W/sq.M as “Sunlight In” and black body absorption (no reflection) the radiative temperature works out to be 278 K. This is below Earth’s 288 K but higher than it’s radiative temp of 255 K.

J Cuttance
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 29, 2022 6:04 pm

A radiative temperature of 255K where? The surface or half way up the atmosphere?

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 30, 2022 3:20 am


Thank you for your observations and thoughts. Something to remember about the surface temperature is that the IPCC uses averages and that is misleading.

The surface temperature of the moon in direct sunlight is far above the average. On Earth with a GHG-free atmosphere the same would happen, except the air would be heated by the illuminated surface. That raises the air temperature during the day. This is quite different from what happens on the moon. The air would “cool” the surface by carrying away the heat, well, some of it. It would do it in cells like a set of thunderstorms. Adrian Bejan explains the math and cell structures that emerge naturally when a plate heats a fluid from underneath.

There is no doubt the air would be heated by the hot side surface. So obviously that heat will not immediately be lost to radiation as per the moon.

Next, what happens to that hot air? It will rise and move around on Day 1. The next day it will be further heated – it didn’t cool at night, by definition it has no radiative capacity. It will keep getting hotter, and certainly hotter than 15 C. The illuminated surface would be 100 or 120 C – remember removing GHG’s about doubles the insolation reaching the surface. With them, the surface already exceeds 60 C.

If the GHG-free air temperature is higher than now, clearly GHG’s have a net cooling effect at certain (low) mmm concentrations. When the air can directly cool to space by radiation, at some concentration the warming effect will be maximally offset, after which increasing it further will produce warming. Where is that nadir? I don’t know. But the air temperature without GHG’s will be well above the canonical -33 C.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 29, 2022 11:39 am

re: “One cannot say that a GHG “adds temperature” of a certain amount without also saying how much cooling it provides by radiation. One cannot provide one half of the equation. Obviously GHG’s cool the atmosphere. Where is that in the “33 degree” discussion?”

The 33 degrees is the net of all warming and cooling influences.

J Cuttance
Reply to  MGC
May 29, 2022 2:13 pm

Yes, Svante Arrhenius was a genius to have worked all those factors out in 1889.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MGC
May 30, 2022 8:37 pm

288 W/m^2 measured at the surface minus 255 W/m^2 measured at TOA equals 33 W/m^2. Dick with the numbers all you want, but the results will always equal 33 W/m^2 for the atmosphere as a whole due to the action of condensing (H2O) and non-condensing GHGs, clouds (related to H2O) and other minor players. The continuous denying the reality of GHG impacts by using made-up mathematics on WUWT grows tedious.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 31, 2022 6:11 am

Not GHG just CO2.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 31, 2022 8:53 am

No surprise to find that not one smidgen of Dave’s “information” is correct.

1- It’s not 288 w/m2 at the surface

2- It’s not 255 w/m2 at the top of the atmosphere

3- The difference between them is not “constant”

4- The difference between them is not the atmospheric warming in degrees C

Yes, Dave, “using made-up mathematics on WUWT”, as you have rather comically just demonstrated, does indeed grow quite tedious.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 10:30 am

Mea culpa, MGC. I should have written that measurements of radiation (W/m^2) emitted at the surface and TOA are used to estimate average temperatures in Kelvin (288 K and 255K, respectively) at those locations. Its the result of typing faster than the brain is working, not made-up mathematics. Reasonable people can discern the difference.

Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 30, 2022 1:52 am

You bring up some excellent points..except that GHGs contribute to cooling. They absorb radiated energy and slightly delay its eventual release to space, but that is energy that was not trasmitted to the non-GHGs anyways via coducttiin/convection, therefore did not contribute to the warmig of the non-GHGs/atm anyway….Non-GHGs would still cool by radiaiting energy as they collide with each other-“frictiional losses” if you will.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  guidoLaMoto
May 30, 2022 3:32 am

Non-GHG gasses cannot cool by radiation. That has to be given some limits because if you heat a gas enough it will glow, which is radiation. It should be said that non-GHG’s like nitrogen, argon and oxygen have essentially no radiative effects at the typical temperature of the Earth’s surface.

Collision energy transfer is convection heat transfer. That happens to be the name of one of Adrian Bejan’s books. The only way for a hot GHG-free atmosphere to cool is to transfer the heat back to the surface at night when it radiatively cools below the air temperature. When the system is in balance so that net-in = net-out the air temperature will be far, far higher than it is now.

The reason this scenario is so far from the IPCC’s -33 C scenario is because 1) they are comparing the current atmosphere with an airless moon and 2) they fail to include the cooling effect of adding GHG’s.

If you paint a grey cast iron wood stove black, will the surface temperature of the stove go up or down? It will radiate more heat and go down

The IPCC”s analysis is profoundly flawed.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 30, 2022 8:40 pm

Crispin, why don’t you just subtract 255 from 288 and quit all this worrying about the IPCC CliSciFi?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
May 31, 2022 11:12 am

As an aside, it is my layman’s understanding (although I did take a full year of University thermodynamics) that all radiation released by any material, not replaced by outside radiation, cools the material in the absence of some mechanical action enabled by energy transfers. Were the radiation released by the surface of the Earth not replaced, the Earth’s surface would cool. Similarly, the radiation released at TOA, if not replaced by the Sun, would cool the entire Earth system, surface and atmosphere.

Since the surface of the Earth is at a higher temperature than that at TOA (K), the surface is releasing more radiation than that at TOA (W/m^2). It is all the myriad actions within the atmosphere that make up the 33K average difference between surface and TOA average temperatures and their associated radiation levels.

Crispin (and MGC) I’m happy to leave the details up to qualified atmospheric physicists, especially Dr. William Happer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at Princeton University, a specialist in modern optics, optical and radiofrequency spectroscopy of atoms and molecules, radiation propagation in the atmosphere, and spin-polarized atoms and nuclei. He paints a different, scientific, picture than do either of you. Guess who I believe. Read Dr. Happer and Dr. Wijngaarden’s recent work.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 31, 2022 2:08 pm

Dave says that Happer “paints a different picture”

As you suggested, Dave, I read Happer and Wijngaarden’s 2020 paper “Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on the Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases”.

They admit that, of course, CO2 produces greenhouse warming. Their value for the warming due to doubling CO2 alone (absent any feedbacks) is much the same as what everyone else has found. They give an overall warming (climate sensitivity) value of 2.3 degrees C for a doubling of CO2, for the (closest to real world) fixed relative humidity, constant lapse rate scenario.

It is important to point out that their work is not really representative of total global reality because it considers the clear sky scenario only. So I’m not sure how much stock can be put in their results. After all, a large part of the atmosphere is not “clear sky”.

In comparison, the latest IPCC AR6 range of climate sensitivity estimates is 2.4 to 4.0 C. Happer and Wijngaarden’s [not genuinely representative value] is a smidge under the low end of the IPCC range.

If Happer is “painting a different picture”, it is hard to find it in that paper. The ECS value is within rounding error of the bottom end of the IPCC range.

Final point: because their study does not consider a large part of real world conditions, it would only be rational to be wary of their lowball value, and to be much more inclined to accept the IPCC range.

Captain climate
May 29, 2022 6:18 am

Excellent video. We should all get 10 people we know to watch it all the way through.

May 29, 2022 6:22 am

Excellent video, thank you Mr. Siegel.
One suggestion: make a 2nd version which is longer but talks in more detail on the data behind the various major science topics of note. ITCZ, for example, as you note – I had never heard this term even once before.

Reply to  c1ue
May 29, 2022 1:43 pm


John Hultquist
Reply to  c1ue
May 30, 2022 10:20 am
May 29, 2022 7:44 am

Wonderful video. I did some research regarding some of the comments below. The NET impact of GHGs to the atmosphere is relatively easy to calculate. Using 0 mbars of H20 and then 20 mbars adds 93.1 W/M^2 (use 1.1 in the water vapor scale). If we use that as the back ground and remove CO2 the W/M^2 changes by 30.62. In other words CO2 changes temperatures by a fraction of a humid day, and far far far less than 33C.

May 29, 2022 7:45 am

For me, an important but understated comment came about 7 minutes into the video. Siegel warns that there is no such thing as a “balance of nature.”

I think that not enough effort is made by the scientifically literate to counter this notion. You can detect it implicitly as a premise in what most environmentalists say. They never say it aloud, and so they don’t feel obligated to provide a basis for it in science. They feel that it should just be understood as a given, that there is a balance of nature and that the human race is upsetting that balance.

I have tried to find any evidence at all for a balance of nature in science. This topic can be found in old literature dating back to the Nineteenth century, but it became increasingly controversial. According to John Kricher, in his book “The Balance of Nature: Ecology’s Enduring Myth,” by the 1950’s the idea of a balance of nature was no longer credible in ecology. But a cult of Mother Earth arose in the 1960’s counter-culture and resurrected it–not as science, but as ideology. And today the phrase “balance of nature” is increasingly repeated as a truism by the unthinking.

May 29, 2022 8:15 am

We have yet to learn much useful from the tuned and parameterized brute force computer models.

In fact, our understanding has probably been hindered by the assumption that we can realistically compute all relevant physical processes. 

It has been a false promise of computing to rely the GCMs. Borne out of excitement from the 1980s, climate science has been disrupted ever since. Tuning and parameterization. The arrogance should give anyone a headache.

In doing so, we lose sight of the fundamental constraints. We lose sight of what really is Climate 101.


Hint: don’t get lost in the weeds about spectral signatures.

Reply to  JCM
May 29, 2022 9:11 am

Relevant topics that we ignore while working within the framework imposed by optical radiation physicists:

1) What is climate? scales in time and space; ecosystems; the earth system.
2) What is the atmosphere? air, mass, volume, heat capacity, water cycle, turbulence.
3) What is heat? modes of diffusion and dissipation of energy in the system.

In climate 201 then the fundamental questions that remain for the thermodynamic processes can be posed. Geophysical fluid dynamics.

Perhaps in climate 301 we can then philosophical about climate ‘change’. As an aside, to touch on the politicization of the issue and historical perspectives.

In 401 we can get into methods of modeling. For which there are many.  Practical and theoretical limitations of present modeling frameworks. Pros and cons of complexity.

After which, the students are off to the races well equipped with an introductory perspective.

Reply to  JCM
May 29, 2022 4:12 pm


The most important physical process for limiting Earth’s energy uptake is deep convection. It is poorly understood. It is the reasons open ocean surface are limited to 30C.

No climate model incorporates the physics of this climate critical process. Until they can, they will remain clap-trap.

There has been no due diligence of climate models. In the climate modelling world, the benchmark is climate models – consensus rules. Measured data is an absurd concept in this artificial world.

No climate model comes close to replicating the recorded temperature or temperature trend in the Nino34 region of the Pacific – a region known to have wide influence across the globe.

Bruce Cobb
May 29, 2022 9:45 am

Despite perhaps a flaw here or there, it is an excellent video.
Mr. Burns concurs:

May 29, 2022 10:38 am

This is a bit off-topic, but this video and the videos by Jim Steele should be sent to the lawyer of the HSBC ANalysts that just got suspended. Here is why.

This may be the Gift we have been waiting for!!!! In this video Stuart KIrk challenges the previous 2 analysts to put up or shut up. HSBC allowed the other 2 analysis to promote indefensible positions and suspended the guy that actually provided evidence to back his position. In a court of law, HSBC will have to defend what the other 2 analysts said, and refute Stuart Kirk. That won’t happen. My bet is they will settle, and Kirk will be the winner.

This also puts all of ESG at risk. No one will promote a known fraud in the financial world. Their fiduciary risks make it highly unprofitable to promote a known lie.

Reply to  CO2isLife
May 29, 2022 11:35 am

This is the other analyst that he challenged. It should be like shooting fish in a barrel. How waisting all that money is good for share holders is way beyond me.

Andy Pattullo
May 29, 2022 11:48 am

Thank you. This is a superb presentation that is comprehensive, easy to follow and objective. As many people as possible should view it.

May 29, 2022 12:04 pm

The GHE section could be a little bit more on point. It is correct that the GHE in the antarctic winter is so to say reversed, or negative. This fact alone rules out “back radiation” (which can not turn negative) has anything to do with it. The traditional “energy budget” diagram however suggests exactly that. Not the only reason it is wrong.

Notably the diagram claims 117% of surface emissions, of which 12% pass through the atmospheric window. So 105% would go into the atmosphere. The atmosphere itself would emit 100% “back down”. Apart from this 5% difference, surface and atmosphere only do what everything does – they trade off radiation. It is something totally trivial and has nothing to do with the GHE. Also these are not two opposing energy flows, which is logical non sense, but just radiation pressure, totally dependent on the given temperature.

An accurate discription of the GHE only requires a cut through the atmosphere, temperature on the x-axis and altitude at the y-axis to show the lapse rate. Add the average emission altitude and that’s all.

Surface emissions are not 398W/m2 (=340*117%) btw. The emissivity of the surface is about 0.91 and so surface emissions are about 355W/m2 only.

May 29, 2022 1:03 pm

Absolutely magnificent!

May 29, 2022 3:57 pm

He got precession cycles right.

He got cirrus cloud wrong.

Once he started on GHE I knew he had little idea of how cloud persistence over tropical oceans limit the energy input. Open ocean surface cannot exceed 30C – end of story.

Martin Mason
Reply to  RickWill
May 30, 2022 12:11 am

There is never an end of story.

Mike McMillan
May 29, 2022 6:26 pm

Good video.

A while back, I got a whole heap of negativity when I suggested that the greenhouse effect did not apply over the oceans, which cover ~70% of our planet. At 30:34 into the video, Siegel says:

“If you remember the section on emissions, no greenhouse gasses can affect ocean temperatures. Infrared coming from the atmosphere can’t penetrate the ocean. This shows an increase in thermal energy coming directly from the sun, nothing to do with CO2.”

This is an important point, as the climate models rely on the GHE to amplify CO2’s negligible incremental effect on temperature.

May 30, 2022 12:04 am

Your basic error is that the video discusses only IR
Carbon dioxide, and most other gases, absorbs infrared radiation emanating from Earth – unlike the major gases nitrogen and oxygen – that it is therefore a Greenhouse Gas … in fact it has even been (usually, and incorrectly) defined as such!
The correct definition of Greenhouse Gas is one that absorbs heat, and so raises Earth’s atmospheric temperature … which is what we are actually concerned with. Most folk haven’t realised that IR is not synonymous with heat but is only one means of transmitting heat They haven’t realised the obvious, that as all gases absorb heat – one way or another, such as conduction and convection including winds – they are ALL Greenhouse Gases, with carbon dioxide at less than 0.05% of the atmosphere being an insignificant player.

AGW inherently reckons that non-IR gases such as nitrogen and oxygen cannot absorb heat! Such an idiotic idea is never actually stated.

Mike Lewis
May 30, 2022 1:34 am

As a Chemistry graduate with some knowledge of spectroscopy, can I have an answer to what is, to me a simple question : if the spectroscopy argument, starting at about 17m20s, is correct then no increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide or methane can have anything other than a minimal effect on temperatures. If this is correct then all else is a side show. If it is not correct then what am I missing ? I have read the Poyet e-book and it seems to confirm the spectroscopy argument. If that is the case then all other discussion can only be about natural causes – El Nino, PDO etc.

May 30, 2022 7:25 am

But there is increasingly little doubt that human-caused warming is heating ocean-surface temperatures, which fuel big storms. The result appears to be stronger hurricanes.

I’m pretty sure the quantum physics of the CO2 Molecule will debunk that claim. Any physicist in cross-examination will be able to destroy that claim, or they can simply show Jim Steele’s or David Seigel’s video. This whole house of cards relies on the jet stream keeping clouds from forming over the oceans and the oceans to continue to warm. Once the PDO or other ocean oscillation changes that, temperatures will start falling again.

May 30, 2022 8:31 am

Hi David Segal

Many thanks for the great presentation.

I have been particularly concerned about the fact the CO2 is pretty well saturated at ~400ppm in its warming effect. This immediately leads to the devastating result for alarmists that any CO2 Global temperature effect from now on is an entirely non-existent problem.

I wish we could get this point across to the policy makers who are busy undermining and self-harming the economies of the Western world for no good reason, except possibly for the geopolitical benefits to Russia and China.

I too have been looking at this amazing deception for some15+ years.

You may find this graphic helpful I hope so.

Other posts on my site may also be useful for you.

I was surprised that you did not mention the short term ~50 year effects that might be expected from changes in current Solar activity

I many thanks for the great effort

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 13.34.31.png
May 31, 2022 7:30 am

Very well done.
I think clouds, which are condensed matter, do far more in the retention of thermal energy in the atmosphere. than H20 vapor by orders of magnitude. They also reflect the input significantly. Add the two together and you have a major key to atmospheric and global warming.

Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 1:51 pm

Anyone who is trying to make a skeptical case ought to stop saying things like “It is getting warmer, and no one really disputes that”, or any words to that effect.
Plenty of people dispute it.
Saying it is getting warmer without providing prior context is highly misleading, and is all anyone convinced by warmistas of imminent Armageddon needs to hear. They will stop listening at that point and tune everything else out. Besides for that, to make a blanket statement that Earth is warming is arguably false, because of several things not said.
Where is it warming? Not everywhere, and in some places it is cooling.
Over what time period? One can find evidence of warming in some spots and at some time scales, but the opposite, cooling, at other spots and other time scales.

I only got a couple of minutes into the video and had to stop to make this comment, because by this point…the point of saying it is warming and no one really disputes that…it is already wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas McGinley
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