Al Gore and Bill Nye FAIL at doing a simple CO2 experiment

Replicating Al Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment (from the 24 hour Gore-a-thon) shows that his “high school physics” could never work as advertised

Readers may recall my previous essay where I pointed out how Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 Video, used in his “24 hours of climate reality”, had some serious credibility issues with editing things to make it appear as if they had actually performed the experiment, when they clearly did not. It has taken me awhile to replicate the experiment. Delays were a combination of acquisition and shipping problems, combined with my availability since I had to do this on nights and weekends. I worked initially using the original techniques and equipment, and I’ve replicated the Climate 101 experiment in other ways using improved equipment. I’ve compiled several videos. My report follows.

First. as a refresher, here’s the Climate 101 video again:

I direct your attention to the 1 minute mark, lasting through 1:30, where the experiment is presented.

And here’s my critique of it: Video analysis and scene replication suggests that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project fabricated their Climate 101 video “Simple Experiment”

The most egregious faked presentation in that video was the scene with the split screen thermometers, edited to appear as if the temperature in the jar of elevated CO2 level was rising faster than the jar without elevated CO2 level.

It turns out that the thermometers were never in the jar recording the temperature rise presented in the split screen and the entire presentation was nothing but stagecraft and editing.

This was proven beyond a doubt by the photoshop differencing technique used to compare each side of the split screen. With the exception of the moving thermometer fluid, both sides were identical.

difference process run at full resolution – click to enlarge

Exposing this lie to the viewers didn’t set well with some people, include the supposed “fairness” watchdogs over at Media Matters, who called the analysis a “waste of time”. Of course it’s only a “waste of time” when you prove their man Gore was faking the whole thing, otherwise they wouldn’t care. Personally I consider it a badge of honor for them to take notice because they usually reserve such vitriol for high profile news they don’t like, so apparently I have “arrived”.

The reason why I took so much time then to show this chicanery was Mr. Gore’s pronouncement in an interview the day the video aired.

His specific claim was:

“The deniers claim that it’s some kind of hoax and that the global scientific community is lying to people,” he said. “It’s not a hoax, it’s high school physics.” – Al Gore in an interview with MNN 9/14/2011

So easy a high school kid can do it. Right?

Bill Nye, in his narration at 0:48 in the video says:

You can replicate this effect yourself in a simple lab experiment, here’s how.

…and at 1:10 in the video Nye says:

Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.

So, I decided to find out if that was true and if anyone could really replicate that claim, or if this was just more stagecraft chicanery. I was betting that nobody on Gore’s production team actually did this experiment, or if they did do it, it wasn’t successful, because otherwise, why would they have to fake the results in post production?

The split screen video at 1:17, a screencap of which is a few paragraphs above shows a temperature difference of 2°F. Since Mr. Gore provided no other data, I’ll use that as the standard to meet for a successful experiment.

The first task is to get all the exact same equipment. Again, since Mr. Gore doesn’t provide anything other than the video, finding all of that took some significant effort and time. There’s no bill of materials to work with so I had to rely on finding each item from the visuals. While I found the cookie jars and oral thermometers early on, finding the lamp fixtures, the heat lamps for them, the CO2 tank and the CO2 tank valve proved to be more elusive. Surprisingly, the valve turned out to be the hardest of all items to locate, taking about two weeks from the time I started searching to the time I had located it, ordered it and it arrived. The reason? It isn’t called a valve, but rather a “In-Line On/Off Air Adapter”. Finding the terminology was half the battle. Another surprise was finding that the heat lamps and fixtures were for lizards and terrariums and not some general purpose use. Fortunately the fixtures and lamps were sold together by the same company. While the fixtures supported up to 150 watts, Mr. Gore made no specification on bulb type or wattage, so I chose the middle of the road 100 watt bulbs from the 50, 100, and 150 watt choices available.

I believe that I have done due diligence (as much as possible given no instructions from Gore) and located all the original equipment to accurately replicate the experiment as it was presented. Here’s the bill of materials and links to suppliers needed to replicate Al Gore’s experiment as it is shown in the Climate 101 video:



QTY 2 Anchor Hocking Cookie Jar with Lid

QTY2 Geratherm Oral Thermometer Non-Mercury

QTY 2 Globe Coin Bank

QTY 2 Fluker`s Repta Clamp-Lamp with Ceramic Sockets for Terrariums (max 150 watts, 8 1/2 Inch Bulb)

QTY2 Zoo Med Red Infrared Heat Lamp 100W

QTY1 Empire – Pure Energy – Aluminum Co2 Tank – 20 oz

QTY 1 RAP4 In-Line On/Off Air Adapter

QTY 1 flexible clear plastic hose, 48″ in length, from local Lowes hardware to fit RAP4 In-Line On/Off Air Adapter above.


Additionally, since Mr. Gore never actually proved that CO2 had been released from the CO2 paintball tank into one of the jars, I ordered a portable CO2 meter for just that purpose:

It has a CO2 metering accuracy of: ± 50ppm ±5% reading value. While not laboratory grade, it works well enough to prove the existence of elevated CO2 concentrations in one of the jars. It uses a non-dispersive infrared diffusion sensor (NDIR) which is self calibrating, which seems perfect for the job.

carbon dioxide temperature humidity monitorData Sheet


Once I got all of the equipment in, the job was to do some testing to make sure it all worked. I also wanted to be sure the two oral thermometers were calibrated such they read identically. For that, I prepared a water bath to conduct that experiment.

CAVEAT: For those that value form over substance, yes these are not slick professionally edited videos like Mr. Gore presented. They aren’t intended to be. They ARE intended to be a complete, accurate, and most importantly unedited record of the experimental work I performed. Bear in mind that while Mr. Gore has million$ to hire professional studios and editors, all I have is a consumer grade video camera, my office and my wits. If I were still working in broadcast television, you can bet I would have done this in the TV studio.


STEP 1 Calibrate the Oral Thermometers

Here’s my first video showing how I calibrated the oral thermometers, which is very important if you want to have an accurate experimental result.

Note that the two thermometers read 98.1°F at the conclusion of the test, as shown in this screencap from my video @ about 5:35:

STEP 2 Calibrate the Infrared Thermometer

Since I plan to make use of an electronic Infrared thermometer in these experiments, I decided to calibrate it against the water bath also. Some folks may see this as unnecessary, since it is pre-calibrated, but I decided to do it anyway. It makes for interesting viewing


STEP 3 Demonstrate how glass blocks IR using  the Infrared Thermometer

The way an actual greenhouse works is by trapping infrared radiation. Glass is transparent to visible light, but not to infrared light, as we see below.

Image from:

Mr. Gore was attempting to demonstrate this effect in his setup, but there’s an obvious problem: he used infrared heat lamps rather than visible light lamps. Thus, it seems highly likely that the glass jars would block the incoming infrared, and convert it to heat. That being the case, the infrared radiative backscattering effect that makes up the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere couldn’t possibly be demonstrated here in the Climate 101 video.

By itself, that would be enough to declare the experiment invalid, but not only will I show the problem of the experimental setup being flawed, I’ll go to full on replication.

Using the warm water bath and the infrared thermometer, it becomes easy to demonstrate this effect.

Since Mr. Gore’s experiment used infrared heat lamps illuminating two glass jars, I decided to test that as well:


STEP 4 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using the same equipment – duration of 10 minutes

At 1:10 in the Climate 101 video narrator Bill Nye the science guy says:

Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.

Since this is “simple high school physics” according to Mr. Gore, this should be a cinch to replicate. I took a “within minutes” from the narration to be just that, so I tried an experiment with 10 minutes of duration. I also explain the experimental setup and using the CO2 meter prove that CO2 is in fact injected into Jar “B”. My apologies for the rambling dialog, which wasn’t scripted, but explained as I went along. And, the camera work is one-handed while I’m speaking and setting up the experiment, so what it lacks in production quality it makes up in reality.

You’ll note that after 10 minutes, it appears there was no change in either thermometer. Also, remember these are ORAL thermometers, which hold the reading (so you can take it out of your mouth and hand it to mom and ask “can I stay home from school today”?). So for anyone concerned about the length of time after I turned off the lamps, don’t be. In order to reset the thermometers you have to shake them to force the liquid back down into the bulb.

Here’s the screencaps of the two thermometer readings from Jar A and B:

Clearly, 10 minutes isn’t enough time for the experiment to work. So let’s scratch off the idea from narration of “a few minutes” and go for a longer period:

RESULT: No change, no difference in temperature. Nothing near the 2°F rise shown in the video. Inconclusive.


STEP 5 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using the same equipment – duration of 30 minutes

Ok, identical setup as before, the only difference is time, the experiment runs 30 minutes long. I’ve added a digital timer you can watch as the experiment progresses.

And here are the screencaps from the video above of the results:

RESULT: slight rise and difference in temperature 97.4°F for Jar “A” Air, and 97.2°F for Jar “B” CO2. Nothing near the 2°F rise shown in the video.


STEP 6 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment, using digital logging thermometer – duration of 30 minutes

In this experiment, I’m substituting the liquid in glass oral thermometers with some small self contained battery powered digital logging thermometers with LCD displays.

This model:

Details here

Specification Sheet / Manual

USB-2-LCD+ Temperature Datalogger

I used two identical units in the experiment replication:

And here are the results graphed by the application that comes with the datalogger. Red is Temperature, Blue is Humidity, Green is dewpoint

The graphs are automatically different vertical scales and thus can be a bit confusing, so I’ve take the raw data for each and graphed temperature only:

After watching my own video, I was concerned that maybe I was getting a bit of a direct line of the visible portion of the heat lamp into the sensor housing onto the thermistor, since they were turned on their side. So I ran the experiment again with the dataloggers mounted vertically in paper cups to ensure the thermistors were shielded from any direct radiation at any wavelength. See this video:

Both runs of the USB datalogger are graphed together below:


Run 1 slight rise and difference in temperature 43.5°C for Jar “A” Air with Brief pulse to 44°C , and 43.0°C for Jar “B” CO2.

Run 2 had an ended with a 1°C difference, with plain air in Jar A being warmer than Jar “B with CO2.

Jar “A” Air temperature led Jar “B” CO2 during the entire experiment on both runs

The datalogger output files are available here:

JarA Air only run1.txt  JarB CO2 run1.txt

JarA Air only run2.txt JarB CO2 run2.txt


STEP 7 Replicating Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 video experiment exactly, using a high resolution NIST calibrated digital logging thermometer – duration of 30 minutes

In this experiment I use a high resolution (0.1F resolution) and NIST calibrated data logger with calibrated probes. Data was collected over my LAN to special software. This is the datalogger model:

Data sheet: Model E Series And the software used to log data is described here

Here’s the experiment:

I had to spend a lot of time waiting for the Jar “B” probe to come to parity with Jar “A” due to the cooling effect of the CO2 I introduced. As we all know, when a gas expands it cools, and that’s exactly what happens to CO2 released under pressure. You can see the effect early in the flat area of the graph below.

Here’s the end result screencap real-time graphing software used in the experiment, click the image to expand the graph full size.


Peak value Jar A with air  was at 18:04 117.3°F

Peak value Jar B with CO2 was at 18:04 116.7°F

Once again, air led CO2 through the entire experiment.

Note that I allowed this experiment to go through a cool down after I turned off the Infrared heat lamps, which is the slope after the peak. Interestingly, while Jar “A” (probe1 in green) with Air, led Jar “B” (Probe 2 in red) with CO2, the positions reversed shortly after the lamps turned off.

The CO2 filled jar was now losing heat slower than the plain air jar, even though plain air Jar “A” had warmed slightly faster than the CO2 Jar “B”.

Here’s the datalogger output files for each probe:

Climate101-replication-Probe01-(JarA – Air).csv

Climate101-replication-Probe02-(JarB – CO2).csv

Climate101-replication-Probe03-(Ambient Air).csv

What could explain this reversal after the lamps were turned off? The answer is here at the Engineer’s Edge in the form of this table:

Heat Transfer Table of Content

This chart gives the thermal conductivity of gases as a function of temperature.

Unless otherwise noted, the values refer to a pressure of 100 kPa (1 bar) or to the saturation vapor pressure if that is less than 100 kPa.

The notation P = 0 indicates the low pressure limiting value is given. In general, the P = 0 and P = 100 kPa values differ by less than 1%.

Units are milliwatts per meter kelvin.

Note the values for Air and for CO2 that I highlighted in the 300K column. 300K is 80.3°F.

Air is a better conductor of heat than CO2.


So, here is what I think is going on with Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 experiment.

  1. As we know, the Climate101 video used infrared heat lamps
  2. The glass cookie jars chosen don’t allow the full measure of infrared from the lamps to enter the center of the jar and affect the gas. I showed this two different ways with the infrared camera in videos above.
  3. During the experiments, I showed the glass jars heating up using the infrared camera. Clearly they were absorbing the infrared energy from the lamps.
  4. The gases inside the jars, air and pure CO2 thus had to be heated by secondary heat emission from the glass as it was being heated. They were not absorbing infrared from the lamps, but rather heat from contact with the glass.
  5. Per the engineering table, air is a better conductor of heat than pure CO2, so it warms faster, and when the lamps are turned off, it cools faster.
  6. The difference value of 2°F shown in the Climate 101 video split screen was never met in any of the experiments I performed.
  7. The condition stated in the Climate 101 video of “Within minutes you will see the temperature of the bottle with the carbon dioxide in it rising faster and higher.” was not met in any of the experiments I performed. In fact it was exactly the opposite. Air consistently warmed faster than CO2.
  8. Thus, the experiment as designed by Mr. Gore does not show the greenhouse effect as we know it in our atmosphere, it does show how heat transfer works and differences in heat transfer rates with different substances, but nothing else.

Mr. Gore’s Climate 101 experiment is falsified, and could not work given the equipment he specified. If they actually tried to perform the experiment themselves, perhaps this is why they had to resort to stagecraft in the studio to fake the temperature rise on the split screen thermometers.

The experiment as presented by Al Gore and Bill Nye “the science guy” is a failure, and not representative of the greenhouse effect related to CO2 in our atmosphere. The video as presented, is not only faked in post production, the premise is also false and could never work with the equipment they demonstrated. Even with superior measurement equipment it doesn’t work, but more importantly, it couldn’t work as advertised.

The design failure was the glass cookie jar combined with infrared heat lamps.

Gore FAIL.


UPDATE: 4PM PST Some commenters are taking away far more than intended from this essay. Therefore I am repeating this caveat I posted in my first essay where I concentrated on the video editing and stagecraft issues:

I should make it clear that I’m not doubting that CO2 has a positive radiative heating effect in our atmosphere, due to LWIR re-radiation, that is well established by science. What I am saying is that Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project did a poor job of demonstrating an experiment, so poor in fact that they had to fabricate portions of the presentation, and that the experiment itself (if they actually did it, we can’t tell) would show a completely different physical mechanism than what actually occurs in our atmosphere.

No broader take away (other than the experiment was faked and fails) was intended, expressed or implied – Anthony

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January 4, 2012 7:52 am

The experiment was perfomred live on BBC Newsnight over a year ago.

Deborah Stout-Meininger
Reply to  DrJazz
May 9, 2015 4:09 pm

Hello…Lets do a study about common sense and High School Science…And give a Dunce Cap to all
on the “CO2 and Global Warming” Train…
CO2 (Carbon DIOXIDE) is a LIFE ESSENTIAL GAS that all plant life converts to the OXYGEN we need.
It is NOT as “Ozone depleting” or a “Green House Gas” contributing to the Fictitious “Global Warming”.
We are in danger of FAR TOO LITTLE CARBON DIOXIDE (that we exhale) that plants need to convert
(as our only conversion source) for the OXYGEN we need!
CO (Carbon MONOXIDE) is a TOXIC GAS that, with it associated Carbon Particles, is 85% of the INCOMPLETE COMBUSTION PROCESS of burning fossil fuels, part of the clouds from erupting volcanoes and ,sadly, the rampant wildfires for many decades in the US and around the World…along with volumes of sulfur and methane compounds from a multitude of sources.
For Eons , since the Earth “Began”, the Earth goes thru cycles of “Climate changes” from overheated
Tropical (with associated Volcanoes) to the Ice Ages that meteorites to Volcanic Clouds have been blamed
for….all without and with us Carbon Dioxide producing humans and animals that plants have had a symbiotic relationship with thru millions of years.
Any FYI …. “Going Green” with “Renewable, Carbon-less Energy Sources” should not be a new source
of Toxins and Health Hazards (like Wind Turbines) that can only be “fiscally viable” with billions of peoples tax dollars, or destroy entire aquatic eco-systems like so many Hydroelectric projects in the past have done …or be so over priced that only the very rich can afford a partial solution like solar panels… or access “clean sources” like natural gas (up to 98% total combustion to produce CO2 carbon DIOXDE) but access
it with Fracking that mixes water with highly corrosive chemicals, that creates a new toxic “heavy water”
that is pumped into the ground to force out to gas, then “stored” in the ground as another source of
“TOXIC waste”.
I ready for a new “Renaissance of Common Sense” age to arrive…waiting ….waiting….waiting…
Deborah Stout- Meininger Community Advocate, Citizen Scientist

Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
March 2, 2016 1:59 pm

Most of the incomplete combustion process (including carbon monoxide) is turned into nitrogen (N2), CO2 and water by catalytic converters on US vehicles. The converters take about 20 minutes to reach operating temperatures all the while reducing fuel economy.

Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
March 5, 2016 5:16 am

Why does the earth exist in the temperature range that supports life? It is because Earth has an atmosphere that maintains a balance between the frigid cold of space and the scorching heat of the sun. The earth is heated mostly by solar photons and infrared that heat objects- solids and liquids which in turn radiate heat to other solids, liquids and gases. We are very lucky here on Earth because planets that can support life in this vast universe are very rare. In fact despite an exhaustive search astronomers have yet to find another planet like Earth although there are some candidates…. very – far- away… .
One important part of the mechanism by which the atmosphere maintains is with CO2. CO2 has an interesting property that it will absorb an infrared photon and re-emit it. But here’s the key – It re-emits it in an arbitrary direction. So if the photon was emitted from the Earth (as they are all the time) and it’s initial direction was space, and say, that photon hits a CO2 molecule. The CO2 will absorb it and emit it in a new direction. However that direction will 95+% of the time NOT be in the direction of space, but rather either back to Earth or to another CO2 molecule, etc. The net effect is that this example photon which would have “cooled” Earth by being emitted into space, now is remaining within the atmosphere thus having a heating effect. So that balance – the amount of continuous cooling which happens due to emission of infrared photons into space, vs the warming of the atmospheric molecules that maintain our temperatures on Earth – is completely dependent on the just the right amount of photon absorbing molecules in the atmosphere – enough to cool the planet enought to stop it from overheating. Too few CO2 molecules and we freeze. Too many and we burn (a bit exagerated but you see where I am going). So obviously adding more CO2 to the atmosphere has the net effect of warming it, and taking away or not having enough has a cooling effect. So there an ideal balance between the number of photon absorbing molecules and the non-photon absorbing molecules in order to maintain the precious temperature balance on Earth. Adding CO2 molecules to the atmosphere in sufficient quantities to alter that balance is what has happened over the past century, since the advent of the industrial age or we might call it the age of oil. That is what global warming is. Hopefully you find this helpful in understanding the situation. We are not at all in danger of not having enough CO2. And having too much is just as toxic to humans as CO. Please take a moment to consider carefully what you are saying. There is indeed a risk to the survival of life on Earth, and global temperature change due to excessive CO2 is a real thing.

Reply to  rlkorb
March 5, 2016 5:55 am


Adding CO2 molecules to the atmosphere in sufficient quantities to alter that balance is what has happened over the past century, since the advent of the industrial age or we might call it the age of oil. That is what global warming is. Hopefully you find this helpful in understanding the situation. We are not at all in danger of not having enough CO2. And having too much is just as toxic to humans as CO. Please take a moment to consider carefully what you are saying. There is indeed a risk to the survival of life on Earth, and global temperature change due to excessive CO2 is a real thing.

Every sentence above is written in English; and every sentence is simplistic, exaggerated, and also dead wrong.

So there an ideal balance between the number of photon absorbing molecules and the non-photon absorbing molecules in order to maintain the precious temperature balance on Earth. Adding CO2 molecules to the atmosphere in sufficient quantities to alter that balance is what has happened over the past century, since the advent of the industrial age or we might call it the age of oil. That is what global warming is.

Well, not really. Actually, based on CO2 levels in the past, your “ideal natural level” of CO2 is anywhere between 280 ppm and 1200 ppm. And global average temperatures never responded to these changes in CO2 levels in the past, and do not appear to be responding now – since the global average temperatures began rising about 250 years (in 250 BC, and in 950 AD and in 1650 AD) BEFORE fossil fuels were ever burned in quantity.

Please take a moment to consider carefully what you are saying. There is indeed a risk to the survival of life on Earth, and global temperature change due to excessive CO2 is a real thing.

No. Maximum (impossible) temperatures threaten no lives, no species now living on earth, all evolved while the earth was much hotter in the past, and all evolved while CO2 levels were much higher in the past. With no known exceptions, ALL LIFE lives better and is more productive in higher CO2 levels and in warmer temperatures. (Too low of CO2 levels – close actually to the previous 280 ppm lows of only a few years ago – DO threaten all plant life.) It is also physically impossible “mankind” to EVER burn enough carbon fuels to raise CO2 high enough to threaten life.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
December 4, 2018 6:08 am

Perfect!!! Interesting how how almost all plant life seems to have evolved to thrive best at a level of 1200PPM of CO2. Below 270 and they die!!! This should tell people something.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
November 10, 2019 4:14 pm

Wouldn’t filling the jar with CO2 replicate the atmosphere of Venus or Mars, not Earth?

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  rlkorb
September 16, 2018 2:21 am

Most of what you said was bullshit as others have detailed,but I will point out the most important gas that you failed to mention

Water vapour which is anywhere from 50 to 75 times on average more abundant than CO2 in the atmosphere outweighs all greenhouse gases combined by a factor of at least 4 to 1 when you take into account the radiative spectroscopy of photons in gases. All temperature is a local phenomena on earth.

You get hot temperatures in a desert because there is no water to evaporate. However at nighttime in the desert without clouds it is actually cool but with clouds it is warm. It is the water vapour in the clouds that is absorbing the IR and reradiating it back to the surface. CO2 is a minor player or else it would be warm at night in a desert without clouds. Deserts can sometimes go near freezing temperatures at nighttime without clouds. In fact certain sections of the Sahara desert, the largest in the world and located not too far from the equator in its southern portion ; has even gone as low as 5F or -15C. Nothing to do with CO2. Deserts have also recorded the highest temperatures again nothing to do with CO2.

In recorded history temperature comes first and CO2 follows. Not the other way around.

There is no basis for establishing a temperature from CO2 levels.

Do you realize that there is no correct radiative transfer equation that can be solved for anything except for the simplest very restrictive 1 dimensional situations? I will simply quote Michael Modest in his textbook “Radiative heat transfer”. ” Exact analytical solutions to the radiative transfer equation are exceedingly difficult and explicit solutions are impossible for all but the very simplest situations. ”

In addition those calculations require assumptions that the absorption coefficient of photons, the scattering coefficient, and phase function are constant across the electomagnetic spectrum. This is clearly not the case with our earth’s atmosphere. I further quote Modest. ” Radiative heat flux………….must be evaluated…….will always involve the guessing of a temperature field”

You must note that the above quote is even only valid for a gaseous mixture that is bounded by walls. Modest doesn’t even attempt to discuss the actual atmosphere which doesn’t have walls except for the earths surface. SO IN THE END ANY ATTEMPT TO USE RADIATIVE TRANSFER EQUATIONS TO ANALYZE THE EARTH ATMOSPHERE IS JUNK SCIENCE.

I can give you a 100 reasons why the CO2 scare is a complete scam but am too tired and my post is long enough.

W Wood
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 8, 2018 4:26 am

Well said Alan. As an aero-thermo engineer with extensive industrial experience, I will add that radiative heat transfer science is a bit like using a Betty Crocker cookbook. You consider your engineering situation, then go to the page which describes your particular situation best (like heated gas flowing through the rear section of a cylindrical turbojet) and get the statistically-based equations which best describe the EXPERIMENTAL results from past, similar experiments. You then apply these equations to your problem and then test later to make sure you didn’t use the wrong recipe.

If the Betty Crocker approach is too risky OR you simply don’t have a recipe which applies to your situation then you turn to modeling. The more complicated the system, the more questionable the results will be from that model until it is carefully calibrated to real data. It is important to keep in mind that ALL MODELS ARE WRONG, THOUGH SOME CAN BE USEFUL. They will tend to be less useful the more complicated they become. And the Earth’s climate models are very, very complicated if they are to be useful at all.

The test of any model is how well it can reproduce past observations and outcomes over extended periods. Assimilation climate models today are quite good over short periods (days) but quickly depart. This is the best we have to offer today. Not good enough however for longer term decisions.

The climate change argument today is much more a religion than true science. And those of us unwilling to drink the Kool Aid are labeled heretics. It is important that the ideas supporting these uncritical assertions are confronted at every turn. Only then will true knowledge prevail.

James Freeman
Reply to  rlkorb
June 2, 2019 6:13 pm

“There is indeed a risk to the survival of life on Earth, and global temperature change due to excessive CO2 is a real thing.”

A rather moronic conclusion and not supported by your analysis.

CO2 is not, genius, the only green house gas in the atmosphere for one. And the “ideal” CO2 level is going to be a range, not a specific number. And, well, your blithering analysis is amazingly naive.

Patrick Danaher
Reply to  rlkorb
October 24, 2019 9:34 am

The absorption of IR energy by CO2 in the atmosphere is in no way whatsoever linear. In fact, it appears to be quite asymptotic. That is why every idiot climate model has to include a made up “multiplier effect” for CO2 that is scientifically and physically without any merit whatsoever. And this is also why ever major climate model has predicted temperature rises out of all proportion to what has actually occurred in reality.

Reply to  rlkorb
December 15, 2019 11:36 am

oooops…125 times as abundant as co2 is the more correct statement – where did 5,000 come from?

Reply to  rlkorb
November 13, 2020 2:11 pm

Hyperbolic. The scenario you have painted has such close tolerance that it could not be maintained if it were that simple. Thanks anyway.

Grady Patterson
Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
November 2, 2016 12:10 pm

rlkorb – it may be just semantic, but thought I’d point out something in what you wrote.
You state, concerning CO2, that it will absorb an infrared photon and re-emit it – but then state “But here’s the key – It re-emits it in an arbitrary direction.”
Two sentences later, you state “… that direction will 95+% of the time NOT be in the direction of space, but rather either back to Earth or to another CO2 molecule, etc.”
It seems to me that you are claiming a near-total exclusion of roughly 50% of the possibilities – a selectivity that can hardly be called “arbitrary” …

Steve Thiboutot
Reply to  Grady Patterson
December 1, 2018 11:41 am

And what does his hypothis leave out? If that happens from radiation emitted FROM the Earth, then it stands to reason it happens to radiation RECEIVED by the Earth. And it’s obvious that the SUN produces more radiated energy than the Earth. So by his own “logic”, his premise results in COOLING.

Reply to  Steve Thiboutot
February 10, 2021 11:15 am

You really do not understand how this works. Most of the energy that comes from the sun is in the form of VISIBLE light which passes through the atmosphere unhindered. The atmosphere is only blocking the lower energy thermal radiation that is trying to leave the earth. It is basically a one-way valve, or one of those mirrors you can look through on one side.

Reply to  nicholas
March 19, 2021 2:07 pm

BS. Infra red.

Onan the Barbarian
Reply to  Grady Patterson
April 30, 2021 4:09 am

That was perhaps not well expressed, but correct.
The intended meaning, as I read it, was that the re-emitted photon would most likely hit another CO2 molecule rather than escape to space, regardless of its “direction” (unless it is emitted already in the high atmosphere where the density is much lower than at ground level). In fact 95% is very probably underestimated, the actual figure is probably much closer to 100%.

Robert Leclaire
Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
February 12, 2017 2:32 am

Actually plants make their oxygen by breaking it off from water (H2O).
This has been proven by using radioactivly labeled H2O feed to the plant and observing that the plant then gives off labeled oxygen. When the plant is given radioactively labeled CO2 the produced oxygen is not labeled.

Reply to  Robert Leclaire
August 5, 2019 11:37 am

The plants incorporate the CO2 into their bodies.

Jade Kayos
Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
May 7, 2017 12:18 pm

What plants need it? Do we even have enough trees or forests left to convert all the CO2 into oxygen? Doubtless since we are cutting them all down to graze cattle (approximately 30,000 square miles of tropical forests are destroyed each year), and about 30% of the CO2 in our atmosphere is absorbed by our oceans, so all that extra CO2 is causing ocean acidification which kills coral and has other ramifications. Not to mention all the excess methane put into our atmosphere from raising too much livestock (a much worse “greenhouse gas” than CO2, incidentally.) Total wild terrestrial biomass (land animals by weight) left on earth = 2%, humans and the animals we raise (mainly for food) = 98%. We can only have a “symbiotic” relationship with the other creatures on this planet if we maintain a balance of these things. Does this sound balanced to you? Global warming is not fictitious, but no one has “proven” per say that it is caused by excess CO2. What we do know is that rising global temperatures are strongly correlated with the rise in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. You can be assured that whatever the source, humans activities are likely responsible for it, one way or another.

Reply to  Jade Kayos
May 7, 2017 12:50 pm

Jade Kayos

What plants need it? Do we even have enough trees or forests left to convert all the CO2 into oxygen? Doubtless since we are cutting them all down to graze cattle (approximately 30,000 square miles of tropical forests are destroyed each year), and about 30% of the CO2 in our atmosphere is absorbed by our oceans, so all that extra CO2 is causing ocean acidification which kills coral and has other ramifications. Not to mention all the excess methane put into our atmosphere from raising too much livestock (a much worse “greenhouse gas” than CO2, incidentally.)

Odd, there are as many forest acres today across North America as ever before, though many (by no means “most”) are managed as rotating crops. The prairies are as productive now as ever, today’s grasses and wheats and ryes and barleys and corn and alfafa and cotton and soybeans and sunflowers and beets are as effective as growing (transforming airborne CO2 into stems, seeds, food, fodder, and flowers and flora as ever before.
EVERY plant on earth, in the seas, and above the ground grows 12% to 27% faster, taller, more drought-resistant and more productive than before man’s release of CO2.
Your hype and your mere repetition of mindless doomsday propaganda does you no good: NONE of it is true.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
May 7, 2017 3:24 pm

Mr. Cook seems to have missed the mention of “tropical forests” in the comment he responded to — not an aspect of the North American continent. He may also have missed the fact that “global warming” applies to the entire globe, of which the United States is only 1.9% in terms of land area. Additionally, he seems to think that the total plant biomass of the Earth can grow quickly enough to completely sequester the extra 30 gigatons of CO2 that humans produce every year, and will be able to do so for the indefinite future.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
January 21, 2019 4:38 pm

RACookPE1978 says: “EVERY plant on earth, in the seas, and above the ground grows 12% to 27% faster, taller, more drought-resistant and more productive than before man’s release of CO2.”

Can you provide me a citation for that assertion?

For example, if you examine Death Valley, you will not see any increase in plant growth since 1850/

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Jade Kayos
September 16, 2018 2:44 am

It seems we have been invaded by a bunch of CO2 scaredycat trolls who are afraid of their own shadow. Correlation does not cause causation. BTW the PH scale is logarithmic and the oceans have dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 7.0 is where you get to acid. Based on the rate of drop it will take 8400 years to get to the 7.0 level . If you want to ban the 1.5 billion cows, I suggest you take that idea up with the IPCC. They seem to want to ban everything. However methane i residence time is 12 years but since it is parts per billion it is not quite the player that water vapour is.

The inconvenient questions that the IPCC can’t answer.
1) Why did sea level rise faster in early 2Oth century than now and even now is not accelerating?
2) Why do many rural only land temperature data sets show no warming?
3) Why did climate scientists in the climategate emails worry about no warming trends? They are supposed to be unbiased either way.
4) Why do some local temperature land based datasets show no warming Ex: Augusta Georgia for last 83 years? There must be 1000’s of other places like this.
5) Why do 10 of the 13 weather stations in Antarctica show no warming in last 60 years? The 3 that do are near undersea volcanic ridges.
6) Why does the lower troposphere satellite data of UAH show very little warming 1.3C per century and in fact showed cooling from 1978 to 1997?
7) Why is there only a 21% increase in net atmosphere CO2 ppm since 1980 but yet mankind increased fossil fuel emissions CO2 by 75%?
8) Why did National Academy of Sciences in 1975 show warming in the 30’s and 40’s and NASA in 1998 and 2008 not show nearly as much warming for those time periods?
9) Why has no one been able to disprove Lord Monckton’s finding of the basic flaw in the climate sensitivity equations after doubling CO2?
10) Why has there never been even 1 accurate prediction by a climate model. Even if one climate model is less wrong than another one it is still wrong.
11) Why do most climate scientists not understand the difference between accuracy and precision?
12) Why have many scientists resigned from the IPCC in protest?
13) Why do many politicians, media and climate scientists continue to lie about CO2 causing extreme weather events? Every data set in the world shows there are no more extreme weather events than there ever were
14) Why do clmate scientists call skeptics deniers as if we were denying the holocaust?
!5) Why did Michael Mann refuse to hand over his data when he sued Tim Ball for defamation and why did Mann subsequently drop the suit?
16) Why have every climate scientist that has ever debated the science of global warming clearly not won any debate that has ever occurred?
17) Why does every climate scientist now absolutely refuse to debate anymore?
18) Why do careers get ruined when scientists dare to doubt global warming in public?
19) Why do most of the scientists that retire come out against global warming?
20) Why is it next to impossible to obtain a PhD in Atmospheric science if one has doubts about global warming?
21) Why is it very very difficult to get funding for any study that casts doubt on global warming?
22) Why has the earth greened by 18% in the last 30 years?
23) Why do climate scientists want to starve plants by limiting their access to CO2? Optimum levels are 1000 ppm not 410ppm.
24) Why do most climate scientists refuse to release their data to skeptics?
25) Why should the rest of the world ruin their economies when China and India have refused to stop increasing their emmissions of CO2?
26) Why have the alarmist scientists like Michael Mann called Dr. Judith Curry an anti scientist?
27) Why does the IPCC not admit that under their own calculations a business as usual policy would have the CO2 levels hit 614ppm in 2100 which is nearly twice the CO2 level since 1850.?
28) Why do the climate modellers not admit that the error factor for clouds makes their models worthless?
29) Why did NASA show no increase in atmospheric water vapour for 20 years before James Hansen shut the project down in 2009?
30) Why did Ben Santer change the text to result in an opposite conclusion in the IPCC report of 1996 and did this without consulting the scientists that had made the original report?
31) Why does the IPCC say with 90% confidence that anthropogenic CO2 is causing warming when they have no evidence to back this up except computer model predictions which are coded to produce results that CO2 causes warming?
32) How can we believe climate forecasts when 4 day weather forecasts are very iffy?.
33) Why do all climate models show the tropical troposhere hotspot when no hotspot has actually been found in nature?
34) Why is there non existent long term variability in the climate models because otherwise the simulation would become chaotic so the model has to be tuned to flatten the variability?
35) Why is the normal greenhouse effect not observed for SST?
36) Why is SST net warming increase close to 0?
37) Why is the ocean ph level steady over the lifetime of the measurements?
38) what results has anyone ever seen from global warming if it exists? I have been waiting for it for 40 years and havent seen it yet?
39) If there were times in the past when CO2 was 20 times higher than today why wasnt there runaway global warming then?
40) Why was there a pause in the satellite data warming in the early 2000’s?
41) Why did CO2 rise after WW2 and temperatures fall?
42) For the last 10000 years over half of those years showed more warming than today. Why?
43) Why does the IPCC refuse to put an exact % on the AGW and the natural GW?
44) Why do the alarmists still say that there is a 97% consensus when everyone knows that figure was madeup?
45) The latest polls show that 33% do not believe in global warming and that figure is increasing poll by poll ? why?
46) If CO2 is supposed to cause more evaporation how can there ever be more droughts with CO2 forcing?
47) Why are there 4 times the number of polar bears as in 1960?
48) Why did the oceans never become acidic even with CO2 levels 15-20 times higher than today?
49) Why does Antarctica sea ice extent show no decrease in 25 years?
50) Why do alarmists still insist that skeptics are getting funding from fossil fuel companies ( when alarmists get billions from the government and leftest think tanks) and skeptics get next to nothing from either fossil fuel companies nor governments for climate research?
51) If the Bloomberg carbon clock based on the Mauna Loa data, in the fall and winter increases at a rate of only 2ppm per year; then why do we have to worry about carbon increases?
52) Why arent the alarmists concerned with actual human lives. In England every winter there are old people who succumb to the cold because they cant afford the increased heating bills caused by green subsidies.
53) Why did Phil Jones a climategate conspirator, admit in 2010 that there was no statistically meaningful difference in 4 different period temperature data that used both atmospheric temperature and sea surface temperature?
54) Why does the IPCC still say that the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is a 100 years when over 80 studies have concluded it is more like 5 years?
55) Why do all global climate alarmists say that corals are dying due to bleaching when Dr. Peter Ridd (who has published over 100 papers) has proven that coral bleaching is a defensive mechanism by corals in relation to temperature change in the water.
56) Why does the IPCC still release temperature and sea level data from NOAA and NASA when Tony Heller has proved that those agencies have faked data and made improper adjustments to the actual raw numbers ?
57) How does the IPCC explain that Professor Miskolczi showed that despite a 30% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere in the period 1948 to 2008, the total infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere was found to be unchanged from its theoretical value of 1.87
58) Why has the Global Historical Climate Network temperature data set for ~ 1000 temperature stations in the United States shown no warming over the entire 124 year period when you just take the daily maximum and average it out for the 365 days of the year?
59) Why has the global average downward infrared radiation to the surface shown no increase ever since the CERES satellite started collecting data in the year 2000?
60) How would Antarctica ever melt if almost all of the land mass never even comes close to 0 C even in summer? Same for Greenland.
61) Why did one alarmist put 7 bullet holes in Dr. John Christy’s office window?
62) Why does a NOAA graph that charts CO2 levels in the atmosphere and thus by year increase (since CO2 increases every year) show absolutely no relation to outgoing longwave radiation?
63) Why does the central England temperature dataset from the mid 1600s to today show only a .25 C increase in 350 years?
64) Since no one has been able to show exactly what the emissivity of CO2 is ; then wouldnt that mean that the downward IR measurements by NASA are wrong since they assume emissivity of a blackbody of a value of 1?
65) No one has debunked the finding of the IRIS effect by Dr. Lindzen.
66) Why does the NASA energy budget diagram show a heat flux flow within the diagram that is far greater than the original solar input even though the system is in energy balance or close to it? This is contrary to all mathematical laws.
67) Since the net CO2 in the atmosphere has been a steady 0.5 – 0.7 % increase ever since it was 1st measured in Mauna Loa, why does the IPCC deny that climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 isnt at least 200 years into the future. See Dr. Will Happers charts.
68) How can CO2 be involved in heating the surface air when an infrared heater cannot heat air?
69) How can the oceans be warming when three of the major ocean systems show no warming by the ARGO float measurement systems?
70) Dr.Michael Modest a world authority on IR radiation ,in his classic text book on Radiative Heat Transfer states that there is no closed form solution to the VOIGT profile equation. A further problem is; that equation applies to blackbodies and grey bodies and doesnt even apply to non grey bodies like CO2 anyway.
The most important sentence with respect to CO2 in Modest’s textbook on page 315( the chapter on gases) is the following. I quote

” we note that ,at moderate temperatures , the rotational partition function causes the line strength to decrease with temperature as 1/T or 1/(T^1.5), while the influences of the vibrational partition function and of stimulated emission are very minor . ”

What this means to me is that at the temperatures we see in our troposphere, the vibrational effect is small for gases and the rotational effect decreases with temperature increase.

On page 309 Modest says and I quote “while symmetric molecules such as CO2 show a rotational spectrum only if accompanied by a vibrational transition.”

So Modest seems to be saying that even though CO2 absorbs IR, the line strength of absorption/emission at moderate temperatures is too weak to worry about, especially since the rotational partition strength of the spectrum decreases with temperature increase. So not only CAGW is impossible, it seems that AGW is impossible to any significant degree (pun not intended).

71) The hidden ocean heat that was calculated from plancton studies which have now been replaced by the ARGO floats, determined that the total heat flux calculated from those studies was almost 4 times(10W/m^2) the generally accepted ( by alarmists) heat flux imbalance of today of 2.85W/m^2. Why doesnt the IPCC admit this and admit that they dont have any credible source to calculate any heat imbalance of the last 70 years if indeed there is even one?
72) From Wiki I took the top 44 glaciers in Switzerland out of the total of 1500. They all have retreated since 1973 to 2016. However the total retreat has been 34.38 km over that 43 year period. That is an average of 0.8 km per year or 0.78 km per glacier . That works out to 0.278 % decrease in length per year as an average overall for the 44 glaciers. Based on that average it will take 360 years for those 44 glaciers to completely disappear. Why does the IPCC deny this?
73) How can CO2 be of any consequence when the only important difference in temperature at nighttime in a desert is whether there are low lying clouds or not ?

[Long list. Thank you. .mod]

Jon L
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 1, 2018 7:17 pm

I read it all

Steve Thiboutot
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
December 1, 2018 11:58 am

I have one other question:
How can the ACTUAL “average temperature” of the globe be affected by El Nino, when El Nino is nothing more than a SHIFT in localized, albeit large area, climate? It makes NO SENSE whatsover. OBVIOUSLY the formula on AVERAGE temperature are WRONG.

Thank you for this list!

Brother Steve the Prophet
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
February 26, 2019 5:51 am

One answer, Global warming is a religion not science. If it was science, it could be debated and tested for it’s validity, since it’s dogma, you are a heretic if you speak ill of it. These are the days we will in the future call the beginning of the great dark ages of science, and I suspect a global collapse as the world turns to tyrannical dictators “to do what needs to be done”. As we saw in the last two months alone, the way “Science” wants us to solve global warming is as follows: 1) elimination of all power sources except for the ones which are the least adequate (solar and wind) modern way of life. 2) Reduction of food sources – Cattle, swine, and other livestock since “Cow Farts” contain C02. 3) Reduction of transportation – all petroleum sourced fuel will be outlawed. 4) Reduction of population – there are too many mouth breathers. The only way to execute these pillars is to 1) redefine the idea of freedom and self government, 2) remove independence and replace it with total dependence to a state 3) removal of all private property and replace it with a state owned property model in which everyone other than the elite are surfs, property would be used and consumed to provide for the biddings of the state. This is the manifesto of the secular fascists, and it will be here in less than 2 years.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
December 18, 2020 4:03 pm

Great list, Alan. By the way, you failed to mention that we’ll only get to “acid” oceans in 8,400 years IF the “trend” continues, which of course it will not. The Earth’s oceans weren’t acidic with 7,000ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, no pittance that human fossil fuel use will add to it is going to get it there.

Aebe mac Gill
Reply to  Jade Kayos
November 6, 2020 1:46 pm

What of the CO2 produced by the millions of native ruminants that have been replaced by non native food animals?

Reply to  Aebe mac Gill
March 19, 2021 2:26 pm

non native ruminants produce CO2 as well.

robin patrick
Reply to  Aebe mac Gill
May 31, 2021 6:15 am

If CO2 cant be the cause of temperature rise then the levels of CO2 experienced are of little consequence..

Reply to  Jade Kayos
August 13, 2022 3:37 am

Not so sure about the cows and methane, the cow eats the grass and a few hours later it is methane, the grass dies six months later in winter, and produces methane, what’s the difference.
The correlation you claim as to rising temperatures and co2 is not fact, there is a far greater correlation between the suns solar output and rising temperature. If you really want to claim cause and effect, you can easily say US postal charges cause rising co2 as they re both very similar.
Since 1998 the earths temperatures have been going downhill and the co2 still uphill.

Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
December 24, 2018 12:35 am

You are right. There is nothing wrong with CO2. There was a time on this planet when there was almost no O2 in the atmosphere. This was an earth that would be absolutely inhospitable to most life that lives on earth today. A proliferation of carbon based life began to harvest CO2, leaving O2 as waste. At first, this O2 was absorbed into various compounds within the earth, forming a bloom of new mineral compounds. When reactions with the material of the earth were more or less completed, additional O2 began to collect in the atmosphere. For eons, life harvested carbon from the atmosphere, used it for body building, and upon death (this was before the advent of microbes adapted to live off the dead bodies of these lifeforms) their carbon-rich bodies were buried in sediment, trapping the carbon underground, and leaving oxygen above. This is what oxygenated the atmosphere of earth initially. It is true that plants and photosynthetic lifeforms absorb carbon and release oxygen, just as they did a billion years ago. So why is releasing CO2 (their food) into the atmosphere a potential problem? Two reasons– First, the environment today is rich with microorganisms that feed on dead plant tissue. These organisms release the carbon that a dead plant spent a lifetime harvesting rather quickly. Hardly any carbon at all is removed from the atmosphere by a typical plant when you consider that all that carbon is quickly released via decomposition shortly after its death. This contrasts long ago when photosynthetic organisms died before there were microbes to break down their dead tissue, so it just sank to the sea floor and was buried by sediment. So today’s plant life taken as a whole is extremely inefficient at removing carbon from the atmosphere. The second reason is that the rate is just too fast. It’s estimated that it will take seven years of global plant growth to remove just one day’s worth of the carbon we humans release by digging up those ancient stores of carbon and burning it. “Climate change” or “global warming” are political buzz words. If and to what extent extra carbon in the atmosphere contributes to changes in climate, depletion of the ozone, etc. has important consequences, but it’s all really beside the point. What humans are doing when we burn fossil fuels is undoing the eons of carbon harvesting work that took millions of years of photosynthetic life to oxygenate the atmosphere. We are doing it at an alarming rate, and the processes that removed that carbon from the atmosphere in the first place are largely no longer in existence. So, this re-release of carbon is at best extremely difficult to reverse and at worst impossible. You don’t need to (and probably shouldnt) believe everything you hear from politically charged “science”. But if you understand the underlying issue, the path is pretty clear.

Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
January 21, 2019 3:59 pm

Neither Mr. Gore’s nor Mr. Watts’ experiment demonstrates the “greenhouse effect.” Both failed for the same reason. This underscores the fundamental problem in attempts to demonstrate the operation of the effect. Both of these “experiments” made the faulty assumption that the absorption of incoming radiation by CO2 would somehow raise the temperature of the ambient air in the containers. If true, this could not have been recorded by the equipment used in the experiments.

CO2 only absorbs infrared radiation within the limits of 13 and 17 microns wavelength (MODTRAN6), which corresponds to a temperature range between -51 and -103 degrees C. The thermometers used in these experiments do not measure temperatures within this range.

The “greenhouse effect” results when CO2 re-emits IR radiation within this same temperature band. Half of this back-radiation is directed upward, to space, and the other half is directed downward, ostensibly being then absorbed by Earth’s surface. Any “greenhouse heating” must therefore occur between the upper and lower limits of the CO2 absorption band, i.e., from -51 to -103 degrees C. Such absorptions can only occur in the matter of Earth’s surface, and they can only occur between the limits of -103 and -51 degrees C. A further limitation is that they can only be absorbed by molecular bonds in the surface that are vibrating below the upper limit of the temperature band, i.e., below -51 degrees C. Re-emissions of this absorbed radiation can then theoretically raise the ambient temperature. In other words, no temperature changes or variations above -51 degrees C will be evident or registered. This is the only available mechanism by which greenhouse warming of Earth’s surface or the superjacent atmosphere can be effected.

Since practically no molecular bonds in Earth’s surface are vibrating this slowly (i.e., between -103 and -51 degrees C), most of the back-radiation from CO2 is therefore either scattered, reflected, or transmitted at Earth’s surface and is not absorbed. This fundamental misunderstanding of the greenhouse warming concept is certainly why the supposed CO2/warming effect has never actually been demonstrated by any hard-data-based study in the peer-reviewed literature, and why so many ardent “warmists” are so adept at making complete fools of themselves.

Reply to  David Bennett Laing
January 21, 2019 4:17 pm

Laing says: “CO2 only absorbs infrared radiation within the limits of 13 and 17 microns wavelength (MODTRAN6), which corresponds to a temperature range between -51 and -103 degrees C.”

False. A CO2 molecule at 200 degrees C will absorb a photon between 13 and 17 microns. Photons have no clue what the temperature of the emitter or the absorber is. Photons do not have a “temperature.”

Laing says: “and they can only occur between the limits of -103 and -51 degrees C”

False again. CO2 at 0 degrees C will absorb a photon between 13 and 17 microns.

Laing doesn’t understand radiative physics.

Reply to  David Bennett Laing
February 22, 2019 12:59 am

You’re forgetting that a warm object has a distribution of wavelengths, so there will be photons of those wavelengths coming off any body that is warm enough. Do some research on atmospheric absorption. You’ll find a graph of the wavelength distribution of light coming from the Sun as measured in space (generaly smooth blackbody curve peaking at the yellow colour), and as measured at the surface of Earth, where the curve now has big dips at the wavelengths preferred by N2, O2, water vapor, etc, and also CO2, but that is small and at most wavelengths H2O is stealing CO2s photons.

Onan the Barbarian
Reply to  David Bennett Laing
April 30, 2021 5:02 am

In fact, Watts’ experiment successfully demonstrated the greenhouse effect, since the temperature did raise — in both jars.

That’s because the jars themselves were the “greenhouses”, not the gas inside them. The GLASS absorbed the infrared radiation and caused the temperature increase. The contribution of the CO2 added inside jar B was absolutely marginal.

Kevin Gruen
Reply to  Deborah Stout-Meininger
October 7, 2019 8:42 am

Nobody is arguing that CO2 depletes ozone. Those are CFCs etc. I don’t think there is an argument that plants don’t need CO2 either. I would look at your arguments. I don’t think anyone’s disagreeing except for the argument that we need more CO2. Thats ludicrous. Global warming is an observation more than a theory and the greenhouse effect is a theory that has evidence dating back to the 1800s and is 6th grade science. Yes..

Reply to  DrJazz
February 17, 2017 7:54 am

The glass jar itself is the problem. It traps the heat in exactly the same manner in both instances.
Our atmosphere is not quite the same as a glass jar. Heat escaping from the atmosphere at different rates is not being represented because of the insulating glass jar.

Ferd III
Reply to  Tom Ziegler
July 17, 2019 11:16 pm

Precisely right. There is no ‘greenhouse’, no roof, ceiling, lid, or glass enclosure.
The entire premise of this experiment by Gore/Nye is stupid. It has no relationship to the real atmosphere or the constraints, loops and feedback, whatsoever.
Climate is a convection system of many-to-many variable relationships which (in IT as we know), are not well understood and therefore cannot be modelled.
Co2 is .0004 % of gas by weight, it is obviously a derivative of climate processes not the creator.

Bryan Yee
Reply to  DrJazz
March 19, 2018 4:01 pm

1. They use Infrared (thermal) because that is the electromagnetic wavelength that CO2 absorbs (heating). The infrared (thermal) is produced through the absorption, reflection, refraction, of other electromagnetic spectrums by other gases (air) and Earth surfaces (Albedo). This has been quantified, and it is CO2.
2. Why are you using an oral thermometer? Oral thermometers rely on conduction to measure thermal energy. This type of thermometer would be less sensitive to air temperature as it requires being inside you to get an accurate measurement. That is like holding the same thermometer an inch away from your forehead to find your body temperature.
3. Try to refrain from the use of logical fallacies. You lose credibility when most of your article is ad hominem attacks, appeals to emotion, and strawman arguments.
4. Your experiment was flawed and your conclusions are invalid. Try again, but make it sciency.

Reply to  Bryan Yee
March 22, 2018 12:41 pm

Mr. Yee, first of all, it’s necessary to clarify who are “you” and “they”. One can only guess (by your link), that “they” are Al Gore and Bill Nye (who are “right”) and “you” is Anthony Watts (who is “wrong”).
In this case we are talking about the correctness of experiments, and your link to Skeptical Science has nothing to do with this: it contains only general statements about the role of CO2 without reference to any experimental evidence.
We see a description of two experiments performed at the same conditions. These experiments led to opposite results. In such cases, in order to find the truth, it’s necessary either to perform an independent experiment or to analyze possible experimental errors. I consider the Watts experiment to be correct for the following reasons: a) the availability of a detailed description of the instruments, materials, and the course of the experiment (unlike Bill Nye’s description); b) analysis of the video from Bill Nye with the indication of places where an error is possible; c) Watts results are completely consistent with data of thermal conductivity and heat capacity of gases, and Nye’s results contradict them.
Note that over the years, neither Bill Nye nor anyone else has attempted to prove the fallacy of Watt’s experiments. So, what are your reasons for claiming: “your experiment was flawed”? Where are the facts?
And one remark, I believe, corresponding to the topic of the discussion. Can the “jar experiments” performed in schools confirm the greenhouse effect? Physics say: “temperature rise observed in a popular classroom demonstration arises not from radiative greenhouse effect, but primarily from the suppression of convective heat transport between CO2 and air”. (P.Wagoner a.o. Amer.J.Phys., Vol.78, No.5, pp.536-540, 2010):
More information about how the greenhouse effect is “based” on physics can be found in the article by Timothy Casey: “The shattered greenhouse: how simple physics demolishes the greenhouse effect”.

Steve Thiboutot
Reply to  aleks
December 1, 2018 12:05 pm

Bryan ,
You also obviously missed the follow up experiments he did with different thermometers.
You also missed that what he was doing was refuting the claim by Bill the, ahem, “Science Guy” that the temp quickly rises 2 degrees in his silly experiment.
If you have a problem with the premise of the experiment, you should probably take it up with the guy who came up with it … NOT the guy who attempted to replicate it and proved it was fraudulent.

Bryan B. Yee
Reply to  Steve Thiboutot
March 15, 2019 8:55 am

Again. The experimenter faked the original experiment. The original experiment used Infrared Light, the wavelength CO2 actually absorbs. WUWT used visable light, which ensured that the experiment wouldn’t work as CO2 does not absorb visible light. Physics, try it some time.

Reply to  Steve Thiboutot
May 17, 2019 12:46 pm


Why lie. WUWT used infrared lights, listed in the materials list. Did you really read the WUWT experiment or just throw out your obfuscations to confuse those of read the comments without reading the full post to reinforce the belief system of warmists. How very Mannian of you.
Reality and truth, try it sometimes.

Reply to  Drake
March 19, 2021 2:41 pm


Keating Willcox
January 4, 2012 3:50 pm

from their web site a reply – did you notice this already? Who is right?
“Response to Watt’s Up
By Bill Nye | Published: November 14, 2011 – 9:31 pm
O my friends, I have received numerous messages asking about the voice-over I did for the Climate Reality Project. My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that I’ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)
The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well. One of our strident climate change deniers seized on their corner cutting and showed their demonstration didn’t demonstrate anything. I considered this part of healthy discourse: people cut corners; they got called on it and taken to task. Since it was my voice, I was considered to be a co-conspirator in the plot to fool the world into believing that our climate is changing. That’s reasonable in its way.
The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When I’ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results.
As the famous Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston remarked, “One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.” Try it; try your own version, and see if you measure a temperature difference.
One thing to note though, the guy who called us out on this drew an incorrect conclusion, or he made an erroneous claim. He says any change would have been caused by “… a completely different physical mechanism than actually occurs in our atmosphere…” That’s wrong. It is this mechanism. The model has to be set up properly. Keep in mind that our troposphere is several dozen kilometers thick, and it doesn’t comprise pure carbon dioxide. This is a model, a demonstration. Real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex.
Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.

Reply to  Keating Willcox
December 9, 2014 1:03 pm

Bill, You fail the stink test. Massaging data is not science as much as an art.

Reply to  Keating Willcox
January 25, 2015 4:54 pm

Hey Mr Nye, show the complete list of materials and process so it is repeatable as a ‘high school’ experiment
— that is how science actually works, not smug we know better evasions

Reply to  Tom Martin
June 4, 2015 6:28 am

Well said!

Duke Silver
Reply to  Keating Willcox
July 5, 2015 10:50 am

Hey Bill – I think you know the sign of a valid experiment is the ability of others to replicate given similar circumstances,
Thanks you for admitting that this was a demonstration and that “real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex”. I hope you meant that “real atmospheric performance is astonishingly complex”. Or, have you confused the difference?

Reply to  Keating Willcox
July 4, 2016 11:29 am

Bill, this is an enormously weak and unscientific response. Disappointing, I expected better.
Makes me think you a not so clever bunkum artist.

Reply to  Dave LeBlanc
November 24, 2019 6:01 pm

comment image?resize=865,452&quality=65

January 25, 2012 10:22 pm

Keep up the good work. How can 3% (=man-made) of 0,039% (=total amount of CO2 in air) warm the earth? Its impossible. Co2 is about banking and total control. In fact about selling air to stupid ppl and phoney governments.
I am more worried about the loss of Oxygen by burning all those fuels.
Less oxygen makes ppl more sick, tired/lazy/drugged and dumb. Oxygen generates 97% of all the energy of animal creatures like us. You can live days without water and weeks without food.
You can’t live 5 minutes without oxygen. Some say that in the ancient times there was 35% oxygen in the air. Now its ~20%. If its true or not, why do we never hear or see this kind of data?
Animals are MUCH smaller these days than 65 million years ago. Is that because the lack of oxygen? Or because there was much more CO2 in the air? Or both?
But.. you mention the AG video 101. There is something with that number: ‘101’.
I forgot what. Kind of (secret) code? No time at the moment to look it up but it’s somewhere in the next video. Sorry, its a bit long… and bit over the top …but also interesting in a way.

John Doe
Reply to  Cleopatra
September 1, 2014 7:23 pm

You don’t get it. It’s aboit equilibirum.
Let’s say 300ppm reflects back to earth 100unit of IR. (I say unit because mathematically it doesn’t matter, it’s the change that is important.)
Then going to 400ppm which is still not a lot will reflect 125 units. So there is more infrared flashed back at us. Not a lot just a little.
But that moves us out of the previous and fragile equilibrium. The heating is then self generating. CO2 levels are the beginning of a chain reaction. It’s because earth is not a homogenous surface that little changes in temperature caused by a little more IR flashed back at us makesbig temperature change in the future.
Take two cars in the summer. One black and one white. The black one will get crazy hot while the white one less.
And for earth kt goes like this:
1 little more co2 ->
2 more heat flashed back
3 climate changes as you could expect in a “hot year” regardless off climate change or not. So less snow, more melting and less rain on average on earth.
4 ok you tell me, it changes s from one year to another naturally and comes back to normal…. Not with more co2 because that little something that affected climate last year didnt disappear this’s not el nino. People still drive cars etc.
5 si you get a second year Ith less snow fall and more melting. BUT it didnt have a couple “normal years” to average out. So the “normal” snow/ice/grass surface diminish
6those places were likr your white car. Not generating heat from normal sunlight. They are now darker and create more IR than before.
7 finally you get back to point 1.. You might still have only 400ppm of co2 and you’d think they reflect the same 125units… But the earth generates more now so it went up to maybe 130-135 units of IR comparaed to the 100 with no continuous added co2.

Reply to  John Doe
September 1, 2014 8:29 pm

And, you are dead wrong. Nice simplistic theory. But dead wrong.
CO2 has increased 10% the past 18 years … and NOTHING has changed in global average temperature in those same past 18 years.
before that, CO2 was steady, and the earth’s global average temperature proxies decreased, were steady, and increased.
Before that CO2 steadily increased, and the earth’s global average temperatures decreased, were steady, and increased. By the same amounts – and faster and by greater amounts ! – than have changed in the only 21 years in earth’s 4 billion year history that both CO2 and temperatures increased at the same time.

Karl Compton
Reply to  John Doe
September 18, 2014 11:13 am

Sorry, but your thought experiment is of value only in a case where CO2 is the only (or vastly dominant) GHG. Of course, in the real world on Earth, that isn’t the case. The evil H20 is the dominant GHG in our atmosphere (over 70% between gaseous H2O and clouds, per the IPCC), so changes in CO2 levels have a much, much smaller impact than you describe. Indeed, if you really want to cut down on GHGs, perhaps a better solution is to do something about the evaporation of water.
Indeed, this is another example of a seriously flawed climate change model, though simpler than most. Thank you for illustrating that.

Chris Rounsevell
Reply to  Karl Compton
September 2, 2018 3:31 am

Ah, reduce evaporation so that clouds don’t form, thus, depriving farmers from the rain that allows their crops to grow – starving humanity because of the ‘evil’ H20 (which is necessary for human survival). All this in an effort to ‘preserve’ the Earth for future generations who will, by the way, have no food to eat. May as well kill all humans.

Chris Rounsevell
Reply to  Chris Rounsevell
September 3, 2018 2:18 am

Slight grammatical error – correction – “farmers of the rain” instead of “farmers from the rain”.

jessie zhong
Reply to  Karl Compton
September 23, 2019 2:42 pm

true true. i personally believe that global warming, climate change and the so and such are all complete and utter hoaxes, constructed by certain socialist scientsits to convert the world into a communisctic social enviroment and economy. the lengths at which people will go to kill off captilisim and amreica as a whole is absolutely terrifying. i personally am scared for my life as it seems almsot the entire rest of the world is out for red whtie and blue blood.

Onan the Barbarian
Reply to  John Doe
April 30, 2021 5:21 am

You’re right, it’s about equilibrium, and the equilibrium is very fragile.
That’s why it’s HARD to model it correctly.

Global climate models can easily be made to fit with PAST climate because they have so many parameters that you can tweak. The real challenge is to predict FUTURE climate correctly in advance — not retrofit the model by adjusting the parameters when the new data come out.

“With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk” (John von Neumann)

AnAggie InAustin
Reply to  Cleopatra
August 20, 2015 10:14 am

What about the 3,000,000 ppm CO2 sequestered in living tissue generated calcium carbonate deposits. If that three million parts per million were released into the atmosphere, there would be about 3,000,400 parts CO2 per 4,000,000 or about 750,000 ppm which is a couple of thousand times higher than the “tipping point” of 400 ppm. How did said tissue survive long enough to sequester all of that CO2?

Reply to  AnAggie InAustin
November 15, 2015 12:30 am

“three million parts per million”
That’s a nonsense phrase; it’s like saying “that forest contains three trees for every tree in that forest.” Your logic is fundamentally flawed.

Anita Handle
Reply to  AnAggie InAustin
December 16, 2015 12:39 pm

You should be embarrassed. In an expression “x ppm” , where ppm means “parts per million” and x being an integer, there is no meaning to the expression if x is greater than one million. For example, 1,000,000 ppm means the measured quantity is pure. 500,000 ppm means it is 50% pure. There is no such thing as 101% pure as there is no such thing as 1,000,001 ppm.

Reply to  Cleopatra
March 4, 2016 11:30 am
light and properites of the molecule known as c2 have been known for hundreds of years

William A Hoffman
Reply to  Daeran
August 27, 2018 9:58 am

Daeran…and misused for hundreds of years, as implied by your use of the reference.

February 3, 2012 8:17 am

I wonder if Mr. Nye has considered what he may be seeing in his results is attributable to the gas’ Specific Heat?
The relevant formula is
Where Q = the amount of heat required to change the temperature of a gas delta T or dT. “m” is the mass. The specific heat of the atmosphere (Cp) is approximately 1.01 KJ/KgK and that of CO2 is 0.84 KJ/KgK. Therefore if the energies, Q, going into the systems are the same (remember identical heat lamps?), and the mass of the system is the same (identical jars, etc.) then the lower the specific heat of the gas involved the greater the temperature change or dT.

Reply to  dotonbut
March 18, 2015 1:36 pm

The mass isn’t the same. CO2 is denser than air. Need to work out that part before concluding.

Reply to  dotonbut
February 17, 2016 11:06 pm

same volume not the same mass. Use a ratio of 28.97 to 44 to get your specific heat on a volumetric or molar basis.
Cp is 36.94 for CO2 (molar basis) and 29.07 for Dry Air (molar basis). Volumes will follow these proportions. So of course (and as Anthony has clearly shown) the CO2 will heat a bit less quickly than Air if we are just considering simple absorption of energy. (I’m assuming small changes in temperature for a constant Cp). I have always wondered what the CAGW crowd was trying to show with this “experiment.”
Bravo Anthony for actually doing the experiment (and without having to photoshop the results). Shortcuts indeed Mr Nye!

Blank Reg
Reply to  dotonbut
April 15, 2018 8:58 am

Keep in mind that Mr. Nye is not a trained scientist. His degree is in mechanical engineering.

Reply to  Blank Reg
April 15, 2018 2:59 pm

Blank Reg, you are absolutely right. Only in this formula it is preferable to use the molar heat capacity instead of the specific heat, since the gas composition is usually given in mole (volume) percentages: see comment
aleks January 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm
Surely, Mr.Watts performed an excellent work. Remarks about the influence of IR-radiation absorption by glass do not cancel the main conclusion: under the same conditions air is heated more than carbon dioxide. Only to explain this fact I would suggest using the simple heat capacity formula instead of thermal conductivity.
Both vessels contain equal volumes (equal number of moles) of gases, so molar heat capacity C is used in the formula q = n*C*dT (q – amount of heat, n – number if moles, dT – the difference between final and initial temperature in the vessel). As values of q, n, and initial temperature in both cases are the same, so C and dT are inversely proportional.
Indeed, the values of C for air and CO2 are 29.3 and 37.1 J/(mol *K), respectively. Quantitative calculation from the experimental data is impossible, because in this experiment one can not determine amount of heat absorbed by the gas only. Nevertheless, qualitative prediction is correct: dT value for CO2 is less than for the air, according to the heat capacity formula.
It seems that in a similar experiment with methane (C = 35.6) temperature would be slightly higher than in CO2 vessel, but less than in the air containing vessel.
I can not imagine how these results can be reconciled with the theory of absorption of IR radiation by greenhouse gases and radiative forcing values.

Jeremy Das
February 9, 2012 10:41 am

“The way an actual greenhouse works is by trapping infrared radiation. Glass is transparent to visible light, but not to infrared light, as we see below.”
Ummm… Doesn’t a greenhouse works mainly by preventing convection rather than by the “greenhouse effect”?

Eric Blood Axe
Reply to  Jeremy Das
February 29, 2016 11:51 am

As far as greenhouses are concerned, the main effect is shelter from winds.

Mike W.
Reply to  Jeremy Das
November 3, 2017 8:44 am

A greenhouse gets warmer, because it prevents the warmed air from rising or getting blown away. If greenhouse gases reflect IR, then it would also reflect IR from the sun back into space.

Jeremy Das
February 10, 2012 8:43 am

Sorry, I expressed myself poorly. I shouldn’t have called it the “greenhouse effect”. I first thought of saying “the greenhouse analogue of the greenhouse effect”, but realised that would be a bit confusing.
What I meant to ask was “doesn’t a greenhouse work mainly by preventing convection rather than by trapping infrared radiation?”

Reply to  Jeremy Das
September 1, 2014 8:30 pm


Michael 2
Reply to  Jeremy Das
November 6, 2014 8:47 pm

Different kinds of glass have substantially different transparencies at different wavelengths. That is why for this reproduction it is very important to use exactly the same glass. The remote reading thermograph thermometer shows indisputably that the longwave infrared radiation is not penetrating the glass. That leaves reflection or absorption since it is not coming through the glass. Since the glass warms up we know it is absorbing. Once warmed up the glass will have its own infrared emission.
Needless to say this is great stuff for household windows to keep longwave (heat) OUT on a hot summer day, but in winter, keep your house heat IN. But unlike an insulator, this simply absorbs and warms up and eventually radiates its own longwave infrared. If double-paned, the cold glass can stay outside (in winter) and the warm glass stays inside and you put argon in the middle which is apparently poor at convection.

Reply to  Jeremy Das
February 24, 2017 9:46 am

If CO2 reduces convection then water vapour concentrations would reduce, has this happened?

Jeremy Das
February 10, 2012 8:52 am

Oops! “work” rather than “works”, obviously. Sorry, I’m really not with it, at the moment, but I thought I ought to mention the convection vs trapping infra-red issue.

Bonta Phillip
February 12, 2012 8:34 pm

So Bill Nye says “Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.”
How does this reconcile with the US met data which says there has been no global warming since 1997 and the models look like being fundamentally flawed?: Refer:–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

February 13, 2012 11:30 pm

Al Gore never learned that correlation doesn’t equal causation. I love his famous hockey stick graph which supposedly shows that CO2 rises and then temps. and then when you research the study they got their data from you learn that it was in fact the opposite, that temps rose first and then CO2 levels rose. I don’t debate climate change, we know for a fact that the earths climate naturally shifts from time to time…what I do debate is anthropogenic climate change that states it’s only happening because of us parasitic humans. Same people that believe in Darwin and natural selection but won’t let endangered species die off…uhhh, isn’t that part of natural selection?
Its comical…

Reply to  Dustin
May 6, 2015 9:24 pm

Dustin, you are exactly right. A simple highschool experiment (better than Al Gore’s) is to take two bottle of soda water. Put one in the refrigerator and one on the counter. Allow them both to reach equilibrium temperature with their surroundings. Shake both bottles equally. Then open them both. Which fizzes more? The warmer one, because CO2 disolves less in warm water. We know CO2 is disolved in the oceans. One can readily assume the oceans and atmosphere would both warm comparably. When the oceans warm, CO2 is liberated to the atmosphere, just as in our experiment. Thus, higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere FOLLOW warming of the oceans.

Paolo Martini
Reply to  Don
November 29, 2015 1:15 pm

That’s right, and data from ice cores through which temperature and CO2 concentration have been reconstructed for the last 400000 years shows exactly the same thing: temperature goes up and AFTERWARDS CO2 concentration goes up. There is also a lag of several hundred years

David Cage
February 14, 2012 1:03 am

Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.
That in itself is questionable when the probable inaccuracy in the measurements is an order of magnitude greater than the differences measured. What is more important is that no one seems to be interested in looking at the detail. When you look at the temperature anomaly maps on the NASA site, particularly the sea ones it shows clearly that the temperature of the earth is on average reducing if it was not for highly localised hot spots that appear in the near polar regions.
If the warming is caused by CO2 how is this localised transfer of 5 degrees above the ambient achieved? This is especially strange when once it arrives at the surface it manages to disperse to lower temperature wider areas as one would expect and no longer constrain itself in the same way.

Fatty Matty
Reply to  David Cage
December 18, 2015 6:19 am

My experiment falls short but believe me any way. Science…catch it!

John Doe
February 19, 2012 11:59 am

In response to Bonta Phillip – did you read the paper the article was referring to? Apparently not as if you had you would be aware that the MET office (UK not US) did and took the unusual step of issuing a statement highlighting their concern at the Mail’s misrepresentation of the paper. For your consideration here is a link to the paper;
and also the MET office Statement:

February 20, 2012 7:04 pm

I suspect that Bill Nye’s experiments did show the reading in the CO2 vessel as higher. Bill tells us that he did not clutter his containers with little extras so we can assume he simply popped a thermometer in each vessel. I suspect the long wave IR was filtered by the glass in the bulb and the vessel. Thus the atmosphere in each vessel did very little absorbing of the light energy. BUT the thermometers likely did absorb the energy and likely would have shown a similar increase in temperature had the vessels contained a vacuum. But since the air has nearly twice the thermal conductivity as the CO2 it simply removed the heat from the thermometer faster in the Air vessel. This explanation allows both Bill Nye and Anthony to be correct in their observations. But it would appear the CO2 acted as an insulator of the thermometer rather than absorbing the infrared energy and it is primarily the thermometer doing the energy absorbing rather than the CO2 gas.
To test this explanation you can add a vessel of H2 or He gas. The He is safer and available at many Scuba shops. The thermometer in the He or H2 should not heat as fast as the CO2 or Air thermometers and the ratios should follow the thermal conductivity shown in the chart. Now there is a science project. If using H2 I suggest being aware of ignition sources, keep the vessels small and use safety goggles. A quick look in a ChemPhysHandbook should underscore the wide range of H2 to O2 mixtures that are ignitable.

February 25, 2012 2:58 pm

Wow, very nicely done. Could Al Gore truly make a mistake? (insert sarcastic laugh)

Mike Blackadder
March 31, 2012 12:05 pm

I don’t know, I think that a vessel with higher CO2 actually should warm up faster under IR. I don’t know why it didn’t warm up faster in Anthony’s experiments. Perhaps the IR source was not high enough intensity or warming of objects other than the air dominated the effect of air content.
The interesting thing about this experiment is that over the long term the two jars should reach the same equilibrium temperature even though they have different CO2 concentration. The additional IR should warm the gas in each chamber, because each chamber has ability to absorb IR, but the chamber containing more CO2 should reach equilibrium temperature faster, which is why the transient effect would be jar B leading jar A as the temperature rises.
Like I said, the two jars should eventually reach the same equilibrium temperature. Then when you turn off the lamp jar B should also cool down faster. The take away is that the co2 should cause greater responsiveness of the gas temperature to changes in IR flux.
I agree with Anthony that this experiment does not demonstrate the mechanism whereby greenhouse gases warm the earth. You can just as easily demonstrate that CO2 will increase the rate of cooling with this experiment.

Michael 2
Reply to  Mike Blackadder
November 6, 2014 9:02 pm

The demonstration is that I.R. from the heat lamps never reaches the air or the CO2 inside the jars.
The power of CO2 to absorb infrared is thus neither confirmed nor denied by this experiment.
However, it also answers the question of whether a GLASS greenhouse does actually stop outgoing longwave radiation (in addition to stopping convection), and apparently that is exactly the case, depending of course on what kind of glass is used.

Reply to  Mike Blackadder
November 2, 2018 11:59 am

If we look closely at the two experiments again, I would like everyone to notice one thing.

Though the IR lamp was only shown on and above the lamp for a very short period of time, in the original video, please pay attention to the hose from the CO2 source… That’s right, it’s still in the jar.

So, from what we are shown on this page, it appears that we have two different tests. In the original test, the CO2 bottle has the top partially open, allowing for more IR to potentially pass through the “glass” while actually passing through open air. On the other hand, we have the air bottle with the top fully on that forces all heat sources to pass through the glass. If this is indeed how the test was conducted when not speedily cut through, then it should be blatantly obvious to anyone that the test is erroneous and invalid.

Test two had the IR lamps on while both jars had the covers completely on, forcing any heat that enters the jars to enter identically in both the CO2 and Air cases. Though this may not be a perfect representation of IR passing through earth’s atmosphere, it is 100% a much fairer comparison between the gasses.

Of course, this is all based on the assumption that the original test left the hose in the jar to continually fill it with CO2. (Or purposefully allow a free air path for heat to enter the jar)

Steve Thiboutot
Reply to  Derek
December 1, 2018 12:24 pm

Both jars were at the same temperature when the CO2 was introduced. He even mentioned that the releasing of the CO2 into the chamber slightly lowers the temperature.
If you took the time to see the whole video, you would have noticed the readings were CONSISTENTLY different between the jars … as indicated in the graphs he produced from the data.

April 5, 2012 12:35 pm

This is essentially an indoor version of Wood’s Experiment of 1909, which was said to prove that greenhouses trap solar heat principally through lack of convection, not through IR blocking.
Wood’s Experiment has been repeated by at least two modern experimenters, and interestingly, they disagree about the outcome. Vaughan Pratt of Stanford reckons that Wood was wrong and that the box with a far-infrared blocking window material gets significantly hotter. Meanwhile, Nasif Nahle finds the opposite, that IR-blocking material actually prevents some of the Sun’s rays from entering the box, causing marginally slower warming than in the box with the IR-transparent window.
Nahle’s experimental method seems to be by far the more meticulous, and on that basis I’m inclined to accept his findings in preference to Pratt’s. Though, I do find it perplexing that that no agreement can be reached within the scientific community over the results of so simple, so easily repeated a test. If no agreement can be reached even on this, what trust can be placed in more complex forms of climate science?

Michael 2
Reply to  Anteaus
November 6, 2014 9:06 pm

I suspect variations exist in what the glass does WITH the infrared. If it absorbs the infrared, the glass itself will heat up and indirectly heat the interior, making it seem that the infrared passed through. Glass that reflects infrared, such as is used in projectors, won’t heat up nor will it pass the infrared. Instead, the infrared is reflected somewhere else which will then heat up. Heat reflecting windows are used in buildings to keep the interior cool but of course the streets and sidewalks then get a double dose of infrared.

Dan Sage
Reply to  Anteaus
June 19, 2017 11:43 pm

Look at the spectrum of sunlight from a black body, and then look at the infrared spectrum emitted from the surface of the earth as a black body. There is very little energy overlap between the two, and even less energy in the infrared frequencies, that CO2 can absorb to excite its vibrational or rotational modes. Do you think that maybe they needed some dirt, grass, or water to get a better idea of what was really happening? CO2 is an effective absorber only in very narrow frequency bands, say 9.4 and 10.6, microns, not the entire infrared spectrum. There is only a finite amount of energy coming from the earth at these frequencies. Therefore, it may be possible to absorb all of it with a finite number of atoms of CO2 in the atmosphere, and maybe this is why some people say the absorbtion is a natural log function (ln) and will be quickly saturated. CO2 molecules don’t know up from down, or earth from space. If they emit absorbed energy it can be absorbed by other CO2 molecules or maybe even N2 molecules, but it will probably still reach space after being delayed for a little bit, or it could be reabsorbed by the earth and re-emitted. I don’t know what happens, if it hits the oceans, since we have been told that it can only minutely penetrate the surface layer of water.
By the way, I think the infrared light bulbs may not be made with a normal glass cover. That would seem to defeat the whole purpose of their existance. I think at least some infrared light heaters have quartz covers.

William A Hoffman
Reply to  Anteaus
August 27, 2018 10:25 am

Focusing on your closing question, I also believe that the “consensus” often claimed is misleading on a related basis.

Nobody is writing articles about proving or even testing the impact of CO2 on the atmosphere. Even the articles cited as part of a consensus are derivative, consequentially presumed and thus valueless to the analysis of physics. They are barely to be valued as opinion polls.

On the matter of physical models (not computer models), the proper experiments can be imagined. They are definitely not high school level, nor easy.

One such that can be envisaged would requite an enormous building. I thought to pick one with a picture, but decided to show many…. Have any rained inside I wonder?

Perhaps another way would be to make a geo-art project of a transparent polymer supported to be perhaps 200 meters tall, and open at the top, located in a sunny location and enclosing 1000 m^2 area. A desert might be a good locale. CO2 and water controlled by injection at the bottom. Thermometers top to bottom. Crowd-funding anyone?

Michael Tremblay
April 7, 2012 11:22 pm

There are some very substantial problems with this experiment. First, they are using an infrared lamp; second the amount of CO2 in the ‘atmosphere’ in the bottle is substantially greater than the amount in the earth’s atmosphere; and finally, the gases are not acting as the atmosphere, the glass of the bottle is.
The gases in the atmosphere absorb the radiant energy from the sun based on the wavelength of the radiant energy and convert that to heat energy. Carbon Dioxide is most effective at absorbing infrared wavelength light and converting it to heat energy. By using an infrared lamp and a CO2 atmosphere they have magnified the amount of heat produced compared to Earth’s atmosphere by a huge margin. Finally, the heat energy produced from the absorption by the gases in the atmosphere is radiated out from the atmosphere in all directions, with more than half of that heat energy being directed out to space. The glass of the bottle prevents that heat from being radiated out and traps it in the bottle thus causing an extra temperature rise.
These so-called scientists should be ashamed of how they conduct experiments – this particular experiment only shows that a CO2 saturated atmosphere is more effective at absorbing infrared radiation and converting it to heat energy than the regular atmosphere, it does not demonstrate that AGW is a threat or even if it is occurring.

Dwight Oglesby
May 6, 2012 12:06 pm

Good work. Thanks from a non-scientist for making the effort.
Suggest that your challenge Bill Nye to get in the same room with you and conduct his experiment to prove his result with complete transparency and advance agreement about how the experiment is set up.
In fact, why not agree with each other as to the setup and then conduct it with both of you together and an agreement that the results will speak for themselves.
I doubt, however, that Bill Nye will rise to such a challenge.
Dwight Oglesby

May 15, 2012 12:39 pm

So after all this do you think that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that increases the temperature of the atmosphere?

William A Hoffman
Reply to  bitskeptic
August 27, 2018 10:28 am


May 15, 2012 12:43 pm

Sorry – didn’t read your update. So you agree CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Then the next question is do you think that CO2 introduced by humans is contributing to the warming of the planet and therefore global climate change?

Reply to  bitskeptic
September 1, 2014 8:37 pm

No, not substantially. By 0.1 to 0.2 degrees ? Perhaps. But CO2 has increased by 10%, and we have measured 0.0 increase in global average temperatures. therefore, by measurements over time, the actual ratio appears to be 0.0 degrees/co2doubling.
Regardless of this nice simplistic theory – like the nice, simple theory like aether to transmit light through space and those many decades before the idea of phlogiston theory of combustion was rejected by “scientists” of the day – is nice, simplistic, obvious, and …. incomplete, if not dead wrong.

Dr S.
Reply to  bitskeptic
September 30, 2014 8:52 am

A common miconception is that more CO2 traps more IR energy. In reality, the atmosphere is opaque to IR in the CO2 absorption bands even at a concentration of 280 ppm. The mean free path of an IR photon in the CO2 absorption band is about 25 meters near the surface of the earth. Thus, in order to “escape” from the atmosphere, that photon is absorbed and re-emitted hundreds if not thousands of times before it gets to outer space. Adding more CO2 does have the effect of raising the height in the atmosphere whereby that IR photon can “escape.” Due to the lapse rate of the atmosphere, increased height means lower temperature which means less energy leaving. Global temperature data strongly suggests this effect is small and possibly negligible. Furthurmore, it is an oversimplication to consider only CO2 without including the interaction of the dominant greenhouse gas, water vapor.

Michael 2
Reply to  bitskeptic
November 6, 2014 9:15 pm

“do you think that CO2 introduced by humans is contributing to the warming of the planet and therefore global climate change?”
Bad logic and ignores dozens of confounders. What causes climate change is CHANGE.
There’s nothing special about human CO2 warming the planet. Of course it does, but so does natural CO2 and the CO2 brought by aliens from Alpha Centauri. Whoever brought the CO2, thank you! All life depends on it. Of course there can be too much of a good thing but that’s a different conversation.

May 26, 2012 3:39 pm

But glass (or other material ) greenhouses or your car parked in the sun for that matter “heat up” by trapping the heated air that would otherwise convect away into the free atmosphere and be replaced by cooler air. Professor Wood’s 1909 experiment, replicated by Professor Nahle, clearly demonstrated a few things
– the solar radiation contains significant IR which glass blocks; and,
– the increase in temperature by “trapping” of IR in a heated glasshouse cannot be measured whilst there is a clear effect by preventing convection to the free atmosphere.
Note that these say nothing about absorbing or emission of IR by gases which I do not dispute BUT it is a fact that all things radiatedependent on their temperature and therefore the vast bulk of the atmosphere must radiate IR yet this 99% of the atmosphere is ignored where the “backradiation” of greenhouse gases is considered – it just doesn’t make sense to me that less than, at the most, a few percent of the atmosphere can be responsible for all the IR – the vast bulk of the atmosphere is not at absolute zero after all.

Michael 2
Reply to  Rosco
November 6, 2014 9:27 pm

“BUT it is a fact that all things radiate dependent on their temperature”
I hate to be a party pooper but this isn’t entirely factual. The relevant factor is called “emissivity” and describes the ability of a warm object to radiate as compared to a perfectly theoretical “blackbody” radiator. For instance, a highly polished ball doesn’t absorb light energy, it reflects it. Interestingly, it also has a difficult time radiating its own heat.
The best radiators of infrared have a loosely bound outer electron orbit, the very thing that makes it possible to “capture” a photon and absorb its energy, but it can only capture photons whose wavelength couples with the wave function of the electron, and it can (usually) only emit that same type of photon. Other mechanisms exist but this is what makes CO2 special in lasers and the atmosphere.
An incoming photon will impart energy to an electron and it jumps to a higher “shell” or orbit, but they can occupy only specific orbits, nothing in between. It isn’t really an orbit, its an energy state, but orbit is convenient for description.
Anyway, after a while the electron reverts back to its “base state” and the jump produces a tiny burst of electromagnetic energy – a photon – in a random direction.
But it might lose energy in a collision before it radiates. That is why CO2 near the ground imparts heat to other molecules primarily through collisions but near the edge of space radiation is the dominant energy transmitter. In fact, it works both ways; other molecules can give their energy to CO2 which can then radiate it! CO2 thus warms (near the surface), and cools (TOA – Top of Atmosphere), the Earth.

William A Hoffman
Reply to  Michael 2
August 27, 2018 10:47 am

Interesting if incomplete… The TOA increased between 1962 and 1976, occasioning release of a new edition of The US Standard Atmosphere as a result. See the TOA was remeasured at about 1000K. Perhaps not all resulted from actual increase, but the only measurement I know of does not show cooling at TOA. It is not the same as stratospheric cooling.

Also, while radiation is dominant afaik, it is an error to believe only CO2 carries IR away even if there is no mechanical loss from solar wind (such sensible heat loss has not been reported, but it must be small and slow). Water vapor not only is made from liquid water at similar wavelengths, it radiates at those same wavelengths, for the same reasons you stated, and it does so when it is much higher than the average CO2.

May 26, 2012 4:02 pm

The atmosphere around the real Earth is not glass … The direct heat from the Sun is what reaches us and heats us up, land and oceans and us. This has been taken out of the AGWScienceFiction energy budget. You’ve left out the direct heat from the Sun which can actually physically really heat matter and substituted shortwave visible light from the Sun, which can’t.
This is so totally ludicrous it’s beyond a joke.

Olaf Koenders
May 26, 2012 4:18 pm

As noted before Bitskeptic, human emissions are just 3% of 0.039% of total atmospheric CO2. That’s just 0.00117%. No wonder they can’t find the anthropogenic signal amongst the natural noise.
Any actual warming would be arising from the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI), where roads and building retain heat for longer, but that escapes into space on a clear night. Notice how cities always have a higher overnight temp forecast? But that’s only localised. Out in the city fringes and the prairies, temps aren’t really affected at all.
Note that the Earth having a total area of 510,072,000 km2 and (from what I could gather – somebody correct me because I couldn’t find the exact figure), around 300,000 km2 of global city area that’s capable of measurable UHI, I doubt there’s a problem.

May 26, 2012 11:29 pm

Meant to say earlier that I am pleased Anthony approached this as a clear, concise and repeatable experiment.
He has clearly summed up the situation correctly – the IR lamps primarily heat the glass jars which conduct heat to the gases therein – the gases did not heat substantially by absorption of IR which the glass blocks effectively.
Why didn’t Gore and his “expert” forsee this basic criticism and use a different heating method ?
Wood’s 1909 experiment showed almost no temperature effect by the glass box “trapping” IR compared to the rock salt box which passes IR at ~100% at the temperatures reached – the consequence of this is that the surface heats the atmosphere primarily by conduction and convection – radiation effects were not measurable.
It seems inconceivable to me that the Earth’s surface, heated by the Solar radiation, predominantly heats the atmosphere by radiating to greenhouse gases which then spread the heat around (which must be kinetic energy as the bulk of the atmosphere doesn’t appreciably absorb IR) – I simply do not believe this and Professor Wood demonstrated this.
Obviously radiation to space is the only method of removing energy from the atmosphere.

May 30, 2012 8:45 am

I’m surprised the temperature profiles in the two jars were so close, given the potential manufacturing differences in the bulbs and the jars (the glass is not going to be uniform in thickness, among other things). There are so many ways the experiment could have been faked, but it’s pretty clear the thermometers were not in the jars when the video was running. Using a 50W bulb for one jar and a 150W bulb for the other would be an easy way to fake it in a “live” test. Realistically, the conditions for both jars were not the same: both should have had tubing running into them, so that both were open to “the atmosphere” and both should have had identical temperature gas running into them. A better solution is to have proper laboratory jars that allow hoses to be attached so that there could be no uncontrolled leakage.
Nye’s response is interesting, if you can put up with/get past the rhetoric. He provides some interesting bits of information:
1) He acknowledges that Team Gore made up their own experiment, and lists numerous failings of it.
2) He notes that in his own experiments he used a “bright hot lamp” though he doesn’t indicate if it’s an IR or visible light lamp. A hot bulb radiating heat is likely to cause the jars to heat to some degree, which will complicate the issue.
3) Nye also acknowledges that such experiments are grand simplifications of the real atmosphere, models of which “are astonishingly complex.”
4) Nye encourages people to make up their own model and see what happens. That’s all fine and dandy, but that’s where Team Gore went wrong in the first place: they made up their own experiment and botched it, but then said their results were valid…
In many ways, Nye provides good evidence that he is above the fray, but it’s hard to get to that point after he shows his apparent true colors as he refers at the very top to “one of our strident climate change deniers.” And to think I actually let my children watch his show when they were young…

June 19, 2012 4:54 am

Actually, this whole concept of a green house like effect surrounding the earth like a pane of glass is a ludicrous attempt to present a vision in children’s heads and I well imagine many adults also believe this. The question is, when was the last time anyone was able to “capture” anything with a gas? That this ubiquitous, odorless, colorless, and benign trace gas essential for life on earth, CO2, that is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere (maybe there is intelligent design after all because everything that utilizes CO2 is on the surface of the earth) and be reminded that it constitutes only .037% of the total atmosphere of our planet can have basically anything to do with the earth’s climate can not and never will be shown by ANY experiment to do so.
That H2O is what causes the green house effect should be realized by anyone that has ever noticed that the coldest nights of the winter occur when there is no cloud cover and this is why the deserts can get to 130*F during the day and freezing at night, no cloud cover.
Carbon dioxide is one and one half times heavier than “air”. This point was sadly proven on Aug, 21, 1986 when Lake Nyor in Cameroon released about 1.6 million tons of CO2 that spilled over the lip of the lake and down into a valley and killed 1,700 people within 16 miles of the lake. “Carbon dioxide, being about 1.5 times as dense as air, caused the cloud to “hug” the ground and descend down the valleys where various villages were located. The mass was about 50 metres (164 ft) thick and it travelled downward at a rate of 20–50 kilometres (12–31 mi) per hour. For roughly 23 kilometres (14 mi) the cloud remained condensed and dangerous, suffocating many of the people sleeping in Nyos,Kam,Cha,andSubum.
This coincides with the above fact about CO2:
ppm of CO2 with altitude and mass of CO2 in atmosphere to 8520 metres beyond which there is practically no CO2
(It is strange that I happened on this above at the Green Party of Canada’s site)
There are some obsessed with the supposed increase of 280 ppm to 392ppm of CO2 and I hope that this information will help them to sleep better at nights.
This, I hope, will put this into some kind of a perspective that makes one understand just how insignificant this increase is.
A part per million is like 1 drop of ink in a large
kitchen sink.
A large kitchen sink is about 13-14 gallons. There
are 100 drops in one teaspoon, and 768 teaspoons
per gallon.
Some other things that are one part per million are…
One drop in the fuel tank of a mid-sized car
One inch in 16 miles
About one minute in two years
One car in a line of bumper-to-bumper traffic from
Cleveland to San Francisco.
One penny in $10,000.
I know that you understand that these 112 additional ppm are spread out over this 16 miles in different one inch segments and wouldn’t it be a task to be told to sort out the 392 pennies from the number that it would take to make up $10,000.
At 392 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere– less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
Let’s picture this in another way to really get an idea of the scale of CO2 compared to the total atmosphere. The Eiffel Tower in Paris is 324 metres high (1063ft). If the hight of the Eiffel Tower represented the total size of the atmosphere then the natural level of CO2 would be 8.75 centimetres of that hight (3.4 inches) and the amount added by humans up until today would be an extra 3.76 centimetres (1.5 inches)

June 21, 2012 9:27 am

I don’t know why folks like Jdouglashuahin are hung up on the “minute” quantities of CO2. Forcing mechanisms are often absolutely small but can have huge effects when their relative size changes dramatically; and a doubling in quantity is huge. I ask him: If you were forced at gunpoint to either drink a glass of water “A” that has one drop of arsenic in it, or “B” that has two drops — which would you chose?
Sine the author here acknowledges the radiative forcing effects of CO2 (and all the naysayers who responded should reread his acknowledgement before posting their congratulations), who cares what happens in a glass jar? It might be entertaining to see Bill Nye try to demonstrate his experiment, but the bottom line (once again, acknowledged by the author) is that they’re just straw men in this debate.

Jake Starling
July 16, 2012 10:25 pm

I wonder if there’s any utility in taking two sets of concentric transparent latex balloons and filling the outer one with atmospheric air, and filling the other one with atmospheric air at 500ppm CO2. The inner balloons of each concentric latex balloon set could be opaque, and represent the Earth. Assuming no leaks occur, and letting both concentric balloon sets reach thermal equilibrium, place them both outside in direct Sunlight. Check the outside diameters of each concentric balloon set over time. I would expect that if CO2 content drives temperature, then in a given time period, the concentric balloon that has 500ppm CO2 in its outer balloon should have a larger outside diameter. The scale and the volumes of atmospheric air and of CO2 is important in order to detect a noticeable outside balloon diameter difference. That’s just my intuition there. Also, try this experiement using Methane gas instead of CO2. We know that Methane gas has been claimed to be a much more terrible greenhouse gas than CO2.
Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources.
So, it is hoped that in doing this, greenhouse gas content (ppm) should affect the rate of expansion of the outer balloon in the concentric balloon set. It’s a tricky demo, and may or may not be definitive. Just a thought experiment for me at this time.

July 22, 2012 10:59 pm

I Am not a science guy but I always suspected that the idea of Co2 heating the Earth is
just another means to reach the goal of the Georgia Guide Stones. Meanwhile I pay my ever increasing carbon tax’s and hydro bills here in BC Canada. I wonder if there will ever be courts proceedings for fraud or even mass genocide on this matter.
Question – How did people farm on Greenland in 1000 BC when it is presently covered in ice? This fact tells me that the climate is always changing and that we should be more worried about global cooling.

August 4, 2012 9:43 am

This is The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change and you can’t miss the fact that an example of global warming alarmist prophecy — Arctic Sea Ice Nearly Disappears September 22nd, 2012 (1 month to go) — will soon be falsified and yet Leftists’ refusal to admit that people like Mann and Gore are charlatans is not recognized as abnormal social behavior is evidence of a dysfunctional society.

August 4, 2012 8:47 pm

Looks like Gores & Nye’s experiment is a Misrepresentation.
Their Thermometers were obviously fudged post-production.
The video of Gore & Nye, constitues then a Criminal Offence.
Under US Law Title 18 U.S.C. , § 1343 (Wire Fraud) – Provides that :
“Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
When will some D.A. take action
and indict Gore, or Nye, or both ?

August 8, 2012 8:21 pm

I offered up several examples of why the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the example that CO2 is one and one-half times heavier than the rest of the atmosphere to show that it has basically no influence on the earth’s climate and I get some asinine comment about being given a choice of drinking arsenic from a glass. Where is the connection, one might ask? I attempted to demonstrate just how insignificant one ppm is but it seems to have gone over Stan’s head.
A part per million is like 1 drop of ink in a large
kitchen sink.
A large kitchen sink is about 13-14 gallons. There
are 100 drops in one teaspoon, and 768 teaspoons
per gallon.
One inch in 16 miles
About one minute in two years
I use to live in Fairbanks, AK where there is naturally occurring arsenic in well water.
“Following the discovery of high concentrations of arsenic (up to 10,000 μg/liter) In the well water of a residential area near Fairbanks, Alaska, an epidemiologic study was undertaken in September, 1976, to assess exposure, absorption, and clinical sequelae of chronic arsenic ingestion.”
Below is what REAL scientist do, they devise experiments and conduct them to either prove or disprove their theories and anthropogenic global warming has not even evolved to that level of being a theory because it is still just a hypothesis.
“Svensmark: Evidence continues to build that the Sun drives climate, not CO2″
More sunspots, less cosmic rays, warmer earth. During the last 50 years or so, there have been record numbers of sunspots, low cosmic ray fluxes and somewhat higher temperatures.
“For the first time, we want to do definitive, quantitative measurements of the underlying microphysics”, states Kirkby.
This New York Times site is interesting because it shows just how much of the earth is cloud covered.
“One Year of Clouds Covering the Earth ”

William A Hoffman
Reply to  jdouglashuahin
August 27, 2018 11:07 am

The misunderstanding of analogies make them hard to be used in a too-often innumerate populace. My own asks an alarmist if two containers of 11 kg sand (about 1,000,000 grains/particles), one with 400 black particles mixed with sand, one without, would get to the same temperature if left in the sun for a day. Of course they would, but the alarmist rails that sand is not CO2, and that ends the discussion. The alarmist does not even wait to find out that they will cool overnight at a rate immeasurably different (if at all), reaching the same temperature by sunrise.

August 12, 2012 5:51 pm

Some thoughts about the video:
-The author is listed as ‘reality’. This seems to be a banner word in one camp – think realclimate, or the idea that ‘deniers’ are those who refuse to awknowledge a truth apparent. If their opposition can be said to rally behind one label, it would probably be ‘audit’. For an auditer, it is not important to generate anything entertaining or thought provoking, it is enough to simply verify the banal but fundamental facts in the debate are being answered in earnest behind the scenes. In this case of Gore Nye 2011 and Watts’ reponse is a microcosm of the reason climate science is experiencing a credibility crisis.
While Gore and Nye insists their monopoly on ‘reality’, they seem eager to explain that just because the experiment didn’t work in “reality” (even though it was shown in video implied that it did) it doesn’t mean anything. All too frequently, it is considered irrelevant to get the actual experiment right, before going on to proclaim the solution is ‘settled’. If skeptics wanted a gotcha example, I’m not sure anyone could dream up a juicier scenario then: Gore proclaims the science “is so easy, a high-schooler could do it”. Then is unable to succesfully make the high-school experiment work, and shows false results.
I don’t think it will ever make sense to an auditor why someone would play with the facts-on-the-ground so liberally and then demand to be taken seriously. And it will never make sense to a Warmists why the problem can’t be settled when so many scientists are behind science – if scientists are so dumb how am I typing this comment over the internet right now?
To be fair, the video is deliberately light and a little campy. But when it gets to the Suggestions portion, the imagery they chose is rather striking. The audience is shown a multiple choice question with three answers and then is shown which is the correct one to fill in. Upon which, an unknown room of people erupt into applause. Having someone tell you which choice to circle is not science, nor is it the appropriate approach to climate policy (easy as A, B, C?). Simple answers are for bjective fact – eg does this experiment work? The actual AGW thesis set forth by the IPCC itself is quite complex and filled with uncertainties. In the process of understanding our planet, the people who are most in-need are those who can ask probing questions, not those who always circle C.

zack aa
August 23, 2012 8:11 pm

It would seem this is a debate about a non sequitor. Nye’s claim that he has run the experiment repeatedly, successfully and before audiences is dissapointing. It may make good theater. It may appear without much introspection to connect to greenhouse warming but it is no better than a parlor trick of Houdini’s age. Nobody has turned the sun off! It’s been on for billions of years. A relevant demonstration would have three jars not two. One with CO2 lowered to a ppm level of some pre industrial date. The second jar would have normal contemporary air, as would the third. After leaving all three jars out in the sun for four hours the third jar should have jar temperature CO2 pumped in to replicate the presumed future ppm level. Then and only then should temperatures be compared. Does anyone doubt there would be little or no differences in the jars?

zack aa
August 23, 2012 8:25 pm

The fallacy of the entire experiment is that Jar A already has “unacceptable” levels of CO2 in it. How much more does Nye pump into Jar B? And why not run the expirement with plants, not globes, inside both jars for a month and see which one grows a better tomato?

August 30, 2012 6:26 am

It amazes me how someone can say “So you caught me fudging my experiment but the results are still accurate”.
Actually, no it doesn’t. Students do it all the time. Any HS chemistry teacher who ever ran a lab on cation identification knows that you can sneak a drop of blue food coloring into a test tube and and some kid’s gonna swear he got a positive test for copper.
I’ve one small issue with your table on the thermal conductivity of gases. Please note that ammonia is NH3, not H3S.

September 5, 2012 9:31 am

Similar to the mythbusters experiment, except that unlike Gore and Nye those guys had read the “Note on the theory of the Greenhouse” by Professor R.W.Wood and avoided the use of glass.

September 5, 2012 9:49 am

I’ve just watched the Mythbusters video again to refresh my memory. They don’t appear to reveal what gas mixture is in the “Control” greenhouse.

jim wishing you a happy new year
Reply to  Mike Mellor
December 28, 2014 2:34 pm

Or in a vacuum at absolute zero temperature at one bar of pressure in zero gravity with no background cosmic radiation present.
Take the experiment up to the international space station

September 12, 2012 5:54 am

These people have been fingered by the “authorities” with “vested interests” too many times.
Transmission, absorption, re-radiation, conduction and convection.
I imagine the control as pure nitrogen or air. Very good insulators!
Still wondering why the backing plates in the boxes were black when the Earth is blue & white.

September 19, 2012 9:11 am

However, you have shown that Mr. Gore and Mr. Nye are economical with the truth.

September 25, 2012 5:15 pm

The point about the thermal conductivity of the various gases has to be significant – how can there be any “radiative forcing” effect that is somehow seperate from thermal conductivity ? Thermal conductivity is determined experimentally and the test subjects cannot be instructed to stop radiating for the duration.
On the point about IR absortion not occurring in the experiment because the glass blocks IR from the lamp we all should have thought more about this. The glass obviously heats up and conducts energy to the gasses in the jar but the internal surfaces of the glass would also be emitting their own IR into the gas inside the jar – thus demonstrating IR absorption has little effect as confirmed by thermal conductivity and other thermodynamic properties.
I personally do not believe in the “greenhouse effect” in the atmosphere and find it difficult to believe that any significant heating effect can occur from a gas with very low thermal conductivity at a density of ~1.205 k/cubic metre to substances like soil where the density is ~1600 kg/cubic metre (albeit a lower heat capacity) and especially water with a density ~1000 kg/cubic metre and a heat capacity 4 times that of air. Factor in the concentrations of ~2% water vapour and ~0.04 % CO2 and the whole idea appears absurd to me.
I simply do not believe it – I think the opposite occurs. The Sun heats the soils and the oceans and these in turn heat the atmosphere which then convects the heat high into the troposphere wher it becomes weather and also radiates to space.
The atmosphere removes heat from the Earth’s surfaces – else how do you explain the fact the Earth never approaches it’s theoretical blackbody temperature even factoring in albedo and nothing like the extreme of the Moon’s daytime – the strength of the solar radiation is similar outside the atmosphere ?

September 25, 2012 5:31 pm

“That H2O is what causes the green house effect should be realized by anyone that has ever noticed that the coldest nights of the winter occur when there is no cloud cover and this is why the deserts can get to 130*F during the day and freezing at night, no cloud cover.”
Uh….you ever camped in the desert? That’s a wive’s tale. I don’t care how clear it is, if it hits 130F during the day, it *might* drop into the 90s at night. But that’s about it. Look as much as you want, you will never be able to produce an actual example of what you have stated.
Yes, the desert is capable of wide swings in temperature from day to night, and the reason is low humidity, hence low heat capacity of the air. There’s very little water in the air, so the air can’t hold nearly as much heat. The source of heat goes away (the sun), and so does a lot of the heat. A lot more than if you are in Ohio and the RH is 90%.
Yes, water vapor is a greenhouse gas. But your explanation of why this should be obvious is flawed.

Reply to  bill
December 21, 2020 2:27 pm

about 25 degrees fahrenheit
During the day, desert temperatures rise to an average of 38°C (a little over 100°F). At night, desert temperatures fall to an average of -3.9°C (about 25°F). At night, desert temperatures fall to an average of -3.9 degrees celsius (about 25 degrees fahrenheit).

September 26, 2012 8:41 pm

Does anyone have any information regarding the combination of other known greenhouse effect gasses? Methene is a known greenhouse gas and has been known to trap more IR as heat. Water vapor too can do this, and that is a direct byproduct of burning petroleum.

September 26, 2012 9:19 pm

I would say this is just another example not of Al Gore’s basic ignorance but of his attempt using knowledgable scientists to contrive fraudulent demonstrations to con the community through the mass media. Al Gore is the equivalent of Goebbels in the socialist movement. Its also a mechanism to destroy the natural skepticism of the human mind and erode logical reasoning in the average citizen. This is a propagandist softening technique so that these minds will more readily accept irrational conjectures from the World wide socialist order they hope to establish. Just as the Nazi’s used propaganda to incite average citizens to committ genocide of the jews.To portray guys like Gore as merely misguided is a dangerous tact and ignores the danger of their hidden agenda.

Reply to  major
April 21, 2017 10:19 pm

accurate observations, Thanks! There are a large number of dangerous people ‘out there’, and we do tend to fail to scrutinize them closely, allowing the danger to increase.

October 8, 2012 1:47 pm

Here’s the global warming problem as I understand it. The Earth receives approximately 2.9 million terawatt-hours worth of energy from the sun every day. This energy arrives in the UV, visible light, and very short IR spectrum. The Earth radiates approximately the same amount of energy back into space every day, using infrared wavelength from 3 microns up to 50 microns.
The IR spectrum in the 3 to 50 micron range is sensitive to the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. While transparent to most IR photons, CO2 molecules are opaque to 15 micron photons. In other words, they capture them and release them, often sending them sideways or back to the surface.
This behavior has been confirmed by satellite readings of the infrared spectrum radiating away from the Earth. Not nearly as much IR energy escapes into space in the 15 micron wavelength as in neighboring wavelengths.
What’s interesting is that the IR radiation at that wavelength isn’t zero. So there’s still a chance for it to be suppressed further. And a presumptive likelihood that rising CO2 levels will slowly but steadily curtail the amount of IR energy the Earth radiates into space in that part of the IR spectrum.
Think of it this way. A rising stock of atmospheric CO2 interferes, ever so slightly but cumulatively, with the Earth’s natural cooling system. Infrared OUT no longer offsets one hundred percent of Solar IN.
In round numbers, climate scientists tell us that the Earth receives 2.9 million terawatt-hours worth of solar energy every day. As a result of rising stocks of atmospheric CO2, the Earth retains about 6 thousand terawatt-hours worth of energy and radiates all the rest back into space. The retained heat very very slowly warms the oceans, to a depth of a few hundred feet, and as it does, the rising thermal energy of the oceans raises the overall temperature of the planet. By about one-eighteen thousandth of a degree Celsius per day.
Some parts of this process are predictable. The more fossil fuels we burn, the more CO2 we emit; the more CO2 we emit, the higher the cumulative stock in the atmosphere, and the higher the stock, the higher the ultimate temperature.
And one part is not so predictable. Higher temperatures alter climate behaviors, but it’s not linear. Small temperature adjustments can cause qualitative changes in climate.
That’s the base case the climate scientists have made.
Does an experiment involving carbon dioxide inside a glass bottle have any bearing on this? No. The Earth doesn’t operate inside a glass bottle.
But that’s not the issue that should concern us. I would love to see the skeptics prove that rising CO2 levels really don’t matter. It would make things so much easier. But they can’t. They have to have to show that Infrared OUT doesn’t get suppressed, AT ALL, in any wavelength, as the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere climbs. Currently it’s up forty percent. It’ll be up sixty percent by 2040 and eighty percent by 2070 at current rates.
It won’t do for skeptics to argue that maybe there are offsetting dynamics. More clouds, perhaps, at an altitude where clouds reflect solar heat, or fewer clouds, at an altitude where clouds trap solar heat. Maybe this, maybe that – “Maybe” just isn’t good enough.
What skeptics have to prove is that the suppression of outgoing infrared in the 15 micron wavelength has already hit a hard stop. Yes, up to a certain concentration level, atmospheric CO2 affects the Earth’s natural cooling system, but, no, after that point the effect stops. Abruptly. Completely. And permanently.
And their proof has to be so compelling that we can safely bet the future of the Earth’s climate on their say-so. That’s the due diligence challenge they face.

Dan Sage
Reply to  Steven Howard Johnson
June 20, 2017 1:11 am

Can the same thing be said about water vapor in the atmosphere??? Should we drain the oceans. Would it be a paradise compared to the present Earth. No more global warming. Oh no!!! No more life. Would that make the CAGW non-thinkers happy???

john jorgensen
October 23, 2012 10:47 am

I’m just an ordinary non scientist person who learned in high school that over the 13+ billion years that we believe the planet earth existed there have been warm and cold periods in which intelligent life (animals) had no role. We know that since the last cool period or ice age, the planet has been getting warmer and as Stephen Howard says C02 plays a role. Natural causes of CO2 like volcanoes and the oceans produce scads more CO2 that animals could ever produce, so given history and the role and sources of CO2, I have trouble believing animal behavior is influencing the warming of the earth, and it would be stupid and vain to undertake trying to do so. Besides, CO2 is essential to life through photosynthesis, and the evidence is that warm climates are more conducive to prosperous living than cold climates, so we should be preparing for better times with lower heating cost and less CO2 generation. Oops, hope that will not send us back into the next ice age. BTW, we should be more concerned about the damage caused by the deciept of politicians like Mr. Gore than global warming and climate change.

November 2, 2012 12:30 pm

They should have taken Argon – a nobel gas – instead of Carbondioxide – the measured effect would even improve (if there was a measurement at all) – it’s all about heat capacity … tabloid climate “science”….

November 14, 2012 5:39 pm

My god that video Al Gore made was bullshit!

December 3, 2012 2:02 pm

bill, you’re being an idiot on purpose! during a summer night desert temperatures can drop to below 50°F.

Albert Stentson
December 4, 2012 3:33 pm

What global warmers believe is that the class of gases which block 50% of incoming infrared from the sun, for a total of 25% of the earth’s total energy, is doing something called ‘heating’ when that happens.
Also when mankind releases some more of that gas in the air, and it blocks some more incoming infrared gas before it can ever get here, that is called ‘heating’.
Also when you remove the atmosphere from an object in space and it’s temperature soars to 130 C
that is warming.
But when you place the earth’s atmosphere around that object and it’s temperature goes up to 40 C
that atmosphere ‘warmed’ the body that was previously 130.
When things cool to below zero C in space, this is cooling,
When things don’t cool down so much with the atmosphere present, that is called warming.

December 4, 2012 7:10 pm

Albert, that’s not the way it works. The Earth receives energy from the sun. In order to maintain a stable temperature, the Earth has to radiate an equal amount of energy back into space. The energy radiated back into space stretches across the infrared spectrum, from 3 microns to 50 microns. Compared with the rest of the infrared spectrum, the 15 micron wavelength is a bit sluggish. It doesn’t radiate as much energy into space, because that’s the wavelength at which an infrared photon radiated into the atmosphere is likely to get trapped by a CO2 molecule and then transferred as heat to the next molecule over, or randomly re-radiated. Its chances of ultimately getting radiated into space are well below one hundred percent.
Here’s the issue. This wouldn’t matter if the total stock of CO2 in the atmosphere were stable, but it’s not. It’s rising, and doing so quite rapidly. In 1960, it was 13% higher than in pre-industrial times. 1970, 16% higher. 1980, 21% higher. 1990, 26.5% higher. 2000, 32% higher. 2010, 39% higher. The CO2 overload is presently rising by seven percentage points a decade. In other words, we humans are indirectly interfering with the Earth’s natural cooling system, and doing so with rising intensity.
Satellite measurements of the Earth’s infrared spectrum show the impact of carbon dioxide. Not nearly as much infrared gets radiated into space in the 15 micron wavelength, and the overall amount radiated into space is slowly shrinking.
If the Earth’s total infrared output were already zero in the 15 micron band, we wouldn’t have to worry. Adding CO2 wouldn’t matter any more. But it’s not zero. It’s a substantial number, and that means we have a lot of leeway to interfere even more with the Earth’s natural cooling system.
Scientific measurements suggest that the Earth’s temperature is rising by about one-eighteen thousandth of a degree C every day. Hard to notice, from one day to the next, but it’s essentially irreversible. From one decade to the next, the overall heat content of the ocean rises, and rises some more, and rises some more.
This has not been well-explained, so it’s understandable that folks get confused.

D Böehm
December 4, 2012 7:20 pm

Steven Howard Johnson,
Isn’t it a bitch when Planet Earth, the ultimate Authority, falsifies your belief system?
The long term global warming trend since the LIA has been the same, whether CO2 was low or high. There has been no recent acceleration in the [very mild] long term warming trend — and recently that warming has stopped.
Also, let’s see those verifiable, empirical, testable measurements you’re claiming, which supposedly show thousandths of a degree changes. As if.

December 4, 2012 7:51 pm

A measurable warming trend of 0.2 C per decade translates into one eighteen-thousandth of a degree per day. As to the measurements, I refer you to Cal professor Richard Muller, whose team of skeptics scrubbed a century of global temperature data, applied analytic techniques they trusted, and concluded that their skepticism wasn’t supported by the data. He summarized his findings in the Wall Street Journal last year. Dr. James Hansen of NASA recently made a presentation to a weekly meeting in Washington that Grover Norquist hosts. If you go to Dr. Hansen’s website, I believe you’ll find a copy of the paper he presented at the Norquist meeting.

D Böehm
December 4, 2012 8:05 pm

As expected, you produced no testable, verifiable measurements to support your belief system.
Further, Muller is no scientific skeptic, and his attempt at getting his faked results to pass peer review failed. You didn’t know that? Do an archive search of “Muller” to learn about his phony ‘science’. Muller is a self-serving, self-aggrandizing politician. As is his devious grant trolling kid.
Don’t quote James “Coal Trains of Death” Hansen here, either. Hansen has zero credibility. Wake me when Hansen stops his unexplained temperature “adjustments” — which always go in the scariest direction.
Run along now back to Pseudo-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, the thinly-trafficked echo chamber where they eat up that sort of anti-science nonsense.
The rest is just politics, not science. But nice try, and thanx for playing. Vanna has some lovely parting gifts for you on your way out. ☺

December 5, 2012 1:00 am

Really well controlled science experiment. I enjoyed every moment, even when you went to dinner. If this was a science project in high school, you would fail (get an F) because everyone knows in the academic world that CO_2 causes catastrophic warming. It’s taught in all the schools now.

December 5, 2012 2:30 am

@stanrose June 21st
I am intrigued by people that talk of CO2 ‘forcing’. I presume this is supposed to mean there is an amplified positive feedback from the alleged temperature increase as a result of increase in CO2. There is no empirical evidence for this. Indeed, if this claim was true then the atmospheric temperature would have increased enormously when CO2 was at 4400ppm by vol. in an earlier geological epoch leading to even more CO2 and so on.
In fact the evidence points to increasing CO2 having less and less effect, if any. Positive feedback is rare in nature, eg. a woman having birth contractions or a fission bomb and Le Chatilier’s Principle prevails thus ensuring stability and equilibrium.
The so – called forcing introduced by the climate model speculators is because their models do not work when comprared with empirical evidence.

December 5, 2012 4:19 pm

There’s scientific discussion and there’s bullying. There’s also the Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Hansen is sincere. He may not always be right, but he reports the evidence as he sees it. Bearing false witness against Hansen, or against anyone whose conclusions differ from yours, is damaging to our society’s ability to conduct rational discussion without bullying and without slander. You don’t like the temperature trends that have been compiled from thousands of measurement stations from around the world so you dismiss them. I imagine you’ll see Chasing Ice by James Balog and claim that he’s run the movies backward. That the glaciers he shows as shrinking are in fact growing.
Glaciers are shrinking – most of them – around the world, and the rate has accelerated since 1990. Scientific American reports slow warming on the West Antarctic peninsula. The area of the peninsula that stays below freezing all year round is getting smaller; the area that rises above freezing during the Antarctic summer is getting larger.
The scientists who use gravitational measurement to determine mass change on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet find accelerating mass loss on Greenland and on the west part of Antarctica. They find a bit of ice growth on the main part of Antarctica, but it is only a small fraction of the ice loss on West Antarctica.
We cannot be good patriots if we throw away valid evidence that doesn’t fit our emotional needs. And America cannot be a capable nation if we cannot approach scientific matters with an open mind. There is a lot of bullying on the internet, and the people who suffer from it the most are the people who practice it. America is one nation – with a toxic locker room. And locker room toxicity is damaging our team spirit and our competitive ability.

December 5, 2012 4:35 pm

Steven Howard Johnson:
At December 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm you assert

You don’t like the temperature trends that have been compiled from thousands of measurement stations from around the world so you dismiss them.

I don’t “dismiss them”. I point out that they indicate global warming ceased 16 years ago.

December 5, 2012 5:10 pm

Global temperature is a bumpy curve. The 1980s were warmer than the 1970s, but there were big dips in the 80s. The 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, but there were big dips downward in the 1990s. The 2000s were warmer than the 1990s. And it is true the decade was less bumpy. There weren’t the upward jumps of previous decades. There also weren’t the downward dips of previous decades.
The noise is interesting. Scientists talk about two sources – sunspots and El Nino. When sunspots are frequent, global temperatures rise a bit. When they’re rare, global temperatures dip a bit. As I understand it, there was an extended solar minimum at the end of the 2000s decade, so what’s remarkable in a way is that there wasn’t a steep dip.
When the Pacific is in its La Nina phase, its surface waters move away from the Americas and cooler deep ocean waters are drawn to the surface along the coast of the Americas. And that’s how La Nina produces measurable cooling. When the Pacific switches, and its surface waters move toward the Americas, there’s a measurable upturn in warming. Deep ocean waters stay deep.
These trends are understood. No doubt there are many others that are not so well understood. Who knows when ocean currents might change in an unexpected way? And produce more warming than before? Or more cooling?
What we do know is that the carbon dioxide overload is up 40% compared with the pre-industrial era and that it’s growing by 7% a decade. And we know that this will affect, further, the Earth’s natural cooling system. As time goes on, escaping infrared in the 15 micron band will diminish a little more, and a little more, and a little more. This retained energy will accumulate, almost imperceptibly but inexorably, in the ocean as heat. And as time goes on it will have a cumulative effect on the Earth’s overall temperature, and on the behavior of the climate.

D Böehm
December 5, 2012 5:23 pm

Steven Howard Johnson,
You make a whole lot of assertions. I suppose the fact that the planet is debunking your belief system is remedied by your cognitive dissonance.

December 5, 2012 5:31 pm

Steven Howard Johnson:
At December 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm you assert

What we do know is that the carbon dioxide overload is up 40% compared with the pre-industrial era and that it’s growing by 7% a decade. And we know that this will affect, further, the Earth’s natural cooling system. As time goes on, escaping infrared in the 15 micron band will diminish a little more, and a little more, and a little more. This retained energy will accumulate, almost imperceptibly but inexorably, in the ocean as heat. And as time goes on it will have a cumulative effect on the Earth’s overall temperature, and on the behavior of the climate.

Bollocks! We do not know any such thing!
We do know the ‘hot spot’ is missing so the “science” which indicates the “retained energy will accumulate” is wrong.
And we do know the “committed warming” has vanished so there is no “retained energy”.
It is always a bummer when reality shows a cherished hypothesis is wrong, isn’t it?

December 6, 2012 5:28 pm

Well, Richard, it’s an interesting point. Bruce Bartlett recently wrote a long piece about his break with conservatism because it had become a closed system completely immune to evidence and logic. How much time do you spend collecting information from various points of view?
Conservatives I know locally – very dear people in many ways – cannot bear the idea that Al Gore might have been right about ANYTHING. So here’s where they wind up:
“I hate government.”
“If global warming is real, government will have to act.”
“Therefore global warming isn’t real.”
I take it you accept measurements that seem to confirm your conclusions and reject measurements which seem to cast doubt on your conclusions.
I don’t, by the way, have a high regard for the way Al Gore approaches this issue. For all the years he’s been working on it, I think he fumbles a number of the important points. But it really isn’t up to you or me or Al Gore or anyone else. This issue is driven by a series of realities: the reality that the Earth’s infrared radiance functions as its natural cooling system; the reality that CO2 molecules are opaque to infrared photons in certain frequencies; and by the reality that atmospheric CO2 levels are sharply up as a result of human consumption of fossil fuels.
These realities combine to hinder, by just a touch, the daily amount of infrared energy escaping into space. You can lecture me all you like, but nothing you say on the internet will affect the nature of the Earth’s natural cooling system, nor will it affect the opacity of CO2, nor will it alter the present reality that the CO2 overload is rising by 7% a decade.
Given these realities, can we say with a high degree of confidence that fossil fuels are safe? That they completely pass a tough-minded due diligence test? The presumption has to be No. They don’t. Not only because of the heat retention trends and climate dangers they present, but also because of the ocean acidification trends they promote.
Yes, conceivably they might turn out to be safe, but we cannot know for sure until we’ve passed the point of no return, and if we’ve been wrong all along, there’s no way back. Our descendants will be irreparably damaged by our folly. Richard, it won’t be enough for you to say, in forty years, “Oops. I was wrong.” Because when that point comes, you and all your allies will be powerless to make amends.

Trevor Ridgway
Reply to  Steven Howard Johnson
December 16, 2017 8:55 am

Steven………..photons move at the speed of light………so no matter how many times they are absorbed and emitted all the photons will rapidly leave the planet once the sun has ceased irradiating the atmosphere ,
that is , each and every night..
So , no ! ……..There is not a cumulative effect , they are not stored away…….they depart and equilibrium is restored. Water vapour is the prime ‘greenhouse gas’ and , as Dan Sage continually tries to show you , CO2 is largely screened out by water-vapour from the absorption spectrum , and since there is so much of it by comparison with CO2 ( up to 4 % as compared to 0.04% ) the C02 effect must be minute , if anything at all ,
where the two occur together. Higher in the atmosphere ( where there is no water vapour ) then conceivably
C02 would have some effect …….but C02 is heavier than Nitrogen and Oxygen and tends to be found at the bottom of the atmosphere … at higher altitudes where it may occur in the absence of water-vapour the
atmosphere is so thin that there is very little of it anyway !
I agree that there is warming and cooling of the planet and that it has recently warmed over the past 10,000
to 20,000 years (BUT this is merely a warm inter-glacial in an ice-age which WILL return eventually ) , and
IF we can extend this inter-glacial in any way then we should !
All life struggles in a glacial-period and thrives in an inter-glacial.
That includes all the plants and animals including us !
Long may MILD global warming continue !!

Steve Thiboutot
Reply to  Trevor Ridgway
December 1, 2018 1:18 pm

Q. If it were all true, then why does NOAA find the need to tamper with temperature data?
Answer: because the raw data doesn’t give them the answer they want.
What they SHOULD be using is the data from stations that have existed for the entire length of the history in question. Instead they “adjust” temperature & use some formulas to decide what the minuscule number of stations represent. For instance, they decide that ONE buoy in the ocean represents x amount of area. Just plain silly.
If the globe is warming EVERYWHERE should be warmer.

Jack O'Fall
December 18, 2012 12:23 pm

I had always like Bill Nye. He is very entertaining and a great educator on a wide range of science topics.
Sadly, I have had to re-evaluate him since he has come down firmly on the side of ‘We understand the climate and can predict the future feedbacks with accuracy’.
I still think he has much to offer and does a great job making science fun and interesting. However, I have doubts about his critical thinking now..

Jack O'Fall
December 18, 2012 12:42 pm

@Steven Howard Johnson:
I agree with 99% of your first 5 paragraphs (the exception being O2 overload. I would just describe it as the C2 level).
However, your belief that we shouldn’t do anything (burn coal, burn oil, burn natural gas) until we know it to be safe is not a harmless proposition. There are real costs to taking the steps proposed to mitigate CO2 releases, and these steps cause harm. This is not abstract harm, it’s real money, jobs, and lives. The effects of economic poverty are tremendous and the harm is almost impossible to calculate. What is the cost of starving 100 million people over the next 50 years? I don’t know, but preventing 1/3 of society from rising out of extreme poverty will do much more harm than that. Economic growth is the only way to prevent that, and that means efficient economic activity.
In terms of the fantasy, that moving to a green economy will create jobs and have a net positive affect on economic growth, it is ridiculous, and everyone knows it; they just ignore that part when they talk about it. Efficiency drives economic growth. If the green economy was more efficient, we wouldn’t need a global protocol to force it down our throats. Any rational company would take advantage of it. However, solar and wind are not efficient yet (they may be eventually, but not b/c of a international accord, it will be b/c the technology gets better and it becomes cheaper to produce/install them). Nuclear is also not more efficient (costs little to produce a kilowatt hour, once you have invested the $10 billion to make the plant and the 10 years to build it. But no one wants to take the risk with that long an investment horizon and such a low ROI).
So it comes down to a risk analysis of the cost of doing nothing and the probability of that being the wrong choice, to the cost of doing something and the probability of that helping in a meaningful way. Even the most ardent supporters of AGW agree that what is on the table is not going to do much, according to their models, so the potential benefit is near 0. Regardless of the probabilities, that makes it a risky choice.

Jack O'Fall
December 18, 2012 12:43 pm

CO2 overload, and CO2 levels (my keyboard sometimes doesn’t get those characters and I am too cheap to replace the whole laptop)

December 18, 2012 1:09 pm

Steven Howard Johnson:
Your post at December 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm begins by saying to me

Well, Richard, it’s an interesting point. Bruce Bartlett recently wrote a long piece about his break with conservatism because it had become a closed system completely immune to evidence and logic. How much time do you spend collecting information from various points of view?
Conservatives I know locally – very dear people in many ways – cannot bear the idea that Al Gore might have been right about ANYTHING. So here’s where they wind up:
“I hate government.”
“If global warming is real, government will have to act.”
“Therefore global warming isn’t real.”
I take it you accept measurements that seem to confirm your conclusions and reject measurements which seem to cast doubt on your conclusions.

That is so wrong that I did not bother to read any more of your rubbish.
I am not a “Conservative”: I am a left-wing British socialist of the old-fashioned kind.
I assess evidence – all of it if I can get it – but you make false assumptions.
Apologise and I may make the effort to read the rest of your twaddle.

December 19, 2012 6:53 pm

When Jack says that the green economy is not efficient that depends on what you mean by efficient. Sure it’s true that the conversion efficiency of current photovoltaics are at best a bit better than 15% in terms of converting the energy from light into electricity. But that 15% is free and clear with respect to the lifecycle of biproducts coming from energy production. If the true cost of the pollution created by burning fossil fuels were taken into consideration a green economy would be more feasible. Consider the current energy panacea: hydraulic fracking. What most people don’t hear about is that a single fracking well requires around 2 million gallons of water to be injected into the ground. But in order for the process to work they also inject 300,000 gallons of chemicals many of which are extremely carcinogenic. Chemical such as benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – just a few in a list of over 70. The problem is that 70% of the water that goes into the well comes out mixed with these chemicals – (plus radon from the ground). So what happens with that now seriously contaminated water? How do you attach a dollar figure to the contamination of the water and air from these chemicals? It’s not easy because once it is released, it winds up in streams and tributaries. It is much more difficult to track or understand the negative impact- it becomes diffuse but none the less widespread. However if you did attach a dollar figure to it the cost of the contamination would be very high and the economics of green energy would become much more competetive with that produced from oil and other fossil fuels. But oil companies do not figure the detrimental impacts of energy production from fossil fuels into their cost structure – or what little of it they do does not address the much larger issues created by fossil fuels.
Oil production gives us many products nearly impossible to derive from other means. The planet needs to conserve oil as a resource for the future and the way to do that is toresponsibly transition to a green economy – and the faster the better.

December 19, 2012 7:57 pm

Jack O’Fall raises some serious concerns. What of all the companies, communities, and individuals who are presently employed somewhere in the fossil fuel value chain? What if the long-term cost curve for clean energy never brings the price down to a point where it’s truly competitive with fossil fuel energy? Won’t we hurt our economy by making (forcing) a shift away from fossil fuels? And don’t we face a prospect of doing more damage in the shift, than we face from staying with fossil fuels (and accepting the consequences)?
First, let’s recognize the ratchet effect. Once carbon dioxide gets in the atmosphere, it will stay for a very long time. As the stock of CO2 rises and rises, temperatures will slowly but inexorably get warmer. Laws of proportionality will govern the temperature rise produced by rising CO2 levels. Tipping point behaviors will occur as climate adjusts to rising temperatures. Small shifts in temperature can and will produce significant shifts in climate behavior.
Areas of the planet that ought to stay cold will get too warm. Satellite measurements show accelerating melt rates for both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. There’s forty feet of sea level rise locked in those two ice sheets – what’s the cost to future generations of abandoning coastal cities where hundreds of millions of people live? How does that compare with the cost of shifting from fossil fuels to alternate energy sources? No one knows exactly, but the eventual cost is way way higher.
Areas of the planet that are already warm will get too hot. Some areas will get more severe drought, others will get more severe rainfall. Plants don’t germinate properly if the weather is too hot, so permanent damage to some agricultural regions is likely.
And the amount of carbonic acid in the oceans will continue to rise, with adverse affects on much of the marine life in the ocean.
The due diligence analysis of staying the course with fossil fuels is filled with possibilities that can (and probably will) become quite costly.
Second, what’s the timetable, were we as a society to say “Time to shift to post-fossil fuel energy”? At least thirty years, probably forty or fifty, till America’s energy portfolio had left fossil fuels behind entirely. That’s a long enough period to give existing industries and communities quite a cushion.
Third, we have a tendency to overestimate conversion costs. Remember the auto industry reaction to the idea that cars should have seat belts? “It’ll be too expensive, no one will buy, sales will fall, jobs will be lost,” all that sort of thing. Seat belts and a variety of other safety measures have been making their way into our society for a long time now. In the early 80s, America had 50,000 auto deaths and 3 million auto injuries a year; now it’s 30,000 auto deaths and 2,000,000 auto injuries a year. Still big numbers, but much better than three decades ago. We’ve made it happen and we’ve realized a great benefit.
Fourth, unit costs do matter, as Jack O’Fall points out. But unit costs are also a function of adoption levels. The more extensive our adoption level, the lower the unit costs. If industrial countries take the lead on rapid adoption, costs will come down more rapidly. Everyone will benefit. In time, low unit costs for clean energy will make it affordable even in poor countries, and then global adoption of a clean energy portfolio becomes a realistic prospect.
Finally, let’s imagine a carbon tax. It starts low and then it inches up. Most of it gets rebated back to American families, some of it goes to clean energy R&D, and some of it goes into a fund to defray the transition costs for communities that today depend heavily on fossil fuels. By slowly rising the cost of existing fuels, the carbon tax invites investors to develop and market post-fossil fuel alternatives. Market shares shift, clean energy volumes rise, and unit costs/prices fall.
This can be another of America’s new technology adventures. It’s not just a pain; there’s a lot of genuinely exciting work ahead.

December 19, 2012 8:20 pm

First, let’s recognize the ratchet effect. Once carbon dioxide gets in the atmosphere, it will stay for a very long time. As the stock of CO2 rises and rises, temperatures will slowly but inexorably get warmer. Laws of proportionality will govern the temperature rise produced by rising CO2 levels. Tipping point behaviors will occur as climate adjusts to rising temperatures. Small shifts in temperature can and will produce significant shifts in climate behavior.
Areas of the planet that ought to stay cold will get too warm. Satellite measurements show accelerating melt rates for both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. There’s forty feet of sea level rise locked in those two ice sheets – what’s the cost to future generations of abandoning coastal cities where hundreds of millions of people live? How does that compare with the cost of shifting from fossil fuels to alternate energy sources? No one knows exactly, but the eventual cost is way way higher.

First, let’s recognize a fairy tale ….

December 20, 2012 6:40 am

Oh, you mean the fairy tale about Russia and Canada and the US jostling for drilling rights in the Arctic Ocean whose ice cap hasn’t actually melted? And the oil companies too? How could all these powerful interests fall for a fairy tale about a melting Arctic ice cap? Such a mystery! Glad you were able to set us all straight.

January 4, 2013 7:13 pm

Bill Nye being complicit in faking an experiment? Much as I admire Bill’s pro – space science advocacy, I won’t be renewing my membership of the Planetary Society.

January 4, 2013 7:49 pm

Hmm. Wonder what Bill Nye has to say about it? Turns out he has written a reply, available at
Here’s what it says:
“O my friends, I have received numerous messages asking about the voice-over I did for the Climate Reality Project. My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that I’ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)
The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well. One of our strident climate change deniers seized on their corner cutting and showed their demonstration didn’t demonstrate anything. I considered this part of healthy discourse: people cut corners; they got called on it and taken to task. Since it was my voice, I was considered to be a co-conspirator in the plot to fool the world into believing that our climate is changing. That’s reasonable in its way.
The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When I’ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results.
As the famous Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston remarked, ‘One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.’ Try it; try your own version, and see if you measure a temperature difference.
One thing to note though, the guy who called us out on this drew an incorrect conclusion, or he made an erroneous claim. He says any change would have been caused by ‘… a completely different physical mechanism than actually occurs in our atmosphere…’ That’s wrong. It is this mechanism. The model has to be set up properly. Keep in mind that our troposphere is several dozen kilometers thick, and it doesn’t comprise pure carbon dioxide. This is a model, a demonstration. Real atmospheric models are astonishingly complex.
Regardless of any shortcomings or shortcuts in the model shown by the Climate Reality Project advocacy group, the world is getting warmer, and we had all better do something about it.”

February 18, 2013 5:54 pm

Bill Nye and Al Gore are both bullshit artists. To hell with both of them – where it’s really hot!

April 11, 2013 1:58 pm

I’d bet the experiment mentioned in this article in the NYT was copied from or inspired by the Nye/Gore experiment.
“Her students, on the other hand, love topics some deem controversial, she said. She devised an experiment in which she set up two terrariums with thermometers and then increased the level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in one of them.
The students watched as that terrarium got several degrees hotter than the other. “

May 19, 2013 11:44 am

As a thought, as the glasses are enclosed, shouldn’t adding any glass increase the temperature in them slightly. Thus you should really have three experiments. Control CO2, NON-CO2 gas being added in the same concentration as CO2.
If you are adding more gas into a closed container, the Temperature should rise anyway due to the increase in pressure of the container.
Maybe I’m missing something……..

May 22, 2013 1:30 pm

With that table of heat-conducting, can I assume that methane can do real “greenhouse effect”? Are we going to get vegetarians because of cattle-produced methane?

John B., M.D.
May 25, 2013 5:27 pm

Question: If you have two identical silica glass bottles (closed to the air), except one is filled with nitrogen/oxygen, and the other with 100% CO2, and you put them in identical sunlight for the same amount of time, which bottle interior will be warmer and why?
Would it be unreasonable to say that the one with some oxygen in it would be WARMER? Yes, I said warmer, albeit slightly, just as in Anthony’s experiment. The glass in each bottle would block the UV and IR components of the spectrum of sunlight equally. According to the absorption spectrum info below, oxygen appears to absorb a tiny bit in the visible spectrum (400-700 nm), whereas carbon dioxide does not. Hence, the gases in the nitrogen/oxygen would tend to warm relative to the CO2 bottle.
I would add that this experiment cannot be generalized to the Earth’s atmosphere, as it is
1) not enclosed by glass
2) not enclosed at all, thus permitting convective and radiative heat transfer
3) also contains water vapor
Opinions, please.

June 13, 2013 4:16 am

I love how you point out that the two thermometers shown side by side are the same thermometer, as if you’ve exposed some great hoax. Protip: people use video editing to save time. The spinning earth being hit by the little ping pong balls also wasn’t the actual earth! Oh my god, what a sham! Why would Bill invite people to try an experiment that he KNEW was fake? Jesus…
REPLY: You’d have a point except, Nye says, “you can try this experiment at home”. I did and it fails. Get over yourself and learn to recognize when you are being lied to. Don’t be a sheep. – Anthony

June 13, 2013 6:04 am

Well, Anthony, if you’ve been to Bill Nye’s website, you know that he has criticized Gore’s approach to the experiment and has described a more reliable way to carry it out. If you want to criticize Nye, you might want to start by looking carefully at his own description of how the experiment should be performed.
REPLY: I’ve seen it, but talk is cheap. I actually did the experiment, and it fails. It appears neither Gore nor Nye ever did the experiment themselves but instead simply chose to let post production tricks do the work for them. I’ll point out that Gore still as the video on his Climate Reality website, and Nye has not called for it to be taken down or redone to be accurate. So much for integrity. – Anthony

June 13, 2013 7:30 am

[snip off-topic -mod]

June 13, 2013 10:29 am

As I expected you deleted my comment with the trite “off-topic” because I elevated the discussion to the core issue of your blog. So transparent – There are like 5 clearly spam entries above that don’t discuss anything even remotely about your topic but you felt it fine to leave them in right… Because they are just so on-message…

June 13, 2013 11:25 am

[snip ] So you tried the experiment and it failed. What about all the people on Youtube, for example, who did the experiment successfully? A middle school-grade science experiment was not fabricated as part of an elaborate hoax to fool the masses. It’s conspiracy theories like this that undermine the credibility of the AGW skeptic movement.
REPLY: References? Show me those experiments, and we’ll see if the did them correctly or not. If its the one from the BBC kids show, that one has already been shown to be flawed. You are conflating what I think about the greenhouse effect (it is real) with poorly designed experiments such as Gore’s that don’t actually demonstrate it, and would fail no matter how careful you conduct them. If they worked, they wouldn’t need to fake it in post production. That’s the point.
But feel free to think whatever you please, I simply don’t consider the opinion of an angry anonymous coward in comments to be worth anything. – Anthony

June 13, 2013 1:12 pm

What’s wrong with the Mythbusters’ experiment?:
What’s wrong with this kid’s experiment?:
I’m not saying these experiments prove global warming. I’m saying the idea that a basic science experiment has been fabricated as part of a massive conspiracy sounds more absurd than anything coming from the pro-AGW camp.
REPLY: I’ll look at those. In no place do I mention “massive conspiracy” in my rebuttal, that’s all you. I simply point out with my own work that Gore’s experiment fails the science test and the integrity test, since Nye is clearly aware of the flaws, but has done nothing to get them corrected, leaving a video in place that was not only faked in post, but irreproducible. – Anthony

Steve T
Reply to  Mango
January 13, 2016 5:22 pm

Neither the Mythbuster experience or the kid’s experiment are properly controlled. While they might show what is purported in relation the CO2 and IR, in the climate system there are many more things going on than just CO2 and IR. I find it a massive stretch to conclude that the jar experiment translates directly to proving that CO2 increase is a major factor in global climate change.

June 13, 2013 2:01 pm

The tone of the post implies that the experiment was intentionally faked in order to dupe people, which in the context of this entire website sounds like you think the experiment is part of an intentional campaign to misinform the public. But you’re right, you didn’t actually mention a “conspiracy.” That was presumptuous of me.

June 26, 2013 7:55 am

Steven Howard Johnson:
Thank you for your clear articulation of the proposed mechanism for global warming. I have a question though. When CO2 molecules absorb 15 micron energy they will shed that energy in some way, so it seems that the net effect will be total amount of energy radiated to space at other wavelengths will increase ever so slightly (maybe imperceptibly) in response, so that the total amount of energy radiating back into space is the same regardless of the slight diminishment of energy radiated at the 15 micron level. A sort of analogy might be something like this situation: Suppose you have big pot of boiling water on the stove that is at equilibrium – the amount of heat going into the pot at the bottom is exactly equaled by the amount of heat going out of the pot through escaping steam molecules, IR radiation, convection, etc. But if you put a relatively small floatable thing in the pot (say a plastic checkers piece or something that floats) then the question is, “will this cause the water to heat up because the plastic chip is covering part of the surface that used to release steam so that small amount of energy is now “trapped” in the pot ?” I think the answer would be “no,” the rest of the surface of the water will simply release more steam to compensate. I hope the analogy isn’t too much of distraction … I realize it has problems … but what am I missing overall?

June 26, 2013 6:14 pm

Here’s my understanding of what happens. A CO2 molecule absorbs an infrared photon that happens to have a 15 micron wavelength. One of two things can happen. It can transfer that new energy by convection to a neighboring molecule, most likely nitrogen or oxygen. Or it can re-radiate an infrared photon – presumably the same wavelength, because that means the energy re-radiated is exactly the same as the energy absorbed. If it re-radiates the photon, it can go sideways, it can go down, it can go up. The greater the intensity of CO2 in the atmosphere, the more chances for IR photons to be bounced back toward the Earth. This ever so subtly reduces total output across the entire IR spectrum, and ever so subtly increases heat retention. But the heat retention is cumulative, and most of it gets taken up by the oceans. So the oceans become a “thermal flywheel” if you will, storing the Earth’s slowly rising heat. If there is a pot analogy to be made, perhaps it could be made with a pressure cooker. If one changes the top of the pressure cooker from the 5 pound setting to the 10 pound setting the steam won’t be able to escape as rapidly and the heat inside the pressure cooker will rise.

June 27, 2013 1:17 pm

If a CO2 molecule transfers energy to a neighboring molecule (which it certainly will because molecules are always running into each other) then those neighboring molecules will pick up some energy from the collision and then eventually give it up as some form of radiation which will escape into space. Also, if a CO2 molecule absorbs 15 micron radiation, shouldn’t it shed that “extra” energy over the whole spectrum (similar to black body radiation)? CO2 like other molecules absorb radiation at multiple wavelengths, what is special about the 15 micron wavelength? In other words, all the molecules, of all different kinds in the atmosphere, are constantly absorbing and emitting and transferring energy amongst each other at any given instant – why is the 15 micron CO2 reaction so important?

June 27, 2013 5:06 pm

Actually, CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons in most wavelengths. They absorb IR photons only if they are at precisely the right wavelengths, and the 15 micron wavelength is the most important. This effect can be seen in satellite measurements of IR intensity by wavelength. (Measurements of IR that has already escaped the atmosphere.) Escaping IR intensity is dampened much more strongly at the 15 micron wavelength than at other wavelengths. Here’s what’s important about the satellite measurements. Yes, IR intensity is dampened considerably, meaning that CO2 has a very pronounced effect. But it isn’t eliminated completely. So there’s still room for it to be dampened further, which is what happens over time as the CO2 concentration rises.
Your mental image seems to be that it doesn’t matter how much the IR bounces around because odds are that equal amounts of IR will escape into space no matter how much CO2 it hits along the way. It’s a hard question to figure out with pure logic, but it’s an easy question to answer by looking at satellite measurements of outbound IR. It turns out that CO2 presence dampens considerably the intensity of outbound IR in those wavelengths of IR to which CO2 molecules are opaque.
Here’s the key point. Outbound IR is the Earth’s natural cooling system. By adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere, we humans are suppressing the functioning of the Earth’s natural cooling system. ENERGY OUT is no longer equal to ENERGY IN, it’s a little smaller. That’s how the retained heat gets produced, that’s how the oceans are warmed, that’s how global temperatures are given a steady upward nudge, that’s why climate behaviors are being altered.

July 23, 2013 8:15 am

With CO2 Experiments, they are increasing the pressure inside the container.
What would happen if you conducted this experiment with any gas as a controlled area.
Not just increasing the CO2 level. As the volume of the gas increases inside the container, the pressure and temperature must increase as well.
Basis physics 101. Pressure, volume, Area,Temperature.
You would really need three experiments to do this correctly IMHO.
One CO2 one a gas other than CO2 but increased in the area in the same quantities as CO2 and the control……

August 1, 2013 4:28 am

I found the experiment interesting and read some of the comments and would like to make the following observation:
It appears in the graphs that the CO2 jar warmed more slowly and if so, could that indicate that CO2 could be a lagging indicator?
I saw nothing related to this in any of the comments that I read…

Robert of Ottawa
August 3, 2013 6:03 pm

Holey Cow, Anthony, how do you have the patience to go through all this. I salute you, and, although being unemployed at present, send you $20. Just a spectacular performance.

August 4, 2013 7:34 am

Dear Anthony:
Please try this:
1 – go to costco and get two very large jars of pickles. Empty and wash the jars.
2 – go to a welder or welding supply store and get an argon cylinder with a valve and some
3 – go outside on a bright sunny day, put your jars upside down on a smooth surface like finished plywood with the thermometers inside near the bottom but positioned so you can read them
4 – introduce some significant amount of argon into one jar
5 – go have a beer or a coffee or whatever for about 30 minutes
6 check the temperature readings.
You will discover that the jar with the argon now shows a higher reading then the one without.
That’s the gore effect – achieved without recourse to magic.
And here’s the weird part: I’ve reviewed the science back to the 1890s and not found a more credible demonstration of the CO2 “greenhouse” effect than this.

Harry Van Twistern
August 5, 2013 12:50 am

Excellent job replicating the Al Gore-designed experiment!! You established solidly that the experiment did not and could not work as advertised, that the thermometer movements were products of editing, and the premises were flawed. You definitely established that the physical effects demonstrated basically compare air and CO2’s insulating properties, and that CO2 is a somewhat better thermal insulator than air. As to the Mythbusters demonstration, having watched your experiment, I found far too little information presented by that show to prove a damned thing. No idea what the ratio of gases was in the experiment chambers, as another reader pointed out and WHAT WAS THE CALIBRATION OF THE THERMOMETERS???? I should think the mixture ratios would be, oh, VITAL for quantifying how much gas of each type would be needed to raise the temperature 1 deg C in each chamber… not to mention, since both CO2 and CH4 are heavier than air, anything significantly less than full saturation might not result in the right LAYER of gas mixture being exposed to the light!

Harry Van Twistern
August 5, 2013 12:56 am

D$, from what I was seeing in the Watt experiments, the glass jars were not hermetically sealed, so any increase in pressure in either jar would merely result in outgassing which would equalize the pressures. The CO2 largely remains in the experiment jar because it is heavier than air with only the exception of the outgassed portion. If you noticed, after doing a couple of those experiments he also increased the ambient CO2 reading for the room itself to about 700 ppm. Time to open a window 😉

August 5, 2013 12:57 pm

[Snip. Labeling others as “deniers” violates site Policy. ~ mod.]

August 6, 2013 6:51 am

Call Mr Science guy Nye out!
How did he set up and permorme his successful “experiment” wouldnt it be a victory to be able to repicate them on a “deniar site” as proof of the imminant climate threat, and to shut some up?

August 6, 2013 6:11 pm

Hi Anthony,
I looked through your notes on the replication and I did not see you actually recreate the experiment. Did I miss a step where you actually tried this with CO2 on one of the jars? Also, it would be better if you use a different thermometer as oral thermometers do not accurately measure air temperature. I appreciate your points on the thermometers and if the actual thermometers were not used, then I agree with you that they should have been. It looks like they are teaching an experiment that can be done at home rather than demonstrating an experiment that they have done. Has anyone here tried this at home who could please post a video for us? Please do not use oral thermometers though for this one. They will not be accurate for air. If I can find the materials for this, I would be happy to try it with my class and repost. Any ideas for what to use for pumping CO2 in for the experiment?

September 21, 2013 2:39 pm

Hello Anthony,
have you thought about the same experiment with other gases? Like helium, neon or nitrogen?

September 23, 2013 1:02 pm

Nice work Anthony.
I’ve been thinking about how to design an experiment to actuall measure the “green house gas effect”. The obvious problem is the wavelength. CO2 absorbs at around 15um and glass stops being transparent around 5um. So one needs to put the light source inside the container. Except for that it should be pretty strait forward to evaluate the effect. Boundary conditions could be discussed, should you use glass or a thermos like design insulating the system….anyway, I would be interested in knowing the size of the effect at different levels of CO2 content. Does an increase of 100ppm really make a difference. Pure CO2 is obviously completely irrelevant.
What do you think?

September 23, 2013 1:49 pm

I can’t figure out how to separate the glass effect from the CO2 effect. But that’s not the real issue, as we all know. The real issue is whether rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will interfere with the Earth’s natural cooling system. Satellite measurements of infrared radiation from the Earth give us the answer. If CO2-related wavelengths were irrelevant, infrared radiation would be just as strong in CO2-affected wavelengths (e.g. 15 microns) as in other wavelengths. If CO2 were truly saturated, there wouldn’t be any infrared radiation into space at 15 microns and other CO2 wavelengths. Alas for those who think CO2 doesn’t matter, the amount of infrared radiation making its way into space at 15 microns is partially reduced but not driven to zero.
So what this shows is that “more CO2” will have an intensifying effect. The more CO2 we add via fossil fuel combustion, the more we affect the amount of infrared energy the Earth sends into space. And the more we reduce the amount of infrared radiation sent into space, the warmer the planet becomes.
I know it’s easy to sympathize with the fossil fuel industry, but let’s not fool ourselves. The longer the fossil fuel industry operates, the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires. And the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires, the more infrared radiation it blocks. The more IR it blocks, the warmer the Earth’s climate becomes.
Does this matter? Well, look at extreme weather events. Colorado’s front range just got hammered by an extreme weather event. These events are increasing in frequency. My church will be underwater someday because a bunch of kooks like to pretend that rising CO2 doesn’t matter and that we shouldn’t do anything. My church is less than 30 feet above sea level. Warm the climate enough and eventually the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica disappear. There is no such thing as a half-melted ice cube. Ice either stays frozen, forever, or it melts, completely. There is no middle ground. Anthony may be right about Gore’s experiment, but he isn’t right about fossil fuels, the Earth’s natural cooling system, and what it takes to destroy my church.
Anthony, you are a major disappointment.
REPLY: I didn’t say anything about what it takes for your church being destroyed, and wouldn’t, since even the IPCC says weather is not climate.
IPCC Confirms: We Do Not Know If The Climate Is Becoming More Extreme
The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where “right” means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while. –Roger Pielke Jr, 28 March 2012
Nature journal too:
Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.
Your uninformed opinion is a major FAIL, just like Gore’s experiment. – Anthony

September 23, 2013 2:12 pm

Steven Howard Johnson says:
The longer the fossil fuel industry operates, the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires. And the more CO2 the atmosphere acquires, the more infrared radiation it blocks. The more IR it blocks, the warmer the Earth’s climate becomes.
That Belief has been so completely debunked by the real world that it is astonishing anyone would make those incredible assertions.
Listen up: There is NO measurable, testable evidence showing that CO2 has the effect that you claim. As you can see in the chart linked above, CO2 has been steadily rising, while global temperatures have been steadily declining. Any rational person would observe that situation and conclude that the CO2 = catastrophic AGW claim is nonsense.
At least you had the courage to admit that your True Belief is based on religion. Because there is no verifiable scientific evidence to support it.

September 23, 2013 2:59 pm

Here in the real world, temperatures are actually rising.
/Users/stevejohnson/Desktop/Land-Ocean Temperature Index.jpg
Conservatives have a different take. It runs like this:
“I hate government.
If global warming is real, government will have to act.
Therefore global warming isn’t real.”
Mother Nature doesn’t give a rip about the self-deceptions of conservatives. If the Earth cannot shed as much energy as it receives, it will get warmer. It is a law of physics that rising levels of CO2 will interfere with the Earth’s ability to radiate as much energy back into space as it receives. You can give us all the ideology you like, but physics is physics. CO2 interferes with outbound infrared radiation, and CO2 is up by 42% and rising 7% a decade. It is an extraordinarily reckless act to pretend that we humans can raise the CO2 levels of the atmosphere by 7% EACH DECADE and have no effect whatever.
The laws of physics aren’t popular among conservatives, I realize, but that doesn’t prevent them from operating.

September 23, 2013 3:03 pm

Hmm. That image didn’t come thru. What it shows is a global temperature rise – land and sea combined – of 0.6 Celsius from 1980 to 2010.

September 23, 2013 3:16 pm

Steven Howard Johnson:
Your post at September 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm is daft.
It starts saying

Here in the real world, temperatures are actually rising.

No. I don’t know which “real world” you are living on but here on planet Earth global temperature has not risen for at least 17 years according to all of the data sets.
You then go on about what you assert “Conservatives” think.
So what?
Climate realists like me consider what the scientific data says and we ignore political claptrap of the kind you spout. Importantly, we climate realists include all political opinions; for example, I am a left wing socialist of the old-fashioned British kind, and would consider an accusation of me being a “Conservative” as being an insult..
And you assert

CO2 interferes with outbound infrared radiation, and CO2 is up by 42% and rising 7% a decade. It is an extraordinarily reckless act to pretend that we humans can raise the CO2 levels of the atmosphere by 7% EACH DECADE and have no effect whatever.

Atmospheric CO2 is rising but it is debatable as to what – if any – extent that is a result of human activity. Assuming human activity is responsible for all of the CO2 rise, then so what? The rise in CO2 has not resulted in a rise of global temperature for the last at least 17 years.
Please take your ridiculous political propaganda elsewhere.

September 23, 2013 3:27 pm

So, Richard, what you’re saying is that the Arctic Ocean ice isn’t shrinking and that there are no commercial freighters plying the waters from Murmansk through the Bering Strait and down to China and back again. Right? So the New Yorker article that describes one of these voyages is complete fiction. Right?
And that satellite measurements of the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet show no melting whatsoever. Right?
I shouldn’t believe the article I read in the Stanford Business School magazine about the trip that Stanford students, and the dean, made to West Antarctica where they observed evidence of progressive warming in that ice sheet.
What you’re saying, I gather, is that anything that contradicts your viewpoint has been entirely fabricated. The New Yorker made up its article, the scientists who have measured Greenland ice sheet melting have fabricated their data, and the Stanford business school publication that descries progressive melting of West Antarctica is also fabricated.
Wow. You know so much.

September 23, 2013 3:46 pm

Steven Howard Johnson:
I asked you to desist from posting your political claptrap here, and your response is your post at
September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm which claims I said things I did not.
I said NOTHING about the Arctic Ocean and I certainly did NOT say it is “shrinking”. It is not. The Atlantic Ocean is growing but there is no significant change to the area of the Arctic Ocean. I don’t know where you get such strange ideas. Take a basic course in plate tectonics if you want to know which oceans are changing size.
And I said nothing about ice breakers transiting the Bering Strait as they have been doing for decades.
The WAIS and Greenland ice sheets are reducing as they have been doing for the last 10,000 years with no observed increase to the rate of their loss. But Antarctic ice reached a new record high area this year.
I did not say anything was “fabricated” but much is. For example, see this
or, if you are capable, read this especially its Annex B (and its Lead Author)
And I do NOT “know much” about climate; NOBODY DOES. But it is clear that I know a lot more about it than you whose knowledge – you say – is gleaned from newspapers and propagandist magazines.

September 23, 2013 3:58 pm

Steven Howard Johnson says:
September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
1) The East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains most of the land ice on Earth, is gaining, not losing mass:
Analysis of radionuclides in the soil exposed around the margins of the EAIS show that it stopped retreating at least about 3000 years ago.
2) Are you aware that the Pine Island Glacier ends in a floating ice shelf? If the shelf melted, it would have practically no effect on sea level. Did you know that an subglacial volcano warms the ice near the PIG, & has shown increased activity lately? Apparently not.
The grounded part of the glacier drains only about ten percent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If it’s moving more rapidly, it’s because of increased snow fall.
3) Did you know that Arctic sea ice was similar in extent to now during the 1930s, when the USSR made use of the seaways which so excite you now? And that sea ice extent was much less than now during thousands of summers just in the past 8000 years, especially in the Holocene Climatic Optimum, let alone during previous, warmer interglacials? It’s true.
4) That West Antarctica is progressively melting is a fabrication. If you have evidence to this effect, other than the possible melting under the PIG, please present it. Thanks.
PS: I’m a Stanford biology & history undergrad, not B-School grad, so learned at a young age that academics lie in pursuit of their ideological & financial objectives, & even more now than 40 years ago.

October 2, 2013 9:09 pm

Why is Greenland called Greenland?
Does a fluids’ capacity to hold dissolved gasses change if it is heated/cooled?
If glaciers/ice sheets melt, do they release the trapped carbon dioxide that could be used for ice-core proxies of historic carbon dioxide levels?

December 28, 2013 5:09 pm

As a teacher I’d give your experiment an “A” while flunking Gore and Nye. (Gore should be used to that, he got a ‘D’ in science.)
The hoaxers are up in arms because you proved they could not have done the experiment they claimed to have done. This is of course the heart of the scientific method and their failure to adhere to is it why so many intelligent, thoughtful people view them as on the same level as snake oil salesmen.

January 4, 2014 9:08 am

It looks like Bill Nye summarized the Climate Project in general quite well in his own quote:
“The Climate Project people created their own version, but apparently they didn’t test it very well.”
Why should we believe anything they do or say if they can’t get a simple high school experiment correct? When things are faked, it undermines our trust. That’s why Media Matters.
Keep in mind Anthony’s main point here:
No broader take away (other than the experiment was faked and fails) was intended, expressed or implied – Anthony

January 7, 2014 8:14 am

Slow day in work, I’v worked my way though the 101 video, the recreation videos and read most comments. To those defending the 101 vid or getting all irate about how scientifically inaccurate the gas mix was in the jars etc, , the recreation isnt trying to prove anything other than the fact the 101 video was blatantly faked and that Nei and Gore are a pair of con artists. Personally I reckon the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere are not the primary driver of world climate change or any of that AGW propaganda, Its mainly the big class M star in space…

January 26, 2014 12:24 pm

I’m a professional infrared astronomer who spent his life trying to observe space through the atmosphere’s back-radiation that the environmental activists claim is caused by CO2 and guess what? In all the bands that are responsible for back radiation in the brightness temperatures (color temperatures) related to earth’s surface temperature (between 9 microns and 13 microns for temps of 220K to 320 K) there is no absorption or radiation by CO2 at all. In all the bands between 9 and 9.5 there is mild absorption by H2O, from 9.5 to 10 microns (300 K) the atmosphere is perfectly clear except around 9.6 is a big ozone band that the warmists never mention for some reason. From 10 to 13 microns there is more absorption by H2O. Starting at 13 we get CO2 absorption but that wavelength corresponds to temperatures below even that of the south pole. Nowhere from 9 to 13 microns do we see appreciable absorption/radiation bands of CO2. This means the greenhouse effect is way over 95% caused by water vapor and probably less than 3% from CO2. I would say even ozone is more important due to the 9.6 band, but it’s so high in the atmosphere that it probably serves more to radiate heat into space than for back-radiation to the surface. The whole theory of a CO2 greenhouse effect is wrong, yet the halls of academia have gone to great lengths trying to prove it with one lie and false study after another. I’m retired so I don’t need to keep my mouth shut anymore. Kept my mouth shut for 40 years, now I will tell you, not one single IR astronomer gives a rats arse about CO2. Just to let you know how stupid the global warming activists are, I’ve been to the south pole 3 times and even there, where the water vapor is under 0.2 mm precipitable, it’s still the H2O that is the main concern in our field and nobody even talks about CO2 because CO2 doesn’t absorb or radiate in the portion of the spectrum corresponding with earth’s surface temps of 220 to 320 K. Not at all. Therefore, for Earth as a black body radiator IT’S THE WATER VAPOR STUPID and not the CO2.

January 26, 2014 1:26 pm

Mike Sanicola, don’t know if you realize just how important your comment above is for those scientists from unrelated branches and science enthusiasts on this matter of the infrared passage and redirection within our atmosphere. If you are truly free now to speak your thoughts and share your experiences in this area of infrared so many fellow commenters here would greatly appreciate it.
For instance, just the infrared transmittance spectrum via your link From Handbook of Infrared Astronomy by I.S. Glass with explicit parameters is quite invaluable, especially since it is horizontal at the surface, and such information seems very hard to come by, so much is hidden behind pay-walls.
Hope to read more of your comments from someone with real infrared astronomy expertise.

Steve Johnson
January 27, 2014 2:41 pm

I am a bit mystified by Mike Sanicola’s comments. It is well-known that CO2 is transparent to infrared photons in almost all wavelengths, including the wavelengths he refers to in his post.
Wikipedia says the following: “CO2 is an important component of Earth’s atmosphere because it absorbs and emits infrared radiation at wavelengths of 4.26 µm (asymmetric stretching vibrational mode) and 14.99 µm (bending vibrational mode), thereby playing a role in the greenhouse effect.” If one is to discuss CO2’s effect on infrared, surely one has to focus on those wavelengths where CO2 is known to make a difference. Do satellite measurements of infrared radiation from the top of the Earth’s atmosphere show any decline at the wavelengths of 4.26 and 14.99 microns? If so, how much?

January 31, 2014 11:32 am

The reproduced data showed that CO2 container is cooler than plain air. This prove that CO2 is not a green house gas. And it may EVEN prove that CO2 could actually be the opposite- Let me be the first to coin the phrase “ICE BOX GAS”. And to prove my case even further, we look at the atmosphere of Mars(over 99% CO2). Why is Mars so very cold? Is it because of the CO2? LOL. I always thought the premise that CO2 could have any greenhouse effect on earth was a flawed. I did some checking to find when this thought developed. To my surprise it was very recent. It was first used to explain why Venus (atmosphere of Venus was 95% carbon dioxide) is hotter than Mercury. Space probe Venera 4 entered the atmosphere of Venus on October 18, 1967, making it the first probe to return direct measurements from another planet’s atmosphere. The capsule took many measurements of temperature, pressure, density and composition of the atmosphere. It discovered that the atmosphere of Venus was 95% carbon dioxide. Venera 7 on December 15, 1970. measured surface temperatures of 855 °F to 885 °F. Much hotter than expected and this was explained with the birth of the modern CO2 green house theory. Earth’s atmosphere mainly consist of 2 gasses 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen which accounts for about 99% That leaves about 1% everything else. Of that “everything else” not even half is CO2. The amount is so little, why is this theory even considered?????

February 1, 2014 11:11 am

has any one compared an actual greenhouse that increases its co2 to 1000ppm to one without. Or just do the experiment out of interest.

Steve Johnson
February 10, 2014 5:03 pm

Brian raises a question that has a solid answer. Why is carbon dioxide more important to the temperature of the Earth than oxygen or nitrogen? The answer: the physics of heat balance is affected by carbon dioxide. It isn’t affected by oxygen or nitrogen. Let’s begin with the energy the Earth receives from the sun – roughly 2.9 million terawatt-hours a day worth of photons in the ultraviolet, visible light, and short infrared spectrum. Why doesn’t the Earth just get hotter and hotter? Because the Earth also radiates energy out into space, in the longer infrared spectrum, with wavelengths (if memory serves) from 3 microns in length to 50 microns. So long as the Earth is able to pump 2.9 million terawatt-hours/day of infrared energy back into space, we can pretty much count on the overall temperature of the planet to remain stable. That’s called heat balance.
Oxygen and nitrogen molecules are transparent to the entire infrared spectrum. So they have no effect on the Earth’s energy outflow. But carbon dioxide molecules – while transparent to infrared photons in most wavelengths – will snap up infrared photons in a couple of infrared wavelengths, and then re-radiate them in a new direction (or, I suspect, transfer the energy as heat to a neighboring molecule).
Boost total carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by more than forty percent, as we humans have done in the age of coal and oil and natural gas, and we dampen just a bit the amount of infrared energy that makes it through the atmosphere. A tiny fraction of the energy that ought to have escaped gets captured, and stored as heat, mostly in the ocean. It’s a cumulative process, this slow warming of the ocean, and that’s why there has been a slow upward creep in the Earth’s average temperature. it’s not always easy to detect – think a daily increase of one eighteen-thousandth of a degree – and as this website generally observes, the noise-to-signal ratio is pretty high.
Those who worry about global warming point out, quite legitimately, that the CO2 concentration is rising by seven percent a decade, versus the pre-industrial standard. They also point out that this increase is essentially irreversible. If it turns out that burning fossil fuels becomes a bigger mistake than we realize, we humans will have painted ourselves into a real serious corner.
Heat balance physics are an irrefutable reality. The Earth cannot maintain a stable temperature without sending as much energy back into space as it receives. That this energy is radiated into space in the infrared spectrum is also irrefutable. That carbon dioxide suppresses this radiation, in just a couple wavelengths – that, too, is a law of physics.
Here’s the question: What do satellites see when they look at the Earth’s infrared signature? Do they see no effect from carbon dioxide? No, the carbon dioxide effect is evident. Or do they see complete suppression of infrared in those two wavelengths? If that were the case, we wouldn’t have to worry about adding further CO2, would we? Alas. What satellites see is a smaller flow of energy in those wavelengths, but not zero. There’s still room for added CO2 to trap still more heat.
Anthony Watts has a thousand ways to show that the warming signal is weak, relative to the noise in the climate system. But Anthony can’t show an absence of heat balance physics. And he can’t show that CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons. So he can’t show that global warming doesn’t exist at all. Further, and most important, he can’t show that the accumulation of CO2 is reversible by means that are fast and affordable. So he can’t prove – in a due diligence sense – an absence of risk for the endless reliance on fossil fuels. He can surmise, but he cannot prove.

February 10, 2014 5:18 pm

Steve Johnson says:
Anthony Watts has a thousand ways to show that the warming signal is weak, relative to the noise in the climate system. But Anthony can’t show an absence of heat balance physics. And he can’t show that CO2 molecules are transparent to infrared photons. So he can’t show that global warming doesn’t exist at all.
Steve, Anthony has never said that CO2 has no warming effect. Where did you get that strawman from? Anthony points out that the effect from CO2 at current concentrations is so minuscule that it is not even measurable. It is an insignificant forcing, and as such it can be disregarded.
Steve also writes:
The Earth cannot maintain a stable temperature without sending as much energy back into space as it receives.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that global warming has stopped for the past ≈17 years?
Steve also says:
Boost total carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by more than forty percent, as we humans have done in the age of coal and oil and natural gas, and we dampen just a bit the amount of infrared energy that makes it through the atmosphere. A tiny fraction of the energy that ought to have escaped gets captured, and stored as heat, mostly in the ocean.
Yes, we have increased CO2 by ≈40%. There has been no measurable warming as a result. That is because of this.
Your argument seems to be of the “what if” variety: What if there is heat lurking in the deep ocean? But the ARGO buoy array shows that with the exception of one minor strata, the global ocean is cooling. It is not even staying neutral. The ocean is cooling over all.
The entire “carbon” scare has been falsified so many times that honest scientists no longer argue about it. CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. There is no evidence to the contrary.

Steve Johnson
February 11, 2014 4:54 pm

No gain over the past 17 years?
The World Meteorological Organization has published the average temperatures for each decade from the 1880s to the 2000s. Here’s what they say, in Celsius, about the four most recent decades. (See “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes, Summary Report.”)
1970s – 13.95 C
1980s – 14.12 C
1990s – 14.26 C
2000s – 14.47 C
Do the math. Decade by decade gains are 0.17 C from the seventies to the eighties, 0.14 C from the 80s to the 90s, and 0.21 C from the 90s to the 00s. Which of these gains is the largest? The most recent.

February 17, 2014 9:17 pm

What Bill Nye “presented” could not be considered an experiment. The jars could hardly be considered sealed with hoses sticking out of glass lids that were not sealed. So right there what was on the screen was just a prop not an experiment. Next Mr Nye made assumptions in his statements about how long the proecesses have been going on that are not proven. Next he made statements about current observations for which he made no attempt to present proof.
So basically Mr Nye engaged in propoganda not education.

March 21, 2014 3:56 pm

Interesting stuff. Mr Nye was my childhood hero as well 🙁

She hulk