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:

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BILL OF MATERIALS

QTY 2 Anchor Hocking Cookie Jar with Lid

http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=187543

QTY2 Geratherm Oral Thermometer Non-Mercury http://www.pocketnurse.com/Geratherm-Oral-Thermometer-Non-Mercury/productinfo/06-74-5826/

QTY 2 Globe Coin Bank

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150661053386

QTY 2 Fluker`s Repta Clamp-Lamp with Ceramic Sockets for Terrariums (max 150 watts, 8 1/2 Inch Bulb) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fluker-s-Repta-Clamp-Lamp-150-watts-8-1-2-Inch-Bulb-/200663082632

QTY2 Zoo Med Red Infrared Heat Lamp 100W

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200594870618

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

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190563856367

QTY 1 RAP4 In-Line On/Off Air Adapter

http://www.rap4.com/store/paintball/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

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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: greenhousesonline.com.au

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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

RESULTS:

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

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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.

RESULTS:

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.

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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.

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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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DrJazz

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

Deborah Stout-Meininger

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.
So Please…QUIT CALLING CO2 (CARBON DIOXIDE) A POLLUTANT!!! IT IS A LIFE ESSENTIAL GAS!
CARBON MONOXIDE IS THE TOXIC GAS….CARBON PARTICLES ARE DANGEROUS “POLAR WARMING PARTICLES…AND MAN-MADE GASSES LIKE AEROSOL PROPELLANTS ARE THE BIGGEST DANGERS
TO THE OZONE!
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

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.

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.

rlkorb

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.

Grady Patterson

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” …

Robert Leclaire

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.

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.) 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.

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.

bobmunck

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.

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.

Bryan Yee

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. https://www.skepticalscience.com/CO2-is-not-the-only-driver-of-climate.htm
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.

aleks

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):
https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1119/1.3322738
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”. http://greenhouse.geologist-1011.net/

Keating Willcox

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.

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

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

Rich

Well said!

Duke Silver

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?

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

Cleopatra

Applause!
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

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 year.it’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.

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

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.

AnAggie InAustin

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?

bobmunck

“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

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.

Daeran

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_spectroscopy
light and properites of the molecule known as c2 have been known for hundreds of years

dotonbut

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
Q=Cp*m*dT
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.

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

APE

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!
APE

Blank Reg

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

aleks

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

“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

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

Mike W.

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

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?”

Yes.

Michael 2

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.

Rob

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

Jeremy Das

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

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: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2093264/Forget-global-warming–Cycle-25-need-worry-NASA-scientists-right-Thames-freezing-again.html

Dustin

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…

Don

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

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

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

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

John Doe

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;
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011JD017013.shtml
and also the MET office Statement:
https://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/
regards

HowardG

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.

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

Mike Blackadder

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

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.

Anteaus

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?
http://boole.stanford.edu/WoodExpt/
http://principia-scientific.org/publications/Experiment_on_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

Michael 2

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

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.

Dan Sage
Michael Tremblay

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

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

bitskeptic

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

bitskeptic

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?

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.

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

“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.

Rosco

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

“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.

Myrrh

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

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.

Rosco

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.

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…

jdouglashuahin

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.
“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…
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
http://greenparty.ca/blogs/169/2009-01-03/ppm-co2-altitude-and-mass-co2-atmosphere-8520-metres-beyond-which-there-practic
(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)
http://a-sceptical-mind.com/co2-the-basic-facts

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

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.

Lee

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.

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.

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 ?

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.”
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/108/5/377.abstract
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″
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/svensmark-evidence-continues-to-build.html
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. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.504.html
“For the first time, we want to do definitive, quantitative measurements of the underlying microphysics”, states Kirkby.
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/journal/CERNBulletin/2009/47/News%20Articles/1221077?ln=de
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 ”
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/01/science/earth/0501-clouds.html

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

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

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?

Alan

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.

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.

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

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

Andyj

Mythboxes.
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.

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

Rosco

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 ?

bill

“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.

maddscientist

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.

major

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.

sturmudgeon

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.

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

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???

Dan Sage
john jorgensen

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.

Vohaul

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”….

My god that video Al Gore made was bullshit!

banana

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

Albert Stentson

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.

Steven Howard Johnson

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.

Dan Sage