Carbon Dioxide Not a Well Mixed Gas and Can’t Cause Global Warming

By: John O’Sullivan

One of the least challenged claims of global warming science is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a “well-mixed gas.” A new scientific analysis not only debunks this assertion but also shows that standard climatology calculations, applicable only to temperature changes of the minor gas, carbon dioxide were fraudulently applied to the entire atmosphere to inflate alleged global temperature rises.

Acceptance of the “well-mixed gas” concept is a key requirement for those who choose to believe in the so-called greenhouse gas effect. A rising group of skeptic scientists have put the “well-mixed gas” hypothesis under the microscope and shown it contradicts not only satellite data by also measurements obtained in standard laboratory experiments.

Canadian climate scientist, Dr Tim Ball is a veteran critic of the “junk science” of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and no stranger to controversy.

Ball is prominent among the “Slayers” group of skeptics and has been forthright in denouncing the IPCC claims; “I think a major false assumption is that CO2 is evenly distributed regardless of its function.“

School Children Prove Carbon Dioxide is Heavier than Air

Dr. Ball and his colleagues appear to be winning converts with their hard-nosed re-examination of the standard myths of climate science and this latest issue is probably one of the easiest for non-scientists to comprehend.

Indeed, even high school children are taught the basic fact that gravity causes objects heavier than air to fall to the ground. And that is precisely what CO2 is – this miniscule trace gas (just a very tiny 0.04% of atmosphere) is heavy and is soon down and out as shown by a simple school lab experiment.

Or, we can look at it another way to make these technical Physics relationships easy. This is because scientists refer to ratios based on common standards.  Rather than refer to unit volumes and masses, scientists use the concept of Specific Gravity (SG).  Giving standard air a value of 1.0 then the measured SG of CO2 is 1.5 (considerably heavier).  [1.]

CO2: The Heavy Gas that Heats then Cools Faster!

The same principle is applied to heat transfer, the Specific Heat (SH) of air is 1.0 and the SH of CO2 is 0.8 (heats and cools faster).  Combining these properties allows for thermal mixing. Heavy CO2 warms faster and rises, as in a hot air balloon.  It then rapidly cools and falls.

This ‘thermal’ mixing is aided by wind flow patterns, but the ratios of gases in the atmosphere are never static or uniform anywhere on Earth.  Without these properties CO2 would fill every low area to dangerously high levels.  Not ‘high’ in a toxic sense, only that CO2 would displace enough Oxygen that you could not have proper respiration.  Nitrogen is 78% of the atmosphere and totally non-toxic, but if you continue to increase Nitrogen and reduce Oxygen the mixture becomes ‘unbreathable.’

It is only if we buy into the IPCC’s “well mixed gas” fallacy that climate extremists can then proceed to dupe us further with their next claim; that this so-called “well mixed” CO2 then acts as a “blanket” to “trap” the heat our planet receives from the sun.

The cornerstone of the IPCC claims since 1988 is that “trapped” CO2 adds heat because it is a direct consequence of another dubious and unscientific mechanism they call “back radiation.” In no law of science will you have read of the term “back radiation.” It is a speculative and unphysical concept and is the biggest lie woven into the falsity of what is widely known as the greenhouse gas effect.

Professor Nasif Nahle, a recent addition to the Slayers team, has proven that application of standard gas equations reveal that, if it were real, any “trapping” effect of the IPCC’s “back radiation” could last not a moment longer than a miniscule five milliseconds – that’s quicker than the blink of an eye to all you non-scientists. [2.]

Doomsaying Climatologist Abandons ‘Back Radiation’ Meme

Only recently did Professor Claes Johnson persuade long-time greenhouse gas effect believer Dr. Judith Curry to abandon this unscientific term. Curry now admits:

“Back radiation is a phrase, one that I don’t use myself, and it is not a word that is used in technical radiative transfer studies. Lets lose the back radiation terminology, we all agree on that.”

IPCC doomsayers claim it is under this “blanket” of CO2 (and other so-called greenhouse gases) that the energy absorbed by Earth’s surface from incoming sunlight gets trapped.

But one other important fact often glossed over is that CO2 comprises a tiny 0.4% of all the gases above our heads. Nasif Nahle reminds us that this is a crucial point when considering the claims of the “grandfather” of the greenhouse gas hypothesis (GHE), Svente Arrhenius.

Change in CO2 Temperature Is NOT Change in Atmospheric Temp

When applying the GHE formula devised by Arrhenius, IPCC scientists appear to have forgotten that we must consider the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the proportion of the whole mixture of gases.

Even if Arrhenius was right about the GHE any change of temperature obtained from his formula is exclusively a change of temperature of the mass of carbon dioxide, not of the atmosphere.

The trick of climate doomsayers is that they draw their conclusions obtained from the Arrhenius formula for CO2 (only 0.04% of atmosphere), then apply that change of temperature to the WHOLE Earth; this is bad science, or possibly fraud.

Nahle poses this question for GHE believers:

“Is the atmosphere composed only of carbon dioxide? Why calculate the change of temperature of a mass of carbon dioxide and then after say it is the change of temperature of this trace gas that now becomes the temperature of the whole Earth?”

Astrophysicist and climate researcher, Joe Postma similarly comments:

“No one seems to have realized that any purported increase in temperature of CO2 due to CO2 absorption is APPLIED TO CO2, not the whole danged atmosphere! Again, just a slight tweak in comprehending the reality makes a whole paradigm of difference.”

NASA Data Confirms CO2 Not a Well Mixed Gas

Professor Nahle and his colleagues insist that in addition to the above facts the proven varying density of atmospheric CO2 also needs to be taken into account to show how IPCC scientists are guilty of the greatest scientific swindle ever perpetrated.

From the NASA graph below (verify with link here) we can discern distinct and measurable regional variations in CO2 ppmv. So even NASA data itself further puts paid to the bizarre notion that this benign trace gas is “well-mixed” around the globe.

NASA’s diagram thus not only proves CO2 isn’t a well mixed gas but also demonstrates that there is no link between regions of highest CO2 concentration and areas of highest human industrial emissions.

Groundbreaking Science Trumps IPCC Junk Claims

Both Postma and Nahle have recently published groundbreaking papers discrediting the GHE. Professor Nahle analyzed the thermal properties of carbon dioxide, exclusively, and found that 0.3 °C would be the change of temperature of CO2, also exclusively, not of the whole atmosphere. Nasif pointedly observes:

“Such change of temperature would not affect in absolute the whole mixture of gas because of the thermal diffusivity of carbon dioxide.”

Additionally, Nahle and his Slaying the Sky Dragon compadres demonstrate that carbon dioxide loses the energy it absorbs almost instantaneously, so there is no place for any kind of storage of thermal energy by carbon dioxide. To the more technically minded what Nahle and his colleagues say is that the release of a quantum/wave, at a different wavelength and frequency, lasts the time an excited electron takes to get back to its base state.

Thus the IPCC’s CO2 “sky blanket” is shot full of holes as rational folk are increasingly abandoning the unphysical nonsense that carbon dioxide “traps” heat and raises global temperatures. Policymakers may be the last to wise up but they, too, must nonetheless consign the man-made global warming sham to the trash can marked “junk science.”

Sources:

[1.] In our “current environment,” atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen vastly outweigh CO2. Nitrogen: 3,888,899 Gigatons; Oxygen: 1,191,608 Gigatons; Carbon Dioxide: 3,051 Gigatons. On a weight basis the specific heat of nitrogen and oxygen together is approximately 1 per kilogram, whereas CO2’s is about 0.844. Thus it’s clear that everyday air has a better ability to hold onto heat.

[2.] Professor Nahle, N., ‘Determination of Mean Free Path of Quantum/Waves and Total Emissivity of the Carbon Dioxide Considering the Molecular Cross Section’ (2011), Biology Cabinet, (Peer Reviewed by the Faculty of Physics of the University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico).

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45 Comments

Filed under Climate Alarmism, Climate Change, Climategate, Co2 Insanity, Global Warming, IPCC, John O'Sullivan, Lord Monckton, NASA, Science, Slaying the Sky Dragon

45 responses to “Carbon Dioxide Not a Well Mixed Gas and Can’t Cause Global Warming

  1. The Boston Struggler

    Brilliant ! A copy should be sent to all leading politicians asking them why they are continuing with their global warming agenda, which is costing tax payers billions.

  2. I quickly read over the Postma paper on radiative thermal transport. This is an interesting paper, and deserves a closer reading. I noticed this issue: The author may want to examine the role of the average radiative emissivity of the earth’s surface. The surface is not a perfect black body so the sigma T^4 emission formula gets multiplied by k ~0.3 typically. (k actually varies depending on the surface material.) This usage is standard in radiation thermometry. The temperature guns HVAC techs use to find hot and cold spots calibrate the k depending on the surface material. It may change some of the formulas, not sure if it will affect the overall conclusions. Or maybe I missed something in my initial read-through.

    • Hi Stephen,

      If you’re referring to the standard model GHE, I have reproduced it exactly as it is taught and presented in textbooks, etc. It doesn’t change the paradigm shift or philosophy of the paper: that day & night exist etc and you can’t average the solar flux down to -18C input. And that there is no valid premise for postulating a GHE a-priori.
      We will shortly be publishing a very brief summary of my work that concisely “puts it all together”.

      Best,

      JP

      • Anonymous

        Ah JP, Glad you replied…

        I am just now reading your reply and it seems that we need more discussion…

        My comment was directed at the formula for thermal radiation from a body. The correct formula for radiated heat is not the Stefan-Boltzmann radiated power formula: P = sigma x T^4. With sigma=Stefan-Boltzmann constant = 5.67E-8 W m-2 K^-4.

        P=sigma x T^4 is correct only for ideal black body radiators. The surface of the sun obeys this formula to a good approximation. But material surfaces on earth are not black body radiators. They radiate according to a modified formula containing the emissivity, e, of the surface: Prad [W/m^2] = e x sigma x T^4 with e ~ 0.3-0.5 for common materials. e=1 in the case of an ideal black body radiator.

        In reading over the draft of your paper, I noticed that the formula for terrestrial radiated power needs the factor e. Check out the Wikipedia article titled Black body for more on this correction factor.

        Believe me, you don’t want to publish with such an oversight. The correction should be straightforward and may or may not change your conclusions.
        Best wishes
        - Steven

  3. Can I first congratulate you on such a well-presented and entertaining blog. However, secondly, can I ask you why you want AGW to be a hoax, fraud, scam etc? Why does it have to be a scientific conspiracy to keep the research funding coming in? Or, why does it have to be a political conspiracy to achieve worldwide authoritarian government? Why can’t it just be a consequence of the Earth’s [atmosphere/ocean] finite capacity to assimilate human waste products, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Entropy, and the observations of Svante Arrhenius over 100 years ago?

    No, actually, I’ll tell you why… Because people really do believe that “greed is good“, because they worship at the shopping mall temples to our new god of Consumption, and because of the arrogance of human beings who think they can have mastery over the environment; and treat the Earth as if “it is a business in liquidation” (Herman E Daly). Discuss.

    • Rick

      The notion of anthropogenic climate change isn’t anything new. Elements of western civilization have beaten this drum for centuries, evangelicals, industrialists, and progressives alike using the notion of human-induced climate changes to promote their schemes. With a strange mix of greed and guilt, some of these elements have continued to promote the narrative of anthropogenic climate change to their benefit, up to the present day. In the end, its about agendas and control. I for one appreciate those who choose to call them on it, as opposed to those who root on these megalomaniacs.

  4. stevo

    Oh yes! CO2 sinks to the bottom! And we humans who live at sea level, we breathe pure CO2!

  5. In the UK at least, I think you may experience some difficulty in selling your conspiracy theory (or “scepticism” as you prefer to wrongly conceive it) to the British Medical Association and Ministry of Defence (oh yeah, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well! But, how silly of me, the WHO is part of the “conspiracy“, aren’t they!)

    For more information please visit: The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change – How to secure our future wellbeing – A conference on 17th October 2011 at BMA House, London.

  6. In general a well presented argument. However, I believe it needs additional points made, particularly relating to what happens to the re-emitted IR thermal energy after the carbon dioxide molecules return to an unexcited state. Some of the emitted photons will enter the Earth’s surface, including the oceans. The surface warms on sunny mornings, and the oceans even retain some thermal energy from summer to winter in any given location.

    But the thermal energy which is thus retained, be it for a few minutes, hours or even months, will tend to exit the surface again at least by mid-winter nights. When it does so it can warm adjacent air molecules by collision processes, and the energy transferred can then be transported upwards by convection. (This must happen to a reasonable extent or we would not see such close equilibrium at the surface/atmosphere interface.) My point is that it will not necessarily all be radiated upwards immediately, though there will eventually be radiated energy primarily from GH gases.

    So how do oxygen and nitrogen molecules lose the thermal energy they acquired by collision with a warmer surface? They do not radiate much themselves, so they must transfer energy to GHG molecules by collision (diffusion) and leave it to the GHG molecules to radiate away the thermal energy, thus helping to cool the atmosphere. I repeat: GHG molecules … “cool” the atmosphere.

    When does the surface cooling process stop? Well I suggest that depends on the huge store of thermal energy in the rest of the Earth system under the surface. The temperature plot from the core to top of atmosphere is basically continuous with a change in gradient at the surface/atmosphere interface. The energy from solar insolation is stored only temporarily, whereas the base surface temperature has been established over billions of years primarily as a result of the very gradual heat flow from the core, where thermal energy is being generated continuously. See http://climate-change-theory.com for more on this.

  7. Anonymous

    Oh, you really don’t have to spend weeks or months getting into the scientific theory of it all to determine the likely hood of the truth. Just follow the money lines. Who is profiting from it all, how much money is involved and who is benefiting from the program. And yes, Martin, how silly of you, WHO, BMA, and MD are all a part of the conspiracy. You can sit at home with a beer, watching the truth given by a wonderful TV analyst congratulating yourself on picking the most truthful of the analytical bunch, but I dare you to come to Africa with me on my next trip and watch a few hundred people die from taking ARV drugs recommended by WHO. Truth seldom comes to those who sleep.

  8. Anonymous

    Yes, and by way of agreeing with Doug Cotton from 11/01/11, I am a miner and I have been in hundreds of mines around the world. All mines with rare exceptions get warmer and even hotter as they are mined deeper and deeper into the Earth. In the US, Canada, and Alaska, once you go 30 to100 feet deep the temperature never varies winter and summer. The warm temperature cannot come from the Sun in any of these mines as it is always cooler in the winter before it begins to get warmer as you go deeper. In the very deepest gold mines they have to pipe cool air to the workers as the heat becomes unbearable. Most areas of the world the temperature 10 feet down is room temperature and that heat does not come from the Sun.

    Many old Roman buildings used pipes laid in the ground to create their heating. It was a continuous source of heating that never run out. There are those who still do that.

    • And you think this invalidates 150 years-worth of scientific thought, experiment and observation that says doubling CO2 will increase global average temperature by 3 Celsius?

      The Blogosphere may be dominated by people who think AGW is a eco-socialist conspiracy to install worldwide authoritarian governance via the UN but, back in the real world, the sea ice, permafrost, glaciers, and ice shelves are melting – and no matter how many times you deny it will not make it stop happening.

      • Look an Ostrich with his head up his….er in a hole…in the ground.

        • What kind of inverted reality do you inhabit that you can possibly accuse me of being the one that is refusing to accept the reality of what is now happening?

          Anthropogenically-induced climate change is merely the most obvious evidence we yet have of the fact that we humans have exceeded the planet’s finite capacity to assimilate and/or recycle our waste products. Furthermore, we will never eradicate poverty unless we allow 4 billion poor people to die or the wealthy minority agree to moderate their over-consumption of the Earth’s finite resources. If you’re so clever, please tell me which you would prefer?

          One thing is certain, we cannot have it both ways: We must either modify our behaviour or reduce the size of the human population because, quite clearly, the Earth is not coping very well with current numbers and current behaviour.

          Rather than chuck childish insults around, why don’t you try and falsify my argument? (That is a rhetorical question by the way – because you cannot)

          • So, per your own words “Furthermore, we will never eradicate poverty unless we allow 4 billion poor people to die or the wealthy minority agree to moderate their over-consumption of the Earth’s finite resources.”

            There’s your real agenda. Whack the rich whom you’re obviously jealous of and redistribute wealth. Typical agenda that really has nothing to do with global warming at all.

            Also per your own words “We must either modify our behaviour or reduce the size of the human population.” More typical BS.

            Well, Per your first quote I guess if we do nothing you’ll get your way because 4 billion people will die. I’d like to know where your bullshit source for that one is located.

            You sound like a John P. Holdren fan. I’d suggest you start your preferred process to solve global warming, overpopulation and over use of resources by retroactively aborting yourself.

            Sometimes childish responses get the desired result. In this case my childish response got your real agenda out of you.

            • I have no agenda and, unlike you, my response to being challenged is not to resort to childish abuse. Nothing you have said can change the reality that, ignoring the inequitable distribution of wealth, 7 billion humans are using and/or polluting the Earth’s resources at unsustainable rates. Again – no agenda – just a simple fact.

              I am jealous of no-one; least of all those whose moral compass allows them to pursue their own self-interest at the expense of that of their own children and grandchildren. If I do have an agenda, it is that relating to (1) intra-generational justice; (2) inter-generational injustice; and (3) justice for the non-human environment:
              (1) In the 1990s we kept poor countries poor by keeping them in debt – such that they paid us more in interest on their loans than we gave them in aid. Now we are keeping them poor by engineering a situation where they must divert money away from education and healthcare to spend on tackling environmental problems for which we are, historically at least, mainly responsible.
              (2) By failing to tackle the problem of ongoing and now accelerating climate change, the current generation has not saved money – it has guaranteed that a much greater financial and environmental catastrophe will fall upon the shoulders of future generations. Even the International Energy Agency admits that not spending the money now to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is a false economy.
              (3) As the world-famous biologist Edward O Wilson once famously pointed out, we humans may be at the top of the evolutionary tree and food chain, but we are not the most important species on the planet. On the whole, things would work just fine if we were not here… However, by virtue of our selfish behaviour, we are now endangering all life on Earth not just our own species. Why? Because we arrogantly think we can, as Herman E Daly once put it, threat the Earth like it is a business in liquidation.

              No doubt, your response to all of this will be to call me misanthropic but, I do not hate humans; I just hate what they are doing to the planet!

              • Let’s see. You start off saying you have no agenda, then we get your agenda, which is: (1) intra-generational justice; (2) inter-generational injustice; and (3) justice for the non-human environment:

                Then you provide us with more tripe. We kept countries poor? What about all the billions we already give all these so-called poor countries? That we keep them in debt is laughable indeed.

                Climate change accelerating? Umm where? There’s been significant warming since about 1998. No significant sea-level rise either. So where’s this acceleration you talk about? In your mind?

                What’s Edward O. Wilson have to do with anything other than your agenda of reducing/eliminating the human race?

                Keep trying. You need to quit being a lemming and spouting crap from crap scientist and morons like Al Gore.

                • Ok, yes, I have an agenda – but not the simplistic Watermelon one that you were accusing me of having…

                  As for evidence of accelerating change… Check out the glaciers in the Himalayas and places like South Georgia – most of the retreat captured in photographs over the last 100 years has occurred in the last 30 years. Ever heard of sea ice? In case you hadn’t noticed, its disappearing faster than even the IPCC predicted… Ice shelves continue to break-up; allowing land-based ice to head seaward at ever faster rates… Siberian permafrost melting like it has never done before… But, oh dear, we are back to where I started so, with regret, I am not up for wasting any more of my time with you going round in circles.

                  Good luck with defeating your cognitive dissonance… One day soon, hopefully (for the good of all humanity), reality is going to bite you where the sun don’t shine…

                  • Laundry lists of anecdotal evidence are unconvincing. Nor do they represent sound scientific method. Rather, we must examine the predictions of climate models. Are they in agreement with real climate data?
                    If IPCC climate models predict stuff that doesn’t happen, those models are contraindicated and probably invalid. So let’s look at the record. A clear test of the validity of IPCC models is the widely publicized prediction of accelerated global temperature rise made in the 1990s. Those models predicted a rapid nonlinear (roughly quadratic) increase of temperature with time starting in the the 1990s and continuing to and beyond 2040.
                    Actual climate data is now available over the period 1999-2011. What that data shows is no accelerated global warming. Nor does it show any significant warming or cooling trend. The real climate is behaving in a way that differs significantly with what was predicted by the IPCC models. This disagreement is serious and clearly beyond the estimated uncertainty put forward by the modelers. A simple and direct conclusion is inescapable. AGW based climate models of the IPCC got the climate of 2000-2011 completely wrong. No accelerated warming. No significant warming. Why would anyone trust models that predict wrong results? Skepticism about the methodology of climate modeling and predictions is entirely justified.

                    • Now who is making lists of unsubstantiated assertions? One definition of insanity is that you keep doing something that has unpleasant consequences in the desperate hope that the consequences will be different. I am not the one who is insane. That is why this “debate” is over.

                  • So, you now you have basically admitted you’re a liar. You said you had no agenda, then presented an agenda and when called on it you finally admit you have an agenda.

                    Your agenda was presented by you, not me, I just quoted it. So I guess you’re a watermelon, too. I didn’t accuse you of anything other than what you presented.

                    Regarding your sea-ice. You should go here http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/ and look at the charts. It’s not disappearing rapidly, or even disappearing for that matter.
                    The charts are real science, not fakery.

                    While some glaciers are melting (a normal process), some are increasing in size at the same time (a normal process). Don’t you think if global warming was reality that pretty much all the glaciers everywhere would be melting at the same rapid pace? Also, claims of melting glaciers in the Himalayas are based on a very small sample.

                    Ice shelves breaking up is also a normal process. Nothing to get excited over. There have been bigger ones in the past, there will be in the future.

                    I’d suggest you read some of the articles here and get a dose of reality. http://www.iceagenow.com/Growing_Glaciers.htm

                    You accuse me of of cognitive dissonance. FYI, cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult (like warmers), which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood (substitute global warming) and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones (like you) who had given up their home and job to work for the cult when the flood did not happen. (I doubt you’ve give up home and job, but you have obviously over-committed).

                    While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and “put it down to experience”, committed members (like you) were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along.

                    I think you need to re-think your position. Do some research and use some common sense and logic.

                  • AFPhys

                    For your evidence stated – as much as laundry lists of anecdotes don’t constitute science,

                    — As I write, Arctic Sea Ice is within one standard deviation of the 1979-2000 values in both “extent” and “area”. Antarctic ice is well above in average “extent” (I couldn’t locate “area” or SD). I don’t see you have basis for CAGW there.

                    — Glaciers advanced during the hundred plus year long Little Ice Age, so of course during this last hundred or so years as we are coming out of the LIA, they will retreat. It is actually quite surprising that so many are now advancing again, as shown on the page that was linked to you. Peer reviewed study released in the last month shows that despite claims Himalayan glacier chain was losing (a very specific) 50 billion tons of ice a year, the real findings showed it had lost none for a decade. Again, no evidence of CAGW. I call to mind as a sidebar, that anthropologists love to muck around at the foot of retreating glaciers because they uncover villages and items left over from hundreds or thousands of years ago, and I have to ask you how those were deposited under the ice long before the age of evil SUVs.

                    — Siberian permafrost is well outside my haunts, and I’m not going to research it or say yea or nay about that assertion, so I’ll give it to you. However, consider that perhaps there may be some linkage of whatever permafrost changes, and of Earth’s temperature overall, to the fact that the Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th century than at any other time for the last 8,000 years.

                    I mean, stop and think. Really try to consider that.

                    I know IPCC denies that Sol can change Earth’s temperature very much, but the long term correlations of something like R=0.87 of temperature with solar activity are pretty hard for true science to ignore, even if we don’t know how the activity ultimately translates to temperature change. Statements that Sol’s high activity from 1950-2000 were not important to Earth’s climate must be suspect to a climate realist.

                    It may not be so surprising that in addition to effects on the permafrost, effects would also be seen in the sea ice and glaciers in the late 20th. Regardless, though Earth’s temperature did rise while Sol was active, we are now seeing no temperature change as it has tapering off. http://icecap.us/images/uploads/17year_signal.jpg — if the image doesn’t come through, take a look at the satellite temperature data.

                    Most solar scientists are now forecasting that Sol will be much less active over the next 50 years or so, based on the motion of plasma currents 100,000 miles deep in the Sun and other observations and theory. There had been two schools of thought before three or so years ago about whether this would be an active or weak solar cycle. However, the proof is in, and now even NASA’s Hathaway, who strongly maintained that this current solar cycle 24 would be very strong, is predicting solar weakness for the next half century. Those of us in the other camp tilted with him long and hard over the last ten years, and he has been dragged kicking and screaming, but I have to give him credit for reversing his view. I have even seen some predictions that the weakness may be sufficient to cause Earth’s temperature to drop by 3C or so by 2050, based on the historical correlation of activity with temperature.

                    Assuming you totally reject the lead article here and believe CO2 raises temperature: The “precautionary principle” applied with respect to this science would require that we redouble efforts to burn fossil fuels and to raise the level of CO2 so we can save our children and their children and the third world from the coming cold.

                    Don’t worry about responding to me – I won’t see it. I simply came to this blog by accident and I’m unlikely to be back.

      • Climate cycles for the past 500,00 years indicate the present era is approaching the peak of the warm interglacial period. This is well known. Similar warming trends were present long before humans evolved. Climate cycles are a historic fact. The scientific problem for Human Activity Caused Global Warming Believers (HUAGWAS) has to do with causality. Where is the evidence that human activity is causal? Is warming bad or good? Periodic phenomena associated with orbital dynamics have been quite sufficient to cause previous climate cycles. Right? Check out the Vostok Project. Insisting on a pet theory without any proof of causality is just bad science. Right?

    • “It was a continuous source of heating that never run out”… According to my version of history, Roman hypocaust heating systems were probably powered by wood-burning boilers so, if they had been on a smaller island, they might well have run out! One thing they were generally not (apart from Baths like those in, well, Bath actually), was geothermally-powered. So, all in all, I really fail to see what point Anonymous was making…

  9. Good comment. One can go a step further and imagine the earth enclosed in a giant thermos bottle that eliminates all solar heating and reflects and traps all radiant heat originating from the earth’s surface. What happens to the temperature of the surface? Over geologic time the thermally isolated earth with no external or internal heat sources, will tend toward a thermodynamic equilibrium with uniform temperature from the core to the surface. Of course there are heat sources in the core of the earth including decay heat of radioactives, and MHD dynamo effects to mention two. So in this case, a complete lack of solar heating combined with 100% trapping of radiated heat (by the reflective coating on the giant thermos bottle) will cause a steady global warming as the core cools and the surface heats up. If man could build a giant thermos bottle and enclose the entire earth, then we would indeed have man made global warming. Interestingly, the heat comes from earth’s interior, and not the sun in this scenario.

  10. Anonymous

    I have an advanced degree in meteorology. Even if CO2 is not well mixed, it is increasing. CO2 has several IR absorption bands. If you increase CO2 then there are more CO2 molecules blocking IR thus the planet warms. If we didn’t have CO2 our planet would be covered in ICE. It has nothing to do with the specific heat of CO2.

    • OK you have a degree. So, tell me. Do those CO2 molecules only reflect heat back towards Earth? Or, do they also reflect an equal amount of heat back towards space thus negating what they reflect back towards Earth?

      • Andrew

        Yes they reflect some IR photons coming from space back into space. However higher energy photons (eg. visible light) pass straight through the atmosphere. These are absorbed by the molecules on the surface of the earth. These molecules then loose this energy by many different mechanisms, one of which is by radiating IR photons. It is these photons which are reflected back into the earths atmosphere which cause global warming and greatly outweighs any reflection of IR photons from space.

    • Do you account for the fact that CO2 absorbs only a small part of the outgoing IR?

    • snowmom

      Why are there so many thumbs down for a pirely scientific comment????

  11. Anonymous

    H20 is not a well mixed gas, and it is great IR absorber.

  12. Anonymous

    Additionally, H2O has a MUCH higher specific heat… in other words, the ability to absorb and re-radiate heat… by a HUGE factor. Now factor in that there are 4,000 water molecules in the air for every 1 CO2 molecule and you have to stop and wonder if Al Gore and company should be focusing on marking water vapor as a pollutant. I’d like to see him try to ban water vapor! LOLOLOLOLOL. BTW, global temps at 2 meters is COOLING now (and has been for a number of years) since the PDO went into its 20-30 year negative cycle. I WILL GLADLY TRADE MY PALM TREE FOR ANY AGW BELIEVER WHO WANTS TO GIVE AWAY HIS SNOW BLOWER.

  13. Except actual atmospheric measurements show that CO2 is, in fact, well-mixed:

    http://is.gd/Sv86jh

  14. DirkH

    Martin Lack asked how we know that CO2AGW is a conspiracy… Well, of course it’s not really a conspiracy, as the proponents have documented and published what they were doing – a conspiracy is something that is hidden. But they needed something to bring down modern civilisation, and said so.

    Mead:
    “What we need from scientists are
    estimates, presented with sufficient
    conservatism and plausibility but at
    the same time as free as possible from
    internal disagreements that can be
    exploited by political interests, that
    will allow us to start building a system
    of artificial but effective warnings,
    warnings which will parallel the
    instincts of animals who flee before
    the hurricane, pile up a larger store of
    nuts before a severe winter, or of
    caterpillars who respond to impending
    climatic changes by growing thicker
    coats [sic].”
    1975 `Endangered Atmosphere’
    Conference: Where the Global
    Warming Hoax Was Born
    Mead, Schneider, Holdren and Lovelock
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/highlights/Fall_2007.html
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/GWHoaxBorn.pdf

  15. Ronaldo

    May I make a comment on the science, which as far as I can tell is devoid of politics. CO2 absorbs IR energy at specific frequencies related to the vibrational energy of the carbon – oxygen bond and these vibrations are quantised i.e. the CO2 molecule absorbs a quantum of energy which increases its internal, vibrational energy but has no effect on its kinetic energy and thus on its contribution to the temperature of the atmosphere. Rapid relaxation from the excited state releases a quantum of energy at precisely the absorbed frequency. The CO2 molecule is then able to absorb another quantum at the same frequency either from the up-welling IR from earth or from scattered IR from other CO2 molecules.

    When the atmosphere is bathed in IR, say from a cooling earth surface, the CO2 molecules act as tiny resonant aerials in absorbing and re-transmitting the resonant frequency. At TOA 50% of this re-transmitted energy is lost to outer space, so that an energy gradient is created which drives further loss of energy to space. Because the absorption and re-transmiossion are lossless, ie no energy is lost to kinetic energy, the system behaves in an analogous way to a lossless cable transmitting radio frequencies with standing waves being developed to match the energy transfer.

    Radio Amateurs use the phenomenon of resonance to pick out very weak signals from operators at the other side of the world and to reply using remarkably low levels of radiated power and simple radiators (ie antennas).

  16. Ronaldo

    I should have added that because of this phenomenon, CO2 has little impact on earth surface temperatures.

  17. TheJollyGreenMan

    Hi John, I liked your article but feel that you did yourself a disfavour by cutting the discussion on the physical behaviour of Carbon dioxide short.

    A paragraph or two, explaining the diurnal concentration of carbon dioxide at ground level which can swing by up to 100ppm, would, IMHO, better round off the discussion. There are some lovely work available on line that shows results of studies obtained from inter alia: the Brazilian forests, Soya bean growers in the USA, and Canadian Studies in woodlands that can be used as reference.

    A lot of people is unaware of the fact that carbon dioxide concentration is a very fast moving target and almost impossible to pin down, a bit like the USA budget deficit.

  18. Gale Combs

    It is nice to see someone tackling the “Well mixed” fallacy. As an industrial chemist who has had to deal with a lot of mixing time problems this assumption always floored me. How the heck can CO2 be well mixed when you have plants absorbing it during daylight hours in addition to all the point sources up to and including all the various volcanoes.

    I always loved this quote from the Manna Loa Observatory

    4. In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur.
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

    ” a general “outlier rejection” step” ????
    GOOD GRIEF! If I ever did that type of data fudging in industry my boss would have had handed me my head!

    • Good comment about flakey data analysis. Real scientists use statistical data analysis techniques to do a few things. One important use is to find convenient functional relationships that represent the data in a simple easy to understand form. A classic is linear regression analysis where data is “fitted” to a straight line. Of course, all such regressions must fail upon extrapolation beyond their domain of validity. This is well known in the trade. Regression curves do not obey physical causality, hence will always deviate from new data collected over time.

      As far as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are concerned, we observe that sea water and fresh water admit CO2 into solution. That is, CO2 molecules go into solution like in soda water. Dissolved CO2 in ionic form can end up in carbides and precipitates in solid form. Sea shells, diatoms, and the like sequester huge amounts of carbon and oxygen in solid form. Such naturally occurring processes tend to regulate atmospheric CO2 on long timescales.

  19. k

    So, how does this relate to Venus, the planet that is farther from the sun, but much hotter than Mercury? Does the supposed greenhouse effect from CO2 actually work there because of different air movement patterns, or is it something else that makes the planet that hot?

  20. Jake

    So, how does this relate to Venus, the planet that is farther from the sun, but much hotter than Mercury? Does the supposed greenhouse effect from CO2 actually work there because of different air movement patterns, or is it something else that makes the planet that hot?

    • Joseph Bastardi

      Its the pressure of venus, its much greater than earth,, reduce it to the earths and the temperatures are about the same

      • snowmom

        Joe,
        Venus is so hot due to its atmospheric pressure, not due to trapped heat? Or by that do you mean its the amount of CO2 that matters.
        Thank you