I keep on saying that the “forcing” effects of CO2 are logarithmic while the cooling response of the planet rises exponentially. I’m not the only one saying this, serious heavy weight skeptics like Lindzen are saying the same thing. So what do these terms really mean? OK, a bit of background and then onto the pictures.
What is often quoted is that CO2 doubling causes an increase in radiance to earth’s surface of 3.7 watts/meter squared, which in turn raises temperatures about 1 degree Celsius. Why the reference to “doubling”? Because we’re talking about light and filtering materials. Consider that you have several pairs of sun glasses, each of which blocks 50% of the light. If you put two pairs in a row, do they block 100%? Of course not. The first pair blocks 50% and the second pair blocks 50% of what is left, which is 25% of the original light. The third pair would only block 12.5% of the original light. CO2 suffers from the same law of diminishing returns. What keeps getting left out of the climate discussion is what happens after the first doubling. The pre-industrial levels (1900 AD or so) of CO2 are commonly quoted at 278 PPM (parts per million) and the current levels are at about 385 ppm. If we look at this graph, it becomes pretty clear that we would have to generate a LOT of CO2 to get much more effect than we are already: Continue reading
I’m gobsmacked by excerpts from a paper currently featured on Watts Up With That on climate models mishandling how warming temperatures will (or will not) result in carbon currently sequestered in soil being released. That the models don’t handle it correctly is no surprise I suppose. But the paper that makes the suggestion…. has it….uhm….more wronger. Continue reading
While the debate rages over at WUWT about how the laws of physics work, with well known skeptics explaining patiently that CO2 really does warm the earth’s surface to legions of skeptics determined to show that the laws of physics are being broken, or misapplied, or are just plain wrong, not matter how many real world examples there are that they are right… Everyone is missing the most important question.
Does it even matter? Continue reading
When people with some science background first read the explanations of CO2 warming the earth due to its “greenhouse” properties, they usually start objecting on various grounds. Actual greenhouses do something entirely different, or that breaks the laws of thermodynamics, and so on. It takes a considerable amount of investigation (for me anyway) before one gets to the conclusion that the claims made are fundamentally correct. It isn’t the science that is flawed (per se) it is the explanation.
The conclusions on the other hand are often flawed and sometime horrendously so. Conclusions however, cannot be evaluated against just CO2 and how it behaves when interacting with long wave radiation. They must be evaluated against the climate system in its entirety, and we are increasingly seeing evidence that many of the catastrophic claims are alarmism based on a massive over estimation of any number of factors that govern climate as a whole.
Yet the discussion always returns to CO2 and what it does. The claims being fundamentally correct, but the basic explanations being flawed, there have been many attempts to arrive at an explanation simple enough for almost anyone to grasp, while at the same time being accurate enough to be useful as part of the larger discussion. Not that easy to do, I and many others have failed and failed often. Continue reading
A new paper released recently on climate was based on a computerized climate model with the world’s oceans removed. They then drew conclusions about how some parts of the climate drive others based on the remaining data. Anthony Watts has an article up on WUWT appropriately titled in part “the tail wags the dog”. For a reading of the science, take a look http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/02/new-atmospheric-model-says-tail-wags-dog/
Now if you want it in simpler terms that make the point, I proudly present The Researcher and the Diptstick: Continue reading
A couple of posts ago I went into considerable detail on what CO2 being “logarithmic” means and how, combined with the exponential increase in radiance from the earth warming up, we arrive at very little additional warming even if we increase CO2 emissions on a massive scale. But those are just my amateur musings, right? It’s not like this is what the IPCC scientists are saying, and after all, they’re real scientists. So let’s look at the matter again with as much of the explanation as possible drawn from the IPCC literature itself.
For brief review, the commonly quoted figures from the IPCC are that pre-industrial levels of CO2 were about 280 ppm (parts per million). Their estimate is that doubling of the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will raise temperatures directly by about 1 degree and that feedbacks from water vapour will add another 1 to 3.5 degrees. The consensus estimate between the various scientists is a total of 3 degrees. Since 1920 (the date most often used as the beginning of the industrial age) CO2 concentrations have risen about 40% and temperatures have in fact increased, but by far less than what the IPCC projections suggested. Let’s put that aside for now and assume that the IPCC projections are accurate.
The IPCC talks about “forcing” and temperature change in the context of CO2 doubling because they accept that CO2 is logarithmic. Every doubling of CO2 has half the effect per 100 ppm of CO2 of the one before it. If we put this on a graph it looks like this: Continue reading
I’ve explained the Ozone layer so many times on other people’s blogs that I finally decided to write it up on my own blog so I could just point at it. There’s an assumption that people make that the famous Ozone holes are man made. While some pollutants can in fact destroy Ozone, the holes themselves are in fact natural. Continue reading