I wrote an article for the American Thinker a couple years ago explaining the Greenhouse Effect and the role CO2 plays in it. An excerpt from that article is pasted below as background to this post.
The Greenhouse Effect is real and necessary for life on Earth. Without it, our world would be a frozen ball that would not be hospitable for life as we know it. The harmful stuff (x-rays and gamma rays) is filtered out, but the light in the visible spectrum enters, and that light energy warms our Earth. The land and sea then respond to that warming energy by emitting light in the spectrum of the infrared (IR), and that energy takes the form of small packets of energy called photons. When those IR photons reach the atmosphere, some of them get absorbed by certain molecules, and that absorbed energy is transferred into the elements of the molecules. That energy causes the molecules to vibrate and heat the atmosphere, and finally, the atmosphere transfers some of that energy back to the Earth’s surface. Again, this is necessary, because if we didn’t have this blocking of IR wavelengths, our average temperatures on Earth would be about 32 degrees Celsius cooler (-18ºC instead of the current 14ºC). One of the greenhouse gases (GHG) that reflects these IR wavelengths is CO2, but there are others, such as water vapor, ozone (O3), methane (CH4), and CFCs.
The science behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis states that increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere will block more of this outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and increase the heat retained on the surface. Periodically I graph the atmospheric CO2 concentrations and compare them to global temperature anomalies to see how that hypothesis is holding up. Note that the global temperatures are listed in anomalies from a base time period so they’ll be plus or minus degrees Celsius instead of absolute values.
I look at two  well respected data sets to obtain the global temperature anomalies: The University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and the Climate Research Unit (CRU). The atmospheric CO2 data is obtained from NOAA website but uses the data from Mauna Loa which has been measuring CO2 concentrations (ppm) in the atmosphere since 1958.
The graph for CO2 concentration is shown below and you can see that there is a steady increase of about 3 ppm per year that is fairly consistent.
Now I’ll paste the global temperature graphs from CRU and UAH respectively.
What you notice is that since 1998, while CO2 has been increasing, global temperatures have remained flat. You can see this clearer when I change the X-axis to start at 1998 and run through current data in 2011.
The lack of correlation between CO2 and Temperature is even more evident when CO2 concentration is compared to the CRU temperature data set. You’ll see that after CO2 concentration gets above 370 ppm there is no increase in temperature anomaly.
So what does this tell us? Does this mean that once CO2 concentration is saturated it doesn’t impact the Greenhouse effect (it can’t absorb any more OLR)? Are there other variables in our climate that are driving temperatures besides CO2? Were there other variables driving global temperatures and now they have subsided? These are all good questions and ones that I hope the Climate Science community addresses.
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Mr. cosmoscon, you do understand physics, there is a hope: CO2 was declared as a GLOBAL warming gas 130y ago; from an experiment that: CO2 absorbed more heat than oxygen and nitrogen. It was honest observation; but was only half of the experiment done. I.e. by exposing O+N and CO2 on same heat. The other half: if you expose them to coldness instead; CO2 absorbs more coldness than O+N. (reason CO2 is used for making ‘’dry ice’’ instead of O+N. Same as metal absorbs more heat than wood; when exposed to sunlight. But metal absorbs more coldness than wood at night. THOSE TWO FACTORS CANCEL EACH OTHER. Unless one believes that is sunlight 24h on every spot on the planet (flat earth?)
English is not my first, not even second language; but you are articulate – help me present the real truth / facts / formulas – will be the end of the misleading in few months. Blaming CO2 for the phony GLOBAL warming, was a deliberate mistake. Blaming that if CO2 gets over 380ppm for cooling / or sunspots, is preparing for backdoor exit. Oxygen + nitrogen are 998999ppm, they are regulating the temperature to be overall the same in the troposphere; every hour of every day year and millennia – even in ice age. Only heat and coldness shift places. The laws of physics control regulation of heat, not CO2, or climatologist. All the proofs are on my website and in my book http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com see if you can find AYTHING wrong in the paragraph below:
Q: when you warm up oxygen + nitrogen by 6⁰C, why do they expand much more, than when you warm them by only 2⁰C? A: because they need to increase the volume of the atmosphere more, to intercept extra coldness to equalize. Q: when you warm O+N for 20minutes, why they don’t shrink after 10 minutes? A: because they need to keep intercepting extra coldness as long as they are warmer, to keep the temperature overall in the troposphere to be same. Q: after 20 minutes if O+N cool to previous temperature; why they don’t stay expanded for another hour? A: if they did, they would have redirected enough extra coldness to freeze all the tropical rivers and lakes. Q: can extra CO2 prevent oxygen and nitrogen of expanding? A: those two gases expand trough hi-tensile walls of a hand-grenade when warmed. Q: why O+N shrink when cooled instead? A: to minimize exposure and intercept less coldness, until they get to previous temperature. Q: do those two gases expand when warmed / shrink when cooled; because they have nothing better to do, or they are regulating the temperature in the atmosphere, to be always the same. Q: for the last 3 Januaries, when was record coldness in Europe /USA, why on the same dates was record heat in Australia? To balance.
Same as children’s see-saw plank in the park. The more one side goes up = the more the other side goes down. Both sides don’t go up or down simultaneously. Laws of physics don’t work ‘’only sometime’’! Start relying on what is reliable; the laws of physics. Or ask the politicians to abolish the laws of physics by legislation and in UN. When N/H got extreme cold – atmosphere shrunk extra = from the southern hemisphere lots of air gone north = on southern less air = extreme hot days. Learn why did get extra cold, if is less ice on Arctic now – next winter will be even colder N/H. It’s all there. Being obsessed with CO2 – removed the people far away from the reality. See if you have stomach for the truth. Avoiding the truth will not change it. Please help, any suggestion, advice is appreciated; how to get the people away from the hypnotic CO2?
You ask “Are there other variables in our climate that are driving temperatures besides CO2?”
Yes. Climate science has long factored in solar variability, albedo, aerosols, vegetation, ocean currents and clouds as well as greenhouse gases. It has never been claimed that CO2 is the sole determinant.
docrichards, nothing is driving the temperature up. Climate science has being exploring on every corner of the planet; because they are exploring the ignorant taxpayer, full stop. Oxygen + nitrogen that are 998999ppm are regulating the temperature, not the trace gases. Putting the phony GLOBAL warming in the same sentence with the constant climatic changes; is the trick of the Warmist industry. Water changes / controls the climate. From east-coast to the west-coast of USA, or Australia are 50 variabilities in climate / same CO2 level. It’s the influence of the H2O, full stop. People are slowly learning the truth, hopefully misleading will become a crime again.
What people are learning, you will find in the condensed version of my book + all the rest on my website: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com
Climate never stopped changing for one day in 4 billion years. Climate needs to keep changing. Climate can change for better also. Is this perfect climate, what we have now? Deserts are expanding, because of lack of water, not because is too much CO2 around Kyoto city. If it wasn’t human, or industrial revolution; would the climate stopped changing?!?!
On the other hand; if one part of the planet gets warmer, another instantly gets colder. The laws of physics and my formula say so. Can you argue against the laws of physics; in a court of law, under oath?!?!?! Learn all the details about my formula: EH=AE=ECI If anything not clear enough, make a comment, point something wrong. if you cannot find anything wrong scientifically on my website = the whole Warmist propaganda is one tenable crime. I have being criticised on other websites about my English grammar, because no one can find something wrong with my proofs. The truth will win. Have a nice day
” nothing is driving the temperature up”
The temperature is going up. Something is driving it.
docrichard, in my book I stated, and will repeat it here: if I cannot prove beyond any reasonable doubt that is no GLOBAL warming, I will eat my book in front of TV cameras; for the whole world to see.
For the last 150y, lots of fossil fuel has being burnt; every year the sun produces tremendous amount of heat on this planet. If you collect all the extra heat cumulated in the atmosphere – you won’t have enough, to boil one chicken egg!!! Extra heat in the atmosphere is not cumulative! When the air warms up by 0,05 especially on sea-level – where is the biggest density – volume of the troposphere increases – intercepts up into the stratosphere extra coldness to shrink to the previous volume. If she cannot warm by 0,5 degree, how can it warm by 3-4 degrees???!!! coldness and heat change location, change altitude / latitude / longitude; even in ice age – the opposite side was warmer than normal – that’s what the laws of physics and my formula says: EH=AE=ECI go to my website: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com read every article, is not much, you will know. Planet wasn’t getting warmer in 98, is not getting warmer or colder now. I have proven, now is up to you.
By sceptical people referring to H2O + CO2 as Greenhouses gases are the precursor of all evil. The earth IS NOT 14-15⁰C warmer than the moon because of the water vapor and CO2 gas. They are not GLOBAL warming gases. Reason the earth is warmer than the moon is: in the earth’s atmosphere are many kilometers tick layer of oxygen and nitrogen. They are TRANSPARENT to the sunlight – the sunlight gets trough it to the ground. But that same O+N prevents the UNLIMITED COLDNESS to get to the ground. Plus, as perfect insulators, O+N are slowing cooling. That unlimited coldness on the moon touches to the ground.
Therefore, if you read my book, or my website; you will see that O+N are the greenhouses gases, not CO2 + H2O. H2O + CO2 are shade-cloth affect gases. They don’t increase the temperature overall, just, if more of them up = cooler days on the ground. Don’t forget that is much more air up, than the 2m of the ground. That air up belongs to the same globe. If it gets on the ground warmer by 5⁰C – upper atmosphere gets colder buy 0,0003⁰C, is still the same temp in the atmosphere. Extra heat in the atmosphere is not accumulative – if you believe in the laws of physics. I do.
Sorry, Stephan, if you think O2 and n2 are GHGs I can’t help you.
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