Carbon dioxide controls Earth's temperature

Carbon dioxide controls Earth's temperature
Various atmospheric components differ in their contributions to the greenhouse effect, some through feedbacks and some through forcings. Without carbon dioxide and other non-condensing greenhouse gases, water vapor and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. Credit: NASA GISS

(PhysOrg.com) -- Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

The study, conducted by Andrew Lacis and colleagues at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, examined the nature of Earth's and clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing . Notably, the team identified non-condensing greenhouse gases -- such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and -- as providing the core support for the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

Without non-condensing greenhouse gases, and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. The study's results will be published Friday, Oct. 15 in Science.

A companion study led by GISS co-author Gavin Schmidt that has been accepted for publication in the shows that carbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth's greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth's greenhouse effect.

The climate forcing experiment described in Science was simple in design and concept -- all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases and aerosols were zeroed out, and the global climate model was run forward in time to see what would happen to the greenhouse effect.

Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth's greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state -- a clear demonstration that water vapor, although contributing 50 percent of the total greenhouse warming, acts as a feedback process, and as such, cannot by itself uphold the Earth's greenhouse effect.

"Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics of Earth's greenhouse effect, and enabled us to demonstrate the direct relationship that exists between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global temperature," Lacis said.

The study ties in to the geologic record in which carbon dioxide levels have oscillated between approximately 180 parts per million during ice ages, and about 280 parts per million during warmer interglacial periods. To provide perspective to the nearly 1 C (1.8 F) increase in global temperature over the past century, it is estimated that the global mean temperature difference between the extremes of the ice age and interglacial periods is only about 5 C (9 F).

"When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City," said co-author David Rind, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "Today we are in uncharted territory as carbon dioxide approaches 390 parts per million in what has been referred to as the 'superinterglacial.'"

"The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth," Lacis said. "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has fully documented the fact that industrial activity is responsible for the rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is not surprising then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general."


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Water vapor confirmed as major player in climate change

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Oct 14, 2010
CO2 has negligible impact in humid/warm conditions, being overwhelmed by water vapor and methane. It has much greater impact in dry/cool conditions.

Did the authors fudge the study by only using measurements from tops of mountains? It wouldn't be surprising considering the awful record IPCC has with ethics and dubious data.

What happened to the 'hockey stick', btw? Gone in a cloud of lies.

Oct 14, 2010
I can hardly wait for the denier crew to start the screeching. Let me see if I can predict their rebuttal to this well written summary.

The first reaction will be that there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere to matter. They will insist that these scientists just don't watch enough Foxnews or they would know that CO2 is only a few hundred parts per million!!!

Then they will point out that this is just another useless simulation that wastes their hard earned taxes. After all, if we can't predict weather for 7 days how can we expect to predict climate for a century? They will wail that all models are worthless.

Then marjon will point out that the earth is only 6,500 years old and that there were no ice ages. He will insist that any measurements of anything are unreliable and can't be tested by computer models that don't know the age of the earth.

Then there will be the tumult of those who insist the earth is cooling. Let the denying begin!

Oct 14, 2010
Wow - shootist beat me to the first issue. I was typing too slowly and our messages passed in the aether. However, he did hit my first denier point right on the head. If he could actually read any papers on the issue he would be able to understand how a trace gas can have an important impact. Interestingly, he jumps right to the idea they are fudging the study. The reality is that this is a good study that stand in the way of Shootist's belief so, instead of trying to understand the physics he tries to besmirch the scientists. Go back to a first course in heat transfer shootist and you will be able to understand issues like this.

Oct 14, 2010
I'll start the denying.

Fist, let's get it clear who this report comes from. Gavin Schmidt is an interesting person. His work on the project Climate Change and the Public: Overcoming Skepticism After Climategate. is very interesting indeed. His work and comments at realclimate org is great too.

That's really not the focus of my rebuttal of the above article though; just a side note before I get started.

Here's the first thing I don't like about this summary: "Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics"

Okay, so it's a model, but it should be presented as an experiment. Why? Either it's a model in a computer OR an experiment in a lab or in the field. Two different things there. Modeling isn't an experiment. If we do a google we can easily show real world data that refute the claim that CO2 drives....

Oct 14, 2010
global temperature and H2O cycles. If you look at paleoclimate records, there is a clear deviation from the above suggestions. The level of water vapor and temperature do not follow CO2 levels on long time scales. I don't need to understand technical details of heat transfer to read a graph Thermo. In times when CO2 was very low, the earth did not in fact freeze, and at times when it did freeze, CO2 levels seem to have fallen afterwards rather than before. That doesn't seem like cause and effect caused by CO2.

Oct 14, 2010
By the way, it's great that 99% of your first two posts were attacks against other people rather than comments about anything scientific, and you have the nerve to criticize? By the way, I loved the article that hit the media today about CO2 lifespan in the atmosphere being exagerated by the Royal Society. It seems that their claim that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years is a little off. lol. By a factor of a few thousand years. :|

Oct 14, 2010
But wait Marjon, this doesn't fit the denier script we are supposed to be following. Good comments by the way. Exactly my point about the paleo record not matching the article's comments. I was actually saving the bit about the Permian for later if I needed it in order to be more specific.

Another interesting article in the media today involved a possible link between cosmic rays and our sun's magnetic field and cloud formation. Did you see that one? I'm not sure I buy it, but it was intriguing.

Oct 14, 2010
No this is a new one, with new observational evidence that looked convincing, but I didn't like the sourcing. Yes thermo, I question sourcing on both sides of the political debate because science doesn't always support a political "side".

I'll see if I can find what I was looking at again Marjon. It's not well-covered on the pro-climate-change web sites of course.

Here's a somewhat recent reference to a study at CERN, which I consider a reputable source. It's not what I read today though.

Oct 14, 2010
he said something about reducing co2 levels results in an ice age...

Well I don't think I want another one of those, and as far as I've noticed earlier the earth did have more co2, the planet was warmer, water more plentiful, and lush jungle vegitation all over the place.

His study failed to mention what happens if there is too much and his model only took a limited number of things into account.

Surely the sun wouldn't be responsible would it?

Oct 14, 2010
@GSwift7,
Okay, so it's a model, but it should be presented as an experiment. Why?
Simulations can be valid experiments, when testing distinct hypotheses whose physical basis is adequately modeled in the simulation. For instance, consider simulations of planetary formation, or simulations of emergence of large-scale structure in the early universe.
If we do a google we can easily show real world data that refute the claim that CO2 drives global temperature and H2O cycles.
Except it's not remotely the claim made in the article above. Read it again.
It seems that their claim that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years is a little off.
Nobody ever said anything about thousands of years. About a century and a half, give or take half-century, is the accepted figure since a couple of decades ago. I don't know what kind of kooky crap you've been filling your head with... Here:

http://en.wikiped...lifetime

Oct 14, 2010
Ooops, I forgot the link:

http://public.web...-en.html

Last update on that one was 2006, if you follow the link to the CLOUD web site at the bottom.

Oct 14, 2010
"Except it's not remotely the claim made in the article above. Read it again"

Okay, let's play the quote game:

"When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City"

and:

"The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth"

Really? That isn't what they said? YES, that's what they said.

By the way, the %'s used for UV absorbtion are the extreme high end estimates even according to far left leaning web sites I've seen.

Oct 14, 2010
@marjon,
Uncharted territory?
Yes, uncharted. In case you need reminding, neither modern human civilization nor most of the modern ecosystems were around when temperature and/or CO2 were much higher than today. Nobody disputes the fact that a desperate person could adapt and survive living waste-deep in their own excrement for a long time. The question is why anyone in their right mind would welcome such a prospect...

Oct 14, 2010
"Nobody ever said anything about thousands of years. About a century and a half, give or take half-century, is the accepted figure since a couple of decades ago. I don't know what kind of kooky crap you've been filling your head with... "

From the Royal Society assessment released Sept 30 this year: "Current understanding indicates that even if there was a complete cessation of emissions of CO2 today from human activity, it would take several millennia for CO2 concentrations to return to preindustrial concentrations"

I didn't make that up. By the way, real estimates for 98% of manmade CO2 to be gone is more like 30 to 60 years according to real research.

Oct 14, 2010
Really? That isn't what they said? YES, that's what they said.
Yes, that's what they said. They said that without greenhouse gases, water vapor alone cannot sustain the greenhouse effect. Really, from a thermodynamic POV, that's a foregone obvious conclusion. Water vapor is a feedback, not a driver. That's blindingly obvious, actually (a system can't make itself cooler by warming up.)

What they did NOT say, is that in pre-anthropogenic climate change CO2 was the driver. In fact, it's blindingly obvious to everyone who's not a kook, that pre-modern climate change was driven by orbital cycles, volcanic cycles, possibly solar activity, and other such natural events that have nothing to do with greenhouse gases. Under those scenarios, the driving event would trigger warming, which leads to higher absolute humidity, but also more outgasing of CO2, which would in turn support even more water vapor in the air column -- so CO2 acted as an amplifier, and thus lagged.

Oct 14, 2010
So since GSwift7 didn't bother to read the link I so generously and magnanimously proffered, I'll just quote the relevant part for the lazy bum's benefit (a thankless job though it is):
The atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is often incorrectly stated to be only a few years because that is the average time for any CO2 molecule to stay in the atmosphere before being removed by mixing into the ocean, photosynthesis, or other processes. However, this ignores the balancing fluxes of CO2 into the atmosphere from the other reservoirs. It is the net concentration changes of the various greenhouse gases by all sources and sinks that determines atmospheric lifetime, not just the removal processes.

Oct 14, 2010
Wow, I must be really striking a nerve with you Pink. How many instances of name-calling is that so far? Good debate tactic. I read your link. That information is easily disputed with more reputable sites than wiki, which is edited by notable climate change proponents. What you posted is a starting condition, however for many climate models and represets the statis quo of climate concensus. Real science is skeptical of itself as you see in more scientific science such as astronomy, where conclusions are not released until confirmed by multiple and independent sources. The experts often concede when presented with conflicting evidence, but not so in climate 'science'.

Oct 14, 2010
So just to clarify, I suppose (since I haven't read the aforementioned Royal Society assessment) they are talking about the total net CO2 added to the atmosphere by humans since the start of the industrial revolution (which exceeds 100 ppm.) Whereas most people when talking 150+/- years for CO2, are talking in terms of one year's worth of emissions (currently, adding about 2 ppm.) One could see how accumulated emissions exceeding 50x current annual rate of belching, could multiply the single-year-based expected lifetime by at least a factor of 10x (putting it well into thousands of years...)

Oct 14, 2010
The experts often concede when presented with conflicting evidence, but not so in climate 'science'.
Very trenchant and insightful. Too bad you're blind and deaf when it comes to self-reflection...

Oct 14, 2010
Here's a link to an article about the Royal Society mistake, but like I said, I don't like the source:

http://www.suite1...-a296746

However much I don't like suite101 as a source, the article has links to better sites, including the original Royal Society release in question. The experts quoted also seem solid at first glance. I'm still not sure I trust the story in its entirety though. I'm not easily convinced by either side.

By the way, I'd be more likely to take you seriously if you could resist that bad habit of namecalling. I have a hard time taking someone so simple-minded seriously. Gosh, talk about "kooks" and people who don't listen to the comments and opiniions of others. When you respond with emotional vitriol in stead of bothering to look up things like the RS comments for yourself and then call me names when I was right, what does that make you?

Oct 14, 2010
What is it with you guys and CO2, give it up. We will still love the site even if you have to cry uncle.

http://wiki.answe...ouse_gas
CO2 is not a greenhouse gas

Oct 14, 2010
lol, and we come back to thermo's original claim that a 'denier' like me will bring up the fact man made CO2 only accounts for a miniscule portion of the total greenhouse effect on our planet. I was trying to avoid that debate as we'll never convince the climate change believers on that point. I remain skeptical, and they will not convince me otherwise. A stalemate, clearly.

Oct 14, 2010
When you respond with emotional vitriol in stead of bothering to look up things like the RS comments for yourself and then call me names when I was right, what does that make you?
You take yourself (and this site) FAR too seriously. Not to mention, you mistake sarcasm for "emotional vitriol". Buddy, I really truly don't care enough for you or about you, to develop much of an emotion around you either way.

And by the way, remember that paragraph I quoted at you just a couple posts up? I'd say it summarizes your linked article rather aptly. Rudimentary mistakes, indeed...

Oct 14, 2010
Back to the article and original topic of discussion:

I have to agree with Marjon (who frequently clashes with me on things). The use of a climate model designed to show the effects of CO2 on climate is expected to do what, when you remove the input for CO2 in the model? I would hardly call that an experiment. That's more like doing a backwards check on the efficacy of your model and seeing the model fail the test. The model should actually reflect (pre)historcal conditions as we know them (though those conditions aren't clearly known at a very fine level of detail, except by inference which hasn't been thoroughly vetted.)

"Buddy, I really truly don't care enough for you or about you, to develop much of an emotion around you either way"

Oh sorry, I confused you with big words. I'm sure you'll be okay tomorrow, after you forget this whole thing. Don't worry about that Royal Society document. They are just a joke like me, and you are having a long day.

Oct 14, 2010
The use of a climate model designed to show the effects of CO2 on climate is expected to do what...
The climate model is not confined to CO2. You might have noticed it was a GCM, and GCMs include everything plus the kitchen sink. With all greenhouse gases removed, the model simply calculated what will happen to water vapor in the air. Turns out it can't sustain itself without help; it all precipitates out and you end up with a planetary snowball. As a matter of fact, such an outcome was being predicted by less detailed analyses for literally decades. So now there's a much more thorough calculation producing the same outcome. Really not much of a revelation...
They are just a joke like me
Well... the article you linked certainly qualifies.

Oct 14, 2010
yes, as I clearly stated at least two times above, the article I linked is suspect. I merely linked it to point to the relevant links contained therein, such as the royal society page. I actually like to read even the biased and politically motivated articles (like the one here) because it always leads me to look up stuff that is actually informative from good sources. The poor article I linked above was a good example. The RS summary I will leave for you to evauate for yourself, but I question it as much as the article I linked. NO free rides for either side from me.

When credible experts disagree, either one or the other OR BOTH must at least be wrong to some degree. The amount of money at stake leads me to expect propaganda from everyone standing to make a profit, isn't that a smart expectation?

Oct 14, 2010
BTW, that last response was much better. I rated it 5/5 for being a good response, though I don't agree with you entirely. At least we are now talking about the original article again and you're talking WITH me about whether this really represents anything significant. As you say, "such an outcome was being predicted by less detailed analyses for literally decades", so I hesitate to accept blindly the manipulation of a model that's been around for a while to suddenly produce novel results. Also, keep in mind that this comment site is purely entertainment. I do it because it's fun. Keep with the spirit of debate and enjoy my counters to your posts. Enjoy the fact that a complete stranger can debate with you from anywhere in the world and express any stupid view I want. It's all fun.

Oct 14, 2010
Please clarify how this shows that CO2 is driving temperature, rather than vice versa, as the data I've seen might suggest. This issue is not whether or not CO2 causes a greenhouse effect, the question is whether or not this effect raises temperature significantly or if the temperature rise supports higher levels of CO2.

Oct 14, 2010
"How about the known unknowns and unknown unknowns"

Yeah they model for those too, just ask them. lol. I'm sure Gavin Schmidt's article on how to deal with skeptics will have a boilerplate response to deal with that question Marjon. lol.

For some reason I'm really liking your comments today Marjon. Hope you're having a good day. This is getting to be a good discussion. Too bad Thermo and Skeptic haven't had time to contribute more. I'd really like to get their take. (though it will likely be contrary to mine)

Oct 14, 2010
That's a good question VK1, and welcome to the discussion. Personally, I don't think there appear to be reliablle answers to your questions. The proposed values vary wildly, even amongst reputable sources. There is so much money at stake that there are people who make a living from trying to force one point of view over another. It's hard to discerne what is good info.

Oct 14, 2010
Yes Marjon. Exactly.

As an example by proxy, let's take a relatively simple model that has been heavily studied due to monetary pressure: Tire Physics.

The factors in tire performance are relatively limited compared to the climate, but a good tire model for racing is worth its weight in weapons grade plutoneum. A good model will give pit crews a good idea about where to set tire pressures for a race, with variables like sunshine, air temp, rain, etc. but none of them are really that good in practice. The variables llike actual running temperature inside and outside the tires are too hard to track in real time, much less model. Yet, people still claim that global climate models are good enough to predict fine detials on long time scales. Oh well.

When a race team with virtually no limit on expense can't accurately predict the temperature inside a tire under known conditions, how is it that clilimate models can predict global conditioions with poorly understood initial condition

Oct 14, 2010
Note that they fill race tires with Nitrogen so atmospheric mixing of different compounds isn't a factor. It's a VERY controlled system to model, but in practice the tire pressure adjustments are still an art based on the judgement of a good pit chief, despite or in addition to good modeling.

Oct 14, 2010
Okay, it's getting late and my eyes are starting to burn out of my head because I've been working on a work problem between posts. I'm trying to figure out how we can lose 2000 lbs of bread in the proof box where I work, in the middle of a run. 2000 lbs is roughly the minimum batch size and the proof box is where it rises after it is in the pan, but before it's baked. We try to measure and control the temperature and humidity but it's so hard to measure in real time at any level of accuracy beyond +/- 5 degrese that we struggle with it every day. I just wish everyone could understand how hard it is to measure temperature, pressure and humidity in a 3-d space, even in a controlled environment in an enclosed space and then relate that to climate model inputs. lol.

If long term results really resulted in more accurate readings then I wouldn't have problem. If I could average our readings to a +80% confidence level, then I'd be happy. We could set the levels and just leave it on auto.

Oct 14, 2010
"What they did NOT say, is that in pre-anthropogenic climate change CO2 was the driver."

Actually, that's what they did say. Again I'll quote from the top of this page: ""When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City,"

Unless human activity caused the end of the last ice age, then that's exactly what they said. Sorry for the delay but I just now remembered to respond to that post of yours.


Oct 15, 2010
I would like to see figures of total natural co2 emissions ( animal life, forest fires, volcanic activity ) vs. total natural plus unnatural ( technological ). What are the differences in the two values, ( natural ) vs ( natural plus technological )? What are the implications on plant life as plants depend upon the co2 we exhale, does the increase in co2 mean more plants? If co2 helps h2o remain airborn we get a more humid environment, perfect for plants. With increase in plants we get a higher turnover of co2 to oxygen, perfect for animals. What does an increase in a molecule required for life ( co2 ) mean for the future of life on earth?

Each and everyone of these questions have been studied to death and are continuing topics of research. Look on Google for CO2 sources and sinks. The list of things considered and measured (to various degrees of accuracy) boggles.

Oct 15, 2010
How about the known unknowns and unknown unknowns?
No problem. You'll find them east, west, north, south, and in the general vicinity of Baghdad. Or wherever Rumsfeld casts his vile shadow upon the land these days...

But seriously, there's such a thing as order of approximation. No system (not even one single atom) can ever be modeled perfectly. But with sufficiently good approximation, sufficiently reliable results can be obtained to within a given threshold of uncertainty. No model will ever completely eliminate all residual inaccuracies, but as in so often the case in engineering, good enough is good enough.

Though honestly, I don't know why I'm talking to the clown. So I'll stop.

Oct 15, 2010
@VK1,

You miss the point. The only reason greater CO2 leads to greater water content in air, is because the air becomes warmer. Warmer air can accommodate more water vapor. But that doesn't make the air more humid. It only increases absolute humidity, but not relative humidity. Worse, the extra water vapor in the air enhances the atmospheric greenhouse effect even further, which only tends to bake the land even harder.

Which in a majority of cases leads to increased evapotranspiration, which means chronic net loss of moisture from the soil. That's not so good for plant growth. It is pretty good for desertification, though...

Going back to the original article above, this is what they mean when they say that water vapor acts as an amplifier, or a positive feedback mechanism, for increased CO2. That is even while CO2 itself can act as a positive feedback for atmospheric warming, because warming oceans and melting tundra outgas more of it (and/or methane, which yields CO2.)

Oct 15, 2010
@GSwift7,
When credible experts disagree, either one or the other OR BOTH must at least be wrong to some degree.
Sorry, I didn't notice any "credible experts" in your source material. All I've noticed was a bad joke of an editorial written by a shill pretending to be the village idiot. But I'm on to him, because I know marjon already has that job...
Yet, people still claim that global climate models are good enough to predict fine detials on long time scales.
Oh yes, for instance such "fine details" as whether water vapor by itself is sufficient to sustain the atmospheric greenhouse effect on a global scale. Easy for such small things to get lost amidst the burgeoning crowds of failed village idiot candidates.

Oct 15, 2010
GSwift7: I'll stay up late tonight to help explain the web sites you put out. I'm going to try to explain why the first one:

http://www.suite1...-a296746

Led me to the actual "paper"

http://www.allvoi...Mjg3Mjg=

Which was actually an opinion piece that made fun of the math used by the Royal society. It took me a bit of time to figure this one out. I even went to the Royal Society position paper that was being ridiculed. It can be found here:

http://royalsocie...science/

And can be downloaded as a PDF. (this will go on for well over the 1000 character limit so, please just realize we will have a few jumps.

Let me start with the original summary that GSwift7 posted. Skip to the next entry now.

Oct 15, 2010
@GSwift7,
"When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City,"
That means CO2 acted as an amplifier (in conjunction with increased vapor content it enabled.) They did not say it was the initiator of the warming in that case. In fact, pretty much everybody agrees that the glacial periods are due to Milankovitch cycles. That's the initiating event in this case.

But of course you already knew that, because this is probably about the 153rd time this has been pointed out to you. My advice to you is to stop trying so hard to win the coveted village idiot nomination. Like I said, it's safely and securely the domain of marjon. You have no hope of unseating him.

Oct 15, 2010
Continued for GSwift7:

The paragraph of the RS text that that is being chewed up and spit out by Kaiser is: "Once atmospheric CO2 concentrations are increased, carbon cycle models (which simulate the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere, oceans, soils and plants) indicate that it would take a very long time for that increased CO2 to disappear; this is mainly due to well-known chemical reactions in the ocean. Current understanding indicates that even if there was a complete cessation of emissions of CO2 today from human activity, it would take several millennia for CO2 concentrations to return to preindustrial concentrations."

I went back to Kaiser's opinion article (not a peer reviewed article) and looked at his logical approach to the analysis of why, if half of the extra CO2 being produced by anthropgenic means is being absorbed by the planet, why wouldn't that rate continue after the production of CO2 was stopped. He then lays out the mass balance and makes his statement

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: He states that the extra GHGs that are added should go away at the rate they are being sucked up when they are being produced. On the surface this is a very logical approach. I had to look at it for a few minutes before I realized that he was not applying chemistry to the situation, only math. He was assuming that the driving forces would remain the same. Someone at the RS knew that was not true and made a different calculation based on the chemical interactions.

Let me try to explain. This will require a couple of more panels and another cup of coffee. The chemical potential driving absorption or emission of a chemical from or to a bound state depends on concentrations and the "distance" from chemical equilibrium. The writers of the RS information knew that. Either Kaiser didn't know that or had forgotten it. I'm older so I have to go back to books to dredge stuff like this up.

Now the key. (Continued)

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: What Kaiser did was to do a mass balance and assume the take up would remain the same on the way down as it did on the way up.

However (and it does get a little complicated here) the path up is not differential, it is finite difference. What I mean by that is that the path upward is driven by artificial emissions, not by differential steps from equilibrium. That is really the reason the CO2 is rising as quickly as it is. It is far from equilibrium with the sinks of the Earth trying to catch up. They do a pretty good job. But part of the reason they do a good job is that the difference is finite not infinitesimal. That means the driving chemical force is strong when you are far from equilibrium.

Now let's look at what happens when you go the other direction. Equilibrium is not the conditions of 1780. Instead, the Earth has been adjusting over the centuries. It has changed. The baseline is now a hundred ppm above what it was 150 years ago. Continued

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: What that means is that if the difference in chemical potential was the same going down as it was coming up Kaiser would have been nearly correct (there are some hysteresis issues that would have to be worked out before we could say it would be the same or not but it would be close).

That is not the case. As the CO2 starts back down it is very close to the steady state at that time. The chemical potential is small and the driving force is small. So, the CO2 is taken up much more slowly by the environment as it gets closer and closer to the sink potential. That means it is slower leaving the atmosphere than coming in since it was put in through combustion with a differential working to remove some and now it is coming back out of the atmosphere with saturated sinks slowly absorbing them.

Going up is a finite difference equation. The drivers are the power plants, cement factories, and vehicles giving off CO2 and the sinks moving upward as they absorb the excess. (cont

Oct 15, 2010
The difference is a measurable (finite) driving force.

Coming down is much different. The driving force starts off with a finite difference (because we switch off carbon dioxide production all at once and it has a gap). Over time the source and the sink move toward each other (note the atmospheric CO2 comes down but the terrestrial and oceanic CO2 still goes up until they meet in the middle over a short span of a few years). They are now practically the same potential and greatly above that of pre-industrial chemistry. What then occurs is that the natural processes that take up CO2 (weathering of rock, formation of shells, etc...) takes over and both the Earth and atmosphere start down nearly together. This is a long process because it is not a finite difference, it is a differential process.

The mistake Kaiser made is that he though it was all arithmetic and he even chided the RS over that thought. (continued)

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: Kaiser said:"One can easily (on the back of an envelope) calculate the order of magnitude of the amounts of carbon currently present in the atmosphere, and those burned in the world, hence the amounts of CO2 produced (assuming complete combustion). The former leads to approximately 5x10^14 kg C present in the atmosphere (of course in the form of CO2). The latter computes to 0.4x10^13 kg C (as CO2) per annum from oil, 0.7x10^13 from coal [1], or 10^13 kg C from coal and oil together. Any additional amounts from the combustion of natural gas and biofuels, or from natural sources (volcanoes) are excluded. ... On that basis, if there were no CO2 removal processes, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere should double every 15 years. But, in fact, over the last 100 years, at most it has increased by only 1/3, i.e. approximately from 300 to 400 ppm (parts per million in weight)." Continued

Oct 15, 2010
Kaiser also said: "It is also obvious then that the statement by the Royal Society that it would take “millennia” for atmospheric CO2 to return to levels at preindustrial times upon a (theoretical) complete and sudden cessation of all manmade CO2 release to the atmosphere cannot be true. If the CO2 were to stay in the atmosphere for millennia, why has its level in the atmosphere not doubled in the last 15 years, or gone up tenfold-plus over the last 100 hundred years? Furthermore, there are several peer-reviewed papers reporting the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere to be between 5 and 10 years. A half life of 5 years means that more than 98% of a substance will disappear in a time span of 30 years."

He then goes on to show his arithmetic, forgetting this is a calculus problem. Please sit down with a pencil and paper and work out the problem. I found it instructive.

Oct 15, 2010
@VK1,

You don't understand the difference between absolute humidity (total content of water vapor in air by mass), versus relative humidity. Relative humidity might be familiar to you as ranging somewhere between 0% and 100%, as used in weather forecasts. 100% relative humidity means it's raining. You can take "dry" (even desert) air, and make it rain simply by cooling it down.

What you subjectively experience as "humidity", and what is colloquially meant by the word, is actually the relative humidity. When it's low, your sweat evaporates much more readily; when it's high, your sweat can't evaporate at all. That is not at all the same thing as absolute humidity, which is what I (and climate models) would be talking about.

Oct 15, 2010
in the end a balance is stricken as that is the very definition of evolution, survivalism.
Unfortunately what we're headed into is not so much evolution, as mass extinction. Adaptation can only go so far; when the environment changes too rapidly and/or too drastically, most species can't adapt fast enough and consequently go extinct.
By increasing heat ( which you establish to be the cause of increase of atmospheric h2o )
No. Distinguish between pre-modern climate change vs. post-industrial climate change. Current rise in CO2 is leading temperature, because we're artificially pumping CO2 into the air in massive quantities on a planetary scale. We're essentially terraforming the planet through industrial means.
we enhance plant life thriveability
A common error among the ignorant. See here, for instance:

http://www.physor...370.html

Oct 15, 2010


A companion study led by GISS co-author Gavin Schmidt that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that carbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and aerosols make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth's greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth's greenhouse effect.



What is the difference between the radiative forcing and the greenhouse effect? How is it possible for greenhouse gases simultaneously to be responsible for only 25% of the greenhouse effect, and at the same time for 80% of the radiative forcing?

Oct 15, 2010
@Aero777,

Radiative forcing refers to individual contribution of a particular component (e.g. CO2). A radiative forcing can be positive -- trapping heat (which is the case with greenhouse gases) or negative -- removing heat (e.g. clouds and aerosols, which increase albedo and bounce more of the sunlight back out into space before it can reach the ground.) The overall atmospheric greenhouse effect is a sum over all forcings. When the sum is positive, it means more overall energy being directed at the ground (on average), which means warmer ground temperatures (on average.)

The study described shows that water vapor by itself is not a sustainable greenhouse gas; it precipitates out in absence of other greenhouse gases. The other gases collectively contribute 25% of overall effect; of those CO2 alone contributes 20% of overall effect (so the rest account for just 5%). 20 is 80% of 25.

Oct 15, 2010
The title is misleading.
CO2 (in the model being used in this study) is certainly necessary to maintain temperature, because THAT IS HOW THE MODEL HAS BEEN DESIGNED! Period.
No other statement or inference can be made from this "study".
To draw any further conclusions, specifically conclusions relating to global climate, are not warranted.
Even worse, the title of this article, "CO2 controls Earth's temperature" is purposely misleading and, as expected, has sucked in all the usual GW suspects, from both sides of the fence.
IMHO, PhysOrg's editor's objective has been achieved.

Oct 15, 2010
I was typing too slowly and our messages passed in the aether.

@Thermodynamics, I gave you a 1 for mentioning aether.
Either it's a model in a computer OR an experiment in a lab or in the field.
@GSwift, just a quickie for you here. When you make a model, it is simply a model. When you compare the results of that model to collected field observations, it becomes an experiment. So we have one of two options involved, poor journalism, or it was actually a comparision to field observation.
By increasing heat ( which you establish to be the cause of increase of atmospheric h2o ) we enhance plant life thriveability, think rainforest opposed to your barren void of humidity desert, with increased plant life an increase of atmospheric oxygen decrease in co2 and resultantly lower heat ( which by your definition means less h2o ). Boom, global warming crisis solved.
Entirely wrong. The majority of plant life cannot tolerate "rain forrest" conditions.

Oct 15, 2010
Wow. I actually found a post I lost interest in. Usually I love the banter back and forth. But it's better when it's marjon, Pink, Skeptic, etc.. I don't know I guess it's something about both sides having valid points makes it less interesting. I read about half the comments and can honestly say it's no fun when you don't clearly see an idiot putting his/her foot in mouth.

Oct 15, 2010
"Coming down is much different. The driving force starts off with a finite difference (because we switch off carbon dioxide production all at once and it has a gap). Over time the source and the sink move toward each other (note the atmospheric CO2 comes down but the terrestrial and oceanic CO2 still goes up until they meet in the middle over a short span of a few years)"

I'd sure like to know what you call this theory. I can't find anything like that anywhere. The solubility pump doesn't really work that way. It is driven by differences in water temperature, not concentration of CO2 in the air. The rate of exchange between the air and ocean is very slightly affected by atmospheric concentration of CO2 but that becomes a moot point because surface water reaches saturation long before it gets transported by circulation. The main thing that would change as a result of decreased CO2 in the air is the carbon species balance in the water, which should result in a + PH change.

Oct 15, 2010
Oh man, now i see marjon and Skeptic coming in.. now it's time to watch again.. ::getting popcorn::

Oh btw Skeptic, I was definitely thinking of doing that to thermo too, but I can't give a 1 to someone with a valid point, and although he typed aether I don't think he actually was referring to the non-existent pseudo-scientific hodgepodge that is aether-theory.

Oct 15, 2010
The article says CO2 controls earth temp. It shows a correlation between the two. It does not identify which is the controling variable. (It only asserts that CO2 is - which is contrary to my expectations.)

So I repeat... Please clarify how this shows that CO2 is driving temperature, rather than vice versa, as the data I've seen might suggest. This issue is not whether or not CO2 causes a greenhouse effect, the question is whether or not this effect raises temperature significantly or if the temperature rise supports higher levels of CO2.

Oct 15, 2010
Oh man, now i see marjon and Skeptic coming in.. now it's time to watch again.. ::getting popcorn::
No I'm going to stay pretty clear of this one. I'm already dealing with a blatant liar on another thread.
http://www.physor...697.html
Oh btw Skeptic, I was definitely thinking of doing that to thermo too, but I can't give a 1 to someone with a valid point, and although he typed aether I don't think he actually was referring to the non-existent pseudo-scientific hodgepodge that is aether-theory.
It's kind of a joke between us from way back. "Whenever I see the word aether I rank 1".

Oct 15, 2010
This work doesn't show or prove anything because it's based on a numerical model. Such models, which are by necessity physically incomplete and of limited resolution, are pseudo-science and any conclusions drawn from them are dubious at best.

Oct 15, 2010
To quote a wise American..."It is better to believe nothing than to believe what is wrong"

Oct 15, 2010
There is nothing amazing about any of this. Of course CO2 *plays a part* in the greenhouse effect. That's not the real question. Proving that the absence of CO2 would make the earth cold does nothing for us. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 and global temperature is not linear. Increasing the CO2 concentration to 800 ppm would not double the temp of the planet. CO2 levels rise before a warming period, and they stay high after a cooling period begins. We *know* it's not the driving force behind planetary temperature. At best it's a contributing factor. The only real question is about the extent of its impact and the survivability of our species.

This planet has had higher levels of CO2 before and it cooled back down. We are in no danger of some form of perpetual feedback loop. We don't want glaciers in New York City, so we don't want an absence of CO2. Pretending like we know that the increase due to human contributions is the main cause of temp changes is silly.

Oct 15, 2010
With all greenhouse gases removed, the model simply calculated what will happen to water vapor in the air. Turns out it can't sustain itself without help; it all precipitates out and you end up with a planetary snowball.


Maybe I misunderstand the way you phrased that, but air does not have a temperature dependent holding capacity for water vapor. That was proven over 200 years ago.


Oct 15, 2010
@Gustav,
Such models, which are by necessity physically incomplete and of limited resolution, are pseudo-science and any conclusions drawn from them are dubious at best.
I wonder what you'd call Newtonian mechanics. Modeling forces as vectors without consideration of any underlying mechanism, mind-boggling entities comprising quadrillions of atoms linked in complex ways treated as simple solid shapes with just a few relevant properties, etc.? By your criteria, being physically incomplete and of VERY limited resolution, such analyses comprise pseudo-science and any conclusions drawn from them are dubious at best. Therefore, the entire history of modern scientific and technological development since the 16th century is hereby declared null and void. Q.E.D.

Oct 15, 2010
@Yellowdart,
Maybe I misunderstand the way you phrased that, but air does not have a temperature dependent holding capacity for water vapor.
I frequently compress my verbiage to squeeze within the character limit; misunderstandings may result.

Basic issue is that absent the atmospheric greenhouse effect, Earth's surface would have about the same mean temperature as the Moon. If you took the Moon, scaled it up to Earth mass, and poured water on its surface, you'd get a water vapor atmosphere on the sunny side; on the dark side you'd get ice. What the reported calculations show is that overall, the ice wins: you won't end up with a nice thick stable water vapor atmosphere covering the entire surface. The water vapor by itself can't sustain (via greenhouse effect) surface temperatures high enough to maintain the same stable amount of vapor in the atmospheric column. In absence of other greenhouse gases, water vapor will inexorably decline, meaning it's a feedback not a driver.

Oct 15, 2010
GSwift7: You said: "I'd sure like to know what you call this theory. I can't find anything like that anywhere. The solubility pump doesn't really work that way. It is driven by differences in water temperature, not concentration of CO2 in the air." Unlike those who never admit they are wrong or incomplete, I want to be clear that you are correct here. However, you also said: "The rate of exchange between the air and ocean is very slightly affected by atmospheric concentration of CO2 but that becomes a moot point because surface water reaches saturation long before it gets transported by circulation." and that part is not correct. This will take multiple panes (and pains) to explain. Let's start with the fact that you stated that CO2 solubility is INVERSELY affected by temperature. That means that as the temperature goes up the CO2 solubility goes down. In other words, as the world warms it drives CO2 into the atmosphere (as we have seen in multiple records). (continued)

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: Because I did not include the temperature dependence (because I figured it in and I will explain why) it was not clear. I should have taken the extra time to explain the concepts of "chemical potential" and "fugacity." I will now try to do that but it will take some typing time. I will also have to dig up some references to point to. In the above I mentioned "chemical potential" a number of times. There is a good example of chemical potential at Wikipedia at:

http://en.wikiped...otential

It is a generalized driving force in the wold of physical chemistry and thermodynamics. It is not common outside that world and I should have explained it. Please read the reference and realize that at the surface of the ocean there exists a discontinuity in CO2 - in that there is CO2 in the water and CO2 in the air. Molecules can change places at any time. Continued

Oct 15, 2010
Oh that looks like a good thread Skeptic. I see that someone has already made a nazi/hitler comment. This thread hasn't gotten there yet unless you count the 'denier' comments.

I'm really swamped here at work right now, but I'll read up on chemical potential later Thermo. Probably when I get home and have time to crack a beer.

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: The driving force that determines if a molecule of CO2 will reside in the ocean or in the atmosphere is the chemical potential. In like manner, once in the ocean there are a number of ways the CO2 can exist as ions, dissolved gas (Henry's Law) Which can be found at:

http://en.wikiped...ry's_law
, or undissolved carbonates (but that is a diversion). The deciding factor is the chemical potential and it includes partial pressures in the atmosphere, fugacity (which can be found at:

http://en.wikiped...Fugacity

in the ocean, and temperatures of the two fluids. Henry's law is actually temperature dependent and the constant is really a variable of temperature (Van't Hoff Equation) Which can be found here:

http://en.wikiped...equation

And you said: "I'd sure like to know what you call this theory. I can't find anything like that anywhere."

In an attempt to answer that question I will continue on.

Oct 15, 2010
Continued to GSwift7 during his beer.

The reason you can't find this "theory" is that it is taught in physical chemistry and is about 100 years old. These simple laws are the basis for what you are calling the "solubility pump." Have you ever seen the "solubility pump" broken down into its constituents? The reason you have not is that it is a conglomeration of a number of fundamental processes that are considered too complicated to put on a diagram. Instead they put together something that looks like a cartoon of an ocean and point to the surface and call it a "solubility pump." That is a simplification of physical oceanography or physical chemistry. In reality all of the terms I pointed to references on go into building the "solubility pump" and I was as guilty as the rest in getting sloppy and not showing all of my work. (continued)

Oct 15, 2010
When I used the term "chemical potential" it includes enthalpy (an energy term) which includes temperature. I then concentrated on the partial pressures which are another part of the chemical potential. My reasoning was that the chemical potential is the driving force and for non-equilibrium systems the difference between the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere and the fugacity of the CO2 in the water is the predominant driver. The reason is that as the temperature is rising the temperature (increased enthalpy) tries to drive the CO2 out of the ocean and into the atmosphere. However, the difference in the partial pressure and the fugacity tends to drive it the other way. At the present time the pressure related driver is winning.

If we change situations and the man-made sources of CO2 stop, the system will be at the non-equilibrium point it was left at with the chemical potential still driving the atmospheric and oceanic CO2 numbers toward parity. Continued

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: Note that parity does not mean equality, it means equal chemical potential - including all of the terms.

So, now you have an ocean and the earth that have been changed from pre-industrial times. That is the new baseline. The atmosphere has also been changed from pre-industrial times. Now you have to relax the system to let natural forces slowly reduce the temperature of the earth (which absorbs CO2) and bind CO2 through weathering, shell formation, and carbonate production to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Back to my original posts. The process of adding CO2 into the air is not near equilibrium. It is a set of finite difference equations because it is not infinitesimal. The process of relaxing the system back to its original conditions is differential in nature since it is very close to equilibrium. The increase is much more rapid than the decrease because the sink is diffuse and slow while the source was discrete and fast. (continued)

Oct 15, 2010
Continued: As you can see, the physical chemistry (or physical oceanography - which is what they call physical chemistry when it is done by an oceanographer) is old chemistry. There is nothing new in it. It has been repackaged as the "solubility pump" to give a simple sound bite for the equivalent of a course in physical chemistry. I should have taken the time to do this right the first time and I hope that you will ask specific questions along the way. This is not difficult but it is tedious. What the models do is package this old technology in a fast computer as one piece of the many pieces that make up a GCM. I know that the GCMs are a favorite target of the skeptics but they are actually very good tools for looking at complex systems. Those who deride mathematical experimentation have never avoided a million dollars in experimentation by using software to narrow the experimentation window. These guys did a good job on a complex problem.

Oct 15, 2010
Yellowdart: You said: "Maybe I misunderstand the way you phrased that, but air does not have a temperature dependent holding capacity for water vapor. That was proven over 200 years ago." Maybe I am misunderstanding, but are you saying that hot air cannot hold more water vapor than cold air? If so, where does rain come from and what condenses on your car windows at night? I might have misunderstood your point, but if you are saying that someone 200 years ago proved that hot air does not hold more water vapor than cold air I need to see a reference. If you are saying something else, please explain it.

Oct 15, 2010
Yellowdart: You said: "Maybe I misunderstand the way you phrased that, but air does not have a temperature dependent holding capacity for water vapor. That was proven over 200 years ago." Maybe I am misunderstanding, but are you saying that hot air cannot hold more water vapor than cold air? If so, where does rain come from and what condenses on your car windows at night?


As I understand it the result is the same, but the reason has to do with vapor pressure. The hotter the temperature, the greater the vapor pressure, meaning the more water molecules will be jumping into the air. It's not that the air itself can hold more water vapor, it's that the equilibrium between liquid and gaseous water gets tilted towards the vapor side. When the air cools, so does the water, and that equilibrium gets tilteded the other way.

Sorry for answering for someone else, but that's what I understand to be the case.

Oct 15, 2010
JackAcid: If that is Yellowdart's reasoning it is OK. The reality is that all gases are considered miscible. As you pointed out the partial pressure of water increases with temperature so it can provide more water per unit of atmosphere as the temperature goes up. I was concerned he was thinking there was some question of miscibility. Let's see what he has to say.

Oct 15, 2010
okay, thank you thermo, that was an extremely good post and I thank you for all that work. I just got home at 7:30 PM. What a long day. I'm going to sit down with a cold one and try to digest all that you said. I have read your posts but haven't yet looked up the links you provided. I think I have a couple questions, but I'll hold them until after I read the embeded links to educate myself. This is why I really love your comments. It's going to take some time for me to cross-check the wiki sources, so be patient for my eventual response. Environmental wiki pages are not usually as reliable as wiki pages on other topics tend to be.

Oct 16, 2010
Wow, a wall of text.

Anyways. The most obvious question raised is:

Okay, we know that CO2 sustains water vapor and cloud cover, which in turn sustains the greenhouse effect. What else can affect the amount of water vapor and cloud cover? Do we blame CO2 more than we should?

It seems to me that other variables like massive irrigation all over the world making water evaporate more, and even smokestack emissions of water would matter quite a bit.

So what is the relation between CO2 and atmospheric water? How much of one do you need to get an amount of the other?

Oct 16, 2010
Eikka: Good question. Part of the answer is that the production of water vapor by any source is short-lived in nature. You are absolutely correct that stack gases, air craft, and irrigation impact the environment. And you are right in asking the question about how much of an effect there is. One of the most controversial is aircraft contrails. No one really knows how much of an effect they have because they are up at the 10 km range and no one really understands how they interact with the atmosphere there.

Massive irrigation is also not well understood but it is regional in nature (condensation taking care of local increases). However, the local interaction with weather is not well understood but initial analysis indicates it is small and local.

Contrails are a different story. They could be serious players in climate change. I have seen a lot of studies on them but nothing definitive. The thing to keep in mind is that introduced water is transient. (continued)

Oct 16, 2010
Continued: You asked another important question: "So what is the relation between CO2 and atmospheric water? How much of one do you need to get an amount of the other?" That is also not agreed upon. There are ranges of answers to that and each computer model produces a different number. The significant thing is that all of the models I know of show the relationship is that more CO2 means more H2O. None of them show either zero or negative H2O production. I know here is where the climate debate goes wild. Some will say that if the climate models do not agree then we don't know anything. I would say that since they all agree on the direction we know a lot.

There are morons on both sides of the climate discussions. One side of the morons says we know it all and everyone agrees on everything. The other side of morons says we don't know anything and it is all a conspiracy. From my perspective, we are learning more and more that shows AGW is real. Continued

Oct 16, 2010
Continued: We need more questions like yours that honestly looks for answers to interesting effects. We need to be answering those questions to the best of today's information. We don't need name calling (although I have resorted to that with a number of people who I see as destructive in their intent). We don't know it all. However, we do know a lot and are learning more every day (as this article shows). I am looking forward to years of discussion on this topic but not years of delay in action. Thank you for a very good set of questions that can only be partially answered.

Oct 16, 2010
It is quite important to know what is the gain between CO2 and water vapor before we start to claim that CO2 is "80% responsible" for climate change.

If the response isn't proportional, then knowing the direction of the influence gives us very little useful information. Going from 100 to 300 ppm might give us an alltogether different response than going from 300 to 500 ppm. Maybe there's almost no practical difference between 200 and 1000 ppm.

It seems to me that CO2 is the hammer in this situation. If all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

Oct 16, 2010
"However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth's greenhouse effect."

How... convenient. Ahh, it accounts for less of the overall gases but strangely has a higher effect on the overall picture.

Oct 17, 2010
If we assume there is always a balance between the amount some condensible gasses (mainly wator vapor) and some non condensible gasses (mainly CO2)

Doesn't this mean that if we all would have H2 powered engines with H2O vapor as output that in this case CO2 would also rise?

Oct 17, 2010
Thermo, you said this: "However, the local interaction with weather is not well understood but initial analysis indicates it is small and local."

I don't think there's an answer that simple to the question you were answering in that comment. In some ways it is as you suggest. On the other hand, if you believe that acid rain in New England and Eastern Canada is a result of industry and agriculture in the Ohio River Valley, then it becomes clear that some weather effects are very large. Water vapor from plant 'respiration' may be short lived, but the aerosols emitted with the water are long lived (plants to give off aerosols), and directly affect cloud formation. Hard to quantify that though, as it gets mixed up with pressure, temperature, sunlight, wind speed, geography, etc, etc. Still, I wouldn't be so quick to say that human influence in terms of water vapor is small or limited to local effects.

Oct 17, 2010
GSwift7: I stand corrected. You are absolutely correct. I was thinking only in terms of water vapor. Your expansion of the view is correct. The other issue is that removal of large quantities of water from aquifers is causing subsidence problems as well as drying up the aquifers (look at Phoenix). I am glad you brought those up.

However, looking at something like a field that is being irrigated, the amount of water appears huge but does little to change the absolute humidity more than a few hundred meters from the field. There have been a number of studies on this effect. I went out to look at irrigation and climate and found this interesting paper.

"Changes in Climate and Estimated Evaporation Across a Large Irrigated Area in Idaho" Found at:

eprints.nwisrl.ars.usda.gov/295/1/338.pdf

They were looking at the distance from a large irrigated section where it would be representative to put weather monitoring equipment. (Continued)

Oct 17, 2010
Continued: The results seemed to indicate that the micro-climate within the irrigated areas changed climate for about 2 km around the site and greater than 60 meters above the site. This is an older paper (1970s) but I think it is very well done.

I still consider that local in nature, but the aerosols from plant production is something I did not take in to consideration (since the question was about water). I think I have written enough on this paper so I'll let you track down the aerosols from agriculture. I do know that the Sahara sends aerosols to the US as well as aerosols on the US West coast coming from China. So, I am sure they are long in reach I am just not sure of their duration or impact. Thanks for pointing out the incomplete post.

Oct 18, 2010
By the way, I'd be more likely to take you seriously if you could resist that bad habit of namecalling. I have a hard time taking someone so simple-minded seriously. Gosh, talk about "kooks" and people who don't listen to the comments and opiniions of others. When you respond with emotional vitriol in stead of bothering to look up things like the RS comments for yourself and then call me names when I was right, what does that make you?

Well Mr Swift it seems that kettle and teapot are readily available to you too.
'Kooks' Now who would they be?

Anyway I couldn't help but notice that the RS report has been given a real hammering by your interpretation. Now I am no lover of the RS viewpoint on a few things (non-climate changer related) but i have to say that they are some of the most brilliant and knowledgeable people on Earth and the one question that really grips me is this......Why aren't you a member of the RS? I mean your so right and knowledgeable about atmospheric chemistry!

Oct 18, 2010
Kev_C, I'm not sure what you mean by your pot and kettle comment. I don't think I called anyone names.

I'm not a scientist, but I like to read and talk about these things. Once again, I'll state (as I did several times above) that I don't really trust the article about the Royal Society. I commented on it in order to get a more knowledgable opinion about it than my own. Thermo has been kind enough to share his brilliant comments with me, and I have enjoyed learning a few new things in this discussion.

I question lots of things I read, especially when they are political or ideological in nature. The article here at the top of this page is, in my opinion, an extreme example of opinion being presented as scientific fact. I was really astounded that so many people here are willing to ignore the obvious problems with how it was written, just because the message agrees with their political beliefs. The headline alone is a dead giveaway that something is fishy.

Oct 18, 2010
This is not even a debate. Hey deniers please publish and collect your nobel prize surely you can million based on all your purported evidence.

Oct 18, 2010
Thermodynamicus, you mentioned aircraft con-trails. There was a Scientific American article a year or two ago, and I saw something on TV, on the Australian public broadcast [ABC]. In the three days after 11 September 2001, when all commercial aircraft were grounded in USA, it was discovered that the amount of solar radiation reaching ground level in USA increased significantly. This was demonstrated by an increase in the "Pan evaporation rate" [say PER], which is basically the amount of water needed each day to replace water lost from a standard "pan" due to evaporation.

The big thing about this was that apart from that short, USA specific, hiatus the PER has been falling in the Northern hemisphere since early 20th century. The USA post 9/11 anomaly demonstrated that the reason for the decline in PER was high altitude pollution of particulates from industrial and transportation sources. [continued]

Oct 18, 2010
Thermodynamicus,[cont]
Thanks for the discussion of ocean as sink for CO2. In the last few months Scientific American has had articles about acidification of the ocean. Whether climate change is as fast and/or traumatic as many predict remains to be seen. [I tend to think it may well be for reason indicated below.] The elephant in the room though is what will happen to the ocean as its PH reduces at a rate not experienced for some hundred/s million years. Apparently most ocean fish species will not survive; we may all have to learn to eat jellyfish. [Or do Americans say "jello fish"?]

We are apparently due for permafrost throughout the Arctic tundra areas to melt. Article in recent SciAm [again] indicates permafrost melting occurs fastest where melt water can accumulate. This happens in lower lying places of course, but buoyancy of ice means that bacterial production of methane can continue deep down even as all these new lakes freeze over in the winter. CH4 is a greenhouse gas.

Oct 18, 2010
CO2 has negligible impact in humid/warm conditions, being overwhelmed by water vapor and methane. It has much greater impact in dry/cool conditions.

Did the authors fudge the study by only using measurements from tops of mountains? It wouldn't be surprising considering the awful record IPCC has with ethics and dubious data.

What happened to the 'hockey stick', btw? Gone in a cloud of lies.


Their numbers are off.

During the Pangean-Era, Earth had nearly 2100ppm of Co2 in the atmosphere.

Do your part to feed a plant, put some Co2 in the air!

Oct 18, 2010
The air molecules are 'jumping' around too. That is what happens to all matter when it absorbs heat, the molecules vibrate. That is how matter emits photons, lower temperature long wavelength and higher temperatures shorter. Increasing temp increases pressure of a confined gas because the molecules 'jump around' with more energy.


That's not the point. With liquids and vapor there is a constant evaporation/condensation happening. When the temperature rises, more water evaporates than condenses. When the temperature decreases, the opposite is true.

Again, the effect is the same as if the air "holds" more water vapor when warm, but it's not really a function of the air at all. It's the relative exchange between liquid and vapor.

The non-condensing molecules don't play the same part in the process as the water vapor molecules even though some are dissolved in water at a temperature dependent rate.

Oct 18, 2010
"During the Pangean-Era, Earth had nearly 2100ppm of Co2 in the atmosphere." - Flatch Basket

Ahahahahahah.... That was 300 million years ago Sunshine.


Regardless of how long ago, the earth did have a much higher concentration of atmospheric CO2 than we have today. Clearly man did not cause that rise, nor did the earth go into some uncontrollable cycle of warming and CO2 production until all life was extinguished.

Man is obviously contributing some fraction of the gases which provide the greenhouse effect and make life possible on this planet.

The question is whether or not the tiny amount (comparatively speaking) man has produced and continues to produce is enough to throw the shifting equilibrium of the ecosystem out of balance far beyond what "naturally" occurs - and whether or not nature can compensate for any imbalance we create.

Questioning the interpretation of scientific data doesn't show lack of intelligence or insight. Assuming that we know it all does

Oct 18, 2010
@JackAcid,
nor did the earth go into some uncontrollable cycle of warming and CO2 production until all life was extinguished.
The only ones who ever make such dire claims, are the "skeptics" who try to pin these strawmen on the supposed "environmentalists" so as to then shoot them down. No serious environmentalist contemplates runaway warming to the point of extinguishing all life. So can we please put that dead horse to rest at long last, while there's still something left of its corpse to bury?
throw the shifting equilibrium of the ecosystem out of balance far beyond what "naturally" occurs
Ask not by how much. Ask how fast. Adaptive mechanisms (evolution by natural selection, migration, rebalancing of predator/prey populations) need time to work. We are ratcheting up the atmospheric greenhouse at breakneck pace, far exceeding most "natural" phenomena possibly with exception of giant meteorite impacts.

Oct 18, 2010
(ctd)
whether or not nature can compensate for any imbalance we create
Nature has always managed to "compensate" in the past. Unfortunately, big disruptions in the environment usually began the compensation process with a round of mass extinction. Then, over the subsequent millions of years, ecosystems recovered and rebuilt, and new species emerged to fill the formerly vacated niches. I'm sure a few million years from now everything will be back in balance. Can YOU wait that long? How about YOUR offspring?
Questioning the interpretation of scientific data doesn't show lack of intelligence or insight. Assuming that we know it all does
You are blindfolded and warned that there may be a deep pit somewhere in the vicinity. Do you: (a) exhibit caution and feel about with a stick before making any step in any direction, or (b) run at top speed in a random direction, with your fingers crossed behind your back? Proceeding with the status quo is the equivalent of (b).

Oct 18, 2010
The famous one that was vindicated by the National Academy of Science?

It was not vindicated here: http://www.nap.ed...id=11676


marjon: Once again you surprise me with your comments. Did you actually bother to read the paper that you pointed at? If you did you would see that figures S-1 and O-5 bear a striking resemblance to figure O-4 (where O-4 is the "hockey stick"). The conclusions actually agree with Mann and point out that Mann was careful to include error bars that were later left out by others. They back off on the conclusion by Mann that 1998 was probably the hottest year in the past 1000 years by saying it has low certainty due to the size of the error bars (which Mann included). Continued

Oct 18, 2010
Continued: They then confirm Mann's general conclusions by stating: "The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world."

What they say is that they are able to do a better job of the reconstruction a decade later and the shape of the graph is still about the same. The details are all in the report. I just wonder why you would point to something and then try to change what they said. There is no refutation of the hockey stick, only refinement of it. I hope they continue to improve the graph (which they should do). Learn how to read error bars.

Oct 18, 2010
marjon: Since I am sure you can't read what they said, I will copy some of it here:

"Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years are consistent with other evidence of global climate change and can be considered as additional supporting evidence. In particular, the numerous indications that recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia, in combination with estimates of external climate forcing variations over the same period, support the conclusion that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."

Was that the quote you wanted? Obviously, the uncertainty goes up as the time goes back. This was your reference. At least try not to argue with it.

If you look at the error bars on figure O-4 you will see that it covers the possibility of a warm period. You need to try to understand what an error bar means.

Oct 18, 2010
Once again you surprise me with your comments.
Surely thermodynamics, you jest. I don't know how anyone who's been posting here for the last several months, could any longer be surprised by anything that comes from the mind of marjon.

The only way the clown could surprise me, for instance, is if he just suddenly started to make factually valid, well-informed, well-reasoned posts...

Oct 19, 2010
"Hockey stick bashers revealed as industry goons"

http://www.desmog...unmasked

In the field of washed brains, marjon takes the Guinness world record for immaculate spotlessness.

Oct 19, 2010
In a letter to Nature on August 10, 2006, Bradley, Hughes and Mann pointed at the original title of their 1998 article: "Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties, and limitations" and pointed out "more widespread high-resolution data are needed before more confident conclusions can be reached and that the uncertainties were the point of the article.

That's from the Wiki page about the hockey stick controversy. It should be obvious to anyone that the last 50 years is not a significant time period for showing any climate trend. The assumption that current warming is anthing more than a temporary deviation isn't proven, no matter how many experts agree. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be looking for better ways to live, but the issue of the hockey stick does not really have much to do with that for me. Statistics can be really fun. If you show that same graph and make the x-axis longer, then chart actual temperature in degrees kelvin.

Oct 19, 2010
continued:

..in degrees kelvin, with the x and y axis crossing at zero kelvin, you end up with a very flat graph that doesn't look very scary at all. Even if you use a scale for the y axis which is limited to temperatures that exist on the Earth, the hockey stick shape goes away.

There, on one hand, are many things we SHOULD do in regard to our environment and resources. On the other hand, you have to ask who is going to pay for those things and how important those things are when compared to other things the money can be used for. Is the environment more important than cancer research, space exploration, building new infrastructure like schools, hospitals, roads and jails? Who gets to decide what is most important, the United Nations? Who controls the money? If the U.S. pays for it, do we share with everyone else for free? Lots of big questions.

Oct 19, 2010
@JackAcid The only ones who ever make such dire claims, are the "skeptics" who try to pin these strawmen on the supposed "environmentalists" so as to then shoot them down. So can we please put that dead horse to rest at long last, while there's still something left of its corpse to bury

Ask not by how much. Ask how fast. Adaptive mechanisms (evolution by natural selection, migration, rebalancing of predator/prey populations) need time to work. We are ratcheting up the atmospheric greenhouse at breakneck pace, far exceeding most "natural" phenomena possibly with exception of giant meteorite impacts.


It's not a strawman argument. It establishes a limit. We need to understand the best and worst case scenarios in order to formulate a plan of action (if any).

The truth is this we don't really know if we're adding anything at breakneck pace or not. It is *assumed* that all atmospheric CO2 beyond an arbitrarily chosen threshold is *all* because of man. It may be, or not

Oct 19, 2010
Nature has always managed to "compensate" in the past. ...over the subsequent millions of years, ecosystems recovered and rebuilt, and new species emerged to fill the formerly vacated niches. Can YOU wait that long? How about YOUR offspring?


The reality is we don't know the capability of the ecosystem to maintain equilibrium - or for that matter what equilibrium really is. We take a snapshot of a couple hundred thousand years and determine a "norm" from that. According to some we have been living in abnormally warm conditions for nearly 20,000 years.

The climate is *always* changing. The Sahara Desert cycles back and forth between desert and temperate every 20,000 years or so - and makes the transition in about 200 years.

In the past, civilizations sacrificed humans to appease the gods and stop climate change. Now we just sacrifice money, and it will probably have roughly the same effect.

YES, we can wait. If anything we should be preparing for changes.

Oct 19, 2010
Who controls the money?

Who's money is it? Governments can only print money. They do not create wealth.

Actually they do, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and multiple other groups are very wealthy due to the government. GE, and multiple other companies as well. It's rather funny that you say the government can't create wealth. They've created some of the largest most powerful companies in the free world by creating the environment in which they can succeed.

Oct 19, 2010
You are blindfolded and warned that there may be a deep pit somewhere in the vicinity. Do you: (a) exhibit caution and feel about with a stick before making any step in any direction, or (b) run at top speed in a random direction, with your fingers crossed behind your back? Proceeding with the status quo is the equivalent of (b).


On the contrary, you have it *exactly* backwards. Charging off on some windmill jousting expedition that will commit trillions of dollars and untold time and energy to something that may, or may not, have any real impact is you scenario (b).

Scenario (a) is calm, measured analysis of all the information *without* political interference.

Look, we know that CO2 levels rise *before* a warming phase and we know that they remain high *after* a cooling trend begins. That alone tells you CO2 *cannot* be the driving force. Something else is greater by far. Other planets are warming too, and we aren't there. There's too much we don't know still.

Oct 19, 2010
You need to start with first principles, oh, wait, you have no principles. Now I understand your confusion.
I'm surprised you can spell the word.

Oct 19, 2010
JackAcid: Just a technical correction.

You said: "The truth is this we don't really know if we're adding anything at breakneck pace or not. It is *assumed* that all atmospheric CO2 beyond an arbitrarily chosen threshold is *all* because of man. It may be, or not."

If you check the technology used to determine the contribution of fossil fuel burning you will find that it is directly measureable by comparison of the isotope ratio of 13C/12C. I did a quick web search and found a paper titled: "Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research" written by "Prosenjit Ghosh,and Willi A. Brand " You should be able to Google for it. There are many other similar articles out there. They are not guessing at how much is there, they are measuring it./

Oct 19, 2010
thermodynamics:

I did a quick web search and found a paper titled: "Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research"


Good stuff. Here's part of their conclusion:

Major future challenges are to improve interlaboratory precision of isotopic measurements in order to compare results from different laboratories on a very high level of precision. In addition, the isotopic connection of different chemical species or different types of archives needs further improvement, and the (isotopic) fractionation between compartments is not established well enough to allow conclusions to be drawn unequivocally. Models require experimental input of roughly equivalent quality and a high spacial density which is difficult to get for the present and impossible to provide for the past. For reducing the uncertainty of our understanding of the Earth's climate system, the puzzle needs more pieces.

Oct 19, 2010
@JackAcid,
It's not a strawman argument.
It absolutely is, when the only side making it is the same side that's debunking it. That's the DEFINITION of a strawman argument.
It is *assumed* that all atmospheric CO2 beyond an arbitrarily chosen threshold is *all* because of man. It may be, or not
It is well known, from economic metrics, how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere each year. It is actually about twice the amount by which CO2 concentrations increase each year (so, about 50% feeds the sinks, such as the surface waters of the oceans.) Google is your friend.
The climate is *always* changing.
People are *always* dying. Therefore, mass murder is OK.
The Sahara Desert cycles back and forth between desert and temperate every 20,000 years or so - and makes the transition in about 200 years.
Pure BS.

Oct 19, 2010
ctd.
Now we just sacrifice money, and it will probably have roughly the same effect.
Yet more BS. Development of viable alternatives is not a fruitless sacrifice. Nor is charging the REAL costs of existing technologies. A product should not be ARTIFICIALLY cheaper because its makers are allowed to trash the environment without recourse.
Scenario (a) is calm, measured analysis of all the information *without* political interference.
And you actually think that's what the "climate skeptic" movement is??? Are you naive, or just plain bought?
we know that CO2 levels rise *before* a warming phase and we know that they remain high *after* a cooling trend begins.
If you're talking about pre-industrial climate variability, you're completely 100% diametrically WRONG.
That alone tells you CO2 *cannot* be the driving force.
To make such a statement, it takes A LOT of ignorance. My advice: learn the science, before bloviating in public.

Oct 19, 2010
ctd.
Other planets are warming too, and we aren't there.
Another long-discredited piece of "skeptic" BS. Again, feel free to make liberal use of Google...
There's too much we don't know still.
True enough. But there's VASTLY more still that YOU don't know. Learn first, opine later.

Oct 19, 2010
JackAcid: Thanks for reading the piece. You and they are absolutely correct that there needs to be more research to move from their present level of uncertainty to lesser uncertainty. They are measuring a very difficult difference between isotopes and the process is being improved all the time. However, please don't confuse that with not having any information. As you pointed out they say: "In addition, the isotopic connection of different chemical species or different types of archives needs further improvement, and the (isotopic) fractionation between compartments is not established well enough to allow conclusions to be drawn unequivocally." and acknowledge that is not unequivocal with the present level of uncertainty. Continued

Oct 19, 2010
Show how government can create wealth from nothing. Govt can only take, so if there is nothing to take, how can it create?
Infrastructure projects, and regulating abusive unions away from those jobs. Another centrist position. Infrastructure projects are great for the economy, except for when you let the profiteering unions abuse the systems.

Oct 19, 2010
My response was because you said: "It is *assumed* that all atmospheric CO2 beyond an arbitrarily chosen threshold is *all* because of man. It may be, or not." and I was just pointing out that it is not "assumed" it is measured. The precision of the measurement is good but can, and will, be improved. The good thing is that the improvement can continue for historical samples and that helps reduce the long-term uncertainty. Note that they only have to go back to the beginning of the industrial age. There are other studies that show how flat the curve is before the industrial age (with the normal annual signal along a flat mean). The present determination of the signal of fossil fuel is really a pretty clever proxy that can become extremely accurate and precise with increased sampling (as they point out). Again, thanks for taking time to both read and understand the paper.

Oct 19, 2010
Pink E:

You should do some homework first.

Learn what parameters are. We know that levels 6 or 7 times what we have now won't kill all life. We also know that no CO2 in the atmosphere would make the planet nearly uninhabitably cold.

You are the one refuting an argument that no one is making.

People are *always* dying. Therefore, mass murder is OK.


Take a course on logic sometime. I won't even grace that with a further response.

As far as the Sahara Desert comment, take it up with the History Channel folks. You can find How the Earth was Made: Sahara probably. It aired 12/15/2009.

Development of viable alternatives is not a fruitless sacrifice. Nor is charging the REAL costs of existing technologies.


Again with the refuting arguments no one is making. I love new technology. I don't love politically motivated schemes designed to separate people from their money. See Cap and Trade and carbon credits. Follow the money. See who gains.


Oct 19, 2010
I don't love politically motivated schemes designed to separate people from their money. See Cap and Trade and carbon credits.
I don't really have a profit with Exxon making only 1 billion dollars profit as opposed to 2 billion dollars profit off of American natural reserves to be honest with you. Same for BP and the other companies that will have to pay out to continue running a sloppy business with no R&D or technology upgrades while not paying a dime in taxes to the US. That money will cost us at the pumps, but reduce our deficet while the new technology gets us off the pumps that will cost us more and more and more each year anyway.

Oct 19, 2010
Pink E:

Liberal use of Google confirms what I said.

Not *all* planets are warming, only some. This refutes the idea that *only* the sun is responsible for planetary warming. It does not explain why several other planetary bodies appear to be warming. We only need one other body warming due to an unexplained variable in order to show that there's more going on than we pretend to know.

True enough. But there's VASTLY more still that YOU don't know. Learn first, opine later.


If only you'd take your own advice we wouldn't need to have this discussion.

Oct 19, 2010
@JackAcid,
We know that levels 6 or 7 times what we have now won't kill all life.
Right now we have about 390 ppm. 6 times that would be 2340 ppm, which would be slightly more than 2% by volume. Sustained 2% CO2 concentration is mildly toxic to humans. But no, it won't kill all life.
We also know that no CO2 in the atmosphere would make the planet nearly uninhabitably cold.
That was in fact the subject of the article above.
I won't even grace that with a further response.
Yet it was merely a redux of your own argument, albeit in a slightly starker context. Don't like how your own logic looks in the mirror? Take a course...
take it up with the History Channel
Oh, you mean the same credible source that regularly airs UFO specials? Here's a suggestion: instead of watching History Channel, read up on the actual science of the atmospheric greenhouse effect. This would be a good starting point:

http://www.aip.or...mary.htm

Oct 19, 2010
ctd.
I don't love politically motivated schemes designed to separate people from their money.
Then look into who's engineering and funding the opposition to cap-and-trade. I bet you won't love that, one tiniest bit.
See who gains.
Conversely, see who loses. See who's putting words in your mouth...
This refutes the idea that *only* the sun is responsible for planetary warming
It is not responsible AT ALL. Solar output has been stable while the planet has been warming.
If only you'd take your own advice
Buddy, you have no idea how long I've been reading and studying up on this stuff, and trying to educate politically poisoned ignoramuses like you.

Oct 19, 2010
Right now we have about 390 ppm. 6 times that would be 2340 ppm, which would be slightly more than 2% by volume.


No.

2340/1000000 != 2.34%
2340/1000000 = 0.234%

Oct 19, 2010
@thermodynamics:

Thanks for taking the time to have a reasonable discussion. I don't know or pretend to know everything that is involved with climate change. The number of interactions are staggering to say the least.

That in general the earth has been warming is not something I question, nor is the fact that mankind is responsible for additional release of greenhouse gases. As such, we certainly could be contributing to additional warming of the planet.

However, when I see statments like "the debate is over" it tells me that something less than a scientific approach is involved. When one of the champions of the cause leaves a larger carbon footprint in a year than most people will in a lifetime, I question the sincerity of that individual.

If our "cure" is worse than the disease or has no impact on the disease then why bother? If cessation of all human emissions ceased today, most people say that more than 50 years would pass before an effect would be seen.

(cont)

Oct 19, 2010
(cont.)

Of course we should continue with new technologies that allow us to continue our lifestyles as much as possible with as little negative impact on the world as possible. Nobody wants poison air, undrinkable water, massive flooding, etc. etc.

Unfortunately we don't *know* that CO2 is specifically responsible for much, if any, of those things. So, to charge after only *one* component of a large scenario as if it will cure all ills is of dubious value at best in my estimation.

If the problem is so serious and imminent, and even immediate cessation of emissions won't alleviate the effects for some time, then why aren't we working on relocation programs, coastal protections, and other such mitigating activities?

Why is our "best hope" a politically charged program which still allows for the deadly pollution that will kill us all as long as they pay more money (which we as consumers will inevitably pay)?

Oct 19, 2010
No.

2340/1000000 != 2.34%
2340/1000000 = 0.234%
Sorry, I was off by a decimal point. Statement regarding toxicity retracted. However, the climate effects won't be quite so harmless, nevertheless.

Oct 19, 2010
If the problem is so serious and imminent, and even immediate cessation of emissions won't alleviate the effects for some time, then why aren't we working on relocation programs, coastal protections, and other such mitigating activities?
The problem is serious, but not imminent. That's the biggest issue. The problem is insidious. It will gradually escalate over decades upon decades. And the longer we continue the exponential growth of fossil carbon emissions, the more of a problem we front-load upon the shoulders of our kids.

This is EXACTLY like the national debt and deficit spending. We live large and easy, but our kids will pay the price for our profligacy. I find it very strange and poignantly hypocritical that most of the same people who are deficit hawks and fiscal disciplinarians, are yet so willfully blind to the energy and environmental deficits our civilization is running up.

Oh, and speaking of costs: how much for the relocation programs, etc?

Oct 19, 2010
Why is our "best hope" a politically charged program which still allows for the deadly pollution that will kill us all as long as they pay more money (which we as consumers will inevitably pay)?
These same arguments were levied about cap-and-trade program that successfully reduced sulphur emissions, thereby largely eliminating the problem of acid rain. It is a proven, market-driven methodology that has already worked before, on a large scale.

Any other alternatives are political non-starters anyway, because about 50% of our population is ideologically/politically held hostage by the fossil carbon industry. At least this one was market-based and had a positive track record, so at least it had a chance. But thanks to a nation full of reactionary dopes, it turns out that any compromise is doomed as a foregone conclusion.

So try to leave the politics behind, and learn the science. Here, once again:

http://www.aip.or...mary.htm

Oct 19, 2010
Buddy, you have no idea how long I've been reading and studying up on this stuff, and trying to educate politically poisoned ignoramuses like you.


You're right. I don't know how long you've been reading and studying, but I can tell that it's either not long enough or from cherry picked sources.

You clearly have a political bias. I find both major parites in this country equally unpalatable. As such, I have no allegiance to any party line. I'm one of the apparently few people who are actually interested in defining the problem clearly, determining what, if anything, we can actually do about it, and if there is a viable solution implementing it in such a way that we don't cause more harm than good.

I will look at both sides of the argument. Unfortunately, to me it appears that a fair amount of the proponents of AGW have tried to fit the data to the assertion rather than just go where the facts lead them. The political used care sales feel doesn't help either.

Oct 19, 2010
You clearly have a political bias. I find both major parites in this country equally unpalatable.
That is only because YOU have a political bias. If you must know, I'm an independent, and will not vote for either party as both disgust me in equal measure.

This web site is not about politics. It is about science. The AIP (American Institute of Physics) is about science. Learn the SCIENCE, and ignore the politics. The truth shall set you free:

http://www.aip.or...mary.htm

Oct 19, 2010
Pink said: "Oh, you mean the same credible source that regularly airs UFO specials? Here's a suggestion: instead of watching History Channel"

It is well known and published in the journal Science that the Sarah became temperate about 10k years ago and stayed that way until about 5k years ago. That's what enabled prehistoric humans to move out of the Nile Valley during that time and settle most of North Africa. You can look it up.

Oct 19, 2010
Pink Said: "This web site is not about politics. It is about science. The AIP (American Institute of Physics) is about science. Learn the SCIENCE, and ignore the politics. The truth shall set you free"

Earlier Pink said: "This is EXACTLY like the national debt and deficit spending. We live large and easy, but our kids will pay the price for our profligacy. I find it very strange and poignantly hypocritical that most of the same people who are deficit hawks and fiscal disciplinarians, are yet so willfully blind to the energy and environmental deficits"

I'll leave you to draw any conclusions on your own.

Oct 19, 2010
The truth shall set you free:


If you are the poster child for truth setting someone free I think I'd rather remain caged.

It seems more like the Truth(tm) has set you free.

Regardless, I shouldn't be letting this degenerate into a personal issue and I apologize.

The bottom line is this article tells us that without CO2 it would be very cold here. We know that some amount of CO2 is necessary for our survival (as we know it anyway). What we don't know is whether or not there is a point at which CO2 will no longer have a noticeable impact. After all, once you trap 100% of the heat in the affected radiation bandwidth, adding more of the heat trapping substance won't trap any more heat.

Whether or not we "force" the issue of alternative energy sources now or not, it is highly unlikely that we'll still be using high carbon fuels as a main energy source beyond a few more decades. The sky is not falling.

Oct 19, 2010
@GSwift7,
It is well known and published in the journal Science that the Sarah became temperate about 10k years ago and stayed that way until about 5k years ago.
Yet that wasn't the statement I was addressing. The statement I was addressing was a claim that the Sahara was on a 20,000 year cycle with 200 year transition intervals. Here's the ACTUAL climate history of the Sahara (to the best of modern knowledge):

http://en.wikiped..._history

Oct 19, 2010
These same arguments were levied about cap-and-trade program that successfully reduced sulphur emissions, thereby largely eliminating the problem of acid rain. It is a proven, market-driven methodology that has already worked before, on a large scale.


Irony defined: Decreasing the sulfur content in the atmosphere has most likely led to greater global warming - at least according to an article entitled "Price For Decreased Acid Rain May Be Increased Global Warming"


Oct 19, 2010
What we don't know is whether or not there is a point at which CO2 will no longer have a noticeable impact. After all, once you trap 100% of the heat in the affected radiation bandwidth, adding more of the heat trapping substance won't trap any more heat.
Yet again, what you assumed we didn't know, is something we actually do know. But I can only point you to it; I can't force you to learn. Only you can do that...

http://www.aip.or.../co2.htm

http://www.aip.or...math.htm

Irony defined: Decreasing the sulfur content in the atmosphere has most likely led to greater global warming
Point well taken. Let's revert to the good old days of acid rain, and problem solved! Brilliant...

You know what else helps cool us down? Smog. So let's cover our cities with smog, ala China. It's a small price to pay for "prosperity", no?

Oct 19, 2010
Yet again, what you assumed we didn't know, is something we actually do know. But I can only point you to it; I can't force you to learn. Only you can do that...


If you aren't smart enough to read and understand the articles to which you link then I can't help you either.

Point well taken. Let's revert to the good old days of acid rain, and problem solved! Brilliant...[\q]

You persist in presenting statements as if they were from me. Saying something is ironic is nowhere near the same as saying we should return to a former state.

You are clearly trolling here and I'm done feeding you.

Oct 19, 2010
Gee this got really long :)

Maybe I am misunderstanding, but are you saying that hot air cannot hold more water vapor than cold air?


Aye, as JackAcid explained, it is an issue of vapor pressure. I think it is an important distinction.

As the surface temp of the earth wouldnt even matter, it is solely dependent upon the temperature of the water vapor molecule.

Remove all water vapor instead, what happens?

CO2 is not a source of heat, just like water vapor is not a source of heat. It may insulate, but that is what water vapor does as well if it is a greenhouse gas.

Insulation does not increase heat, it slows heat loss or intake. In essence, if the temperature is held constant, the surroundings will never exceed the heat sources temperature. Heat flow is always from hot to cold.

So removing enough insulation and the rate of heat transfer goes up, in and out. In essence it will reach equillibrium for any given amount of insulation at a given temp.

Oct 19, 2010
In essence for a given temperature change over a given interval night/day, condensation vs. evaporation would be conserved.

The difference is that at night, there would be less insulation, and more insulation during the day. However, overtime the temperature change would be reduced, and so would the flucuation of insulation.

In any case, CO2 which does not condense at our temperatures, at a given amount, will produce a given layer of insualation, which will remain constant. If you increase the amount of CO2, you will increase that layer of insulation, which means heat is lost slower, but it is also gained slower. It does not increase the amount of heat.

Oct 19, 2010
@JackAcid,
If you aren't smart enough to read and understand the articles to which you link then I can't help you either.
Considering how quickly you replied to every one of my posts, I'm willing to wager all my savings that you never bothered to read a single one of those links. However, I have, a long time ago. FYI. Maybe one of these days you'll be interested in learning, rather than publicly flaunting your ignorance. Just a suggestion...
Saying something is ironic is nowhere near the same as saying we should return to a former state.
Oh, then your irony had no point to it? You were just writing your ironic statement for the sheer hell of it? Not trying to imply anything at all? You know, irony is usually a tool of communication, and should not be wasted on idle blather...
You are clearly trolling here and I'm done feeding you.
Then feed yourself. I've provided you links that would allow you to understand many things of which you remain ignorant so far.

Oct 19, 2010
In early America, such funds were raised by subscription or lottery. The govt had no money except for what it could beg, borrow or steal.

Yeah well I don't think you're going to pay for the infrastructure of America with scratch tickets. Let's say everyone in the US played the lottery for $5. That's only 16.5 billion bucks.

Now how do you explain paying for the two wars we're fighting?

Oct 19, 2010
@Skeptic_Heretic,
Let's say everyone in the US played the lottery for $5. That's only 16.5 billion bucks.
Actually, with total population (including children and the infirm) of roughly 300 million, that would come out to just 1.5 billion bucks.

Of course, if you only taxed the *productive* fraction of the population, then you'd end up with correspondingly just a fraction of the ideal...

Corrected, looking at:
http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Turns out in US only about 140 million out of total 310 million are considered part of the workforce. So theoretical max employment rate would be about 45%...

Oct 19, 2010
VK1:

You said:

"The climate is not that difficult to remotely alter anyway. Co2 can be broken atmospherically through electrolysis, by applying an electron rich radiative field the co2 molecule breaks its bonds. If a dangerous co2 level is reached we can break the bonds leaving oxygen in the air and having carbon fall to the ground (oxygen is a gas at 30degc carbon is a solid)."

I say WHAT??? What are you talking about? What in the world is "atmospheric electrolysis?" Have you ever had a science course? Did you realize this is a science related blog?

Please explain this brilliant new reasoning so that I can be educated. I appear to be ignorant of this high-technology solution. Please provide copious sources because I obviously have a lot of reading to do to catch up with you.

Oct 19, 2010
@thermodynamics,

I don't think VK1 has ever heard of thermodynamics...

Oct 20, 2010
Have you lost your ignorance yet?

What atom has the highest melting point on earth?

Nuff said.

Oct 20, 2010
@VK1,

Be careful while electrocuting the atmosphere: you might melt your own atoms before you found your ignorance.

Oct 20, 2010
VK1:

So, are you saying that lightning produces carbon dust? Should my umbrella be built for diamonds or graphite? Maybe buckyballs?

I am not exactly sure of what technology is used to "electrocute" the atmosphere. I am sure that it will be a very energy conserving process. Could you enlighten us on the mechanism and maybe how it ties in with electrochemistry.

I think that instead of the term "atom" when talking about melting point you actually mean "element" but for all I know you might mean atom. Everything else you have said makes about the same amount of sense.

Have you been taking chemistry courses from marjon?

Oct 20, 2010
All right, having had our fun with VK1's pig Latin, I *think* he means that pure-carbon molecular compounds (graphene, nanotubes, diamond crystals) are extremely stable (have high melting temperatures.) So he imagines it's thermodynamically favorable for carbon from CO2 to spontaneously recombine into such pure-carbon compounds in presence of oxygen and under low pressures, once the CO2 is turned into plasma by a high-voltage electrical discharge.

While firstly it would take a lot of energy just to split CO2 molecules into constituent atoms (more energy, in fact, than we got from oxidizing that carbon to begin with), in fact CO2 is a higher-entropy form of carbon than any pure-carbon meshwork. Indeed, it's possible to literally burn graphene or even diamond in the presence of oxygen, when the temperature is high enough. (contrary to popular myth, diamonds are not forever...)

Oct 20, 2010
Good morning everyone.

I wonder why this discussion goes off on wild tangents no matter how many times I try to bring everyone back to a discussion of the original piece at the top of this page?

The problems I have with the article here don't have anything to do with whether I'm a believer or a denier. In fact, if I was a believer, I would be especially pissed about this article because it makes believers sound stupid. The whole concept of the article is weak, and the way it was written is even worse than the concept. The final conclusion in the last line of the article is even one of the initial conditions of the 'experiment' so it's circular. How can I be the only one here who can see the problems with the story. I just sat down with a piece of paper and counted 15 different places where problems are easy to spot. Thermo, you should be able to spot them. Two of them seem to call climate model scientists idiots. I would think you would object to that.

Oct 20, 2010
There was a T-shirt add on this page yesterday with a pretty girl wearing a shirt that said something like "Anything that isn't about elephants is irrelephant"

I thought that was hillarious, and it applies to most of the comments on this page, so just thought I'd share.

Oct 20, 2010
(insert your deity name here) please help me. Title of this article and initial theory they were trying to prove: "Carbon dioxide controls Earth's temperature". Really? Geeez, what would the model do if you removed the ocean, or the Sun? Would it still tell you that CO2 is the "thermostat"? What if you set ocean, land or ice albedo to zero? I'll tell you what would happen. The model would give faulty results because setting something like CO2 levels to zero in one of these models is way outside the parameters of the model. Terms in calculus equations tend to go to infinity or to zero when you start zeroing out key values that are designed to be nonzero values by the people who make the model. Clearly I'm not an expert, but that is probably a good educated guess.

Oct 20, 2010
National defense is a constitutional mandate.
So is providing for the common good and general welfare of the citizenry. So your stance is impunged.
145.2/1896 ~ 7%
Compared to the the rest of the budget, the cost is not much.
Except the budget doesn't reflect the actual expenditure does it, Marjon. How about the appropriations bills that took money from those other programs bankrupting them inorder to fund the war on terror? That's another 1.2 trillion dollars.

Oct 20, 2010
"National defense is a constitutional mandate.
So is providing for the common good and general welfare of the citizenry"

Yeah, but we can't have everything we want, because we can't afford everything we want, so we have to decide what's most important. If I were a Congressman in a district with a big Boeing Plant, I'd say the defense budget is important. If most voters in my district are environmentalists, oops wait, there is no such district. Envionmentalists are a special interest group who do not hold a majority anywhere. Oh well, I guess they get the short end of the budget stick.

Oct 20, 2010
Wish I could delete that last comment. It's off topic and likely to cause a storm of criticism. That was an entirely editorial comment, and should be disregarded.

Oct 20, 2010
Yeah, but we can't have everything we want, because we can't afford everything we want, so we have to decide what's most important.
I'd like to not have gangs of homeless vandals roaming the streets of the US, so funding SSI, Welfare, and other "entitlement" programs, so these people can rejoin productive society is of greater importance than bombing some desert nomads into dust. It's a matter of import, and your post isn't without merit. I simply think it doesn't take all potentials into account.

Oct 20, 2010
@GSwift7,
Geeez, what would the model do if you removed the ocean... Would it still tell you that CO2 is the "thermostat"?
Yes. Back in the old days, when computers weren't nearly as powerful, climate models focused exclusively on the atmosphere while ignoring both landmass and oceans. The outcome they invariably produced was that CO2 still acted as a thermostat.
, or the Sun?
An idiotic (deliberately? or naturally?) question, since that's the energy input into the system without which there's no heat transfer to calculate in the first place.
What if you set ocean, land or ice albedo to zero?
Again, these correspond to default assumptions in older (circa 1970s) climate models, and yes CO2 acts as a thermostat in those models too.
setting something like CO2 levels to zero in one of these models is way outside the parameters of the model.
Wrong. Atmospheric and oceanic circulation calculations are not driven by parameters, but by laws of physics.

Oct 20, 2010
ctd.

The weak spot in the current GCMs are aerosols and clouds, as well as biosphere feedbacks, for which there are still no adequate physics-derived models, and parameters based on empirical approximations are used instead. But when it comes to radiative transfer, convection, circulation, precipitation, and chemical weathering, these are actually based on hard physics, with the only "parameters" being the quantities of gases and fluids involved (i.e. the actual composition of Earth's atmosphere, and the structure of Earth's surface and ocean basins.)
Clearly I'm not an expert, but that is probably a good educated guess.
In the time you've spent posting falsehoods on this site, you could've easily become an expert...

Oct 20, 2010
VK1,

There isn't a rain of carbon atoms that falls from the sky when lightning strikes.

The NET REACTION is CO2(g) --> CO(g) + 1/2 O2(g). CO floats. It's light. It's a gas. There's no such reaction as CO2(g) --> C(s) + O2. Please note that I said NET REACTION.

When you hear of carbon dioxide electrolysis, you're actually reading about the reactions of the type described in the following articles:

http://rtreport.k...port/600 Fluid Systems/609.html

http://www.lpi.us...DHAR.PDF

The first system involved a molten carbonate (CO3) bath with platinum electrodes used to create carbonate anions (CO3-). I'll let you get the cathodic and anodic reactions from the article.

The second works similar to a fuel cell. CO2 is exposed to high temp and an electric field and separates into CO and 2O-. With an appropriate electrolye (yttria-stabilized zirconia in this case), the O- migrates to the anode, gets e-, and makes O2.

Oct 20, 2010
First link wouldn't work...

Cathodic reaction:
4CO2 + 4 e- --> 2CO + 2CO3
Anodic reaction:
CO3- --> 2CO2 + O2 + 4e-
Gives a net reaction of:
2CO2 --> 2CO + O2

Oct 20, 2010
That has been discussed before and does NOT mean that the govt is authorized to redistribute income.
National defense DOES provide for the general welfare by protecting the nation from invasion.
SH, if you want all to be productive provide incentives for them to be productive. End the minimum wage, stop attacking churches who provided the charity, get the govt out of the way and NGOs and churches WILL do a much better job than a faceless, bureaucratic nanny state.

When you spend 10 million dollars on a bomb, and use that bomb to blow a hole in the wall, you've destroyed 10 million dollars.

When you give a poor person $400 they spend that $400 on something, which is earned by a company, that then invests or spends that money on another employee, and potentially creates a job.

Don't talk to me about the redistribution of wealth when you don't know how wealth is distributed or destroyed.

Oct 20, 2010
One of the key concepts here (taught in High School Chemistry) is that oxygen needs only 2 electrons to complete its valence (6-electron p) shell, whereas carbon needs 4 to do the same. All atoms prefer to have complete outer valence shells, which is the key reason why covalent bonds form; to do so atoms either donate or usurp electrons. In this case, the condition is satisfied easily when forming CO, where O gains 2 electrons for a complete p-shell, and C gives up those two electrons to have no p-shell at all (this is simplified language; in fact, those 2 electrons just end up spending much more time around the O atom than around the C atom.) So thermodynamically, CO is preferred over a mixture of atomic C and O. A similar thing happens when CO is joined by another O atom: the second O atom "steals" the 2 now-valent 2s electrons from C to complete its own p-shell (p shell completion is preferred over s shells.)

Oct 20, 2010
To Pink:

"Yes. Back in the old days, when computers weren't nearly as powerful, climate models focused exclusively on the atmosphere while ignoring both landmass and oceans. The outcome they invariably produced was that CO2 still acted as a thermostat."

You totally missed the point of what I said. I wasn't talking about using another model. I was talking about doing exactly what these people did. They used a current model, designed to have valid CO2 inputs, and removed them. If we take that SAME model and remove the ocean, what happens? Does this SAME experiment, AS PERFORMED HERE, but with the ocean inputs set to zero, indicate CO2 drives the system, or would THIS MODEL show that when you remove the ocean, the earth will freeze/boil/explode/melt/whatever. They are claiming that, because they removed the CO2 input from the model, and the model indicated that the model earth would freeze with no CO2 model input, that CO2 is primarily what makes the Earth warm.

Oct 20, 2010
@VK1,
What we classify as fresh air is air that has a higher oxygen content.
What you perceive in the air after a thunderstorm, is actually elevated ozone content. Ozone (O3) is manufactured by lightning (and open-air electrical discharges in general) by ionizing oxygen molecules (O2). The oxygen content doesn't increase, and you can't smell oxygen. You can indeed smell ozone, and that's what your nose picks up as "freshness".
Post storm air is fresh easy to breathe, why and how does this happen?
Before a storm, typically humidity is high and there's lots of dust in the air. After a storm, humidity drops and the dust is washed out of the air by rain. That's what makes it easier to breathe. AFAIK storms don't affect CO2 content, though CO2 does dissolve in water and it's conceivable that raindrops carry some small fraction of atmospheric CO2 down to the ground. But I very much doubt the fraction is large enough to be perceptible.

Oct 20, 2010
My point was that it's absolutely stupid to remove the ocean input from the model they used. The model would give you stupid results; garbage in garbage out. Setting the CO2 input to zero is equally absurd in regard to expecting a meaningful result. These models aren't new. If this work had any meaning at all, someone would have already done this, such as the people who originally made the model. The idea that CO2 drives the whole system is absurd anyway, so I don't know what you're talking about when you said that it does. The ocean and the tilt of the Earth are the key drivers. I don't care if the atmosphere had so much carbon that it rained charcoal, the ocean is still the 'thermostat' of our planet.

Oct 20, 2010
@GSwift7,
They used a current model, designed to have valid CO2 inputs, and removed them.
You don't understand how these models are constructed. Current models are not some reinvention from scratch. They are incrementally built on past models. They are supersets of what was simulated previously. The relevant subsets that you focus on, have largely been conserved without change, with the main significant difference being increased spatial resolution.
The ocean and the tilt of the Earth are the key drivers.
The Milankovitch cycles alter insolation by a very minuscule amount. If it weren't for strong feedbacks (involving CO2 and H2O), the large climate swings of the ice ages would have never happened.
the ocean is still the 'thermostat' of our planet.
It is the heat reservoir and effectively the low-pass filter for long-scale climate variability, but it is not the thermostat.

Oct 20, 2010
Both CO and CO2 are odorless. They will both kill you, however CO can be worse. CO2 "poisoning" is really just the lack of oxygen. You're not poisoned, you die from asphyxiation. With CO poisoning, the CO will actually bond to your blood more strongly than oxygen and can restrict you blood's ability to transport oxygen throughout your body.

There is really nothing that forms when you electrolise H2O and CO2. The CO2 will dissociate to some degree from the heat (not from the actual electricity passing through it. CO2 does not conduct electricity and, thus, cannot be electrolized by lightning) and H2O could use electrolysis to dissociate into H2 and O2 gas.

The reactions for oxygen production from CO2 in my post above would not occur in open air in a lightning storm. They require special set-ups such as an excess of molten carbonate (CO3) or a fuel-cell type set-up with electrodes and an electrolyte that the O- ions will pass through.

In both cases, help is needed to form O2.

Oct 20, 2010
That 10 million pays the salaries of hundreds of engineers in New England and around the country.
Those engineers buy houses in NH keeping your property values up and helping pay your taxes.
Eerie vibes of Zorg...

http://www.youtub...NIWPkNzA

Or might he be channeling Mr. Shadow?
BP 'welfare' payments are 'encouraging' Gulf fisherman to stay home instead of working.
Oh, great FSM in heaven.

In other words, when somebody through wanton negligence destroys your livelihood and business, you are supposed to just suck it up like a man, bite on a stick, bend over the barrel, drop your pants, and beg for seconds?

Tort reform according to marjon: there shall be no reparations to victims of crime, ever, because that makes the victims lazy.

Good grief... Just when I thought the clown couldn't surprise me any more...

Oct 20, 2010
Good grief marjon, you argue that government taxing and spending other people's money is the most horrible economic evils that could be perpetrated, but then you argue that government spending that money making big expensive bombs is better than giving that money to people who need it to live? I guess for you righties, big government is either enemy or friend, depending on whatever propaganda you're spouting at the moment.

Oct 20, 2010
I'm sincerely surprised that so many here defend this model as a valid experiment. Theories that don't lend themselves to experimental validation aren't well-formed scientific theories, even if shrouded in the jargon of the scientific method in order to lend themselves credibility.

I'm not asserting that climate change models CAN'T be empirically explored, but this instance clearly was not. To wit: A model IS nothing more than a hypothesis...in fact any scientific hypothesis IS, in essence, simply an asserted model. The model author's assertion that his theory is an experiment is patently unscientific.

It is logically absurd, and an unfailing sign of pseudoscience, to assert that a hypothesis or model IS the experimental demonstration.

For any who insist upon defending such a flawed methodology: My model indicates you are a dark age zealot promoting ecohysteria and perverting science. Next, I assert that my model is an experiment that proves its assertions. QED

Oct 20, 2010
When you spend 10 million dollars on a bomb, and use that bomb to blow a hole in the wall, you've destroyed 10 million dollars.
That 10 million pays the salaries of hundreds of engineers in New England and around the country.
Those engineers buy houses in NH keeping your property values up and helping pay your taxes.

No it doesn't. It pays for the electricity for the robots at the weapons factory to keep churning out death machines because human workers are too slow and inprecise to build weapons triggers.

Oct 21, 2010
@Feste,
It is logically absurd, and an unfailing sign of pseudoscience, to assert that a hypothesis or model IS the experimental demonstration.
Let me guess... You're one of those chumps who thinks the theory of evolution is pseudoscience because no experiment has reproduced the progression from fish to man.

Oct 21, 2010
@Feste,
It is logically absurd, and an unfailing sign of pseudoscience, to assert that a hypothesis or model IS the experimental demonstration.
Let me guess... You're one of those chumps who thinks the theory of evolution is pseudoscience because no experiment has reproduced the progression from fish to man.


Pink: Let me guess, you're one of those chumps who thinks a model is an experiment. Even questions that lend to rigorous, experimental inquiry do not establish "truth", yet we find those questions that are limited to quasi-scientific induction most vigorously defend their conclusions as "facts". Ironic.

Any model can be correlated by an advocate to match select instances of observation. But a valid model is predictive, not reflective; it's conclusions can be tested empirically, or it's not a wellformed scientific model. Not all questions lend themselves to scientific method inquiry. Shrouding quasi-scientific inquiry in the garb of science is disingenuous.

Oct 21, 2010
Well... No... CO2 is chemically poisonous. That is why your body devotes considerable effort to removing it from your blood.

Direct toxicity occurs at around 5% as a result of acidosis, although it's effects will be apparent at concentrations of 3%.

This is irrespective of the O2 levels.


I stand corrected.

Oct 21, 2010
@ Feste: I tried to make the same point earlier, but these zealots are so hell-bent on supporting ANY statement that strengthens the AGW argument that they are even happy to accept junk like that above. I tried to point out that setting the CO2 level to zero in the model doesn't really work, and Pink went to great lengths to explain to me that I'm an idiot. I stopped worrying about it after that. If he can't see any of the obvious logical falacies in this article then his brain obviously isn't wired for critical thinking.

Oct 21, 2010
and yes CO2 acts as a thermostat in those models too.


Did they bother in this model to remove the H20 to check CO2's effeciency under the same conditions? It does not seem they did. Since both are thermostats, you will run into the same problem.

If you removed the entire atmosphere, earth's avg surface temp drops to -18 degrees C. C02 can not sustain the temp above 0 C either, when you remove 75% of the insulation.

Oct 21, 2010
Using the moon as a guide, if you removed the atmosphere the temperature might fluctuate between -330 F (at night) to +240 F (in day), for an average around -63 F (at the moon's equator).

Oct 21, 2010
of course that's surface temp, not air temp, since we removed all the air. I wonder if the models are capable of giving any kind of meaningful answer if you wanted to simulate this scenario on a climate model? Probably not, since they arent designed for that, but it might be an interesting test of the model if it could be done.

Oct 21, 2010
Since both are thermostats, you will run into the same problem.


Let me correct that. They are both insulators. A thermostat, like the one in yourh ome, tells the furnance to raise its temperature, in essence it controls the amount of energy inputted into the system.

Insulation in your house does not. It will help keep you warmer or cooler, longer, but it has no direct control over the energy input.

C02 is an insulator. The purpose of adding insulation is reduce the amount of energy necessary to keep an object/area at a specific temperature.

@Gswift - Yes, remove the climate from a climate model and what do you get? No climate..imagine that.


Oct 21, 2010

Wake up wage slave. Your life is one of bondage and subservience to your Corporate masters.


Wake up wage slave!! And become a Slave to the State!!! woohoo...ridiculous.



BTW, If you are an American, your wish for your own soldiers' deaths is appaling.


Oct 21, 2010
lol, yes Yellow. It's obviously not going to give 'climate' results, but it may give a result that is meaningful in an unexpected way. For example; I have a manufacturing efficiency tracking program that the company I work for uses. It's custom software designed by a third party. Since there isn't any good documentation, and I have no way of 'looking under the hood' to see the math, it's not always obvious how they are working out some of the values. By creating a fictional production run, and then playing the min/max game with the values I enter, I can figure out which inputs are used to calculate certain outputs and which are not. It doesn't represent any real world situations, but it is informative in some ways. I was just wondering what it might look like when you do that with a climate model. That is, after all, what they say they did here with CO2. As you point out, if you take away the air it should make the model 'blow up'. But can you really take the CO2 out either?

Oct 21, 2010
@Feste,
we find those questions that are limited to quasi-scientific induction most vigorously defend their conclusions as "facts". Ironic.
Nonsense. Climate models are not so much inductive, as they are deductive. The inputs are empirical in nature, true. And the laws of physics involved with radiative transfer and hydrodynamics calculations, one could characterize as inductively originated to a degree (but then, so is ALL of science.) However, once you specify the rules and the initial conditions, actually running the model forward in time produces a deductive prediction. If you wish to challenge the conclusion, then you need to find fault with the premises -- namely, radiative transfer, convection, precipitation, air-ground/air-water coupling, and various other mechanisms built into the models. If you can't find fault with the inputs -- to such an extent that it significantly impacts the output -- then you've got nothing to complain about.

Oct 21, 2010
@Yellowdart,
Did they bother in this model to remove the H20 to check CO2's effeciency under the same conditions? It does not seem they did.
Well, not in this particular study, anyway, as reported above.
Since both are thermostats, you will run into the same problem.
They don't work in the same way. You can't freely modulate the amount of H2O in air, because if you put excess H2O it will immediately precipitate out, and if you don't put enough, it will instantly rebalance by evaporation from surface. IOW, H2O in air is tightly controlled by air (and ground) temperature: it is a direct function of temperature.

By contrast, you can arbitrarily manipulate the quantity of CO2 in air. This will alter temperatures, and yes as a knock-on effect this will cause additional outgassing or sequestration of CO2 (and H2O) at the surface. But these feedbacks occur in the same direction as your imposed change, so they merely amplify the initial input.

Oct 21, 2010
@GSwift7,
As you point out, if you take away the air it should make the model 'blow up'.
There's no reason to expect such an outcome. If you take away all the air, the model will simply compute the surface temperature based on insolation and the surface's albedo, via Kirchhoff's law. Of course, if you included the oceans, with 0 atmospheric pressure at the outset you'll get a massive cloud of vapor coming off the surface (assuming the surface temperature starts out at current average), and you'll quickly end up with a water vapor atmosphere. By the results of the study above, however, this atmosphere will not be sufficient to sustain the surface temperature, which will drop, causing the atmosphere to gradually precipitate out, and so on, until you end up with a frozen ice ball ala Europa.
But can you really take the CO2 out either?
Sure you can.

Oct 21, 2010
When you have a constant input of energy into a system, and increase it's "insulation," as you put it, you decrease the amount of energy escaping the system, thereby increasing the total amount of energy within the system. In other words, if you put on a parka, you'll be warmer than if you put on windbreaker.

Oct 21, 2010
I would be willing to bet it's not that simple Pink. If you remove all the CO2 from the air, then you have to supress outgassing of CO2 from the ocean and land, plant respiration, human CO2 sources, CO2 radiative forcing in the upper atmosphere, etc. don't you? There are probably other CO2 factors I'm not thinking of too. Are all those factors 'modeled', or are some of them just included as constants in certain parts of the models? I certainly don't know the answer to those questions. Do you? If so, then I'd sure like to know how you know all that. From this article, it's impossible to know the details of what they actually did and how they did it. It's impossible to know how dilligent they were in setting up the initial conditions of the model. How can you be so sure of yourself? Please point me towards a reference where you found all this information that doesn't seem to be available anywhere else, since the second study, by Gavin Schmidt was accepted for publication, but hasnt been.

Oct 21, 2010
You know what marjon, a metaphor is just a metaphor, and only an idiot think's it's a perfect depiction of what it's a metaphor for. But then, you're a world class idiot, and hell-bent to remain so. I just kinda wonder what you're doing on a site where people are reading about new knowledge and discoveries, when you think you already know it all.

Oct 21, 2010
@GSwift7,
you have to supress outgassing of CO2 from the ocean and land
You could, but it won't likely make much difference. Those are relatively "slow" sources; they can't restore anywhere close to current concentrations before the planet freezes over.
CO2 radiative forcing in the upper atmosphere
If you removed all CO2 from the atmosphere, that won't be much of a factor, would it?
Are all those factors 'modeled'
In this particular model, only land/oceans and atmosphere are included (i.e. no plants or humans.)

http://www.giss.n...acis_01/

Quoting: "This climate modeling experiment was performed using the GISS ModelE general circulation coupled atmosphere-ocean climate model"

http://www.giss.n...cms.html

"coupling to a variety of ocean models, up to and including fully dynamic three-dimensional (3D) ocean general circulation models (OGCMs) and ... tracer subsystems including atmospheric chemistry and aerosol transport"

Oct 21, 2010
@GSwfit,

No you cant really. CO2 is important for plant life and thus animal life...and on it goes.

The question really is, is how effective is CO2 at insulation. What happens with too much insulation depending on the location of the heat source?

Oct 21, 2010
When you have a constant input of energy into a system, and increase it's "insulation," as you put it, you decrease the amount of energy escaping the system, thereby increasing the total amount of energy within the system. In other words, if you put on a parka, you'll be warmer than if you put on windbreaker.


Yes, but that is because the heat source is inside the parka. Take a fireman's jacket and the hotter temps are outside the jacket when confronted with a fire.

Insulators work both ways. The earth's atmosphere is simply its jacket against the sun.


Oct 21, 2010
@Yellowdart,
Insulators work both ways. The earth's atmosphere is simply its jacket against the sun.
Wrong.

The atmosphere is largely transparent to the incoming radiation from the Sun, because it is overwhelmingly short-wave (visible spectrum) photons. The outgoing radiation is overwhelmingly long-wave (infrared), to which the atmosphere is largely opaque. (Incidentally, that's part of the reason why IR telescopes work much better in orbit...) The difference in emission spectra is due to the fact that the surface of the Sun is at about 5500 C, while the surface of the Earth is at about 13 C.

So the simplistic "parka" analogy is flawed. Our atmospheric "parka" lets one type of heat in readily enough, but traps another type of heat.

So... when will you finally just learn the subject matter basics, and spare us all the effort of constantly correcting you? Here:

http://www.aip.or.../co2.htm

(p.s. wow, marjon actually posted something reasonable!)

Oct 21, 2010
@ Pink Nonsense...If you wish to challenge the conclusion, then you need to find fault with the premises -- (otherwise)-- you've got nothing to complain about.
Nonsense indeed. Any model that doesn't lend itself to rigorous, repeatable experimental testing is ill-formed in an orthodox scientific framework. If you ever understood the scientific method, you seem to have forgotten it. It may still be a model, it may be the best you can do, but it most certainly isn't scientific in the classic sense of the term. I understand why purveyors of non-testable theories are reluctant to differentiate between ill-formed (non-testable)quasi-scientific theories and well-formed scientific theories. That reluctance, no matter how emphatic, won't redeem a non-testable theory: making it conform to the scientific method. Telling its critic that he is obliged to argue the premise is vacuous sophistry. Au contraire, obligation is on you to provide a model than can be experimentally verified.

Oct 21, 2010
What is the emissivity of earth as a function of wavelength? How about the sun?
Earth:
http://lasp.color...sion.gif
above graphic from:
http://lasp.color...ght.html

Sun:
http://en.wikiped...pi_e.png
But that is an equivalent BB temperature, a model, not reality.
BB curves act as envelopes; actual emission intensities fall within the envelope. The Sun is an exception, because its corona is much hotter than its surface, whereas the emissions from the two sources are superimposed.
What are the spectral absorption lines for CO2, H2O, CH4, ...?
You do know how to use Google, don't you? I'm not your web search slave...

Oct 21, 2010
@Feste,

The models are tested routinely. The usual methodology is as follows: the model is tuned based on a known period of climate fluctuations (typically, several decades' worth.) Once the model reproduces the expected outputs with adequate fidelity, it is then run on a DIFFERENT period of known climate fluctuations (again, a few decades' worth.) The output is compared to the record. Thereby, it is ascertained whether the model reproduces actual climate effects within a particular range of confidence.

Moreover, individual components of the models are subject to direct lab tests; most notably the radiative transfer component.

Furthermore, general circulation components are tested by comparing the patterns of activity in the model (not the exact movements, but derived measures such as cumulative transport and turbulence quantities) with the patterns of activity measured in the real world.

I do realize YOU have never heard of such things. But your authorization wasn't required.

Oct 22, 2010
marjie, read the answer again. That Earth emission plot indicates exactly how much energy is radiated at each wavelength. Overlaid with the appropriate blackbody curve. For any given wavelength, the emissivity is the height of the blackbody curve, divided by the height of the emission plot. (note that for some wavelengths, the emissivity is over unity: I suspect that's due to back-scattering sunlight due to non-zero albedo -- or otherwise, perhaps it's accentuated emission in some spectral lines to compensate for lack of emission or blockage by greenhouse gases on other lines.)

Of course, somehow I think you didn't even know what "emissivity" means. Well, enjoy the lesson free of charge.

Oct 22, 2010
In the spirit of public service, free of charge to all representatives of species Boobus americanus:
The emissivity of a material (usually written ε or e) is the relative ability of its surface to emit energy by radiation. It is the ratio of energy radiated by a particular material to energy radiated by a black body at the same temperature.

http://en.wikiped...issivity

Oct 22, 2010
removed (double post)

Oct 22, 2010
Uhhuh. Did you realize the graphs I linked for you represent actual satellite measurements, and not some theoretical decomposition into CO2 vs H2O emissivity? They show the cumulative emissivity of the entire atmosphere, as it really is in practice. When it comes to actual empirical measurements, there's nothing "very complicated" other than actually getting a satellite in orbit, equipped with the right kind of spectrophotometer.

Oct 22, 2010
How do you measure the photons emitted by the earth that are absorbed by the atm from a satellite?
Oh, I see. I thought by "earth" you meant the planet Earth (especially when mentioned in the same breath as emissions by the Sun.)

Turns out by "earth" you meant "ground" (go figure...) Which of course makes your question completely unanswerable by design, because different regions of the surface are composed of completely different chemical species and thus will have widely ranging emissivities.

Yet this isn't even relevant. Only a tiny proportion of surface heat is lost by direct thermal emission; most surface heat is removed by sensible transfer to air, aided by convection (it's what drives climate.)

We've been over this before, and not just once...

Oct 22, 2010
PE, you're arguing with someone who believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old. He'll cite anything that lends creedence to whatever argument of the day he's using, even if it's past that point. He's a psychotic antisocial misfit who thinks you're going to hell because you don't bow before his measure of justice.

Stop wasting your breath.

Oct 22, 2010
The ONLY way heat can leave the earth (land, water and atm) is by radiation into space. That is what your satellite measures.
That's right. And MOST of that radiation is emitted by the atmosphere, not the ground.

Perhaps you can see this more clearly if you consider the heat content of a square meter of ground surface down to depth of 1 meter, vs. the heat content of the entire atmospheric column above that square meter of ground surface...

The atmosphere clearly has more heat to throw off in toto. And that's before even considering that it's also partially opaque to a significant portion of the radiation coming up from the ground.
NASA is working on Clarreo, a NIST calibrated radiometer to accurately measure those photons.
That's good, but it won't be the first such measurement (as you can see from the figure/site I've linked previously.) More precision and time continuity is always welcome, of course.

Oct 22, 2010

The models are tested routinely...

Pink, so the model was correlated to an instance, and exercised against another instance. I suppose we should trust that the modelers wouldn't tweak parameter weighting, or ignore data that doesn't fit the model's predicts (afterall GW zealots have never done anything like that before). Then we should stand in awe that the model output remains fairly accurate when subjected to MINOR state space variances. Next we are asked to suspend skepticism and accept that, if the model can predict MARGINAL variances in collective parameter states, it will accurately induce results when radically varying parametric state space in the model by several orders of magnitude (like 0ing out non-condensing greenhouse gases/aerosols)! And you assert thus exercising the model meets the attributes of a valid "experiment". The only experiment here is an experiment in gullibility.
It is this kind of wild ass assertion that exposes AGW researchers' lack of objectivity

Oct 22, 2010
@Feste,

Your language betrays a deep hatred and derision toward all AGW researchers. If you want to talk about true spirit of science, perhaps you should first take a gander at your own bile and bias.

Now, you may also be interested to hear that global circulation models have been successfully applied to other planets, including Mars and Venus. Additionally, GCMs have been run on paleoclimate inputs, to reproduce paleoclimate conditions. How's all of that for a wide range of parameters?

When a model is constructed on fundamental physical principles, it does not really matter what inputs you give it (as long as the inputs themselves stay within the realm of physical feasibility.) Obviously, if you feed a GCM the parameters of Jupiter or the Sun, it would probably choke. But GCMs can easily handle any range of variability from Earth's geological history over the past 3-4 billion years (provided, of course, that you know what the landmass/ocean configuration looked like...)

Oct 22, 2010
How are GCM validated on Venus? No instruments can survive on its surface.


http://www.google...mp;cad=b

Oct 23, 2010
Pink,
Not hatred, merely contempt. Not for all AGW researchers, only those that exaggerate wildly.

Tailoring (adjusting parameters and weights for) global circulation models for Venus or Mars is much different than fixing the parameters and weights in the model referenced (in this story) based on a correlation instance and then exercising it as broadly as you've suggested. When you tailor a model to an new instance, YOU'VE CHANGED THE MODEL! I could make any poorly formed model perfectly correlate to an infinitely broad set of state spaces as long as I'm allowed to tailor the model's parameters and weights as I go. Models have great utility for extending hypotheses; I use them all the time in my field; but they have real limitations too. The most common fallacy is neglecting 1st or 2nd order effects rising from neglected parameter interdependency (e.g., combined effects), other non-linear effects and presumed boundary homogeneity. Models are useful, they just are NOT experiments.

Oct 23, 2010
I could make any poorly formed model perfectly correlate to an infinitely broad set of state spaces as long as I'm allowed to tailor the model's parameters and weights as I go.
Key phrase being, "poorly formed". When a model is based on well-defined dynamics, you won't be able to match an *infinitely broad* set of state spaces, no matter how much you fiddle with parameters. Quite simply, you can't fit a square peg into a round hole, no matter how creatively you turn and align it.
The most common fallacy is neglecting 1st or 2nd order effects rising from neglected parameter interdependency (e.g., combined effects), other non-linear effects and presumed boundary homogeneity.
GCMs are implemented on top of differential equation solvers, so they account for 1st and 2nd order effects by design. As for boundary homogeneity, not sure what you mean in this context. Perhaps you could be more specific?

Oct 23, 2010
Models have great utility for extending hypotheses
Why not testing hypotheses?
Models are useful, they just are NOT experiments.
An experiment consists of formulating a hypothesis, then testing it. The model is not itself the experiment, rather it is the system being experimented upon.

You seem to assume that the models are created in advance to satisfy the preconceived hypothesis. That would be a very serious allegation of scientific fraud, so show your evidence, and it better be convincing.

Oct 23, 2010
Why not (use models) for testing hypotheses(, not just for extending them)?

Because the model is a hypothesis.
An experiment consists of formulating a hypothesis, then testing it. The model is not itself the experiment, rather it is the system being experimented on.

Fine, as long as you restrict your conclusion to the narrow assertion that the "test" demonstrates only that the model behaves a certain way...NOT making the leap to imply or assert that the physical universe is the system being experiment upon, which is what Lacis is quoted as suggesting.