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CFC Destruction of Ozone - Major Cause of Recent Global Warming!

Bob Ashworth's picture
Sr. VP

Mr. Ashworth is a chemical engineer and has presented over 50 technical papers on fuels and fuel related subjects. Relating to the subject of global warming, he has written two papers, "CFC...

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  • Sep 4, 2009 12:00 pm GMT

There has been a lot of discussion about global warming. Some say anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused the earth to warm. Others say there is no abnormality at all, that it is just natural warming. As you will see from the data presented and analyzed, a greater than normal warming did occur in recent times but no measurements confirm an increase in CO2 emissions, whether anthropogenic or natural, had any effect on global temperatures. There is however, strong evidence that anthropogenic emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the major cause of the near recent abnormal warming.

CFCs have created both unnatural atmospheric cooling and warming based on these facts:

  • CFCs destroyed ozone in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere causing these zones in the atmosphere to cool 1.37 oC from 1966 to 1998. This time span was selected to eliminate the effect of the natural solar irradiance (cooling-warming) cycle effect on the earth's temperature.
  • The loss of ozone allowed more UV light to pass through the stratosphere at a sufficient rate to warm the lower troposphere plus 10" of the earth by 0.48 oC (1966 to 1998).
  • Mass and energy balances show that the energy that was absorbed in the lower stratosphere- upper troposphere hit the lower troposphere-earth at a sustainable level of 1.71 x 1018 Btu more in 1998 than it did in 1966.
  • Greater ozone depletion in the Polar Regions caused these areas to warm up some two and one-half (2 ½) times that of the average earth temperature (1.2 oC vs. 0.48 oC) rise. This has caused permafrost to melt, which is releasing copious quantities of methane, estimated at 100 times that of manmade CO2 release, to the atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere slowly converts to CO2 and water vapor and its release has contributed to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
  • There is a temperature anomaly in Antarctica. The Signey Island landmass further north, warmed like the rest of the Polar Regions; but south at Vostok, there has been a cooling effect. Although the cooling at Vostok needs to be analyzed in more detail, because of the large ozone hole there, black body radiation from Vostok (some 11,400 feet above sea level) to outer space is most likely the cause. Especially, since this phenomenon occurred over the same period that stratospheric ozone destruction took place.
No Empirical Evidence for CO2 Causing Global Warming

Recent empirical data (1) show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have no discernible effect on global temperature, see Figure 1. The temperature plots shown are from two sources; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and the United Kingdom's (UK) Hadley Climate Research Unit. The CO2 plot is from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. A certified meteorologist developed the temperature -- CO2 concentration graph from the data sources.

While CO2 levels increased some 20 ppmv over the past 10 years, global temperatures did not increase as predicted by the IPCC models -- they fell! The earth's temperature from 1998 to 2008 dropped by 0.7 to 0.8 oC depending on which temperature set is chosen for comparison.

Besides a carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere, concentration of methane has increased 2.5 times from pre-industrial time (700 ppbv) to 1,745 ppbv in 1998 (2). In 2000, methane concentrations leveled off at 1755 ppbv and currently are slowly dropping. Two years earlier, stratospheric CFC concentrations leveled off and started to drop slowly, so methane emissions look like they are tied to depletion of ozone. Where is the methane coming from? A recent study (3) showed that the permafrost is melting in North Siberia and is releasing methane from the surface of thawing lakes that has been sequestered there since the Pleistocene era (10,000 to one million years ago). Further, the researchers' estimate that methane carbon is being emitted at a rate some 100 times the rate of carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels. Methane (CH4) slowly converts to CO2 in the atmosphere and this is the most likely cause for increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Ozone Loss Effect

Stratospheric ozone has been diminished by CFCs and other refrigerants-propellants released into the atmosphere. These compounds are broken down by the sun's UV rays and release chlorine and bromine molecules that destroy the ozone. Scientists estimate that one chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules over its life in the stratosphere. With less ozone in the stratosphere, more UV rays hit earth, warming it up and increasing the risk of skin cancer. The protective ozone layer extends from 8 km (upper troposphere) up throughout the whole stratosphere.

The annual mean stratospheric ozone concentration above Antarctica (4) as measured at the British Antarctic Survey Station in Halley Bay (Latitude 76 south, Longitude 26 west) was 319 Dobson Units (standard measurement of ozone concentration) in 1956. In 1995, the mean value was 212 Dobson Units, showing an average drop of 33% from 1966. Although not as severe, ozone concentrations, north of the Arctic Circle, have dropped as well.

It is well known that the warming of the stratosphere is caused by the reaction of ultraviolet light with ozone. Energy is absorbed and ozone (O3) converts to diatomic (O2) and (O) nascent oxygen. Conversely, ozone loss decreases the amount of UV light absorbed and thus causes the stratosphere to cool. The direct effect of ozone concentration on temperature is shown in Figure 2 (5). Excluding the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon, Pinatuba, and others, whenever stratospheric ozone concentration drops, the temperature drops with it and vice versa. This effect is shown clearly from 1995 to 2005.

The legendary hypotheses (6) of Paul Crutzen, Sherwood Rowland, and Mario Molina led to CFCs being banned because they were destroying stratospheric ozone. In 1978, the USA banned the use of CFCs in hair sprays and other aerosols. Then in 1987, the world governments, through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), agreed to limit the production and release of a variety of CFCs at a meeting in Montreal, Canada. Since then the agreement has become known as the Montreal Protocol. CFC production was stopped in developed countries but not in developing countries. It will be produced in China, Mexico and other developing countries until 2010.

CFC's and CCl4 are nearly inert in the troposphere and have lifetimes of 50-200+ years. Total stratospheric organic chlorine is currently a little over 3 ppbv. It is different in the stratosphere; the major source of CFC decomposition there is photolysis (7) reaction with ultraviolet (UV) light radiation. Ultraviolet light has wavelengths in the 200-400 nanometer (nm) range.

UV-A light is a low energy light and only about 5% of the UV-A light is absorbed by ozone. Most reaches the surface of the Earth. UV-B light is of moderate energy and ozone absorbs most of the UV-B light before it reaches the surface of the Earth. UV-C light is a high energy UV light. Both ozone and oxygen molecules absorb the UV-C light before it can reach the Earth's surface. Therefore, when there is low stratospheric ozone, more UV (A, B & C) light from the sun passes through the atmosphere to hit earth and heat it up.

CFC chlorine can take other reaction paths, but this is believed to be the predominant ozone destruction cycle. Though the concentration of CFCs is only around 3 ppbv in the stratosphere, one chlorine atom can destroy some 100,000 ozone molecules during its lifetime there. Since the 1960's the stratosphere has cooled (8), see Figure 3. The data suggest that the cooling is due to a loss of ozone.

When CFC refrigerants started to be produced and released into the atmosphere in the sixties, the stratosphere started to cool. The exceptions to cooling occurred during the times of the major volcanic eruptions of Agung, El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo.

In 1998, the stratosphere was 1.37 oC cooler than it was in 1966. This 1966 to 1998 time span was chosen for analysis to negate the solar irradiance cycle and large volcanic eruption effects. The increase in stratospheric temperature from major volcanic eruptions lasts only two to three years; then the temperature goes back to where it would have been if there were no eruptions. As the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere cooled (1966 to 1998), the troposphere and earth warmed (9) by 0.48 oC see Figure 4.

In the Arctic, from 1966 to 1998 (10), the surface temperature increased 2 ½ times the average global temperature (1.2 oC vs. 0.48 oC), see Figure 5. The much colder than normal stratospheric temperatures cause even a greater loss of ozone and thus make the Polar Region stratospheres even cooler. This is why polar landmasses have warmed more than the rest of the earth. Ice crystals that form provide a surface for chemical reactions that change chlorine compounds that do not react with ozone (e.g. hydrogen chloride) into more active forms that do:

The change in ozone depletion chemicals in the stratosphere versus time (11), including future concentration projections is shown in Figure 6. Because of the Montreal Protocol implementation, CFC concentrations peaked in the late nineties and then started dropping slightly.

The line at 2 ppb corresponds to the time when ozone depletion was first detected (1980). It also shows when major ozone recovery is anticipated (2050 to 2060). Figure 7 shows a correlation of CFC concentration and average stratosphere and earth temperature plotted versus time.

The author plotted this graph based on data from Figures 4, 5 and 6. As shown by the vertical lines, in a logical sequence, CFC concentration started to drop first causing a reduction in stratospheric cooling and then a reduction in earth warming. When one sees like trends, it is a good indication that the trends are related to one another.

Large solar heating-cooling cycle variations occur every 80,000 to 110,000 years, but the sun's thermostat also changes in shorter term cooling-warming cycles of approximately 11 years (12), see Figure 9. The period chosen for analysis to negate this effect as mentioned previously was from 1966 to 1998. At these two points in time, the solar irradiance hitting the earth was approximately the same (1368.8 W/m2).

According to NASA (13), the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere, both of which have cooled together, extends from 19 km down to 8 km above the surface of the earth with the lower troposphere being in the 0 to 8 km elevation. Knowing how much the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere cooled and how much the lower troposphere-earth warmed, mass and energy balances could be made to determine how much more radiant energy hit the earth in 1998 compared to 1966.

Table 1 show mass and energy balances for the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere (19 km down to 8 km above sea level). The balances were made by first calculating the mass of gas in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere. Then the recorded average temperature for the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere for 1966 and 1998 was used. The lower stratosphere-upper troposphere was 1.37 oC cooler in 1998 than it was in 1966. By subtracting the energy in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere found in 1966 from that found in 1998 the loss in UV light energy absorption could be calculated. The amount of stratospheric heating from UV-B light in 1998 was 1.7123 x 1018 Btu less than it was in 1966.

The mass and energy balance in Table 2 shows the effect of that additional energy being absorbed by the troposphere/earth in 1998 compared to 1966. The lower troposphere temperature in 1966 (484oR) was used as a base and the added UV light (1.7123 x 1018 Btu) energy passing through the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere was added to the earth/troposphere. Using that increase in UV light energy, after heating the lower troposphere up by 0.48o C there was enough energy left over to heat up ten inches of earth plus water by 0.48 oC. This matches the recorded earth temperature rise from 1966 to 1998.

Added UV light hitting earth accounts for observed warming from 1966 to 1998 (0.48 oC or 0.863 oR)


Many factors influence the earth's temperature. From a scientific analysis, the effect of CO2 is very minimal as shown by an earth temperature drop of around 0.7 to 0.8 oC from 1998 to 2008 during a period when CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased some 20 ppmv. It should be obvious to anyone analyzing climate change that climate-driving forces, other than CO2 control the earth's temperature. Chlorofluorocarbon destruction of stratospheric ozone correlates nicely with both the stratosphere cooling and earth warming anomalies seen over the time span from 1966 to 1998. CFCs appear to be the dominant cause of greater than normal earth warming. One can account for most, if not all of the 0.48oC rise in earth's temperature from 1966 to 1998 with the additional UV light that hit the earth due to loss of ozone in the stratosphere.


(1) D'Aleo, J. S., "Correlation Last Decade and This Century CO2 and Global Temperatures Not There" Data used to develop graph:
NASA microwave sounding unit for temperature of lower troposphere:
Hadley Met Centre for the temperature of the land and oceans:
and Scripps monthly CO2 concentrations from the Mauna Lao, Hawaii Observatory:

(2) Houghton, J.T., et. al.,"Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis Contribution of Working Group I to the
Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Cambridge University
Press, UK, pp 944, 2001.

(3) Walter, K.M., et al. "Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming",
Nature 443, 71-75, Sept. 7, 2006.

(4) Halley Bay ozone data taken by the British Antarctic Survey,

(5) United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Vital Ozone Graphics, p. 13, ISBN 978-92-807-2814-9

(6) Nobel Prize in Chemistry, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, October 11, 1995.

(7) Zander, R. et. al., "The 1985 chlorine and fluorine inventories in the stratosphere based on ATMOS
Observations at 30 degrees North latitude", J. Atmos. Chem. 15, 171, 1992.

(8) HadAT2 radiosonde developed by the United Kingdom Met Office Hadley Centre, maintained by Peter Thorne
and Holly Titchner. Hosted by Met Office Hadley Centre for
Climate Change.

(9) Brohan, P., 2006: Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new
dataset from 1850, J. Geophysical Research 111, D12106, doi: 10.1029/2005JD006548

(10) "Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, ACIA Overview Report", Cambridge
University Press, 2004

(11) "Australia State of the Environment 2001 Independent Report to the Commonwealth Minister for the
Environment and Heritage, p. 27.

(12) Lean, J. 2000, Evolution of the Sun's Spectral Irradiance Since the Maunder minimum. Geophysical Research
Letters, Vol. 27, No. 16, pp.2425-2428, Aug. 15, 2000

(13) Duan, A. (2007), "Cooling trend in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere over China",
Geophys. Res. Lett., 34

Bob Ashworth's picture
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Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
Jeff: Please presnt something explicit to back up you claims on my understanding. You never know, you might be surprised.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
So Jeff: Quit avoiding the question. Do you or do you not, support Bob's contention that re-radiation is of no significance in calculating an energy balance for earth?
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 16, 2009
Len, you are the one who claimed that an IR photon would take a "brownian walk from the earth's surface past the stratosphere" or was it 60,000 feet? I ask YOU again, what is YOUR background in physics, chemistry and so on? Either you are stupid or ignorant but not both.

I'll let Bob deal with you himself if he is so inclined. I'm assuming you are still talking about the previous energy balance issue on his previous paper. Kirchhoff's law states the emissivity of a surface can not exceed one, and in REALITY there is no substance that achieves even that. You and the AGW crowd want to believe that the earth is this perfect black body emitter, that IR photons leave the earth and "brownian walk" their way past the few meters that Hug and others have shown they fully decay and somehow account for ALL the heating component of the missing values in the so-called heat balance that IPCC proposes. People that actually UNDERSTAND these issues find that about as amusing as I found the South Park episode on global warming.

But I am serious, unless I have a better understanding of YOUR background and YOUR understanding I have no idea where to begin to explain these things to you. I am further handicapped by your repeated tendency to ignore all links I post. At least Jim is intellectually honest enough to give it the old college try, methinks college wasn't your strong suit.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
Such dodging, Jeff! Can't even commit to answering a single question when you know you're wrong to be supporting Bob.s nonsense.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 17, 2009
For Jeff, an AGW skeptic (not a denier...), it's all about personal ego. He says:

"This is all about brains Jim and mark my words, will be the undoing of a lot of science respect in the next decade. I for one can proudly say 'I told you so' years before the fact, it will be interesting what you say then. 'I started to kinda suspect something but my nose kept getting in the way?' "

If the debate (for some people) is about being able to say "I told you so", then they will logically avoid facts or information that does not support their position. They have too much ego investment in it at this point.

It looks like both sides seem to talk past each other at this point. Bob's paper is not about the truth of AGW. It's about creating something that AGW skeptics can rally around, and point out to other skeptics. Whether Bob understands this or not, his paper (and even more so his previous paper) is not to be consumed by anyone trying to find the truth about AGW.

Unfortunately, the same is true for much of the pro AGW information. Most of this stuff is too complicated for people to evaluate critically, at least it is for me. The best I can do (without investing inordinate amounts of time in this) is to notice that in my opinion, much of the AGW skeptic material is SHODDIER than the sometimes SHODDY pro-AGW material.

The pro-AGW at least has a process to fix the big mistakes, like fixing the hockey stick. On the skeptic side, there is no such effort on this part, because it's not about truth for them, it's the creation of doubt. That's why Jeff (a smart guy) won't come out an SAY that Beck's paper or the "re-radiation is bullsh*t" comment is inane. He can't actually knowingly lie, but he can obfuscate to hide his silence.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 17, 2009
Len, again I should leave it up to Bob to defend his own statements more eloquently than I but it is apparent that you are misunderstanding things again, so I'll attempt to address your ignorance. If it is stupidity I have no answer.

Ashworth stated 2nd bullet above that the UV wavelengths were what penetrated the troposphere "plus" 10 inches of the surface. Now let us remember our physics wherein we learned that higher frequencies have LESS ability to penetrate objects. For instance, your microwave oven at 2.54 Ghz heats by dielectric motion of the polar molecules, especially water. Put a glass of water in your microwave and heat on high for 1 minute and the water could be 90C. Now try it with an ice cube of the same weight. How long does the ice cube take? Is the difference strictly the difference in temperature or is something else at work here? Cumulative skin effect heating will of course migrate via conduction and convection following Navier-Stokes formulas eventually. However, the point remains that the higher the frequency, the more energetic the photons and the higher the likelihood they will "bounce off" the object. Long wave energy can penetrate solid objects, which is why you can hear an FM radio (10's of Mhz) signal inside a tunnel, but not your Ghz frequency cell phone.

For some reason you want to argue about re-radiation. Yes it occurs, but since you don't understand the inverse square law, you don't understand why the effect has spatial and energy limitations. Throw a ball against a wall as hard as you can, measure the speed when it hits and when it returns. Do it in a hallway so it can bounce against the other wall (the narrow way). Note its speed and energy. What happens? Does the ball continue to bounce back and forth indefinitely with the same energy? Huygens shows us that the photon hitting an object becomes a new point source albeit diminished in energy. Add in the inverse square law and the energy falls off dramatically.

Your little example from the building trades, while amusing has no application here. The issue with protecting plumbing from COLD is quite different from HEAT. You showed your ignorance by pointing out an example of COLD PENETRATION to back up your (erroneous) supposition of HEAT PENETRATION. Remember from Thermodynamics 101, the ground gets colder because the HEAT is LEAVING, not because the COLD is COMING. The absence of replacement heat in your wintertime is why the ground continues to get colder to what is called the frost line. All of this is irrelevant to Bob's paper. A refresher (at least) on thermodynamics may be in order here. ALL HEAT IS ENERGY, HEAT IS THE LOWEST FORM OF ENERGY.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 17, 2009
Jim, I was typing Len's response while you were posting yours. I'm not being silent, but respectful of the author. If he wishes to explain himself he should be the best one to do so. Something I learned long ago in computer science was it is easier to write my own program than to try and debug someone else's. Without understanding where they are going or why they were going there, I can't really step into their shoes. On the other hand, I'm more than capable of reading the same words and applying my understanding of English and the subject matter to correct those who have misinterpreted same.

I've asked Len for his qualifications to discuss science because it would be helpful for me to understand his background to tailor my responses. If he had a degree in physics (beyond unlikely based on his posts) I'd be able to have a discussion at that level. If his degree is in political science instead I could dummy down my responses, for instance not referring to equations I don't believe he could understand. I've taken to doing that anyway because of his obvious reticence to 'fess' up about his background. Unfortunately since I am dummy'ing down my answers I could appear to someone else with superior background to have inferior knowledge. However, I can live with that, but it may cause some errors to creep into my dialogue that would not otherwise if I were able to talk at the higher level the subject deserves.

My concern and the concerns of other skeptics revolves around the fact that AGW has circled around a single hypothesis TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL OTHERS. That would be bad enough, but because of the political ramifications of having an ex-VP of the United States as a vigorous cheerleader, the "science" has received an imprimatur is has not earned "the debate is over", over before it ever began.

My very first post on the subject was before I had researched it. I said we first needed to determine THAT it was really happening, then WHAT was truly causing it, and finally that HUMANS were the source. That was two years ago and nothing has happened to modify that three-legged stool. Any one of the legs not standing and the stool falls down. Well we haven't really gotten past THAT it was really happening, let alone WHAT is the cause and whether HUMANS are the culprits. The deeper I dig including researching the source AGW papers, the more convinced I am that they have put the cart before the horse. Clearly they picked CO2 as the culprit because if it were the sun, then HUMANS couldn't POSSIBLY be at fault and anthropogenic-castigating could not continue.

Hiding evidence and refusing to divulge data and methods does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about the conclusion reached. Let's try this a different way. Let's say I told you I had invented cold fusion, but I am not going to show you HOW I did it, but only let you look at computer simulations would you believe me? If I added a hundred scientists all doing the same thing would you believe me then? If I told you that you needed to curtail all your economies and give me a trillion dollars would you like that? Then what if I said after doing all that the odds that I could actually achieve anything were only on the order of .03%, how would you like it then?

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 18, 2009
Len: The laws of thermodynamics are what I use, you and the IPCC must be using "Play Station" science - make it up as you go along and everyone nod their head in agreement. Re-radiation that promotes the silliness of heating up a warmer body from a cooler body is quite impossible and violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics. I sometimes feel like I am arguing with the wall. What should be obvious to any scientist or engineer is not for reason. I feel lijke Jeff, maybe you are neither a scientist or engineer.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 18, 2009
(OK, this will probably go badly...)

1. Imagine a water tank painted black. I point a narrow laser beam at it. It heats up the tank. The temperature of the tank heats up until the radiative dissipation of the tank with the surrounding air matches the energy of the laser hitting it.

2. Now imagine I put an insulating cover on the tank, but cut a small hole to allow the laser to still hit the tank. Now the temperature of the tank will reach a higher steady state temperature, because the dissipative radiation will be less effective.

3. If I put on an even thicker cover, then the tank will get even hotter, again with the same laser beam.

I don't think I violated any thermodynamic laws here. I don't think the so called "greenhouse effect" does either.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 19, 2009
Jim, see my post to Len above, look up this word (hohlraum) on Google. Laugh with me at what you described. Or did you already do this and now you're just playing along?
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 20, 2009
Jeff "UV wavelengths were what penetrated the troposphere "plus" 10 inches of the surface" -- Given that the UV emitted by the sun can be blocked simply with a heavy shirt, I fail to see how Jeff thinks it might penetrate 10" of earth.

Also Jeff seems to think there is a physical attribute "cold" which is entirely separate from "heat", and which can "penetrate" things. No further discussion, Jeff, your self-claimed vaunted capacity for science is non-existent.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 20, 2009
Bob: Your only remaining faint hope is to continue to delude any unwary readers who don't understand simple science. Since they, such as Jeff, are apparently unreachable with even the very simplest scientific discussion, I leave them to you, and may you enjoy your mutual incomprehension.
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 20, 2009
Len, you should be a politician, since you are so expert at prevaricating. You have taken every point I was making about YOUR misunderstanding of COLD and HEAT and attributed them to me. That is laughable to the extreme. You might have gotten away with it, but anyone with an IQ over 100 can read the posts above and see the points I was attempting to drive through your thick skull. I'm afraid I can't dummy these concepts down anymore than I have, so you are SOL.

As far as skin is concerned you won't burn from UV radiation wearing a shirt, but the heat effect is something else, something else you don't understand. On the human body there is an SAR formula you likewise won't comprehend? We ARE talking about heating here, not sunburns. Ten inches was indeed being generous, but until I straightened you out, you were complaining he hadn't made it 2 meters! Now what is it?

It is so amusing how you pretend to be smart after the fact. Go back to physorg (or are they still laughing at you there?) and peddle your particular brand of BS. Your snarky comments need a little something more than chutzpa to back them up. I'd buy you a beer, but I'm afraid for your remaining brain cells.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 20, 2009
So Jeff, should changes in re-radiation from earth's surface, eg. when the temperature increases, be included as part of an earth energy balance as I contend, or not? Simple question, third or fourth time.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 21, 2009
Jim: You are talking about insulation, not the bogus "greenhouse effect" the IPCC is promoting. In my earlier EnergyPulse "No Evidence CO2 is Causing Global Warming" paper in May, in Figure 7, the IPCC shows a total of 168 watts/M^2 hitting earth. Then they show 102 Watts/M^2 being lost to thermals plus transpiration cooling from plants. That leaves 66 Watts/M^2. Then through the play station science of IPCC they show 390 Watts/M^2 radiating from the earth to the sky and 324 Watts/M^2 so they say everything is in balance. The problem is how did the earth heat up by 390 watts/M^2 when all you had was 66 Watts/M^2 left after the deduction of themals and evaporation. One watt/m^2 translates to 0.317 Btu/hr/ft^2. So say we add a net 1 Btu/hr to one square foot of surface. How is it now that it increases to (390/66) 5.9 Btu/hr?
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 21, 2009
Len: What is your technical background? You keep dodging that question!
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 21, 2009

You keep insisting that this re-radiation of 324 Watts/M^2 (from the GHGs in the sky to the earth) can't occur. Why should I believe you and not Prof. Lindzen or even Jeff?

The gaps in the solar spectrum reaching the earth due to absorption by water vapor, CO2 and other gases are pretty well characterized. Water and CO2 are pretty good at absorbing most IR wavelengths, which is how heat is emitted.

It is not hard for me to imagine the following scenario:

1. Heat from a desert radiates to CO2 and water vapor in the air. Some of the heat is absorbed and heats the air.

2. Cloud moves over the cooler ocean, allowing the heat to radiate back to the planet.

I'm not an atmospheric researcher, but Lindzen is. You don't give any justification why I should trust you and not him (and 1000's of other atmospheric scientists....)

Roger Arnold pointed out that you can't tip the applecart on something so fundamental and accepted without clear, compelling, and overwhelming evidence to support your claim. You have not done this.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 21, 2009
Jim, i agree with your point as another item left out of Bob's calculation. However, when I'm asking about "re-radiation as part of an earth energy balance", on which Bob's entire thesis is based, particularly on a precise energy balance calculation of "energy in (from increased UV capture) over given time period = sufficient to increase surface and atmosphere temperature by amount observed", I note that Bob fails to account for the increased energy re-radiated from the earth due to an increase in the "blackbody temperature" of earth.

Set a planet up in front of a star in a vacuum, and it will heat up until the total energy re-radiated exactly equals the total energy absorbed from the star. Make some modification to the attributes of the planet which cause it to capture more energy from the star, it's surface temperature will rise resulting in increased re-radiation away from the planet until it again settles into a balance. THAT INCREASED ENERGY RADIATED AWAY is what Bob is not accounting for in his article. Temp goes up, re-radiation increases, Bob ignores it as an element of his energy balance.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 21, 2009
Ask Lindzen and Jeff where the added energy comes from. Not you nor Lindzen nor anyone else can tell me this. I have asked and am ingnored everytime. Lindzen should be ashamed of himself.

Energy in must always equate to energy out. Anyone who has ever completed a mass and energy balance knows that. The ones who show this added energy have no clue! I can't believe that this is even a question that needs to be raised. All I can say is the blind are leading the blind. It just shows how little real science is taught anymore, even at MIT. I used to think MIT was a good engineering school, no more. I have also come to believe that atmospheric scientists have never taken a course in thermodynamics.

Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 21, 2009
Len, agreed.

AGW skeptics can make very valid points about how much CO2 actually could affect warming. That's a very reasonable critique. But instead they go off on these wild rants such as questioning basic established phenomena. If even a portion of these claims were true, then all of atmospheric science would have to be re-written, not just stuff relating to AGW.

And all this, by the way, is something that apparently slipped past the gaze of dedicated researchers over the past 50 years, only to be discovered by amateur researchers who just happen to be highly critical of AGW in general.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 21, 2009
The amateurs are the ones who believe in AGW from CO2. They never check their computer models against real data. Real measurements show the earth has cooled over the last ten years. Data analysis is also something else they know nothing about, yet try to lead us to believe they are scientists.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 21, 2009
One last thing, if any of you are building a house and the contractor tells you he is using a 120,000 Btu/hr furnace, tell him you only need a 20,000 Btu/hr furnace because you will get six times more energy out than you put in because of the re-radiation from the walls and ceilings. Then see how warm your house is in the winter. Oh another thing, vent the furnace into your home so the CO2 can create even more re-radiation. Sounds like a plan. All of the AGW supporters should do this to reduce their energy use. You would need a CO meter.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 21, 2009
"because you will get six times more energy out than you put in because of the re-radiation from the walls and ceilings. " -- Completely not relevant to the issue under discussion, which is an accurate energy balance for planet earth.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 21, 2009

If you are performing a mass and energy calculation, it is of paramount important to define the boundaries of the system. In this case, the boundary seems to be a sphere around the Earth, which has 342 W/M^2 coming in and the same going out. I don't know where you think this 6X energy is coming from. But I have a suspicion.

You seem to be concerned that this energy takes some twists and turns in getting out of the system. This is NOT a violation of thermodynamics, despite what you might think. This is just latency. If the sun suddenly stopped shining, it would still take several hours for the earth to cool significantly; an indication of this latency.

The only analogy I can think of is a silly straw; a toy straw used by children. It's straight at the bottom, straight at the top, and shaped like a pretzel in the middle. When liquid is drawn up in the straw, it makes several bends and twists, going up and down, before finally leaving the straw. But the NET movement of liquid is still based only on the diameter of the straw and the velocity of the fluid. The only difference compared with a normal straw is the LATENCY of when the liquid finally exits the straw.

I think you are confusing the vertical flows of energy (before it finally exits the system) with NET energy that leaves. They need not be the same.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 22, 2009
These balances of watts/M^2 are the same as Btu/hr/ft^2. There is a time component so all flows must be in accord with that time component. If the only source of energy input is 168 watts/M^2 entering from the sun and of that only 66 watts/M^2 are available to radiate from the earth how does the 66 watts/M^2 magically create 390 watts/m^2 which radiates to the sky and of which 324 watts/m^2 come back, so the graph balances. How do you ever get 390 watts/M^2 leaving the earth to the sky in the first place? This is my question. Why stop at 390, make it a million.

The straw analogy doesn't work for radiant energy my friends, it travels in a straight line at the speed of light. Even so no stream could be greater than 66 watts/M^2.

The back radiation does occur but heat transfer is always calculated from the warmer to cooler body, never vice versa. It they just had one stream radiating 66 watts/m^2 to outer space the graph would be fine. They do this back radiation shuffle to make people believe that CO2 is causing warming, which is bogus as you all should know by now. Ask any heat transfer engineer how he takes into account back radiation. I never ever heard of that until the IPCC and friends applied their "Play Station" science to global warming.

The graph they use also makes no sense for the watts/m^2 that hits earth is some 1366 watts/m^2 (Figure 8 above) and this value varies based on the solar irradiance cycle. I think they must believe that IR is the only source of heat to the earth, visible and UV light supply much more energy to the earth than IR but they ignore that.

Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 22, 2009

I have reviewed the IPCC diagram and it does NOT violate the laws of thermodynamics, Jim B. is absolutely correct.

The net energy leaving the earth into outer space is the 107 W/m2 reflected incident solar radiation of all solar wavelengths, plus the 235 W/m2 escaping the upper atmosphere into space at largely at IR wavelengths. This totals the 342 W/m2 shown as incident solar radiation hitting the upper atmosphere, balancing the system’s energy transfer rates.

The key in understanding the IPCC diagram is that W/m2 (Watts/square-meter) is a measure of rate of energy transfer density analogous to power flow measured in watts in electrical circuits. Power flow however is not a measure of energy analogous to joules or watt-seconds (or kilowatt-hours) of energy consumed in electrical circuits. One must integrate power level over time to determine energy transferred.

The problem you apparently have with IPCC’s diagram is between the earth's surface and the lower levels of the atmosphere showing the earth emitting IR at 350 W/m2 and the atmosphere radiating 324 W/m2 back to earth. You ask how can these two numbers be higher than those above. The answer is commonly referred to as latent heat or heat storage that is being re-circulated within the system back and forth between the earth and the atmosphere. That circulating heat is transferring at larger rates than the numbers entering and leaving the system above. If you remove the incident sunlight altogether, the energy that leaks into outer space at 235 W/m2 would eventually deplete the re-circulating energy and the earth is seen to gradually cool down.

A simple analogy is a spring. You transfer energy to a spring by compressing it, and get energy out when the spring is expands. If permitted by the system the spring can oscillate back and forth at its resonant frequency, which can build up to a very large amplitude. More importantly the oscillation will be maintained at high amplitude as long as just enough energy is transferred to the spring from outside to match the rate of energy escaping or lost to the outside. Think of a man on a pogo stick for example. This resonance behavior is analogous to the re-circulating energy between the earth and atmosphere at higher transfer rates than the incident sunlight energy or the energy leaking back out into space from the upper atmosphere.

Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 22, 2009
Another similar analogy Bob is a thermos bottle. If you put hot coffee into a thermos, its walls trap the heat inside for a very long time, i.e. the amount of energy leaking out per minute is tiny compared to what is stored inside. And guess what, the energy is constantly radiated by the coffee at the inner wall of the thermos, and the silver-coated wall reflects almost all of it back inside to the coffee.

Everyone knows someone up here in polar bear country Canada whose original furnace will run much less often in winter after they upgrade their home's insulation. There are even transparent film products you can stick to the insides of windows that function like the silver coating on the inside of a thermos bottle, trapping more heat in by reducing the rate of heat escaping through the windows. But the film is completely transparent to visible light wavelengths. Greenhouse gases can be considered much like these window films in the atmosphere.

However I do really think you are onto something about ozone depletion having a much greater climate impact than first thought however, especially at the poles. But I don't think you can simply dismiss all other so-called greenhouse gases until it is proven their contribution is miniscule to climate change.

If greenhouse gases have miniscule affects on climate, consider how simple air temperature and water vapor profiles versus altitude can affect local climates. Classics are how a temperature inversion layer over a large urban area can trap smog and other air pollutants from mixing and being carried away, or the substantially colder temperatures reached on a crystal clear night sky as compared with cloudy nights. I find it tough to believe that any man-made emissions on a world-wide scale are not significantly contributing to climate pattern changes.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 22, 2009
Mr Ashworth: You determination to be in error and to remain so despite having contradicting facts pointed out to you repeatedly indicate that you are arguing from a pre-determined conclusion and simply grasping for shreds of ideas which might temporarily confuse casual non-scientific readers. Or you may actually believe the nonsense you present despite being repeatedly shown your errors, which I find very highly doubtfull but stranger things have happened.

To the casual non-scientific readers who are your target, I would simply recommend that you reserve your decisions until you've scanned the work of the true climate scientists who have put enormous efforts into resolving these issues over long time periods, with many scientific reviews and endless nonsense attacks such as this, all refuted.

If even 1/10th of the stuff the "sceptics" put out were actually scientific fact, there is no way the UN could ever drag the US administration into a second round of treaty negotiations.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 22, 2009
Guys: Although this is no reason to believe me, I have done mass and energy balances my whole life. I had never run into a back radiation phenomena until the IPCC and others made it up. The only radiant energy equation I know of is the overall net radiant energy heat transfer:

qgs = 0.173*es*[egg*(Tg/100)^4 - egs*(Ts/100)^4] (Hottel and Egbert)

Where qgs = rate of heat transfer of radiant energy A = Area of surface absobing heat es = surface emissivity egg = emissivity of the gas at Tg egs = emissivity of the gas at Ts

This would be used in a furnace to calculate the heat transfer to the refractory walls from the flame. As you can see you can only calculate net heat transfer from the hotter to cooler body and not vice versa or you get negative heat transfer.

Also radiation is near instantaneous, no time to bounce around and even if it does the temperature of the surface could never be hotter than the amount of watts/M^2 that hit it in the first place. It could never reach a temperature where it radiated some six times more than was available to radiate.

Why is this not obvious to you? Maybe it is because the mind always want to think everything is more complex than it actually is.

Len: Look at Figure 1 above. These so-called true climate scientists of yours predict the earth is warming but real temperature measurements show just the opposite, around 0.7 degree C cooling in ten years. I think their accuracy is akin to the meterological models used to predict where hurricanes will hit. They couldn't predict where Hurricane Ike was going to hit until the last 24 hours and they missed where Hurricane Rita would hit in the last 24 hours. Apparently another garbage in - garbage out computer model but better than the IPCC models.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 22, 2009
qgs = 0.173*es*[egg*(Tg/100)^4 - egs*(Ts/100)^4] (Hottel and Egbert)

In the above equation, T is always taken to the power of four, meaning that even a small increase in the temperature of the radiating body will greatly increase the amount of heat radiated. YET, in your article, Bob, in Tables 1 and 2, you compute that "Added UV light hitting earth accounts for observed warming from 1966 to 1998 (0.48 oC or 0.863 oR)"

In your own words, you do an "energy balance" calculating that increased incoming UV radiation due to CFC increases over 32 years can provide sufficient energy to increase earth's surface temperature 0.48 degC when accounting for the specific heat of the lower atmosphere, ground and water surfaces to 10 in.

HOWEVER, in THAT calculation, you IGNORE the effects on earth's thermal radiation of an average increase in temperature of 0.48 degC. Given the ^4 factor, and 32 years, that increased radiation will be sufficient to cause serious errors in your calculation as a result.

Errors are also introduced by limiting the thermal interactions of earth's land and ocean surfaces to only 10 inches over 32 years, when we all know that earth's surface heats up and cools down to a depth of at least 6 feet even in just the 6 months of a winter / summer season.

The fact that you refuse to acknowledge these errors indicates a non-scientific attitude.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 22, 2009
Len: I calculated the mass of earth-water that would be heated up, of course there is a gradient on earth, warmer on top coller further down but that was not germaine to the analysis. On earth water vs. land: 70.8% Water, 29.2% land. I used a specific heat of 1.0 Btu/lb/F for both land and water.

I did not use the Hottel Egbert equation because I did not calculate the radiation hitting the earth, i measured the effect of increased radiation by using actual temperature measurements (novel concept to some).

It takes 1 Btu to heat up water 1 degree F. The earth was heated up by 0.48C or 0.864 F. So the increase energy hitting earth based on total mass heated was 0.864 Btu/lb. This is real science Len, but I guess you are used to using real science since you have swallowed hook, line and sinker the garbage thrown out by the IPCC computer models.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
You're still not accounting in your energy balance calculation for the increased energy radiated from the earth due to its 0.48 degC increase in temperature over the period of 32 years (which must be provide from the source you propose, increased UV capture)

And the claim that only 10" of surface participates in any temperature change must either be backed up with a credible reference or declared a wild guess, very likely far too low for a 32 year application of increased temperature, given what we know of earth surface's conduction of seasonal temperature variations over 1/2 year periods. And the heat sinking effect of the ocean surface over a 32 yar time period are likely a lot more than merely the top 10 inches.

I'll sure take the IPCC's rational summarization of ALL relevant peer-reviewed science over such as this. If you want the hypothetically ignored effects of CFC's on earth's climate to be accepted by me, have the subject addressed by a genuine climatologist, then get some of their many computer models to incorporate whatever parts of it the don't already, then have the result peer reviewed BY OTHER CLIMATOLOGISTS, then publish. At that point, the IPCC will accept it, and I will stop harassing you.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
By the way, you and may others seem to missunderstand exactly what "the IPCC" is. Essentially, it is a volunteer organization of all practicing climate scientists the world over, with a small 5 to 10 person co-ordinating Secretariat for each of 4 working groups, and for the supervisory group.

from IPCC Structure - clearly not the entity many think it is, including you who seem to think "the IPCC" runs climate models etc.

[QUOTE]Thousand of scientists all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis as authors, contributors and reviewers. Their work is supported by a central IPCC Secretariat, whose role is to plan, coordinate and oversee all IPCC activities and by the Technical Support Units. The Secretariat and the TSUs employ 5-10 people each.[/QUOTE]

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
I also note, in the fourth IPCC assesment report - Chapter 9 Understanding and Attributing Climate Change, on page 675, the six charts indicating the 5 main contributions to observed climate change (a to e) [QUOTE] Figure 9.1. Zonal mean atmospheric temperature change from 1890 to 1999 (°C per century) as simulated by the PCM model from (a) solar forcing, (b) volcanoes, (c) wellmixed greenhouse gases, (d) tropospheric and stratospheric ozone changes, (e) direct sulphate aerosol forcing and (f) the sum of all forcings. Plot is from 1,000 hPa to 10 hPa (shown on left scale) and from 0 km to 30 km (shown on right). See Appendix 9.C for additional information. Based on Santer et al. (2003a). [/QUOTE]

Item d) covers ozone changes, which is likely what you are discussing. Note that the contribution is practically negligable.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 23, 2009
"...IPCC is ... organization of all practicing climate scientist the world over".


I believe that more properly, it is an organization of "some" climate scientists.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 23, 2009
I'm completely lost. Left town for a week, came back and see that I'm now with "Lindzen" on something, not sure what, but am interested that you're using a climate skeptic to back your AGW claims? Please elucidate for me. In a separate post I'll deal with your thermal mass (otherwise and more properly referred to as heat capacity) misunderstandings.

Len, the IPCC is a POLITICAL GROUP. Always was, always will be. It is right there in the name the InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change. Now if you wanted it to be a Scientific panel wouldn't you name it the InterSCIENTIFIC Panel on Climate Change??? LOL

How it all started:

Here is the summary, the scientists wrote for the 1995 IPCC Draft Report: 1) None of the studies have shown any clear evidence of climate changes due to greenhouse gases.

2) No study has positively attributed any climate change to anthropogenic causes.

3) Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate are reduced

This was not what the UN wanted! They removed all three of the quotes of the scientists, and UN politicians inserted the following Bold Face Lie in the final 1995 Summary Report for lawmakers: The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate. Many of the IPCC scientists quit, and threatened the UN with a lawsuit in order to have their names removed from the IPCC final report.

Because the majority of ETHICAL scientists quit after the 1995 debacle, the remainder have been less and less, shall we say honest(?) in their endeavors. Time and again on this site I've PROVEN that the IPCC and its climate researches have fabricated data, refused to divulge source information and generally behaved like spoiled children. In short they do NOT behave like real scientists would or should. How spin doctors sexed up global warming

Further to the citation by Lord Rees of Ludlow, the president of the Royal Society, of a report by 123 lead authors and 516 contributing authors for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Letters, April 30), let us look at the IPCC's makeup. According to the CVs of its scientists, only a small proportion have conducted any considerable amount of original research. On the other hand, it did have some top grade members, who collectively produced some 200 peer-reviewed books and articles. They have left in disgust at the shenanigans at the panel - including the ad hominem attacks to force some members to produce "correct" answers.

I have a copy of an original draft report. At the foot of each page is an instruction that the information must not be communicated to the media. Why so?

When the scientists go home, along come the spin merchants to make the material easier for the public. My copy shows sentences scored out and new ones inserted. It shows alterations to words to produce the desired green effect.

Research reveals that the calculation of previous CO2 densities has been faulty. Two years ago, it was shown that the density for the 19th century was 335 parts per million, not 290 as used by the IPCC. Some 9,600 years ago it was 348. In other words, we have not had such a huge increase as claimed.

As for Lord Rees's so-called consensus of scientists, I can produce the names (in alphabetical order) of more than 19,000 scientists who disagree.

Robert Pate, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire

Would you like more of the specifics on the REAL scientists who left the IPCC in disgust at the way it was and is politicized? How many links do you not want to read? Here's one you'll ignore, I could post hundreds more.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
A lot of claims there, Jeff, all impossible to substantiate.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
I, at least, assume the IPCC works more accurately than Bob Ashworthy.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
It's also somewhat amusing to see the sceptics accusing the IPCC of being politicised.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
Micheal: "I believe that more properly, it is an organization of "some" climate scientists. " -- Show me then, all the legitimate published peer-reviewed climate science which is not part of IPCC reports. Whether or not any particular scientist gets his nose out of joint because some other scientist makes an error in their area when speaking to a group of press, or not, and refuses to further contribute to the synthesis of the next report, doesn't mean that their completed published, peer reviewed scientific output gets left out of subsequent reports by other contributers. And Mr. Ashworthy doesn't qualify.
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 23, 2009
You are right Len, it is impossible for me to substantiate ANYTHING to your satisfaction because you are a troglodyte who refuses to click on links I provide. However, as anyone ELSE reading this will be able to do so, your intransigence will be on display for all to see and judge accordingly. Here is just ONE example of many that substantiates what I just said. It of course has multiple MORE links you'll never read, so you can continue to plug your ears and close your eyes and pretend I have no evidence. This is REALLY getting old. How did you pass grade school?

Criticize the worthy Bob Ashworth (Freudian slip on your part perhaps?_) all you like, he has demonstrated knowledge, experience and educational background that you clearly lack. Bob talks about SPECIFIC HEAT, which is NOT to be confused with THERMAL MASS or heat capacity. In fact thermal mass has been misunderstood and misused by snake oil salesmen for the past 50 yrs or so, primarily in the building trades. What no one bothers to calculate for you are the sheer BTU's needed to get that mass up to the requisite temperature, and the gradient temp is what determines whether it stays that way, for instance in the frigid north, where people who overpaid for "thermal mass" buildings shiver away in the winter while their house sucks all the heat out of the furnace.

Bob tried to fix your misunderstanding about insulation but we have our other Bob (Amorosi) jumping in with his THERMOS example! Did IQ's go down substantially while I was gone, or just reading comprehension? I'll ask this a different way, does the earth's atmosphere act as an INSULATOR, meaning it is IRRELEVANT to temperature PRODUCTION? I leave the answer as an exercise for the student's cognitive dissonance.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
I haveNO understanding to be fixed by Bob. And I recommend you do a search above for "specific heat" . Only after I used the term half a dozen times in questions yet unanswered (first on 9.16.09) did Bob ever mention it. But that sort of error is pretty much what we've all come to expect from you Jeff. It's why I don;t often waste time following your links.
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 23, 2009
Len Gould 9.23.09 I haveNO[sic] understanding

You could have saved yourself a lot of typing and just stopped there, it says it all.

It was OBVIOUS to anyone trained even obliquely in science what Bob was ALWAYS talking about, that he has to spoon feed it to you says everything about your "understanding". I made no error, you did by conflating specific heat with thermal mass. Some people call thermal mass heat capacity, but they are NOT interchangeable concepts.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
Such elegant scientific arguments.

For our amusement Jeff, how about computing and giving us the difference between the specific heat of the top 2 meters of earth's surface and the thermal mass of the top 2 meters of earth's surface, presuming as Bob does that its properties are identical with pure water. Oh, zero difference, you say? But we all knew that already. For other readers, presuming you will wimp, its so basic its Wiki material, as:

"If the body consists of a homogeneous material with sufficiently known physical properties, the thermal mass is simply the amount of material present times the specific heat capacity of that material."

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
edit "specific heat of the top 2 meters of earth's surface x its total mass", obviously.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 23, 2009
It is interesting that you find that to be a significant and difficult concept in science, though.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 23, 2009
Hee hee, Len gets a point for that one.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 24, 2009
Thanks Jeff.

Len and Bob : Here is what an analytical chemist friend of mine wrote, maybe he can get the point across better.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said, "The UK has set out bold proposals for coal and CCS – they are a world first – and our ambitions remain firm," she said. "We're determined to drive the development of CCS as part of the transition to a low carbon economy." Is she aware that CCS also means needing to learn to live in a low oxygen economy? For every 1,000kg of carbon dioxide stored, a whopping 727kg of oxygen is stored, alongside a mere 273kg of carbon? Probably not. Neither is she probably aware that carbon dioxide does not have any means of affecting global temperatures or the climate, in any way whatsoever. Has she ever used a thermos flask? Then she'll know that despite the infra red energy bouncing around between the silvered glass walls and surrounded by a vacuum the contents of the flask do not get any hotter than when they were first introduced into the flask. Yet, in climate change circles, the bouncing around of infra red energy within the atmosphere due to a few extra molecules of carbon dioxide is supposed to increase the atmosphere's temperature. A view supported by many a skeptical scientist as well."

Len and Bob. How do you answer the thermos bottle analysis? Does the thermos get hotter with time or does it gradually cool off. Just answer this question truthfully and straight forward if you can.

Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 24, 2009

No, a thermos does not get hotter with time.

But that's not the same as what is going on in the atmosphere. Non IR-light from the sun hits the earth warming it. The earth emits IR-light, some of which is reflected back by GHG layers to cooler parts of the earth. With increased GHGs, more of this light can be reflected back, and less directly escapes to space.

I'm not necessarily a fan of CCS either. As a nuclear engineer put it. "You only need to store nuclear waste for a few thousand years, but CO2 you need to store forever."

Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 24, 2009
Bob, the thermos bottle example would indeed get hotter inside if one were to add more energy to it at a rate greater than the rate it is leaking out. This is what is happening to the earth when the sun is shining, as illustrated in the IPCC diagram. I am not a climatologist but I was taught basics of thermodynamics in engineering, and can explain the IPCC diagram as follows.

Daytime: the earth's surface receives168 W/m2 incident solar energy plus 324 being radiated back to the earth's surface by the atmosphere totaling 492. This is much greater than the 390 leaving the earth's surface, so the surface temperature obviously rises. The atmosphere receives at a minimum 67 from incident solar plus 350 from the earth's surface totaling 417, but only 235 leaks out to outer space, so the atmosphere temperature must also rise.

At Night: the 168 incident solar disappears, and the 390 leaving the earth's surface is now greater than the 324 incident on it, and so it obviously cools. The atmosphere similarly has 67 incident disappearing, but it will continue to rise in temperature as long as the 350 from the earth's surface continues. As the earth's surface cools however the value of 350 leaving the earth’s surface must decrease over time, so eventually the atmosphere will start to cool as well given the other values remain unchanged.

The key here is the 324 value being radiated back to the earth’s surface from the atmosphere because greenhouse gases probably increase this number on average around the globe, resulting in a marginally slower cooling rate at the earth's surface at night, and a marginally greater heating rate during the day.


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