Sunday, June 8, 2014
Compelling evidence CO2 does not cause very much climate change, and the identity of what does are at which prevails over any difference here.

Mistakes made by the Consensus
(Updated 10/28/15, 10/21/16, 2/11/17, 11/27/17)
CO2 increase from 1800 to 2001 was 89.5 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now (through July, 2018) increased since 2001 by 37.18 ppmv (an amount equal to 41.5% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; July, 2018, 408.31 ppmv) while the average global temperature trend slope is low and perhaps flat [1]. This is outside of the ‘limits’ asserted by the ‘Consensus’ of the Climate Science Community [2].

So how did the Consensus get it so wrong?

The scientists in the Consensus apparently don’t understand some of the science very well, stubbornly refuse to acknowledge some science or may not even be aware of some relevant engineering science.

Here are some of the issues:

1. Global Climate Models
Climate Scientists use huge mathematic models that are intended to simulate climate over the entire globe. The mathematic models are very computationally intensive and are run on powerful computers. These so-called Global Climate Models (GCMs) divide the atmosphere into about 100,000 or more contiguous blocks which may also be called elements. For example, the Hadley Center model named HadAM3 is a 73 by 96 grid with 19 levels for a total of 133,152 elements. HadGEM1 has four times as many. The number of elements is limited by the practical consideration of computer run time. The elements are also poorly formed having an aspect ratio (width/thickness) of more than 1000 (10 is a lot) which can compromise accuracy. The programs are also somewhat compromised because they necessarily use strategies such as parameterization of some phenomena and use algorithms to suppress numerical computational artifacts such as aliasing and computational instability.

The known laws of physics and some approximations are applied to calculate energy interchange between the elements. Once everything balances within specified limits at a particular time, the program advances by a specified time interval and repeats the process. This works great if you know exactly where you started (initial conditions) and have perfectly determined what causes change. Neither of these is true for the GCMs.

To be true for initial conditions, all properties at every point in the atmosphere would need to be specified which is clearly impractical. Instead, properties must be interpolated and extrapolated from the comparatively few known measurements and then smeared over the elements. Wikipedia has an extensive discussion of climate models at . Caution is advised when consulting Wikipedia on controversial subjects because article content can be controlled by administrators and might exhibit their biases.

To perfectly determine how things change, requires exact application of the physical laws to each of the elements. Again this is impractical (e.g. some of the phenomena take place in less volume than an element) so some of the phenomena, such as convection and cloud behavior, are approximated using human-determined parameterization. One of the acknowledged sources of greatest uncertainty in GCMs is the parameterization of cloud behavior. The high sensitivity of average global temperature (AGT) to tiny cloud changes is readily demonstrated [10].

Climate Scientists are apparently undeterred by the inherent limitations of the climate models that they use. Inherent in this type of modeling (approximation of initial conditions and time-step progression with approximate application of physical laws) is that the longer the program runs, the greater the uncertainty in the results. Although the GCMs are pretty good at predicting weather for up to a few days, they are useless for predicting climate for years. This has been demonstrated in the abysmal failure of GCMs to predict the AGT trend since about 2001. [14]

Thus the so-called global climate models are effectively average global weather models. It is woefully naïve to assume that all that is needed to turn an average global weather model into a global climate model is to run it longer.

The GCMs were expanded in an attempt to account for the influence of oceans in Atmospheric/Oceanic Global Climate Models (AOGCM). However, these models have also suffered from poor definition of initial conditions especially temperature distribution in the oceans and a paucity of attention to the various natural ocean cycles. To add to the confusion, AOGCMs are sometimes called GCMs, short for General Circulation Models. As of September, 2016 there are more than 100 of these models.

A particularly egregious mistake in the models is noncompliance with the rudimentary fact in the physical world that liquid water has partial pressure dependent only on its temperature and therefore produces water vapor, with its property to absorb photons resulting in warming of the atmosphere irrespective of the presence of CO2. Thermalization and the essentially total dominance of the ghg water vapor (WV is a ghg because it will absorb/emit the far infrared EMR associated with planet earth temperatures) in gaseous radiation at low altitude (<~1 km) explain why CO2 has no significant effect on climate.

2. Thermalization
All absorbed radiation is thermalized.

When a photon is absorbed by a molecule it raises the temperature of the molecule. The increased energy in the molecule is immediately shared with surrounding molecules by gas phase thermal conduction and the absorbed photon has been thermalized which warms the atmosphere. The warmed air rises. The rising air is exploited by soaring birds and sailplanes. Air falls elsewhere, recognized by pilots and passengers as air pockets and micro-bursts. The common observation of the existence of thermalization is a greater temperature range day-to-night when the absolute humidity is lower.

Thermalized energy carries no identity of the molecule that absorbed the photon. That is, thermalized energy from water vapor (WV), CO2, or any other ghg warms the atmosphere according to the energy of the absorbed photon, irrespective of the molecule that absorbed it.

When a molecule of ghg absorbs a photon of EMR (EMR can be considered to be in packets called photons) it experiences a step increase in energy. If the molecule then bumps in to another molecule before it has emitted a photon, its energy changes to a lower level and the probability that it will emit another photon is greatly reduced. According to the well-established kinetic theory of gases, molecules bouncing off each other cause pressure, temperature, viscosity and thermal conduction in the gas mixture.

An observed characteristic of gases is that significant absorption of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) takes place only at certain discreet wavelengths. Emission of EMR takes place only at these same discreet wavelengths.

Some gases are called greenhouse gases (ghg) because absorption and emission of EMR occur at wavelengths of significant terrestrial EMR. Terrestrial source EMR absorption/emission for CO2 at very low total pressure is at 15 microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter). At sea level, Quantum Mechanics effects [19, 20] including what is sometimes referred to as pressure broadening increases this to mostly within 14-16 microns. EMR from the planet is mostly in the range 6.5-200 microns (wave number 1538-50/cm). (Note: divide 104 by either to get the other, e.g. 104/6.5 microns = wave number 1538). Thus CO2 can absorb photons in only a small portion of terrestrial EMR. {All EMR energy in a microwave oven appears as heat but the physical process (which involves liquids and solids) is entirely different from that described here for gases.}

It should be apparent that a time interval must pass between absorption and emission by any molecule. If that time interval were zero there would be no evidence that the photon had been absorbed and no ghg effect. The amount of time that passes between absorption and emission might be (and is) very short but simple logic dictates it must be more than zero.

The average amount of time that passes between when a molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs the energy and momentum of a photon until it emits one (the relaxation time) is about 6 µsec (a µsec is one millionth of a second; values from 6 to 10 µsec are reported) [16]. Heat is conducted in the atmosphere by elastic collisions between molecules. The average time between collisions of molecules in the atmosphere at sea level conditions is less than 0.0002 µsec [12].

Thus, at sea level conditions, it is approximately 6/0.0002 = 30,000 times more likely that a collision will occur (thermal conduction) than a photon will be emitted by CO2. The process of a gas molecule absorbing the energy in a photon and sharing the energy with surrounding molecules by thermal conduction in the gas is thermalization. Thermalized energy carries no identity of the molecule that absorbed it.

Approximately 161 W/m2 of solar energy reaches the solid and liquid surfaces of the planet [17]. A few meters above the surface, the energy leaving the surface includes about 71 W/m2 from heat of vaporization of water (annual rainfall averages about a meter and what comes down had to have gone up). Another 17 W/m2 has been added by convective heat transfer, leaving 161 – 71 – 17 = 73 W/m2 in thermal radiation instead of the 269 W/m2 assumed at all altitudes by MODTRAN6. Forty of the 73 W/m2 goes through the ‘atmospheric window’ directly to space.

The non-radiant flux is replaced with radiant flux and the solar energy that was absorbed by the atmosphere and clouds is incorporated with increasing altitude. Most of this takes place by about 10 km. All solar energy absorbed by the planet must eventually be radiated to space.

Clouds are a source of EMR escaping the planet. Approximately 62% of the planet is covered by clouds all the time. The liquid or solid water in clouds approximates ‘black body’ (Plank spectrum) subject to Stephan-Boltzmann (proportional to T4) radiation with an average emissivity of approximately 0.5. Nearly all of the cloud radiation in the ‘atmospheric window’ (approx. 780-1250 cm-1) goes directly to space. Because water vapor is greatly diminished above clouds a lot of the other cloud radiation also goes directly to space.

The population gradient of all molecules, including ghg molecules (declining with increased altitude) and increased molecule spacing at extremely high altitudes results in all absorbed EMR energy being eventually radiated to space. The fact that nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate at terrestrial wavelengths demonstrates that reverse-thermalization, back to the ghg, must occur.

The TOA radiation distribution includes radiation from ghg (some molecules that got excited to reverse-thermalization and some directly by radiation from other ghg or the surface) and some directly from the surface through the ‘window’ or between the absorption lines of ghg. TOA measured radiation profiles differ according to the underlying location and absolute humidity [13].

3. Energy flow
Failure to identify and attend to thermalization is a major deficiency of the 1997 Kiehl & Trenberth chart which has been relied on heavily by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This chart is shown in the fourth IPCC report at AR4WG1, Chapter 1, page 96. A 2008 update to this chart can be seen at Ref. [17]. It also fails to indicate net IR near the surface. None of the IPCC reports (including the 5th) mention thermalization (sometimes spelled thermalisation).

The Kiehl and Trenberth (K & T) charts erroneously imply that all radiation, which was absorbed close to the ground and re-radiated, penetrates substantially to high altitude and also that all radiation from high altitude gets all the way to the ground. Both of these implications are misleading.

A rough analysis [3] uses an improved Kiehl and Trenberth type graphic. Although all absorbed radiation is thermalized, the effective net average IR energy (excluding at the atmospheric window) a few meters above the surface as calculated in energy balances is 40/(386 – 40) = 0.115 or about 12% of that part of radiation from the surface which does not go directly to space, H/(U-J). A graphic from there is repeated here for convenience as Figure 1.

Figure 1: Energy flow in earth climate.

Results of that analysis are shown in the following table along with the results determined by Kiehl and Trenberth. All are in units of watts/m2.

Symbol Figure 1
K & T 1997
K & T 2008 & 9
With net IR
Incoming solar radiation (insolation)
Reflected solar radiation
Energy radiated from earth’s surface
Surface radiation absorbed by the atmosphere


Back radiation from absorbed radiation near surface
Net IR in atmosphere near surface

IR from surface directly to space
IR emitted by ghg to space
IR emitted from clouds to space
Energy transported to atmosphere via convection
Energy transported to atmosphere via latent heat
Solar radiation directly absorbed by atmosphere


Solar radiation directly absorbed by clouds and atmosphere

Back radiation from clouds that reaches the ground through the atmospheric window

Solar radiation absorbed by surface
Total energy radiated from planet

Incoming radiation reflected by clouds & atm

Incoming radiation that gets to surface

Incoming radiation that gets reflected by surface.


At extremely high altitudes, reverse-thermalization to CO2 and ozone produces the spikes centered at the characteristic absorption/emission lines that are observed in graphs of TOA radiation.

4. Feedback
The concept of feedback in the physical world is that the output of a process has an influence on its input. Positive feedback (engineering definition of feedback) means whatever is happening, there would be more of. If net forcing was resulting in warming, it would warm faster and if net forcing was resulting in cooling, with positive feedback it would cool faster. With negative feedback it would warm slower and cool slower than with no feedback.

This is the meaning of positive and negative feedback as used by engineers for many decades in design and analysis of innumerable successful products such as rocket guidance systems, cruise control, electronic devices, thermostats, etc. It is quantified by a dimensionless number called feedback factor which is a ratio minus one. The ratio is net forcing with feedback divided by what the net forcing would be if there was no feedback. Net forcing for the planet is the difference between RATE of energy received by the planet and the RATE of energy leaving the planet.

For stable operation, the physical (and theoretical) upper limit for feedback factor is one. A factor above one results in runaway to destruction or as limited by other non-linarites. In practical applications, a design is usually constrained to a feedback factor of less than 0.8 to ensure stable operation.

Climate Scientists have an entirely different meaning for feedback. They define it as the forcing itself (which might be caused by another forcing) with units W/m2. They obtain a dimensionless factor to apply in analysis by dividing their definition of feedback in W/m2 by the net radiation from the planet also in W/m2 [18]. This always results in a small number for feedback factor and obscures the upper limit for stable operation.

Lack of knowledge or lack of acceptance of determinations of paleo global temperatures using proxies has resulted in some ‘Climate Scientists’ postulating physically impossible concepts such as ‘tipping point’. If there was such a thing as ‘tipping point’ the planet would have never cooled enough for life to evolve.

A feature of GCM (and AOGCM) applications is feedback. In the phenomenon referred to as the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ increased temperature allows increased water vapor (WV) in the atmosphere which further increases temperature. Positive feedback is a part of the Global Warming Theory which posits that a small temperature increase from increased carbon dioxide is amplified by the increase in water vapor that the small temperature rise causes. Part of the mistake here is revealed by compelling evidence which demonstrates CO2 has little effect on temperature.

Water has vapor pressure which depends only on the temperature of the liquid water [21]. This is an observed physical property of water (every liquid has its unique vapor pressure vs liquid temperature relation). Water vapor is a ghg so more WV means net radiation from the liquid water is reduced. If the imposed solar radiation is not significantly changed, the liquid water then warms which increases its vapor pressure which increases atmospheric WV which again increases warming, and so on. This recursive aspect is positive feedback (engineering definition). In all following discussion, the engineering meaning of feedback applies. The net effect is water warms more with positive feedback than it would without positive feedback. Similarly, it cools more with positive feedback than it would without positive feedback.

My assessment acknowledges the positive feedback from rising global average liquid water temperature. The positive feedback is currently being demonstrated by rising liquid water temperature and part of rising atmospheric WV. Positive feedback will also be demonstrated by declining liquid water temperature and declining WV. However, because of thermalization of all ghg, and at low altitudes reverse thermalization essentially all to WV, ghg other than WV have no significant effect on climate.

As WV increases, cloud cover and therefore reflectance (albedo plus most of the specular reflection) increases which reduces the amount of solar radiation energy which makes it all the way down to the surface. AGT averaged over millennia is at the balance where warming from WV increase is matched by solar heating decrease (cooling effect from clouds and albedo increase).

Water vapor has a logarithmic effect on warming, i.e. warming is proportional to the logarithm of the WV content. The cooling effect of cloud cover change is directly proportional to cloud area change.

The temperature history from the last glaciation as recorded in the Vostok Antarctica ice cores and graphed with different time scales is at Ref. [6]. As observed, AGT trend is either ramping up or down with sharp turn-arounds at the extremes. The ramp slope, both up and down, is limited in steepness by the huge effective thermal capacitance (which is about 96% due to oceans) of the part of the planet which participates significantly in temperature change.

5. Safe Carbon Dioxide Level
Included in the erroneous scary stories that have been circulated (and not refuted by Climate Scientists) are concerns about health and also about fears of the atmospheric carbon dioxide level reaching a ‘tipping point’ leading to runaway warming. The federal standard for the allowable level of carbon dioxide in the air that we breathe (continuous exposure) is that it should not be more than 5000 parts per million by volume (ppmv). Another study, found using the Google search link corroborates this as a safe conservative level. Still another reference reports that performance of normal healthy males (e.g. in a submarine) is not degraded at levels up to 20,000 ppmv. Some greenhouses artificially increase the carbon dioxide level to about 1500 ppmv to enhance plant growth. The seasonally corrected atmospheric level in December, 2016 was 405.25 ppmv [4]. The level in Oct. 2017 is about 407 ppmv.

Runaway warming at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is also refuted by the determination that during the late Ordovician period the planet plunged into and warmed up from the Andean-Saharan ice age when the atmospheric carbon dioxide level was over ten times the present [5].

Figure 2 provides insight as to the fraction of atmospheric CO2 for various times and conditions. The planet came perilously close to extinction of all land plants and animals due to the low level of CO2 at the end of the last glaciation (Plants are at the beginning of every food chain). For plant growth, even at the current level, the atmosphere is impoverished for CO2.

Figure 2: Typical values for CO2 levels.

6. Lack of Correlation
The complete lack of correlation between temperature and CO2 level for over 500 million years is evident in a graph available on the web [5]. Note also from this graph that, for nearly all of the past, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level has been higher, usually several times higher, than it is at present.

Many Climate Scientists have not noticed, have ignored or bizarrely rationalized past AGT determined using proxies and even measurements made since the thermometer was invented. During the last and previous glaciations, atmospheric CO2 increase often lagged temperature increase by hundreds of years. CO2 decrease also often lagged temperature decrease by hundreds of years. The lag is apparent in data determined from ice cores. Graphs of the reported data are shown in a March, 2008 paper [6]. An event can not have been caused by another event that followed it.

As shown on the first graph in [6], average global temperatures for over a century have trended down, then up then down, then up, then down, while average annual atmospheric CO2 levels have always risen.

Lack of correlation implies lack of causation. (Not proven because unidentified modulating factors might exist.)

7. Measured Data.
Thermometer measurements of average global temperature are reported as far back as 1850 by four agencies. Reported values are the differences between some fixed value, usually an average between predetermined dates, and the measured value. The differences are called anomalies. The actual temperature is the anomaly added to the fixed reference value. Numerical data and graphs of the average global temperature anomalies are widely available on the web. Caution is required in comparison of anomalies because reference temperatures probably differ.

The normalized average of four reporting agencies is graphed in Figure 2 of a paper made public 9/16/13 [7]. Billions of dollars have been wasted in failed attempts to write GCMs and train them to calculate the measured data for extended time periods.

Contrary to the ‘Consensus’ approach, an analysis was started with the measured data. An equation was derived using the first law of thermodynamics and some logic. A seminal discovery was that the time-integral of sunspot numbers (obviously a proxy for the actual forcing or forcings), properly reduced by radiation from the planet, and modulated by an approximation of ocean cycles, resulted in a graph with a shape very similar (98+% match) to the observed temperature run-up trend that has been called Global Warming.

Effective thermal capacitance calculations show that the energy stored in the oceans is approximately 30 times that stored in the atmosphere. This revealed that the oceans must be accounted for in any rational assessment. The up-trends and down-trends are each about 32 years long. The net effect of all up-trends and down-trends of all the ocean cycles are included in a factor called ESSTA, for Effective Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly, with 32-year-long trends and amplitude to be determined. The amplitude (peak to valley) of ESSTA has turned out to be approximately 0.36 C°.

Sunspots have been regularly recorded since 1610. In 2015 historical (V1) sunspot numbers (SSN) were reevaluated in light of current perceptions and more sensitive instruments and are designated as V2. The V2 SSN data set is shown in Figure 8 of [11].

Using the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy), the sunspot number anomaly time-integral, ESSTA, atmospheric water vapor (quantified by Total Precipitable Water, TPW), and the change in terrestrial radiation due to AGT change, an equation was derived that calculates the AGT anomaly. Equation (1) in [11] calculates measured temperatures with an excellent Coefficient of Determination, R2, of 0.90 irrespective of whether the influence of atmospheric CO2 is included or not. The paper includes a possible extension of the calculations back to 1610. Also shown is comparison to 5-year moving average smoothed measurements which gives R2=0.98.

8. Sunspot number effect
Total Solar Irradiation, TSI, varies only slightly. The amount of variation is tiny (only about 0.1%) which has caused many climate researchers, who have mistakenly only looked at TSI, to erroneously reject sunspots as having anything significant to do with earth’s climate.

Various papers have been written which indicate how the solar magnetic field associated with sunspots can influence climate on earth. Decreased sunspots are associated with decreased solar magnetic field which decreases the deflection of and therefore increases the flow of galactic cosmic rays on earth [8].

Henrik Svensmark, a Danish physicist, found that increased galactic cosmic rays caused increased low altitude (<3 km) clouds. An abstract of his 2000 paper is at . Marsden and Lingenfelter also report this in the summary of their 2003 paper where they make the statement “…solar activity increases…providing more shielding…less low-level cloud cover… increase surface air temperature.” [9]. This has been further corroborated by the CLOUD experiments at CERN.

These papers associated the increased low-level clouds with increased albedo leading to lower temperatures. Increased low clouds would also result in lower average cloud altitude and therefore higher average cloud temperature. Although clouds are commonly acknowledged to increase albedo, they also radiate energy to space so increasing their temperature increases radiation to space which would cause the planet to cool. Increased albedo reduces the energy received by the planet and increased radiation to space reduces the energy of the planet. Thus the effects work together to change the AGT of the planet.

Simple analyses indicate that either an increase of approximately 186 meters in average cloud altitude or a decrease of average albedo from 0.3 to the very slightly reduced value of 0.2928 would account for all of the 20th century increase in AGT of 0.74 °C [10].

The mechanism sequence for the influence of sunspots on earth’s AGT appears to be: Fewer sunspots; reduced solar magnetic shielding; increased galactic cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere; increased low-level clouds. Increased low-level clouds result in increased albedo and lower average cloud altitude; higher average cloud temperature; increased cloud-to-space radiation. Increased albedo and higher average cloud temperature both cause planet cooling. The opposite, more sunspots, produces higher AGT. TSI is complementary but is a much smaller contributor.

Others have looked at just amplitude or just time factors for sunspots and got poor correlations with AGT. The good correlation comes by combining the two, which is what the time-integral does. Note that a low but broad solar cycle may have just as much cumulative influence on AGT as a high but brief one. Both magnitude and duration are accounted for by using the time-integral of sunspot numbers.

SSN change correlates with TSI change so SSN could also be acting as a proxy for TSI. Because TSI is a forcing, the time-integral is appropriate in the equation for temperature change.

The sunspot number anomaly is defined as the difference between the sunspot number in a specific year and an average sunspot number for several years. Because AGT has not changed much over the millennia, it is clear there must be a reference SSN above which AGT increases and below which AGT decreases. For V2 SSN, the reference SSN appears to be approximately 40.

9. Marsden & Lingenfelter 2003, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 60: 626-636
12. Mean time between molecule collisions
13. Barrett, ‘Greenhouse molecules, their spectra and function in the atmosphere’, Energy & Environment, Vol. 16, No. 6, 2005.  
15. deleted.
19. Lockheed 1962 paper on CO2 & H2O

21. Vapor pressure of water vs. liquid water temperature