Planet Earth Climate Topics

Keywords: Climate changes, infrared, ocean acidification, AGW, Vostok ice-core, hurricanes Harvey Irma and Jose, Cyclone Pam, El Nino, tectonic plates

[04Mar2015. This website launched, but a continuing process. It works with IE 11, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari. ]

Prologue 1:
That most divisive climate issue, “Climate Change”, depends on whether the temperature change since about 1950 is caused by Man burning carbon-containing “fossil” fuels such as oil and coal; this produces high levels of carbon dioxide, CO2 in the air. This proposition is known as AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming).

The issue should turn on the quantitative physico – chemical properties of CO2
1. as a gas in the atmosphere, to explain global warming
(Chapter 1), and
2. on its solutions in seawater, to explain “Ocean Acidification” (Chapter 5).

However, what has actually happened is that people point to changes in the climate – that global temperatures have risen since about 1950, during which time carbon dioxide levels have been rising sharply – as confirmation that increasing carbon dioxide levels are the cause of the temperature rise. Yet, in the absence of other information, there is a 50% chance of a change being a rise or a fall. That’s scarcely a confirmation of any theory!


Most published papers are indeed written by experts – but ignorant in this most fundamental, critical aspect of this topic.  Instead faith is placed with “someone else’s” opinion – and so on. This has become something of a domino effect.

This site seeks to correct that ignorance.
(My PhD is in physical chemistry, particularly in the properties of gases.)

Prologue 2:
The words “Greenhouse Gas”, particularly applying to carbon dioxide, have become prominent in this discussion. It has become assumed that because CO2, and many other trace atmospheric gases but not the main gases, can absorb Earth’s infrared (ie heat) radiation, this property has a determining warming effect on Earth’s temperature. However, ALL gases, like all substances, can absorb heat by conduction and convection – and are therefore ALL Greenhouse Gases. (See Chapter 1b.)

A more in-depth refutation of AGW follows in Chapters 1, 1A and 1B – and to some extent, in the Commentary.


SITE STRUCTURE [Changed 07Sep16]

Firstly, the First Section publishes my research as a series of chapters, although the order is changeable. By way of warning, the Chapters are quantitative and scientific, but understandable by most – hopefully .

Secondly, by simply scrolling down further to the Second Section, the Commentary, one gets a synopsis of each chapter. (However, I suggest that one at least skim reads the 4 page Chapter 1 as it has temperature graphs to which I refer continually.) The Commentary has observations/opinions arising from the facts.

Others’ sensible opinions are welcome.

                                   First Section.   Evidence

Chapter 1. The role that changes in concentration of the Greenhouse Gas, carbon dioxide, has on Earth’s climate changes. It’s negligible.
Click  CCPt1U   to view 4 page (.pdf)

Chapter 1a. Addendum. Answers AGW contentions.
Click  Addendum_2 to view 4 page (.pdf)  

Chapter 1b. Greenhouse revisited.
(Because it uses simple but irrefutable high school science, this easy Chapter renders Chapter 1 and 1a largely redundant.)
Click  Greenhouse re-examined to view 3 page (.pdf)

Chapter 2. What is causing climate changes?
Click  Chap2Updated to view 11 page (.pdf) file

Chapter 2A: The Greenhouse Effects on Venus, Earth and Mars   …. Game, Set and Match! Confirmation of Chapter 2.
Click  RockyP to view 3-page (.pdf) file.

Chapter 4. The cause of some extreme weather events.
Click Cyclone Pam:.  to view 5 page (.pdf)

Chapter 4A. 2010 and 2017 Atlantic Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Ophelia.
Also 2016 South Australian “hurricane”. Confirms the significant effect of geothermal heat on climate.
Click hurricanes_2: to view 12 page .pdf

Chapter 5. Ocean pH.
Click Seawater pH  . to view 5 page (.pdf)

Coming  – if I have time….

Chapter 3. El Nino’s cause follows from this.
Chapter 6. (Work in progress). Timing  of climate changes and some otherwise exceptional weather events – not simply explanation; that bit’s easy – if one is not constrained by AGW.

                             Second Section.  Commentary

Chapter 1. Climate Change: The Role of Carbon Dioxide

[04Mar15, 05Jun15]: The only point I investigate in this first Chapter is the quantitative properties of the “Greenhouse Gas” CO2   as that is the only issue by which AGW stands or falls.

The currently accepted AGW view has been a serious impediment to the scientific community to getting answers to climate topics. The answers follow naturally from knowing the correct cause, but AGW gives a severely blinkered view. Once the blinkers are removed, a goldmine of explanations of natural phenomena becomes available.

I have yet to see any scientific backing for AGW’s that show that CO2 is able to cause such temperature changes.
(One can deduce that there is no such evidence when one hears “We must err on the safe side.”)

[14Apr15]: Corrected error on page 3, 60% to 40%. (Thanks Richard Seymour). Added reference to Gebbie.

1. Chapter One. Click  CCPt1U   to view 4 page (.pdf)         

Hammerfest, 20Jun05
Hammerfest, 20Jun05

Conclusion: Carbon dioxide’s greenhouse contribution to global warming is far too small to measure.

Chapter 1A: [07Mar15]: The Addendum to Chapter One answers AGW queries that I’ve come across. (Please post if you have others – but only if you have given thought to them.)      

1. ALL satellite spectra will need to be adjusted with regard to their measured magnitudes .

2. AGW’s one attempt to quantify carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect uses satellite rather than surface-based IR measurements.  It fails to do the final simple but exact calculation which brings the 2 types into agreement – thus proving that AGW cannot occur. 

[Admittedly, I think my calculation has not been done elsewhere.]

Chapter 1B: [02Apr16, 28Mar17, 28May17]:
Chapter 1B can be condensed even further as follows: One can check the validity or otherwise of the AGW proposition by simple step-by-step logic as follows.

  1. Greenhouse Effect (G): The original & correct definition is that incoming solar energy into a container, such as a greenhouse, is trapped inside causing its air temperature to rise.
  2. A planet’s greenhouse is its container, the atmosphere, which in turn, is held put by gravity.
  3. G is a temperature, that results from the heat held by the gases of the atmosphere. It is usually reckoned to be about 33K (but that is shown here to be seriously in error).
  4. CO2, whether natural or Man-made, is a greenhouse gas, but then so are ALL gases. Like all substances, all gases absorb heat in one way or another eg by radiation, conduction, convection and/or diffusion.
  5. Therefore, the greater an atmosphere’s quantity of gas ie, its total pressure, the greater the amount of heat able to be absorbed.
  6. …and the heat absorbed by each component of any gas mixture such as the atmosphere is roughly* proportional to its percentage in the mixture.
    * This close proportionality becomes exact if the specific heat of each separate gas is included.
    [Ironically, because CO2 has a 20% smaller specific heat than the average air molecule, it is actually a 20% lesser greenhouse gas than the average air molecule.]
  7. Therefore, as carbon dioxide represents about 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere, that’s about its contribution to the greenhouse effect; immeasurably small. Methane et al have an even tinier effect, and so none can change climate.

cf AGW assertions:

Even though it is known to be incorrect, AGW re-defines the Greenhouse Effect as being due to heat absorption by certain gases only – the IR gases. Compare to #2.
[This re-definition implies that only the IR gases can be warmed or cooled, never stated openly unsurprisingly. Clearly that’s daft.]
And so, Man’s burning of carbon fuels is defined to be causing global warming!

This false redefinition is the source of all the AGW prognostications!


A planet’s greenhouse effect is determined largely by its atmosphere’s total pressure – ie it is constant – rather than by its composition.

[Illustration, from Chapter 2A:
The greenhouse effects of Venus, Earth and Mars decrease in accord with each planet’s total pressure – as opposed to its carbon dioxide pressure.]


AGW ANTIDOTES:    Opinions from evidence.
This section refutes various statements put forward to support AGW, in a manner that does not require the definitive scientific calculations already shown. This may be sufficient for those with shaky science knowledge. Unfortunately, they also seem to be the most fanatical about this topic – and from both sides!

The basic question at issue is
Q: “Can increasing levels of the greenhouse gas CO2 cause global temperatures to rise?”

From Chapter One,
A: “No.”

  1. Many people rely on such statements as:
    97% of scientists feel that Man is causing Global Warming because the carbon fuels Man burns produce increasing levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
    (97%: sounds like a Russian election result!) One would think that with this great number of scientists, they’d be able to prove their proposition, yet they are still unable to prove their belief after decades of trying to do just that. For example, the IPCC was formed in 1988 to push such an effort … without success. If this search had been successful, there would not now be a debate.

After so many scientists failing for so many years to validate AGW, you’d think they’d give at least some consideration that their proposition might be wrong!

And note also,
“97% of scientists” believed in the Piltdown Man for decades; it proved to be a hoax.

 “97% of scientists” ridiculed Alfred Wegener’s Continental Drift theory for decades; it is now mainstream.

  1. Greenhouse Gas:
    Most people have now heard of Greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, and have an inkling of what that means, but as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!Real (Horticultural) greenhouses raise the temperature less than 10°C, and are well confined by solid walls, yet it is conjectured Earth’s Greenhouse Effect is 33°C! Greenhouses often have CO2 pumped into them – as a “fertiliser” – with no noticed temperature effect.
  1. The magical 2ºC limit.
    Whenever record hot spells strike anywhere in the world, the cry arises that Man must reduce carbon fuel use to prevent global warming above 2ºC. What they fail to mention is that Earth’s temperature is expected to rise from natural causes – by that magical, unexplained figure of 2ºC.

This is because it has done so four times cyclically – now approaching the fifth – over the past 420,000 years (Figure 1) – and with CO2 levels of only 290ppm maximum! Clearly, as CO2 levels are now 400ppm but the temperature is 2ºC less than previous temperature maxima, warming does not follow CO2 levels, so they must be irrelevant.

Do you reckon we are being hoodwinked?


Chapter 2: What is causing climate changes?

…..  Planet Earth.

Conclusions: 1. Global warming is distributed irregularly in both time and around the globe – matching tectonic activity qualitatively and quantitatively.

2. Continuing high levels of seismic activity will occur if global temperatures are to reach previous Vostok maxima.

Chapter 2A: Venus, Earth and Mars   …. Game, Set and Match!    [16Aug16]

Courtesy: NASA
Courtesy: NASA

1. The greenhouse effect, G is proportional to a planet’s atmosphere’s total pressure.
2. G for each planet is therefore constant.
3. Vostok shows a planet’s geologically released internal heat, IntT varies with time.
4. G is unrelated to an atmosphere’s carbon dioxide density. AGW is wrong.

Thus validating Chapters 1B and 2.

Conclusions from Chapters 1 & 2:
The faulty AGW theory results from the faulty definition of Greenhouse Effect.     Classic GIGO.

Further Observation: [30June17]

Planet Earth’s Climate Future.

Ice-core data provide a record of Earth’s past climates. A physical theory, eg as outlined in Chapter 2, is needed to reliably extrapolate these past data to predict future climates.

Figure 1 shows that natural carbon dioxide levels reached about 280ppm in the 1800s, similar to the maxima of the previous four Vostok maxima. (Burning carbonaceous fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, that have produced an extra 120ppm of carbon dioxide of the current 400ppm, have now masked natural changes.) Therefore, according to Chapter 2, one expects this present Interglacial Period to end soon – maybe within hundreds of years.

The climate over the past 12,000 years has been more in the nature of climate fluctuations rather than the drastic temperature drop with the coming climate change ending this current Interglacial period. Although earlier humans survived such glacial periods, they did not thrive. Man will need a great deal more energy than currently to maintain itself. Renewables provide too little energy, especially as wind and hydro energy will probably drop considerably in a glacial world. Renewables have a limited future, and other than hydro are not even really a present-day solution as they are not generally cost-competitive without subsidy support.

A more substantial energy source will be required; even now would be useful. The bogeyman, coal, is being spurned largely on ideological grounds. However, coal will come to an end within hundreds of years. Nuclear is the way of the future but probably not fission because of its unwanted radioactive waste. Fusion has far less problems with radioactivity and appears to be the likely option.

Of course, sustainable and useful energy production from nuclear fusion has not yet been achieved, despite decades of trying. Past efforts have been directed along a path that has so far proven too difficult, ie trying to reproduce the fusion reactions taking place in the Sun’s interior, ie extremely high temperatures and pressures to produce extremely large and difficult to contain energy. Possibly more modest targets may be achievable.


[Chapters 4 & 4A have the bonus of being non-mathematical.]

Chapter 4. Pam & severe storms. [26Mar15, 31Mar15]: Cyclones such as Pam develop from the same mechanism causing climate changes. Weather events do NOT occur randomly; they all have a physical basis – it’s just that sometimes we have not been able to identify them yet.

Chapter 4A: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose (2017) [19Sep17, 27Jan18]
Further evidence that substantiates Chapter 2’s inference that geological heat is the substantive driver of climate changes.

1. At least some severe storms have identifiable geological beginnings.

Chapters 4 & 4A  thus show that heat from undersea volcanic activity is large enough to affect climate. It is not insignificant as has previously been thought.

2. The two natural phenomena previously considered random, volcanic activity (90% of which is undersea) and weather/climate
… are actually connected
… and therefore not random
and therefore probably predictable.


Chapter 5: Ocean pH [15Sep15, 29Sep15]


Calculates the extent that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels change ocean pH (ie acidity/alkalinity).

Conclusion: Carbon dioxide’s effect on pH is calculated to be measurable, but like AGW, is too small to be significant.

Currently there is anxiety about coral bleaching, affecting particularly the northern Great Barrier Reef. Valerie Taylor had a short informal interview in The Weekend Australian’s Magazine, May 14. You may recall she made many documentaries with her husband Ron about sharks. She’s now 80, and still dives. [Current researchers would/should have been aware of their well known documentaries.]  She says of the GBR,

“In 1965 we went from one end of the reef to the other, over six months, and we found bleaching then. In the ‘70s we went back and you’d never know it happened. The coral had recovered; nature had taken care of it. I’ve seen reefs in PNG that were as white as snow and I’ve just come back from there and they’re terrific.”
She thus observes that bleaching is reversible. (Presumably spores from unaffected corals can flow in again to re-colonise affected areas once the cause has departed.) Coral bleaching and repair occur independently of atmospheric CO2 levels.

As it is mainly the relatively untouched northern areas of the GBR affected, it is unlikely that run-off is the cause. The current bleaching decreases towards the south, flowing on the north-to-south counter-clockwise current from Vanuatu, and becoming depleted in the process. Upstream undersea volcanic activity around Vanuatu produces toxic H2S (Chapter 4a, Cyclone Pam), in time oxidising to sulphuric acid, lowering pH, but less toxic at that level. Chapter 5 shows the small acidity produced by CO2 is not a concern.

Other coral bleaching areas around the globe, eg Seychelles, Caribbean, Maldives, etc are downstream from undersea volcanic areas. However, Persian Gulf corals are not influenced by undersea volcanic areas and are not bleached, despite being 36°C – much higher than the GBR’s 32°C encountered preceding bleaching events.

What is AGW’s agenda given that both Anthropogenic GW and “Ocean Acidity” can so easily be dismissed by real scientific investigation? Is it a hoax?

AGW is the Millennium Bug, Mark II

[01March 2016: This step of self-publishing has been necessary as journals seem to have an aversion to publishing articles contrary to the current AGW dogma.

For example, I sent what is now Chapter One and its Addendum to Nature Climate Change (email receipt of submission1023 PM, 11Dec2014). EIGHT minutes later (1031 PM) I received a written rejection by a sub-editor! That’s not even enough time to have read past the first page’s title. Nor enough time to solve the geometric problem inherent in #2a of the Addendum.)

Blogs such as The Conversation (Australia) funded by many universities, allows its excessively pro-AGW moderator, Cory Zanoni, to remove most non-AGW comments. This can be noticed by the absence of past non-AGW contributors – presumably blocked like me for putting such views. Even the publicly funded CSIRO declined my request for comment.

This site will allow airing of my work. Sensible comments welcome. Abuse is not. ]


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PhD, University of Adelaide (Physical Chemistry) . Otherwise unexceptional. Contact email:

172 thoughts on “Planet Earth Climate Topics”

  1. cognog2:
    Regarding “K” (or lambda (λ)) … the very next sentence in your AR4 citation explains:

    “This equation … represents a linear view of global mean climate change between two equilibrium climate states.”

    Note the “equilibrium states” … K is not intended to be used as a detailed and exacting model of the path between those two states, merely a quick way to indicate the simplified sense of the transition. (in practice, it (and similar) is usually the slope of the least squares fit of a noisy signal).

    As an example (i wish we could put figures in our comments), i’ve created (yet another) web page showing the technique at . The figure is Fig 2 from Callender’s 1938 paper, i added two “end points” (A & B) and drew a line between them. Its slope is not intended to precisely track even that simple curve, merely to let someone who might be afraid of the word “logarithm” get a handle on what’s going on.

    Continuing the quote from AR4:

    “Radiative forcing is a simple measure for both quantifying and ranking the many different influences on climate change;”

    … they’re going to be assigning separate lines (and slopes) to separate inputs affecting IR response. There’s more than one “K” involved (one for CO2, one for CH4, one for H2O, etc).

    “it provides a limited measure of climate change as it does not attempt to represent the overall climate response.”

    Translation: don’t expect it to include the whole ball of wax.

    “However, as climate sensitivity and other aspects of the climate response to external forcings remain inadequately quantified,”
    … we know there are things we’re missing, but we have to go with what we have …
    ” it has the advantage of being more readily calculable and comparable than estimates of the climate response.”

    To paraphrase one of Peter’s favorite expressions: it follows KISS … it’s a simple way of showing and comparing broad effects upon the energy balance system.
    Don’t try to extract from it more significant digits than are warranted.
    You wrote: “I suspect that the responsibility for this rests with Ramaswamy et al at the University of Chicago.” … ummm … “Ramaswamy 2001” is simply their formal reference syntax for AR3!
    Here’s the full reference, from Chap 2 of AR4:
    “Ramaswamy, V., et al., 2001: Radiative forcing of climate change. In:
    Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., et al. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 349–416.”

    I went back to 1990’s AR1 … and the same equation is there (at the end of section 3.3.2), including a worked example (including water vapor). That section references “Cess 1989”, which was a paper in Science.
    (Cess,R . D., et al., Interpretation of cloud-climate feedback as produced by 14 atmospheric general circulation models, Science, 245, 513-515, 1989) ((much of my delay in writing this was trying to locate an on-line copy of that, since my “view” into Science has a 1990 horizon. I almost had to walk to a physical library, but succeeded in my quest)) Cess also used that equation and value in many of his other papers near that date, such as “Cloud feedback in atmospheric general circulation models: An update” in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 101, No. D8, Pages 12,791-12,794, May 27, 1996
    and https://www-spiedigitallibrary-org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/1299/0000/General-circulation-model-intercomparisons-for-understanding-climate/10.1117/12.21359.pdf

    With regards to down-arrows, i use lowercase “v” … or find a webpage with the characters i seek and copy/paste them into the text : ← ↑ → ↓
    (from )
    (that’s also how the above lambda appeared)

    With regards to what you were using them in, i’d merge the two sequences:
    ↑ CO2 → ↑ RF → ↑ Temp → ↑ H2O with subsequent ↑ RF → ↑ Temp
    … but we have two possible consequences of the increased evaporation and atmospheric water content: either we’ll have more high clouds and increased albedo (hence a lowering of incoming RF) *or* the increased GHG effect of higher water content will lead to ↑ RF → ↑ Temp (clouds not needed).

    A Sept 29th paper suggests that the latter is the case, even with clouds:
    It covers the history of attribution of cooling or heate=ing effects of clouds, including the note that AR5 was the first to assign them a “likely positive”, i.e. net warming, effect of 0.6 W m−2 °C−1 (−0.2 to 2.0 W m−2 °C−1). The main cause of the swing positive is better understanding and measurement of the multiple layers of clouds involved. Older satellite-only measurements didn’t catch the blanketing effect of the lowest cloud layers.
    Clouds have five times the RF effect of doubled CO2 … and which side of the fence that falls on would indeed have a significant impact on the final ↑ or ↓ of temperature.

    have fun


  2. I noticed Chapter 4A about hurricanes had some formatting problems which I’m in the process of fixing. I’ll take the opportunity to
    1. clarify and strengthen some issues
    2. fix the date of the South Australian “hurricane” which was actually 29
    Sep 2016, plus expand on this event.
    3. Adding Ophelia – which happened after posting this chapter.
    Expect this a day or three!


  3. You totally ignore radiative physics. The atmosphere is essentially invisible to light from the Sun and opaque to infrared from the surface of Earth. This energy absorbed by the greenhouse gas molecules is re-emitted immediately in all directions, so some is re-directed back to the surface; the rest continuing to space.

    Thus more GHG means more energy retained: more warming and more ice lost.


    1. I don’t need to read further than, “ALL gases, like all substances, can absorb heat by conduction and convection – and are therefore ALL Greenhouse Gases. ”

      Because only the greenhouses gases, the non-condensing gases like CO2, CH4, N2O, and water vapour, absorb the outgoing longwave radiation (infrared). Nitrogen and oxygen do not; they are not greenhouse gases.


      1. Dennis & pjcarson:

        I think the contention here needs to be put into perspective. A parcel of air comprising 1667 molecules containing 600 ppm of co2 wil only have one molecule of co2 which would subtend a very small area to radiation.
        Additionally IR comprises but a percentage of the total radiation.
        Thus the enthalpy absorption is indeed very small where co2 is involved. Perhaps to the level of insignificance.
        Overall; for the parcel of air, the enthalpy (as opposed to the radiation) absorbed and radiated will be determined by the mean values of the Albedo and Emissivity of the parcel, complicated by matters of optical path considerations. And again the influence of co2 on these mean values for the parcel will be insignificant.

        Sorry for this bit; but it seems to me that you are both dancing on a pin.

        My regards to you both.


  4. A greenhouse gas is one which collects heat to warm the contents inside its container, eg a greenhouse. No other definition or mechanism is required.

    IR is THE mechanism suggested – demanded – by AGW, but there are obviously others such as convection, conduction, etc. Wind helps to distribute the heat in the case of a planet.


    1. That is NOT the definition though. “Greenhouse gas” is comprised of molecules that can absorb infrared radiation. Oxygen and nitrogen do not, so do not meet this definition.

      However you label the phenomenon, this difference between the way molecules of CO2/CH4 and O2/N2 behave in the atmosphere remains.

      It’s the whole basis of the greenhouse effect which means Earth is at +15C not -18C.


      1. Dennis: You do know what a greenhouse is? I’ve never seen an IR-house.

        Among countless others, if you look at eg Wikipedia’s “Greenhouse Effect”, you will see that AGW’s definition is known to be wrong.

        Anyway, read Chapters 1, 1A and 1B, or simply the Commentary – but that’s about all you seem to have read.


  5. It doesn’t matter what you call it, the fact remains that the gases scientists call “greenhouses gases” absorb the outgoing long-wave radiation and the other gases like oxygen and nitrogen do not.

    You will not acknowledge this simple fact. So you are wrong-footed at your first step.


    1. Dennis: Like many others, you have confused the terms “heat” and “infrared”. They are NOT interchangeable. All substances absorb heat – there are no perfect insulators – but some do not absorb IR (but all substances emit IR). All the air about you is at the same temperature; all the air molecules must have absorbed heat in some manner.

      Confirmation of my correct use of Greenhouse Effect is in Chapter 2A. Don’t bother replying if you don’t show that you read it … carefully.


  6. Dennis, you’re hitting what i may call “the Peter Wall”. He’s mixing/confounding two physical systems (quantum and classical).
    Yes, the bulk mass of air is warmed by conduction and convection … all gasses are “the same” in that respect.
    But the use(*) of “greenhouse effect” only applies to the molecules’ quatum absorbtion and emission of specific wavelengths of light.. and that the GH gasses do that in the bands of the earth’s 255 to 300 K (approx) thermal emission spectrum, and that the non-GHG don’t.

    –dick (currently on holiday in Costa Rica, finger-typing on a cellphone’s tiny screen. Expect typos and short lack-of-references posts.)

    (*) Yes, Peter will happily carp about “misuse”, but that semantic quibble has gotten very old and tired. I could bring up the intercontinental differences in meanings of the words “napkin” or “jumper”, and it would be equally pointless.


  7. Cognog2: Despite the appearance of a tiny physical presence, CO2 still has a major effect. If you shine a 15 micron IR beam through standard sea level air, it’s totally blocked (absorbed and re-emitted) within 100 meters. The other end of that 100 meter column will merely see the incoming energy averaged-over-the-container’s-surface coming out. At 400 ppm.
    Shine a visible beam (or IR at the 13 micron “atmospheric window” wavelength) in and well over 99% will still be a beam at the far end.
    I think it was Farady (among others) who used to do the absorption demo on stage.


    1. OK autostarex:
      Although it was not your intention, you’ve just agreed with Chapters 1 & 1A. You note current levels of CO2 have already absorbed all the IR it can. Therefore, adding further CO2 can absorb no more.



      1. pjcarson:

        Agreed; but I am talking about enthalpy not radiation. Two very different things and indeed a confusion that bedevils the whole debate.
        All I ask here is: How much enthalpy can a single molecule of CO2 absorb in my packet of 1667 molecules?


      2. Cognog2: Your
        “Agreed; but I am talking about enthalpy not radiation.”
        Which is what is said in answer to Dennis (06Feb 4:47PM). Although he doesn’t seem to have comprehended my warning to him.

        Your “All I ask here is: How much enthalpy can a single molecule of CO2 absorb in my packet of 1667 molecules?”

        Answer: About 1350th of the packet’s total. (I’m assuming you mean an air packet.)

        [Enthalpy: Thermodynamics’ fancy name for heat.]


      3. pjcarson:

        Correct for dry air but not where water is present. Also this means that this increase in enthalpy is not necessarily proportionately reflected in any increase in temperature, due to the latent heat involved.

        Enthalpy includes energies such as velocity, potential etc. so is a better description of State.

        Things become interesting at this nano level as molecules don’t have a measurable temperature; so what happens to matters of Albedo and Emissivity is a bit beyond me. Any ideas?
        Presumably radiation starts flying around all over the place at different frequencies with enthalpy transfers based on the net radiation with other local molecules. One can but ponder!!



      4. This has little relevance here but …
        Enthalpy, H, is largely a theoretical quantity, applying to a single T & P, and so Latent heat is irrelevant.
        As you talk of latent heat, what you are really asking about is Enthalpy Change, ∆H, applying to the difference between starting and ending points – a measurable quantity.

        So what is it you are needing to know?
        Perhaps: A change of 1C lower in a location that precipitates water, snow or ice represents a larger heat change than in a location, such as a desert, where such a phase change does not occur. I don’t know how that is accounted for, but I have asked. It’s relevant in the past few years where there have been record high temperatures in the southern hemisphere at much the same time as record snow in the northern. Perhaps it largely balances out, but perhaps not.


      5. pjcarson:

        We seem to be singing from different hymn sheets here. Enthalpy is defined as Btu/Lb in old money; so is very pragmatic. Yes, it does change and this reflects the change in “State” of the body in question.

        Where a phase state changes as with water the enthalpy changes from X to Y Btu/Lb. and this occurs at constant temperature.
        So if some 680 Watts of radiation hits a Kilogram of water the temperature does not change. This also happens in reverse. In fact in these instances the sensitivity in the energy to temperature relationship is a big fat Zero. I suspect often forgotten in many of the computer models.

        The relevance of this is important as the atmospheric Rankine Cycle upon these principles essentially acts as the planet’s thermostat.
        But I have waffled about that on many previous comments so won’t bore you here.
        Meanwhile I have great respect for what you are doing. Just hope you don’t take my comments as criticism rather than as discussion points.

        My regards

        PS: In the desert – little water. Therefore rapid increase in temperature come the dawn.
        On a lake – plenty water. A rise in humidity but not much in temperature. Consider the mist.


      6. Sorry for the slowness in reply. It’s partly because I’m a slow thinker, but partly because of our different hymn sheets, I’m unsure as to your reasoning. Perhaps it’s Engineer as opposed to Scientist Speak.

        This site’s first task (Chapters One) was to properly examine the climate effects of CO2. This was found to be near zero.

        Your concern with latent energy of water doesn’t seem to be relevant to changes that may or may not be caused by Man. The size of temperature changes to Earth’s oceans, etc, involves water’s latent heat but the driving force for these changes – with which we are concerned – is natural and does not involve water’s latent heat, or even changing levels of CO2.

        Thank you for your support.


      7. I agree with your last paragraph. I do not think the latent heat of water or the atmospheric Rankine Cycle has any relevance to CO2. The point I am trying to make is that this Rankine Cycle is responsible for large amounts of energy being carried up through the atmosphere considerably assisting in the dissipation to space. This occurring oblivious of CO2 levels. The latent heat aspect is merely the mechanism by which this occurs together with water being lighter than dry air in the gaseous form.

        As an engineer I have problems relating to calculations based on radiation alone as unit of energy (enthalpy). Radiation has units of Watt/sq.m which not energy as such unless converted to joules where both the time and area are known. I suspect this has led to a great deal of confusion.

        In global terms the radiation balance with space is a valid concept; but when used within the atmosphere problems occur as energy morphs into many states with transfers taking place often irrespective of the radiative balance equation. The Rankine Cycle being one example.

        It is all a matter of asking the simple question as to how energy (not radiation) gets from the earth’s surface up to the Tropopause for dissipation to space. The answer, of course, being that it is a mix of radiation, convection, conduction and the Rankine Cycle; but it is the energy which is the prime factor to be considered, not just radiation.

        Consider this: As there is only one CO2 molecule in a parcel of atmosphere of 1666 molecules at 600ppm; then this CO2 molecule receives 1/1666 of the radiative energy received by the parcel. So when it sings, it doesn’t make very much noise!! Whatever hymn sheet is used.

        My regards
        I enjoy this thread. Keeps the grey cells ticking. Thanks.


      8. … “adding more can absorb no more”

        But adding more raises the altitude from which the re-emitted IR can finally make it out to space. That higher altitude is colder, hence less heat is being removed from the earth’s system. Less heat removed means more is being retained, which means that the earth’s surface will rise in temperature until the solar-in/IR-out balance is restored.


      9. 1. Your: “But adding more raises the altitude from which the re-emitted IR can finally make it out to space.”

        Not so. All molecules emit IR, including those that do not absorb it. Therefore, it’s only the density at any particular height that determines how much heat in the form of IR is released, eventually to space.

        2. Your previous comment
        “(*) Yes, Peter will happily carp about “misuse”, but that semantic quibble has gotten very old and tired.”
        AGW has deviously used the warm and comfy term “Greenhouse Effect” because “everyone” knows what it means … until AGW redefined it to mean something else, subtly different – but still wrong. If it’s different from the correct term, it’s not correct. Without that error, AGW would be unable to predict all sorts of rubbish. But you think that’s quibbling?

        Q: Why would AGW use the term “Greenhouse” even though such use is known to be incorrect?

        A: The AGW use is propaganda, intended to deceive. That’s what I’m objecting to so strongly. Like so many others, you’ve been fooled into thinking it’s simply semantics.


    Motivated Reasoning
    “The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.”– H. L. Mencken
    Reasoning was designed by evolution to help us win arguments.–Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber
    We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself. –Chris Mooney

    Motivated reasoning is confirmation bias taken to the next level. Motivated reasoning leads people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data. But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong. Motivated reasoning responds defensively to contrary evidence, actively discrediting such evidence or its source without logical or evidentiary justification. Clearly, motivated reasoning is emotion driven. It seems to be assumed by social scientists that motivated reasoning is driven by a desire to avoid cognitive dissonance. Self-delusion, in other words, feels good, and that’s what motivates people to vehemently defend obvious falsehoods.

    Examples of motivated reasoning:
    the Apollo moon landing was a hoax;
    climate change is a hoax;
    evolution is a hoax;
    9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration;
    Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11;
    the Holocaust didn’t happen;
    AIDS is not caused by HIV;
    vaccines cause autism;
    Barack Obama was not born in the United States.


  9. autostaretx: But adding more [CO2] raises the altitude from which the re-emitted IR can finally make it out to space.
    pjcarson: Not so. All molecules emit IR, including those that do not absorb it.

    Yes it is so. That’s why adding more CO2 does not mean saturation. More energy is retained. And more CO2 means the other molecules that have not absorbed OLR will emit more in those other wavelengths.


  10. The greenhouse effect in the atmosphere is well defined and well understood and arguing that a real greenhouse/glasshouse works differently is entirely irrelevant. We all now that. It’s just a name. For a concept you appear totally unable to grasp.


  11. Dick and cognog2: I just noticed that WordPress’ automatic spam filter, Akismet, removed 4 of Dick’s comments to cognog2 (19Sep17 23Sep17 10Oct17 and 27Oct17). Perhaps it was Akismet’s opinion on their length? 

    Anyway, I’m trying to add them now … but perhaps their significance is now reduced. Sorry!


  12. cognog2: Your 20Feb18 comment seems to be an Engineer’s restatement of Chapter 1B.

    Now that we have established that AGW is a load of cobblers, could you – and others – try to pick holes in the remainder of my site, please!


    1. Hi Dick. Had a good time in Costa Rica?

      Thanks for your Marianas reference. It has much more detailed Geology than I require. I simply need the fact that it is very seismically active, and that activity is volcanic.

      You may notice that westward bound tropical Pacific storms generally run over the Marianas. (See eg Weather Underground.) It’s a seismically active area (USGS) but when there’s extra, these storms develop further into typhoons, which then bang into the Philippines or maybe, directed by previously warmed ocean currents, towards Japan.

      I tinkered with the idea of including these observations into Chapter 4A, but didn’t bother as I feel I’m shouting into the dark


      1. “shouting in the dark”…

        What you might do is a direct submission of your ideas to someone like Dr Roy Spencer, a well-known “it’s not AGW!” proponent.

        An example of his current thoughts/thesis is here:
        … i think your oceanic geothermal components would fit right in and assist his analysis.

        Costa Rica was quite a bit of fun, we spent half the time in “cloud forests”, enduring rainbows in the mornings and later afternoons, with quite temperate weather in-between. The final week was a lot warmer, and our return to Seattle had us experiencing 35 C and 35 F within 12 hours of each other. We’ll be posting one of our typical trip logs on the travelogue page or within a month. (step one: select a reasonable extract from the 7500 photos we took… (that’s a real number)).


  13. Thanks (?) Dick for your reference to Spenser’s site.

    I did put one comment on, but the site is flooded by trolling; not much intelligent life there. It could do with a fair bit of moderation.


  14. Peter, carrying this across from The Conversation. See my recent email of an image – please publish this in this blog, otherwise context is lost and you have an unfair advantage in a discussion.

    The images I sent you form part of this, perhaps you can post them so others can see what we are talking about.

    You describe the basics of your idea in your 1b, including this statement:

    ‘e. IR emitted at CO2’s wavelengths from Earth’s surface that were travelling towards s (yellow area) are trapped then re-emitted in all directions at l. The amount of CO2 ’s IR received at s is thus reduced from that which was emitted from sector ab.’

    Incorrect. The second sentence doesn’t follow from the first. I show this in my attached Beam Trajectories image. Rather than shrink l, I have expanded it for clarity, don’t take the scale as literal. Pane 1 is simply the geometry. ab is the sector at the planets surface visible to the satellite, cd is the sector at the ‘top of atmosphere’ visible to the satellite. The blue zone is the atmosphere, of depth l.

    Panel 2 is the simple case you describe – a beam of IR radiation, at some wavelength, emitted towards the satellite from a point on the surface. Sum all these beams over sector ab and you have all the radiation ‘aimed’ at the satellite.

    Panel 3 then shows an example of what you describe in the first sentence. A beam from ab, aimed at the satellite, that ends up being ‘deflected’ through absorption and random re-emission. The energy arriving at the satellite FROM BEAMS ORIGINALLY AIMED at the satellite is the sum of all the beams over ab from pane 2, minus all the beams from ab deflected as in pane 3. If this was all that were happening, this would be a reduction of total energy to the satellite, and in those wavelengths most effected by absorption/emission.

    Now pane 4. A beam leaving the same point on sector ab, but not aimed at the satellite. All else being equal, the satellite would never see this. BUT, as pane 5 shows, this beam may be ‘deflected’ by absorption/emission TOWARDS the satellite.

    So the total energy arriving at the satellite is all of beams 2, minus beams 3 (your argument) PLUS all of beams 5, which is a fraction of beams 4. You only deduct 3 from 2 without adding back 5. You aren’t counting everything.

    But pane 5. Although deflected, most of the deflected beams from 5 won’t be aimed at the satellite. However, there is a vast pool of beams from 4, vastly more than the beams from 2. It only needs a small fraction of the beams from 4 to be deflected as per 5, to completely negate the loss due to pane 3. Pane 6 shows this. The vast, vast majority of the beams leaving the surface are not aimed at the satellite – remember, sector ab is actually a vast surface, millions of km^2. If all the energy emanating from ab were all focused on the satellite, the satellite would be vaporised.

    So it only takes a very small proportion of the total energy from ab initially aimed AWAY from the satellite to be redirected TOWARDS the satellite to totally counter the small amount of energy aimed at the satellite that is redirected away from the satellite.

    Since your simple calculation doesn’t even attempt to address or account for this additional flux towards the satellite, it is deeply faulty.

    So, to rephrase you point e.
    ”e. IR emitted at CO2’s wavelengths from Earth’s surface that were travelling towards s (yellow area) are trapped then re-emitted in all directions at l. ADDITIONALLY, IR EMITTED FROM THE EARTH’S SURFACE, THAT WAS NOT INITIALLY TRAVELING TOWARDS S, ARE TRAPPED AND THEN RE-EMITTED IN ALL DIRECTIONS. SOME OF THIS IS REDIRECTED TOWARDS s. The amount of CO2 ’s IR received at s is thus reduced from that which was emitted from sector ab towards s, AND ALSO INCREASED FROM THAT WHICH ORIGINALLY WAS NOT EMITTED FROM SECTOR ab TOWARDS s.’

    Next. lets address the thickness of l. I have shown it magnified, just for illustration, you assumed it could be compressed for the purposes of analysis. But l is the thickness of the atmosphere where everything happens. It is here that absorption and emission events occur, that might impact on the structure of the spectrum. Radiative absorption and emission, conduction, convection, diffusion, advection, evaporation and condensation – all happen within l. Once some IR radiation has passed beyond the boundaries of l, all these processes no longer effect it.

    All that remains once the radiation is above l is attenuation – the radIation expanding into a larger volume. This will reduce the intensity of the radiation, just as radiation from the Sun is attenuated as it expands outwards from the Sun’s surface.

    But it will attenuate every single wavelength EQUALLY. There will be no change in the RELATIVE structure of the spectrum because there can’t be, there is no process remaining above l that can act on different wavelengths differentially.

    Above l nothing can change the relative depth of notches or anything else. And since this attenuation is simple to calculate and understand, why wouldn’t the scientists, who translate simple counts from voltage instruments into IR intensities, compensate for what is simple geometry?

    Let me repeat, any change that occurs in the relative structure of different parts of the observed spectrum happens BEFORE the IR radiation has risen above l. Beyond l, nothing can differentially change one part of the spectrum compared to another – only the spectrum as a whole can be attenuated!

    So your calculations about satellite heights are irrelevant when explaining the RELATIVE shape of the spectrum – everything happens inside l, not above it.

    Next, just as an opener. You based your calculations on the depth of the CO2 notches. As I pointed out, there is a spike at the centre of the CO2 notch for the Earth (and also the Ozone notch). You replied suggesting this and other aspects were effectively signal accuracy issues, noise etc.

    So what if they aren’t? What if every detailed spike, dip and wiggle of the graphs is not inaccuracies of measurement, but accurate measurements of a far more complex spectral structure? Repeat your calculation, but take the height of that central spike as the size of the CO2 dip, rather than the plateau below it. Treat that as the CO2 dip, and what do your numbers look like then?

    Aren’t you falling into a fundamental perceptual fallacy? Data that approximately supports my hypothesis shows that my hypothesis is true, but ‘small details’ that don’t match it can be ignored. Look at the history of science, and ‘small details’ that completely overturned previous ideas. How can you be so confident that you are right if you can’t explain every detail of those spectra, not just a few simple, back-of-an-envelope calc’s?

    Peter, every detail of those spectra are dripping with insights and understanding, if you are willing to dig deeply enough. And they actually largely support the basic understanding of AGW – that is built up from this.

    I will follow with more, but for now, redo you calculation using the height of the spike in the CO2 notch, rather than the bottom plateau, tell me what you get.

    And a hint. Why does the Earth have a spike like that in the CO2 and (O3 regions) when Venus & Mars don’t? The Earth has an Oxygen/O3 atmosphere. What does that do to the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere (something you don’t discuss AT ALL on you blog) compared to a CO2 only atmosphere. Why does that matter?


  15. Glenn Tamblyn (again).
    I don’t know how to include diagrams (or formatting) into the Comments. Perhaps someone can suggest how?

    We are still waiting for you to show what results your method produces.


    1. If Glenn (or Peter) wish to email your images to me, i can put them up on one of my hosting sites and provide the address to the pages/area.
      Just send them to rseymour (at) with some text to give me context and i’ll be happy to help.


      1. Peter sent me Glenn’s “Beam Trajectories” image, which i have posted at:

        … so it’s still not as handy as an in-line image here in the comments section, but at least it’s accessible to onlookers. I recommend “right clicking” on the above link and tell your browser to “open in a new tab”, so you can flip back and forth between this page’s text and the referenced image.



    1. Egad! The smaller image appeared in-line in my posting!!!

      So the answer to putting an image into a comment is to have it be smaller than some magic number of pixels… but it appears to have to be elsewhere on the net and you provide the URL in your message body (as i did).
      That (now invisible) URL was the same as the first one, but with 866 inserted before the .png

      Glenn: there’s your method of inserting images: just have them small enough to fit in the wordpress column…. and hosted somewhere accessible.
      (i used the free web server 000webhost dot com.)



  16. Glenn:
    1. You’ve got your figures here in the Comments, you’ve got your extensive reasons why you consider I’m wrong, you have shown what you consider is the correct method. SO, where’s your answer? March 3, you said “I will follow with more, “ … but haven’t.
    I take this to mean I’m correct.

    2. You also wrote
    “Peter, every detail of those spectra are dripping with insights and understanding, “
    I’m sure you are correct in that, but that’s not the point; I was showing the AGW argument – that the size of the IR emission dip in satellite data purported to show that Earth, or even Venus!! and Mars, could trap more IR if more CO2 was added – was simply an artefact of the satellite’s height. That’s sufficient to blow AGW out of the water by itself. KISS.

    3. I found the following webpage that shows how to format in WordPress’ Comments section.
    I’m guessing you don’t want to look there. 


  17. Peter

    Sorry about the delay responding. Initially I couldn’t see how to make any sensible sort of reply without diagrams, then I have been away.

    Hopefully the method of adding images you highlighted will work, otherwise, here are links to them anyway.

    This is long but important. I discuss some reasons why your model doesn’t work, then bring in data and observations to explain what the correct model is, the one that has been understood since the 60’s.

    First a trial, just to test images.


  18. OK, that worked

    Firstly I need to respond to this comment you made in your email.

    ” 2. Your arguments, although different from mine, agree that geometry affects the shape of the satellite IR spectra, yet those luminaries, Pierrehumbert and NASA’s Schmidt, a mathematician! plus most others, do not even consider this so that their analyses must be wrong. Somehow St P states his analyses involving radiation transfer match well … but does not show this. I’ve never found anybody who can understand his paper – but they all praise it!! I think there’s a saying something about wool” and “eyes” involved here.”

    NO PETER. My Arguments do not agree with that, please try to understand them before you put words in someone elses mouth!

    My argument is that only atmospheric processes can modify the RELATIVE shape of the spectrum – a notch here, a bump there. Once the radiation has risen above the active level of the atmosphere and is heading towards the satellite, all possible processes that might alter its spectral structure are left behind. Only attenuation remains. If a satellite were at twice the height, it would see a weaker signal. But it would see a signal with the same spectral shape.

    And allusions about wool and eyes is irrelevant. You just need to learn some basic radiation theory.


  19. Let me start with this Peter.

    By my rough calculation, using a satellite height of 700 km above the earth, and a radius of the earth of 6378 km – your number – I get the surface area of your sector ab as over 25 million km^2. The estimated energy raditaing from the Earth is around 239 w/m^2. Times 25 trillion m^2, that is a total energy flux from sector ab of 5,975,000,000,000,000 watts, virtually all not directed at the satellite. If even a small part of that were all directed at the satellite it would be vaporised. Virtually ALL the radiation from sector ab, by many many orders of magnitude is not directed at the satellite.

    So you think a diversion of a small part of this huge energy flux towards the satellite is a 2ND ORDER EFFECT? Care to back that up with even an indicative calculation!

    Look at it another way. Imagine we park another satellite next to the first. It will receive some radiation. Then another satellite and another… etc. Park enough sensors to intercept ALL the energy radiated from the surface. Imagine we completely surround the planet with sensors. What can we say about the total amount of energy all those sensors, cumulatively, receive? It must match the amount of energy leaving the planet! Conservation of energy requires this. The surface area of the entire Earth is around 511 trillion m^2. So at 239 w/m^2 that is 122,173,437,872,883,601 watts. If we surround the planet with sensors then they must measure that much. Energy conservation cannot be violated.

    But the satellite, and our hypothetical shell of sensors, is actually at 7078 km up. So the energy flow, per meter^2 is 194 w/m^2. 81.2% of the flux at the surface, just due to the height difference. Any other value violates energy conservation.

    Your calculation 2 * asin(R/R+h) * 360 is simply calculating the angle subtended by the part of the earth visible to the satellite. Dividing by 360 is simply saying that the satellite sees this proportion of 360 degrees. 2 * asin (6378/7078) is 128.6 degrees. That is all you are calculating, an angle. You give no reason why that determines any change in energy.

    And your calculation is fundamentally flawed at the most basic level. You are using planar geometry, when you need to use solid geometry. The satellite deson’t ‘see’ an arc. It ‘sees’ a ‘spherical cap’ a surface area of the Earth that radiation may originate from. At the absolute minimum you need to use solid geometry in your calculation, and calculate a solid angle, in steradians.

    Next. What happens if you repeat your calculation based on the height of the spike at the centre of the CO2 notch, using either plane or solid geometry. You have assumed that the spike doesn’t matter, that it is just noise or something, without a justification for that assumption. The spike does matter, as I will explain later.

    Ideally we would test your hypothesis by taking measurements at different altitudes, applying your calculation at different altitudes. The graph you use, from Pierrehumberts article, is from the AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite. However the graph is an average of many readings. Here are some other readings, from single locations.

    This is taken above the Sahara

    This taken above the Western Pacific.

    These are three readings, taken by the Nimbus 4 satellite in the early 70’s. Its orbit was closer to 1100 km, not 700. The first graph is the Sahara, the second, from above the mediterranean. Similar shape but some differences. The third reading was taken over the Antarctic in winter (CHECK). A strikingly different shape to the spectrum!!! How does you satellite theory explain this reading Peter?

    At 1100 km, you calculation gives 117.1 degrees, so a little different.

    But we can do better than this. Lets look at really low altitudes. How does 34 km & 27 km sound? Your calculation applied to 27 km would give 169.4 degrees and at 34 km, 168.2 degrees. If we take the calculation to its limit, h = 0, we get 180 degrees.

    Assuming what you are actually interested in is the ratio between your calculated number and 180 degrees, not 360, then the following should be observed.
    27 km – 1-(169.4/180) = 0.06 reduction
    34 km – 1-(168.2/180) = 0.066 reduction
    700 km – 1-(128.6/180) = 0.286 reduction
    1100 km – 1-(117.1/180) = 0349 reduction

    Not a lot of difference between the latter two calculations, from Aqua and Nimbus 4. But the first two values are substantially different from the last two. So if we could take measurements at those altitudes, we would expect to see substantial differences from the data from the two satellites. This would test your theory.

    It turns out we can.

    This graph was measured from a tethered balloon at an altitude of 34 km, above Teresina in Brazil, near the equator.

    And this was measured by a similar study, a balloon tethered at 27 km above Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

    The CO2 notch is just as visible in both readings, substantially the same depth proportionally as in the satellite graphs. Your hypothesis doesn’t match the observations Peter. Note also, the 27 km graph doesn’t have a central spike at the bottom of the notch, whereas the 34 km graph does have a small spike, although not as high as in the satellite data. This is no acident – as I will explain later.

    Importantly, the CO2 notch has already appeared in data measured inside the atmosphere, the lower to mid-stratosphere. The shape of the spectra observed by the satellites is already nearly totally formed while still inside the atmosphere. This is the whole point Peter. The shape of the spectral curve is formed INSIDE the atmosphere! The only thing that changes the spectrum after it leaves the atmosphere is simple attenuation, that reduces the height of every point on the graph equally. No formation of notches or anything else. Your theory doesn’t match the range of evidence, but the evidence does match the standard radiative theory in great detail, which I will describe later.

    This image highlights what happens to the spectra one would observe as one goes higher. A pure (and pretty smooth) Planck curve emitted by the surface, all the notches etc formed by radiative processes at the top of the atmosphere, then attenuation of every part of the curve with further altitude increases. I even show what it would look like all the way out to geosynchronous orbit at 36,000 km.

    And since it is simple geometry that determines the degree of attenuation, it is equally simple to back calculate to what the spectrum would look like at any other altitude above the atmosphere. The RELATIVE shape of the curve however is determined inside the atmosphere – because there is no physical process that can modify some wavelengths MORE THAN OTHERS in the vacuum of space!

    Peter, any similarity you may have found from your simple calculation for the three planets can be explained simply. It is called a coincidence Peter. Theories need some sort of causal mechanism, not just coincidence to be given credence.


    1. Glenn: A quick reply. (Geometry must be taken into account.)
      Your “That is all you are calculating, an angle. ”
      You should check up on your dimensional analysis. This not an angle; the 360 denominator makes it a proportion. That’s high school stuff! The rest of what you’ve written here is weird!

      Get the simple things correct first.


  20. This should have been included in the previous comment:

    This is taken above the Sahara

    This taken above the Western Pacific.

    These are three readings, taken by the Nimbus 4 satellite in the early 70’s. Its orbit was closer to 1100 km, not 700. The first graph is the Sahara, the second, from above the mediterranean. Similar shape but some differences. The third reading was taken over the Antarctic in winter (CHECK). A strikingly different shape to the spectrum!!! How does you satellite theory explain this reading Peter?


    1. The graphs you present for Sahara and western Pacific:
      The measured curves do not align with any of the S-B temperatures, although Sahara partly matches 320K and western Pacific with 290K (perhaps). There’s an inexplicably large difference between these two locations which should be of more similar temperatures; indicates some problems in measurement.

      The original reference to the IR instrument, IRIS-D carried on Nimbus-4 (launched 1970) is
      Its “Upward long wave irradiance at Earth’s surface” is given as
      “Cloud sensitive. Highly indirect. Its relevance is rated as 4-fair”.
      Its “Downward long wave irradiance at Earth’s surface” is rated as “5-marginal”.
      And can anyone explain the Antarctic data … other than they are even more faulty?
      Consequently, none of these three data match the geometry.

      Chapter 1A uses data from the 2002-launched AIRS, favoured by Schmidt & Pierrehumbert.
      Its relevance is valued as “3-high”. Earth matches the geometry perfectly, as does Venus. Mars matches as well as possible given my lack of more accurate height at which data were taken.

      Glenn and Dick:
      You’d do well to be more critical – of both data and theory. It would save everybody’s time.


  21. Now, lets look at some actual science and we can build towards the actual explanation.

    Firstly I introduce a source of data. The HiTran Spectroscopic database.

    This began life from research started by the US Air Force in the 50’s, measuring the spectral properties of gases in the atmosphere in very high detail. This has grown over the years and is currently hosted here. The database has info on 40+ gases in the atmosphere, and details of many millions of spectral lines in their spectra. This is not data on transmissivity for example, but lower level, more fundamental properties – transmissivity is calculated from this lower level data. This data is used by NASA for calculations for space missions, the military for designing spy satellites and missile seeker heads, industry for designing a wide range of devices including for example CO2 leak detectors that use the spectral properties of CO2 gas to detect leaks, and NASA/NOAA/ Other meterological agencies to design weather and climate sensing satllites.

    HiTran provides an interface for downloading data from the database, but this site, SpectralCalc.

    It provides a neat graphing tool for plotting the Spectral Intensity of a gas from the database.

    Spectral intensity is the primary measurement of how ell a gas absorbs or emits at a single wavelength (or wave number). There is a lot of other information that modifies this primary value, but this is the starting point. Spectralcalc also hosts a good description of the basis for spectral calculations in this document.

    The Line List Browser at Spectral calc lets you plot the Spectral Intensity of a gas (or even individual isotopic variants of the gas) over a wavelength or wave number range.

    This is the Spectral Intensity of CO2 over a range of wavenumbers relevant to our discussion. The high peak is at wavenumber of 666 cm^-1 (coincidentally, the Number of the Beast 🙂 ). Take particular note of the vertical scale, it is logarithmic. Between the bottom of the graph and the 666 peak, spectral intensity varies by a factor of over 100 billion. Note also the line count, over 40,000 spectral lines in this band range.

    This is a more detailed graph, of a very small range around that central peak. Even in this narrow range there are over 7000 individual spectral lines. Spectra are extremely cmplex and this wasn’t discovered intil the 1950’s

    And this is a graph of the spectra of water vapour instead over the same range as the first CO2 graph. Complex, and different. Water is active over a wider range than CO2, butfor much of it’s range it is weaker than CO2 – they complement each other, being active if different parts of the spectrum.

    Now, transmissivity. The graph you use showing trasnmissivity from Mauna Loa is produced using the ATRAN radiative model. It doesn’t ‘measure’ trasnmissivity, you can’t do that without measuring from the other side of the beam path. Rather it calculates transmissivity from the data in HiTran. It isn’t measured data, it is modelled. And this caculation can be done over more wavelengths than your graph shows, and for differing altitudes.

    I have used ATRAN

    to calculate transmissivity, looking up, across 3 different ranges ofwwavelengths, and for 3 different altitudes. Sorry I couldn’t use one graph for each altitude but the host site for ATRAN is finicky about the ranges it lets you use.

    Here are the results for 0 feet, 10,000 feet (around the height of Mauna Loa) and 50,000 feet, in the lower stratosphere. Sorry about the use of feet, it must be an American webpage :-(. The graph you show roughly corresponds the the central pane.

    So what can we see. The top row is the surface, not 3000 meters, and not only is there zero transmissivity in the CO2 bands, as your graph showed, but there is zero trasnmissivity in other regions as well (22-26 cm^-1, below 7.5 cm^-1). Contrast this with the SpectralCalc graph. These correspond to regions of high activity from water!

    You commented that you thought the sawtooth pattern seen in other parts of the spectrum may be due to partial transmission through the water regions. Not the case. There is zero transmission (from the surface) in much of the water bands. The sawtooth pattern in your graph is due to re-emission by water at higher altitudes, just like CO2. Note also that transmissivity from the surface in the rough region from 13-8 cm^-1 is almost 1 (the values on the upper left graph are some sort of error from ATRAN, they should be closer to 1 not 0.8) In this region, most of the emissions from the surface escape to space unimpedded. Astronomers call this region the Atmospheric Window and it is important for infrared astronomy from the surface, it means IR from deep space in this region can reach the surface and be observed.

    The second row is roughly the height of Mauna Loa. Now there is substantial partial transmissivity in the 20+ water bands, but still little transmissivity in the 7.5- water bands. Water is stronger here than at 20+.

    Finally, the bottom row is 50,000 feet, around 16,000 meters, in the lower stratosphere. Now we have high transmissivity across much of the bands, but notice, the centre of the CO2 band is still showing very low transmissivity. Even at 16,000 meters, emissions from this altitude, in this narrow band, still can’t escape to space!

    So, the transmissivity to space varies substantially across the spectrum with altitude, governed by the properties of CO2 and H2O from HiTran as shown in the SpectralCalc graph.


  22. Now lets look at another satellite’s data – Nimbus 3. It was launched in early 1969 and in April 1969 an experiment was run to test one of the instruments on board, exploring its capabilities. A weathr balloon was launched from near Brownesville in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico coast. It sampled air pressure, temperature and humidity in an air column well up into the stratosphere.

    This data was used as input to a radiative transfer model. Similar to ATRAN, but instead of calculating transmissivity, it calculated from radiative theory, and the balloon data, what the infrared spectra would look like to an observer 1100 km above Brownseville. And the launch of the balloon was timed to match Nimbus 3 so the satellite was passing overhead as the balloon was rising. The satellite, at 1100 km, measured what the actual spectrum was.

    So a classic example of science at work; make a prediction from theory, and compare it to observations. The results are shown in this graph. One curve is what Nimbus 3 measured. The other is what was predicted from radiative theory. The curves appear one above the other because they were plotted with a vertical offset for clarity. Actually the two curves are almost identical, as is shown by the second figure below, also taken from the paper, showing only the left-hand half of the first graph, without the vertical offset. Apart from some small differences, the two curves ar almost identical.

    The paper is here (although pay-walled, I can email you a copy):
    Conrath et al 1970. The Infrared Interferometer Experiment on Nimbus 3

    Around the time NASA was about to put men on the Moon, with computers less powerful than your mobile phone, and using the first, simple, version of this instrument, they predicted the spectrum with great accuracy.

    And people like Pierrehumbert, Schmidt etc were still in Primary school!

    As shown by data from the later Nimbus 4 and satellites and balloons since, the theoretical understanding of why the spectra looks the way it does, derived from the sort of data in HiTran, was already well understood by the end of the 60’s.


  23. So lets look at the results from a radiative transfer model, in more detail.

    Not only was the US Air Force involved in backing the research that measured thee properties of gases like CO2, they were also involved in developing tools to apply that data. They developed their own radiative transfer model – it is one of several dozen in use by different teams around the world.

    Their model is called ModTran and devlopment of it was lead for many years by the US Air Force Geophysics Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachussetts. NASA has its own called LinePAC that it uses for developing planetary missions.

    The University of Chicago hosts a copy of Modtran, with an interface to allow users on the web to generate spectra, from the model, for different altitudes and conditions.

    You can pick the gas concentrations to apply, the type of air column, the type of cloud cover etc. I have done a series of runs using the default gas compositions, using the US Standard Atmosphere model, no clouds, and looking down from several altitudes. This is shown below.

    I start with looking down at zero meters – emissions from the ground, which is a simple Planck curve. Then progressively higher. You could also start at the bottom of the figure and work upwards – this would be the equivalent of strating at high altitude and moving down.

    0 kms – a simple Planck curve
    1 kms – Lower-Troposphere. First signs of reduction across the H2O/CO2 bands, but not in the Atmospheric Window.
    5 kms – mid-Troposphere. Reduction in the spectrum in the water regions below 500cm^-1 and above 1300 cm^-1 and the CO2 notch starting to appear. Note that the water regions and the bottom of the CO2 notch are roughly on the same Planck Curve (the 260 K curve) while the atmospheric window is sitting above the 280 K curve.
    10 km – Upper troposphere. The CO2 curve is deeper, nearly down to the 220 K line. So too the strongest parts of the H2O regions are deeper, also near the 220 K line, while the weaker parts of the H2O regions are not depressed as much. The atmospheric window still hasn’t dropped.
    15 km – Lower Stratosphere/Tropopause. Changes in the H2O regions have essentially stopped. The CO2 notch is a bit deeper, below the 220 K line, and wider, and there is now a plateau at the bottom of the notch. Also a secondary notch has appeared at around 1050 cm^-1
    20 km – Lower/Middle Stratosphere. Changes in the water regions have stopped, the secondary notch is deeper, the CO2 notch is no deeper but a fraction wider.
    25 km. (around the height of the lower balloon from above). No change from water or the second notch, but the CO2 notch is actually a little shallower, now on the 220 K line. And a pretty good match to the balloon data.
    30 km. Middle Stratosphere. No changes except the first vestige of a spike in the centre of the CO2 notch.
    35 km. (around the height of the other balloon above) No change except for the spike in the CO2 notch has grown a bit. And still a goodmatch to the other balloon.
    45 km. Upper Stratosphere. The CO2 spike has grown further, no other change.
    50 km. Upper Stratosphere. The CO2 spike has grown a little further, it is sitting on the 240 K line. No other change.
    60 km. No change.
    70 km. No change. And matching what the satellites see.

    Most of the change in the spectrum happens in the first 20 kms above the ground. Most of the action in the water bands has ended by around 10 km. But the centre of the CO2 notch, that spike, keeps evolving right up to the upper stratosphere.


  24. Now I need to introduce a topic you completely ignore in your discussion. Air temperature. Not just the surface, at every altitude.

    Notice how just about every graph here shows something related to temperature. Your graphs from Pierrehumbert show Planck temperature curves. In fact, you cropped his image. Here is the full image that also shows indicative vertical temperature profiles for each atmosphere.

    All the satellite and balloon graphs I have shown reference planck curves. If you look at all my graphs from Modtran, on the right is a graph of temperature vs altitude. This is from the US Standard Atmosphere. Note the changes at around 13 km and 20 km.

    It sure seems like temperature is a real pre-occupation in this science, yet you have completely ignored it! When actually it lies at the heart of understanding all of this.

    You correctly discuss how energy absorbed by GH gases is reradiated at higher and higher altitudes. If the atmosphere still has zero transmissivity at a particular altitude, up or down, at that wavelength, then any reradiation will be reabsorbed. So any emissions to space from reradiated energy have to come from an altitude where the transmissivity, at that wavelength, to space is not zero, and particularly where transmissivity is high.

    But what you omit is the AMOUNT of reradiation that occurs. How much radiation occurs at a particular altitude, at a particular wavelength depends on temperature! Quite simply, a parcel of air at a certain temperature will radiate according to the Planck curve for that temperature. Although the GH gases don’t radiate continuously across all wavelengths. like a solid or liquid would, at those wavelengths where they do radiates, their intensity of their radiation is given by Plancks Law.

    So the Initial intensity of their radiation depends on the surrounding air temperature. The Beer-Lambert law gives the amount of radiation remaining after transmission, starting with the initial radiation, based on transmissivity. But what you apparently haven’t considered is that the initial value, Io, is dependent on temperature. Colder air radiates less, so irrespective of the transmissivity, the starting point for what the final radiant intensity is is temperature. This is the missing piece of the puzzle in the explanation for the spectrum.

    Lets go back through my points from the Modtran graphs.

    0 kms – a simple planck curve. Based on the surface temperature. The settings for the model runs on Modtran have a surface temperature of 288 K and the curve generated matches a Planck curve for 288 K

    5 kms – The Atmospheric Window region has high transmissivity right from the surface. So the intensity we see above matches what was emitted from the surface since there is little absorption. This remains unchanged all the way out to space. The H2O & CO2 regions however have low/zero transmissivity from the surface so radiation from the surface has already been absorbed. What we are seeing here is already reradiation from higher up, just below the 5 km level, and at a correspondingly lower temperature and thus intensity. The strongest absorbing parts of the CO2 and H2O regions are already emitting at around the 260 K range, 28 K colder than the surface. And temeparure drops at 6.5 K per km. 4 km * -6.5 = -26 K colder. The emissions we see in the strong parts of the H2O/CO2 bands are coming from roughly a km or so below the observation altitude.

    10 km – Upper troposphere. The CO2 and strong H2O bands have kept dropping but the weaker parts of the H2O bands (go back and look at the transmissivitty and SpectralCalc plots) haven’t dropped any lower. The CO2 and strong H2O bands are nearly down to the 220 K line, around 225 K while the weaker parts of the H2O regions haven’t dropped any further. In the weak H2O bands, the atmosphere is now effectively transparent, and what is being seen is coming from deeper than the 10 km level. But, (288-225)/6.5 = 9.7 km, just below the 10 km height of the observation. Where absorption is strong, transmissivity is still very low, and the emissions are still coming from just below the model altitude.

    15 km – No more changes nowin the water bands, even the strong parts of the H2Obands are exhausted. Transmissivity is now high across virtually all of the H2O range. But CO2 is still working. It’s emission temperature is now below 220 K and a small plateau has energed. Look at the temperature profile on the right. 13 km is the altitude where temperatures stop falling and remain constant with altitude at around 215 K. This is the Tropopause. The plaeau is dur to emissions still coming from just below 15 km, but the temeperature here has stopped falling.

    20 km – Still in the constant temperature zone. With longer path lengths, more of the CO2 band is low transmissivity over the 13-20 km depth and more of the CO2 notch reflects this so the plteau is wider.

    25 km. Small temperature increase in the temperature profile, and the plaeau has risen a little to 225 K. This is still coming from just below the model height, the centre of the CO2 band is still zero transmissivity, but the air is now slightly warmer, so the plateau has risen slightly.

    30 km. Middle Stratosphere. Now even most of the plateau in the CO2 notch has remained unchanged, most of the remaining CO2 band has high transmissivity and the radiation is coming from below the 20 km level. But the absolute centre of the CO2 band is still zero transmissivity – go look at the centre of the CO2 graph from SpectralCalc and the centre bottom graph from ATRAN. CO2 is still blocking emissions even up here. So what is being recorded in the very centre is still originating just below the model altitude. But the temperature increase with altitude has picked up. And the spike is starting to appear. The very centre of the CO2 notch is being radiated from near 30 kms, and warmer air. For every other part of the spectrum the atmosphere is clear, but not here.

    35 km. More of the same, still zero transmissivity, and warmer air still, so the spike gets higher.

    45 km. Upper Stratosphere. CO2 keeps on keeping on. More of the same, still zero transmissivity, and even warmer air still, so the spike gets higher still.

    50 km. Upper Stratosphere. CO2 keeps on keeping on, just a bit, but even that central wavelength is starting to run out of steam. So the intensity at the absolute centre of the notch only rises a little. it is perhaps coming from a little bit further below the model height now.

    60 km. All over, CO2 is exhausted, everything in the spectrum is now coming from deeper in the atmosphere. For the spike, 10 km or so lower down, for water, 10 km or so, for the Atmospheric Window, 60 km.

    70 km. Same. From here there is no change in the relative shape of the spectrum. all the way out to the satellites. Only attenuation occurs now.


  25. So, Peter, here is an analysis, of data from Modtran.

    I have taken the data from the 70 km run on Modtran and plotted it here, vs wavenumber.

    Then I have applied Plancks Law to the data. Normally Plancks Law calculates radiant intensity from temperature and wavenumber/wavelength. I rearranged the equationto calculate temperature from intensity and wave number giving this graph. The temperature of the air that each point is coming from.

    Then I applied to temperature profile we used for the US standard Atmosphere to bacl calculate an altitude from the temperature to give a plot of altitude vs wavenumber.

    Finally I replotted this vs wavelength instead for ease of comparison with previous graphs.

    These two graphs are a rough plot of the altitude where the radiation originates from. Ground level for the Atmospheric window, up to nearly 40 kms at the centre of the CO2 band. Contrast them with the spectralcalc plots – High Spectral Intensity matches high emission altitude. Compare them with the transmissivity graphs. Clear air, low transmissivity, equals low emission altitude. High transissivity, more IR opaque air corresponds to higher emission altitude. Look at the centre bottom pane or transmissivities, where CO2 still is very low transmissivity in the centre of its band – exactly where the spike emerges at high altitude, because of that.

    When you look at the satellite or balloon spectra you are looking at a temperature probe into different parts of the atmosphere. The paper from 1970 discusses the various uses the interferometer could be used for, including estimating ground temperature by looking at the intensity of the data from the satellite window. Go look at the first graphs. The Sahara graphs have planck temperatures around 320 K in the atmospheric window region – surface temperatures in the high 40 C range. Look at the mediterranean graph, 300 K, high 20’s.

    Now look at the Antarctic winter graph. The atmospheric window is showing temperatures at the surface down around 200 K, -70 C. The middle of the CO2 band is warmer, more like we might expect at the tropopause. And even in the water bands, temps are very low. To understand this we need to know 2 things. Air in the polar winter is extraordinarily dry so not too much activity from the water bands. And the polar winters see temperature inversions where surface temperatures are actually colder than the stratosphere, -70 C type temperatures are reasonable at the South Pole in winter and the water/atmospheric window bands reflect this But the stratosphere is a bit warmer and still warms at higher altitude and this is where CO2 still plays a role. Your satellite model doesn’t predict this. The radiation/temperature model combined with polar weather does.

    Go back to the plot for Mars and the temperature profile for the atmosphere. The temperature doesn’t warm at higher altitude. Mars has no oxygen, and thus no Ozone Layer, so no stratospheric warming due to absorption of Ultraviolet. So although emissions from the centre of the notch are from higher and higher in the atmosphere, because it just gets colder and colder with altitude, so the notch just gets deeper and deepr with no spike.

    So too Venus has no Ozone Layer so no spike. The sprectrum on Venus is more complex since, the very high density of its atmosphere brings an additional mechanism into play called continuum absorption. And the sulphur dioxide cloud layer also has an impact on the spectrum.


  26. Peter.

    You satellite model doesn’t make any sense mathematically.
    It quite probably violates energy conservation
    You have not put forward any mechanism for how geometry alone can DIFFERENTIALLY change the shape of the spectrum
    It doesn’t match observations over different altitude ranges.
    It doesn’t calculate its value based on the spike rather than the broader depth of the notch.
    It doesn’t predict the detailed pattern of the spectrum.
    It doesn’t explain differences between spectra for different locations and climates.
    It doesn’t explain all the details for the three planets.
    It ignores temperature completely.
    It doesn’t consider the basic data about the properties of GH gases
    It doesn’t consider the full range of implications of changes in transmissivity with altitude.

    Sorry Peter, but until you can explain this in much more detail, it is a complete fail, disconnected from actual observational data.

    And if you disagree, you need to talk the the US Air Force, NASA, the military, the entire spectral science community who understand this in great detail, know the underpinning quantum mechanics of why the raw data is valid, and use it for a multiude of applications. You might want to speak to any surviving scientists from that era or at least start reading scientific papers from the 50’s & 60’s.
    Because this was broadly understood by the end of the 60’s. When the people you mention were still in school.


  27. Glenn:
    [Although apparently some of your figures do not appear, I’d be wary of bringing attention to Mickey Mouse arguments!  But levity is appreciated.]

    1. You may have noticed I try to keep my discussions as concise as possible to eliminate diversions. Additionally, I use data to reach quantitative conclusions rather than models and “forcing factors” (ie fudge factors).
    I observe that AGW proponents do the opposite whenever they hit their frequent difficulties.

    2. The aim of Chapters 1 is to investigate the effect of CO2 on temperatures at or near Earth’s surface; that’s the area where Man lives.
    The aim is not to investigate what might or might not be happening to temperatures at altitude. You haven’t established an aim and so your argument wanders … aimlessly. Despite extensive arguments and arm-waving, you fail to reach conclusions.

    From IR considerations, Chapters 1 & 1A show that CO2 has minimal influence. From easier and independent thermodynamic considerations, Chapter 1B agrees, but showing further that CO2 has NO measurable effect. It’s good to be consistent!

    [You seem fixated on 1A. I note that you have not tackled 1B… or any other chapter. Presumably you have read them.]

    3. Your “You just need to learn some basic radiation theory.”
    … despite you having no idea what my knowledge is in this area!
    [Be respectful! Remember! As this is my site, I possess the Big Red Button! – a bit like Trump … in this respect only!]
    This theory is peripheral and diversionary from the aim.
    All gases, like all substances and not just the IR gases, radiate energy depending on the temperature. The energy corresponding to these temperatures is mostly IR.
    [Your lengthy explanation does not take that into account.]

    Despite what you have written, my satellite “dips” – calculated from simply from geometry – match the data exactly. The dips are sufficient to show AGW is wrong. Although it may be interesting to you, it’s a diversion to discuss IR shapes, etc.


  28. Then perhaps let others form their own views Peter by releasng the 6 other posts I have put up that are still in moderation!!!

    Showing, for example, the CO2 notch already fully formed in DATA from observations in the stratosphere at 27 km up, not 700 km.

    Showing the spectral DATA that this is based on.

    Showing that the spike in the centre of the CO2 notch isn’t noise but is actually a central characteristic of measurements of the Earth from multiple satellites, dating back to 1969, AND radiative transfer calculations from the present day back to 1969.

    Showing how the spectrum observed by satellites varies depending what part of the Earth and weather they are observing below.

    Showing the CO2 notch as actually a CO2 ‘hump’ when looking at measurements taken in the polar winter.

    There is not much point looking at anything else you have written when the first items you wrote are so full of holes. Secondly, the spectrum seen from space is our first point. Only by first understanding how that is formed can we then move on to how that then governs the surface temperature.

    Put my posts up then there will be something to talk about.


  29. Lets see if this works…

    It should be a compressed version of the a plot of Spectral Intensity for CO2, from the data held in the HiTran Spectroscopic database.

    Not great detail but it does show the wide variation in spectral properties of CO2 over its band – over 12 orders of magnitude. And right smack-bang at the wavenumber where the centre of the CO2 notch is observed in the satellite data. In fact, centred on the spike at the centre of the notch.



  30. So, on a role.

    This is the IR Spectrum, measured looking down from above Fort Sumner in New Mexico. Measured from a balloon at 27 km up.

    Fully formed CO2 notch, directly measured, data, in the stratosphere, at 27 km up not 700 km up.

    Please explain Peter.


    1. Glenn … or is it Pauline H? (That’s an Australian joke.)
      My figure is not applicable to the dip as the balloon is not measuring from above but from within the atmosphere.

      [This my comment repeated from below. It probably fits better here.]


  31. As for your comment about everything radiating IR, here is the spectral Intensity data from HiTran, not just for CO2, but also the 2 main gases in the atmosphere. O2 & N2 simply are not active at all in any of the bands involved in radiation from the Earth. Even further out, the highest values for their spectral intensity is still something like 10 orders of magnitude weaker than the peak for CO2.

    How can they (O2, N2) radiate when their Spectral Intensity doesn’t even register at 30+ ORDERS of MAGNITUDE weaker than CO2?


    1. Glenn: Your February 2014 contribution to the AGW site, Skeptical Science, to which you are a voluminous, if not luminous, contributor.
      “The air doesn’t just absorb heat, it also loses it as well! The atmosphere isn’t just absorbing IR Radiation (heat) from the surface. It is also radiating IR Radiation (heat) to Space. “
      Doesn’t seem to match your first line in your 18Apr18 Comment here.


  32. Finally, here is the key graph from the 1970 paper, Conrath et al. Observations and theoretical calculations, based on simultaneous data from a weather balloon and a satellite, at 1100 km, not 700.

    One curve has been shifted up when plotted. In fact they are almost identical.

    Curves from theory and observation, matching almost perfectly. The radiative transfer calculations predict the CO2 notch, other features, including the central spike. All without reference to your calculation. All done months before Armstrong & Aldrin landed on the Moon.

    Please explain Peter.


  33. Glenn: I wasn’t aware of your 6 comments which hadn’t be approved. This was a WordPress function. It’s happened before, some months ago as you’ll see if you look back.

    I’ve no interest in suppressing your comments. However, you’ll need to allow me some time to reply as they are very extensive. I thank you for your efforts.


  34. Glenn, thank you for your contributions.
    You’ve covered many of the items I tried to get across to Peter through a year of private emails. You’ve done a far better job with your step-wise “looking down” plots than i ever did.

    In your April 15th, 7:53 pm note you mention Peter having trimmed off Pierrehumbert’s lapse (temperature varying with altitude) curves, but somehow the image you (probably) pointed at didn’t show up.

    I’m going to try to include the full image, with Pierrehumbert’s caption, here:

    If that doesn’t show up, i’ll try a “just the figure” in a subsequent post.
    The original figure came from
    which was Physics Today, 64(1), 33 (2011);



    1. Dick and Glenn:
      1. I “trimmed” the distracting right-hand side of the figure as I was not discussing what might be happening to the irrelevant temperature at altitude. The LHS is sufficient to show the error in AGW.

      2. Fundamental.
      Neither of you have shown what the relationship between “CO2 emissions” and global temperature is; that’s fundamental. AGW seems to have many – all different! For example, that applying to Earth
      a. until 1905, say, from whenever,
      b. from 1905 to 1940,
      c. 1950 to now.
      These are all different. Then there’s that relating to Venus, Earth and Mars. I just guessed such a relationship that AGW may be using as none seem to fit – and they are all different from a, b and c above! Perhaps you two can help?
      (My answer is zero … within experimental error.)


  35. Peter.

    If I post anything further that tells me it is in moderation I will shoot you an email.

    I noticed that instead of 2 figures from Conrath et al I had inserted Fig 5 twice. Here is the second figure, Fig 6.

    It would be worth your time to read through the pdf about Spectral Calculations from SpectralCalc that I linked to. They start with the Beer-Lambert Law at Eqn 2 and progress through introducing the basic invariant property of Spectral Line Intensity at Eqn 5. They then discuss the various aspects of spectral line broadening up to Eqn 11.

    Then they present the equation for calculating Line Intensity for any other temperature based on the standard Line Intensity, So, at 296 K, which is taken from HiTran, at Eqn 12. So is what I have shown you in the plots.

    So, and simple transmittance is for a single frequency/wavelength. Next they discuss how to calculate complete transmittance spectra, taking account of overlaps between separate spectral lines due to line broadening. This is what the plots from ATRAN are showing.

    Finally they introduce radiance, and that we need to consider radiation emitted from within the gas, not just radiation transiting through it.

    Fig 3, and its commentary is interesting. A laboratory scale calculation, the spectrum seen when radiation from a 320 K source passes through CO2 at 280K. Where transmittance is very high, the spectrum observed matches the background at 320 K. When transmittance is zero, it matches the temperature of the gas – 280K.

    The same thing happens in the Earth/Atmosphere system. Where transmittance is very high (the Atmospheric Window), we see a signal matching the ground temperature ~320 K in the case of the Sahara graph. When transmittance is very low, (the centre of the CO2 band) we see emission temperatures matching the lower stratosphere (220K) and mid/upper stratosphere.

    Note also their mention of what happens when the gas is warmer than the background. This matches the case for the Antarctic graph where the stratopheric temperature of the gas is higher than the surface temperature.


  36. I’ve no idea why yours and Dick’s comments were put in pending column by WordPress – maybe it’s WordPress’ form of commenting on your comments (smile). It’s a problem as it doesn’t tell me about it. It happened previously to Dick’s Sep 2017 and Oct 2017 comments which I didn’t see and clear until Feb 2018!


    1. I think I’ve found the reason WordPress put your Comments into the Pending list. It doesn’t like more than 2 Links to other sites as they are a frequent indicator of scam. I discovered your Comments contained multiple Figures which are active Links to SkepticalScience. (Click on the Figures.) Hmmm!


  37. Peter

    Thanks for your email. Looks like WordPress is being a bit too protective.

    From your email:
    “The point you make in your reference to Conrath is not clear to me – even with you correction. But the main issue is with Pierrehumbert’s paper which you seem to be ducking.”

    Not ducking anything Peter because Pierrehumnberst ‘paper’ isn’t the point, your theory is the focus of this conversation.

    Just to clarify some points. Ray PH has written an article for a popular science magazine – Physics Today. It isn’t a full scientific paper in the conventional sense although he does give some references. So it isn’t a ‘peer reviewed paper’ in that sense, more a high end version of what one might read in New Scientist or Scientific American, just that PT focuses on physics.

    And importantly, he is providing an overview of established radiative physics for an interested layman audience, using data from the 3 planets as illustrations of some of this.

    He also discusses the difference between an atmosphere being Optically Thick and Optically Thin – this is the equivalent of low and high transmissivity. He also discusses the spike at the centre of the CO2 notch and how that arises from this being the band where CO2 acts most strongly, as I discussed.

    So, my points:
    – The complete shape of the spectrum has detail that is explained by radiative physics processes in the atmosphere, including the CO2 notch and centre spike
    – This is observed in multiple observations from satellites at different altitudes, and from balloons within the atmosphere.
    – This has been observed for over half a century, starting in the late 60’s – one of the points behind referring to the Conrath paper. So it isn’t something a few young upstarts like Ray PH came up with.
    – Similarly, radiative transfer calculations predict exactly what is observed. I showed this with the results from Modtran. Ray PH included modeled predictions in his figure which you showed, and Conrath from 1970 showed the same thing, showing that this detailed understanding isn’t new – Ray PH was still in school when Conrath (let alone the generation BEFORE him) were working. Finally the modeled results from ATRAN, which you originally included, show matching data.

    In contrast, you have shown:
    — That you can calculate the angle of a triangle subtended by an arc.
    – That you can see a coincidence.
    – Umm … not much else.

    You haven’t presented any calculation relating to energy flows, energy conservation etc. And you offer absolutely zero evidence or argument as to why the complete spectrum has the shape observed.

    You have suggested that the spike is signal noise or similar when actually it is a characteristic of every observation (including polar observations where the graph is totally different), and is predicted by the radiative calculations.

    Peter, so far you are the one ducking. Ray PH’s article is just a source of some graphs. You are the one putting forward a hypothesis which so far you haven’t supported with calculations or evidence. Even your supposed table of the numbers for each planet doesn’t match any calculation I have done.

    Peter, this conversation isn’t about Ray Pierrehumbert. It is about Peter Carson. Defend your hypothesis, or I will be forced to assume you don’t believe it yourself.


  38. Glenn: [My Comment here is long because it is replying to your torrents.]

    I’ve been in a quandary – hence the delay in my reply – about whether to keep your Comments as examples of the sort of guff that AGW puts out – which might confuse other readers … but then, that might be your purpose – or to flush them with the Big Red Button. The second option may be called into play unless you or anyone else can suggest reasons to keep them.

    My reasons are:-
    1. Your voluminous but largely empty Comments reply to my simple Chapter 1A.
    Chapter 1A addresses AGW’s common assertion, this time by Pierrehumbert, that the dip is evidence that more CO2 will absorb more IR heat.
    Therefore, it’s the dip shown in figures 6 &7 is what I investigate. Your Comments are empty because they do not address the dip. The other aspects of spectra do not add to the discussion of planetary heat or climate.

    You are backpedalling from Pierrehumbert, despite his “Physics Today” article being quoted often – although I’ve yet to find anyone who understands it! Nevertheless, I’m simply using the NASA data that he, Schmidt, and others use. [S & P are Permanent Contributors to the AGW site, RealClimate, to which you are also a frequent contributor.]

    The 4-page Chapter 1A shows that the dip and its size are determined exactly by geometry; the height at which the satellite takes its measurement … and only if the CO2 has already has already absorbed all that IR. It thus reinforces the conclusion of Chapter1, ie adding more CO2 can simply not add to the heat at Earth’s surface – or to that of Mars or Venus.

    Your explanation that it’s coincidence that the results of the geometry equation matches – exactly! – all 3 of the data (quoted by S & P) is truly fatuous, even reinforced in your own 15Apr18 Comment,
    “So a classic example of science at work; make a prediction from theory, and compare it to observations.”

    It’s not my fault if you cannot do the High School-level solid geometry.

    2. I’ve been spurred on to re-read Pierrehumbert’s epistle by your Comments.
    His p37 quote:
    “We can infer that the planet has a stratosphere in which the temperature increases with height, indicating the presence the presence of an upper-level solar absorber.”
    That’s bunkum.

    The troposphere’s temperature reduces with height because it is receiving smaller amounts from Earth’s surface; that source becomes negligible past the Tropopause. The stratosphere’s temperature increases because the atmosphere becomes increasingly thinner with height, so that its component molecules have a larger mean-free-path and larger mean velocity, although its highest temperature is still only about -3 C. Gas temperature is defined in terms of mean molecular velocity.

    3. Your concern – and StP’s – about the spikes in Earth’s emission spectra – not that it has any relevance other than interest here:
    These are the fundamental frequencies for CO2 667cm(-1), 15 micron, and ozone 1050 cm-1 = 9.52 micron. They are NOT as you say, “predicted by the radiative calculations”.

    Because ozone only exists at high altitude, the emission spikes must arise at these very low density altitudes. Such spikes do not occur in downwards balloon measurements.

    4. My 23Apr18 Comment addressed the dodgy Nimbus data you presented … and presented!

    5. You have clogged the Comments with also irrelevant Hitrans and Atrans interpolations.
    My 22Apr18
    “No coincidence at all. As Hitran is a database, it’s unsurprising that it can duplicate data.”

    6. My non-AGW deduction (1A) matches data and deductions of Chapter 1.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 1 B.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 2.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 2A.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 4.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 4A.
    My non-AGW deduction matches data and deductions of Chapter 5 (Ocean pH).

    AGW doesn’t match any real world data but specialises in giving unsubstantiated and frightening predictions. Whose purposes is AGW nonsense serving? It’s a fact, not theory, that a lot of people in countries accepting AGW are out of work, and those such as China and India are gaining an economic advantage – and buying fuel assets at dirt cheap prices.

    You are pushing AGW. Whose interests are you serving?


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