torsdag 7 mars 2013

Hard Evidence of CO2 Warming Missing

The key to the "radiative forcing" of 3.7 W/m2 of doubled atmospheric CO2 as the only hard scientific evidence of CO2 alarmism,  is made visible in the following spectra (covering wave numbers 600 - 700) computed by Spectral Calc showing the transmittance through a column of air at 0.2 bar with 0.039% CO2 of length L = 10000 m (top), 1000 m (middle) and 100 m (bottom):

We see that the sparse line spectrum of CO2 for 100 m with high transmittance (bottom) is turned into a band spectrum for 10000 m with low transmittance (top) as an effect of line broadening by increasing path length. This is the line broadening behind the radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 as the only hard evidence of CO2 warming.

We can thus focus the scientific analysis of the basis of CO2 alarmism to the question of line broadening of CO2 as a trace gas with concentration of about 0.04%, as shown by Spectral Calc (or Modtran):
  • main 667 line is fully absorbing (transmittance = 0) with width 2 for L = 10 m
  • weak lines in the band 600 - 700 have almost full transmittance for L = 100 m
  • weak lines in the band 600 - 700 have reduced transmittance for L = 1000 m
  • weak lines in the band 600 - 700 have no transmittance for L = 10000 m. 
We are thus speaking about an effect of a trace gas in a model of radiative transfer which is notable only over path lengths larger than 1000 m. This is an effect that cannot be measured directly and can only be computed by making an assumption in a model which likewise cannot be experimentally verified.

CO2 thus rests on an assumption of "radiative forcing" of 3.7 W/m2 from doubled CO2 which has not (and cannot) been experimentally verified. It may well be completely wrong as any ad hoc assumption about a subtle phenomenon.

Nevertheless this "radiative forcing" of 3.7 W/m2 has come to serve as the key hard science fact underlying CO2 alarmism. 

Surprisingly it has come to be fervently defended as an "undeniable fact" also by skeptics of CO2 alarmism, thus undermining the skepticism. Why this is so remains to be explained by future historians of CO2 alarmism. It may be that the argument that the transmittance spectra are based on quantum mechanics has so impressed skeptics that the skepticism has evaporated.

PS The model assumption is that transmittance depends on p x L, where p is total pressure (bar) and L is path length (m), with almost full transmittance if p x L < 20 and little transmittance if p x L > 200. The formula can be tested experimentally in laboratory for L ~ 10 but in applications to the atmosphere L = 1000 - 10000 and the question is if the simple proportionality to L is valid for such large values.   

4 kommentarer:

  1. 1. Increased path length does not broaden the lines, it simply scales them, and they retain their shape. Line broadening is a well known and long studied phenomena and comes from many sources, but longer path lengths is not one of them.

    2. The effect that doubling the concentration of a gas has on its spectrum certainly can and has been experimentally verified. The theory behind the absorption and emission of radiation by gases is very well understood and verified to an extremely high degree of accuracy. That said, the effect on climate is a much more complicated question, and does rely on many models from a number of disciplines beyond radiative transfer.

    3. As the author of SpectralCalc, I must point to the documentation on our website that describes the problems surrounding trying to correctly model climate forcing without a full understanding of these complex issues.
    Click on "Can I prove or disprove global warming with"

  2. I could not find the suggested link.

  3. You can find the information here

    It is listed under the Atmospheric Paths or Gas-Cell Simulator lists of questions.

  4. OK, I read that the answer by Spectralcalc to the question if Spectralcalc can be used to prove or disprove global warming, is No. But Spectralcalc gives a reference to Pierrehumbert, who uses results similar to those of Spectralcalc to prove global warming. I see a contradiction here. Am I missing something?