CO2 Increased by 240 PPM Equivalent?

Climate change summary of the case – CO2 Increased by 240 PPM Equivalent

On 15 July 2012 02:02, Jo Abbess <jo.abbess@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Kevin,
You say, “# […]  My concern is that the IPCC only looks at CO2, and not water vapour as a GHG, when it would appear that the GH effect of water vapor is at least 15 times greater than CO2, because of its greater presence in the atmosphere.”
First out, the IPCC does indeed look at water vapour as a greenhouse gas. It would be ridiculous not to consider atmospheric water vapour when looking at climate. For example :-
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-2-1.html “Water vapour is the most abundant and important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However, human activities have only a small direct influence on the amount of atmospheric water vapour. Indirectly, humans have the potential to affect water vapour substantially by changing climate. For example, a warmer atmosphere contains more water vapour. Human activities also influence water vapour through CH4 emissions, because CH4 undergoes chemical destruction in the stratosphere, producing a small amount of water vapour.”
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6-3-1.html “Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Tropospheric water vapour concentration diminishes rapidly with height, since it is ultimately limited by saturation-specific humidity, which strongly decreases as temperature decreases. Nevertheless, these relatively low upper-tropospheric concentrations contribute disproportionately to the ‘natural’ greenhouse effect, both because temperature contrast with the surface increases with height, and because lower down the atmosphere is nearly opaque at wavelengths of strong water vapour absorption. ”
The effects of water vapour as a greenhouse gas, and the changes in water vapour concentrations in the atmosphere are included in all computer programmes that model the climate.
Water vapour is often not included in tables or charts of radiative forcing – because these are often constructed in the context of “what’s been changing” – and also because extra atmospheric water vapour is considered a feedback, not a primary forcing of change within the Earth’s radiation energy budget – or “radiative forcing”. Examples :-
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-3.html#table-2-1 http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-2-1-figure-2.html
The relative strength of the additional water vapour due to feedback from global warming caused by other greenhouse gases – well, you can’t just look at the basic chemistry and come up with numbers from that. Water vapour has other effects than merely greenhouse warming. The added carbon dioxide has been calculated as being responsible for the majority of the global warming so far experienced in the last 150 years :-
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf
You say, “> # This is an interesting paper,  but it deals with ABSORPTION OF INCOMING SOLAR IRRADIANCE, and not the greenhouse effect, which deals with The RETENTION OF SOLAR IRRADIANCE that is captured by the GHG’s to result in Global Warming or Climate Change.”
By Jove, you’ve got it ! You understand the Greenhouse Effect and why rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are increasing global warmth. The profile of radiation from the Sun is different from the spectrum of radiation re-radiating back out from the Earth. More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means that the while the sky is only slightly less transparent for light coming in, it is significantly more opaque for light going out.
Regards
jo.

Inbox
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Hi allI have been studying climate science recently (Masters degree at the Climatic Research Unit at UEA, course leader Prof Phil Jones, in the top 0.5% most-cited Earth scientists in the world and target of the CRU email hack) and saw the earlier conversations but too busy to offer long replies.  I am going to simplify slightly to save time and verbiage.Kevin, greenhouse gases are defined as those which trap heat (in the atmosphere).  The earth has a natural greenhouse effect of 33 degrees C.  The radiation from the sun is enough to heat the Earth to -18degC and the measured global surface temperature is around 15degC.  Water provides the majority of the natural greenhouse effect, with CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and others playing a part.Locally, the distribution of water in the atmosphere is extremely variable e.g. 100% humidity to total dryness over a desert but averages out over the planet as there is a ready source of water (the oceans) and the moisture-holding capacity of the atmosphere is determined by its temperature.Human activity is emitting large quantities of CO2 (c.40 billion tonnes/year and increasing every year), and this is accumulating in the atmosphere as well as in the oceans and also presumed to be being taken up by the biosphere as well.  Emissions of CO2 alone would cause mild climate change by the end of the century (1-2degC).  HOWEVER, the warming effect of the CO2 allows the atmosphere to hold more water – which is a greenhouse gas.  This is known as the climate sensitivity, and it is a multiple of the warming caused by CO2 alone.  The climate sensitivity has been tested and extrapolated in all sorts of ways, and is a genuine issue of scientific debate, but most answers are in the range of 2-3.  That’s to say, we could expect total warming by the end of the century of c.2-6degC.When sceptics say that ‘climate science is rubbish’, what they actually mean is that they think the climate sensitivity is lower than the average value determined by climate scientists.  The other parts of the argument, such as ‘human industry emits CO2’ and ‘CO2 traps infrared radiation’ aren’t really up for debate, although you might not realise that from some newspaper/blog headlines.

This is the connection between climate change and increased moisture in the atmosphere (I see JO has gone into the jet stream link).  The IPCC don’t ignore water – its part of the basic science of the atmosphere.  What they do is regard its concentration as governed by the temperature of the atmosphere.  We don’t emit enough water from industry to affect atmospheric concentrations of water directly.

Some earlier points raised:
The cosmic ray hypothesis was mentioned.  This proposed that cloud formation and therefore climate is affected by cosmic rays.  The Earth does receive cosmic rays and it is perfectly conceivable that they interact with clouds since clouds originate from tiny particles in the atmosphere.  But the climate link has turned out to be a non-starter as there is no trend in the level of rays and no correlation with the level of cloud formation.

I think somebody mentioned the sun getting hotter or going through natural cycles in relation to climate change.  The sun’s output does vary over an approximately 11 year cycle but it is irregular, very small in amplitude, and does not correlate with observed changes in the atmosphere.  The people who measure the output of the sun are called solar astro-physicists and they have been doing it with great precision via satellite since the 1970s.  Events such as the Medieval warm period can be found in local and sometimes regional climate records, but are not significant at the global scale (a lot of the pacific, atlantic, Americas, Asia etc would have to get warmer as well as just Northern Europe).

Climate records consist of satellite data from the modern era, temperature records from weather stations, ships’ log books, documentary evidence such as snow days, or first ripe grapes from agricultural records, and also proxies such as tree rings, gases trapped in ice cores, sea sediments, lake sediments, coral reefs, shells, pollen records, geology, fossil distributions and so on.  Ice cores in central Antartica have been sunk down to the base of the icesheet (c.2km) which 700,000 years of accumulated layered ice.

Andrew McK has been mentioning James Lovelock.  James’s central achievement was proposing that the components of the Earth system (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, geology) interact in a self-regulating system.  This is the Gaia theory and, although he was initially roundly dismissed by geologists and biologists, it turns out that he was right, as ackowledged by the Amsterdam declaration by the international Earth science programmes (http://www.essp.org/index.php?id=41).  A declaration of interest:  my supervisor at the Exeter University Earth System Science research group (Professor Tim Lenton) was James’s research assistant.  Tim was the lead author on ‘Tipping Elements in the Earth’s Climate System’ and I will come to tipping points, runaway climate change, melting permafrost etc another day.

To end, a simple take-home message on the current state of climate change:  the Arctic will be free of summer ice within our lifetimes (including everybody on Claverton who isn’t of retirement age).  You can forget the c**p about ‘what to tell your grandchildren’ – this is going to happen to us, and it is the biggest environmental change to happen to the planet since the clearing of the North American forests, and before that, the European and Asian forest clearance which accompanied the start of agriculture.  The Arctic is around -15degC at the North pole, and c.0degC around the edges.  It is therefore far more sensitive to warming than Antarctica, which is at -57degC and therefore won’t notice a bit of warming.

Best wishes

Ed Sears
Director, T4 Sustainability Ltd

Follow up:

On 14 July 2012 04:16, Ed Sears <edsears999@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Kevin
I am not sure how blunt to be but here goes.
‘The IPCC ignores natural causes of climate change’ is not true.
‘The IPCC does not consider the greenhouse effect of water’ is not true.
Claiming that there are an equal number of climate scientists who oppose the IPCC argument on climate change as those who support it is also categorically not true.  The true ratio is something like 3:97.  There is almost universal consent among practising climate scientists that out of the many influences on the climate, the human addition of greenhouse gases derived from burning fossil fuels and land use is responsible for a warming effect on the planet.
From wikipedia:
‘A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States(PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:

(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers  unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced  researchers.[113]

Who has been telling you this stuff?  There has been a concerted effort in the US to cast doubt on the science, due to the cap-and-trade climate/energy bills in Congress a few years back.   People like Mark Morano, who runs climatedepot.com, were heavily involved in this and there is still a strong effort there to avoid legislation – it is an anti-tax campaign not a contradictory scientific theory.  The IPCC does not start from a premise or decide to include or exclude different ideas.  It is a summary of the current state of knowledge of climate science and therefore summarises all relevant publications, with extensive indications of levels of certainty which highlight areas of continuing debate (e.g. are hurricanes getting more severe and frequent?).
The wikipedia page on ‘Scientific opinion on climate change’ may be an accessible place to start reading.  For example the Geological Society of London’s pamphlet on Climate change: evidence from the geological record.  The CO2 emitted from volcanoes, for example, is around 1/50th of human emissions.  Also, there are various greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide) and other anthropogenic influencers of climate such as black soot.  CO2 is about 50% of the human contribution.
In answer to your questions:

1: Is anthropogeniuc CO2 really the cause of   GW/CC? Humans are the main driver of the climate currently.  CO2 is one instrument by which we are affecting it.
2: If yes, is it reversible|? We can take our foot off the accelerator.  1-2 degC increase is thought to be manageable although that will still entail low-lying islands being submerged eventually.  At 3 degC and above, there will very likely be accelerating feedbacks e.g. melting of permafrost, that move things out of our control.  It is at least theoretically possible to reduce GHGs in the atmosphere and therefore for humanity to have an overall cooling effect on the climate.  There are various lags in the system, which mean we would have to act before we got to the threshold we wish to avoid.
3: If yes to 2:, are the benefits to be attained worthe   costs to attain them? The Stern report looked at this.  In a plus 5 degC world, we would be in a Cretaceous-like era with hippos swimming in the Arctic.  Replacing coal power stations with renewables is almost certainly much much much (!) cheaper than destroying the world’s agricultural systems.  The total melting of the Greenland icecap would eventually (hundreds to thousands of years) cause sea level to rise by 7 metres.  It is losing mass right now, and if it happens quickly there is a problem because almost all the capital cities in the world are less than 2 metres above sea level.
4: If yes to 3:, can the Governments of the World   assemble the funding to bring about teh desired changes? It’s up to all of us, not just our elected representatives and (depending where you live) brutal dictators/presidents-for-life.  Investment in renewables passed 270 billion dollars this year, and the eurozone has assembled many times that to try to keep its currency afloat.  I don’t think either availability of money or cost of the technology is the main problem.
4: If yes to 4:, will they actually do   it?

All that’s needed is a move to clean energy and sustainable agriculture.  I am doing that in my day-to-day life and also by influencing other people.  It’s by no means impossible.  Ignore histerical remarks about lightbulbs being turned out and people living in caves with hairshirts.
All the best Ed

On 13 July 2012 21:21, Kevin <kchisholm@ca.inter.net> wrote:

Dear Ed
Thanks very much for your reply.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 11:42   AM
Subject: Re: CO2 Increased by 240 PPM   Equivalent??
Hi all
I have been studying climate science recently (Masters   degree at the Climatic Research Unit at UEA, course leader Prof Phil Jones, in   the top 0.5% most-cited Earth scientists in the world and target of the CRU   email hack) and saw the earlier conversations but too busy to offer long   replies.  I am going to simplify slightly to save time and   verbiage.
Kevin, greenhouse gases are defined as those which trap heat   (in the atmosphere).  The earth has a natural greenhouse effect of 33   degrees C.  The radiation from the sun is enough to heat the Earth to   -18degC and the measured global surface temperature is around 15degC.    Water provides the majority of the natural greenhouse effect, with CO2,   methane, nitrous oxide and others playing a part.
# OK… given that water vapor is such an important   factor in the Green Houes Effect (GHE) wouldn’t it have been reasonable for   the IPCC to include it in their studies as a natural factor contributing to   Global Warming / Climate Change (GW/CC)? More specifically, for example,    recent claims of “continued GW/CC seem to be attributed to CO2   increases, ignoring the water vapor increases.

Locally, the   distribution of water in the atmosphere is extremely variable e.g. 100%   humidity to total dryness over a desert but averages out over the planet as   there is a ready source of water (the oceans) and the moisture-holding   capacity of the atmosphere is determined by its temperature.
# Agreed. As I understand it, it is these   differences in RH, Temperature and Density that drive atmospheric   movements.

Human activity is emitting large quantities of   CO2 (c.40 billion tonnes/year and increasing every year), and this is   accumulating in the atmosphere as well as in the oceans and also presumed to   be being taken up by the biosphere as well.  Emissions of CO2 alone would   cause mild climate change by the end of the century (1-2degC).  HOWEVER,   the warming effect of the CO2 allows the atmosphere to hold more water – which   is a greenhouse gas.  This is known as the climate sensitivity, and it is   a multiple of the warming caused by CO2 alone.  The climate sensitivity   has been tested and extrapolated in all sorts of ways, and is a genuine issue   of scientific debate, but most answers are in the range of 2-3.  That’s   to say, we could expect total warming by the end of the century of   c.2-6degC.
# That does sound reasonable as far as it goes,   but there were many incidents of GW/CC before the presence of Man. The   question here is: “Is the present episode of GW/CC caused primarily by   Anthropogenic CO2 or by the natural factors that caused previous GW/CC   episodes?
When sceptics say that ‘climate science is rubbish’, what they   actually mean is that they think the climate sensitivity is lower than the   average value determined by climate scientists.  The other parts of the   argument, such as ‘human industry emits CO2’ and ‘CO2 traps infrared   radiation’ aren’t really up for debate, although you might not realise that   from some newspaper/blog headlines.
# Agreed.

This is the   connection between climate change and increased moisture in the atmosphere (I   see JO has gone into the jet stream link).  The IPCC don’t ignore water –   its part of the basic science of the atmosphere.  What they do is regard   its concentration as governed by the temperature of the atmosphere.  We   don’t emit enough water from industry to affect atmospheric concentrations of   water directly.
# OK, but the IPCC work is based on their   position that CO2 is the trigger, and this is, in my opinion faulted, because   they did not explore the possibility of natural causes being the trigger, or a   “stronger trigger” than anthropogenic CO2

Some earlier   points raised: The cosmic ray hypothesis was mentioned.  This proposed   that cloud formation and therefore climate is affected by cosmic rays.    The Earth does receive cosmic rays and it is perfectly conceivable that they   interact with clouds since clouds originate from tiny particles in the   atmosphere.  But the climate link has turned out to be a non-starter as   there is no trend in the level of rays and no correlation with the level of   cloud formation.
# My understanding is that the Cosmic Ray   Theory is still “on the table”: while it has not yet been proven conclusively   that it is a major factor, it has not been proven that it is NOT an important   factor. I understand that there is major work underway now at CERN to prove or   disprove this hypothesis.

I think somebody mentioned the   sun getting hotter or going through natural cycles in relation to climate   change.  The sun’s output does vary over an approximately 11 year cycle   but it is irregular, very small in amplitude, and does not correlate with   observed changes in the atmosphere.  The people who measure the output of   the sun are called solar astro-physicists and they have been doing it with   great precision via satellite since the 1970s.  Events such as the   Medieval warm period can be found in local and sometimes regional climate   records, but are not significant at the global scale (a lot of the pacific,   atlantic, Americas, Asia etc would have to get warmer as well as just Northern   Europe).
# My understanding is that solar output is   indeed rather constant, only varying by a few watts per square meter, but that   it is not this energy that is responsible for GW/CC, but rather, the solar   wind that varies, to cause a significant GC/CC effect. (Understanding how   changes in solar behaviour can influence cloud cover  is the work CERN is   undertaking)

Climate records consist of satellite data   from the modern era, temperature records from weather stations, ships’ log   books, documentary evidence such as snow days, or first ripe grapes from   agricultural records, and also proxies such as tree rings, gases trapped in   ice cores, sea sediments, lake sediments, coral reefs, shells, pollen records,   geology, fossil distributions and so on.  Ice cores in central Antartica   have been sunk down to the base of the icesheet (c.2km) which 700,000 years of   accumulated layered ice.
# Data from such diverse sources is   excellent for “cross-checking”.  However, this “natural data” is used   only to predict the effect of “an un-natural event”, ie,   anthropogenic CO2.  It would certyainly have been better if this   data, and the IPCC Mandate,  had been used to understand natural episodes   of GW/CC. Then it would have been much easier to show the significance of   Anthropogenic CO2 additions, as a cause or trigger for   GW/CC

Andrew McK has been mentioning James   Lovelock.  James’s central achievement was proposing that the components   of the Earth system (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, geology) interact in   a self-regulating system.  This is the Gaia theory and, although he was   initially roundly dismissed by geologists and biologists, it turns out that he   was right, as ackowledged by the Amsterdam declaration by the international   Earth science programmes (http://www.essp.org/index.php?id=41).    A declaration of interest:  my supervisor at the Exeter University Earth   System Science research group (Professor Tim Lenton) was James’s research   assistant.  Tim was the lead author on ‘Tipping Elements in the Earth’s   Climate System’ and I will come to tipping points, runaway climate change,   melting permafrost etc another day.
# I look forward to your comments on tehse points. In   particular, the question of greatest interest to me is whether or not   atmospheric CO2 control and/or reduction will actually reverse the   predicted GW/CC.

To end, a simple take-home message on the   current state of climate change:  the Arctic will be free of summer ice   within our lifetimes (including everybody on Claverton who isn’t of retirement   age).  You can forget the c**p about ‘what to tell your grandchildren’ –   this is going to happen to us, and it is the biggest environmental change to   happen to the planet since the clearing of the North American forests, and   before that, the European and Asian forest clearance which accompanied the   start of agriculture.  The Arctic is around -15degC at the North pole,   and c.0degC around the edges.  It is therefore far more sensitive to   warming than Antarctica, which is at -57degC and therefore won’t notice a bit   of warming.
# OK, but there are what I think are valid   questions:
1: Is anthropogeniuc CO2 really the cause of   GW/CC?
2: If yes, is it reversible|?
3: If yes to 2:, are the benefits to be attained worthe   costs to attain them?
4: If yes to 3:, can the Governments of the World   assemble the funding to bring about teh desired changes?
4: If yes to 4:, will they actually do   it?
Best wishes,
Kevin Chisholm
Best wishes
Ed Sears Director, T4 Sustainability   Ltd
On 12 July 2012 13:56, Bill Bordass <bilbordass@aol.com> wrote:

Dear Kevin
As I understand it, from the geological     record, CO2 and other greenhouse gases are thought to be the trigger.      Other natural systems follow its lead, including water vapour and of     course methane.  The planet can flip quite rapidly between colder and     hotter states, from which it can take a long time to recover by geological,     biological, oceanic and meteorological processes.
The behaviour of     water vapour is tricky as it has multiple effects, e.g. in addition to its     greenhouse effects as a molecule, and its thermodynamic effects in the     global heat engine, clouds both reflect solar heat and retain infra-red     radiation.  The atmosphere will also contains more water vapour if the     world gets hotter (well, depending on how the heat is distributed).      But, owing to its changes of state, it is also much more dynamic than     the other greenhouse gases.  While it must be strongly implicated in     the climate flips, it doesn’t seem to lead the way as far as I know.      But I am not a climate scientist.
The sort of weather we are     experiencing now was predicted by the IPCC ten years ago.
With good     wishes Bill

On 12 Jul 2012, at 13:32, Kevin wrote:
>     The recent heavy rains in Europe and Russia suggest Climate Change.The IPCC     Believers suggest that if atmospheric CO2 Levels increase much beyond the     present 392 ppm, to say 450 then we will experience Catastrophic     Anthropogenic Global Warming; (CAGW)  and to avoid it, we must drop the     CO2 to 350 ppm. > > The Believers blame everything on     atmospheric CO2. How then can the present relatively constant levels of CO2     explain the excess rains in Europe and Russia? The floods are certainly     catastrophic to those who experience them. As I understand it, the IPCC pays     no attention to water vapour content in the air > > As I also     understand it, water vapour is approximately 1.5 times more effective as a     “Greenhouse Gas” than CO2, per ppm However, for the calculation below,     assume they are equal… > > I heard on the news that a recent     study showed that the atmospheric water vapour content has increased by 4%     recently. Regrettably, I do not have any further information on the source     of this study or its details. The atmospheric moisture loading varies     tremendously from the poles to the tropics, depending on temperature and     relative humidity.  If we assume the world average atmospheric     temperature is 52 F at 70% Relative Humidity, then the humidity content is     about 40 grains per pound of dry air which is about 6,000 ppm moisture. A 4%     increase would represent a 240 ppm increase in moisture     content. > > Ignoring the 6000 ppm moisture base load, the 4%     increase is thus equivalent to the CO2 going from 392 to 632 PPM   So,     if this is the case, we now see what will happen if the CO2 went to 632     PPM. > > Does that make sense to anyone? Is the basic     methodology right or wrong? > > Any comments, corrections, or     insights would be very much appreciated. > >     Thanks > > Kevin     Chisholm > > > > > — > You received     this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Claverton _     Energy Discussion (main Claverton group)” group. > To post to this     group, send email to energy-discussion-group@googlegroups.com. >     To unsubscribe from this group, send email to energy-discussion-group+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. >     For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/energy-discussion-group?hl=en. >
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1 Comment

  1. Sidney Clouston - July 13, 2012, 12:39 pm Reply

    Yes, I too have argued that CO2 could act as a catalyst to cause
    more water vapor to be held in the atmosphere. This logic follows
    to cause heating and change in rainfall passing historical areas and when falling then larger volumes can be expected. Perhaps as
    snow or flooding areas because of larger rain volumes.

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