Sunday, 5 November 2017

Greenhouse gas effect: "The Science" vs. science.

Following on from Prof. William Happer's remarks on how the green-house gas effect really works.

The greenhouse effect is often explained in terms of carbon dioxide absorbing long-wave infrared (LWIR) rays leaving earth's surface as the surface cools. Then re-emitting the radiation at the same wavelength. It cannot happen in this manner, so why do 'scientists' describe it this way? Scientists claim they don't believe fairy stories. But some clearly do. A CO2 molecule, in air, typically experiences about 1 billion collisions with other air molecules each second. One second is about the time it would take to re-emit the LWIR it absorbed. In reality, when LWIR is absorbed, it is typically thermalized. Meaning: the energy in the LWIR is shared with other air molecules. This will raise the general temperature of air. But will remove energy from CO2 so that the radiation can't be emitted at the same frequency it was absorbed at.

The absorption length for the existing concentration of CO2 is around 25 meters i.e. the distance to reduce the LWIR intensity by 1/e.

What actually happens is that those radiation frequencies at which CO2 absorbs well are removed from LWIR leaving earth. Yet a proportion of the LWIR, originating from earth's surface is unaffected by any greenhouse gas (GHG). Ignoring scattering it goes straight out to space and earth does, indeed, cool.

So only a proportion of LWIR leaving earth is subject to the greenhouse gas effect (GHGE). Even that energy is not 'trapped'. It is all eventually lost to space. Most of the LWIR subject to GHGE is absorbed by water vapour, not CO2. Much of the LWIR is ignored by GHG. This implies we need more sophisticated GHGE models, which treat different radiation bands according to how GHG affects them. There are clearly some unanswered questions here.

  1. In terms of energy, what proportion of LWIR is entirely unaffected by the GHGE?
  2. Why do climate scientists insist on treating all LWIR in the same way. With the same macro equations which ignore the actual frequencies absorbed and ignored by GHG?
  3. After air is warmed due to thermalization, at what frequencies does the air emit radiation to cool down?
  4. When cooling down, which air molecules emit (O2, N2, H2O, CO2, ... ?), and at what frequencies?
  5. What would a true GHGE model look like?
  6. Can we model the effect of clouds and GHG together to write a proper model?

Those are just some of the questions on my mind.