Re: [asa] Trees don't lie

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Fri Mar 20 2009 - 09:27:39 EDT

The physics behind global warming is surprisingly simple. Gases absorb
radiation at different frequencies due to the nature of their chemical
bonds. It looks like this:

Both CO2 and water absorb in the infrared. Fortunately for us CO2 can
only absorb so much before it becomes saturated. Thus, the temperature
increases are logarithmic. Methane the relationship is roughly the
square root and for halocarbons the relationship is linear. Each of
this gases have a unique absorption spectrum which will be used to
find earth-like planets (

What can be done far, far away can also be done up close and personal.
Namely, we can observe how much infrared absorption is going on and
thus which GHG is guilty. During the mid-20th Century it wasn't clear
whether CO2 or H20 was the big culprit in the measured warming. The
spectrum analysis showed it to be CO2. As Randy alluded to looking
other planets was helpful in also getting an understanding. Jim
Hansen's study of Venus in the late 70s really helped. Venus and Earth
have roughly the same amount of Carbon but Venus has all of its Carbon
up in the atmosphere in the form of CO2. This is the why behind the
fact Venus is so much hotter than us even though for the most part our
planets are twins.

Another common sense test can be found by considering the following.
Why doesn't evening temperatures drop like a rock like on the Moon?
The answer the same greenhouse effect. There is a Goldilocks level for
the GHGs where liquid water can be around. Venus has too much and Mars
has too little. By burning fossil fuels we are trying to become like
our twin sister by taking the Carbon in the ground and throwing it up
in the atmosphere.

Finally, a good history of our understanding of GHG physics can be
found in the following American Institute of Physics publication:

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

On Mar 20, 2009, at 4:35 AM, Randy Isaac wrote:

> Thanks for the link, Burgy. I don't know that journal or its
> reputation. I gave the paper a very quick scan and it seems they are
> saying that the greenhouse effect doesn't exist because it violates
> some thermodynamic principle. I didn't follow their reasoning so I
> don't know if and why it is wrong and haven't found the
> response. But it does seem analogous to the
> argument that evolution couldn't have happened because it violates
> the second law of thermodynamics. It's easy to be misled by
> thermodynamics. If these guys are right, then it seems we would have
> trouble explaining the temperature difference between Venus and
> Mars. And isn't the greenhouse effect the very basis of Glenn
> Morton's calculation that a vapor canopy would lead to the earth's
> temperature being too hot for life?
> It just doesn't pass the sniff test for me. You're right that it
> "looks" authoritative but it certainly doesn't sound authoritative
> or sensible. Maybe somebody else figured out their reasoning but I
> don't have time.
> Randy
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Burgeson (ASA member)" <
> >
> To: "George Murphy" <>
> Cc: "David Clounch" <>; "William Hamilton" <
> >; "ASA List" <>; "Glenn Morton" <
> >
> Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 5:31 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Trees don't lie
>> Is an article in the International Journal of Modern Physics, B, Vol.
>> 23, No. 3 (2009) 275{364 , by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D.
>> Tscheuschner
>> which "absolutely debunks" AGW.
>> It looks really really really authoritative, and I expect we will be
>> seeing references to it come along from the anti-AGW crowd.
>> A refutation of it is now on the site. To the slight
>> extent that I understand it, it fails to make its case.
>> jb
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Received on Fri Mar 20 09:28:02 2009

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