Earth's Climate - is not a "cause and effect" phenomenon as so many of our power seeking politicians and pseudo scientists want to have us believe. It is extremely complex, far beyond the ability for any of today's computer systems to model even with the enormous calculating power that they now have. The variables are numerous and complex, each one providing a lifetime of work required to understand just their small roles in contributing to the overall systems. Beware those who make things too simple! Beware those who "have the answers" ! They are merely "blowing smoke into the wind." Here are some thoughts on those variables and the little we know about them. They may help to provide perspective to the debate.
Carbon Dioxide Earth - its presence in air is because of natural burning and rotting activities found naturally in Nature as well as the burning of fossil fuels for energy by man. Its concentration (as ppm) in air is wholly dependent on its equilibrium with the massive oceans, being absorbed or released by same ocean(s) in relation to its own cooling or warming over time periods / cycles. The relationship is mathematically described by Henry's Law.
Carbon Dioxide Earth - has no effect on the average (default) temperature of the Planet. It does not participate in any kind of greenhouse effect strong enough to actually inhibit planet cooling and increase the basic default temperature of the Troposphere. As mentioned above however, the reverse is true, its equilibrium levels are dependent on the temperature of the oceans which in turn are dependent on the Sun.
Carbon Dioxide Earth - a correlation between contemporary Carbon Dioxide growth and historical temperature data has shown that C02 grew at a rate 10X too high compared to millennial data to explain the moderate rise in temperature seen at Moana Loa over several decades. Temperature simply did not respond as dramatically as the theory of Greenhouse gases demands. Henry's law did explain concentrations, however.
Carbon Dioxide Mars - is 95% of the composition of the atmosphere of Mars, yet there is practically no atmospheric warming at all demonstrated on Mar's surface. Why? Because the atmosphere of Mars is only .006 % that of Earth. It is so thin that it has practically no adiabatic effect. And C02 cannot override that even though it is present in such a high percentage.
Carbon Dioxide Venus- is 95% of the composition of Venus and the surface is boiling hot. The surface is also liquid C02, existing in this state because of the massive pressure exerted by its atmosphere, 95 times that of Earth. In Venus' case, no heat irradiates out from the actual surface. It must be conducted upwards to the point where any irradiation can occur in its upper atmosphere, a very difficult accomplishment considering its position in accordance with the Sun. Venus actually doesn't radiate from its surface but from a point very high up in its atmosphere.
The Ocean - as a "gas sink" the Ocean performs the role of a long term buffer for the gases that are expelled into the atmosphere constantly by the Earth itself and by mankind's activities that convert fossil fuels into gaseous atmospheric Carbon dioxide. This is because the ocean must behave according to Henry's Law, which states it exists in equilibrium with all atmospheric gases by absorbing or releasing them according to its own (water) temperature and the partial pressure of the air above it. By this mechanism we explain why C02 concentrations increase coincident with increases in the planet's temperature (or vice versa); demonstrate logically why C02 has always historically risen after a rise in temperature (not before); and challenge the commonly held theories that C02 increases cause Planet temperatures to rise due to an increased "greenhouse effect".
The Sun - by changing the Oceans' temperatures over its geomagnetic cycles, the Sun affects the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Allowing for lag times between actual warming and C02 release of stored C02 , the Sun ultimately determines how many ppm of C02 (and other gases such as Methane) will be in our atmosphere.
The Sun - 300,000 times the size of Earth, the Sun delivers a relatively constant irradiance of 1341 watts / m^2 towards the Earth that, after being filtered and corrected for spherical shape ends up delivering 240 watts / m^2 to the actual surface (water and land mass). The Sun also delivers a (variable) stream of its own plasma to the Earth in the form of solar wind. This interacts with the Earth geomagnetic shield to affect cloud cover and Earth's normal standard temperature.
The Sun - a plethora of various cyclic changes in the Sun's geomagnetic behaviour over time results in a plethora of climatic changes in the Earth's atmosphere and land and ocean mass. Most important are the 10.5 year sunspot cycles, the 60 year grand maximum / minimum cycles, and the 350 year Major Sun Cycle. As we pass through these cycles the climate of the Earth responds trending to lower temperatures, changes in sea levels between hemispheres, melting or formation of ice and snow packs, ocean temperatures, wetness vs. droughts, clear vs. cloudy, fire sensitivity, and human joy or misery.
The Sun - is presently approaching a minimum in 10.5 yr. cycles (#25), and is further approaching a Grand Minimum in 2030. These lower energy cycles as seen by Sunspot documentation foretell a cooling of the planet that will last for many decades. NOT a warming, a cooling.
Measuring Planet Earth temperature - how do you do this really? I mean, where do you stick the thermometer? How do you come up with one value for Earth's temperature that you can use to "demonstrate" that we are making it go higher as a result of our burning practices? How are "they" able to tell us we're warming and even better, by how much. The Earth is not homogenous. It is highly variable in its "fabric". Which reading is representative of the whole? How do the smooth the others so they conform? Don't ask me. I don't get it.
Measuring Planet Earth temperature - The common way models estimate temperature is using Stephan Boltzman calculations. They show that the temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere is calculated at 255 K. With an atmosphere it is declared to be 288 K, 30 degrees Celsius higher. This 30 C of warming of our default temperature is primarily due to compressive adiabatic heating of air as it descends from the top of the Troposphere to the bottom at sea level.
Measuring Planet Earth Temperature - Although 288 K is actually 15 C (default atmospheric temperature), we assign a value to create "normal air temperature" of 20 C at sea level pressure of 1 atmosphere and use this in our standards table as NTP for purposes of unifying our standards and behaviours within our scientific and social communities. We use another standard called STP for standardizing chemical and physical activities. This is 0 C for temperature and 1 atm (1019 mb) for temperature.
Measuring Planet Earth Temperature - The reasoning? Earth receives 240 watts / in^2 of electromagnetic radiance from the Sun after filtration and reflectance by the various components of the altitude. This gives Earth a "blackbody" temperature of 255 K. (compared to its actual temperature of 288 K). The relatively constant 240 K irradiance can be altered however over time, generally as a result of Sun cycles, but more due to changes in solar wind that affect cloud cover and increase albedo by reflecting more irradiance back out into space before it can reach Earth's surfaces. These changes can occur and be retained for long periods of time and are viewed as climatic changes by humans with short life spans.
Measuring Planet Earth Temperature - Stallinga gives good perspective to the concept of Planet Earth blackbody temperature. He says: "We must remark at this moment that this is the temperature of Earth as seen from outer space. Irrespective of any greenhouse or other effect. If we, from outer space, point a radiometer at the planet it will have a temperature signature of 254.0 K. (If we also include the visible light that is reflected (aS), then the total radiation power is equal to that of an black sphere with temperature T = 4 S σ 278.3=K )." my note: first value 254 from 240 w/m^2, second value from 340 w/m^2.
Earth's Air - is not a pure material. It is a heterogenous mixture of a number of gases (nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, nitrous compounds, methane, etc.) mixed together with a quite significant and variable level of pure water vapour. This blend of gases in the Troposphere and to a much lesser extent in the Stratosphere suspend dust particles held up in the turbulence of air flow as well as physical droplets of water present in fine aerosol form or larger droplet cloud formation. Also present particularly in the Stratosphere is ozone, created by and also consumed by interaction with ultraviolet light in the incoming Sun's rays.
The Troposphere - refers to the air blend that exists from the surface of the Earth up to the bottom of the Stratosphere. The blend as described above changes as we view its composition versus its elevation above the Earth. Two major events occur to the air mass as it rises in height through the Troposphere. The first is the condensation of water vapour resulting in cloud formation and the "cleansing" of the basic air mass of water resulting in air that is dry. The second is the progressive cooling of this dry air mass by adiabatic means due to its reduction in pressure, expansion of volume and reduction in density. The temperature of (dry) air at surface level is 288 K at 1 atm. The temperature of the dried air at the top of the Troposphere is 255 K. This is due to adiabatic expansion.
Stratospheric effects on radiance - air is still present in the Stratosphere. It's density has diminished dramatically due to natural expansion along with reduced pressure at these higher altitudes. It has practically NO water in it as this has been swept out by condensation in the Troposphere. It is dense enough to support airplanes flying at levels of 30,000 feet BUT it's not a good idea to open a window at these levels as you will be sucked out it. Also, the temperature seems to stay at a relatively constant -15C, an interesting number because this is also the number predicted by Planck's law for the lower Stratosphere and Earth surface. Radiance entering the Stratosphere is 340 watts / m^2 but radiance coming out of it is 240 watts / m^2. This is mostly explained by ozone absorption of high energy ultraviolet light. It teams up with smaller "albedo" components to absorb or reflect heat back to spaced before it reaches Earth.
Earth's Oceans - as a "heat sink" the Ocean performs the role of a long term buffer. Although all contemporary literature today states that the heat received during the day is expelled back to space by Earth in an equal manner, thereby maintaining a "balanced" equilibrium and maintaining the Earth at a constant temperature, this is realistically not possible. We know that Sun outputs move in cycles, warming strongly during some and warming weakly during others, yet we don't suffer extremes of heat when viewing the whole system. Indeed, we worry about decimals of a degree warming as opposed to the extremes seen in a day between "cold" areas and "hot" areas on the Planet. Why no planet sized oscillations? - because the massive amount of water that constitutes the oceans absorb the heat and hold it for long times, actually warming up themselves for decades before reversing their cycle and giving off heat during the times of low sun input. ie. The Ocean is Earth's "thermostat" with respect to long term "smoothing" of the Sun's heating action.
Earth's Surface Water - acts as a short term "buffer" removing extremes of heat input delivered by the Sun to Earth's surface. The Earth actually "perspires" in the same way that a human being does. Excessive heat absorbed by the Earth during the day time irradiation hours causes water (ocean and fresh) to evaporate, followed by more absorption of heat from the air envelope to warm the water vapor suspended over the hard surface. Sensible and latent heat is significant. High relative humidities are noticeably warmer than low humidities, particularly at night when we should feel cooling but instead feel the warmth of our "water blanket". Net heat loss is accomplished by vapor rising up with surrounding heated air molecules, through the Troposphere, headed for the thin, cold upper tropopause and the Stratosphere. The cooling experienced by adiabatic expansion acts on the water vapor long before the gases reach the lower Stratosphere however. The cool environment, condenses vapor in water droplets which form clouds that eventually return cold water back to Earth, while sending sensible and latent heat in vast quantities towards outer space as radiant energy. An effective "thermostat" that dominates other mechanisms touted as significant coolants, buffering the oscillating heat inputs during daily Sun exposures, and makes life possible on Earth.
Earth as a Blackbody - IPCC simplifies the Earth temperature argument by considering Earth to be a single, massive, homogenous Black Body. In this way, they can apply Stephan Boltzman formula to it, inputting Sun's irradiation (340 w/m^ 2), correcting for Albedo (-100 w/m^2) and obtaining a single value for Earth temperature (255 K). Regarding discharge of absorbed energy, Planck's formula is accepted but is in conflict with Wiens calculation because it states that an object with a single temperature actually irradiates a range of wavelengths of infra red heat when it discharges, rather than a single single wavelength (dependent only on temperature of the body) as stated by Wiens. In this way, Planck's formula can explain why the Earth would irradiate IR at a wavelength of 15 microns at "normal" temperatures instead of very low, frigid temperatures as demanded by Wiens' calculation. (Why? - It is important to deliver a considerable % of radiation at 15 microns as this is the major absorption wavelength associated with carbon dioxide. Failure to deliver this wavelength means that C02 would have nothing to absorb and the theory of greenhouse gases would fall apart.)
Cliff's Theory - completely theoretical but fun to consider. The Earth is not one black body but rather is composed of an infinite number of discrete, extremely minute (microscopic) black bodies, each absorbing sunlight and each achieving a different Boltzman temperature depending on the degree of irradiance and the character of each blackbody itself (ie. emissivity). Consider all hard surfaces as having a granular structure similar to that of sand, for perspective. Consider each blackbody as a capacitor, absorbing heat energy up to the point where it is saturated at which point the "temperature" of the blackbody is established. When saturated, the blackbody immediately "discharges" following a pattern such as the one above created from the calculated temperature of the unit. Assume the discharge of all wavelengths is not instantaneous but instead follows a linear pattern, expelling high energy short waves first, followed by the next in line, etc. etc. that traces out the Planck pattern, including delivering wavelengths that should only be generated at extremely low temperatures according to Wiens, but come out at normal temperatures by this Planck scenario. This delivers a full range of IR energy to the skies, and within it a significant amount of 15 micron energy that C02 can absorb. What do you think, IPCC? You can quote me if you want.
Venus is 96.5% Carbon Dioxide which is a relatively dense gas, Earth's is 78% nitrogen, 21% Oxygen.
Venus would most likely have had more nitrogen, oxygen and even water when it formed, just like the early Earth. What happened was a runaway green house effect that heated the planet up, releasing its surface water to steam, and gas.
That was coupled with its lack of magnetic field, which either never quite formed or shut down. This meant the atmosphere had no protection from the solar wind, which split any water to Oxygen and Hydrogen. These lighter elements were stripped away by solar radiation, giving them enough energy to escape into space leaving only the heavier carbon dioxide remaining.
Venus also does not have plate tectonics, which means that carbon dioxide does not get captured in rocks that go back into the hot mantle. In fact Venus has, and did have volcanic activity the added more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The early Earth has a similar build up of CO2, but life emerged (plant life) that began to break down CO2 to carbon and oxygen. This did not happen on Venus, the carbon just kept building, and the thick blanket of CO2 heated the planet yet further.
With no plate tectonics and plant life to act as a brake, the whole thing became a feedback loop, lighter elements escaped and there was no method to take CO2 out of the system.
We now see a dense thick CO2 atmosphere, and the heat absorbed means no chance of any atmospheric or surface water. Venus was most likely a warmer twin of the Earth early on, it may well have had plate tectonics, and oceans. The water went, the recycling of the crust stopped, and now Venus is the nearest thing to hell in the solar system.