Greenhouse Effect

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  • Radiative forcing is one of the weakest of the forcing factors impacting the Earth's climate. The greenhouse effect is a second weakest part of radiative forcing. And CO2 is a very small part of the greenhouse effect. How small? Mankind contributes 14Gt of the 22,056,773+ Gt of all greenhouse gasses in our system (about .0004%).


How small? Mankind contributes ≈14Gt of the 22,056,773+ Gt of all greenhouse gasses in our system (about .0004%).

  • Man only contributes a minuscule amount to the weakest two — and CO2 not only has a diminishing feedback effect


Greenhouse effect - understanding scale

Review Forcing Factors if you have questions.

The greenhouse effect is a second weakest part of radiative forcing, and radiative forcing is one of the weakest of the forcing factors impacting Earth's climate. And CO2 is a very small part of the greenhouse effect. How small?

  • About 90% of our warmth comes from the sun, about 10% from the earth itself.
  • Of that 90% (343W/M^2), about 30% is reflected into space immediately before getting into the atmosphere. 70% goes into our atmosphere.
  • Of that 70%, 50% is absorbed by the earth (plants, ocean, land, etc.), 20% of that light is captured by the atmosphere (greenhouse effect), and 30% goes back into space.

So the entire greenhouse effect is a very weak factor compared to minor fluctuation in something like solar output (which is constantly changing, and something not usually factored at all, into most of our climate models). But polemics can’t blame solar fluctuations or earth’s wobble on man, and demand higher taxes to fix it. So they focus on this minor one instead. The atmosphere is made up of about 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% water vapor, and .03% CO2. We'll start by ignoring the complexities of non-compounds that don't "count" as a greenhouse gasses even-though they do trap heat and insulate, and just look at the compounds for simplicity -- so we're only paying attention to 1% of the atmosphere to start with. Of that 1%, water vapor (clouds) are responsible for 75% of the remaining "greenhouse effect", and CO2 between 9-20% (14% is the most common agreed upon number), with methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) making up the rest. Man is responsible for far less than 1% of all the CO2 that cycles each year, which is only 14% of the greenhouse compounds, which are only 2% of the gasses in the atmosphere, and all of that combined is the second weakest of the forcing factors on our climate. So the AGW argument is that the Earth survived for 4.5 billion years (and 18x the CO2 concentrations of today), but man’s .0025% increase in the greenhouse effect is going to cause some catastrophic tipping point that will destroy the earth, if you don’t give them your money, and the keys to your car, right now. So they fly corporate jets from Climate event to Climate event to protect us. The point is, most of the greenhouse effect isn't CO2 , and most CO2 isn’t manmade. But you never hear that, because if you knew the truth, you might not be as malleable.

To put actual numbers to that:

  • man contributes about 14 Gt (9-12 billion tons directly, and a few indirectly through secondary effects like deforestation) to the 22,056,773+ Gt of just the greenhouse gasses we're talking about (or about .0004%). That's not even counting all the nitrogen and Oxygen which make up 98% of the atmosphere. And man never put out more than 1 Gt until the 1950's. (The industrial revolution was a non-event for the planet, even if it impacted a few cities that occupy like .00001% of the land mass of the globe).
  • There's approximately 4,000,000 billion tons of H2O in the atmosphere, 18,000,000 billion tons of water vapor in the oceans, another 56,000 billion tons of CO2 locked away in carbon sinks, like soil, earth, plants, sediment and deep ocean.
  • And the real question is carbon scrubbing and the sequestration cycle — how fast does the earth scrub and trap carbon? But those numbers are hardly studied at all. What the models did is assume that scrubbing is a constant at rate it was at pre-1950’s — and not an adaptive system where rain dilutes more CO2 (as CO2 rates go up), or that more plants will grow just because it warms and becomes wetter and has more CO2 for them to breathe. And so on. We know that to be false, but their models don’t factor it in.