Bryce Johnson: Limits of Carbon Dioxide in Causing Global Warming

Posted: October 27, 2012 by tallbloke in Analysis, climate, Clouds, Energy, Forecasting, Measurement, methodology

My Thanks to Bryce Johnson, a U.S. American nuclear physicist, who delivered an in depth talk in May to the N. Cal section of the American Nuclear Society, for sending in a pdf of his accompanying powerpoint presentation. For those who are already familiar with spectral calc and who want to skip the intro sections on radiative curves, I recommend review of slides 31-52 where the fun really begins. Hopefully Bryce may find time to join us in discussion to elucidate his findings, which are based on conservative parameters, to give the co2 warming theory the best possible chance. It’s eye opening stuff, especially on the max warming co2 alone can create and the non-event water vapour feedback. I’ve reproduced a few of the slides below to whet the appetite.

Bryce wrote an article covering some of the ground here:

Full pdf document of the powerpoint available here: 

Northern California Section
American Nuclear Society
Bryce Johnson
May 23, 2012

  1. Bloke down the pub says:

    The pro-agw crowd will take this to mean that increased CO2 leads to catastrophic global cooling and so a whole new round of fear-mongering. That should keep them in grant money for the foreseeable.

  2. Ed Caryl says:

    I wish we had the words from his presentation to go along with this. I think he is saying that we have already had all the temperature rise we are going to get.. That explains why the temperature rise stopped 15 years ago.

  3. J Martin says:

    Excellent set of slides, would be nice to see that lecture. Is it on Youtube perhaps ?

  4. Brian H says:

    And of course even these modest increases from CO2 are imaginary. Backradiation doesn’t operate in the real atmosphere/world. All those DLR measurements are instrument artifacts, according to the guys who designed them.

    [Reply] Got a link for that?

  5. tallbloke says:

    Bryce, in your expert opinion, is the reason why co2 has a low impact on temperature due mainly to this finding in slide 21 of your presentation?


  6. Berényi Péter says:

    Please, read the following report carefully. It shows all the results publicized since then were ready in 1979, along with the politico-scintific complex pushing them relentlessly. It also shows the spectacle was started in the U.S. of A., not in Europe, although it was the EU that irreversibly fell victim to this propaganda.

    Also note that no improvement in consensus science can be observed whatsoever in the last 33 years, error bars supplied by supporters are unchanged or even increased slightly, in spite of spending untold billions on computational climate models since then. Whining over “the need to reduce the mathematical problem to one that can be handled by even the fastest available electronic computers” is particularly funny in this respect, since available computing power has increased at least billionfold since the 1970s, today’s laptops being more powerful, than those oldtimers, used to be called “supercomputers” then.

    Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment
    Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate
    Woods Hole, Massachusetts, July 23–27, 1979
    to the Climate Research Board
    Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
    National Research Council

    NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the Committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.

    This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

    Available from
    Climate Research Board
    2101 Constitution Avenue
    Washington, D.C. 20418

    Climate Research Board
    Verner E.Suomi, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chairman
    Francis P.Bretherton, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    Dayton H.Clewell, Mobil Oil Corporation (retired)
    Thomas Donahue, University of Michigan
    Herbert Friedman, Naval Research Laboratory
    J.Herbert Hollomon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Charles W.Howe, University of Colorado
    John Imbrie, Brown University
    Robert W.Kates, Clark University
    John E.Kutzbach, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Cecil E.Leith, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    William A.Nierenberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    Roger R.Revelle, University of California, San Diego
    Joseph Smagorinsky, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Frederick E.Smith, Harvard University
    Karl K.Turekian, Yale University
    John Waelti, University of Minnesota
    Sylvan H.Wittwer, Michigan State University
    Warren Wooster, University of Washington

    Eugene W.Bierly, National Science Foundation
    John G.Dardis, Department of State
    Edward Epstein, National Climate Program Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Steven Flajser, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U.S. Senate
    Elbert W.Friday, Department of Defense
    Lawrence R.Greenwood, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Galen Hart, Department of Agriculture
    Keith Howard, Department of the Interior
    Gerald J.Kovach, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U.S. Senate
    Ian Marceau, Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. House of Representatives
    Lloyd J.Money, Department of Transportation
    Douglas H.Sargeant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    David Slade, Department of Energy
    Herbert L.Wiser, Environmental Protection Agency

    John S.Perry, National Research Council, Executive Secretary
    Robert S.Chen, National Academy of Sciences, Resident Fellow

    Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate
    Jule G.Charney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chairman
    Akio Arakawa, University of California, Los Angeles
    D.James Baker, University of Washington
    Bert Bolin, University of Stockholm
    Robert E.Dickinson, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    Richard M.Goody, Harvard University
    Cecil E.Leith, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    Henry M.Stommel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Carl I.Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    John S.Perry
    Robert S.Chen
    Doris Bouadjemi
    Theresa Fisher

    assistance of the following scientists is gratefully acknowledged
    A.Gilchrist, British Meteorological Office
    J.Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA
    S.Manabe, R.T.Wetherald, and K.Bryan, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA

    helpful comments were provided by
    R.S.Lindzen, Harvard University
    C.G.Rooth, University of Miami
    R.J.Reed, University of Washington
    G.W.Paltridge, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia
    W.L.Gates, Oregon State University

    1 Summary and Conclusions

    “When it is assumed that the CO₂ content of the atmosphere is doubled and statistical thermal equilibrium is achieved, the more realistic of the modeling efforts predict a global surface warming of between 2°C and 3.5°C, with greater increases at high latitudes. This range reflects both uncertainties in physical understanding and inaccuracies arising from the need to reduce the mathematical problem to one that can be handled by even the fastest available electronic computers. It is significant, however, that none of the model calculations predicts negligible warming.”

  7. J Martin says:

    “It is significant, however, that none of the model calculations predicts negligible warming.”

    Which should ring alarm bells in anyone to the effect that within such a chaotic and complex system as weather and climate there should be a wider spread of results. And so policy makers should be suspicious, but they simply are not intelligent enough.

    [Reply] It looks like you meant to put this on the alarmism thread. If so repost it there and I’ll remove this one

  8. J Martin says:

    Sorry, didn’t make it clear. I was commenting on the last line in the previous post in this thread by Berényi Péter says: October 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    A valid comment for 1979 and sadly just as valid today. Plus ca change.

    [Reply] Peter’s comment was on the alarmism thread, not this one. 🙂

  9. Entropic man says:

    I was looking at Mr. Johnson’s Powerpoint presentation.
    Slides 15 and 17 show IR emission to space. In the area absorbed by CO2( roughly wavenumber 600-800) the proportion of radiation absorbd can be estimated by taking the area between the emission curve and the black body curve. That’s around 30%.
    Slide 20 shows the back radiation at 25km. The coresponding area under the curve is less than 5%. I presume that the difference is due to absorbtion at lower altitudes.
    In his slides Mr Johnson has given no indication of back radiation from the troposphere. I hope his calculations have not also been based only on the high altitude interactions

  10. Berényi Péter says:

    No, my comment was on this thread and by no happenstance. It was meant as an age old contrast to Bryce’s presentation, whose approach is entirely sensible, being based on simple physics and math.

    The 1979 report is not so, it was based on computational modelling, which is another beast, epistemologically.

    For I am trying to track back lately at what point climate science went astray and started getting transformed to a full fledged pseudo science. I was surprised to find the 1979 document showing undeniably that this process was alredy well under way more than 3 decades ago.

    However, I have just discovered that the flawed meme popped up even earlier, in William Welch Kellogg‘s speech on the 1975 ‘Endangered Atmosphere’ Conference, organized by him and Margaret Mead, claiming that climate models “are really the only tools we have to determine such things.” [as anthropogenic effects on climate].

    This claim, as Bryce has shown us, is a false one. Fortunately he only goes for bounds, which is possible on existing theoretical grounds.

    But I would go even further. The basic paradigm of present day consensus climate science (as it was put forward By Kellogg as early as 1975) is often coupled to anoter arch-meme: that it is impossible to conduct experiments on climate. So much so, that climate scientists fell into the habit of running computational climate models as experiments in silico.

    Unfortunately I do not have the time right now to venture into details on how actual, traditional physical experiments are possible (and necessary) to shed some light on problems related to the climate system, but I have two recent comments on the subject on Judith Curry’s site.

    The first thing to do
    Yup. Experiments.

    You may repost them here if you want to. Feel free to edit.

    They basically say fitting multiple computational models to a single uncontrolled run of a unique instance it is not science, but witchcraft. Especially if even a general physical theory is lacking, i.e. current versions of non-equilibrium thermodynamics ignore radiant heat.

    Traditional, genuine science is quite different. It develops theories based on multiple controlled experimental runs on many instances, verifies them by more experiments, then applies the general theory to a specific instance. At this stage one can develop a computational model based on theory, but even that has to be verified on experimental instances before accepted.

    I think we are close to the roots of pathetic failure experienced in climate science, so I feel it is rather important to spread this meme.

  11. tallbloke says:

    Ah, it was me that got mixed up then. 🙂

    And the point is well taken Peter.

  12. Brian H says:

    Re link on the DLR measurements;
    Sorry, it’s just come up a few times in comments from engineers etc. who get irritated at the incompetent technical assumptions made by those pointing devices at the sky and calling the readings ‘back radiation’.

  13. tallbloke says:

    Brian, yes, I remember some people contending that the flux is buzzing all about, and the net value is what really interests us. This seems reasonable. I think it was Mydogsgotnonose chatting on this thread about ‘Prevost exchange energy’

  14. Brian H says:

    You may be interested in this parallel study:

    Click to access Absence_Measureable_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

  15. Tallbloke: The Slide 21 does, indeed, have a strong influence on why CO2. importance in global warming is not significant.

  16. Response to Entropic Man of Oct 28.

    I agree with your estimates of absorbed radiation from slides 15 and 17.

    Back radiation of slide 20 at 25 km simply illustrates the small amount of back radiation at that altitude and that it has the characteristic spectrum of CO2; i.e., that CO2 is the dominant IR absorber/emitter at that altitude and above.

    Slide 13 shows back radiation in the US Std atmosphere and in the tropics and it is labeled as the down-directed radiation

    All appropriate interactions throughout the atmosphere are appropriately included in the analysis.

    It is inappropriate to explicitly include the back radiation at the earth’s surface because its effect is accounted for in the heat sources from the earth’s surface to the atmosphere.

    Bryce Johnson