Following Arrhenius on global warming

Posted: May 24, 2020 by oldbrew in climate, IPCC, Natural Variation, opinion, Temperature
Tags: , ,

Svante Arrhenius

The eternal question – was the Arrhenius climate theory erroneous? Still looking for convincing evidence of it, the author concludes.
– – –
But he did change his mind …

This 1912 newspaper article (here) shows that a century ago the worthy citizens of Warkworth were followers of Svante Arrhenius’s new theory that global warming would be caused by mankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases, says Richard Treadgold @ Climate Conversation (NZ).

Forty years earlier Tyndall had identified CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Arrhenius followed up with newly available data in 1896 and calculated that doubling CO2 would increase temperatures by 5°C or 6°C. In 1906 he reduced it to 4.0°C.

Arrhenius is frequently cited by warmsters chiding sceptics for their lack of belief, telling them, “Science has known about dangerous warming for 120 years.”

But science knew nothing of dangerous warming, because Arrhenius showed none. He was free of the modern pathological aversion to carbon dioxide (the gas of life) because he saw no reason to object to it.

Continued here.

  1. JB says:

    The 19th century, that era when everyone and their cat jumped into scientific research, not knowing what the heck that constituted, and began a century-long tradition entrenched in the schools. Charlatans cropped up everywhere, and the education system of Hegel and Mann institutionalized it.

  2. oldbrew says:

    The Shattered Greenhouse: How Simple Physics Demolishes the “Greenhouse Effect”
    – Timothy Casey B.Sc. (Hons.)
    Consulting Geologist

    This article explores the “Greenhouse Effect” in contemporary literature and in the frame of physics, finding a conspicuous lack of clear thermodynamic definition. The “Greenhouse Effect” is defined by Arrhenius’ (1896) modification of Pouillet’s backradiation idea so that instead of being an explanation of how a thermal gradient is maintained at thermal equilibrium, Arrhenius’ incarnation of the backradiation hypothesis offered an extra source of power in addition to the thermally conducted heat which produces the thermal gradient in the material. The general idea as expressed in contemporary literature, though seemingly chaotic in its diversity of emphasis, shows little change since its revision by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, and subsequent refutation by Robert Wood in 1909. The “Greenhouse Effect” is presented as a radiation trap whereby changes in atmospheric composition resulting in increased absorption lead to increased surface temperatures. However, since the composition of a body, isolated from thermal contact by a vacuum, cannot affect mean body temperature, the “Greenhouse Effect” has, in fact, no material foundation.
    – – –
    Is there a whiff of double-counting of the same energy in the Arrhenius theory?

  3. Arrhenius, was a student of Stefan (of Stefan-Boltzman equation) but he did not understand heat transfer and was poor at maths. He had some chemistry knowledge. He should be forgotten about anything else. The S-B equation applies to surfaces in a vacuum. CO2 is a gas and has no surface, it can absorb some radiant heat (on a volume basis) at a wavelength of 14.8 micron. It can not affect the atmospheric temperature close to the earths surface.

  4. erl happ says:

    Examination of the manner in which the planet warms leads to rejection of the hypothesis. The southern hemisphere has no warmed in January for three decades.

  5. Tim Spence says:

    I’d be surprised though if he had much of a concept of average global temperature. It would have been a humble conjecture rather than a dire warning.

  6. auspeterb says:

    The Global Warming theory is illogical.
    The earth in its geological past has been at 1200ppm CO2 regularly, 3000 several times and 7000+ at least once from other forcings. The temperature did not runaway and the CO2 gradually reduced. Non geological or asteroid forcing increases in CO2 followed Temperature increases, not the other way around. Why are we wasting our time?

  7. oldbrew says:

    We’re supposed to obsess about cow farts and other absurdities these days.

  8. konradwp1 says:

    It is important to correct one glaring error: Tyndall did not identify CO2 as a “Greenhouse gas”. Tyndall identified CO2 as a radiative gas. Via empirical experiment he demonstrated that CO2 could warm by absorbing LWIR (1859) and also cool by emitting LWIR (1860). Tyndall made no claim as to the net effect of these gases in our atmosphere.

    The idea of a net atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect is a conjecture built on Joseph Fourier’s flawed calculation (C 1824) where he incorrectly calculated that the surface temperature of an object 1AU from the sun should be around 33C colder than the current average surface temperature of our planet.

    Fourier speculated that their may be an atmospheric “greenhouse effect” that would account for this apparent 33C discrepancy. Others later seized on Tyndall’s discoveries and misused Stefan and Boltzmann’s work to create the fiction of a radiative greenhouse effect.

    Arrhenius’ efforts were doomed from the start. He was trying to calculate the role of CO2 in a greenhouse effect that didn’t exist.

  9. Zoe Phin says:

    Well said, Konrad.

  10. Ron Clutz says:

    Pick Your A team: Arrhenius or Angstrom

    Interesting that Svante Arrhenius was elevated as the founder of AGW belief system. He was ignored for many decades after Knut Angstrom and his assistant Herr Koch showed that reducing CO2 concentrations did not affect the amount of IR absorbed by the air. That’s almost as interesting as discovering that shutting down the global economy over fear of Covid19 has little effect on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    As a fellow Scandinavian, Angstrom agreed with Arrhenius that his projected warming would be a good thing, even in the lower estimates Svante made later on. Still, Angstrom had two objections to Arrhenius’ conjecture about global warming from increasing CO2. In 1900, Herr J. Koch, laboratory assistant to Knut Ångström, did not observe any appreciable change in the absorption of infrared radiation by decreasing the concentration of CO2 up to a third of the initial amount. This result, in addition to the observation made a couple of years before that the superposition of the water vapour absorption bands, more abundant in the atmosphere, over those of CO2, convinced most geologists that calculations by Svante Arrhenius for CO2 warming were wrong.

    Many decades passed without climatists referring to Arrhenius until the AGW movement took off in the 1980s and advocates wanted an ancient founder for their ideas. Obviously, Angstrom’s position had to be destroyed by articles at Real Climate and Wikipedia (the same team after all.) So it is now declared that Arrhenius was right and Angstrom wrong, based on some claims about “line-broadening” and the famous raised Effective Radiating Level (ERL). Angstrom’s experimental results were not overturned but were deemed the” Saturation Fallacy”. Meanwhile,today’s climate realists acknowledge that the IR absorption by CO2 is logarithmic with diminishing returns. Attempts to find the raised ERL in modern satellite and balloon datasets have also failed, but alarmists are undaunted. Discussion of the failed evidence for the ERL notion is here:

  11. arfurbryant says:

    There is no mechanism whereby adding CO2 to the atmosphere can significantly, or even measurably, warm the planet. The entire Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Emergency meme is based upon a false assumption.

  12. oldbrew says:

    So climate alarm theory fails its own tests.

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    AGW is NOT science ! It never has been about science, AGW is a religion That was founded 6,000 years ago when wicked humans caused God to change the climate conditions and ended the garden of Eden that had existed for 78,000 years and ushered in the great flood when the sea level rose 400 feet and drowned all the lush low lands of the “Ice Age”…pg

  14. oldbrew says:

    From Ron Clutz’s blog post:

    Clear win for blue.

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