SURFRAD Data Falsifies the “Greenhouse Effect” Hypothesis

Written by Carl Brehmer

There exists over a dozen different explanations of what the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is exactly, explanations of just how an increase in the concentration of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere might cause the average temperature of surface-level air to increase.

I chose three of these definitions to test using the data being gathered at two of NOAA’s SURFRAD (surface radiation monitoring) sites. Since the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis defines itself using a specific parameter, the “average yearly surface-level air temperature” and water vapor (humidity) is presumably the most powerful “greenhouse gas” that is what I focused on. What effect do varying levels of water vapor (humidity) have on the “average yearly near-surface air temperature?”

  1. The first hypothesis tested is the simple assertion that higher concentrations of “greenhouse gases” will cause the average yearly surface-level air temperature to go up. “Without these greenhouse gases the Earth’s average surface temperature would be about 33 degrees Celsius cooler.”i

  2. The second hypothesis tested is the assertion that the “average surface-level air temperature” is determined by the size of the “atmospheric window.” The infrared [IR] atmospheric window . . . lets some infrared radiation from the cloud tops and land-sea surface pass directly to space without intermediate absorption and re-emission, and thus without heating the atmosphere.”ii This hypothesis asserts that if no “greenhouse gases” were present in the atmosphere the “atmospheric window” would be wide open, i.e., the transmissivityiii of the atmosphere to infrared radiation (IR) radiation would be 1.0, and this, they postulate, would allow the ground to cool much faster via the emission of IR radiation directly out into space. Ergo, the lower the concentration of “greenhouse gases” in the air the cooler the “average yearly surface-level air temperature” would be. Stated another way, it is assumed that an inverse relationship exists between the transmissivity of the atmosphere to IR radiation and surface-level air temperature.

  3. The third hypothesis tested is the assertion that the surface is heated by down-welling IR radiation. This hypothesis postulates that “greenhouse gases” absorb up-going IR radiation and then re-radiate a portion of that energy back towards the surface and that this “back-radiation” acts like a second heat source, the first being the Sun. “The atmosphere, heated by the absorption of Earth radiation by these greenhouse gasses, in turn radiates heat back to the Earth’s surface increasing the Earth’s surface temperature.”iv This hypothesis asserts that there is a direct relationship between the intensity of down-welling IR radiation and surface-level air temperature.

I chose for comparison data from two SURFRAD sites that lie roughly along the same latitude and therefore receive the same amount of Solar energy daily, year around—Desert Rock, Nevada and Goodwin Creek, Mississippi. The table below are the yearly averages of all readings taken of the parameters listed during the year 2016.

Up-Welling IR

Down-Welling IR

Net Up-welling IR

Temperature

Specific Humidity

W/m2

W/m2

W/m2

°C

g/kg

Desert Rock

428

309

119

19

4

Goodwin Creek

401.6

356

45

17.5

9.6

Hypothesis #1

Do higher levels of the most potent “greenhouse gas” water vapor (humidity) cause the average yearly surface-level air temperature to go up? No. Even though the air at Goodwin Creek had more than double the average humidity in g/kg compared to Desert Rock, the yearly average surface-level air temperature at Goodwin Creek was 1.5 °C cooler. Water vapor cannot cause “global” warming if it does not cause “regional” warming. Please note that this is not an isolated observation. Surface-level air in humid climates everywhere tends to have a lower yearly average temperature than does surface-level air in arid climates that lie along the same latitude. Hypothesis #1 is falsified.

Hypothesis #2

Does the size of the “atmospheric window” have an inverse relationship with the yearly average surface-level air temperature? Does the narrowing of the “atmospheric widow” by high humidity force the yearly average surface-level air temperature to go up? Another name for the “atmospheric window” is transmissivity. I calculated the transmissivity of the atmosphere at each location by dividing the net up-going IR radiation by the total up-going IR radiation.

Net up-welling IR / Total up-welling IR = transmissivity

Transmissivity of the air:

Desert Rock: 119 W/m^2 / 428 W/m^2 = 0.28

Goodwin Creek: 45 W/m^2 / 401.6 W/m^2 = 0.11

Since water vapor increases the opacity of air (decreases its transmissivity to IR radiation), I attribute the decreased transmissivity of the atmosphere at Goodwin Creek to the 240% higher humidity present there. This affirms the portion of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis that asserts that when the humidity goes up the surface emits less IR radiation directly into space because humid air is markedly more opaque to IR radiation than is arid air. Contrary to the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis though, this did not force the average yearly surface-level air temperature at Goodwin Creek to increase. When one looks at the data, even though the air at Goodwin Creek is more opaque and therefore allows less IR radiation to be emitted directly out into space than at Desert Rock, the average yearly surface-level air temperature at Goodwin Creek is lower than at Desert Rock. Hypothesis #2 is falsified because the average yearly surface-level air temperature is not inversely proportional to the size of the atmospheric window.

Hypothesis #3

Is there a direct relationship between the intensity of down-welling IR radiation and yearly average surface-level air temperature? In this experiment I simply compare the down-welling IR radiation between the two sites with their respective yearly average surface level air temperatures.

Down-welling IR radiation:

Desert Rock = 309 W/m2

Goodwin Creek = 356 W/m2

This observation confirms the portion of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis that asserts that increasing the concentration of “greenhouse gases” in the air induces the atmosphere to emit more down-welling IR radiation (even at a lower temperature.) In this case the extra humidity in the atmosphere over Goodwin Creek caused an increase of 47 W/m2 in down-welling IR radiation compared to Desert Rock, yet the average yearly surface-level air temperature at Goodwin Creek was lower than that at Desert Rock, which falsifies Hypothesis #3; the intensity of down-welling IR radiation is not directly proportional to surface-level air temperature.

Consider the following: For the purpose of creating general circulation computer models (GCMs) of the atmosphere that might predict the effect of increasing carbon dioxide levels on the average yearly global surface-level air temperature, a concept was created called the “climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide.” The IPCC, in defining this concept, asserted that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from pre-industrial times (from ~280 ppm to ~560 ppm) would result in a 3.7 W/m2 increase in down-welling IR radiation, which they call “radiative forcing.” This would in turn they say result in a 1 °C increase in yearly average surface-level air temperatures.v “Without any feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 (which amounts to a forcing of 3.7 W/m2) would result in 1°C global warming . . .”vi

The extra down-welling IR radiation at Goodwin Creek compared to Desert Rock was 47 W/m2 and this exceeds the hypothetical effect of doubling carbon dioxide levels >10 times (without any feedbacks). This is equivalent to the hypothetical effect of carbon dioxide if it were 286,720 ppm, which would be an atmosphere that was 29% carbon dioxide! According to the IPCC this extra 47 W/m2 of down-welling IR radiation should have caused a >10 °C increase in the yearly average surface-level air temperature at Goodwin Creek (even without feedbacks.) What we see instead is a 1.5 °C decrease in surface-level air temperatures at Goodwin Creek compared to Desert Rock. Therefore, the IPCC’s “climate sensitivity of carbon dioxide” hypothesis is falsified by simple observation—an increase in down-welling IR radiation does not force surface-level air temperatures to rise.

In order for an “effect” to be real one has to demonstrate via empirical observation that something is actually being “caused” by it. In order for water vapor to be an actual “greenhouse gas” it has to be seen causing the average yearly surface-level air temperature to increase; yet the opposite is what we observe.

iii transmissivity: “the degree to which a medium allows something, in particular electromagnetic radiation, to pass through it.”

iv Columbia University, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences

v IPCC, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report

vi Rahmstorf, Stefan, quoting the IPCC, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report in his 2008 paper

Comments (8)

  • Avatar

    conodo mose

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    This proof is the most elegant and simplististic that I have seen.

  • Avatar

    Rosco

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    I’m not sure your claim – “I chose for comparison data from two SURFRAD sites that lie roughly along the same latitude and therefore receive the same amount of Solar energy daily, year around—Desert Rock, Nevada and Goodwin Creek, Mississippi. The table below are the yearly averages of all readings taken of the parameters listed during the year 2016” – is entirely valid without data relating to the “cloudiness” at each site.

    One would expect the agricultural and forested areas around Goodwin Creek Mississippi to receive significantly higher rainfall than the desert location of Desert Rock Nevada and therefore significantly more days where cloud cover exists and therefore significantly lower direct Solar radiation.

    Outside of that people have been writing for over a decade that the evidence that high water vapour concentration does not coincide with higher air temperatures.

  • Avatar

    Jim Buchanan

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    Has anyone explored the prospect of launching a legal class action against the authors of so many documents claiming to have “…unimpeachable ‘scientific’ evidence which proves global warning must be stopped before it dooms humanity”: The cost of so many inefficient renewable energy devices is a burden to tax-payers the world over. Surely there is enough evidence of fraud to start suing the fraudsters? One successful case might be the catalyst that ends the racket…

    • Avatar

      R. Kooi

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      “….It’s claimed that scientists falsify the theory of global warming in order to receive funding.
      …..The problem with this argument is that any funding that is provided
      . (not to individuals but to respected & tightly monitored institutions)
      will be strictly controlled and in nearly ALL cases will be monitored & audited
      by the funding body and / or their appointed auditors and/or the institutions.
      .
      ….”Any deliberate misappropriation of funding would be a criminal offence for which the offender could be jailed.
      .

      This has never happened.
      .
      The Virginia State Attorney
      – Ken Cuccinelli
      – embarked on something of a witch-hunt against the ‘climate scientist’ Michael Mann and invoked the
      ** Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act ……claiming that Dr. Mann had misappropriated public funds by manipulating data.

      The Judge threw the case out.
      (( Despite the Raised Voices & The Righteous Indignation, the Skeptical/Denier Scientists could NOT muster Sufficient Evidence to dispute Main Steam Science presented by Dr. Mann, to gain a trial date! ))

      http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release

  • Avatar

    Carl

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    “One would expect the agricultural and forested areas around Goodwin Creek Mississippi to receive significantly higher rainfall than the desert location of Desert Rock Nevada and therefore significantly more days where cloud cover exists and therefore significantly lower direct Solar radiation.”

    Remember that the claim of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is that high humidity causes the average “yearly” surface level air temperature to go up. When one starts to look at the effect of high humidity on surface level air temperatures on only cloudless days, one is testing a different hypothesis. Looking at other weather data and other data being gathered at the SURFRAD sites I can say with certainty that Goodwin Creek has markedly more cloud cover and markedly more precipitation than does the Desert Rock site. One only need note that it is much “greener” in Mississippi than it is in Nevada. High humidity is a harbinger of biological life, not a harbinger of biological life as the IPCC would have you believe.

    One cannot have high humidity in a particular location without having higher everything that is integral to the atmosphere’s greater water cycle:
    1) More ground water, which is the source of the higher humidity as it evaporates into water vapor. This cools the surface
    2) More humidity increases, as the data shows, the emissivity of air. This facilitates the movement of thermal energy via IR radiation up the atmospheric column. This helps cools not only surface-level air but the entire bottom 4-5 km of the troposphere.
    3) More clouds as this high humidity condenses at some altitude. This shades the surface cooling it even further. Yes, cloud cover results in less solar energy reaching the surface in the first place. On highly overcast days the reduction in Solar energy reaching the surface can be as high as 80%–the global average reduction in Solar energy reaching the surface due to cloud cover is ~20%.
    4) More rain, which cools the surface even further because most of the time rain water is cooler than surface level air. Has anyone not seen the temperature drop when a cloud moves overhead and begins raining on you?

    The water cycle at every stage has a cooling effect on surface-level air. In order for humidity to be a “greenhouse gas” that is causing a “greenhouse effect” it would have to overpower the cooling effect of the entire water cycle, which it demonstrably does not. Ergo, water vapor feedback is “negative”—the higher the humidity the more surface-level air temperatures are blocked from rising, even caused to cool. The reason that the IPCC’s computer models are so wildly inaccurate is that they are programmed with errant notion that water vapor feedback is “positive”, that it typically multiplies surface level warming from whatever source 2-4 times!

    All of the dire prognostications about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming/climate change need water vapor feedback to be “positive” in order to exist because the effect of carbon dioxide alone, even if what they say about it were true, on surface level air temperatures is simply too feeble.

  • Avatar

    Dean Jackson

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    H1: ‘With additional carbon dioxide the Earth’s average surface temperature will be cooler, all other variables remaining constant.’ This, in fact, isn’t a hypothesis, it’s a fact of physics derived from carbon dioxide’s approximately one-third smaller volume, meaning approximately one-third less heat than that of nitrogen and oxygen, which itself means additions of COOLER carbon dioxide robs heat energy from nitrogen and oxygen, deriving in excess of 95% of its heat via nitrogen and oxygen.

    Therefore hypotheses #2 and #3 are moot.

    Read the article, ‘Throwing Cold Water on Global Warming’ …

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/throwing-cold-water-on-global-warming

    My blog, for other facts not directed to your attention…

    https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home

  • Avatar

    Nicholas Schroeder, BSME, PE

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    The ONLY^3 reason RGHE theory even exists is to explain how the average surface (1.5 m above ground) temperature of 288 K/15 C (K-T balance 289 K/16 C) minus 255 K/-18C, the average surface (now ground) temperature w/o an atmosphere (Which is just completely BOGUS!) equals 33 C warmer w/ than w/o atmosphere.

    That Δ33 C notion is absolute rubbish and when it goes in the dumpster it hauls RGHE “theory” in right behind it.

    The sooner that is realized and accepted the sooner all of us will have go find something else to do. Maybe that’s what keeps RGHE staggering down the road.

    The genesis of RGHE theory is the incorrect notion that the atmosphere warms the surface (and that is NOT the ground). Explaining the mechanism behind this erroneous notion demands some truly contorted physics, thermo and heat transfer, i.e. energy out of nowhere, cold to hot w/o work, perpetual motion.

    Is space cold or hot? There are no molecules in space so our common definitions of hot/cold/heat/energy don’t apply.

    The temperatures of objects in space, e.g. the Earth, Moon, space station, Mars, Venus, etc. are determined by the radiation flowing past them. In the case of the Earth, the solar irradiance of 1,368 W/m^2 has a Stefan Boltzmann black body equilibrium temperature of 394 K, 121 C, 250 F. That’s hot. Sort of.

    But an object’s albedo reflects away some of that energy and reduces that temperature.

    The Earth’s albedo reflects away about 30% of the Sun’s 1,368 W/m^2 energy leaving 70% or 958 W/m^2 to “warm” the surface (1.5 m above ground) and at an S-B BB equilibrium temperature of 361 K, 33 C cooler (394-361) than the earth with no atmosphere or albedo.

    The Earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the Earth warm, it keeps the Earth cool.

    Bring science, I did.

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/14306-Greenhouse—We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/15582-To-be-33C-or-not-to-be-33C

    http://writerbeat.com/articles/16255-Atmospheric-Layers-and-Thermodynamic-Ping-Pong

  • Avatar

    tom0mason

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    ‘Greenhouse Gas Effect’ does not happen in a greenhouses (or glasshouses), or in a many layered atmosphere where the major (if not the only) method of removing heat at the base level is through bulk convection movement of the gases.
    Or maybe ‘Greenhouse Gas Effect’ is that so called scientists (Hansen, Mann, Schmidt, etc, etc) shouldn’t throw hypothetical stones, when spouting their nonsense.

    P.S.
    For all you Scienceless Consensus believers out there, if your much vilified CO2 molecule ‘captures’ heat, as your dumb fantasy says, then precisely how long does this ‘capturing’ last?
    Weeks? days? hours? minutes? seconds? millionths of a second?

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