Jeff asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 6 months ago

If CO2 is the controlling GHG and H2O vapor a feedback only, then why do the concentrations of these two gases behave entirely differently?

One point upon which AGW advocates and contrarions seem to agree is that atmospheric CO2 is a well-mixed gas. Janne Hakkarainen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute and co-author of the study that used OCO-2 data to make satellite-based maps of human emissions of carbon dioxide, wrote: “Carbon dioxide is indeed well mixed in the atmosphere. This means that if we look at the CO2 concentrations globally, the value is about 400 ppm everywhere.” [See https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/earthmatte... Therefore, we would expect that the concentration of CO2 varies slowly and smoothly over both location and time. This being the case, the CO2 "control knob" effect (or equivalently the Clausius-Clapeyron equation) would constrain H2O vapor to also be well-mixed and slowly varying over location and time. Specifically, it is a mere amplification of the CO2 Greenhouse warming [See Yale Climate Collections: The Water Vapor Feedback: www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2008/02/common-climate-misconceptions-the-water-vapor-feedback-2/, SkepticalScience: skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm].

Update:

This, however, is NOT the behavior of H2O vapor concentrations nor the resulting greenhouse warming. Since H2O vapor is a condensible GHG, much larger variations in concentration occur as a result of phase transitions between the vapor and condensed states. Also, since H2O vapor is a much stronger GHG than CO2, these variations in concentration result in temperature fluctuations that are much larger than any temperature increase resulting from the CO2 greenhouse effect.

Update 2:

These fluctuations in fact show up in the temperature data, and must be filtered somehow in order to determine warming/cooling trends. Therefore, it seems to me that the assumption of H2O vapor being a temperature feedback only has lead to a contradiction.

Update 3:

In reviewing some of the comments I made to answers in the question, I discovered this morning that I had confused the name El Nino with sunspot cycles. So when I used the term "El Nino effects", I actually meant the effects of low sunspot activity. Meanwhile Dirac, who knows the correct meaning of El Nino, got quite confused over what I was arguing. It turns out, however, that sunspot activity did quiet dramatically after 2000, which probably best explains the "warming hiatus" reported in 2005.

14 Answers

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  • JimZ
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I noticed that GC got many thumbs down for correctly pointing out that CO2 varies considerably in the atmosphere. I would still say it is well mixed but the variation in concentration is a function of its ability to be absorbed into the ocean and used for plants (and other organisms) and the fact that it tends to be given off by warm water and absorbed by cold.

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  • 6 months ago

    I go into my bathroom and measure the humidity. It varies from one day to the next simply due to 'natural factors' or, in other words, the weather outside. I also have a powered shower that has a 'control knob' for setting the water temperature. If I set the water temperature high then the bathroom fills with water vapour. If I set the water temperature lower I get less water vapour in the bathroom.

    But the vapour doesn't distribute evenly around the bathroom. At the windows and mirror it condenses out. It also hits colder tiles and condenses out. If I go around the room measuring humidity at different points, I'll get different readings. If it is colder outside some days than others, the condensation builds at the windows.

    So, to paraphrase your question, is the temperature setting on my shower *really* a control knob for the amount of water vapour produced given the variations I'd observe. The answer is yes but the relationship between the setting and amount of water vapour is complicated. That doesn't mean there isn't one nor does it mean that, on average, my bathroom won't have a higher humidity than it would have if I never ran the shower.

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    • Elizabeth
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Omg Dirac ... that's like so last century. Can you not like just download the app for that??

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  • 6 months ago

    According to the picture below, CO2 levels do vary over the surface of the globe and the warmest areas are not the areas with the most CO2.

    Attachment image
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    • Dirac
      Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      1. You're confusing geographical variability with an increase and 2. Yes it does respond via a feedback effect, but to TEMPERATURE not the "amount of CO2". Geez, didn't you used to be an engineer?

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  • John
    Lv 4
    6 months ago

    The first error falls into the ASSUMPTION that co2 is well mixed.

    They don't know. Nothing has to ve as claimed duu to that ***-sump-tion.

    Make up your own it's juust as va-lid.

    • Climate Realist
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      It isn't an assumption. They measure atmospheric CO2 with satellites.

      Ever hear of data?

      IDIOT!!!!

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  • Dirac
    Lv 4
    6 months ago

    This statement of yours:

    "Therefore, we would expect that the concentration of CO2 varies slowly and smoothly over both location and time. This being the case, the CO2 "control knob" effect (or equivalently the Clausius-Clapeyron equation) would constrain H2O vapor to also be well-mixed and slowly varying over location and time."

    This is nonsense. Perhaps you're confused by the "control knob" phrasing. If so, just ignore it. It's very hard to understand what your point is, but I think it may be this: you think that for CO2 to be a "control knob" that it should overwhelm every other factor that determines water vapor distribution--for example, latitude, or proximity to bodies of water. That may be true on Venus, where the concentration of CO2 is high, but it isn't on Earth, things like solar insolation matter here. That doesn't mean that CO2 doesn't contribute, it does. It raises temperature and higher temperature means more water vapor.

    EDIT: "Progressive Activist" may be an activist, but they are certainly not progressive. It is a false flag posting from someone that blocks me.

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    • Jeff6 months agoReport

      ... they have not been used in establishing water vapor feedback nor the CO2 control knob. These are all artifacts of an extremely "watered down" model. Sometimes their claims get outright comical when they get into predictions about an "ice-bound" earth.

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  • 6 months ago

    "If CO2 is the controlling GHG and H2O vapor a feedback only, then why do the concentrations of these two gases behave entirely differently?"

    Because one is a forcing greenhouse gas and the other is a feedback greenhouse gas. By definition, they behave differently.

    The concentration of H2O is dependent on temperature. When it gets warm, H2O evaporates. When it gets cool, it precipitates.

    Unlike that of H2O, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 does not change with temperature (or rather, not with the temperatures observed in the atmosphere).

    Both H2O and CO2 are greenhouse gases. Sunlight passes through them, but heat is reflected. An increase in greenhouse gases means an increase in heat that is reflected back to Earth. This heat in turn causes more H2O to evaporate, but it has no effect on the CO2 concentration.

    This is why H2O is called a feedback greenhouse gas and CO2 is called a forcing greenhouse gas. The amount of H2O in the atmosphere is affected by the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is not affected by the amount of H2O in the atmosphere.

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    • Al P
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Is the CMB of about 3K more (or less) likely to increase Earth's mean surface temperature? How about a portion of the atmosphere radiating electromagnetic energy at about 223K? And the answer is.....

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  • Cowboy
    Lv 6
    6 months ago

    LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    republicans are becoming desperate, clutching at straws - one study cannot negate ten thousand others - we're warming the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels - get used to that truth cuz it ain't going away.

    Republicans want to kill us all!!!!

    • Jeff6 months agoReport

      When are you going to learn that science is not a consensus? One study done in good faith CAN negate ten thousand others where a particular result was wanted.

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  • 6 months ago

    Scientists in Finland found "practically no anthropogenic [man-made] climate change" after a series of studies.

    “During the last hundred years the temperature increased about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C”, the Finnish researchers bluntly state in one among a series of papers.

    This has been collaborated by a team at Kobe University in Japan, which has furthered the Finnish researchers' theory: "New evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth's climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an 'umbrella effect'," the just published study has found, a summary of which has been released in the journal Science Daily. The findings are hugely significant given this 'umbrella effect' — an entirely natural occurrence — could be the prime driver of climate warming, and not man-made factors.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-11/scientis...

    Our atmosphere is comprised mainly of Nitrogen and Oxygen - 99%.

    The remaining 1% is dominated by Water Vapor, with CO2 being 0.04 of the remaining 1%. Anthropogenic CO2 is 0.00033 of the 0.04, in other words barely detectable and that is suppose to drive the Climate of the Earth.

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    • Dirac
      Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      Apparently anyone that knows something about science in here is a paid troll.

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  • 6 months ago

    You'd have to understand this cutting new technology called Rain to answer this question.

    • Jeff6 months agoReport

      If you carefully read the question details, except of course for my very last sentence, you will find that every one of my statements is consistent with doctrines of the AGW community. It's not my problem if their claims can be turned against them. You will have to take it up with them.

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  • Mr. P
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    In my own, limited, bystander observations, I would note that areas high in condensed water vapour tend to be cooler on the ground and therefore earth heating, than areas of desert with little cloud vapour coverage. So it looks like there is a reflective property to clouds as well as a blanket effect.

    If more co2 equals more clouds -then this could produce more of a cooling effect, not warming.

    C02 also dissolves slightly in rainwater, so more rain would remove it from the atmosphere. Nasa stated that up to 30% of the atmospheric CO2 is removed from the atmosphere this way. - https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/CarbonH...

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    • Dirac
      Lv 4
      6 months agoReport

      High level clouds warm the planet catwhisperer07. Their albedo effect is small but their greenhouse effect is large.

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