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Why Has Global Warming Paused?

Argonne National Laboratory

March 22, 2013
William Happer
Princeton University
CO2 has been demonized
because it allegedly causes
Catsrophic Global Warming
Der Spiegel, Jan. 2013
Klimawandel: Forscher rtseln ber Stillstand bei Erderwrmung
Mail Online, Monday, March 18
After a long pause, or slight decline from the dust bowl maximima
of the 1930s, temperatures started to rise rapidly in the 1980s.
Temperatures have been stable since about 1998, although CO2 levels
have continued to rise.
Satellite temperature measurements
show little warming
El Nino
La Nina
The earth is almost always
warming or cooling.
A strong warming phase began
about 200 years ago, long before
levels began to increase.
From John Muir's notes about his first visit to
Glacier Bay in October, 1879.
Glacier Bay is undoubtedly young as yet.
Vancouver's chart, made only a century ago,
shows no trace of it, though found admirably
faithful in general. It seems probable,
therefore, that even then the entire bay was
occupied by a glacier of which all those
described above, great though they are,
were only tributaries.
John Muir, first President of
The Sierra Club
From Travels in Alaska, Chapter X
Could much of the warming from
1950 to 2000 have been due to
natural causes and not CO2 ?
Solar activity?
Cosmic rays?
Pacific Decadal Oscillation?
Atlantic Meridional Oscillation?
Etc., etc.
Lets review the basic physics!
The Earth from Space
Atmospheric Circulation
A NASA Website
MODTRAN Radiation Spectrum of Earth
Examples of FTIR Data from a Satellite
Saturation of the CO
At current CO
levels, the radiative
forcing of CO
is not proportional to the
concentration, [CO
], but is approximately
proportional to ln [CO
]. This is the
celebrated logarithmic response.
MODTRAN Calculation of T versus C02
Warming from Doubling CO
(Climate Sensitivity)
Direct Effect of CO
: about 1 C
IPCC Most Probable: 3 C
Most of the large discrepancy is due to
supposed positive feedback from water
Even the 1 C may be too big!
2349 cm
frequency too high for
greenhouse warming
666 cm
(Satans number)
greenhouse warming
1388 cm
no changing dipole moment,
no absorption or emission
Attenuation Coefficient (e-foldings / length)
N is the number density of CO
molecules, and s
is the cross section of the
transition from a lower state g to an upper state e; G
is the lineshape function.
Line strength (in cm)
= frequency (in cm
) of the transition, D
= the electric dipole matrix
element, E
= lower-state energy, T = absolute temperature, k = Boltzmanns
constant, h = Plancks constant, c = speed of light, T = absolute temperature.
Partition function
A Lorentzian line shape
= collision broadening of line; n = emission/absorption frequency
A Voigt line shape
Normalized line shapes
Hedy Lamarr Frequency-Hopping Patent
(to defeat torpedo-jamming by Nazi ships)
Lamarr-Anthiel system hopped
over 88 frequencies (piano
keyboard). US Patent 2,292,387
can hop to any of several
thousand vibration-rotation
frequencies at each collision.
Schwartzschild equation for
radiant intensity from earth.
Planck brightness
Attenuation rate
Optical depth to space
Downwelling Flux at the Surface
Planck Brightness
Optical Depth from Surface to Altitude z
390 ppm CO
780 ppm CO
Using Voigt Profiles Increases
The Radiative-Forcing Increment
From Doubling CO
By A Factor
But far wing absorption from Voigt
profiles does not exist!
Hartmann, Boulet and Robert, Collisional Effects on Molecular Spectra, Elsevier, 2008
Voigt Line Shapes Dont Work in Far Wings!
Mail Online, Monday, March 18
Why has global warming paused?
Qualitatively, more CO2 almost certainly causes some warming.
Complicated physics makes it difficult to quantify the warming.
Essentially all of the warming and coolings before 1900 were natural.
Much of the warming of the past century was probably natural.
The radiative forcing from more CO2 has probably been overestimated.
One possible reason, poorly modelled far-wing lineshapes, has been discussed.
Feedback from water vapor and clouds may have been over-estimated too.
Contributions from long term natural cycles have probably been underestimated:
The Sun
Cosmic Rays
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Atlantic Meridional Oscillation
etc., etc.
I am in revolt against the age-old lie that the
majority is always right.
Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
Closing Thought