What is the basis of global warming?
Every scientific theory has a basis, a foundation if you will. Consider the modern study of genetics. It has a foundation in the discovery of DNA almost 60 years ago. Before the discovery of DNA there was no ability to determine exactly how traits were passed on from one generation to another.
Global warming has a basis, but unlike the discovery of DNA it was a flawed theoretical idea, even from the beginning. Unfortunately it was 80 years before it could fully be proven as incorrect and as a result the flawed idea had plenty of time to become well entrenched in the scientific community. There are few places harder to dislodge old, popular ideas than the scientific community.
That is especially so when the idea originated from a Nobel prize winner. In the case of global warming that original idea was from Svante Arrhenius. He was a brilliant chemist (by research, schooling in physics) whose work in mathematically describing chemical reactions is still used in chemistry today. Since he was so well recognized and this theory so well entrenched that even in the face of mounting evidence that his theory was wrong in the 1970’s, there were many that tried to prove his theory correct (they still are too). The conflicting ideas from the 1970’s laid the foundation for the continuing debate on global warming today.
In fact today’s debate is really just a continuation of one that started more than 100 years ago between Arrhenius and another very famous scientist by the name of Knut Angstrom. He was a physicist who specialized in radiative heat transfer. Specifically he investigated the transfer of energy from the Sun to the Earth and precisely how the atmosphere absorbed energy.
Arrhenius’s original idea was that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere determined the temperature of the Earth. His original equation is still used (in a highly modified form) when projecting the future temperature based on CO2 levels despite the fact that it has no basis in scientific fact. However his idea that doubling the amount of CO2 would cause the temperature of the Earth to rise 5-6 °C is still widely in use today.
His idea is solely based on the observation that CO2 absorbs infra red energy. He ignored the evidence from Angstrom which showed that CO2 was very limited in its ability to absorb infra red energy. Water vapor is in fact a much more powerful greenhouse gas than any other gas. All of this is ignored by anyone claiming that CO2 determines the temperature of the Earth. Knut Angstrom immediately pointed out the weakness of CO2 to Arrhenius, but much like climate scientists today ignore the physics of radiative heat transfer, Arrhenius ignored Angstrom and the peer review of the leading scientist on the topic.
If Arrhenius was correct, here is what the temperature of the earth would have been like for the past 80 years.
Oops. I see a problem.
The higher the CO2 gets, the more incorrect the Arrhenius theory is from reality. Normally when the results don’t match the theory, the theory gets thrown out. In this case it didn’t happen because a skeptical peer review was simply ignored, much like the real science continues to be ignored today.
Reading tea leaves or consulting a psychic is as comparable a scientific predictor as CO2 levels. The reason for this is simple, CO2 level does not determine the temperature in any way. If there were no CO2 in the atmosphere at all, the earth would be ever so slightly cooler, but barely enough to notice. Once there is about 50 ppm in the atmosphere, any additional amounts do not matter. That is what the actual science predicts and that is what the results show.
The times where the Arrhenius theory is closest to being accurate is of course the periods where the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) are in the warm phase. When the AMO is in the cool phase, the difference is immense. The one year events where the difference drops happens to be years with an El Nino. As usual, the natural ocean oscillations strike again.
The simplest fact is that CO2 has essentially no impact on the Earth’s temperature and it never has. The scientific foundation of “global warming” is fundamentally flawed.