The Extremely Flawed Foundation of Global Warming

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.

Inconvenient Skeptic

Arrhenius Theory for Global Warming

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.

Posted in Science Articles - Global Warming by inconvenientskeptic on September 30th, 2010 at 9:26 pm.


This post has 17 comments

  1. Ed Caryl Oct 4th 2010

    You have a new reader. Great posts!

  2. I posted your chart in my charts subforum.With a link back to here.

    Good point you made!

  3. cthulhu Oct 6th 2010

    The graph shows 0.02C per decade warming since since 1938, but no global temperature record shows that rate of warming. They all showw about 0.08C per decade.

    Arrhenius didn’t make the prediction you show in the graph. Arrhenius predicted that doubling co2 would lead to 5-6C warming, not that temperature would rise 1.2C from 1938 to 2008. The two statements are not comparable. The actual warming response 1938 to 2008 depends on the non-instant time it takes the oceans to warm up, it also depends on other forcings like aerosols and solar activity.

    5-6C per doubling isn’t “widely used today”. The widely used figure today is 2.5 – 4.5C warming with 3C warming as most likely.

    Furthermore Angstrom turned out to be wrong. His objections were subsequently found to contain errors and as such Arrhenius does turn out to have been close to modern understanding.

  4. ianam Oct 8th 2010

    Typical crank.

  5. Typical coolade drinking AGW automoton. Invective without rebuttal.
    I guess the sieve that is his eco-religion just can’t hold water.
    I still have dead iguanas in my trees, like mummies now, frozen to death from last year’s freeze in South Florida.The last freeze here was 1988, before that 1977. Snow in 1977 and 2010 here, though just a wisp.
    At a concentration of .038%, CO2 is way too scarce. the more we can release, the greener our planet WILL become. Certainly a trace gas such as CO@ (there is 30 times more Argon in the atmosphere than CO2) cannot be the driver of Earth’s climate. When the Sun is up there blazing powerful and variable and warms the oceans. So as proved by El Nino & El Nina , it is the oceans that drive the climate.
    There is no “Global Climate” only regional climates. Regional climates certainly can be affected by mankind through land use, farming irrigation, logging, damming and the like. This is what has happened to the snows of Kilamanjaro
    .If Mankind were to plow-under every forest, we certainly would change enough regional climates to affect the average and thus “Anthropogenic Global Warming”
    The CO2 / carbon baloney is all about control of economics. Can reparations to the third world save the planet? no.
    There exists no physical evidence that mankinds contribution to global CO2 concentrations (10% of CO2 from man) causes the Earth to become, on average, warmer. None, Zilch.
    I’d rather be an informed “crank” than a useful idiot to a truly nefarious power grab.

  6. Should have said: …last Winter’s freeze here in South Florida

    note: During the “Little Ice Age” in the last millenium there was pestilence and disease. Surely the people back then prayed for a return to warnth. Since about 1750, the Earth has been steadily warming. Thank God.

  7. Hey “ianam”, Ask yourself why Dr Pauchari, of the UN IPCC, has owns so much stock in the Chicago Carbon Exchange. Oh yea, to save the planet.

  8. Rob Honeycutt Oct 21st 2010

    Robroy… It’s very curious to me how you could completely dismiss “cthulhu” comments without even one mouseclick of research into validity of his/her statements.

    From my understanding everything cthulhu said is accurate and backed up with research.

  9. Sir, my response is to “ianam” for his “typical crank” hit-and-run comment.

  10. Are you saying the CO2 absorption bands are saturated at 50 PPM?

  11. John, I’m amazed. You have proved Arrhenius and all the modern climate chemists and physicists wrong about the greenhouse effect. Imagine. All by yourself. In your spare time. In your basement. What a mind! Good job.

  12. inconvenientskeptic Nov 16th 2010


    Normally I would consider your 2nd comment ad hominem, but since you are new, I will let it slide. I try to keep this on topic.

    The basis of this article is to extrapolate from the work of Arrhenius. His initial idea was that there was a direct relationship between CO2 level and temperature.

    In a way that holds true, but with the climate sensitivity in-between now.

    If you want to understand my views on CO2, then you need to read the radiative heat transfer series. It is still under progress, but that is where the fun is.

    I look forward to constructive and insightful comments.


  13. Tobyw Feb 1st 2011

    If CO2 is such an awesome greenhouse gas, then how can the temperature drop so much on a dry night with a clear sky?

  14. Nimda May 6th 2011

    And if cigarettes cause lung cancer, then how come I smoked a cigarette yesterday but still don’t have lung cancer?

  15. Tobyw May 6th 2011

    CO2-Powered Climate vs the Discontinuity of the Mid’20th Century
    By Tobyw276

    I’m sure all here are aware of the climate temperature increases in the last 100 years and the pause or decline that occurred in the 1950-1970 time period.

    Isn’t it strange that if the temperature is argued to be proportional to the CO2 content of the air, that the temp has not moved back to the slope line of the first 50 years of the period. Instead, the current slope has been displaced by a period of 20-30 years and then continued at almost exactly the same slope as before. And that is not counting the pause of the last 10 years.

    That appears to me to be the influence of varying input forces, not an increasing CO2 level. According to the CO2 theory, the temp should be tracking the CO2 content line and returning to it after its 30-year displacement in mid-century.

    If CO2 is having any affect, then it would be in the minuscule difference in the slope of the early and late-century lines, not the overall slope.

    Will the current temperature pause continue for another 20 years?

    Turning the graph of the last 300 years upside down does not look that much different considering the CO2 increase is at the beginning of the rise, not at the end.

  16. inconvenientskeptic May 6th 2011


    This article is basic so people understand where the idea behind warming came from.

    An interesting one on predicting what will happen is based in this article.

    The Earth is almost always in a short term (i.e. 100-200 year time frame) warming or cooling period.

  17. Harry and the Gang Mar 7th 2012

    NASA is a research institute for the development of scientific research and advancement. Yes when politicians and a legion of unthinking military are involved warning bells are heard and questions raised as to reasoning for such intervention or association. Any power tool is invariably sought to be utilised and manipulated by the prevailing forces in power. When these democratically elected forces then becomes, people, judge and jury, then we have a dangerous situation, with no accountability or objective others than sensationalist self advancement, based upon the fears of the people solely for consolidating power, with no determined end that the power itself.

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