Seasonal Variation of the Greenhouse Effect

The Greenhouse Effect does not cause the changes to the climate to take place, but the Greenhouse Effect is always changing (significant measurable changes on a monthly basis) and what causes the GHE is critical to these climate changes.

The approach I have taken is different because I have focused on the Earth’s temperature instead of the temperature anomaly.  That approach has yielded different results from those that study anomaly.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

The Earth’s Average Temperature

Instead of looking at the GHE and assuming it is a constant 33 ºC, I have applied the monthly blackbody temperature of the Earth to the actual temperature of the Earth and from that have the monthly blackbody temperature of the Earth.

If the Earth’s greenhouse is caused by the forcing model used by climate scientists, then the GHE should be very stable over the course of the year because overall there is little change to the atmospheric concentration of the greenhouse gases that cause the GHE in the forcing model that they use.

The reality is the GHE is highly variable over the course of the year.  It varies from 28-36 ºC in a six month period.  The total GHE experiences a 25% swing every six months.


The Inconvenient Skeptic

Total Monthly Geenhouse Effect for the Earth

That is profoundly significant to understanding the Earth’s climate.  Whatever causes the GHE to change over the course of the year must also be involved in the long-term changes to the climate.

Consider the last glacial period that existed 20,000 years ago.  On average the Earth was ~10 ºC colder.  This means that the average GHE was ~ 23 ºC instead of the current 33 ºC.
There were still seasons and there was likely still some monthly variation in the GHE, but I suspect that the variation was much less overall.  More likely a variation between 20-24 ºC.

Since I have discarded the forcing model because it is incapable of explaining the GHE of the Earth over a 12 month period, I had to find a model that could explain both the current behavior of the GHE and the one 20,000 years ago and the one 50 million years ago (and the snowball Earth 570 million years ago, more importantly how to recover from and snowball Earth).

This is how I came up with the energy transfer model for the GHE.  It explains how different situations with the Earth’s surface end up with different values for the GHE.  This is  observable on a yearly basis.

50 million years ago the GHE was much more powerful for a variety of reasons.  There were more shallow oceans then which allowed higher SST’s to exist.  This increased the amount of energy transferred to the atmosphere by evaporation.  The land that existed was ice free which meant that there was more convection because the surface could warm up more in the sunlight (ice/snow are thermally limited in warming up).  Higher absolute temperatures meant that there was also more radiative energy transferred to the atmosphere.

When the Eocene came to an end and Antarctica started it’s long freeze 34 million years ago, the cooling was localized (Kohn, 2004)at that time.  The Kohn paper shows that even in Argentina there was no change in local temperature.  Once again, such localized climate change is incompatible with the forcing model, but the change in Antarctica caused other changes.

When the sea level dropped as the ice sheets built up it caused additional changes to the ocean currents.  The shallow ocean between Europe and Asia disappeared as did many of the shallow seas.  This reduced the overall amount of evaporation into the atmosphere.  Deep oceans in the mid and upper latitudes simply cannot stay warm.

Each step along the way there is a change to the geography that impacted the ocean currents that caused the climate to change.

The last major event was the closing of the Central American Seaway ~3 million years ago.  It was only after that the the ice age in the Northern Hemisphere started ~2.6 million years ago.  Much like the the formation of ice sheets in Antarctica cause mammals to exchange between Europe and Asia 34 million years ago, the connection of North and South America had the same effect there.

Finally, each step along the way that resulted in cooler oceans would have caused an eventual drop in CO2 levels.  That is readily observable in the Eemian termination.


The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Red) Vostok CO2, (Purple) EPICA CO2, (Green) EPICA hydrogen isotope.

It was 10,000 years AFTER the Earth cooled that CO2 dropped.  Since every interglacial shows the same termination behavior for temperature and CO2 there is no reason to believe that the same did not happen at each of the past geological events that caused the Earth’s climate to change.

At each step in the past 50 million years there is a geological change that would reduce the amount of energy transferred to the atmosphere from the surface.  The result is cooling on a geological time scale.  The cooling of the oceans reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere on the same time scale.

The data and the explanation over the past million years is even more damning for CO2 as the cause of climate change.  The Earth cooled each and every time when CO2 was elevated.  Never once has a high CO2 level prevented a major glacial from developing.  CO2 stays elevated for thousands of years while global temperature plummets.

Changes to the GHE are critical.  Looking for changes to the components that transfer energy from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere always shows up as a change to the GHE and hence a change in the Earth’s climate.  That is observable on a monthly basis and over the much longer periods of time as well.

The average GHE over the past 1 million years is ~28 ºC, assuming constant albedo.  I know Tom and Alex will argue, but between clouds and ice it is not possible to prove an albedo over the past 1 million years.  Ocean albedo is constant and more importantly, albedo isn’t what triggered the glacial-interglacial cycle.  It all started with no ice and we ended up with ice.  It helps reinforce cold, but that is all.

So  yes I am arguing that there is a GHE, but the cause of the GHE is critical when it comes to interpreting the past changes to the Earth’s climate.  Since it is impossible to find a period of time when elevated CO2 prevented the Earth from cooling, I see no reason to include it as an important factor in explaining the Earth’s climate since cooling is mostly what the Earth has been doing for the past 50 million years.

At the end of the Eemian, the Earth cooled 5 ºC before CO2 levels dropped.  Dropping CO2 did not cause that cooling.  120,000 years ago the GHE was very similar to what it is today, but the average GHE dropped to 28 ºC while CO2 stayed constant.  What other proof is needed to show that the GHE is not controlled by CO2?

Apply KT analysis to that little tidbit.  Can a root cause analysis conclude that CO2 drives climate and also didn’t matter for 10,000 years while the Earth cooled at the termination of the Eemian?  Each item must fit the data and CO2 simply does not fit as a root cause for climate.

The Greenhouse Effect does not cause the changes to the climate to take place, but the Greenhouse Effect is always changing (significant measurable changes on a monthly basis) and what causes the GHE is critical to these climate changes.

The approach I have taken is different because I have focused on the Earth’s temperature instead of the temperature anomaly. That approach has yielded different results from those that study anomaly.

——  Adding Topopause chart —————————-

Altitude by latitude and month of the tropopause. The stratosphere is above the tropopause in the atmosphere.

Posted in General by inconvenientskeptic on December 11th, 2012 at 12:41 pm.


This post has 11 comments

  1. Nils Falk Dec 13th 2012

    I have read your book and enjoyed very much. I now read it once again to understand more.
    But I have one question.
    How come you describe the variation of earth temperature appr. 4 C during the year, and most other scientists talk of a variation of tens of a degree C ?
    Amicably Yours

  2. inconvenientskeptic Dec 13th 2012


    The first chart on this post shows the average temperature for the Earth over the course of one year. Climate scientists only measure the deviation from the average which they call the anomaly.

    So if the average is 14.3 °C and the average is 14.0 °C, then they will say the anomaly is 0.3°C. In January the average temperature is ~ 12.0 °C and in July it is ~16.0 °C. They ignore that variation and only pay attention to the difference from the average.

    That is why they talk about tenths of a degree and I talk about 4 °C. The average temperature of the Earth changes ~ 1.0 °C in the month of March. Their tenths of a degree don’t matter much in the scale of natural variation.

  3. Richard111 Dec 16th 2012

    Nice explanation of anomaly. But I often wonder about the validity of global temperatures. I have found max/min readings recorded once every 24 hours can be very misleading. Used to have to do that over many years of my working life and was never very impressed at the record compared to my actual experience of living there. I reckon digital recording every 30 minutes or so would give more realistic results.

  4. NoFreeWind Dec 18th 2012

    Is there a greenhouse effect in the Arctic in the winter. One scientist told me no, that the stratosphere comes right to the ground.

    The reason I ask was I was reading the paper about Arctic Temperature change and the AMO and it shows winter temp’s to have risen much more than summer temp.’s. Do you have any idea why that is?

  5. inconvenientskeptic Dec 20th 2012

    The stratosphere never reaches the ground. The person who said that is very wrong.

    I am adding a monthly tropopause height chart. Think of the tropopause as the start of the stratosphere. At the lowest point it is still many km’s of altitude.

  6. Richard111 Dec 20th 2012

    This note in an on line lecture bothers me:

    NOTE: Homonuclear diatomic molecules N2 and O2 don’t have neither rotational nor
    vibrational transitions (because of their symmetrical structures) => no radiative activity in
    the infrared. But these molecules become radiatively active in UV.

    Doesn’t this imply that N2 and O2 are unable to cool without the aid of other radiatively active gasses? N2 and O2 make up 99% of the mass of the atmosphere. Lot of heat storage capacity there.

  7. All should read the breaking news here, from which I quote:

    ” This story is huge. Americaâ��s prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and related government bodies found no greenhouse effect in Earthâ��s atmosphere. Evidence shows the U.S. government held the smoking gun all along â�� a fresh examination of an overlooked science report proves Americaâ��s brightest and best had shown the White House that the greenhouse gas effect was not real and of no scientific significance since 1979 or earlier.”

    For those who have been following the research by myself and others from among nearly 200 members at Principia Scientific International, I’d like to draw your attention to an Appendix now added to my current paper.

    Have a Happy Christmas everyone!

  8. inconvenientskeptic Dec 26th 2012

    What it means is that N2 and O2 aren’t effective at losing heat to space. Heat loss to space has to be radiative energy and they don’t participate much in that. It is unrelated to heat capacity or convection.

  9. Richard111 Dec 28th 2012

    I feel this supports my own line of thought on CO2.

    “”Falling temperatures are also lowering the density of the upper atmosphere and causing it to contract towards Earth.””

  10. The northern hemisphere has more land and land can heat up (and cool off) much faster than oceans. That is why the Northern hemisphere seasons over power the southern ones and why the overall average shifts from 12 to 16 (instead of staying flat at 14 which you seem to have expeced).

  11. eco-geek Jan 1st 2013

    Dear Inconvenientskeptic,

    I would very much like to understand how it is that an atmosphere keeps the Earth warm so please can you help here.

    To me it seems that without an atmosphere and assuming we have a black-body Earth two things would happen:
    1) More of the Sun’s radiation would reach the Earth’s surface.
    2) None of the surface energy could pass to the atmosphere by radiation, conduction, convection or the latent heat of evaporation (of black-body water).

    Under these circumstances as a result of (1) the Earth’s surface would be warmer. As a result of (2) and at equilibrium all of the thermal energy of the Earth’s surface would have to be radiated directly into space by the black body Earth itself. On an Earth with an atmosphere much energy is radiated into space by the atmosphere (and especially by GHGs) so it seems to me to act as a coolant. If the black-body Earth has to radiate all of the (at equilibrium) energy into space it can only do this if its temperature is turned up, just like a domestic radiator.

    Please relieve me of my ignorance here. I cannot see how the Earth could be cooler without an atmosphere.

Web Design & Dev by

Mazal Simantov Digital Creativity