Which greenhouse gases is the most powerful?

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which greenhouse gases is the most powerful? :eek:
 

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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Gases Involved

A number of gases are involved in the greenhouse effect (see Table below). These gases include: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); chlorofluorocarbons (CFxClx); and tropospheric ozone (03). Of these gases, the single most important gas is carbon dioxide which accounts for about 55 % of the change in the intensity of the Earth's greenhouse effect. The contributions of the other gases are 25 % for chlorofluorocarbons, 15 % for methane, and 5 % for nitrous oxide. Ozone's contribution to the enhancement of greenhouse effect is still yet to be quantified.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now approaching 360 parts per million (see Figure). Prior to 1700, levels of carbon dioxide were about 280 parts per million. This increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is primarily due to the activities of humans. Beginning in 1700, societal changes brought about by the industrial revolution increased the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. The major sources of this gas include: fossil fuel combustion for industry, transportation, space heating, electricity generation and cooking; and vegetation changes in natural prairie, woodland and forested ecosystems. Emissions from fossil fuel combustion account for about 65 % of the extra carbon dioxide now found in our atmosphere. The remaining 35 % comes from the conversion of prairie, woodland and forested ecosystems primarily into agricultural systems. Natural ecosystems can hold 20 to 100 times more carbon dioxide per unit area than agricultural systems.

Artificially created chlorofluorocarbons are the strongest greenhouse gas per molecule. However, low concentrations in the atmosphere reduce their overall importance in the enhancement of the greenhouse effect. Current measurements in the atmosphere indicate that the concentration of these chemicals may soon begin declining because of reduced emissions. Reports of the development of ozone holes over the North and South Poles and a general decline in global stratospheric ozone levels over the last two decades has caused many nations to cutback on their production and use of these chemicals. In 1987, the signing of the Montreal Protocol agreement by 46 nations established an immediate timetable for the global reduction of chlorofluorocarbons production and use. [continued]
http://royal.okanagan.bc.ca/mpidwirn/atmosphereandclimate/greenhouse.html [Broken]

Just Google "strongest greenhouse gas".
 
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  • #3
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And as usual the greenhouse gas with the strongest effect is neglected, conviently enough, since it hampers the alarmist vision on catastrophic carbondioxide.

Water vapo(u)r.

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/mar/HQ_04090_satellite_finds_warming.html

Since water vapor is the most important heat-trapping greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, some climate forecasts may be overestimating future temperature
http://www.abc.net.au/science/planetslayer/qa/greenhouse_qa2_9_f.htm

Water vapor is really the primary greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and has a greater influence on global warming than carbon dioxide

Water vapour is a bit different. It's the major contributor to the greenhouse effect
 
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  • #4
Phobos
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I agree that water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas. The concern now is that we are increasing the concentration of another significant contributor (CO2).

Andre (or anyone else) - How constant are water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere? (long term) Is there a concern for a negative feedback effect? (e.g., increasing CO2 levels would result in increased water vapor?)
 
  • #5
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Well, the concern would be a positive feedback that ultimately could cause a runaway greenhouse effect. More heat makes more water vapour, makes more heat, etc. This is one of the ideas about Venus' extreme conditions. The two links I gave, suggest that it might be only a ghost idea. Water vapour may actually very well give a negative (mitigating) feedback, stabilising climates in general.

There are a few more phenomena that may point in that direction. The termination of the alleged glacial periods are world wide characterised by a few facts. We know very well about the increase in carbon dioxide, but what about the almost unknown, but very well provable fact that the precipitation just about quadrupled world wide simultaneously? This would be indicating at least some increase in water vapour content of the atmosphere, coupled to an alleged fast temperature rise. However climatologists have no idea what to do with that, so that fact was filed in the circular archive bin labelled “not understood, hence to be ignored”.

If the increase in moisture would have a positive feedback, then Earth would nowadays be very well on its way to Venus conditions with 470 degrees Celsius. However, we had about ten false starts in the last million years, ten almost similar endings of glacial periods. It did not happen, as it did neither in the last billion years, despite large fluctuations in climate from hot and moist to cold and arid and combinations thereof.

Another major accomplished, I think, is the work of Olavi Kärner,

On nonstationarity and antipersistency in global temperature series

This could be very interesting for the mathematicians here.

Global average tropospheric temperature anomaly behaves similarly to
the solar irradiance anomaly. Their daily increments show antipersistency for scales longer than 2 months. The property points at a cumulative negative feedback in the Earth climate system governing the tropospheric variability during the last 22 years. The result emphasizes a dominating role of the solar irradiance variability in variations of the tropospheric temperature and gives no support to the theory of anthropogenic climate change
As I understand it, he compared the random walk pattern of temperatures with Brownian motions ands Mandelbrots derivations. He concludes that the patterns are stable and that the atmosphere is not containing any mechanism (like positive water vapour feedback) that would suggest instability to increase temperature fluctuations.

But instead of getting the Nobel Prize for saving the world, Kärners work is just on top of that other water vapour evidence for the ending of the ice ages, in that that same circular archive bin.
 
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  • #6
Phobos
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thanks Andre - I'll be sure to throw more questions your way as I review the literature

(ah yes..."positive feedback"...that's what I meant to say)
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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Andre said:
But instead of getting the Nobel Prize for saving the world, Kärners work is just on top of that other water vapour evidence for the ending of the ice ages, in that that same circular archive bin.
Which of course could mean that the vast majority of scientists disagree.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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Andre said:
And as usual the greenhouse gas with the strongest effect is neglected, conviently enough, since it hampers the alarmist vision on catastrophic carbondioxide.
Here you assert a conclusion while you admit later that the actual effect is unknown.
 
  • #9
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Kärners work ...
Which of course could mean that the vast majority of scientists disagree.
In which case it should be fairly easy to google up some discussion about his work. The only argument I hear is that Kärner is a statistician and hence cannot have an opinion about climate. On the other hand climatologists have no idea about uncertainty calculations and stability of temperature series. They may understand even less of his paper than I do. No, Kärners paper is either unknown or forgotten as quickly as possible.

Here you assert a conclusion while you admit later that the actual effect is unknown.
Please clarify.
Of course, the deepness of the hole that a mouse can dig in one day is unknown. But it's not too difficult to assert that the mole will win that contest. :wink:
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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If we don't know whether water vapor results in postive or negative feedback, we can't know whether H20 vapor plays a significant role or not.

Your position consistently is that good work is ignored, or that good evidence is ignored, or that obvious errors are made. To be blunt, why should we listen to you. I'm no expert but I choose to listen to the experts. You seem to feel that most of the current, popular literature is in error. So, since I'm not inclined to become an expert myself, I thought that you should explain why you are qualified to denounce the work of others. If you are just as qualified as the anyone else then I would certainly like to know this. What are your credentials?
 
  • #11
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Oh, shifting to the hominem side of discussion. You don't need to listen to me, That's exactly why I'm just presenting linx to work of qualified people. Listen to them.

I'm afraid there is no qualification in six years of digging into this, nor having a minor in physics and a major in flying F-16's.
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
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Science is built on consensus. You seem always to point to the Lone Ranger or at least the extreme minority position. Don’t you recognize the process of peer review? I don't consider this an ad hominem consideration at all; I consider this fundamental to your position.

Thank you for your honesty.
 
  • #13
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I did not say ad hominem, just hominem.

There is a fundamental issue here. There is "truth" and there is "believe". And believe it or not but Plato's Atlantis is the most sophisticated lesson for mankind about the difference between the two.

Climatological theories are build on selective evidence and believe. You may note that the bulk of the statements about global warming are based on: "general agreement", "consensus", "as is widely believed" etc etc.

Why do we believe in global warming?
- Because during the ice ages there was a strong correlation between CO2 and assumed temperature indicators.
- Because Venus seems to have an extreme form of greenhouse gas effect.
- Because we see the temperature indicators rising the last decade together with the CO2 level in the atmosphere..

More than enough reason to believe in a extreme effect of carbon dioxide to the temperature.

However, in 1980 CO2 was a weak greenhouse gas. It is still the same in 2004. http://hanserren.cwhoutwijk.nl/co2/howmuch.htm [Broken] is an expert calculation of the increase of greenhouse effect by doubling CO2: dT=0.6833 centigrade for a doubling of CO2 !!

That's what I believe.

The books about Venus and the Ice age are in pre-production.
 
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  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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Again I think you underestimate the importance of a consensus. This doesn't mean that everyone leaps to a belief; it means that given a highly competitive environment, the experts in a field mostly agree on a given interpretation of data. It also means that competing theories and objections are considered.

First and foremost we fine a huge consensus on the accuracy of ice core samples. Your position on this alone makes you quite the renegade I think. It also means that you are almost certainly wrong. The luxury that you enjoy here is that we don't seem to have an expert climatologist to refute your position. I think this a shame. This is too important an issue to allow renegade arguments rule the day.

Andre, not only do I like you, I respect you greatly and I think you are a very smart person, but I needed to make this point. After all, we are talking about the future of the planet here. If you are that most rare type of renegade, one that happens to be right, then I apologize in advance. Until then I suggest that our readers consider your arguments as interesting but almost certainly wrong. I see many "self trained" physicist who completely muck up physics as much as I suspect that you muck up climatology. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to know.
 
  • #15
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I am not a "self trained" physicist. I minored in physics, remember? Main subject system responce, Laplace, Fourier analysis, higher order open and closed loop systems etc

Would you consider Kärner wrong, for being part of a minority? Or Roy Spencer or John Christy, Wilie Soon, Hans Erren? You have no idea of the battle that is going on in AGW circles. There is a huge discrepancy between the scientific basis of IPCC and the real field evidence. Just choose your weapon :wink: Satelite and weather ballons? The hockey stick, Urban heat islands? Sea levels? Albedo changes? I'm ready.

For starters did you check out http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/Laurentian%20ice%20sheet%20on%20greenland.htm [Broken] about a small piece of the major problems in the ice age theory (posted earlier)?
 
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  • #16
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You two, Andre and Ivan, should consider having Ian and Monique move this to philosophy of science. "Consensus" on Wegner's ideas was based upon intuition rather than first principles of science; that is, "consensus" is NOT a valid basis from which to critique Andre's objections to the global warming interpretations of climatological data. The data exist, the data can be examined, the data can be reviewed. Review of the data exposes a number of UNSTATED assumptions and assertions (identification of such is "left as an exercise for the reader"). Such assumptions and assertions have NOT been tested. Andre does appear to have a very good sense for the unstated in the global warming arguments, but lacks the scientific/technical vocabulary or expertise to challenge what has to be regarded as inexcusably sloppy science. The models are driving the science in the global warming debate rather than science driving climate models. Makes for great politics, lotsa funding, and BBBIIIIGGGGG mistakes.
 
  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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Andre said:
I am not a "self trained" physicist. I minored in physics, remember? Main subject system responce, Laplace, Fourier analysis, higher order open and closed loop systems etc
I meant that you are self trained in climatology. I refer to physics because I have a BS in physics and can at least gauge arguments in that arena with a little expertise, to a point anyway. I can't guage the arguments nearly as well in this arena.

Would you consider Kärner wrong, for being part of a minority? Or Roy Spencer or John Christy, Wilie Soon, Hans Erren? You have no idea of the battle that is going on in AGW circles. There is a huge discrepancy between the scientific basis of IPCC and the real field evidence. Just choose your weapon :wink: Satelite and weather ballons? The hockey stick, Urban heat islands? Sea levels? Albedo changes? I'm ready.
You are still missing my point. I'm not the expert. When we see your position represented in journals like Nature or Science then I'll get a lot more interested. How many papers linked were actually published? This is the best measure of credibility. If you are right then eventually your point of view will prevail. For now it certainly doesn't. In fact the momentum is just the opposite.
 
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  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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Bystander said:
You two, Andre and Ivan, should consider having Ian and Monique move this to philosophy of science.
Yes Bystander, I know you also argue against the current consensus; or certain individuals, or the process, or peer review. Again, if you are right then we will know soon enough. Until then I see this as the explanation of last resort. To me it actually sounds more like denial.
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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Considering that our actions may have profound effects on future humanity, and considering that our best estimates indicate that time is running out, how are you both so sure that you are right, or that some small group of scientists are right, and that everyone else is wrong?

Why should the untrained person listen to you instead of the recognized experts?
 
  • #20
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http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/figures/co2rug.jpg [Broken]

Okay, Ivan, here's the link again. "I dunno" was your answer last time (in P&WA); we'll simplify the question: What's the source of the wintertime excess of CO2 at the high latitudes? Apply your physics background, appeal to the "experts," or consult whatever other source. Stay with me on this, and maybe you'll understand Andre's viewpoint, and mine, a little better.
 
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  • #21
Ivan Seeking
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I really don't care. What I do care about is the constant stream of publications that warn of global warming and the role that we play in this process. I know that you feel that you have evidence that the growing consensus is wrong. What I'm asking is where in the core publications these conclusions of yours and Andre's are supported. As near as I can tell, you are suggesting that we ignore the experts and instead resort to do-it-your-self-science.

Do you also reject the data from ice core samples?
 
  • #22
Ivan Seeking
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Also, one day I hear people arguing that global climates are terribly complex; in fact so complex that after decades of study, teams of experts have trouble agreeing on the proper interpretation of the data. The next day we have someone arguing that with no formal training in the subject, we can get on the internet and see quite clearly that the experts are wrong.

Shouldn't I have a problem with this?
 
  • #23
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Ivan Seeking said:
(snip) What I'm asking is where in the core publications these conclusions of yours and Andre's are supported. (snip)
I give you a link to NOAA's boundary layer carbon dioxide concentration map, and you "don't care." This is data showing a seasonal increase of carbon dioxide concentration as a function of latitude. You have asserted that you have a degree in physics. Explain the concentration profile as a function of latitude. Ask yourself if the interpretation of the global warming crowd that this seasonal increase is anthropogenic is consistent with the latitudes of northern hemisphere population centers and the fact that carbon dioxide has a perfectly normal diffusion coefficient in air. Got it?

Climatology IS physics, Ivan. Don't claim you're a physicist, and are totally ignorant of the physical processes involved in climate study.

"Formal training?" You've studied with Madame Cleo? Kenny Kingston? The Psychic Hotline, perhaps?

Science proceeds NOT by "consensus," but by tests of hypotheses. The Wegner reference too oblique for you? There are other examples of "consensus" driving some really spectacular disasters. When "consensus" interpretations are in conflict with first principles, the "consensus" is rot, codswallop, balderdash, horse puckey, manure, tripe, or some might suspect out and out fraud --- I call it inexcusably sloppy science, or when in a more charitable mood, model driven science. Model driven science is the approach the creationists take; the model is to be preserved and defended at all costs, and in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Creationists end arguments with "I don't care. I know what I know. (or, I believe what I'm told)" rather often.
 
  • #24
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Interesting discussion indeed.

Please allow me a simple example of the problems with global warming science. Urban Heat Islands.

It has been argued that thermometers in cities have a positive error. Since cities may create a micro climate (urban heat island). As cities grow, the error gets larger, giving an false impression of (global) warming.

So what does the formal science say about urban heat islands?

http://books.nap.edu/books/0309068916/html/39.html

Long-term global temperature trends calculated both from the full land surface network, and from rural stations only, turn out to be very similar (differing by about 0.05 °C per 100 years), despite some differences in regions sampled (e.g., India has few long-term rural stations) (Peterson et al., 1999).
and the "scientific basis":

Clearly, the urban heat island effect is a real climate change in urban areas, but is not representative of larger areas. Extensive tests have shown that the urban heat island effects are no more than about 0.05°C up to 1990 in the global temperature records used in this chapter to depict climate change. Thus we have assumed an uncertainty of zero in global land-surface air temperature in 1900 due to urbanisation, linearly increasing to 0.06°C (two standard deviations 0.12°C) in 2000.
Now let's do some exploration of our own:

Here are the data: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/data/update/gistemp/station_data/ [Broken]

So what I did was clicking in the dead centre of Asia, (57.1 N,95.9 E to be exact) So downloaded all the data of the weather stations that were in service at least between 1930 and 1998 and plotted the averages of the rural stations against the urban stations. This was the result:

http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/urban.jpg [Broken]

Notice that the rural stations average some 5 degrees Celsius lower than the urban stations. Notice also that the warming trend of the rural stations is clearly less than the warming trend of the urban stations. Around one degree in the 75 year period. Something quite different than 0.06 degrees in 100 years. Somebody said something about "sloppy science"?

Furthermore, any idea what the closing of hundreds of rural stations in Siberia during the early 1990-ies did to the global temperature?

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/econ-persp.pdf

Check fig 3 on top of page 5. Perhaps the very high correlation between the number of rural meteo-stations and the global temperature is a bit more clear now.

Here is the spreadsheet in case you want to check it.
http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/urban%20islands.xls [Broken]
 
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  • #25
Ivan Seeking
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Bystander said:
Climatology IS physics, Ivan. Don't claim you're a physicist, and are totally ignorant of the physical processes involved in climate study.

"Formal training?" You've studied with Madame Cleo? Kenny Kingston? The Psychic Hotline, perhaps?
Again the personal attacks? I had hoped for more.

No bystander, with a BS in physics I am not qualified to draw conclusions about incredibly complex issues in climatology. I leave that to the published experts. If you don't understand this point then I think mine is made.
 
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