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Carbon Dioxide Responsible for 80% of Greenhouse Forcing

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posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 01:48 AM

Carbon Dioxide Controls Earth's Temperature

Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.


To clarify this article:

Essentially, CO2 is a greenhouse FORCING effect. Which means it is central to and causes the greenhouse effect. Water vapor and clouds are a FEEDBACK effect which are the RESULT of rises in CO2/temps. New data/experiments show that CO2 is responsible for 80% of the forcing in the greenhouse effect and thus a similar percent in the forcing factor of global warming. Our contributions to atmospheric CO2 levels have created compounding forcing and feedback effects that are absolutely adequate to explain rises in temps and subsequent threats to ecosystems.

See also:
Mod edit: From the Terms & Conditions:Proper Attribution for the posting of copyrighted material owned by others is defined as posting a relevant snippet of the online content not to exceed 10% of the entire piece, a properly formed link back to the source website, and a clear indication of the name of the source website
edit on 16/10/2010 by ArMaP because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 01:59 AM
If you want to see a good example of this study (which has been done before). For example look at Venus. At around 86.5% CO2, it has a very warm greenhouse effect occurring (Source).

Just be lucky that Earth only about 0.0038% CO2 composing our atmosphere. (Source)

Good find though

edit on 16/10/10 by SkyMarshall because: Its very late or early, depending on your perception

posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 02:14 AM
The planet used to be heavily forested.

All coastal areas had magnificent old growth trees.

Europe,the Americas even Africa and Asia.

Trees and plants take in CO2 and release oxygen in to the atmosphere.

Our ancestors cut down the forests to burn for heat,build structures and ships or just to cultivate for food.

They all constructed roads,and massive cities.

Cities are massive heat sinks.

These activities have totally changed the earths dynamics.

Rain forests in South America,particularity in the Amazon and the North American rain forests in Oregon and Washington states and also southeast Asia are essential to maintain earths environmental balance.

They all take in massive amounts of CO2 and release oxygen.

This is all common sense.

The massive rainfall and flooding around the world is because the Amazon and all the other rain forests are being destroyed for profit.
edit on 16-10-2010 by Oneolddude because: correct sentences to make sense.

posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 11:04 AM
Edit to add a comment on the article.

They say.

Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

They take a few gases that have a green house effect and say they are responsible.
Saying that because without them water vapor wouldn't be an issue.

That's like saying there wouldn't be a greenhouse effect without a sun.

The planets atmospheric temperatures ultimately depend on the oceanic temperatures. Which do receive some influence from the atmosphere yet they do not get much effected by it.

The oceans are directly effected by sunlight as they are absorbing almost all of it and what it gives back is given as heat that effect atmospheric temperatures and not vice versa.

Example : Without heat from the sun at the equator warming up the water there wouldn't be a thermodynamical conveyor belt that would transfer that heat up north and create a moderate climate in Northern Europe.

If the Gulfstream stops temperatures plummet and Europe would be covered with snow and ice every year as far down as as the Monaco.

I understand the oceans have been cooling the last decade or so ???

I feel the urge of posting my 2 cents on topic, So...

Hi there.

First I must say that I'm highly skeptical about man made emissions of Co 2 for being responsible for our changing climate.

A few reasons for my current opinion :

1. Ice core data shows that on several occasions in the past, Co 2 increase came after a temperature increase.

This is an issue that is often misunderstood in the public sphere and media, so it is worth spending some time to explain it and clarify it. At least three careful ice core studies have shown that Co 2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antarctic temperature during glacial terminations. These terminations are pronounced warming periods that mark the ends of the ice ages that happen every 100,000 years or so.

Source :

Does this proof Co 2 is not responsible ? No.What is does proof is that Co 2 isn't the only source of climate warming around.

Since we just snapped out of a little ice age from a couple of centuries ago. The rise of Co 2 could be an effect of the warming up.

2. The primary green house gas of our planet is water vapor.

Everything in our climate is greatly influenced by water vapor. Ever noticed that it is warmer on a cloudy night, where it would freeze when the sky is clear ?

Any warming would result in more water vapor which would be a catalyst for even more warmth staying around.

Weird thing is that I understand the ocean temperatures have not been rising for at least the last decade and that they are even cooling. ( Just a little )

There is evidence for cosmic rays influence on cloud forming.. Enough to start a study, based at CERN ( Same guys as the large hadron collider ).

Everything you want to know about The CLOUD project is in here . I just posted the thread last week.

Don't get your hopes up. It's a study in progress.

3. There are more potent green house gases out there which are not getting the same attention.

Which is trapped within massive amounts of so called "sea ice" or methane clathrate. This stuff can violently explode and the methane escapes its icy prison and gets released in the atmosphere.

Source :

Nitrous oxide.
Thawing permafrost can release nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, a contributor to climate change that has been largely overlooked in the Arctic, a study showed on Sunday.

Source :

Both gases are nowhere near the same amount of Co2 that gets released by mans hand, but have much more effect at smaller concentrations. The fact is that nature has these gases trapped within the earth in unimaginable large amounts ready to gets released in the atmosphere in the blink of an eye.

4.The solar cycle

The following link is a scientific work.

Reviews in Geophysics
Accepted April 2010
Solar influence on climate.

In short. They basically say that they do not know enough about the solar influence to be sure about anything, but they think the effect a currently under estimated. Go figure.

5.Co 2 is a natural gas, just like oxygen.

Trees breath Co 2 during the day. Well... everything with the ability to photosynthesize does. Once our plant was full of flora. We have destroyed a very big part of it. Maybe it's time to start planting again. Who knows ?

What I understand is that our climate is a chaotic build up of massive amounts of different stuff all interacting with each other.
We simply do not have a complete understanding of it and new studies and evidence keeps telling us that its not working as simple as they thought it did. Any blaming of Co 2 is IMO based on an incomplete understanding of our climate.

At the same time all of the above is happening we could very well be thrown back into an ice age.

Ice age now.

The fact is that our steady climate which has benefited us for so long... Well, it isn't the norm as we always thought it was. With the switch of a button our climate can change and has changed in the past.

I'm not saying the climate change is man made or that it isn't man made. We simply don't know for sure.

reply to post by SkyMarshall

The Venus example is also ridiculous come on !

How can such a slight raise on earth cause such a big change. Where on Venus temperatures are only 400 degrees Celsius when the entire atmosphere seems to be carbon dioxide.
Venus does also have a thick blanket of clouds to keep the warmth in. As far as I know Carbon dioxide is a transparent and odorless gas.

Please explain ?

edit on 10/16/2010 by Sinter Klaas because: (no reason given)

edit on 10/16/2010 by Sinter Klaas because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 11:19 AM
reply to post by Oneolddude

The massive rainfall and flooding around the world is because the Amazon and all the other rain forests are being destroyed for profit.

I understand that the Amazon rain forest didn't even exist not so long ago. I also understand that the forest is so massive it creates its own rain fall, Hence rain forest I guess

What I do not understand is how the Amazon causes more rain and flooding not being around ?

Please explain ?

posted on Oct, 16 2010 @ 01:01 PM

Originally posted by Sinter Klaas
Does this proof Co 2 is not responsible ? No.What is does proof is that Co 2 isn't the only source of climate warming around.

1. No scientist has ever tried to claim that CO2 is the only thing that causes warming. Of course there are other factors, primarily the Sun. But at this point those other factors are quite well understood, and their role is found to be highly incomplete without CO2.

Reconstructing the Earth's climate past, present and future is like a giant jigsaw puzzle - you have to figure out what the pieces are, and how they fit. As NoHierarchy's OP implies - scientists have found overwhelming amounts of evidence that there is no way to make the puzzle fit, not even close, without including CO2.

The first 2 concerns you listed are basically addressed in the OP. Yes it is true there are instances in the geological record where CO2 is seen to "follow" temperature from behind by 800 years or so. But I put follow in quotation marks for a reason, because this is more or less an illusion. I think a much better word to use than 'follow' is 'push'.

Think about it this way: CO2 can influence temperature, but before coal plants and such were around to artificially pump it out - how was it supposed to increase (or decrease) in the atmosphere? Animals exhale it, but plants inhale it, and nature is hard-wired to function on a principle of balance - so this doesn't explain anything.

The way CO2 concentrations have always changed "naturally" in the past is through changes in the Earth's temperature. Primarily because changes in temperature affect the amount of CO2 the ocean can hold. When it gets (naturally) warmer the oceans begin releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

But now - once CO2 is released, it also affects temperature - so it gets even warmer - so that releases even more CO2 - which makes it even warmer - so that releases even more...ah...I think you get the idea. But basically this entire process continues until the Kraken gets released and then we all die. Well, ok no - the entire process continues until a new equilibrium between ocean CO2 and atmospheric CO2 is reached, and/or some other external factor (like a change in sunlight) comes along and reverses the trend.

This whole process is called a feedback cycle and it is a VERY important piece of the overall climate puzzle.

2. Now as for your second concern, about water vapor - I think you should carefully read through the OP's link. Yes water vapor is a more powerful overall contributor to the greenhouse effect, but it's contribution is controlled largely by CO2 itself. Once again this is through feedback cycles, see: Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas.


There are more potent green house gases out there which are not getting the same attention.

They are only not getting attention in the media. Actual climate scientists pay a lot of attention to them. If you read through an actual IPCC report you can see they are covered in the first chapter:
TS.2.1.1 Changes in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide

The main reason you don't hear about them as much as CO2, is because although they are more potent GHGs pound-for-pound, they are not as prevalent in concentration. But they are certainly factored in to the final tallies and all that:


4. The solar cycle meanwhile is obviously a huge part of climate science, but it is well understood - or at least well measured today, and it hasn't been able to explain the particularly significant warming of the last 30+ years:


Great video explaining the role of the Sun:

5. The fact that CO2 is "natural" has no bearing on it's effectiveness as a greenhouse gas. As I already alluded to above - the biosphere functions on a principle of balance, and so in this department CO2 is very "naturally" stable. We know CO2 concentrations are increasing. And we know it's because of man-made causes like burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. We even have ways of differentiating between "natural" CO2 and the synthetic man made kind:
Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research

So I think the more you read into the science the more you'll find there is a remarkable level of understanding and confidence in what we know today. If you can handle listening to a really nerdy sounding expert for about an hour, I highly recommend this video to see for yourself. Meanwhile, as the OP shows - that level of understanding is growing larger and larger.

Around the internet you always hear people saying "we don't know anything about climate change". This just comes from those who don't know anything about the science.

Anyway - hope that helps!

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