Skip to comments.Water vapor accounts for a whopping 90% or more of Earth's greenhouse effect! CO2 very minor player
Posted on 02/15/2010 5:52:36 AM PST by ETL
Three article excerpts...
So, greenhouse [effect] is all about carbon dioxide, right?
Wrong. The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds [clouds of course aren't gas, but high level ones do act to trap heat from escaping, while low-lying cumulus clouds tend to reflect sunlight and thereby help cool the planet -etl]. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.
In simple terms the bulk of Earth's greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth's greenhouse effect -- perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth's total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, 'Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,' Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).
The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other 'minor greenhouse gases.' As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.
Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System
Water vapor constitutes Earth's most significant greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of Earth's greenhouse effect(4). Interestingly, many 'facts and figures' regarding global warming completely ignore the powerful effects of water vapor in the greenhouse system, carelessly (perhaps, deliberately) overstating human impacts as much as 20-fold.
Water vapor is 99.999% of natural origin. Other atmospheric greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and miscellaneous other gases (CFC's, etc.), are also mostly of natural origin (except for the latter, which is mostly anthropogenic).
Human activities contribute slightly to greenhouse gas concentrations through farming, manufacturing, power generation, and transportation. However, these emissions are so dwarfed in comparison to emissions from natural sources we can do nothing about, that even the most costly efforts to limit human emissions would have a very small-- perhaps undetectable-- effect on global climate.
Water Vapor Confirmed As Major Player In Climate Change
ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2008) Water vapor is known to be Earth's most abundant greenhouse gas, but the extent of its contribution to global warming has been debated. Using recent NASA satellite data, researchers have estimated more precisely than ever the heat-trapping effect of water in the air, validating the role of the gas as a critical component of climate change.
Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide NOW!!
Drain the oceans immediately! Someone call algore.
Damn stuff made my car rust.
Additionally, it is the chief cause of death by drowning.
It should be banned IMMEDIATELY!!!
Gorebal Warming is falling apart faster than obozo’s HC plan.
Pray for America’s Freedom
Evil capitalists like the Coca-Cola company actually market it to KIDS and sell it in plastic bottles like a soft drink! The bastards are selling it to kids!!! Oh, the humanity...
Thanks. I was under the impression that CO2 was a more effective greenhouse gas, and that water vapor was so critical only due to its abundance. Are you sure, pound for pound, water vapor is a more effective greenhouse gas than CO2?
The DoD requires that minority and female soliders drink the stuff! It’s like the Tuskegee Experiment all over again!
Google “Harvard and MIT debunk global warming”
Many scientists say the figure is 95%
B U M P
“Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide NOW!!”
Shhhhhh! Please don’t give EPA any more bright ideas. For all we know, they may be already drafting an executive order to accomplish this objective since after all, ANY policy can be justified if it is in service of averting the doomsday that Al Gore has assured us will be ushered in by global warming.
And water vapor is so sneaky and such a silent killer, I bet you do not even know you are breathing it right now.
That's nothing compared to what the French have been up to! They sell it to us straight, and infuse it with Co2 to make
it even more of an environmental threat! I never did trust them!
Not only that, Dihydrogen monoxide is one of the chief components of acid rain.
Dihydrogen Monoxide asphyxia is the second leading cause of death in children!
My stupid neighbors spray the stuff on their lawns!!!!
Where does that chart come from?
I think that’s the same chart as in my link above.
Yes, man’s co2 contribution to the greenhouse effect is ZERO POINT ONE ONE SEVEN PERCENT.
"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere [historically] is the product of oceanic respiration due to the well-known but under-appreciated solubility pump. Carbon dioxide rises out of warm ocean waters where it is added to the atmosphere. There it is mixed with residual and accidental CO2, and circulated, to be absorbed into the sink of the cold ocean waters. Next the thermohaline circulation carries the CO2-rich sea water deep into the ocean. A millennium later it appears at the surface in warm waters, saturated by lower pressure and higher temperature, to be exhausted back into the atmosphere. Throughout the past 420 millennia, comprising four interglacial periods, the Vostok record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is imprinted with, and fully characterized by, the physics of the solubility of CO2 in water, along with the lag in the deep ocean circulation.
Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases. Increased carbon dioxide has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, carbon dioxide is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures. When global temperature, and along with it, ocean temperature rises, the physics of solubility causes atmospheric CO2 to increase.
If increases in carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gas, could have in turn raised global temperatures, the positive feedback would have been catastrophic. While the conditions for such a catastrophe were present in the Vostok record from natural causes, the runaway event did not occur. Carbon dioxide does not accumulate in the atmosphere."
The graph above represents temperature and CO2 levels over the past 400,000 years. It is the same exact data Al Gore and the rest of the man-made global warmers refer to. The blue line is temps, the red, CO2 levels. The deep valleys represent 4 separate glaciation/ice-age periods, approximately 100,000 years apart. Look carefully at the historical relationship between temps and CO2 levels (the present is on the right hand side of the graph) and keep in mind that Gore claims this data is the 'proof' that CO2 has warmed the earth in the past. But does this data indeed show this? Nope. In fact, rising CO2 levels all throughout this 400,000-year period actually *followed* temperature increases, lagging behind by an average of 800 years! So it couldn't have been CO2 that got Earth out of these past glaciations. Yet Gore continually and dishonestly uses this same data as "evidence" of a *positive* historical correlation between CO2 and temps. Furthermore, and importantly, the subsequent CO2 level increases (due to dissolved CO2 being released from warming oceans) never did lead to additional warming, the so-called "run-away greenhouse effect" that Al Gore and company continue warning us about. In short, there is little if any evidence that CO2 had ever led to any significant global warming when the levels were within 10-15 times of what they are today. -etl
"The above chart shows the range of global temperature through the last 500 million years. There is no statistical correlation between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years and the temperature record in this interval. In fact, one of the highest levels of carbon dioxide concentration occurred during a major ice age that occurred about 450 million years ago [Myr]. Carbon dioxide concentrations at that time were about 15 times higher than at present." [also see 180 million years ago, same thing happened]:
Excellent point. Adding to the fact that CO2 is such a minor player in Earth's greenhouse system, only a fraction of it is related to human activities.
It's highly corrosive and will dissolve many substances placed in it. It can cause death in humans if breathed. Dangerous stuff! Congress has to regulate it pronto!
Water vapor??? I use a small humidifier in my bedroom that I use in the winter. The unit produces, you guessed it...WATER VAPOR!!! Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
Burning any fossil fuel gives off water vapor as well as CO2. Where do you think all those hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon chain go??
The term “green house” gas is used. That puts an image in our mind as most of us have been in a green house or in a hot car. One old research article from the early century that I can not find now, asserted that it was the PHYSICAL BARRIER of the glass that retained the heat more than anything else. Are clouds that much of a physical barrier?
Better yet, cap them. Put a huge, sturdy roof over them and cover it with dirt. No more hurricanes! More area to grow crops! Don't even THINK of any negative unintended consequences.
What a wonderfully expensive project obie could set up using stimulus funds. He could accomplish two goals at once: bankrupt the country faster and 'save the planet.'
I hope they don't read this. They'll probably try to do it.
Clouds, which basically consists of tiny water droplets (not gas), specifically the high, thin variety, AND water vapor (gaseous water), act as barriers to heat escaping. Gaseous CO2 and water vapor, I would imagine, are less of a “physical barrier” than the high, thin, stratus-type clouds. Interesting question. I’ll look into it when I have more time.
Here’s some good info:
Greenhouse Gas Absorption Spectrum
Figure 4 gives the amount of energy absorbed by greenhouse gases in various wavelength regions, from ultraviolet radiation on the left, to visible light in the middle, to infrared radiation on the right.
The CFCs are not plotted here but will be considered separately. For each gas is given a plot of the absorptance of the gas, ranging from 0 to 1, for each wavelength.
As an example, if we look at the plot for oxygen and ozone, we see that the absorption is very high in the ultraviolet region but essentially zero in the visible and infrared regions, except for isolated peaks. We interpret this to mean that this gas absorbs essentially all radiation in the ultraviolet but is transparent in the visible and mostly transparent in infrared portions of the spectrum. This gas then is responsible for shielding earth-based biological systems from lethal ultraviolet radiation, radiation with wavelengths less than 0.3 micrometers (or 300 nanometers), but allows visible light and infrared radiation to pass through without much absorption.
Other gases have much different absorption properties. Methane (CH4), for example, has a couple of very small wavelength regions in which it absorbs strongly and these occur at about 3.5 and 8 microns, which are in the infrared region. Nitrous oxide, N2O, having peaks at about 5 and 8 microns, absorbs in fairly narrow wavelength ranges.
Carbon dioxide has a more complex absorption spectrum with isolated peaks at about 2.6 and 4 microns and a shoulder, or complete blockout, of infrared radiation beyond about 13 microns. From this we see that carbon dioxide is a very strong absorber of infrared radiation. The plot for water vapor shows an absorption spectrum more complex even than carbon dioxide, with numerous broad peaks in the infrared region between 0.8 and 10 microns.
The total spectrum of all atmospheric gases is given in the bottom plot. This shows a “window” between 0.3 and 0.8 microns (the visible window), which allows solar radiation (without the lethal UV component) to reach the earth's surface. “Earth radiation”, the upwelling infrared radiation emitted by the earth's surface, has a maximum near 10 microns. The total atmosphere plot shows that a narrow window (except for an oxygen spike) exists in the range of wavelengths near 10 microns.
Sounds shovel-ready to me...
If there is no greenhouse effect there also can't be a greenhouse gas. Unless you are Algore or you work at the EPA water vapor is called evaporation, precipitation, weather...not greenhouse gas.
It is true that generally the climate changes when nature adds or subtracts water vapor...you know, like when it rains, or it's foggy...or not.
We see that water vapor not only absorbs more wavelengths, those wavelengths are shorter than those absorbed by CO2. Shorter wavelengths have higher energy than longer wavelengths. Thus H20 absorbs much more energy than does CO2. These higher energies are then converted into kinetic energy; heat.
That’s the only ‘science’ chart that needs ‘believed’! The rest are junk science, corruption, political ‘science’, cult, religion, etc. Algore is 99.72% snake oil salesman.
These higher energies are then converted into kinetic energy; heat.
There is ALWAYS a greenhouse effect taking place, be-it almost entirely due to water vapor, despite the fact that we've been in a cooling trend for the past 11-12 years. Without greenhouse gases, the planet would be freezing.
Here is one from 2007!
What does it take?
Two things are increasingly frustrating :
"Science" commentators on hundreds of TV stations still seem unaware that there has been a massive fraud for 20 years, and that the fraudsters have been "found out" beyond debate. These "readers" are science idiots who continue hawking "green energy", CO2 panic and business-as-usual neuroses about the discredited anthropogenic global warming."
Similarly, politicians at all levels seem impervious to reality, fraud and real scientists everywhere shouting at the top of their lungs that the onslaught of hysteria by politicians, and other non-scientist have brainwashed the equally ignorant populace with, is based on lies, ignorance and an agenda based on control, not pursuit of the truth.
Taxes confiscated from working Americans can be used more productively on other things; Trillions$ are being wasted and budgeted for future waste as we speak.
How can we stop these idiots?
In the lab, perhaps.
In the atmosphere, under the dynamics of complex weather, sunlight, cosmic rays and other solar system nasties we may not even know about, apparently not.
One of the qualities of real scientists is the ability to make a distinction between isolated lab experiments, and the identical few substances interacting with the thousands of different elements, compounds and factors in a real-time atmosphere.
The arrogance and ignorance of those claiming to mimic the complexity of weather, climate and the atmosphere on computer models which they write themselves --- is mind boggling.
Climate models, until recently, were claimed to be predicting future weather.
Since they have all failed, 100% of the time to do so, the claim has now changed to "projections!"
... which will continue to be wrong 100% of the time!
There is ALWAYS a greenhouse effect taking place, be-it almost entirely due to water vapor, despite the fact that we've been in a cooling trend for the past 11-12 years. Without greenhouse gases, the planet would be freezing.Nice try, greenhouse gas and greenhouse effect is a term you global warming pinheads coined and for some reason you choose to keep using it.
We haven't always had greenhouses. What was the natural order of things called before anyone knew what a greenhouse was? Condensation and evaporation?
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