Denying the Physical Properties of CO2

In a recent debate with our own Monckhausen,
Norm Kalmanovitch of the FoS arrives at the conclusion that the the climate sensivity of CO2 is negligible. He writes:

1)     It can be demonstrated that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels do not contribute significantly to the atmospheric concentration of CO2 which is primarily from natural and not human sources.
2)     It can be demonstrated that CO2 there is zero correlation between increases in CO2 emissions and global warming.
3)     It can be demonstrated that the greenhouse effect from CO2 is already near its maximum and further increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration will produce no further significant increase in the Greenhouse effect.

While we are at a complete loss how he arrives at statement 1 [for example, an isoptope study by Gosh & Brand (2003) indicates the opposite], statements 2 &3 are based on the structure and the absorption spectrum of the CO2 molecule. Below is part of Norm's statement, the whole would be too long and incoherent.

"The CO2 molecule is linear and symmetrical and therefore unlike the water has no rotational mode for interaction with the thermal spectrum radiate by the Earth. This limits the effect of CO2 to a narrow band centred on the 14.77m wavelength band (wavenumber 677cm-1 in case you are not familiar with quantum physics). The physical process of interaction between CO2 and the thermal energy in this wavelength band is such that once a concentration of about 300ppmv is reached, any further increases in CO2 will have minimal effect. Because photons are radiated in all possible directions statistically about one third of the energy will escape into space."

We were confused and asked where he got this information from that generations of atmospheric and theoretical physicists had blatantly overlooked, the holy grail that renders the whole climate change discussion as well as the laws of physics as we know them, redundant. So we asked Norm for citations and he elegantly ignored our request. We assumed that he, a non-expert, had cobbled the numbers together himself. Hence we submitted his complete statement to Dr. Scott Van Bramer, Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Widener University, for verification.

Dr. Van Bramer replied:

There are a number of problems.
-First, the "thermal spectrum" is in the infrared range - rotational frequencies are in the microwave range.
-CO2 has TWO IR active vibrational modes.  So it absorbs IR radiation at two different frequencies - or wavelengths.  The author ignored the asymmetric stretch observed at 2345 cm-1.
-The relationship between wavelength and wavenumber does not require quantum physics.  It is a straight forward unit conversion that requires division - last time I checked division is not too complicated.  This statement seems to be included to help the author appear to be knowledgeable.
-The statement "further increases in CO2 will have minimal effect" ignores the effect of energy distribution in the atmosphere on climate.  Since climate is driven by energy distribution, this is a significant oversight.  People who study climate change use very complex models to try and understand how this energy distribution will effect climate.
-The "narrow band" is significant because there are other gasses in the atmosphere.  In particular water vapor is a very effective greenhouse gas.  The "narrow band" from CO2 is relevant, because itis in a regions that water does not absorb - so CO2 helps to close one of the available windows.
Scott Van Bramer

We wonder whether Norm has considered the different absorption characteristics of CO2 at near sea level compared to high altitudes, where temperatures and pressures are much lower, and the air is much drier!

Our own conclusions are:
  • Cobbling some numbers together without any rigour cannot challenge the laws of physics
  • Always rely on a real expert and never on a fake expert
  • Direct observations find no saturation and that proves Norm wrong (see links to journal articles below)
Norm himself had warned us of fake experts:
For your edification these fallacies of logic are: [...]
Argumentum ad Verecundiam: (authority) the fallacy of appealing to the testimony of an authority outside his special field. Anyone can give opinions or advice; the fallacy only occurs when the reason for assenting to the conclusion is based on following the improper authority.

In the end, he has warned us of himself and convinced the world
in his talk at the GeoCanada 2010 of what we had assumed earlier.

Let us put the theoretical considerations of Norm Kalmanovitch and Dr. Van Bramer to test. Can CO2 forcing be proven? Does CO2 filter out outgoing radiation and thus trap heat? Let the peer reviewed literature speak for itself:

C02 forcing (Ramanathan 1997)
Spectral signatures (Chen et al. 2007)
Proof of greenhouse effect (Smith 2008)
Outgoing radiation 1 (Harries et al. 2001)
Outgoing radiation 2 (Griggs et al. 2004)
Outgoing radiation 3 (Wang et al. 2009)

Where does the increased CO2in the atmosphere come from?
World Data Centre For Greenhouse Gases
Global Atmosphere Watch
Gosh & Brand 2003

Pecuniae Obediunt Omnia!