Sunday, February 5, 2012
Arrhenius is Still Dead but his Mistake Lives on
The image about is the final chart from the 1896 Paper by Svante Arrhenius titled, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air on the Temperature of the Ground. I have challenged a number of people to review the paper before making claims based on what is contained in the paper. No one bothers actually checking the content of the papers they quote, that is too much like work I suppose.
Svante had a few successes as a scientist and a few failures. That is part of the science business, sometimes you get it right, some times you inspire others to get it right, by being wrong. In the table Svante predicted the future. We happen to live in what is his future, so we can check to see how he did. In the last two columns there is a K=0.67 and a K=1.5. They are respectively, 67% of the CO2 concentration of his day and 150% of the CO2 concentration of his day. In his day, CO2 in the air was at a concentration of around 280 parts per million. One hundred and fifty percent of 280PPM is 420PPM. Today, the concentration is about 390PPM so we are very close to his predicted future concentration. One would think that his predicted temperatures would be pretty close to what we have today.
The chart above is from the NASA GISS which shows the temperature change by latitude as of last year, 2011, compared to the baseline period, 1896 to 1906, Arrhenius' time. How does that compare to Arrhenius' prediction? Not that well in my opinion.
Nebulosity, what Arrhenius made to chart above to consider, is clouds. I seem to remember that clouds were a source of uncertainty in climate science. What is minimum nebulosity? Lack of clouds, which Arrhenius assumed would cause the greatest water vapor feed back for increasing CO2 in the air.
So where are we? We have a 100 plus year old estimate and 100 plus years of data, limited of course, but the best we have. So based on the 100 plus year old formula, what is the climate's sensitivity to CO2?
Hey, I coulda screwed up, why not check it yourself?
We know a lot more now than Arrhenius did or do we? The climate scientists still maintain that water vapor feed back can be 2 to 3 times as potent as CO2 in the air. That does not appear to be the case, at least based on the Carbonic acid in the air influence on the temperature of the ground relationship developed by Svante Arrhenius.