Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Ian Bradford: Interesting new revelations concerning Methane and Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide

The climate mouthpiece of the UN, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the IPCC, state that since the Industrial Revolution humans have been putting carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere and that has caused global warming, climate change, and all kinds of weather events.  

From 1900 to today, the amount of CO2 has increased from 209 parts per million (ppm), to about 420ppm. They claim that the rise in temperature of about 1.5 deg C since the Industrial Revolution some 170 years ago is wholly due to anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide.  In other words, Carbon Dioxide put into the atmosphere by humans. 

So Carbon Dioxide emanating from natural sources, such as the oceans, is assumed by the IPCC to remain constant.  Let’s look at the following graph again. This graph will be familiar to many readers.  

Just look at the black line-Carbon Dioxide levels. The figures for Carbon Dioxide levels and the Earth’s Temperature were obtained using proxies-physical characteristics of various things that give an indication of the amounts of each.  Note what the black line is doing for the past 150 million years. It is trending downwards. If it reaches 150ppm then all plants die, and of course so do we. Now look at the overall picture of the Carbon Dioxide. Did it ever stay constant? No it changed continuously.  So the IPCC saying that the Carbon Dioxide content from natural sources since the Industrial Revolution remains constant may be incorrect.

Clearly the CO2 content in the atmosphere from natural sources is changing. Here we bring in Hermann Harde from the Helmut Schmidt University of Hamburg, Professor of Experimental Physics and Materials Science.  This is a brief summary of some of his findings. He found that changes in Carbon Dioxide content whether from natural sources or human caused were absorbed by sinks, and the absorption rate was proportional to the actual concentration of Carbon Dioxide. In other words, the more CO2 put out, the greater the absorption. The natural sinks are the oceans and the land, and they do not differentiate between anthropogenic CO2 and natural CO2. The observed decay of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere after the atomic bomb tests in 1963 showed that the Carbon Cycle can stabilise and react adequately on any changes like seasonal variations or volcanic activities. Natural and human emitted molecules cannot be treated differently. In the atmosphere, they don’t have labels on them saying “I am anthropogenic” or “I am natural.”  Interesting that anthropogenic CO2 is stated to exist in the atmosphere for 50-100 years while natural CO2 exists for just 10 years.  All CO2 molecules in the atmosphere must be treated the same. All exist in the atmosphere for no more than 10 years. 

Looking at CO2 concentrations over the time period 1880 to 2016 and drawing appropriate graphs, Harde was able to show that anthropogenic contribution to the observed CO2 increase over the last 150 years is significantly less than the natural influence. Anthropogenic emissions were contributing not more than 4.3% to the total concentration of 393ppm at the time Harde did his research.  Since 1750 then, anthropogenic contribution to the 113 ppm total increase from 1750 is not more than 17ppm or 15%.  So natural emissions with 85% dominate.

The warming from the little ice age is causing the increase in natural emissions of CO2. Dr. Valentina Zharkova’s research has found that the sun, under the influence of the four major planets has been moving towards one of the “pointy” ends of the ellipse that the planets move around. The result is that northern Hemisphere summers have been hotter and winters colder. The Labour Govt controlled media have made sure we know about the hot summers in the Northern hemisphere but have never mentioned the very cold winters, but interestingly, TV 1 have displayed the huge snowfalls and extremely cold temperatures in the north over the last two days in their news. So we have warming from coming out of the Little Ice Age plus some additional warming due to the movement of the sun.   Many scientists have looked at the past and found that warming actually precedes an increase in CO2 –not the other way around. So Harde’s findings in some ways reflect previous findings. The warming from the Little Ice Age causes the oceans in particular, to give up CO2.  Bear in mind too, that the Oceans contain about 20 times the amount of CO2 as in the atmosphere.

Naturally Dr Harde has his critics. The climate alarmists would not like natural sources of CO2  to be the ones causing the increase in the atmosphere. He has his supporters also.   

Dr Harde’s conclusions then, are that most of the increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources NOT human sources.

This is what the IPCC say in one of their reports:  “It is assumed that  an increasing CO2 concentration over the last 170 years is almost exclusively caused by anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change, while the natural emissions over this period are the same as in pre industrial times.”

This is a fairly common type of statement. “The increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is due to humans putting more CO2 into the air.”  Even though the human contribution is no more than about 4%.

Here is some support for Dr Hardes research. The following is the Carbon Dioxide concentration from Mauna Loa since 1958, when that station began records.

The Covid- 19 pandemic and resulting limitations put on travel and other economic sectors by countries around the globe drastically reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions within just a few weeks. So anthropogenic CO2 emissions fell from 2019.  Look at the graph. If CO2 emissions are almost entirely from humans you would expect a dip in the graph about 2019. Is there?  NO !   The CO2 in the atmosphere continued to rise. Human emissions appeared to have no effect.  It suggests natural emissions just kept rising. 

This was published in the New York Times in 1991.   Emissions of Carbon Dioxide, scientists believe is the biggest contributor to climate change, fell in 1990, according to the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington based environmental organisation. The organisation predicted a continuing decline in 1991 and 1992. Worldwatch attributed most of the drop to the collapse of the economies of the Soviet Union and countries in Eastern Europe. These economies  are heavily based on coal which produces more carbon Dioxide per quantity of energy than other fuels do. So once again if humans are  responsible for most of the CO2 emissions we would expect a substantial dip in the graph between 1900 and 1992. There isn’t a substantial dip. The CO2 keeps rising in the usual manner.   Finally, Worldwatch said: “With continuing declines in emissions from industrialised countries because of efficiency improvements, and increases from developing countries, the net effect could be a near levelling off in global emissions during the 90’s the group said.”  The graph from Mauna Loa shows no levelling off during the 90’s.    

It seems that Dr Harde may have a very good case. Most Carbon Dioxide emission come from natural sources. It should be noted that apart from the major source of CO2- the oceans, the IPCC take no notice of emissions from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, El Nino, La Nina events, internal and external oscillations, global warming or seasonal variations.

It is then futile to try and stop natural sources of Carbon Dioxide.


It is important to realise that the IPCC is only concerned with Methane from ruminants. It is generally accepted that Methane from ruminants is about 14% of all Methane. Of all the gases in the atmosphere Methane makes up only 0.00017%.  The basic idea around the greenhouse effect is that short wavelength radiation from the sun which includes ultra violet, and visible light, passes through the atmosphere and reaches the earth causing it to warm.  The earth at about 15 deg C, gives off Longer wavelength radiation  (infra red- heat), and this heat is absorbed by CO2 and Methane in the atmosphere and they re-radiate to warm  the earth.  Below is a diagram of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Note that the wavelengths are given in nanometres. 500nm is 5 micrometers or 5 millionth of a metre. A wavelength is the distance between two crests of a wave or in fact the distance between any two adjacent parts that look the same.

The radiation above travels through space as an electromagnetic wave. This is actually a magnetic field and an electric field at right angles to each other.  The IPCC considered that most of the heat left the surface of the earth by electromagnetic radiation only. Three scientists, G.V. Chillingar, O.G. Sorokhtin, and I.F. KLhilyuk working at the US section of the Russian Academy  of natural Sciences, found that most of the heat leaving the Earth’s surface left by convection.  (Hot air rises because it is less dense).  They found that only 8.5%  left by radiation. We are only concerned with absorption of radiation by the greenhouse gases.  It is found that Methane does not absorb all the radiation falling on it.  Basically you shine varying wavelengths of radiation into a tube containing Methane gas, and collect the radiation coming out the other end with a spectrometer.  The spectrometer does not record any radiation in two narrow bands centered on 3.5 microns and 8 microns.  The Methane has absorbed the radiation in these two narrow bands and no other wavelengths. Below is the absorption spectrum of Methane.

Below is a diagram of the absorption spectra of all the greenhouse gases.

I have drawn vertical lines through the two important absorption bands of Methane. Note that they pass through the absorption bands of water vapour. Water vapour, the most prolific greenhouse gas is in blue.  The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere varies but on average is about 2% of all atmospheric gases. If there is an average amount of water vapour then there are about 100,000 water vapour molecules for every single Methane molecule. Beginning with a small amount of radiation to begin with, a huge amount of water vapour compared to Methane, plus the fact that the water vapour absorption spectra overlap those of Methane, it is highly unlikely that radiation from the earth will ever reach a methane molecule.  It is clear then that Methane from ruminants does not do anything. Even if we took all the Methane in the atmosphere, water vapour would stop radiation from reaching it. The same argument could be applied to Carbon Dioxide. Three of the four absorption bands of carbon dioxide coincide with those of water vapour, the fourth has a slight overlap. 

I have mentioned all of the above before so what is the new revelation?

Climate Scientist Robert Allen of the University of California, has done a detailed analysis of Methane’s absorption of radiation at various wavelengths. Remember the process. Short wave radiation from the sun enters the earth’s atmosphere warms the earth and then the earth radiates longer wavelength radiation into the atmosphere. It has been thought that the short wave radiation passes right thought the atmosphere without being absorbed by the greenhouse gases.  But Robert Allen has found that Methane, and in fact all greenhouse gases can absorb short wave radiation as well as long wave radiation.

Now nearly all water vapour exists in the troposphere. That’s the first layer of the atmosphere above the earth. Methane is spread throughout the troposphere and is also carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics. So radiation from the earth’s surface is absorbed by the water vapour in the troposphere and Methane there doesn’t play any part. Now we have little or no water vapour in the stratosphere but some Methane. The Methane, unhindered by water vapour absorbs some of the short wave radiation from the sun. So less radiation gets through to the lower troposphere.  This actually cools the lower troposphere, leading to more clouds in that layer. These thicker, low-level clouds reflect more of the sun’s radiation back into space, so that less of the sun’s radiation reaches the earth’s surface.  The short wave radiation absorbed by Methane in the stratosphere and upper troposphere causes some warming and this means less clouds there.  Any radiation from the earth’s surface that does get through the troposphere will keep going out into space as the absence of clouds in the upper troposphere and stratosphere, means no absorption there.  

The net result is a cooling effect due to the Methane absorbing shorter wavelength radiation. This to a certain extent negates any heating effect of Methane. 

Ian Bradford, a science graduate, is a former teacher, lawyer, farmer and keen sportsman, who is writing a book about the fraud of anthropogenic climate change.


Chuck Bird said...

Ian is yet another expert who disagrees with Labour, Greens, Maori Party and sadly National that there is a climate emergency. Dr Judith Curry, Dr Steven Koonin and other climate change sceptics agree that human emissions cause an increase in global temperature and sea level rise. However, they disagree with the alarmists and do not believe there is a climate crisis or an emergency.

What is needed is for the Climate Change Commission to be replaced with competent experts from NZ or overseas. Judith Curry now works as a consultant and has been employed by governments.

Anonymous said...

Typo in the following:

500nm is 5 micrometers or 5 millionth of a metre

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

You're right, Anonymous. He seems to be dividing by 100 rather 1000.

Ian Bradford said...

I suppose if you were travelling to the moon leaving out a zero or putting an extra zero in would be serious but in the context of this article is not all that important, though three commentators made it a big issue. To me the big issue is: do you agree with Professor Harde? His research has found that Carbon Dioxide from natural sources is causing the increase in the atmosphere-not human sources. The IPCC out out these figures: They stated that human emissions accounted for just 4% of CO2 in the atmosphere which means that natural emissions accounted for 96%. So is 4% of emissions causing the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere? Now the IPCC also say that natural emissions have been constant since the Industrial revolution. If you look at the graph of CO2 v Earth's temperature back in Geological time you can clearly see that natural CO2 has changed throughout quite dramatically at times. So the amount of natural CO2 is always changing. The statement that CO2 has not changed from Industrial Revolution time is incorrect. Think about all the volcanic eruptions we have had since The Industrial Revolution- all that CO2 into the atmosphere. The CO2 graph is from Mauna Loa in Hawaii. It is accepted world-wide. During covid lockdowns CO2 levels from humans, dropped, but there is no sign of a decrease in CO2 levels from the graph at about 2019 onwards. This suggest natural emissions carried on regardless.
As for sea level rise. Here's what was said in 1989: "UN (AP). A senior environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend isn't reversed by the year 2000- yes 2000." There's a lot more, but I won't include them. The Maldives were supposed to go under water. In recent times a NZ scientist has found that the Maldives are actually aggrading- building out. Sea level rise is insignificant. Go to the local beach you visited as a child. Do you notice a sea level rise?

Rob Beechey said...

There is no place for logic when your religion is Climate Alarmism. I note that a disciple residing in the hotbed of misinformation, Waikato University, (no surprises there) claimed that 80% believe in human caused climate change. But those that don’t share his belief are likely to be Male and of NZ European origin! He’s on to me.
Well written Ian.