The ‘Greenhouse’ Effect

Another Look at the Greenhouse Effect 

by W Stannard

Climate Change has become a topic of great interest and debate over the last decade or two. Although climate is and has been always in a state of change, the recent concern is that human activities are causing a serious detriment to our climate with the proposition of catastrophic consequences.

The premise of Anthropogenic Climate Change , i.e. catastrophic climate change due to human activities, is based on the following series of events. If any one of these events or propositions fails to eventuate or is found to have no reasonable basis in fact then there is no need to be concerned of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

  1. A “Greenhouse effect” leads to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth
  2. Concentrations of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases are increasing due to human activities and this results in an increase in the “Greenhouse effect” leading to Global Warming.
  3. Certain events will respond to this warming and further amplify the warming. (This is called positive feedback)
  4. The Earth has experienced unprecedented warming due to the recent increase in GHG concentrations and associated feedbacks. This warming will continue unless GHG emissions are curtailed.
  5. Global warming is detrimental to living conditions on Earth and will be catastrophic to living and environmental conditions on Earth if GHG emissions remain unimpeded..

Most of the debate has centred on points 4 and 5. Many sceptics of CAGW accept as fact point 1. There is almost universal belief in the existence of a “Greenhouse Effect” that is responsible for warming the planet.

I am a “Greenhouse Effect” sceptic. I can not find a model that I understand that leads me to accept this theory. I know that there have been others to state this view but the message has not got through. It is my opinion that this message has not been well communicated due the language and complexity of the physics and thermodynamics involved. I would like to re-examine the arguments and present new thoughts in, hopefully, a language that is easier to grasp. In doing this I will need to use some basic concepts of thermodynamics and heat flow at a level familiar to an undergraduate Engineer.

It is the communication I am interested in and would appreciate comments and criticisms in a constructive dialogue. I am ready to modify or abandon my ideas if found to be erroneous in any way. If you have a strong belief and emotional attachment to the “Greenhouse Effect” you may prefer to read elsewhere.

Well – what is the ‘Greenhouse Effect’? There are many and varied explanations of this phenomenon.

Does it really exist?

What is it?

Does it make sense?

Is it important?

It is my aim to make some sense of the Greenhouse effect. I will look at some of the common explanations from Thermodynamics textbooks to scientific and meteorological bodies and universities.

The results may surprise you!

Cartoon from

2 Responses to The ‘Greenhouse’ Effect

  1. I doubt that “scientists” who accept the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide have ever seen its infra red spectrum or have any idea of the wavelengths in the iR range of our big black body.

    There were not many people exhaling carbon dioxide and burning fossil fuels when the entire center of the US was at the bottom of a sea.

    The retraction of the glacier(s) on Mt. Kilomanjaro is clearly the result of sublimation from increased solar radiation.

    • Tryagain says:

      So thousands of atmospheric physicists who discuss the very things you claim they know nothing about are wrong, but an undergraduate engineering student who can’t find an explanation of the physics that he personally can understand, is right? LOL! Hopefully he never has to write a paper on this, he would get a big Fail.

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