Industry Radiation Experts Nail it: Greenhouse Gas Theory Debunked

Millions of hours of commercial tests have scorched the cornerstone of global warming science: the disputed greenhouse gas effect. Hidden in plain sight for years has sat irrefutable evidence from heating manufacturers to prove that infrared radiation does not heat the air. Is this a big deal? You bet. It means that only in the fantasy world of climatologists’ computer models can man-made global warming still exist. Below Carl Brehmer is first to go public with this compelling new analysis. Read more below.

Typical Industrial Infrared Heater ( F J Evans Engineering Co)

Typical Industrial Infrared Heater ( F J Evans Engineering Co)

(Guest Post by Carl Brehmer)

“If the colder object is warmed, then this reduces the flow of heat from the hotter body. If the Atmosphere is warmed, it reduces the flow of heat from the Ocean.”

This is Newton’s Law of Cooling, which states “The rate of heat loss of a body is proportional to the difference in temperatures between the body and its surroundings.”

 It is the law of physics that defines heat flow between two bodies of matter in physical contact, i.e., the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface/ocean. This is the equation:

T2 = T0 + (T1 – T0) * e(-k * Δt)
T2: Final Temperature
T1: Initial Temperature
T0: Constant Temperature of the surroundings
Δt: Time difference of T2 and T1
k: Constant to be found

(Finding k–the constant–requires further calculations none of which have anything to do with IR radiation, net, total or otherwise.)

The “greenhouse effect” hypothesis attempts to define the heat flow between the Earth’s surface/ocean and the atmosphere using the Stefan-Boltzmann Radiation Law and accompanying formulae, which requires something that is absent. The radiating surfaces of the two bodies of matter need to be separated from one another, ideally by a vacuum. The bottom “surface” of the atmosphere, if you will, is in direct contact with the surface/ocean which makes Newton’s Law of Cooling the operative law.

Is it not axiomatic in science that you cannot get the right answer if you use the wrong formula? You wouldn’t for example, attempt to figure out the volume of a sphere by using the formula that calculates how fast it would fall 10 feet in a vacuum.

That then leaves us with the question of whether or not one can heat air with IR radiation. If so than this would affect the rate of heat transfer from the ground to the atmosphere via Newton’s Law of Cooling.

Rather than speculating on this question let’s take a look at what both scientific experimentation and what millions of hours of residential IR heating has shown. First we will look at the work of John Tyndall, a 19th century physicist, who did some extensive laboratory testing on the ability of various gases to block the transmission of Infrared radiation, which he called “calorific rays.” He tested gases at concentrations of 80,000 ppm, which for carbon dioxide is about 200 times the current atmospheric concentration. Even at that high level Tyndall concluded:

 “Carbonic acid gas is one of the feeblest of absorbers of the radiant heat emitted by solid sources. It is, for example, extremely transparent to the rays emitted by the heated copper plate already referred to.” [2]

 He also noted that at atmospheric concentrations carbon dioxide had no affect on the temperature of the air regardless of how much IR radiation was passed through it. He said:

“Through air . . . the waves of ether pass without absorption, and these gases are not sensibly changed in temperature by the most powerful calorific rays.”

In spite of these observations Svante August Arrhenius (1859 – 1927) thirty years later speculated that carbon dioxide actually increases the temperature of the ground (not via Newton’s Law of Cooling but rather through the Stefan-Boltzmann Radiation Law.)

To test Arrhenius’ hypothesis in 1900 a Swedish physicist Knut Ångström (1857 – 1910) performed an experiment and published his findings in a paper entitled “On The Importance Of Water Vapor And Carbon Dioxide In The Absorption Of The Atmosphere.”
Ångström’s experiment was to fill a tube with the amount of carbon dioxide that would be present in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and then running infrared radiation through it. He first doubled and then halved that amount and repeated the test, which demonstrated virtually no temperature change between these differing amounts of carbon dioxide.

These experimental observations have since been confirmed through millions of hours of the commercial application of infrared heating. Here is what a few retailers of infrared heaters assert:
“Infrared energy travels at the speed of light without heating the air it passes through, the amount of infrared radiation absorbed by carbon dioxide, water vapor and other particles in the air typically is negligible.”
“Infrared heating technology by definition does not heat up the air, instead it targets the objects leaving the Oxygen and humidity intact.”
“These infrared rays pass through the air in the room and start heating any object they hit. These rays, however, do not heat the air of the room or area, making it more comfortable for you.”

So, what we have is both experimental data and real world commercial application data that demonstrates IR radiation does not heat air. Why? Because it has been known since the 19th century that gases that absorb IR radiation also emit IR radiation. John Tyndall also said:

“By this mode of experiment it was proved that the self-same molecular arrangement which renders a gas a powerful absorber, renders it in the same degree a powerful radiator—that the atom or molecule which is competent to intercept the calorific waves is in the same degree, competent to generate them. Thus, while the atoms of elementary gases proved themselves unable to emit any sensible amount of radiant heat, the molecules of compound gases were shown to be capable of powerfully disturbing the surrounding ether.”

So, increasing the concentration of IR emissive gases in the atmosphere increases the emissivity of the atmosphere. The Stefan-Boltzmann Radiation Law does define the atmosphere’s thermal relationship to outer space and part of that formula is the inclusion of an emissivity number. It has long been known that a higher emissivity number allows matter to emit the same amount of IR radiation at a lower temperature. The “greenhouse effect” hypothesis for some reason suggests that increasing the emissivity of the atmosphere by adding GHGs to it will have the opposite affect and require the atmosphere to become warmer in order to emit the same amount of IR radiation out into space.

Can you not understand why some people might be skeptical of a scientific hypothesis that 1) uses the wrong law of physics to define the thermal relationship that exists between the atmosphere and the earth’s surface/ocean and 2) then reverses the Stefan-Boltzmann Radiation Law in its definition of the atmosphere’s thermal relationship to outer space?

[1] (accessed online: October 22, 2012)

[2] TYNDALL J., Fragments of Science: A Series of Detached Essays, Addresses and Reviews,’ (1879), (accessed online: October 22, 2012)


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16 responses to “Industry Radiation Experts Nail it: Greenhouse Gas Theory Debunked

  1. Pingback: Industry Radiation Experts Nail it: Greenhouse Gas Theory Debunked « Skeptics Chillin'

  2. Would somebody tell Anthony Watts…..PLEASE!!!

  3. johnosullivan

    My colleagues and I have tried over and over again to get Watts to address our science but to no avail. All we’ve ever gotten from him is snide, gatekeeping rebuffs and abuse. I fear the longer it goes on the more it looks like Watts is either too invested in the GHE meme or his ego is too big to admit he was wrong and we were right. It’s been the same thing when we’ve spoken to Monckton, Lindzen and Spencer. All insist the only debate in town is “how much” greenhouse gas warming. So sad!

  4. How would one expect to see significant absorption by the gasses in the atmosphere unless one used a test vessel at least twice as large as the mean free path of the gas under test? And why would a commercial heating unit care, given it is radiating at much higher frequencies than are emitted from the earth’s surface? Get a Physics book, John. Observe the absorption spectrum for H2O and CO2 in the chart — you’ve seen this before — referenced below. The IR heaters operate in the near visible range, with much higher energy than the surface of the earth. In the frequency ranges of the heaters, there is little absorption. But down where the OLR from the surface is: lots of absorption. Apples and oranges.

    • johnosullivan

      You are missing the point. What other verifiable physical evidence do we have? Despite 30 years of research costing in excess of $100 billion not one piece of empirical data affirms the existence of any GHE in the atmosphere. We wouldn’t need to resort to assessing the effects of IR from industrial heaters if researchers who advocate the GHE didn’t play “follow my leader” in tamely accepting this bogus hypothesis as “real” without testing it.
      What you seem to be inferring is that we should all tamely accept your junk science merely because climatologists haven’t yet devised an experiment to prove the GHE exists. Utter nonsense! Go read up on Karl Popper and learn how the Traditional Scientific Method (TSM) works.

      • John, the empirical evidence is easily obtained by looking “up” with an IR sensor, at night. It’s not controversial, and measurements are taken to examine energy in clouds as well as the atmosphere. But after long observations, we got equations and laws. We got the understanding of photon scattering from Heisenberg and Compton. We got understanding that all objects not at absolute zero emit radiation (Stefan-Boltzmann). We got understanding that all objects that emit also absorb the same frequencies (Kirchoff). We got understanding of the relationship between types of energy (1st law). Law rules, John. Insolation striking the atmosphere is partly scattered by albedo, and partly absorbed and re-emitted in random directions — some into space, others toward the surface — and partly passes through to the surface. Once absorbed at the surface, it again departs, partly through IR, partly through collision (this accounts for evaporation, too). The emitted IR is again partly absorbed and re-emitted in random directions, some toward space and others toward the surface. And all along the way the 1st law reminds us that excited atoms may also give up that energy in collision, thus heating the atmosphere by IR in addition to the collision heating that occurs at the surface. It’s law, John. People reasonably argue about the quantity of the IR component, but only a handful deny the application of the physical laws regarding energy emission from objects, suggesting that it has no effect on climate. What’s REALLY corny is the argument, from your cronies, that CO2 COOLS the atmosphere (true at some altitudes), thus acknowledging the absorption and re-emission of energy back out into space, but deny that it can WARM the atmosphere (if it absorbs energy and collides with other atoms, energy conversion can and does occur).

        CO2 and its more important ally, water vapor, act as negative feedbacks to temperature changes in the atmosphere and at the surface. You should be happy about that, since the IPCC claims the opposite. One of your cronies, Carl Brehmer, has even published a video which tangentially acknowledges this fact, when he observes that more humid regions see lower overall temperatures, and shows graphs showing that water vapor reduces the heating during the day, and SLOWS the cooling at night. Aren’t negative feedbacks nice to have?

        So, you want empirical evidence? That’s already been done, and the results are in the Physics books, where conservation of energy, radiative emission and absorption, and random walk collisions are discussed and the various laws and relationships are spelled out. Or did you think all those guys just pulled those equations and constants out of their hats?

      • johnosullivan

        Tom, if you had followed the debate in 2011 between Roy Spencer and Pierre Latour about hand held thermometers you’d know that all such claims about them and “back radiation” heating are refuted. Later today I will be publishing another in my series of articles debunking such GHE myths. Watch this space.

      • Well stated!
        I too have long wondered why the most prominent skeptics Watt, Monckton, Lindzen and Spencer (and too this list we might even add McIntire and Mckittrick) do (blindly) accept the notion that CO2 causes some atmospheric warming when there is absolutely no evidence that the notion has ever been tested experimentally.
        (BTW, in another post on another thread I dumped on you for something you said that I interpreted as being sympathetic to the alarmists. I now realize I must have misinterpreted that. Sorry about that.
        Excellent post. You made my day

  5. Hugh Evan

    Interesting but there’s no mention of the wavelength of the infrared used in the experiments. While the greenhouse-effect theory assumed a rather specific 4–100 μm long-wave to very-long wave, the industrial heaters might use short to medium wavelength IR. Or at least this is not specified here and might be of crucial importance for making the case.

  6. Apparently the honorable gentlemen who insist the only debate in town is “how much” fail to understand the difference between a scalar and a vector. Both represent a measure of physical quantities but a scalar has magnitude scaled by its unit of measure and a vector has direction AND magnitude scaled by unit of measure. A simple arithmetic operation (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) can only operation on commensurate values. For physical quantities, this means scalars scaled by the SAME units, or vectors of the SAME direction and who’s magnitude is scaled by the SAME units. While the operations can be performed on the numbers alone, the result is meaningless and uninterpretable.

    Radiation, by its inherent nature, is a vector. If it doesn’t have directionality it does not exist. A thermodynamically measured temperature does not have direction. It is a point intensity only. This should be enough to dissuade them from performing simple arithmetic operations on a thermodynamically measured temperature (a scalar measured by a thermometer) and a computed equivalent temperature from the spectra of radiation.

    However, the vector quality of radiation is evaded because the numbers produced by computed equivalent temperature of a spectra have the units of “degrees” just as does the thermodynamically measured point temperature. It is as if they are assuming that two things called by the same name are the same and evade the context that produced the two very different kinds of “degrees”. It is rather like thinking that a Sun Dog and a Hunting Dog are the same kind of things and both should be fed Dog Kibble for supper because they are both called “Dogs”. Apples and oranges? No. It is more like mashed potatoes and broken glass – a mixture that is very difficult to digest and should not be used as food.

  7. The likely No Show from El Ninio, combined with the probable Early Peak of the current Solar Cycle, will have the effect of killing the already wounded Leviathan that is AGW. Now whilst the comments here are interesting, might it not be an idea to save the squabbles until After Victory is achieved 🙂

    The various bodies involved with perpetrating the Scam, will turn about all the quicker if they perceive that they will not be dragged through the streets on a Hurdle ? and however much one would enjoy seeing Jones and Briffa et al being publicly humiliated, I suspect we shall have to settle for them merely going into an Obscure retirement ?

  8. AlecM

    You have been misled bt the Angstrom experiment. All GHGs show the phenomenon of self-absorption at a critical concentration. For CO2 it’s ~200 ppmV.

    What happens is that the unexcited molecules absorb IR from the excited molecules [~5% of the total at ambient]. That means the emissivity asymptotes to a low level and by Kirchhoff’s law of Radiation, the absorptivity also levels off at the same value.

    So, the IR from the source above a low limit cannot be absorbed in the gas column.In the same way, there can be no CO2-AGW as CO2 rises above 200 ppmV. [The real explanation is far more complex, but the result is the same.]

    • Gene Skluzacek

      AlecM: I would like to communicate with you. My background is physics, meteorology and radiation transport. Please send your email address to me.

  9. The long wave IR heater have been in use for just as long the shorter wave length heaters. The earliest unit were made by Core-vac and many others.

    There is an experiment that proves that the Greenhouse gas effect does not exist. This experiment which has been technologically reviewed by Ph.D physicists . Ph.D. Chemical engineers and others. The experiment is found on the web-site http:// click on the blog tab,page 2. It is titled “The Experiment that failed which can save the world trillions-Proving the greenhouse gas effect does not exist”

  10. Tom Harrison
    There is more to empiricism than listing laws of science. If you are so sure that you are right why not use these laws in concert with the evidence to formulate a testable hypothesis?

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