U.S. National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect (Part Two)

Glenn Tamblyn  (climateandrisk.com) and John Cook (skepticalscience.com) were among a myriad commenters apoplectic with rage about my article yesterday. * Their outrage was because I showed that no American science academy, at least till 1979, gave the idea of the greenhouse gas theory the time of day. In fact it was never even mentioned in a key report to Congress that year. So much for ‘settled science’ I said.


But Tamblyn was having none of it. He thought he had gotten one over on me by citing a paper from 1967 by climate experts, Manabe and Wetherald. [1] Now that I’ve had time to read and digest that paper two things struck me: (a) How many times the authors mentioned the GHE. Answer: ZERO and (b) They found carbon dioxide cools the atmosphere and water vapor dominates the climate system.

Peppered throughout the paper on virtually every page were such water-related terms as ‘hydrological cycle’, ‘convective equilibrium’, ‘humidity,’ ‘clouds’, ‘water vapor.’ So much so, it was obvious that the authors understood the overriding significance of latent heat in the atmospheric system. Playing second fiddle in all this is radiation and carbon dioxide (CO2), which Glenn, like all other GHE believers, wants to tell you is a far more important climatic factor. Well, judging by this offering –  his “best evidence” from 50 years ago –  Glenn’s rather proved my point.

The big bombshell drops on Tamblyn’s argument from page 250 onwards where the authors admitted:

“If one discusses the effect of carbon dioxide upon the climate of the earth’s surface based upon these results, one could conclude that the greater the amount of carbon dioxide, the colder would be the temperature of the earth’s surface.” [emphasis added]

Manabe and Wetherald also declare:

“In order to obtain the complete picture, it is also necessary to consider the effect of convection.” (p 251). They then go on to state, “The larger the mixing ratio of carbon dioxide, the colder is the equilibrium temperature of the stratosphere.”(p 251).[emphasis added]


“Generally speaking, the larger the cloud amount, the colder is the equilibrium temperature of the earth’s surface” (p 252). [emphasis added]

So, in short,  they say CO2 and clouds make the earth’s atmosphere colder, while convection is a cooling process, and almost wherever you care to look  not even one mention of any greenhouse gas effect – whether  natural or enhanced by humans. PSI’s independent researchers will be pleased! As Dr. Tim Ball has adroitly shown many times, the GHE ‘Big Lie’  over global warming due to human emissions of CO2 only began to appear in mainstream science journals from the time of Margaret Thatcher’s speech to the Royal Academy, London in 1988. [2]

And as Tim’s colleagues at Principia Scientific have demonstrated, the only ‘heat trapping’ gas proven to exist in Earth’s atmosphere is water vapor – thanks to the miraculous properties of latent heat. No other gas traps heat. It is by the (non-greenhouse gas) phase changes of water vapor that Earth is able to enjoy such a moderate climate. It is the very reason why the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in 1951 finally dismissed carbon dioxide and the GHE as a possible factor.

The AMS assessed the greenhouse gas hypothesis based on the best science of the day. They found  the consensus opinion was that there is no evidence of any greenhouse gas effect  in our climate and it “was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation [that would be] absorbed by CO2 is [already] absorbed by water vapor.” [3]


*This article is one of a series on this subject. The full set are found as follows: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four,Part Five,Part 6

[1] Manabe. S & Wetherald, R.T., ‘Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity,’ Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, May 1967 .

[2] Thatcher, M., Speech to the Royal Society (27 September 1988), Public Statement, Speech Archive, Margaret Thatcher Foundation (accessed online: December 3, 2012)

[3] Brooks, C.E.P. (1951). “Geological and Historical Aspects of Climatic Change.” In Compendium of Meteorology, edited by Thomas F. Malone, pp. 1004-18 (at 1016). Boston: American Meteorological Association.


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17 responses to “U.S. National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: CO2 cooled the atmoshere … before it didn’t | pindanpost

  2. Pingback: US National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect: Part Three | johnosullivan

  3. In the other thread they have completely ignored my point that their long range AGW models are not verifiable and therefore worthless.


    I even picked on the NAS report you brought up because even after 33 years it is still worthless because it is not verifiable or testable as you would have to wait another 50 years to see if their wild guess is even in the ballpark but as has been shown in recent years the CO2 sensitivity level is now considered much lower than it was in 1979 making that statement back then “We estimate the most probable global warming for a doubling of CO2 to be near 3°C with a probable error of ±1.5°C” a really big guess as it has in recent years been reduced to around 1.5 degree C to a doubling of CO2 thus showing their never proved credible1979 model guess as being astrology level science thinking.

    Yet we have guys like Glenn Tamblyn ignore that indisputable fact that CO2 at best in a minimal player in any climate driving scenarios and continue to defend the worthless long range climate models as if they are part of credible science research.


    How many people are willing to wait 50 or more years to see if a wild unsubstantiated guess is going to be substantially correct?

  4. “How many people are willing to wait 50 or more years to see if a wild unsubstantiated guess is going to be substantially correct?”

    Why should the alarmists worry? They have placed their bets on both sides and the middle and it is our money and lives they are betting. As long as there is weather, whatever happens will be consistent with their bets and they think they won’t lose a thing. It is irrelevant to them that what they are doing is not science because they believe believing is reality. More specifically, they intend to control what is believed by controlling what thoughts and actions that are considered to be politically correct. Thus far it has worked remarkably well.

    Our work has just begun when we have discovered, validated, and reproduced the the science of the matter. We have to win the thoughts, hopes, and dreams of those who really do matter: those who create the wealth the alarmists are intent on stealing and spending and who’s lives they intend to destroy. We must establish that, to live and thrive, it is reason, reality, and logic that matters first, last, and always! Faith, belief, and political correctness are shortcuts to nowhere. Thus far, we are losing that battle big time.

  5. Glenn Tamblyn


    Thanks for a Great Xmas Present! I have been debating climate change ‘skeptics’ for 7 years and this post has to be one of the all time classic Cherry-Picks. An absolute Gem. You manage to find the one short passage in Manabe & Wetherald (M&W) which, if carefully taken out of context, makes black look like it is white! Even by skeptic standards, a masterful piece of misrepresentation.
    The section you lifted the quote from was discussing approaches taken by other researchers and themselves to analysing the problemand the issues with them. Hence the ‘…one COULD conclude…” tone of the comment. Then they move on to the actual basis of the paper, and you completely ignore all of that.

    You quote their statement about stratospheric cooling – which of course is part of how the process works,the COMPLETELY IGNORE the sentence immediately above that that says increased CO2 causes warming of the surface and Troposphere.

    Lets look at what M&W actually said.In more detail.(CAPS are my emphasis)

    M&^W are examining the previous work by Moller (1963), Berliand & Berliand (1952) & Boltz & Falkenburg (1950).

    “… Moller (1963) and Berliand & Berliand (1952) obtained their empirical formulas from radiation chart computations, where as Boltz & Falkenburg (1950) obtained their formula using measurements with a carefully calibrated vibrational pyranometer. Our comparison shows the results obtained by the various methods to be fairly consistent. Generally speaking, the dependence of net radiation with temperature is small. It increases or decreases with with increasing temperature depending on the method of computation. For example, the results of the present computation and those of Berliand indicate that the net upward radiation decreases monotonically with increasing surface temperature for the ordinary range of temperatures. (Here is John O’s Cherry Pick) IF ONE DISCUSSES THE EFFECT OF CARBON DIOXIDE UPON THE CLIMATE OF THE EARTHS SURFACE BASED UPON THESE RESULTS ONE COULD CONCLUDE THAT THE GREATER THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE, THE COLDER WOULD BE THE TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE, i.e, to compensate for the increase of downward radiation due to the increase of carbon dioxide, it is necessary to have a lower temperature….
    (Immediately followed by)

    So a discussion by M&W of the shortcomings of previous ways of calculating things. Not the conclusion of their paper, rather a discussion of the problems that their paper actually provides solutions to.

    So your supposed ‘find’ of a cooling prediction was in the section discussing previous problems.

    Then you completely missed the next few sentences that set the ball rolling:

    “The basic shortcoming of this line of argument may be that it is based upon the heat balance ONLY OF THE EARTH’S SURFACE, instead of that OF THE ATMOSPHERE AS A WHOLE. In Fig 15, the net upward longwave radiation at the TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE, together with that at the Earth’s, surface are plotted against the temperature at the Earth’s surface. As we have already discussed in Section 3b, the former (TOP OF ATMOSPHERE) increases significantly with temperature in contrast to the latter. In order to compensate for the DECREAsE OF NET OUTGOING RADIATION at the top of the atmosphere due to the INCREASE OF CO2 CONTENT, it is necessary TO INCREASE THE ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE. Therefore, one may expect that the LARGER THE CO2 CONTENT in the atmosphere, the WARMER wouldbe the TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH for the ordinary range of temperature”

    How could you have POSSIBLY thought this paper suggested CO2 caused cooling John. Can’t you read?

    Later they say:

    1. The larger the mixing ration of carbon dioxide, the warmer is the equilibrium temperature of the earth’s surface and troposphere.

    2. The larger the mixing ration of carbon dioxide, the colder is the equilibrium temperature of the stratosphere.

    Thats right, Increased CO2 causes cooling of the stratosphere – that’s part of what contributes to the effect. If the stratosphere cools, it radiates less longwave radiation to space.And since most of the radiation to space by the Earth is from the upper atmosphere, that’s why it matters.

    And this is why some of the skeptic arguments are wrong.

    CO2 is Saturated, adding more won’t do anything. Not in the Stratosphere it ain’t. Still lots of effect left.

    CO2 is a minor player, Water vapour does most of the work. Not in the Stratosphere it ain’t.CO2 concentrations up there are still around 390 ppm but water vapour has dropped to almost nothing – 5-10 ppm. It has all condensed out before it reaches that altitude.

    This role for radiation at high altitude is central to the Greenhouse Effect. And this was the big development in climate science from the 1950’s through to the late 60’s – the understanding of this. The decades that just don’t seem to be on your radar John, the vanished decades, where when the important discoveries where made. Forget your fixation with the 80’s John. You need to read what was happening during the 50’s & 60’s.

    • Glenn,

      No it is you who cherry picks or perhaps you aren’t comprehending the difference between what the authors admitted was known and what was the subject of speculation. The paper’s approach (stated p245) is to hypothetically test humidity in three supposed atmospheric conditions. You have zeroed in on the speculative sections posed by the authors who, nonetheless admit the driver is the hydrological cycle, not CO2. As this paper is decades old the authors were unaware back then that they needed to allow for the lapse-rate feedback and strongly-negative cloud-albedo feedback.

      In short, from the 1980’s it was assumed that if heat flow was obstructed in the atmosphere that this would lead to a “Traffic jam” effect somehow warming the surface by a non-radiative “build up” or “queue” of heat. To that we say the oxygen and nitrogen air mix is the main thing slowing cooling of the surface right there at the boundary at the base of the atmosphere – not any GHE.

      The IPCC realized sometime in the 1990’s that this non-radiative process didn’t work. So they invented the assumed multiplying effect of backradiation. The only trouble is that on Venus the multiplying would have to be about 200 to 500 times the power of the Solar insolation reaching the surface.

      But the authors knew water was king and it’s all stated in the paper on p.248 (see section; ‘Water vapor in the stratosphere’ the authors write: ”Recently, a panel on weather and climate modification appointed by the National Academy of Science (1966) suggested that the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere may be altered significantly by an increase of stratospheric water vapor anticipated with an increasing number of supersonic transport flights.” The paper then accepts the premise water vapor as the key driver and goes on to discuss such variables with reference to Manabe et al. (1965) who modeled the hydrological cycle. It is true that back then it was speculated that water vapor may have a positive feedback, but it was speculation, nothing more. But today we have far more data and it proves that water vapor is a moderator of temperatures not an amplifier.

      But as with all alarmists you put the cart before the horse to focus on speculative amplification impacts due to CO2 (radiation).

      Such assumptions are not evidence and it simply isn’t stated anywhere in the paper as being found empirically because the authors couldn’t/didn’t find it. In the very first paragraph of the introduction the authors admit that the temperature is tied to humidity. This is an acceptance that the Ideal Gas laws govern the atmosphere – not radiation.

      On p.245 they concede that after comparing equilibrium temperature with convective adjustment, that convection maintains the distribution of atmospheric temperature – not any radiative effect from CO2. The ENTIRE content of p.245 is an admission that humidity and convection are king – not radiation! As I said in my article, on each and every page, time after time, we see monotonous acceptance that WATER is king. That proves it is you, not me who cherry picks.

      When are you going to accept the evidence tells us the Ideal Gas laws (conduction and convection) control heat transport within a gas (Earth’s atmosphere) not radiation? They didn’t pin it on the supposed greenhouse effect because they understood that ‘theory’ had been refuted before 1951 (as admitted by the AMS). Accept it.

      • Glenn Tamblyn

        More of your Black is actually White John…

        From Manabe & Wetherald. I Quote:” The larger the mixing ration of carbon dioxide, the warmer is the equilibrium temperature of the earth’s surface and troposphere.” It doesn’t get much more clear cut than that.

        Then you quote the comment about stratospheric water vapour. A valid observation but completely unrelated to their study of the effect of differing humidity profiles which is about humidity in the Troposphere! Section 4a makes that clear.

        Again you seem to be unable to draw the distinction between the Troposphere and the Stratosphere.

        Then you completely ignore the Appendices where they discuss the combined Convective/Radiative model. Absorptivity values.multi layer models etc.

        In fact the entire theme of the paper is the integration of radiative and convective components. What you aren’t seeing is that a major part of this is about determining water vapor amounts at each point in the atmosphere so that the RADIATIVE EFFECT of the WATER VAPOR can be calculated. Examples:

        The first line of the Abstract:

        “RADIATIVE CONVECTIVE EQUILIBRIUM of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity is computed as the asymptotic state of an inital value problem”
        & at the end of the Abstract:
        “According to our estimate, a doubling of CO2 content in the atmosphere has the effect of raising the temperature of the atmosphere (whose relative humidity is fixed) by about 2C”

        “In this study, we will repeat the computation of RADIATIVE CONVECTIVE equilibrium of the atmosphere.”

        “Adopting the scheme of the computation of RADIATIVE TRANSFER which was developed in M.S., Manabe et al (1965) successfully performed the numerical integration of the general circulation of the atmosphere involving the hydrological cycle. In order to avoid a substantial increase in the number of degrees of freedom, the DISTRIBUTION OF WATER VAPOR, which emerged as the result of the hydrological cycle of the model atmosphere, was not used FOR THE COMPUTATION OF RADIATIVE TRANSFER. Instead the climatological distribution of humidity was used. The next step is the numerical integration of the model with COMPLETE COUPLING betwen RADIATIVE TRANSFER and the Hydrological cycle.”

        The title of the second section of the paper, after the Introduction which the previous quote comes from is:
        2b is titled:
        2c is titled:

        Fig 2 is a simple flow chart of how they combine both the RADIATIVE and CONVECTIVE aspects.

        Section 3 is titled:
        3b is:

        Section 4:

        Section 3a includes: “This result clearly demonsttrates the self-amplification effect of water vapor on the equilibrium temperature of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity” – Thats called the Water Vapor Feedback today.

        The paper is all about the integration of Radiative effects with how convection shapes the water vapor profile in the atmosphere.

        Read the paper again John.But bring an open mind to it. Be prepared to have your preconceived notions overturned. The simple fact is, you are wrong on this.

      • Glenn Tamblyn

        Alternatively John, follow my suggestion on another post.

        Contact one of the authors and ASK them what their paper means. I have already shown you where you can contact Syukuro Manabe.

        That would seem the best course of action if you are seeking to understand this.

        ASK HIM.

  6. Glenn Tamblyn

    In your previous post you were asking about old climate scientists. I commented that many of the original scientists were probably dead since they were working in the 50’s & 60’s.

    But you are in luck.Syukuro Manabe is still very much alive and working in Atmospheric Science at Princeton and Tokyo University. here http://www.princeton.edu/aos/people/faculty/manabe/

    Why don’t you email him for his response to your views on his paper. Then post his reply here. Lets see what the original author thought.

    • Glenn,you are embarrassing yourself.It is painful to see that you will pass over what John honestly posted because it is so gosh darn inconvenient!

      You have failed to notice that the CAWG conjecture failed the few short term tests and still you persist in the delusions of a trace super molecule with a tiny IR presence and being partially overlapped by Water Vapor and clobbered in where it counts the most….. in the TROPICS where Water Vapor dominates!

      The IPCC was wildly wrong in 1990 when they made PUBLISHED predictions such as this:

      The IPCC was wrong. (Matthew England and the ABC mislead Australians)

      1. The IPCC used the word “prediction” in 1990 and predicted a best estimate of 0.3°C with a range of 0.2°C – 0.5°C per decade

      2. Even with the most generous overestimate of current trends, the temperature trend has fallen below their lowest estimate, while CO2 emissions were higher than expected. The 1990 predictions can not be called “true”, “consistent” or to have “occurred” by any definition in any English dictionary.


      You need to stop trying to make CO2 a super enegry gobbling molecule when it is not.

  7. Pingback: Breaking: U.S. National Academies Find Greenhouse Effect Doesn’t Exist | johnosullivan

  8. Doug Cotton

    Thanks for providing me with further evidence to refute you. See my latest article:

  9. Pingback: National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect: Part 4 | johnosullivan

  10. Pingback: Another Alarmist Author Admits Spreading Greenhouse Gas Bunkum | johnosullivan

  11. Pingback: ” CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or the other” … | pindanpost

  12. Pingback: National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect: Part 5 | johnosullivan

  13. Pingback: National Academies and the (non) Greenhouse Gas Effect: Part 6 | johnosullivan

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