The Greenhouse Effect Fallacy

Every now and then, one stumbles upon articles that clearly expose the scientific paucity upon which climatic catastrophism is constructed. But it is not in the interests of those who profit from catastrophism to recognize their errors. Instead they denounce the independent thinkers as heretic infidels for speaking against dearly held belief.

Frank Schnell wrote in 2016:

Dr. Frank SchnellThe so-called “Greenhouse effect” is one of the most persistent fallacies in popular science. It is a flawed speculation left over from the late 19th century, when it was first entertained by such scientific luminaries as Joseph Fourier, John Tyndall, and Svante Arrhenius.

In fact, however, the so-called “greenhouse gases” do not “trap” infrared energy radiated from the surface of the Earth, as proposed; they merely slow its inevitable return to outer space.

Imagine a single packet of incident solar radiation. The fraction that reaches the surface of the Earth will be absorbed and re-radiated as infrared radiation (IR) or “heat”. Most of that emitted IR, after a circuitous “pinball” journey between molecules in the atmosphere, will eventually be lost to outer space. But, a small percentage of it will be momentarily absorbed by “greenhouse” gases (primarily water vapor), only to be re-emitted almost immediately and randomly in all directions.

The small percentage of the IR that greenhouse gases re-emit towards the Earth will again be absorbed and re-radiated, starting the next iteration of a cycle that will successively diminishing the amount of energy remaining from the original packet of incident solar radiation.

The important point here is that the interception and re-emission of ground-emitted IR by “greenhouse” gases does not add any energy to the initial packet of incoming solar radiation; it merely slows the dissipation of that packet of energy. The IR that is returned to the Earth’s surface does not represent a new source of energy in addition to the original packet of incident solar radiation. It is just a continually diminishing fraction of that original solar radiation. Thus, the “Greenhouse effect” does not result in the accumulation of energy beyond what the sun supplies. Rather, it merely slows the rate at which that energy is inexorably lost to outer space.

The result is a moderation of both daytime and nighttime temperatures, not a multiplying of the warming effect of the sun. In fact, the oft promoted specter of “tipping points” and “runaway greenhouse effects” represent nothing less than violations of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Indeed. If we consider the observed surface conditions on our nearest celestial neighbour we find that the Moon, which is exposed to the same intensity of solar radiation, has a daytime temperature of up to 390K (117°C or 243°F) and a nighttime temperature as low as 100K (-173°C or -343°F).
That’s the sort of temperature Earth could expect without atmospheric thermal capacity damping; along with the water on the surface and in our atmosphere.
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