The greenhouse effect theory as it relates to Climate Change science can be stated as a process whereby back scattered radiative transfer of infrared heat from atmospheric gases and vapors that have thermal capacity causes additional surface temperature warming of the earth above that from the effects of insolation from the sun alone. The effect is said to be a ‘positive forcing’ factor of the temperature of the earth.
Insolation from the sun heats the earth – over time an equilibrium state exists with a balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing radiation. The earth radiates heat back into the atmosphere and space in the form of infrared radiation. Infra red radiation is invisible unless the object emitting it is very hot – red or white hot. It is a long wave form of radiation just outside the visible light spectrum.
John Tyndall’s experiments in 1861 demonstrated carbon dioxide is a gas with thermal capacity –it can absorb radiant heat. In 1896 the original ideas about an atmospheric greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide (then called carbonic acid) came from Svente Arrhenius in Sweden. These ideas found little scientific support. Revival of the ideas came from the Swedish climatologist Dr Bert Bolin in the early 1970’s. Activists including Al Gore and the UN IPCC that was founded in 1988 to demonstrate human influence on global warming have reinvigorated interest in the Greenhouse Effect theory.
An experiment devised to utilise the ‘greenhouse gas’ properties of carbon dioxide and demonstrate the Greenhouse Effect theory is described below.
The initial experiment was done at Tewantin, Queensland, Australia on 28 August 2011 from 1.15 pm to 2.30 pm. Temperature was 25 degress Celsius in the boxes before they were sealed and exposed to insolation. The barometric pressure 1014 hpa. The humidity was 66 %.
Two polystyrene foam 5 kg fish cooler boxes were painted inside with matt black paint. The black surface absorbs heat from sunlight and causes infrared radiative transfer of heat within the box. Heat energy is maintained in the box by the plastic wrap creating a ‘true’ greenhouse effect whereby convection is prevented from moving the hot air or CO2 away from its contained space. The heat energy is measured by monitoring the temperature. Infrared radiation can pass freely through the plastic wrap surface of the boxes.
Type K thermocouples were inserted into the boxes with the sensor tip dangling in the mid space of the boxes.
One box was sealed up with plastic wrap (Glad Wrap ®) and contained air.
The second box was filled with carbon dioxide before being sealed with plastic wrap (Glad Wrap ®). Carbon dioxide was generated using kitchen ingredients baking soda and white vinegar to achieve the following chemical reaction with production of CO2.
Na HCO3 + HC2 H3O2 –>Na C2H3O2 + H2O + CO2
Sodium bicarbonate + acetic acid –> Sodium acetate + water + carbon dioxide.
6 heaped teaspoons baking soda + 300mls vinegar –>carbon dioxide to fill the box (12.3L)
The carbon dioxide was produced in a bowl in the box in a closed room with little air movement. The bowl was then gently removed from the box. A burning taper (long match) was used to confirm the presence of CO2 by extinguishing the flame just below the rim of the box. CO2 is retained in the box since it is heavier than air. The box was then sealed with plastic wrap (Glad Wrap ®).
Both boxes were then placed outside and tilted towards the sun – apart from one containing air and the other containing carbon dioxide the boxes could be considered identical in makeup and placement.
The initial temperature before placement outside was 25 degrees Celsius. When placed outside the temperature in both boxes rose quickly and after a few minutes the temperatures were around 40 C. The box containing air heated more quickly for around 20 minutes – being about 4 C hotter than the box with the CO2.
After an hour both boxes were observed to have the same temperature – the temperature fluctuated between 65 C and 70 C with small clouds coming over at times. The temperature was assumed to have reached its equilibrium state and the experiment was terminated.
To confirm that the CO2 was indeed still in one of the boxes –the box was taken inside a closed room. Its plastic wrap was slit open and a lighted taper was introduced into the box by an independent observer on my invitation. The match was extinguished just below the rim of the box confirming the continued containment of CO2.
Result – this preliminary experiment shows there is no such thing as back scattered infrared radiative transfer causing additional temperature rise above that from insolation by solar radiation. The Greenhouse Effect theory is not confirmed by this experiment and may be disproved by it.
Further experiments are planned with attention to accurate recording of temperature changes. The boxes will be dehydrated using calcium chloride as a dessicant to produce dry air. The air can also be ‘sweetened’ by Tyndall’s method of lining a surface with glycerine to remove invisible particulates like pollens and bacteria from the air.
Comment – the independent observer mentioned above is my young adult daughter. “But how can an experiment like this disprove a theory that hundreds of climate scientists around the world say is true – surely they know far more than you do”, she asked. “That my darling is science”, say I.