The Smartest Kids in the Room Can’t Explain Global Warming’s Green House Gas Effect

Does it seem strange to you that the smartest kids in the class, the kids that can explain the quantum mechanics supporting the greenhouse gas effect, can’t adequately explain how Long Wave Infrared Radiation (LWIR) and CO2 can warm the earth? This Video made by TEDEd does a phenomenal job explaining the quantum mechanics involved, but then they forget to mention the most important metrics.

Here are the important facts they failed to mention:

  1. CO2 only absorbs LWIR of 2.7, 4.3, and 15 Microns.
  2. Earth emits LWIR around 10 Microns
  3. The only LWIR spectrum applicable to CO2 and the Greenhouse Gas Effect is 15 Microns
  4. 10 Microns has a blackbody temperature of about room temperature of 64°F/18°C
  5. 15 Microns has a blackbody temperature of about -112°F/-80°C

How does LWIR Electromagnetic radiation convert to thermal energy? Molecular Vibrations

666 cm-1 wavenumber is 15 microns and is associated with the “bending” of the CO2 molecules. The 2.7 and 4.3 Micron absorption bands are related to the stretching and are not involved in the atmospheric absorption.

This graphic shows the absorption spectrum of CO2, which is transparent to incoming visible radiation (0.4 to 0.8 microns)


What makes a potent Greenhouse Gas is a “permanent dipole” or bend. CO2 doesn’t have a bend, unlike the extremely potent Greenhouse  Gas H2O.

Climate “Science” on Trial; CO2 is a Weak GHG, it has no Permanent Dipole

Because CO2 doesn’t have a Permanent Dipole, it only absorbs the three above mentioned wavelengths, allowing it to absorb only a small amount of radiation.

The Mechanism:

LWIR of 15 Microns gets absorbed by a CO2 molecule, kicking the CO2 Molecule’s electrons into a higher energy state, causing them to bend back and forth. This movement is thermal energy, the LWIR electromagnetic radiation is changed in form into kinetic energy which can be measured with a thermometer. (Remember, Energy can be neither created or destroyed, it can only be changed in form)

In the video, it claimed that the CO2 molecule radiates LWIR back to earth resulting in warming. That isn’t the Greenhouse Gas Effect, and LWIR of 15 microns won’t even warm ice. The Greenhouse Gas Effect is the thermalization of the LWIR causing warming of the surrounding atmosphere.

Why CO2 isn’t significant is because it is a trace gas. CO2 is 410 parts per million or 4.1 parts per 10,000, or 0.00041 or 0.041% of the atmosphere. If you look at a 100,000 seat stadium, with each person representing a molecule in the atmosphere, CO2 would represent 41 people. If 41 people suddenly went into epileptic seizures, would their kinetic energy be able to significantly alter the kinetic energy of the other 999,959 people in the stadium? Absolutely not. Being only 0.041% of the atmosphere, its impact is greatly diffused to basically nothing.

More importantly, the energy associated with 15 Microns isn’t even warm enough to melt ice. Ice emits LWIR of a shorter wavelength than 15 Microns. In other words, the 41 people aren’t having violent epileptic seizures, they are having slight shivers.

Quantum Physics 101; Why CO2 Can’t be Melting the Glaciers and Sea Ice

In Conclusion, 1 out of every 2500 molecules vibrating at an energy level consistent with -112°F/-80°C isn’t going to warm anything to any significant amount.

More on this topic:

Why CO2 is Irrelevant to the Earth’s Lower Atmosphere; You Can’t Absorb More than 100%

Comprehensive Climate Change Beatdown; Debating Points and Graphics to Defeat the Warmists

Isolating the Impact of CO2 on Atmospheric Temperatures; Conclusion is CO2 has No Measurable Impact

See, We’re Not Nuts, CO2 does Cool the Atmosphere

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2 thoughts on “The Smartest Kids in the Room Can’t Explain Global Warming’s Green House Gas Effect”

  1. I’ll plow this ground and beat this dead horse yet some more. Maybe somebody will step up and ‘splain scientifically how/why I’ve got it wrong – or not.
    Radiative Green House Effect theory: (Do I understand RGHE theory correctly?)
    1) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with atmosphere – rubbish. (simple observation & Nikolov & Kramm)
    But how, exactly is that supposed to work?
    2) There is a 333 W/m^2 0.04% GHG up/down/”back” energy loop that traps/re-emits per QED simultaneously warming BOTH the atmosphere and the surface. Good trick. Too bad it’s not real. – thermodynamic nonsense.
    And where does this magical GHG energy loop first get that energy?
    3) From the 16 C/289 K/396 W/m^2 S-B 1.0 ε BB radiation upwelling from the surface. – which due to the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the atmospheric molecules is simply not possible. (TFK_bams09)
    No BB upwelling & no GHG energy loop & no 33 C warmer means no RGHE theory & no CO2 warming & no man caused climate change.
    Got science? Bring it!!


    1. One of the CO2 IR lines is even dipole forbidden, eg. very small and the one farest aw2ay from the maximum of the earths thermal emissions……


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