Greenhouse Effect Is At The Core Of Weather Models

Every modern weather forecast model has a radiative transfer model in its core, which models the greenhouse effect.

Weather models would not work without fairly accurate models of the greenhouse effect, because humidity and cloudiness have a large impact on temperature  – largely due to the greenhouse effect.

People who don’t accept the greenhouse effect – are simply not dealing with reality. And they make skeptics look extremely ignorant.

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66 Responses to Greenhouse Effect Is At The Core Of Weather Models

  1. Scott Allen says:

    I will give you the greenhouse effect, however where we should be at odds with the “models” are how much effect/affect that CO2 has.
    One of my favorites to the adding greenhouse “problem” is how insects (ants and termites are believe to have a bio mass 29 times that of humans) add methane gas at a higher rate than humans and methane has more capacity for greenhouse effect/affect.
    So “RAID” fights global warming.

  2. Truthseeker says:


    Now you are the one bringing in straw man arguments.

    Humidity and clouds are important because they relate to water VAPOUR and VAPOUR is not GAS. They have different thermal characteristics and it is these conduction and convection characterisitcs and not their radiative characteristics which is why they are important to short term weather prediction.

    The climate models do not handle humidity and clouds well, but do use greenhouse gases and they are crap at predicting reality. That should tell you something right there …

    • Water vapor is a greenhouse gas in exactly the same way that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that Nitrogen is a non-greenhouse gas.

      This is at the very core of the science. You don’t know what you are talking about

      • Truthseeker says:

        You are saying that a vapour is the same as a gas and you say that I do not know what I am talking about.

        You are correct in what you said before. It is almost impossible to have an intelligent conversation here. The posts are still very entertaining though. Keep up the good work.

    • MrX says:

      > VAPOUR is not GAS

      ???? Whut?

      I swear these have to be paid trolls.

    • sunsettommy says:

      It does not matter because it still absorbs IR,much more than CO2 does as a gas.

    • Rick Fischer says:

      Perhaps TS is thinking of clouds, steam and fog as examples of water vapor, and humidity as water in a gaseous form. That is not scientifically accurate, but his comments are correct within that (mistaken) context.

      • cdquarles says:

        It has been a long time since I last had to work with the difference, but if my memory is correct, the difference between a gas and a vapor has to do with where on the phase diagram the sample of gas you’re talking about lies. If the sample is below its critical point, you can call it a vapor because you can mechanically cause a change of state (normally to a condensed form). If it is above that point, then you cannot mechanically cause a change of state. Mechanically here means maintaining the sample’s temperature while changing the pressure applied to the sample. Note that this is an heuristic and there are cases where this will not hold.

    • Herve D says:

      You have a confused understanding: As per physics, water vapour is a transparent gas with defined thermodynamics properties close (not identical) to ordinary gases, as long as it does not condensate. In terms of warming, water vapour is similar to CO².
      But a CLOUD is not water vapour, it is a stable mixtude of ordinary atmosphere and liquid water droplets. It has a very different role about sun irradiance reflection when thick, thermostatic effect when turbulence moves it upwards and so on.
      The popular steam steam locomotive panache exiting from its chimney is NOT water vapour as per physics, but a mixture of oxygen depleted air and water droplets… thence looks like a high density natural cloud.

  3. Phil Jones says:


    Be aware of the Frigid Heat bearing down on all but 6 States this week… SNOW predicted in all but 6 States this week… Frigid Heat… Climate Disruption on the move thanks to man made, heat trapping CO2….

  4. There is no forced greenhouse effect in a convection system. Feedback loops and mamy to many variables makes the forced greenhouse effect a laughingstock. Climate is a convection system. This used to be taught in grade 9 science.

  5. rishrac says:

    You can’t leave it alone… can you? I understand what you are saying, the problem is that the CAGW people have intertwined this principle with what co2 is suppose to do. If AGW Theory were right, none of us would be still arguing about it. That is what the IPCC and other scientists that support AGW should be doing, acknowledging that the way they have laid the Theory out is wrong. There is no question that using the math and feedbacks from co2 the dire predictions that were forecast in the 1990’s and early 2000’s should have already happened. It hasn’t, it isn’t and every feeble effort to support it is ridiculous.

    The trouble is using a term like ‘greenhouse’ . It has a become a hot button word. (so to speak)

    • The problem is that junk science is no better for skeptics than it is for alarmists.

      • rishrac says:

        However the war is real, even if it is being fought in cyber space. The CAGW crowd has never censored anyone without a clue. Even hair brained ideas were supported as long as they supported CAGW. It gave critics a lot more ideas that needed to be refuted, wasting a lot of time and energy. Since I saw this tactic being used, I have stopped saying anything against anybody who is against CAGW. Who knows, maybe the earth really is 6,000 years old, I doubt it but… according to them, God can do anything,

  6. Anything is possible says:

    I hate the term “greenhouse gas” primarily because all the gases in the atmosphere contribute to the greenhouse effect, even if they don’t acquire their heat directly by radiative absorption (the lack of bulk gases is the reason there is only a very small greenhouse effect on Mars, despite its atmosphere containing 8 times more CO2 than Earths).

    The correct distinguishing term should be radiative and non-radiative gases, IMO.

    And never forget to emphasize that the most important radiative gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, water vapor, water vapor and water vapor (:

    • gator69 says:

      Greenhouses have floors, right? Then Earth must be a greenhouse as we have a surface, or floor. Correlation is something or another.

    • Ron C. says:

      Actually, everything with a temperature above 0 Kelvin radiates. The distinction is between IR active and IR inactive gases.

    • nielszoo says:

      The other issue is that none of the gases in our atmosphere do ANY radiating below the very low pressures of the stratosphere. The emissivity of the gases in our atmosphere at normal pressures are, for all practical purposes, zero. If they emitted anything in the IR spectrum thermal cameras and the military’s thermal weapon sights (collectively known as FLIR devices) would not work as ALL of the uncooled microbolometers used in these devices are sensitive to the entire range of CO2’s and CH4’s emission range. You can see clearly for thousands of meters with these devices and if any of the atmospheric gases was actually emitting IR it would be like looking through fog.

  7. Beale says:

    How do you define a greenhouse effect? The point of a greenhouse is to be warmer than its surroundings, but the earth itself has no surroundings in this sense. Only matter can be hot or cold; empty space is neither.

    We are invited to compare the temperature of the earth’s surface with the temperature if there were no atmosphere (in which case, of course, we would not exist). The usefulness of this comparison escapes me.

    • That sounds like a personal problem.

    • Curt says:

      Beale: I invite you to compare the temperature of the earth’s surface with the temperature if the atmosphere were completely transparent to radiation (N2, O2, and Ar come very, very, close to this.) In this case, the earth’s surface — on average — could radiate no more power to space than it received from the sun — also on average. What kind of temperature levels would you get then?

      • tom0mason says:

        Curt: I invite you to explain more.
        The temperature of the earth would still vary if your fictional world has rotation at a tilt, with oceans, sea, deserts, forests etc., and variable thickness and density crust over a liquid core. These confounding factor also affect our planet and the temperature cycling that happens.

        Reduce your model any further by removing these factors and it is not the earth, it is just a naked ball in space.
        Add any real world confounding factors and your model fails.

        The atmosphere is not the only thing – get real.

        • Curt says:

          Ultimately, for the earth to be in even approximate energy balance, it must radiate basically as much power to space as it receives from the sun. There is absolutely no alternative to this.

          With a transparent atmosphere, this radiation would have to come directly from the surface. If this were true, the earth’s surface would be far, far colder than the temperatures we see, and everything you mention is small potatoes compared to this difference.

          And the more the surface temperature varies, both over time (day/night, summer/winter) and over area (tropics/temperate/polar), the lower the average temperature, and the more you need the “greenhouse effect” to explain the temperature levels we see.

        • tom0mason says:

          So our planet is just like a low pressure Venus where all the surface warming come from greenhouse gases.


  8. KevinK says:

    Ah-ha, I finally got it, Tony, you magnificent bastard (quoting Patton when he beat the crap out of Rommel). You are drawing all of us “greenhouse deniers” out of the woodwork to show off our stuff. Man you are quite the wiz at this…….

    Robert Wood would be proud of you, he did after all disprove the presence of “N-Rays”.

    What’s that you say, you’ve never heard of an “N-Ray”, well that’s simply because they DO NOT EXIST, much like the “Greenhouse Effect”.

    Very clever of you Tony…

    Cheers, Kevin.

  9. higley7 says:

    During the night, CO2 and water vapor serve as radiative gases, converting heat in the air to IR, which is lost to space. During the day, these gases are saturated and their absorption and emissions are a wash. If the “greenhouse effect” is talking about CO2 and water vapor in the upper tropical troposphere (at -17 deg C) warming the Earth’s surface (at 15 deg C), it’s a complete failure and against simple thermodynamics. If the “greenhouse effect” is the core of weather forecasting, then it is an accident that they have compounded errors to produce a working model for predicting the weather.

  10. higley7 says:

    Wait, the “greenhouse effect” does NOT include the effects of water vapor and warm air causing convection, part of a huge negative-feedback engine, and also does NOT include the radiative retarding effects of clouds!

    I claim foul here. You are redefining “greenhouse effect” to include features NOT included in the “greenhouse effect” claimed by the warmers.

  11. kuhnkat says:

    Take your argument to Piers Corbyn who does the best long term forecasts. He doe not use the Greenhouse Effect in his work and does a better job than those who do.

    In other words, it is too small to matter.

    • The greenhouse effect is very large, as indicated by the difference in nighttime temperatures in deserts and jungles.

      • kuhnkat says:

        No, cloud effects are very large. The Greenhouse effect of GHG’s is quite small and hard to identify or you would have written a peer reviewed paper on the subject and become an instant hero to all the Watermelons who desperately need it. Oh, and independently wealthy.

        So tell me, when we talk about convection don’t you consider the arboreal environment as a PHYSICAL BARRIER to it?!?!

        Maybe you need to take your measurements from 6 feet above the canopy??

  12. kuhnkat says:

    Again, you are confusing the effects of GHG’s/humidity with clouds that reflect.

  13. simon ruszczak says:

    The “Greenhouse effect” in a greenhouse is caused by the prevention of convection heat from the inside air to the outside air, caused by a physical non-convecting barrier (glass, etc) .
    CO2, water vapour, methane, etc, don’t stop convection, they can move, therefore there is no such thing as a greenhouse gas.
    CO2, etc, only temporarily impede (damp, slow down) the movement of radiated heat, to and from space.

  14. tom0mason says:

    I abhore and revile the term ‘greenhouse effect’. As an expression it is plain and obvious that ‘greenhouse effect’ happens in greenhouses, not to planets.
    IMO as a phrase it should be deprecated as it is a source of confusion and annoyance. Infra-red active would fit better. But like so many inconsistent things on this planet I will have to tolerate and accommodate it.

    • PeterMG says:

      Tony America put men on the moon using the calculations of Newtonian Gravity that has at its core mass attraction. Anyone with even the remotest scientific interest in our world cannot have failed to come across the fact that we have no proof of this “mass attraction” that the most asked question by new physics students always is “what’s the speed of gravity” for which the mainstream have no answer. It is assumed to be infinite which if Einstein is to be believed would imply infinite energy somewhere. Someone is wrong.

      You may be thinking where is this going? Simple, Newton’s Math’s works well enough at a local level for us to use it. But we know at galactic scale it does not, we know the orbit of mercury does not, and we know a certain space craft is not where we predicted it to be. Our Galaxy does not. Climate models work at one scale but otherwise they do not and as predictors of climate change have failed, and the simple answer to that is they are full of the wrong assumptions.

      If we didn’t use the words “greenhouse effect” we could move this discussion on because there is a fair amount of agreement amongst the commenters. If that leap could be made then progress could be made.

      • tom0mason says:

        If we are to have “greenhouse effect” used as a phrase in discussions here then at least put a basic definition together that will stop the simpler mistakes, and errors from happening.
        Without elementary points of reference how is the debate to move foreward?

        • PeterMG says:

          I agree. But as I have written in other posts on this topic here, the terms greenhouse, greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases are colloquial terms that have taken on a bogus scientific meaning. Even if you accept radiative forcing, the physical mechanism of this bears no relationship to the way a greenhouse works. These terms are political, they are deliberately vague and over the last 20 years the definition as used by the warmists has changed as their predictions have faltered. We will never get an adult debate on this subject just so long as people insist this is the mechanism the keeps the surface temperature of earth as it is.

          If you want another analogy let look at other words that have taken on bogus meanings. Capitalism has all but disappeared from the west to be replaced with crony capitalism. Crony capitalism has caused the banking crisis, it has diverted billions of dollars of investment into government subsidized projects that would never have got off the ground if the rules of capitalism had applied. All this money has been lost to the economy staving western companies of much needed money, and lined the pocket of the chosen few. Average wages and standards of living have fallen across the west for the first time in decades. Yet our liberal left press and bubble doweling political class blame capitalism for this failure. They have manipulated the language so that it is now impossible to have a proper debate on the subject. As with Capitalism; so with science and the green house debate.

          Until it is accepted that climate science is politics, and all the political contrived terms banished, we won’t get any progress; which is damaging as this IS the key debate. Tony needs to take a blood pressure pill (I highly recommend them) and take his own advice on all other subjects and listen to what is being said rather than be hung up on words. I don’t think there has ever been a subject that has engendered so many mental blocks than the greenhouse effect.

        • I have very low blood pressure and avoid pointless discussions of semantics.

          Greenhouse gases impede energy flow and raise the temperature below above what they would be without the greenhouse gases.

        • tom0mason says:

          I can’t get passed ‘greenhouse gases’ or ‘greenhouse effect’ being an illogical phrases, propounded by stupid historical whim. Truly I can not “get over it” anymore than you can “get over” your low blood pressure.
          I will however attempt to accomodate this stupidity of phrasing. It would be so much easier to do if a reference definition is agreed. These phrases have a slippery history of meaning and use, they can change, camelian-like, to suit any new intent, and that’s difficult to track. I do not feel it is unreasonable to request a standard, a reference point be set in this matter.

          I’m sorry if you feel offended by anything I have written – I do not mean to hurt or offend anyone. This is what and how I am. I offer no apology, if I sound too curt or off-hand please do not take it personally.

  15. tom0mason says:

    Define the greenhouse effect.

    an atmospheric heating phenomenon, caused by short-wave solar radiation being readily transmitted inward through the earth’s atmosphere but longer-wavelength heat radiation less readily transmitted outward, owing to its absorption by atmospheric carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and other gases; thus, the rising level of carbon dioxide is viewed with concern.
    such a phenomenon on another planet.
    from /dictionary.reference[dot]com


    greenhouse effect
    The greenhouse effect is defined as when the Earth’s atmosphere becomes thick with gases and substances which trap the sun’s radiation, making the Earth warmer.
    An example of the greenhouse effect is global warming.

    from yourdictionary[dot]com


    greenhouse effect

    the warming of a planet’s surface and lower atmosphere caused by trapped solar radiation: solar shortwave radiation penetrates to the planet’s surface and is reradiated into the atmosphere as infrared waves that are then absorbed by carbon dioxide, water vapor, etc.

    from Webster’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010


    greenhouse effect

    A phenomenon in which the atmosphere of a planet traps radiation emitted by its sun, caused by gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane that allow incoming sunlight to pass through but retain heat radiated back from the planet’s surface.

    from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition Copyright © 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


    greenhouse effect

    (plural greenhouse effects)

    (ecology) (with the) The process by which a planet is warmed by its atmosphere.
    The greenhouse effect could lead to global warming or, at least, climate change.

    from English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA license


    Best Answer

    Ricky answered 6 years ago
    The greenhouse effect refers to the change in the steady state temperature of a planet or moon by the presence of an atmosphere containing gas that absorbs and emits infrared radiation.[1] Greenhouse gases, which include water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, warm the atmosphere by efficiently absorbing thermal infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, by the atmosphere itself, and by clouds. As a result of its warmth, the atmosphere also radiates thermal infrared in all directions, including downward to the Earth’s surface. Thus, greenhouse gases trap heat within the surface-troposphere system.[2][3][4][5] This mechanism is fundamentally different from the mechanism of an actual greenhouse, which instead isolates air inside the structure so that the heat is not lost by convection and conduction, as discussed below. The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, first reliably experimented on by John Tyndall in the year 1858 and first reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in his 1896 paper. The emissions of the UV light is reflected by clouds. To the detriment of the Yasmin pill, it may convey symptoms of bloating and extreme swelling of the urea.[6]

    In the absence of the greenhouse effect and an atmosphere, the Earth%

    from answers[dot]yahoo[dot]com/question/index?qid=20090305074822AAsKWHf

    [I think this page is broken – TM]

    Wiki blathers on for too long to quote. It basically comes to the point near the end of the first section with…

    Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible. However, human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.[11]

    EPA at says

    The Greenhouse Effect

    If it were not for greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere, the Earth would be a very cold place. Greenhouse gases keep the Earth warm through a process called the greenhouse effect. Play the video to learn more …

    The Earth gets energy from the sun in the form of sunlight. The Earth’s surface absorbs some of this energy and heats up. That’s why the surface of a road can feel hot even after the sun has gone down—because it has absorbed a lot of energy from the sun. The Earth cools down by giving off a different form of energy, called infrared radiation. But before all this radiation can escape to outer space, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb some of it, which makes the atmosphere warmer. As the atmosphere gets warmer, it makes the Earth’s surface warmer, too.

    Learn more about radiation.
    Learn where the term “greenhouse effect” comes from.
    Greenhouse gases keep the Earth warm through a process called the greenhouse effect.

    ….And on it goes.
    What is your prefered definition – EPA? Wiki? Other?

    Without a point of reference arguments and confusion will continue.

  16. Stephen Richards says:

    Steven/Tony JAMSTEC do not include a function for CO² in their forecast model. I wrote and asked. They answered NO .

  17. Ron C. says:

    My two cents.

    Under clear skies, the atmosphere facilitates the loss of thermal energy from the surface to the upper atmosphere. Under unclear skies, water vapor, dust and condensed water in clouds reflect the thermal radiation, impeding the loss of thermal energy from the surface. Calling this reflection “back radiation” or a “greenhouse effect” has created enormous confusion.

  18. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Now that the discussion goes on i have a question.
    What would the temperature be if all CO2 was removed from the atmosphere?
    I think it might drop a few Kelvin, but would like others opinions and arguments.

    • Because of the presence of water vapor, removing all CO2 would have a minor effect on temperature in climates with significant amounts of humidity.

    • PeterMG says:

      First thing that would happen is all life on earth would cease with no CO2 so the relevance of the question is mute. However to answer it from a purely academic point of view the temperature could go up as CO2 is one of the primary cooling agents in the troposphere where all the earths energy is lost to space as IR. CO2 provides negligible warming effect. Infrared transparency in earth’s atmosphere depends upon pressure, not the composition of gases. The bulk gases, O2 and N2, under pressure delay the surface from cooling and our mild surface temperatures are the result. This by the way is NOT the greenhouse effect as espoused by most, but could be termed colloquially as the greenhouse effect.

      • Tell us what effect the pressure has on the transparency of CO2 to IR. Please show all work.

        • PeterMG says:

          Hi Morgan the internet is awash with real working physicists, retired physicists and science enthusiasts working on this stuff. I’m an engineer who is able to interpret others workings and comment upon the conclusions if not always the workings. This work is constantly evolving and being refined as is the case with all real science. If you find this link below of interest then I will provide others to discussions on the subject. The common thread is that running through these discussions is that the warming at the surface is due to pressure slowing energy transfer and the composition of the gases matters little. Convection and conduction are also the main players at the surface and not radiation which is the core assumption in climate models. We know that locally water in its various forms can dramatically change the temperature at the surface but don’t truly understand the mechanisms. We are just scratching at the surface of properly understanding water and I suggest you read a book called “The Forth Phase of Water” if you have not already.

          Click to access Robinson2014_0.1bar_Tropopause.pdf

  19. davidswuk says:

    If the atmosphere ever were a Greenhouse then we wouldn`t have invented them.

  20. Gail Combs says:

    Water is a miserable example of a ‘greenhouse gas’ because of the confounding effects of the latent heat of vaporization and the effect of albedo/reflectance of water droplets (clouds).

    As I mentioned in other threads Sleepalot and I looked at Adrar, Algeria (desert) and Barcelos, Brazil (rain forest) and found the day-night variation of ~ 10C with a high humidity vs a day-night variation of 35C without and the average temp is 4C lower when in Brazil vs Algeria, even though Barcelos is nearer the equator. The latent heat of evaporation is the probable reason for a lower temp in Brazil. You see the same thing in the 1930s Dust Bowl temperatures in the USA. Sky high temperatures and very low temperatures.

    I can not see that disentangling the effects of the latent heat of evaporation, IR radiative effect and albedo effect would be simple and I have never seen any information addressing the problem.

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