Off By a Factor of 300,000

From a summary of a speech by Al Gore:

The temperature of Venus is 455 degrees because CO2 floats in the air. This is where is we are heading because we are drawing it out of the Earth, trapping it and increasing temperature.

Using actual science, rather than an activist’s alarmist logic:

The arithmetic of absorption of infrared radiation also works to decrease the linearity. Absorption of light follows a logarithmic curve (Figure 1) as the amount of absorbing substance increases. It is generally accepted that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already high enough to absorb almost all the infrared radiation in the main carbon dioxide absorption bands over a distance of only a few km. Thus, even if the atmosphere were heavily laden with carbon dioxide, it would still only cause an incremental increase in the amount of infrared absorption over current levels. This means that a situation like Venus could not happen here. The atmosphere of Venus is 90 times thicker than Earth’s and is 96% carbon dioxide, making the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on Venus 300,000 times higher than on Earth. Even so, the high temperatures on Venus are only partially caused by carbon dioxide; a major contributor is the thick bank of clouds containing sulfuric acid [7]. Although these clouds give Venus a high reflectivity in the visible region, the Galileo probe showed that the clouds appear black at infrared wavelengths of 2.3 microns due to strong infrared absorption [8]. Thus, Venus’s high temperature might be entirely explainable by direct absorption of incident light, rather than by any greenhouse effect. The infrared absorption lines by carbon dioxide are also broadened by the high pressure on Venus [9], making any comparison with Earth invalid.

Not to mention the fact that Venus is a lot closer to that big yellow thing that Al Gore denies has any real effect on changing temperatures on Earth.

  • Paul M


    My first post on CS. This is off the topic but I just wanted to get your views on the Met Office model.

    I work in the London Insurance Market and last week we had a lecture on the Mayor of London’s climate change action programme. Usual stuff about AGW and some of the more daft ideas that are being inflicted on us Londoners by Red Ken.

    After the lecture, I challenged to speaker who works for Ken but used to work for the Met Office. He said that the Met Office model had been tested by hindcasting and had been found to be ok and it was all about the fundamental laws of physics.

    I wondered if you could point to any analysis of this “hindcast”



  • TCO

    bow-RING! (Another criticism of popular media stuff from your opponents, rather than actual data analysis to learn something.)

  • RW

    Do you trust your source to have accurately quoted what Al Gore said?

  • davidcobb

    RE: TCO
    When scientists (Lonnie Thompson) describe the Goracle’s work as “resonably accurate” (on his website), it is quite appropriate to prove it’s not.

  • Adirian

    TCO, if proponents of runaway AGW refuse to speak out against their representatives, the skeptics are going to.

    Honestly, want to know what would help your side? If its institutions like the IPCC would come out and say that people like Al Gore are wrong. Instead, from the top to the bottom, from IPCC to RealClimate, you have a collection of individuals who regard anyone arguing for their side as doing good work – regardless of the validity of what they say.

    And attacking anyone who disagrees with them. Regardless of the validity of what they say.

    This is not good science, this is cult behavior.

  • TCO

    I am on the skeptic side. I just disdain shoddy analysis. Similarly to how I think Skilling was a McK-buzzword-spouting hack who read one paper on securitization, but was not really bright, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think Core-fin isn’t interesting.

  • This post reminded me of some open questions I have myself about Venus’ “runaway greenhouse”…

    Venus: Cool Greenhouse?

  • This post reminded me of some open questions I have myself about Venus’ “runaway greenhouse”…

    Venus: Cool Greenhouse?