The fingerprints of the greenhouse effect

09/25/2019 14:06 - Posted by Tom van Leeuwen
The hypothesis of "man-made climate change" tells us that the increase in the concentration of CO2 enhances the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere and has global warming as a final result.

Since the beginning of the industrialized era around 1850, man emits relatively large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere through the use of fossil fuels. The consequence of these emissions is that during that period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased sharply from about 300 parts per million to more than 400 ppm, an increase of almost 40%. The average temperature increased in the same period more or less 1.5 °C with a small variation depending on the data source used.

There seems to be a correlation between the concentration of CO2 and the earth's temperature in this period. But correlation does not imply causality . It can be pure coincidence that these two concepts are developing in a synchronized way. In a previous article we already saw that for other periods this correlation is nonexistent.

Infrared radiation fluxes

To check if there is a causality between these two concepts, we look for signs of phenomena inherent to the supposed heating process due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. These are like fingerprints that should be there if such an enhanced greenhouse exists. The measurement of these phenomena could lead us to a conclusion about the validity of the hypothesis.
According to the hypothesis, the increased concentration of greenhouse gases slows the cooling by infrared radiation of the earth's surface. This infrared radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and partially returned to Earth. This process would leave two fingerprints:
  • In the lower part of the atmosphere, near the earth's surface, we should observe an increased flux of infrared radiation to the surface that would be the energy that would effectively heat the Earth
  • In order for this energy to stay within the terrestrial system and can heat the Earth, in the highest parts of the atmosphere the tendency of the outgoing infrared radiation flux should remain constant or in any case, not increase more than the flux mentioned in the previous point.
What we are looking for is an alteration of the balance between conserved energy and energy lost to space. Without an alteration of this balance, the Earth can't be heated by the greenhouse effect.
This article explains in great detail how we came to identify these two fingerprints.

Checking the hypothesis

Combining the two fingerprints we can propose the following test to prove or disprove the hypothesis:

If there is an enhanced greenhouse effect, the flux of infrared radiation to the earth's surface should tend to gradually grow beyond the flux of infrared radiation into space.
If, on the contrary, there is no marked divergence in the trends of these two infrared radiation fluxes, the initial hypothesis would be refuted.

Fortunately, the satellite instruments NASA CERES provides us since 2000 with detailed data on these infrared radiation fluxes.

In the graph, we show the data of the CERES satellite measurement system. The light red line is the infrared radiation in the upper part of the atmosphere that will end in outer space while the dark red line is the infrared radiation directed to the earth's surface in the lower parts of the atmosphere.
We observe a clear coincidence of the two lines. There are periods of increase and decrease in radiation levels, especially during the period 2008-2012 that coincides with the consecutive phenomena of La Niña, El Niño and again La Niña and during the super-El Niño of 2016, but in no way can one speak of a gradual divergence between the trends of the two types of infrared radiation.


In the period from 2000 to 2018 we observed a clear increase in the concentration of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere. At the same time, the average earth temperature rose by about 0.3 °C (satellite measurements from the University of Huntsville, Alabama (UAH)).
However, we do not observe any gradual divergence in the trends of infrared radiation flows in the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere compared to the lower part of the atmosphere, a divergence that would be a fingerprint of the increased greenhouse effect. The fingerprint is missing and therefore:

the hypothesis of climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions is refuted.

Natural causes

  • If the actions of man do not cause that temperature increase, then what is the cause?
    The start of industrial activity coincides almost perfectly with the end of the coldest period of the last 10 thousand years known as "The Little Ice Age". So the temperature rise since then is nothing more than the return to the 'normal' conditions of the Holocene before the Little Ice Age.

  • If CO2 is a greenhouse gas and its concentration is increasing, then why does this not cause the temperature rise we observe?
    Yes, that seems to be a contradiction, but it is not. CO2 only absorbs a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum, especially radiation in the wavelength band around 15 micrometers. Most of the infrared radiation is not affected by CO2.
    In addition, the CO2 greenhouse effect has a logarithmic trajectory. When the concentration of CO2 rises, there is less and less radiation in its bands of the electromagnetic spectrum available to be absorbed. Increasing the concentration of CO2 above a certain value no longer has a measurable effect on temperature. This phenomenon is known as "saturation". The CO2 greenhouse effect was already almost saturated with the CO2 levels present before the Industrial Revolution, so it has never played an important role in the entire period since then. More detailed information on the saturation of the greenhouse effect: Why did the warming stop?

Do you want to know more?

The first part of this article is a summary of this study. The original article offers much more details on how to reach our conclusion. Before you start reading the text it is useful to know some abbreviations:
  • DWLWIR - Downwelling Longwave Inward Radiation
  • EALOR - Effective Atmospheric Layer of Outward Radiation (the height at which radiation is more likely to be emitted into space than to return to Earth)
  • ToA - Top of Atmosphere
  • sfc - surface

Tom van Leeuwen, September 2019.


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Why did the warming stop?

The political reports of the IPCC are based on the hypothesis that CO2 is the most important control knob of the Earth's temperature. The problem is that this hypothesis does not correspond at all with the empirical data available to science. Forecasts are made using models that are not capable of 'predicting' the past.

Temperature versus CO2 – the big picture

When discussing “Climate Change” it’s good to have an understanding of how the Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That will give us a reference to decide whether the current changes are normal or not.

Global temperatures have varied a lot over the last 500 million years. Depending on the timescale used, the current temperature is either cold or hot, so when you want to know the “normal temperature” you’ll have to indicate what timescale you’re using.

Dutch Warming

In the Netherlands, the day-to-day whether depends heavily on the direction the wind is coming from. Being a small country, the wind direction is quite homogeneous for the whole country, specially on higher altitudes where the bulk of heat convection is taking place.

Due to its geographical position, midway between the icy-cold Arctic to the north, the dry and hot Sahara to the south, the Eurasian land-mass to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, every wind direction comes with unique weather characteristics.

North - cold,
East - dry,
South - warm,
West - wet whether.

Satellite temperature observations

This month of January 2023, the average satellite temperature published, by Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer (University Alabama Huntsfield) had a negative deviation, compared with the average monthly measures between 1991 and 2000.

Of course, this value does not mean much, it's definition is full of arbitrary begin and endpoints, but anyway it doesn't sound like a lot of warming has taken place over the past 30 years, and even less "catastrophic warming" we're reading about in the Mainstream Media, newspapers and TV stations.

CO2 saturation

This graph is all you need to understand that CO2 is not the Earth's Climate Control Knob.

On the horizontal axis, we see the Infra-red (IR) spectrum wavelengths, that is like "IR colors" were this kind of radiation visible to the human eye.
The vertical axis shows to energy flux, that is the energy emitted by the Earth, as seen from outer space.

The graph itself shows how the Earth's atmosphere filters the IR radiation emitted by the Earth's surface and the role of the various greenhouse gases in that filtering process. The green line is the filter of the Earth's atmosphere without any greenhouse gases.

Video - Who are the real climate deniers?

The climate has shown many fluctuations during the Holocene. The difference between the highest and lowest average temperature of the past 10 thousand years is about 3 °C.

Climate alarmists, led by the IPCC, are trying to deny this, and understandably so. This variation means that without human influence there was climate change as well.

This undermines their hypotheses and often their jobs depend on it.

Climate change seen from a historical perspective.

Satellite Earth temperature February 2022

The satellite temperature departure measurement for February 2022 is exactly 0° C.

This means that Earth temperature during February 2022 was exactly the same as the average from 1991 to 2020.

Satellites are the best way to have insight into the short-term temperature variations. They measure the whole surface, independent of weather station distribution, Heat Islands, measurement failures, surface condition (land or water).

There is a step-wise increase in temperature, triggered by two very strong El Niño events (1998 and 2016.) The energy that welled up from the deep oceans established a new level in these two ocasions, where the warming paused. This is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with CO2, or human activity.

Where is the Climate Emergency? It just does not exist.

Wake up and spread this information to your government!

Tom van Leeuwen, March 1st, 2022.