By Kenneth Richard on 12. June 2023
Examining the beliefs underpinning the assumption that humans are heating up the planet can be enlightening.
A book focusing on CO2 storage has recently been published by two geophysicists (Amundsen and Landro, 2023).
Using insights from Svante Arrhenius, the late 19th century founding “father of climate change,” the authors assess that the radiative lifetime of CO2 de-excitation in the atmosphere is about 1.1 seconds. During this time span (1.1 seconds), an estimated 2,620 collisions with N2 and O2 molecules occur.
Nearly all – 99,998 out of every 100,000 – CO2 molecules do not radiate photons, but instead re-excite through collisions. Just 2 of 100,000 CO2 molecules radiate photons.
Of the CO2 molecules that absorb infrared energy from the Earth’s surface, about 1 of every 20 (5%) participate in the photon radiation process about 3-4 km above the surface.
So, if the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased by 1 part in 10,000 since 1950 (0.032% to 0.042%), and even if 100% of this one-one-hundredths of a percentage point change is due to human activity, it still can be said that humans have had a vanishingly small impact on the atmospheric CO2 radiation process.
Image Source: Amundsen and Landro, 2020