Daily Archives: November 12, 2009

Understanding the Science of CO2’s Role in Climate Change: 1 – Introduction

Moving Beyond Trend Charts

I have made many trend charts and regressions over the past 4 years as I try to learn as much as I can about climate change and CO2’s role in global warming. Here are links to some of my previous Climate Charts & Graphs work:

While these trend charts and regressions help to show the relationships between climate factors, I keep asking myself the fundamental question “how does atmospheric CO2 actually affect the earth’s temperature”. To answer this, I need to delve more deeply into the physics of CO2 in the atmosphere to really understand the CO2 – climate change relationship. As I read climate science papers and visit climate change websites, I get a sense for the physics of CO2 and climate change, but not a real solid understanding.

David Archer’s “Global Warming, Understanding the Forecast book and accompanying videos of his Chicago University lectures and Dennis Hartmann’s “Global Physical Climatology have helped my understand the role that solar radiation, hartmann_book_coverelectromagnetic spectrum, blackbody radiation,  Stefan-Boltzmann Equation, Planck’s Law,  atmospheric absorption bands and greenhouse gases play in the global energy balance and climate change.

To really understand CO2’s role, I need to work with the numbers and formulas myself so that I can see the cause and effect relationships. I have developed a series of Excel tools to help me understand the physics behind global warming and to be able to reproduce several of the critical charts necessary to understanding climate change.

This series of posts will outline and graphically display the key topics and present the Excel tools that I found helpful to me to understand basic climate change science.  Where possible, I present downloadable Excel workbooks to let readers work with the fundamental equations and check out the basic mathematical relationships for themselves.

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