Monthly Archives: November 2009

Understanding the Science of CO2’s Role in Climate Change: 2 – Electromagnetic Radiation and Earth’s Climate

This post, the 2nd (1st post here) in the series on Understanding the Science of CO2‘s Role in Climate Change, discusses several electromagnetic radiation topics:  1) electromagnetic spectrum basics, 2) essential climate related electromagnetic radiation physics, and 3) the Sun  and Earth’s electromagnetic radiation spectra.

I present the basic formulas and 3 R based charts that I have developed to help readers get a sense for the underlying physics and to provide a basic  foundation for understanding the climate related properties of greenhouse gases and the energy balance models presented in upcoming posts.I have also included an Excel workbook with these basics formulas.

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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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Learn R Toolkit Update

My Learn R Toolkit  went on-line in April, 2009. I’m happy to announce that the 10,000th  file download benchmark was reached on October 30.

Here are a few comments that Learn R Toolkit users have submitted:

  • “… I think your instructional material is simply excellent. Your explanations are uncomplicated, unhurried and clear.”
  • “I’ve enjoyed your R tutorial series. Thank you. It was worth the $19.”
  • “You’ve given me some fishing poles to catch what I want to catch.”
  • “Your tutorials are a good starting point for learning about R. I’m interested in manipulating data … and find myself referencing your tutorials on different issues.”

All modules are free, so be sure  to check out my Learn R Toolkit for yourself.