Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oh the irony! Cutting CO2 emissions is harming the ozone layer

Law of unintended consequences at work, Montreal & Kyoto Protocols Do Battle

A UN report published yesterday claims, for the first time in 30 years since the Montreal Protocol, to have "detected a measurable increase in ozone" in the highly variable and seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica. But, ironically, the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions is having the opposite effect of increasing the ozone hole:
"Paradoxically, the heat-trapping greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming are actually helping rebuild the ozone layer. Paul A. Newman, who co-chairs the U.N. panel, told the AP higher levels of carbon dioxide and other gases help cool the upper stratosphere, which increases the amount of ozone."
Yes, that's right, deadly man-made CO2 is the largest cooling agent of the stratosphere as demonstrated by this computer-modeled representation of stratospheric cooling rates:

3. Stratospheric cooling rates:  The picture shows how water, cabon dioxide and ozone contribute to longwave cooling in the stratosphere.   Colours from blue through red, yellow and to green show increasing cooling, grey areas show warming of the stratosphere.  The tropopause is shown as dotted line (the troposphere below and the stratosphere above).  For CO2 it is obvious that there is no cooling in the troposphere [or warming!], but a strong cooling effect in the stratosphere.  Ozone, on the other hand, cools the upper stratosphere but warms the lower stratosphere.  Figure from: Clough and Iacono, JGR, 1995; adapted from the SPARC Website.  Please click to enlarge! (60 K)  [Source] [Rebuttal] [Ozone O3 is shown as a cooling agent in the upper stratosphere, but a warming agent in the upper troposphere to lower stratosphere]
Note also that the computer-model output above demonstrates that CO2 is a very strong cooling agent in the stratosphere and CO2 is neither a cooling or warming agent of the troposphere [indicated by the light blue at the CO2 primary wavenumber at ~700 cm-1, or ~15um]. The modeled output shows CO2 to have a tiny blip of slight warming effect [light gray] at the tropopause [shown by dotted horizontal line], but clearly the net effect of CO2 shown in this diagram from the surface to the stratosphere is cooling, not warming.

And there's also this: New paper finds global warming caused by CFCs, not CO2; predicts cooling for next 50-70 years and Why does CO2 cool the stratosphere & warm the troposphere? Warmists don't agree on an answer, which also suggests CFCs have a cooling effect on the stratosphere as well. 

Earth’s ozone layer is recovering

By Gail Sullivan September 11 at 4:08 AM    WASHINGTON POST

Finally, some good news about the environment: The giant hole in Earth’s ozone layer is shrinking.

The atmospheric layer that protects Earth’s inhabitants from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is slowly rebuilding itself, according to a United Nations report published Wednesday.

Scientists credit the recovery to the phasing out of chemicals used in refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol cans in the 1980s.

“It’s a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together,” said chemist Mario Molina, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into the ozone layer.

It was in the 1970s that scientists first realized chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had worn the ozone layer thin above Antarctica. Studies have shown that, left unchecked, ozone destruction could cause higher rates of skin cancer, disrupt plant growth and destabilize the aquatic food chain thanks to an increase in harmful ultraviolet rays.

Fortunately, the world’s policymakers were proactive about environmental problems back then. Leaders agreed in 1987 to the Montreal Protocol, which phased out CFCs.

At the time, industry objected, saying the science was speculative and that regulation would be costly and lead to lost jobs.

Sound familiar?

Once chemical companies figured out how to make safe substitutes for CFCs, industry was less resistant to the proposed precautionary measures. DuPont and other producers eventually promised to phase out production and supported international controls.

This undated image provided by NASA shows the ozone layer over the years, Sept. 17, 1979, top left, Oct. 7, 1989, top right, Oct. 9, 2006, lower left, and Oct. 1, 2010, lower right. Earth protective but fragile ozone layer is finally starting to rebound, says a United Nations panel of scientists. Scientists hail this as rare environmental good news, demonstrating that when the world comes together it can stop a brewing ecological crisis. (AP Photo/NASA)

Nearly 30 years after the Montreal Protocol was signed, the ozone layer is just starting to heal, according to a panel of 300 scientists that reports every four years to the United Nations on the subject.

It will take until 2050 for the ozone layer in the mid-latitudes to return to relatively healthy 1980s conditions, the U.N. report said. Around the Antarctic, where the ozone layer is the most damaged, it will take until 2075.

This is the first time scientists have detected a measurable increase in ozone, World Meteorological Organization senior scientific officer Geir Braathen told Reuters.

The ozone layer remains about 6 percent thinner than in the 1980s. Damaging chemicals still linger in the atmosphere. While it has stopped growing, the hole over the Antarctic still appears each year.

The hole was largest in 2006 at about 30 million square kilometers. It’s now about 20 million square kilometers, Reuters said — big enough for the moon to pass through, though its size varies from year to year because of atmospheric temperature changes.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, called the effort to get rid of ozone-destroying substances “one of the great success stories of international collective action in addressing a global environmental change phenomenon.”

The report, however, did have some bad news.

Carbon tetrachloride, one of the ozone-depleting chemicals that should have been phased out, was found in increased amounts in the past decade, which could means it is still being used illegally.

Also, Massachusetts Institute of Technology atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon told the Associated Press the chemicals that replaced CFCs — the stuff blamed for damaging the ozone layer in the first place — are contributing to another environmental problem: global warming.

Paradoxically, the heat-trapping greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming are actually helping rebuild the ozone layer. Paul A. Newman, who co-chairs the U.N. panel, told the AP higher levels of carbon dioxide and other gases help cool the upper stratosphere, which increases the amount of ozone.

“The challenges that we face are still huge,” Steiner said. “The success of the Montreal Protocol should encourage further action not only on the protection and recovery of the ozone layer but also on climate.”

Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.


Excerpt from E.M. Smith's Chiefio blog explains the same principles:

In a prior posting I showed the graph before. It is well worth repeating:
Stratosphere radiation by species
Stratosphere radiation by species
That dashed line across the middle is the idealized Tropopause. (In reality it varies from about 17 km over the equator down to near ground level at the poles (or “indistinct” as they said in the wiki…)).
Below the Tropopause convection rules. Above it, radiative heat transport rules. Right off the bat, we have a big clue about why AGW (human caused ‘Global Warming’) is based on errors. The belief that radiative forcing at ground level ‘matters’ is simply shown a fantasy by the existence of the Troposphere. BY DEFINITION, it is convection, evaporation, condensation, clouds and rain that matter in the Troposphere. But lets look at that graph some more and pick up some interesting bits.
It comes from:
Which is paywalled, but the abstract says:
A line-by-line model (LBLRTM) has been applied to the calculation of clear-sky longwave fluxes and cooling rates for atmospheres including CO2, O3, CH4, N2O, CCl4, CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-22 in addition to water vapor. The present paper continues the approach developed in an earlier article in which the radiative properties of atmospheres with water vapor alone were reported. Tropospheric water vapor continues to be of principal importance for the longwave region due to the spectral extent of its absorbing properties, while the absorption bands of other trace species have influence over limited spectral domains. The principal effects of adding carbon dioxide are to reduce the role of the water vapor in the lower troposphere and to provide 72% of the 13.0 K d−1 cooling rate at the stratopause. In general, the introduction of uniformly mixed trace species into atmospheres with significant amounts of water vapor has the effect of reducing the cooling associated with water vapor, providing an apparent net atmospheric heating. The radiative consequences of doubling carbon dioxide from the present level are consistent with these results. For the midlatitude summer atmosphere the heating associated with ozone that occurs from 500 to 20 mbar reaches a maximum of 0.25 K d−1 at 50 mbar and partially offsets the cooling of 1.0 K d−1 contributed by H2O and CO2 at this level. In the stratosphere the 704 cm−1 band of ozone, not included in many radiation models, contributes 25% of the ozone cooling rate. Radiative effects associated with anticipated 10-year constituent profile changes, 1990–2000, are presented from both a spectral and spectrally integrated perspective. The effect of the trace gases has been studied for three atmospheres: tropical, midlatitude summer, and midlatitude winter. Using these results and making a reasonable approximation for the polar regions, we obtain a value for the longwave flux at the top of the atmosphere of 265.5 W m−2, in close agreement with the clear-sky Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) observations. This agreement provides strong support for the present approach as a reference method for the study of radiative effects resulting from changes in the distributions of trace species on global radiative forcing. Many of the results from the spectral calculations reported here are archived at the Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center for use by the community.
Yes, it’s another model… Measured would be better, but “going with it”, it’s a very detailed “line by line” model. They are specifically modeling the cooling of IR sensitive gasses (water vapor, CO2, Ozone). That’s what we want to know. (They also run off into Panic Global Warming Land, but hey, even Chicken Little might have some useful information…)
I got the actual image from another source (reference in the Troposphere Rules posting) that captioned it:
3. Stratospheric cooling rates: The picture shows how water, carbon dioxide and ozone contribute to longwave cooling in the stratosphere. Colours from blue through red, yellow and to green show increasing cooling, grey areas show warming of the stratosphere. The tropopause is shown as dotted line (the troposphere below and the stratosphere above). For CO2 it is obvious that there is no cooling in the troposphere, but a strong cooling effect in the stratosphere. Ozone, on the other hand, cools the upper stratosphere but warms the lower stratosphere. Figure from: Clough and Iacono, JGR, 1995; adapted from the SPARC Website. Please click to enlarge! (60 K)
I’ve added the bold bit.
Now notice that there is a nice bright diamond of CO2 radiating away heat in the stratosphere, but just below it and below the dashed line, in the troposphere, the CO2 band is doing nothing. That’s what they are talking about. The CO2 band is already closed in the troposphere. It is NOT going to be any more closed with more CO2. Furthermore, “downwelling” IR from the CO2 above it will NOT open it. (Nor reach the ground). A shut door is shut. All the noise and smoke about CO2 and downwelling IR is just stuff and nonsense. That door is shut. CO2 as a radiative agent is limited to action in the stratosphere, where it is a net cooling agent.
Add more CO2, it will not make the ground warmer.
Now enter Le Chatelier. At most, CO2 could cause some other species to have a reduced effect. It could cause some change in the percent of IR radiated in the stratosphere via O3 or via the small water vapor present. It might couple to the water in the troposphere and conductively put some energy in the tropospheric water vapor engine (that then conducts it to the stratosphere). Le Chatelier says to expect an adaptation toward restoration of equilibrium, and there is a lot of water available to act in just that way. So that’s the first and most likely place to look. 
Remainder is here of this highly recommended post:

Le Chatelier and his Principle vs The Trouble with Trenberth


  1. As has been noted, there is no significant trend in stratospheric cooling over the last 20 years. A couple of years ago Judith Lean wrote a summary article on climate and solar influences titled 'Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate'.

    Figure 4 on page 115 breaks down the atmosphere into Lower Troposphere, Middle Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere. The lowest panel for each shows the anthropogenic influence. As can be seen, over the last 20 years the anthropogenic influence has been flat.

    One can therefore assume that carbon dioxide levels are not a dominate influence in this 'fingerprint'. Indeed, in the text Lean writes "stratosphere cooling is actually modeled better by changes in CFCs than by increases in greenhouse gases."

    Sep 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commenter Robert Pollock at Bishop Hill

  2. " in the troposphere, the CO2 band is doing nothing. That’s what they are talking about. The CO2 band is already closed in the troposphere."
    A qualitative argument:
    Why are we forgetting that the Stratospheric altitude temp. coefficient is positive and more CO2 at higher temperature will radiate more efficiently than with less CO2? CO2 forcing is negative, ie increased radiation with the temperature gradient. So yes the overall Trop can have its temperature lowered since there will be double CO2 radiating in all CO2 bands.

  3. You do not convey a logical response in any of this lengthy (unpublished) blibber blabble. He/she is clearly uneducated.

    If you can explain the axes on your very first figure i will believe everything you preach!

    In the few figures they attempted to present, the correlation between axes made little sense.

    1. vertical axis is height in km from the surface, which changes inversely to pressure. The only wavenumber in cm-1 relevant for CO2 is any ~666, which as you can see results in ZERO warming below the dotted line (the troposphere)