Great Summary of the Greenhouse Effect


See Wikipedia’s discussions page on “Greenhouse Effect”. It’s long and detailed, and cites a number of sources. However, it does a great job of explaining why the Greenhouse Effect, as described in the article, is very incomplete. It also goes into attempts to quantify the amount of heat transferred via radiation and convection. It also talks about certain kinds of greenhouses that actually cool the interior.

(Note that Wikipedia, unlike most other sources, carefully avoids the twin traps of talking about “trapped” heat and heat flowing from cold to hot.)

A certain individual decided to actually do science and is attempting various experiments similar to Wood’s. (See here) Hopefully, more people are encouraged to do something similar so we can settle the matter once and for all.

I hope a few things are made clear to all readers. One, the Greenhouse Effect is hardly settled science and certainly doesn’t deserve its name. Contrary to claims otherwise, it is incredibly difficult to see what exactly is happening in our atmosphere, mostly because the earth just doesn’t sit still for us to measure, and a lot of the interactions don’t reach equilibrium.

Two, there are simply too many variables involved, and one mistake in reducing things throws everything off.

Should we hamstring our economy based on this foundation? I don’t think so. Unfortunately, we will never be able to predict weather or climate, and that means we’re better off not worrying too much about it.


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