C. Does Absorption Saturation Work Against the Greenhouse Effect?

G.S Callendar one of the founding fathers of the Greenhouse Effect analysis based on CO2 stated in his scientific publication [Callendar G. S. (1938) The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Temperature, Q J.R. Meteorol. Soc Vol 64, 223-237] at page 229:

“The change of sky radiation with carbon dioxide depends largely upon this change in the altitude of the radiation focus, because the present quantity in the atmosphere (equal to a layer of 2m. at N.T.P.) can absorb nearly the maximum of which this gas is capable.”  Emphasis Added

 Most publications have assumed that the saturation issue exists and builds mathematical models surrounding various what-if scenarios.  Two laboratory tests lend support for a saturation effect.  One is by Herr Koch in 1908 and another is by Hein Hug in 1998. 

In the Koch experiment CO2 was inserted into a long tube with infrared radiation introduced into one end and an infrared detection placed at the other end.  There is insufficient information disclosed to determine if the test was valid.  If the tube was made of glass, which was a high probability at that date, there is the potential that the glass could be absorbing the infrared radiation.  The more CO2 introduced into the chamber the more scattering of the radiation and the more absorption by the glass up to the point where the glass may be absorbing all of the infrared radiation. 

Hein Hug used a 4.7 inch long 1.75 inch diameter glass test cylinder.  He introduced high energy infrared radiation source (1000°C or 2.2 µm where CO2 had a small absorption profile) into one end, and an infrared detector at the other end capable to measuring wavelengths near 15µm.  Varying amounts of CO2 were injected into tube.  Glass has a 55 percent transmittance in the wave lengths between 1.2 and 6, drops quickly between 8 and 10, and then to zero at 9.5 and higher. [Edmund Optcs, The Correct Material for Infrared (IR) applications, Figs. 2 & 3.]  This indicates that a large portion of the infrared radiation is going to pass through the glass before it gets to the end and that portion of the spectra emitted by the CO2 at 15µm will be absorbed by the glass.  Both glass transmission and absorption will affect the results.  Hence, it would be helpful to determine how the length and diameter of the tube affected the results.  Using a high diameter to length tube ratio may reduce the effects of the containment material. 

Another analysis is that the infrared window provides a direct path from the earth’s surface to space for the vast majority of the infrared radiation that exists (8 to 14 µm, temperature between +150°F to -90°F.)  That convection currents (winds) transports most of the heat transfer within the troposphere and saturation is constantly being mixed.  That the density or pressure in the upper atmosphere is so low that it does not control the warming of the Earth as evidenced by Mars. 

However, regardless of which analysis is applied, one thing appears to exist with the saturation analysis.   It tends to negate the Greenhouse Effect Hypothesis, i.e. that a lower energy or temperature infrared radiation can heat a higher energy or temperature infrared radiating gas or material.  Saturation means that it cannot accept any more infrared radiation.  This suggests that once a gas molecule reaches a certain energy state, it stops absorbing radiation at that energy state.  This supports the second law of Thermodynamics that says a lower energy material cannot heat (net flux transfer) something existing at a higher energy state.  The net conclusion is that saturation does not support the Greenhouse Effect Hypothesis but provides a cogent argument to reject it.