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Greenhouse warming 100 times greater than waste heat

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate

Greenhouse warming is adding 100 times more heat to the climate than waste heat.

Climate Myth...

It's waste heat

"Global warming is mostly due to heat production by human industry since the 1800s, from nuclear power and fossil fuels, better termed hydrocarbons, – coal, oil, natural gas. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2 play a minor role even though they are widely claimed the cause." (Morton Skorodin)

At a glance

There are various kinds of climate science deniers out there, but one grouping can usefully be classified under the acronym ABCD - Anything But Carbon Dioxide. These people appear to accept the climate is heating up. Flailing around to try and identify something other than CO2 causing the heating, they will seize upon all sorts of candidate causes. This is one of them. There are many others.

All the energy we use dissipates into the environment post-use, be it a driftwood fire on the beach or the heart of a busy metropolis, on the go 24-7. So it should come as no surprise that 'waste' heat does have a role - a minor one - in heating the planet. Humans have always been fond of fire since they learned to ignite things and there's nothing better than sitting round a blaze of a night with a few friends. No need to feel guilty about that. It's harmless in the overall scheme of things.

Waste heat is of course a much studied subject. After all, more sophisticated heating systems, compared to that fire on the beach, are energy-intensive and that translates as expensive. Ways to minimise heat loss and thereby improve efficiency form an active research topic. In that sense, a number of studies have looked at the bigger picture: just how much waste heat is there?

Unsurprisingly, cities, where huge numbers of people work, rest and play, are megacentres of heat wastage. The term, 'Urban Heat Island', acknowledges this. But the planet is a big old place and cities occupy relatively small parts of it. To find the warming contribution of waste heat, you need to have two figures: the total energy lost and the surface area of the planet. Doing the maths you can then derive the amount, expressed in watts per square metre. You can then compare it to other heat sources.

All studies of waste heat have arrived at a similar conclusion. There's a lot of waste heat over cities but the total, global amount, expressed as watts per square metre of the planetary surface, is a tiny fraction of the heating caused by the greenhouse gases. So while it's highly desirable to find better efficiencies in energy use and conservation, thereby saving money, when it comes to temperature it's greenhouse gas emissions we have to hold firmly in our focus. ABCD indeed. Next.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!

Further details

Heat is released to the atmosphere as a result of human activities, many of which involve combustion of fuels, directly or indirectly. Sources of this 'anthropogenic heat' include industrial plants, heating of buildings, air-conditioning, vehicle exhausts and many more. In cities, anthropogenic heat typically contributes 15–50 W/m2 to the local heat balance, and several hundred W/m2 can be reached in the centres of large cities in colder climates.

This heat doesn't just disappear - it dissipates into our environment. How much does waste heat contribute to global warming? There have been several studies over the years, widely-cited examples being Flanner (2009) (if you want to read the full paper, access details are posted here), Dong et al. (2017) and Varquez et al. (2021). All have come up with similar numbers despite differences in methodology: the core message is that while waste heat is an issue and is self-evidently undesirable, its contribution to global warming is a tiny fraction of that brought about by CO2.

Flanner concluded that the contribution of waste heat to the global climate was 0.028 W/m2. That was with respect to the mid 2000s. In contrast, the contribution from human-emitted greenhouse gases at the time was 2.9 W/m2 (fig. 1). So in the mid 2000s, waste heat amounted to about 1% of the total warming, with greenhouse gases making up much of the rest. The above numbers refer to radiative forcing, the change in energy flux at the top of the atmosphere. Or putting it in plain English, the amount of heat being added to our climate.

Relative radiative forcings due to waste heat and CO2.

Fig. 1: the relative radiative forcings due to waste heat and CO2 in the mid 2000s, from the numbers presented by Flanner (2009).

Since that time, both greenhouse gases and energy use have gone up (fig. 2), so it should come as no surprise to see increases in radiative forcing in both cases. Future projections have largely been focussed on recovery of the waste heat, such as that by Firth et al. (2019). An important conclusion of theirs is that, "full recovery of the theoretical potential is found to lead to a 10–12% reduction in the combined forcing of CO2 and waste heat over this period, mainly due to a reduction in CO2 emissions."

An important point to consider here is that the warming from thermal energy production occurs when a fossil fuel undergoes combustion. Whoomph! and that's that - the energy is produced in a single pulse then dissipates away. In contrast, warming from the emitted CO2 continues for the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere - potentially thousands of years (Zhang & Caldeira 2015). Zhang and Caldeira showed that "the energy released from the combustion of fossil fuels is now about 1.71% of the radiative forcing from CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere as a consequence of historical fossil fuel combustion." Again a small fraction of the CO2 radiative forcing, and emphasising the issue of the cumulative build-up of CO2 due to its relatively long atmospheric residence time.

Total energy use on Earth.

Fig. 2: total energy use on Earth, 1800-2023.

To conclude, greenhouse warming is currently adding some 60-100 times more heat to our climate than waste heat. That's not to say we should not be bothered about waste heat though, There are many sound reasons, including economic, for reducing heat wastage. It makes no sense at all to tolerate systems that for various reasons are grossly inefficient. But that needs to be considered as a separate entity from the huge problem of human CO2 emissions.

Last updated on 7 January 2024 by John Mason. View Archives

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Comments 176 to 200 out of 204:

  1. AEBanner ,

    in recent days, this thread has developed the nightmarish sensation where one feels to be . . . frantically running on the spot.

    Unfortunately, this sensation is not a rare occurrence in the comments columns here at SkS.   I am not talking about run-of-the-mill science denial by "skeptics" [pseudo-skeptics].

    The problem usually arises when the Irresistible Argument meets the Idee Fixe.   Sadly, each side feels it possesses the Irresistible logic.   Often the situation is a compound of a severe semantic incompatiblilty (unrecognised by the proponent) . . . and a fundamental misconception of the nature of the physical universe.

    Regarding the latter, would you [AEBanner] agree with the idea that "energy is energy" ~ and that, in our atmosphere, energy in the form of radiation [photons] does readily & rapidly change into sensible heat [molecular kinetic energy] and readily & rapidly also reverse that change? 

    (In fact, this conversion back and forth does happen many times per second.   For example, an Infra-Red photon may travel less than a metre before it is reabsorbed by another H2O (or CO2) molecule.)

    And that the gasseous molecules' translational kinetic energy exists over a broad distributional spectrum ~ at any one instant, a molecule may travel at a sedate 1 m/sec and yet a nanosecond later it has been knocked up to a decent fraction of the speed of light, and might also possess an intra-molecular vibrational energy far exceeding an IR photonic energy quantum equivalent.

  2. Eclectic @ 176

    Thank you very much for your very welcome post. It is good to see things their true perspective. In principle, I agree with most of what you say, with possibly a few reservations.

    The whole subject is extremely complicated, and for that reason I have been thinking that a study using statistical mechanics would be really helpful. But I realise that this would be long and tedious, and I cannot realistically hope that anyone might volunteer to take it on.

    So, I shall probably have to learn a lot more about the matter myself. It will not be statistical mechanics, but hopefully I might gain sufficient insight. I should be grateful if you could please point me to some relevant sources, if this is not asking too much.

    I suppose the crunch question is what proportion of an amount of energy entering the atmosphere as kinetic energy remains in the atmosphere, and where does the “lost” energy go to?

    Thanks again

  3. AEBanner @177 ,

    it would be better to consider the "crunch question" in the context of :-

    Energy is energy ~ so we can say (in a sense) kinetic energy and photonic energy are two sides of the same coin.

    The atmosphere gains photonic and kinetic [what you have called sensible heat] energy from the ocean & land, and also partly from the radiation from the sun (plus a tiny amount of kinetic energy from the impact of solar wind particles).

    The atmosphere loses energy by (A) tranferring kinetic and photonic energy to the ocean & land, and (B) radiating IR photons to outer space.   Of course, kinetic energy cannot be lost to space, since the air molecules are gravitationally bound to Earth.   However, because kinetic & photonic energy forms are continuously & rapidly interchangeable, the result is in effect that all atmospheric energy is available for radiation to outer space.   It's all a matter of time and flow rate [flux].

    Therefore the atmosphere remains in a steady state of thermal equilibrium with its geothermal & human-industrial & solar input, being balanced by atmospheric radiational heat loss (excepting the small - but very important - temperature rise deriving from the newly-added greenhouse gasses in the modern era: in other words, from AGW ).

  4. "But, if additional energy enters the system and cannot be radiated away, then the temperature will increase."

    Let me if I this right. You are claiming that heat from the sun, volcanoes etc can be radiated away but heat from burning FF cannot? The 1023J from FF stays in atmosphere, but 4x1026J from radiation is irradiated away.

    Furthermore, your calculations on what energy of gases seem to assume a limit based on mean energy per molecule rather than the distribution of energies of molecules in the gas, though I see some this has now been deleted, so that is progress.

    The biggest issue is the idea that energy from FF is special and cant escape to space. So a surface heated by the sun will irradiate to space, but a surface heated same temperature by oil or coal will not? This does not make sense,

    "Initially all the energy enters the atmosphere." Huh?? and subsequent paragraphs mean that assume the energy enters the atmosphere only by increased kinetic energy of gases. Maybe your "initially" is misunderstood. When I am in thermal power station (where I have spent rather a lot of time), a rather useful amount of the energy from FF go into electricity though it will eventually get converted. Some heats the air and goes up the chimney but most is lost to environment via the cooling tower into water. And, boy to some parts of the plant irradiate IR!!!

    I fail to see what is so special about these energy conversions that prevent the loss to space?

  5. scaddenp @179.

    The commenter AEBanner seems to have run out of substantive comment. Perhaps we should recap and properly expose the level of nonsense he is spuoting.

    Taking the two periods 1961-2003 and 1993-2003 as these are used within IPCC AR4 Fig 5.4, we have respectively 159 Zj and 89 Zj accumulation within the global system of which 5 Zj and 2 Zj are atmospheric accumulations.

    IPCC AR4 Fig 5.4

    We could also add the energy lost to space because the globe is warming at 1.8ºC/decade, but the commenter AEBanner seems loathed to include such large numbers in his calculations.

    This Our World Data web-page gives easy downloads of annual primary energy use back to 1965 which can be interpolated back to 1961. For the two periods 1961-2003 and 1993-2003 FF+Nuclear primary energy total 11 Zj and 3.4 Zj respectively.

    This would leave anyone scratching their head as to why AEBanner could use this data "to offer an alternative theory to explain global warming" which is what he came to SkS proclaiming and, despite all the massive holes picked in his grand theory since then. he insists his grand theory has not come crashing down.

    Perhaps the full horror of his grand theory should be exposed.

    Visiting the nonsense he sets out elsewhere on the web (there are links up-thread but it requires registration which seems a little haughty for what it is), I see calculations for primary energy 1966-2016 which appear fine (18 Zj) and this is split between NH (164 Zj) & SH (16 Zj) which may or may not be fine. These are then used to calculate surface temperature rises over the period for each hemisphere by calculation how much warming this energy would provide to dry air. The curious method employed (increase in kinetic energy per molecule x no of molecules in troposphere) yields him temperature increases for the period of NH =  0.61ºC, SH = 0.06ºC (or would do if he followed his own method). These are reconciled with surface temperature increases for the period, (which are curiously sourced , one from GISS NH = 0.75ºC & one from HadCRUT SH= 0.55ºC); reconciled for the SH by assuming warming from the oceans, in SH +0.51ºC and because it has less ocean in NH an adjustemnt of +0.38ºC is included to obtain +0.99ºC. Strngely the final step which is traditional within such ridiculous calculations has not been made - subtracting the number you first thought of - so even for a pile of rubbish it is not complete.

    Note the energy calculated for the IPCC to warm the atmosphere (5 Zj & 2 Zj) are far lower than the FF+Nuclear primary energy use for the periods in question (11 Zj & 3.4 Zj) yet commenter AEBanner manages to not find enough energy to warm his atmosphere and has then to employ some magical mermaids to provide the rest.

  6. Eclectic @178

    Thank you for another excellent posr.

    You have a way of making things very clear, in a positive and constructive manner. 



    [DB] You also need to address the comments and questions pitched to you in comments 174179 and 180.

  7. Energy causes Global Warming

    michael sweet @174

    In this post you have completely misrepresented some of my ideas/remarks; in reality, you are not the only one to have done this previously.
    Or perhaps you have simply completely understood my post @172
    Or again, perhaps, you carelessly made a genuine mistake, in which case no apology is expected.

    I quote your first two paragraphs.
    “You contradict yourself. You have claimed that sensible heat emitted by humans accumulates in the atmosphere. Yet you now claim that sensible heat from volcanoes is emitted to space as radient energy. A contradictory argument can automatically be dismissed.
    You cannot have it both ways. If human heat accumulates than volcano heat must also accumulate. If volcano heat is emitted to space than human heat must also be emitted. Since the volcano heat is so much greater it is the dominant effect.
    End Quote.

    Now I shall quote from my own previous post @172 to you, last three paragraphs.

    My Quote
    “Anyway, back to the volcanoes. As far as I know, the output from a volcano consists of hot lava, hot material particles, and much heat energy in the form of sensible heat, that is kinetic energy. And, of course, the adjacent land area will also be raised in temperature.

    The hot materials including lava, particles and the hot adjacent land will radiate energy, in line with black body radiation, which ultimately escapes to space. The sensible heat in the form of kinetic energy of the air molecules mainly enters the oceans, in line with the 97% value you are no doubt referring to from the IPCC AR4 report, and Kevin Trenberth’s 3% into the atmosphere. ( This latter subject to further interaction with the oceans and associated subsequent radiation.)

    But the important thing here is that the oceans, being liquid, will also radiate, eventually to space, and this will proceed to maintain a satisfactory balance. Yes,
    the volcano emissions started billions of years ago, but so did the balancing radiation, so maintaining a satisfactory temperature for the Earth’s surface, and not boiling away the oceans.”

    End my quote

    You will see that I wrote that, in respect of volcanoes, sensible heat in the form of kinetic energy of the air molecules mainly enters the oceans.
    Then see my third paragraph.

    Another quote from your @ 174

    Scientists have shown that waste heat is emitted to space in the year that it was created

    End quote

    This, at least, is interesting. Please grant me the courtesy of a reference to this.


  8. Energy causes Global Warming

    scaddenp @179

    Do you not agree that heat from the Sun, volcanoes, etc, can be radiated away to space?
    But sensible heat from the burning of fossil fuels, ie kinetic energy of the air molecules, cannot be radiated. It must first be converted into “photon” energy by collision with GHG molecules. Perhaps you can provide a number for the proportion of greenhouse gas molecules in the atmosphere which can undergo the required excitation per unit time,
    together with a reference for me to follow up?
    This would really be helpful, and I should be grateful for the information.

    Of course, you are correct in stating that burning fossil fuels can possibly raise the surrounding structures to a temperature at which radiation could become significant, but I have no idea regarding the proportion relative to kinetic energy emission.
    Again, I hope you can reply quantitatively, with references. It would be a great help.

    Many thanks, in advance.

  9. Volcanoes, surfaces warmed by sun or atmosphere - and car engines say - all directly emit radiation in proportion to their temperature.

    In a power station, energy losses from heat radiated by the boiler and lost as hot gases escaping the flue are typically only 10-20% of the energy value of the fuel. ( I am working with efficiency analysis tools from power station data, but I think this is easily discoverable online). In a car, the losses are much higher.

    Still, cooling systems do heat the air, but the air has no trouble emitting IR. There is nothing special about the air warmed by FF compared to it warmed by any other mechanism. You can measure it with a pyrogeometer. Scienceofdoom walks you through the text book here.

  10. AEBanner ,

    if I may add to Scaddenp's comment :

    the answers you seek are to be found in basic science textbooks.

    Gasseous molecules collide with each other at a rate of billions of times per second (not millions but literally billions of times per second, even in the cold upper troposphere).   Not surprising, since air molecules are close together and move at mostly 100 - 600 m/sec [plus faster and slower outliers] for upper troposphere (see Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions). 

    The frequency rate of photon emissions is many orders of magnitude lower than that ~ but even so, we are talking of a vast rate of photon emissions.   And that is why I mentioned (in earlier posts) that kinetic energy & photonic energy are continuously interchanging.   The "churn" rate is so high, that we can fairly consider kinetic/photon energy as representing two sides of one coin.

    That is why we cannot consider kinetic energy as a separate sequestered form of energy.   It makes absolutely no difference whether the atmosphere gains its energy from geothermal / human-industrial / ocean-land origin (or solar origin, of course).   It is all one.

    Heat energy (in both "sensible" and radiational forms) is continuously flowing into & out of the planetary air layer.   The air remains in near equilibrium thermally, but the flux rates are enormous.

    Heat transferred from air to ocean-land is sooner or later recycled back into the air ~ and thus the planet's energy gained from the sun does eventually meet the fate of being radiated from (mostly) the Top of Atmosphere ( TOA, mentioned earlier).   All that matters is the total amount of energy flows involved.

    That is why the idea of industrial heat specially accumulating over time, is quite impossible.   That's not how the universe works.

  11. AEBanner , 

    an addition :-  Somewhere earlier, you asked about the threshold temperature required for a gas to radiate photons.

    In practical terms, there is no threshold.   Owing to the wide spectrum of distribution of energies (kinetic energies) possessed by gas molecules, there will always be some [few or many] molecules temporarily possessing sufficient energy to generate & emit a photon.   So a gas will continue to radiate photons, at a dwindling rate, as the gas temperature lowers towards Absolute Zero.

  12. scaddenp @ 184

    Thank you for a very informative post.

    Just one small point, though. In your first sentence, I think you meant “in proportion to the fourth power of their Absolute temperature.”

    But, thanks, anyway.

  13. Eclectic @ 185 and @186

    Thank you yet again for two more excellent posts. Very informative and helpful.

    A question, though, if I may. When a GHG molecule collides with a nitrogen or oxygen molecule in the atmosphere, and is, therefore, raised to its excited state, does the ghg molecule’s temperature increase?

  14. AEBanner @188 ,

    you can see from the statistical composition of the atmosphere, that a GHG molecule is most likely to gain energy in a collision with a nitrogen or oxygen molecule.   And higher air temperature equals more & "harder" collisions per unit time, and therefore more photons emitted per unit time (with due allowance for mass/volume considerations i.e. air density).

    Air temperature derives from the average kinetic energy of the whole bundle of molecules (including the relatively rare H2O, CO2, and other GHG's) with, again, air density allowed for.   This kinetic energy also includes the vibrational mode of these molecules.

    An individual molecule is not said to have a temperature, since we are only concerned with averages here (and if you like to regard one individual molecule's velocity . . . then the velocity will be varying enormously with each collision i.e. varying billions of times per second, in a way totally impractical for our purposes).

    [ Once you get to the tenuous semi-vacuum of the mesosphere, some scientists will use the concept "kinetic temperature" for certain reasons of convenience.   But the super-low air density means it's still mighty chilly for us humans ~ even at a kinetic temperature of 300 degrees, my hand would gradually freeze if I poked it out of the port-hole of my spaceship (assuming I am in the Earth's shadow) ].

  15. AEBanner @188,

    Some very basic physics about gases. Your question is greatly confused. GHG molecules are not particular about which type of molecule they meet and collide with. The temperature of a gas is a measure of the average translational (ie movement in a straight line) momentum of the gas molecules. The Thermal Heat Capacity of a gas is greater than the sum of molecular translational momentum as there are molecules set spinning and wobbling (yes - the excited state which CO2 is in before it emits photons) and the presence of spinning and wobbling requires significant levels of extra internal energy within the gas. As temperature is a function of the average translational momentum within a gas, an individual gas molecule does not really have 'temperature' and if it did the 'excited state' is not treated as part of  that 'temperature', at least within ideal gas law.

    Note that I use the word "average translational momentum." There is a distribition of such molecular momentum within an ideal gas - the Boltzmann distribution. This straightforward piece of mathematics/physics should provide you an answer to your question @183:-

    "Perhaps you can provide a number for the proportion of greenhouse gas molecules in the atmosphere which can undergo the required excitation per unit time, together with a reference for me to follow up?"

  16. Eclectic @189

    Thank you yet again for another interesting and helpful post.

    Of course, I understand the need to talk about “a bunch of molecules”, rather than a single molecule. But suppose in a hypothetical scenario that all the nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the bunch collided with all the GHG molecules in the bunch, and gave up all their translational kinetic energy in raising the excited vibrational levels in the GHG molecules.
    What then would have happened to the average temperature of the bunch? With no remaining translational kinetic energy, this would presumably mean that the temperature of the bunch would then be determined by the vibrational energies. So would the overall temperature change?

    I really hope you can help me on this please.

  17. MA Rodger @ 171 and 190

    I quote again from your 166
    Quote “[NOTE - you may set this out on your web-page but if it is not set out here I am ignoring it. “ End quote.
    I went on to say
    “Please tell me that you have indeed read my blog.
    If you have not yet read it, then please grant me the courtesy and agree to read it.
    This is the link to assist you.
    Anyway, if you cannot bring yourself carefully to read my blog, then I see no further point in debating the issues with you. Please let me know your decision.”
    Quote from your 171 So bring it here or be gone yourself. And if you do remain, I will not let off correcting your comments while they continue here.
    End quote
    In view of the vitriolic nature of this 171 offering, and as of 6/3/19, I have not seen your agreement carefully to read my blog, please understand that I wish no more “debating” with you


    [DB] Your blog post requires Wordpress login verification, an undue imposition akin to a professor requiring a student to buy one of the professor's books before answering a question in class.  You can either accede to answering questions here about your claims (you brought your claims here) or you can concede the points made by other contributors.

    Continuing to reiterate the same talking points previously made (and previously addressed by other participants) is sloganeering and contrary to this venue's Comments Policy.

  18. AEBanner - you are ducking the question of why air heated by burning FF (which after all add GHG water and CO2 to atmoshere) is different from air heated by contact with a sun-warmed surface. Your notion depends on energy originating in FF combustion being trapped whereas energy originating from the sun can reradiate.

    To your question to Eclectic, thermodynamic temperature is the mean of the energy inherent in the translational, vibrational and rotational motions of the constituent particles in the ensemble.

  19. AEBanner , 

    I have not read your blog, and I concur with the moderator, in that I do not wish to jump through hoops nor "seed" my personal information throughout the internet ( more than it already is ! ).   Unfamiliar as I am with Wordpress protocol, I do note that quite a number of bloggers [for instance, the excellent Tamino blog] are directly available via googling, and without any "registration" or other time-consuming intrusions.   Perhaps you could re-arrange your blog, in a likewise manner.

    As to your "hypothetical" question @191 , please be aware that I am not a particle physicist.   I gather that there is complete conservation of energy in collisional interactions, so that the translational energy and vibrational energy are continually swapping back and forth among the atoms (with occasional photon absorption/emission events).    Therefore the hypothetical scenario you mentioned, is impossible i.e. meaningless.

    It would be better if you simply gave a clear idea of what is troubling you concerning mainstream science.

  20. AEBanner @192,

    I think you will find that I have read your blog. And "carefully"? Probably with more 'care' than with which you wrote it. Do note the final two paragaphs of #180. I managed to log on under GOOGLE removing one reason for not accessing your blog. And I have a cut&paste of its content. The worry that you will be tweeking your grand theory, using this thread to provide corrections; this isn't much of a worry having read its content. It is uncorrectable nonsense. But then the folk who may draw comfort from a snipe at GHG-created AGW will certainly be less than happy to see the logical conclusion from your illogical argument. That is, of course, to stop generating our power from FF or Nuclear. Mind, the projections of global temperature given for 2066 are a bit low. But as is all nonsense, it doesn't really matter.

  21. I was not aware of the problems accssing my blog on wordpress.

    In view of the moderators response to 192, I shall not be making any further posts on SkS.

    Thank you, and Good-Bye.

    "Others may have opinions, but its the numbers thst count"

  22. So do you suppose that is a "no" from AEBanner - he cannot find a way to explain to why air heated by FF should retain energy whereas air heated by the sun loses energy to space?

  23. Climate Detective  from elsewhere, [link URL not being uploaded ]

    Forgive me for demonstrating the major fallacies within your grand work but as you say "The calculations are not difficult to do."

    The assertion you make that "All energy generation by humans results in an output of heat or thermal energy" is fundamentally wrong. It is "power" that is generated and when this is through the application of kinetic energy from passing fluids, through the burning of recently grown plant matter or from intercepting solar energy that would otherwise be absorbed by the ground, there is not net increase of the planet's surface energy. It is only the absorbing of albedo-decreasing solar energy, the splitting of heavy atoms or the burning of fossil fuels to release chemical energy that does result increased the planet's surface energy.
    Further your attempts to suggest a significant level of climatic warming in an area such as the UK is due to these increases in surface energy ignores what would be the absence of such warming in adjacent areas where there is effectively no such surface warming, like the North Sea, the North Atlantic or for that matter, the whole of Africa. Taken over the whole globe, the UK is exceptional as it uses ~1% of global primary power but within ~0.05% of the global surface area. Because, as with all small areas of the globe, UK temperatures are very much dictated by the adjacent climate, the global average is the relevant value and that is trivially small. (Generally the energy released by FF use is exceeded by the GHG effect of the CO2 thus released in 9 to 18 months, depending on the type of FF employed.)

  24. I found a 2020 article on this topic.  It makes disparaging comments on the entire science of climate change based on the fact that we havent been able to stop the impact yet through our current efforts.  It discloses in the ethics section that it was completed by a guy at home in his spare time, so I also assume there is no reputable peer review.  I am just wondering if SpringerOpen online publishing is known to be a reliable, questionable, or downright fraudulent in whatbit published.  Here is the link to the report.  Thanks.  Best regards.  Brock


    [BL] Link activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  25. I have only taken a quick read of the paper, and I know nothing specific about the journal, but the paragraph on "Past Simulations" says the following (emphasis added):

    It is revealed that (Bian 2019) an equivalent climate change surface air boundary layer with a depth between 50 and 100 m (also referred to as the depth’s lower and upper layer limits), an equivalent climate change waters surface boundary layer with a depth between 0.1 and 0.2 m, and an equivalent climate change land surface boundary layer with a depth between 0.05 and 0.1 m can well characterize their respective temperature changes due to the heat entered air (Fig. 2), oceans and land from human activities. The simulations at these depths are well consistent with the observed temperature anomalies in these three components (Bian 2019). These depths are referred to as equivalent climate change boundary layers’ depths.

    The values for "boundary layer" depths are absurdly small for use in determining global temperature changes.

    • 50-100m of atmosphere is about 1% of the total atmosphere.
    • Average ocean depth is about 3700m, so 0.2m is about 0.005% of the total ocean volume. (If we only think in terms of the ocean mixed layer, which is roughly 60-100m deep,the 0.2m figure is less that 0.3% of the total.)
    • On an annual basis, land surface temperature changes extend to about 10 depth, so 0.1m is about 1% of that volume. (Over decades, the temperature changes would extend to greater depths, making 0.1m a smaller %.)

    The paper appears to model global temperature changes assuming that the waste heat is confined to those small portions of the earth-atmosphere system, and concludes that waster heat therefore "explains" global temperatures. As those very small proportions of the system are only a very small proportion of the amount that actually is heating up, the conclusion is absurd.

    It is the equiivalent of saying that the heat from a candle is capable of warming the air in a shoebox by X degrees, so when my house warms by X degrees the candle is the explanation (and the furnace is irrelevant).

    If someone can find some redeeming portion fo the paper that does any better, feel free to post it. The sole reference to the model used seems to be to another paper by the same author. It did not seem worth the effort to obtain it.

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