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Proceedings Paper

CO2 As An Inverse Greenhouse Gas
Author(s): Sherwood B. Idso
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Paper Abstract

It is a well-known fact that mankind's burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil has significantly increased the CO2 content of Earth's atmosphere, from something less than 300 ppm (parts per million by volume) in the pre-Industrial Revolution era to a con-centration which is currently somewhat over 340 ppm. It is also fairly well established that a concentration of 600 ppm will be reached sometime in the next century. Atmospheric scientists using complex computer models of the atmosphere have predicted that such a concentration doubling will lead to a calamatous climatic warming, due to the thermal infra-red "greenhouse" properties of CO2. However, my investigation of a large body of empirical evidence suggests just the opposite. Indeed, long-term records of surface air temperature and snow cover data indicate that increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 may actually tend to cool the Earth and not warm it. These and other observations of the real world lead to the conclusion that, for the present composition of the Earth's atmosphere, CO2 appears to behave as an inverse greenhouse gas. A mechanism for this phenomenon is suggested; and it is then indicated how enhanced concentrations of atmospheric CO2 may be beneficial for the planet, particularly with respect to the ability of enhanced CO2 concentrations to stimulate plant growth and reduce water requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 January 1984
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0430, Infrared Technology IX, (19 January 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.936393
Show Author Affiliations
Sherwood B. Idso, USDA-ARS (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0430:
Infrared Technology IX
Richard A. Mollicone; Irving J. Spiro, Editor(s)

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