Hansen debunks Al Gore’s Venus scenario for warming: ‘Only plausible on billion-year time scale’

The latest from warmist James Hansen.

From Hansen’s new tome:

Runaway Greenhouse. Venus today has a surface pressure of about 90 bars, compared with 1 bar on Earth. The Venus atmosphere is mostly CO2. The huge atmospheric depth and CO2 amount are the reason Venus has a surface temperature of nearly 500°C.
Venus and Earth probably had similar early atmospheric compositions, but on Earth the carbon is mostly in Earth’s crust, not in the atmosphere. As long as Earth has an ocean most of the carbon will continue to be in the crust, because, although volcanoes inject crustal carbon into the atmosphere as CO2, the weathering process removes CO2 from the air and deposits in on the ocean floor as carbonates. Venus once had an ocean, but being closer to the Sun, its atmosphere became hot enough that hydrogen could escape from the upper atmosphere, as confirmed today by the extreme depletion on Venus of normal hydrogen relative to heavy hydrogen (deuterium), the lighter hydrogen being able to escape the gravitational field of Venus more readily.

Earth can “achieve” Venus-like conditions, in the sense of ~90 bar surface pressure, only after first getting rid of its ocean via escape of hydrogen to space. This is conceivable if the atmosphere warms enough that the troposphere expands into the present stratosphere, thus eliminating the tropopause (see Fig. 7 in our paper4 in press), causing water vapor to be transported more rapidly to the upper atmosphere, where it can be dissociated and the hydrogen can then escape to space. Thus extreme warming of the lower atmosphere with elimination of the cold-trap tropopause seems to be the essential physical process required for transition from Earth-like to Venus-like conditions.
If Earth’s lower atmosphere did warm enough to accelerate escape of hydrogen it would still take at least hundreds of millions of years for the ocean to be lost to space. Additional time would be needed for massive amounts of CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere from volcanoes associated with plate tectonics and convection in Earth’s mantle. So Venus-like conditions in the sense of 90 bar surface pressure and surface temperature of several hundred degrees are only plausible on billion-year time scales. [Emphasis added]

Read more at Hansen’s web site.

Click here for Al Gore’s roll-out of the Venus scenario.

3 thoughts on “Hansen debunks Al Gore’s Venus scenario for warming: ‘Only plausible on billion-year time scale’”

  1. The difference in our orbital positions seems like it would also be very significant.
    Mars has an atmosphere of mostly CO2 but it’s only around 1% of the pressure on Earth and Mars is a lot further from the sun.
    We can learn something by comparing the conditions on the three planets but comparisons must be drawn with great care.
    It’s good to see Dr. Hansen taking at least one position based on real science.

  2. I think that this confirms my suspicion that I’ve had all along. Hansen is the genuine article and truly believes in what he’s saying. A shocker, really, after all the years of dealing with front men that are obvious hypocrites and others who are willing to sacrifice any truth to advance “the cause”.

    This is the same sort of vitrol that I save for people who claim global warming violates thermodynamics. He’s truly going after these people because he thinks that their lies are undermining the cause.

    As far as his billion-year Venusification, I’ll have to defer to the astrophysicist. His idea seems plausible, though a bit far fetched and stretching to the question “how could this possibly happen”.

Comments are closed.