The Important Difference between Climatology and Climate Science

Why did the Royal Society need secret meetings?

Guest essay by Dr. Tim Ball

Recent events underscore problems with understanding climate and how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) achieved their deception. Comments about my recent article appreciated it was a synopsis. The problems were central in my presentation to the First Heartland Climate Conference in New York relating to climatology as a generalist discipline in a world that glorifies specialization. The dictum in academia and beyond is specialization is the mark of genius, generalization the mark of a fool. In the real world each specialized piece must fit the larger general picture and most people live and function in a generalized world. The phrase “it is purely academic” means it is irrelevant to the real world.

A secret meeting occurred between Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and members of the British Royal Society. Why the secrecy? It is likely because this collective of specialists is scrambling to recover reputations after being misled.

Claiming they were deliberately deceived in the propaganda campaign orchestrated through the British Royal Society is no excuse. The supposed prestige of that Society was used to persuade other national Science Societies that human caused global warming was a serious and proven fact. The only Society that refused to go along was the Russian. It was a deliberately orchestrated campaign that allowed media to use the consensus argument with focus. I was frequently challenged with the interrogative in the form of a consensus argument that you must be wrong because science Societies all agree.

Climate science is the work of specialists working on one small part of climatology. It’s a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees, amplified when computer modellers are involved. They are specialists trying to be generalists but omit major segments, and often don’t know interrelationships, interactions and feedbacks in the general picture.

Society has deified specialized academics, especially scientists. Consider the phrase You dont have to be a rocket scientist used to indicate intellectual superiority. Substitute a different occupation and prejudices emerge. You dont have to be a farmer. Now consider the range of specialized areas required for success on a modern farm. Then count the specializations included in Figure 1, a very simple systems diagram of weather. (Note that three “boxes” include the word “flux” but the 2007 IPCC Science report says, Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes are not well observed.)

Ian Plimer said, studies of the Earth’s atmosphere tell us nothing about future climate.

An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, paleoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.

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Figure 1: Source: After; Climate Stabilization: For Better or for Worse? William W. Kellogg and Stephen H. Schneider, Science, Volume 186, December 27, 1974

It’s an interesting observation that underscores the dilemma. Climatology is listed as a subset, but must include all the disciplines and more. You cannot study or understand the pattern of climate over time or in a region without including them all.

A frequent charge is I have no credibility because I only have “a geography degree”. It’s, ignorant on many levels, and usually used as a sign of superiority by specialists in the “hard sciences”. My PhD was through the Geography department at Queen Mary College because climatology was traditionally part of geography. The actual degree was granted in the Faculty of Science.

Climatology, like geography is a generalist discipline studying patterns and relationships. Geography is the original integrative discipline traditionally called Chorology. In the late 1960s when I looked for a school of climatology there were effectively only two, Hubert Lamb’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia and Reid Bryson’s program in Madison Wisconsin. Neither was a viable option, although I was privileged to consult with Professor Lamb about my thesis.

Unlike most students, instead of going through the sausage-maker machine of education I pursued my studies later and with deliberation. Environmentalism was a new paradigm changing the focus from the Darwinian view of humans as a passive to an active agent in the environment. An undergraduate course on Soils taught me the formula for soil-forming factors included parent material (rock), weather, and the letter “O” for Organic. I wondered why this included everything except humans.

Early German geography recognized the impact distinguishing Landschaft, the natural landscape, from Kulturschaft, the human landscape. Others were considering the differences. George Perkins Marsh’s work, Man and Nature (1864) and William L. Thomas’ 1956 publication Mans Role in Changing the Face of the Earth influenced me and provided a central theme – the impact of climate on the human condition.

All three theses were deliberately designed. An Honours thesis titled, Some Philosophical Considerations of Humans as a Source of Change, considered the historical and philosophical context. The Masters thesis titled, The Significance of Grain Size and Heavy Minerals Volume Percentage as Indicators of Environmental Character, Grand Beach, Manitoba provided scientific method especially related to energy inputs in an environment. The doctorate addressed two problems in climatology. Lack of long-term weather records, which Lamb identified, and the challenge of linking historical records with instrumental records. My doctoral thesis title, Climatic Change in Central Canada: A Preliminary Analysis of Weather Information from Hudson’s Bay Company Forts at York Factory and Churchill Factory, 1714-1850 involved creating a long term record from daily journals of the Hudson Bay Company. It blended daily weather observations with instrumental records through a numerical coding for each weather variable. Once the data was digitized, statistical and scientific analysis was possible.

Lack of a “science” degree was a focus early. Immediately after a presentation to Forestry graduates at the University of Alberta a professor in the front row asked, “Is it true you were denied funding by the major agencies in Canada?” This referred to two government agencies, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Sciences and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (SSHRC). I was not denied, I just didn’t qualify, my category of historical climatology was considered Social Science by NSERC and Science by SSHRC. Fortunately, the National Science Museum of Canada, particularly Dick Harington head of the Paleobiology division, understood the problem and provided funding.

I knew as a climatologist I needed to consult with specialists. I obeyed Wegman’s warning in his Report on the Hockey Stick fiasco.

As statisticians, we were struck by the isolation of communities such as the paleoclimate community that rely heavily on statistical methods, yet do not seem to be interacting with the mainstream statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently no independent statistical expertise was sought or used.

Consultation is essential. The challenge is to know enough to ask the right questions and understand the answers. As a climatologist I try to place each piece in the puzzle. If it doesn’t fit I consult specialists for answers.

The claim that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) didn’t exist is a classic example of a piece that didn’t fit. Many knew it existed and Soon and Baliunas provided evidence in their article Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years; it’s why they were so viciously attacked. Statistician Steve McIntyre showed how the infamous “hockey stick” graph was created. The Wegman Report confirmed his findings and exposed a major misuse of statistics and dendroclimatology. The misuse of tree rings was further confirmed by a forestry expert. Few areas of IPCC climate science bear examination by specialists.

The claim that CO2 is greenhouse gas does not fit. I itemized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deliberate diversions to demonize CO2 for a political agenda. Years ago at a conference in Calgary I heard a skeptic challenged by a knowledgeable audience member about the claim of CO2 as a greenhouse gas (GHG). The reply was troubling. We (skeptics) would lose all credibility if we suggest CO2 is not a GHG. It is better to say it is, but the effect, especially of the human portion, is minuscule and of no consequence.

I pursued my policy asking physicists about the role of CO2 as a GHG. I thought they would agree. They didn’t. It’s partly reflected in estimates of climate sensitivity. They range from the IPCC high through those who believe it is zero to some who believe it is a negative quantity with CO2 as a cooling agent. The conflict appears to be disagreement in how temperature is modified by the physical processes involved in energy transfer. If the physics was known and agreed presumably weather and climate forecasts would work, but they don’t.

Traditional climatology included a mechanism called continentalism. It measured the modifying influence on temperature range of the distance from the ocean. Here are ranges for three Canadian cities at approximately the same latitude.

Station Maximum Minimum Range

Gander, Nfld 35.6°C -28.8°C 64.2°C

Winnipeg 40.6°C -45°C 85.6°C

Vancouver 33.3°C -17.8°C 51°C

Both Vancouver (west coast) and Gander (east coast) are close to the ocean but they are in the zone of the prevailing Westerlies. Gander experiences continental air more frequently than Vancouver. The different specific heat capacities of land and water explain the difference. Water acts to modify temperature range.

The greatest daily land temperature ranges occur in regions with very low atmospheric moisture (hot and cold deserts). Water vapour acts like the oceans to modify temperature range, as a result desert biomes record the greatest daily temperature ranges. It has nothing to do with CO2. Similarly, lowest daily temperature ranges occur in tropical rain forests where water vapour levels are highest. Total modification of global temperature range is achieved by water in all its phases.

Climatology is a generalist discipline that requires incorporating all specialist disciplines. The modern glorification of specialization allowed climate scientists to dominate by claiming their piece of a vast puzzle was critical. IPCC climate scientists misused specialized areas, especially in climate models, to achieve a predetermined result. It is only exposed when specialists examine what was done or climatologists find a piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit.

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For the record, I don’t agree with Dr. Ball’s opinions on CO2, not being a greenhouse gas, the science is quite clear on that issue long before global warming being an issue. The only valid question is climate sensitivity – Anthony

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207 thoughts on “The Important Difference between Climatology and Climate Science

  1. Good morning Dr Ball,
    so the IPCC claims that energy fluxes and water fluxes are not well documented. But we have measured the energy fluxes both at the surface and TOA bith are well above that of the energy diagram in AR4. this graphic, by k&T, is a total misrepresentation of reality to fit with their crackpot theories of AGW and the Greenhouse Effect.
    Water fluxes are more difficult but again the K&T graphic guesses the effect of latent heat without any acknowledgement of how much it actually is. (They forget that it takes 7.6 times as much heat to convert 1Kg of water at 100C to vapour as it takes to heat that same mass of water from 0C to 100C). Latent heat use contributes to the cooling of rainforest compared to hot dry deserts at the same latitude. The GHE would have deserts cooler than rainforest during the day which is observably untrue.
    Thanks for your post. It is far more realistic than those outpourings from the IPCC.

  2. Please add maths and statistics to the list of disciplines needed as an understanding of those helps one to know when specific techniques can be reasonably/justifiably applied.

  3. I was intrigued by your statement about physicists’ comments about CO2 and the ‘evil gas’ being a neutral or even a negative influence on temperature.

    Can you elaborate on this as it could be a useful way to help beat the BS out of the climatology/global warming/CAGW cult?

  4. In my career in science, I have come across a curious social phenomenon which is relevant to your discussion.

    Certain agencies I have worked for are charged with studying a subset of a particular field within science. Within such agencies, some individuals have a strong tendency to promote the particular field or subset which is central to the agency they are associated with, above all other, broader subsets of the scientific field, with which it is a part. They do this almost instinctively. In other words, they make their particular speciality more important, or dominant over, other specialities, but without any real justification to do so. Instead of seeing their particular field or speciality as a subset of datasets within a broader field, sometimes more important sometimes less so, they see their speciality as always DOMINANT over others.

    This tendency is entirely psychological, and more to do with a particular personality type, than with science. The individuals who tend to promote their particular speciality above others but without justification, tend to also be careerists who are limited in their scope and understanding of science. They tend to be good social organisers, and technically competent, but lacking in imagination and creativity. They often fail to fully appreciate the significance of natural variation, change, and uncertainty in science. They rely on models, but they are not good modellers. They generally don’t like speculation and uncertainty. They gravitate to areas of uncertainty where they think they can impose their particular field to solve problems, but they usually muddle things up by trying to create more certainty then there actually is. They prefer models that are simple, static, have high levels of certainty, and are generally unchanging. The idea that a model can change significantly with new information, and that there are always inherent uncertainties which make models at times barely even useful, and subject to the modellers bias, is barely understood.

    The way they organise science and science research is also relevant. Opinions and conclusions outside the agency’s central field is not given a hearing. Reports at all times must adhere to the agency’s central agenda. Statements and conclusions within such reports that do not fit the agencies agenda are routinely changed without consultation, and research into any area not central to the agencies central field is discouraged. Individuals within such agencies which do not fit into the central field and agenda of the agency are generally excluded and their work denigrated, especially if their conclusions are at variance with the agency’s importance and agenda.

    In such cases, ‘the agency’ has replaced science as the arbiter of information about what is true and proper in the real world. I think these concepts are relevant to your above discussion.

  5. Absolutely spot on Mr Ball. People should study climate science, not climate change science. Climate change science pre-supposes an outcome, just like the existence of the IPCC pre-supposes a condition. I have tried to get my local politciian in Oz to get the climate change scientists to sit down with him and the separate specialists such as statisticians and geologists and thermodynamicists and heat transfer specialists and state their case – then he would see just how little the climate scientists know about the bigger picture. Unfortunately my local MP has no clue about anything scientific and obviously can’t ask any probing questions. I’m a mechanical engineer. Nothing is more irritating, and dangerous, than an engineer who thinks he can determine a solution to a complex problem on his own without the input of specialist engineers from the various disciplines involved. I am sure the same applies in all aspects of science including climate science.

  6. Dear Dr Ball,

    May I ask if you have any regrets about having contributed to the book ” Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” ?

    Regards
    Martin A

  7. “A secret meeting occurred between Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and members of the British Royal Society”.

    If it was secret, how do we know? Has there been a leak , is this a leak, was there a tactical disclosure or is this speculation or what?

  8. It’s interesting that from the list of specialties give above, the only areas where I don’t have published papers are astronomy, solar physics, paleoecology, meteorology, ecology, and history. One paper did dabble a little in astronomy and history and I’m now moving into an area where meteorology is important. Yet I’m not normally considered “expert” in climate science. I do, however remember how to use a slide rule, which gives one a great sense of the scale of things and definitely improves the workings of one’s own internal BS detector. And ever since I first saw the original Hockey Stick (TM) graph, mine has been ringing very loudly.

  9. As the whole CAGW fiasco unravels, we can probably expect to see a plethora of backpedaling, “I never said such-and-such”, finger-pointing, and other CYA activities, particularly with those in the forefront of the climatist religion, and a dearth of mea culpas. But yes, the primary game will be to place the blame elsewhere. Egos are at stake.

  10. Facts count. Great job you get to the matter correct and use your wisdom fine. We here accept you total as one of us. Your words will help many more outside herein

    But take care not to get a gig at a Earth First conference say in San Francisco Calif. you just might get a rather hostile reception there for many many years to come. Safety First.

  11. Seems a committee will be set up now. They will select the ones who will be labeled with the scarlet letter and thrown over board or allowed to fall on a dull sword in the public square.

    Who will be required to mop up the blood on the floor will be settled between the msm and the elected ones.

    Fault lines will appear soon.

  12. Dr Balls

    I have noticed that people do try to demean your qualifications. I think this is shocking. As far as I am aware climatology, in the traditional sense, was always a major focus of physical geography. Culturally speaking, I think the relative demotion of geography is in part down to how that discipline has changed over the last few decades. It should be a largely descriptive science, charged with finding ever more reliable methods of measuring and describing the Earth’s surface, rather than explaining why we get these changes/features; that should be left to other disciplines such as geology, meteorology etc. I think geography had a bit of an identity crisis in the mid-20th century which distracted it from its key objectives.

    I think there is a move now toward its more descriptive roots with the emergence of computational methodologies such as GIS, geostatistics and remote sensing. In short, when other disciplines want to know how to map something or derive some meaningful information from spatial data, they should consult a geographer. This is not the case at the moment because most geography degrees still focus on the processes rather than the descriptive methods.

  13. I appreciate your comments on specialization vs generalist, and agree CO2 effects are not a dominate factor in warming or heating. However, you are wrong that CO2 BY ITSELF is not a greenhouse gas. It is the water vapor variation and other feedbacks, along with natural variations (long period ocean effects, solar effects, cloud variation, etc.) that dominate what net effect changing the CO2 and Methane concentrations have. If you do not understand that any greenhouse gas (one that absorbs the outgoing IR) does have an effect on average temperature unless feedbacks and natural variation dominate it, you will not be taken seriously. While the people supporting ” Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” include some very smart individuals, many in that group simply do not understand the greenhouse effect. I have tried to explain the facts to some and get responses that show lack of understanding. I do not disagree with the possibility that water vapor feedback essentially totally cancels added CO2 effects, but that is not the same as saying CO2, by itself, is not a greenhouse gas.

  14. Thanks for this, Dr Ball. For my part, I refuse to lose sight of the fact that the UN’s quango the IPCC, stands for Intergovernmental Panel for Climate CHANGE – not Intergovernmental Panel for Climate RESEARCH (i.e. – ‘we think mankind is affecting the climate. Prove it for us…’)

  15. This may be next.

    The U.N./Governments world wide will claim ownership of all CO2 then sell it to each country as a allocation of plant food (tax the use of CO2). Greed for power will remain notwithstanding the winner of this current struggle.

  16. Martin A says:

    November 29, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Dear Dr Ball,

    May I ask if you have any regrets about having contributed to the book ” Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” ?

    Regards Martin A

    ===============

    Are folks only allowed to speak what they think is the truth in certain places? Preachers sure would be limited in getting the word out if they could speak where the sinners hang out.

  17. Leonard

    Yes, I have to say I am bit skeptical about the points raised in the post that relate to expert opinion on the whether CO2 is GHG or not. It seems quite clear, and stated as such by molecular physicists and physical chemists and very often qualified with comprehensive reasoning, that CO2 is a GHG.

  18. Leonard Weinstein says:

    November 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    “…very smart individuals, many in that group simply do not understand the greenhouse effect.”

    ============

    Please feel free to enlighten us.

  19. Peter Miller says:
    November 29, 2013 at 3:57 am
    I was intrigued by your statement about physicists’ comments about CO2 and the ‘evil gas’ being a neutral or even a negative influence on temperature.
    ==========
    the atmosphere (troposphere) is colder at altitude than at the surface. this is well known. what is not well known is that the atmosphere is predicted by the kinetic theory of gas to be isothermal. it should be the same temperature at altitude as the surface. and except for GHG it would be.

    the effect of adding GHG to the atmosphere is to radiate energy to space from the atmosphere that would otherwise have to radiate from the surface. this is the critical point. adding GHG to the atmosphere cools the atmosphere through increased radiation of energy from the atmosphere. this cooling gives rise to the lapse rate.

    yet global warming theory predicts that adding GHG to the atmosphere should warm the atmosphere, which should warm the surface as a result of the lapse rate. So we have a contradiction, adding GHG we know cools the atmosphere, yet AGW predicts that adding GHG should warm the atmosphere.

  20. The last BBC CountryFile program a few days back found C02 releasing from the soil…in some woods somewhere (UK). CO2 sniffers on the go and researchers (scientists?) wondering why such a thing happened. Something to do with after rain and leaves or ???

    The sniffer tool person reckoned ppm released there and then was over 400, larger than in the atmosphere currently.

    BBC finding stuff like that….ooo-er.

  21. ferdberple says:
    November 29, 2013 at 6:08 am
    “…..So we have a contradiction, adding GHG we know cools the atmosphere, yet AGW predicts that adding GHG should warm the atmosphere.

    The answer of course is that CO2 molecules do both dependent on timing of collisions with N2 or O2 molecules and the occasional IR photon impact. AGW proponents only see the process in one direction as driven by IR photon impact.

    Simple experiment: Take a volume of 75% N2 and 25% O2 at a constant temperature there will be no IR radiating from the volume as N2 and O2 are non-radiative gases. Add 400ppm CO2 to the volume and immediately IR will start radiating from the volume as CO2 molecules receive sensible heat from collisions then radiate it as IR. This is the experiment that no AGW proponent wants to see carried out and reported.

  22. My PhD was through the Geography department at Queen Mary College because climatology was traditionally part of geography.
    ===============
    similarly, computer science used to be a branch of mathematics. should we then argue that mathematicians cannot build computer models because they lack a computer science degree?

    a more likely argument is that mathematicians should be able to build a more accurate computer models than computer scientists that lack a mathematics degree. and a physicist should be able to build a better computer model than either the computer scientist or the mathematician. and all three should be able to build a more accurate computer model than a climate scientist.

    for in the end the physicist should recognize that the future is not deterministic, the mathematician knows that time series forecasting is not reliable, the computer scientists knows that all non trivial programs have at least one undiscovered bug, while the climate scientists knows the serious money is to made by predicting the end of the world.

  23. Tim Ball asks ” Why the secrecy?” Why indeed. It seems to me that the Royal Society has dug itself into a hole of scientific lies and deceit. In the words of Sir Walter Scott “Oh! what a tangle web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”. This is merely the latest black mark against this venerable society, and one wonders how many more such there will be. Maybe there will be a time, hopefully quite soon, when a scientist of sufficient standing can say to Sir Paul Nurse, and be listened to, “Maybe the time has come to stop digging”

  24. “what is not well known is that the atmosphere is predicted by the kinetic theory of gas to be isothermal”

    It would only be isothermal if it was evenly illuminated, perfectly transparent and there was no convection (vertical motions driven by temperature differences). Since on any planet illuminated more at the equator than poles, and with a night side, there are going to be temperature differences, there must therefore be convection, and hence a lapse rate. Greenhouse gases as such make no difference. (Humidity makes a difference because it condenses giving up latent heat, not because it is a GHG.)

    “the effect of adding GHG to the atmosphere is to radiate energy to space from the atmosphere that would otherwise have to radiate from the surface.”

    Correct.

    “this is the critical point. adding GHG to the atmosphere cools the atmosphere through increased radiation of energy from the atmosphere.”

    The atmosphere radiates the same amount – the same amount that it absorbs from the sun – whether there are GHGs or not. But the amount of radiation to space depends on the temperature of the layer that is emitting it, and that will increase or decrease until it emits just the right amount. So if the surface emits to space, the surface will be at the appropriate temperature (about -18 C) and the atmosphere above it will be even colder because of the lapse rate. If the layer 5 km up emits to space, the layer 5 km up will be at -18 C, the surface 5 km below it will be warmer because of the lapse rate (6.5 C/km * 5 km), just at the atmosphere above 5 km will be cooler.

    GHGs don’t change the lapse rate, the gradient of the line. Instead they change the intercept, moving the temperature distribution bodily up or down. The amount of energy emitted to space is the same.

    “this cooling gives rise to the lapse rate.”

    The lapse rate is caused by the compression and expansion of gases under pressure. Compressing a gas causes its temperature to rise. Allowing it to expand cools it. As pressure changes with altitude, so does the temperature.

  25. ferdberple says: “what is not well known is that the atmosphere is predicted by the kinetic theory of gas to be isothermal. it should be the same temperature at altitude as the surface. and except for GHG it would be”

    Woow.. I thought the lapse rate was a function of gravity and atmospheric density. Water vapour distorts the lapse rate, whereas the effects of CO2 is still debated.

  26. @ ferdberple

    “for in the end the physicist should recognize that the future is not deterministic, the mathematician knows that time series forecasting is not reliable, the computer scientists knows that all non trivial programs have at least one undiscovered bug, while the climate scientists knows the serious money is to made by predicting the end of the world.”

    Highlight… Copy … Save to: Top Ten Best Quotes file.


  27. Peter Miller says:
    November 29, 2013 at 3:57 am
    I was intrigued by your statement about physicists’ comments about CO2 and the ‘evil gas’ being a neutral or even a negative influence on temperature.

    A multi atom gas like co2 has rotational and vibrational excitation modes which have energy states below the visible light range – ie infrared and even radio frequency. That means they can absorb and emit radiation at specific energies (or wavelengths or frequencies) in these ranges. For a solid body surface at a specific temperature, a continuum of energy is emitted and has a planck black body curve – which is a description of how much energy is radiated at (for example) each wavelength. The warmer the body, the shorter the wavelengths are emitted as well as the more energy per surface area is emitted.
    If one uses a geometry of large spherical shells for conceptual purposes – a small thickness of atmosphere will have a top and bottom radiating energy away from the shell. That means the shell, if a solid would radiate from twice the surface area of a solid sphere. If the shell were merely a slice of material inside a solid sphere (or an inner and outer sphere surrounding the shell) at a uniform temperature, what is radiated out of the shell would be exactly equal to what is radiated into and absorbed by the surrounding material – temperature would remain unchanged. Take off or cool off the outer sphere or shell and there will be a net flow of heat from our shell to outer shell because it is no longer radiating the same amount of energy back as our shell is radiating outward.

    Switching over to a gas from a solid, one winds up with energy states determined by the planck bb curve (otherwise called the Boltzman distribution) for a given temperature. Temperature determines how much of each energy state is filled which then can be used to determine how much each spectral line will be radiating per second. This is very temperature dependent. How much energy is absorbed from below is related to this same line spectrum of the gas and on how much energy is coming in at each wavelength so that it can possibly be absorbed. If the gas can be maintained at the temperature of the inner sphere, then the radiation leaving that shell – which consists of what came from below and went through unaffected + what was emitted by the gas – what was absorbed by the gas will have the absorption = emisssion of the gas so the net result is nothing.
    The problem though is there must be energy balance in the shell and it is also emitting energy downward. Consequently, without additional sources of energy, the temperature of the shell must drop until the total incoming energy = total outgoing energy. This means radiation + convection + conduction + anything else that might be providing or removing thermal energy. With lower temperature, the shell does not have the energy to radiate as much in its spectrum and anyone looking at this will detect absoprtion lines or energy ‘blocked’. If there is a situation where more energy is entering this shell than is being radiated away (up and down) then one will see an emission line spectra of greater intensity than the continuum being emitted by the solid surface below.
    Also at play here is the pressure at the shell. Higher pressures broaden and squash down the lines That means more wavelengths are absorbed and emitted at lower intensities than at lower pressures where the lines are sharper and the liklihood of absorption over a given distance is greater over a narrower range of wavelengths.
    Shifting things again, let’s look at Stefan’s law which shows the power per unit area as being a constant times T^4 times an engineering kludge value called epsilon, the emissivity. One can use a really small value for epsilon to get a result for emissivity that is only due to the line spectra rather than the continuum spectra of a solid black body. Of course when the gas concentration increases, that emissivity value will increase which means that more radiation will be emitted for a given shell temperature outward and inward. The conservation of energy requires that the shell temperature must drop a bit for the same amount of total emission to occur as the newly increased absorption is equal to half the newly increased emissions (up + down).
    Ultimately, adding additional co2 will decrease the amount of IR in the clear sky radiation leaving the atmosphere. However 62% of the sky at any one time has clouds. These also have an effect on outgoing IR and on incoming solar that is absorbed by the Earth. It is an unfounded presumption that this will require the Earth’s surface to heat up by some specific amount.
    We can look at the Earth system and the simplest of models of where it is today and get a very good idea of things. Earth gets about 1365 w/m^2 in its average orbital position and that turns out to be 341 w/m^2 averaged over the whole surface. The Earth’s average T is or was around 288.2K back in 1976 as a best estimate. Albedo of Earth reflects about 30% of the Sun’s energy back to space which leaves about 239 w/m^2 power absorbed. surface T emissions are about 391 W/m^2 average. That means the atmosphere must block 391-239 = 152w/m^2 or else we would have to cool off. If Earth were a simple black body emitting 239 W/m^2, it’s average T could only be 255K (assuming albedo value unchanged). That means we have 152 w/m^2 causing a rise of 33 K or around 0.2 K rise per W/m^2 sensitivity (to atmospheric blocking). Around 2/3 of that is due to the gases, and that is mostly water vapor.
    Considering that while the solar TSI varies little, the makeup of the shorter wavelengths varies substantially. The amount received by Earth depends upon its orbit location, the amount of cloud cover – the major part of the albeldo. All of these vary substantially.
    That means co2 is a very minor component of an extremely complex interacting and varying system – as Dr. Ball was pointing out in his article. It is also a very stable low sensitivity system as evidenced by its stability over some seriously varying factors.

  28. This whole idea CO2 and heat creates questions from this layman.
    Since CO2 is increasing, and it’s the CO2 that gets warm from the new energy bouncing off the earth, and the CO2 is distributed evenly throughout the atmosphere, shouldn’t the air warm throughout the world at an even rate?
    How hot does the CO2 get when it gets zapped?
    (is it like the center of the earth where it’s sev-rahl milll-yun deegreees?)
    How does CO2 get the new found extra heat to specific areas?
    (like going mostly to the poles and killing all the cute poley bears)
    I’m not a scientist but, even the logic escapes me.

  29. I am with Martin A …. the moment you couldn’t work out what was wrong with the whole Dragon Slayer garbage you ceased to become a climate scientist of any note. If you can get something that obvious wrong you loose about the same credibility as Mann and his Hockey Stick.

    Hell you even got to get credit alongside the perpetual science dropkick Oliver K. Manual that must rate as an all time low point for any scientist.

    I rate you and Mike Mann about the same I am sorry Tim be it that you are on opposite sides makes no difference to me … here I made a sign for both your heads …. .

  30. Good article Dr.Ball. It’s ironic that “specialized” climate scientists apparently rely on “generalized” consensus to defend their position.

  31. LdB says:
    November 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I am with Martin A …. the moment you couldn’t work out what was wrong with the whole Dragon Slayer garbage you ceased to become a climate scientist of any note.
    Ad hominem much?

  32. At the beginning I thought we were going to find out Climatology would be comparable to Astrology, but now it appears Climate Science is more akin to Political Science with the same degree of authentic science content.

  33. dborth says:
    Good article Dr.Ball. It’s ironic that “specialized” climate scientists apparently rely on “generalized” consensus to defend their position.

    So your happy he attacked “consensus” but just ignore the fact this guy can’t even get his head around basic physics … really?

    I guess with his age I should cut him some slack because QM wasn’t probably taught back then although I notice Roy Spencer has got at least the basics an he is same sort of age from what I know.

    Sorry the dragon slayers with all there classic physics garbage does make me laugh I find them amusing they sort of miss the point that this stuff is way beyond their ability to challenge and still they keep going … they are like wind up losers …. LOL

  34. Martin A says:

    November 29, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Dear Dr Ball,

    May I ask if you have any regrets about having contributed to the book ” Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” ?

    Regards
    Martin A
    ========================
    You have piqued MY interest, but left me wondering what Dr. Ball might have, to regret.
    Care to explain ?
    I’m all up for learning new things, as I’m sure he is.

  35. Dr Ball-

    With respect to the RSA I believe it is important to appreciate the societal transformation and radical political projects being pushed there now when evaluating their view of acceptable “science.” I have read and written about the troubling documents coming out of their Social Brain Project and pushing alternative stages of consciousness. (Like the Robert Kegan lecture). Likewise they are actively pushing alternative views of spirituality with a heavy empahsis on sensory experience. The 2nd lecture in the series was last week.

    RSA recently hosted Roberto Mangabiera Unger who proclaims a need to use education to “overthrow the dictatorship of the dead over the living and turn our minds more freely and fully toward the people and phenomena around us.” That’s not hard science it is behavioral science and social engineering. Also the goal of so much of climate change “science’ modelling.

    When RSA is actively promoting speakers trumpeting the need “to reimagine and to remake the social order,” that transformative interest should be used to evaluate every instance of its policies and practices that are determined to ignore factual reality. Of course if RSA is committed to transforming that reality using CAGW and the presence of poverty and inequities globally as the excuses.

  36. Dr. Ball, good article. You write:
    “”Ian Plimer said, studies of the Earth’s atmosphere tell us nothing about future climate.”””
    This is correct, because astronomy has been kept out of the climate analysis and the
    variations of the Earth´s orbit were set to have zero effect on a millenial time scale.,
    Before AR4 in 20007, there was a major meeting of their WG1 participants in 2006,
    where those people present colluded “with an outbreak of great joy” {a participant´s info]
    that they will regard the Earth orbit´influence as an irrelevant “boundary condition”, thus
    out of climate analysis, focussing entirely on atmospheric physics….
    An this is the smelling dog and therefore do all their CMIP 3/5 models smell and cannot
    predict the present temp. plateau and cooling….
    The accurate model instead is available: http://www.knowledgeminer.eu/eoo_paper.html

  37. @thingadonta What a great description of the way in which the EPA and the California Air Resources Board function. Thank you.

  38. Dr. Ball, your comments regarding specialists vs generalists is spot on. I have been on many root cause investigations in my work, and one of the worse things you can have on your team is someone that “already knows the answer” before data gathering even begins. One training course in root cause analysis at my company was conducted by Dr. Chong Chiu (founder, Performance Improvement International). One of his main points was that the specialist is usually ill equipped to deal with interdisciplinary problems, often missing important details because, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Electrical specialists find electrical problems. Mechanical engineers find mechanical problems, etc. People are only capable of keeping a finite amount of information in their heads, even if their exposure and training is vast. Certainly if one does not think in terms of first principles on every level, constantly challenging assumptions, finding root cause is happenstance.

    I was not well trained in statistics, but as a process controls specialist some things about dealing with non-linear functions are clear. Any process that deals with non-linear energy transfer cannot be properly rendered if linear averaging is done on raw data. The average of the function is NOT the same as the function of the average. This is a sophomoric error.

    Models that don’t possess enough spacial and temporal resolution cannot render low level non-linear details that actually give rise to the dynamic behavior under study. For this reason, models are always approximations of first principles, based on empirical relations. (Disclosure: I write models for a nuclear power plant simulator for a living.) To even get in the ball park, one must incorporate all known laws of physics (mass, energy, and momentum conservation), all known physical properties of fluids (steam tables, etc.), all known physical dimensions, all known energy conversions, and all known control laws, and still the model can only render gross behavior. The power plant simulator is designed for operator training, and it exhibits no realistic chaotic behavior; the relevant process displays are much quieter than the real plant. The real world on which the model is based is at first principles chaotic. The chaos is confined to pipes, pumps, valves, and fluid interfaces, and for that reason it can be (must be) rendered by the display of average behavior at the boundary. But the boundaries of the climate system are not sharp like a pipe; its chaotic behavior is open and obvious to everyone. The climate models do exhibit chaotic behavior, but the scales are all wrong because the spacial and temporal resolution is inadequate, and important heat engine details like thunderstorm development are not rendered correctly if at all.

    I am baffled by people’s declarations of “consensus” and “certainty” on the basis of a few puny models. And at the current state of affairs it really doesn’t matter how much supercomputing power is thrown at it, it’s still a puny model. The problem, in principle, should yield to more detailed models, but we are a long way from that utopia.

  39. Please supply a link to the story of the “secret meeting” at the Royal Society….big fanfare….no story!

  40. The above essay is very interesting and just adds to the green shoots of recovery from the climate change disaster.
    A bit OT but I wanted to note that for the first time in many years I have found a brand new book on weather & climate for general consumption which has absolutely no mention of AGW or CC even when talking about climate.
    There! this just pleased me.

    [The moderator notes that you did not identify what book it was? !? Mod]

  41. If you Google ‘Royal Society Climate Change’ you get much to read that clearly sets out the Society’s total belief in man-made climate change. However, what is most evident is the Society’s continued reference to the IPCC. In fact, in document after document, they cannot go a few words without mentioning it. Example: http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/News_and_Issues/Science_Issues/Climate_change/climate_facts_and_fictions.pdf

    In Britain, our Parliament has a question & answer session once a week. It is common practice for the Prime Minister, when he is being asked about his daily engagements, to say, ‘I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago’. This purposely doesn’t answer the question. The Royal Society ought to have a tag line: ‘We refer to the IPCC – constantly’. They clearly totally rely on the IPCC for their entire material answers.

  42. I don’t know why people insist in calling CO2 a “[greenhouse] gas”, and the supposed cause of AGW “The Greenhouse Effect”. To do so displays their ignorance of how a [greenhouse] actually works.
    Let me explain. Solar radiation warms the ground, both inside and outside the greenhouse. Inside it might be slight less than outside since the greenhouse glass will selectively absorb or reflect some of the incident radiation, but the effect is the same, the ground is wamed, which in turn warms the air adjacent to the ground
    Outside the greenhouse that air is unconstrained, so that the warm air next to the ground will rise and be replaced by cooler air from the surroundings, or advected away by any wind. Inside the greenhouse that can’t happen, since the warm air is trapped by the greenhouse structure, and so remains where it is. Nothing to do with CO2 or any other gas, and even the reflection/absorption of radiation by the glass has only a minor effect. If you put your hand on the glass of a greenhouse on a sunny day, you will find it doesn’t get hot, unlike any metal objects inside the greenhouse.

  43. I think Dr. Ball is obliged to provide his understanding of what an atmospheric green house gas is, and identify some examples and the characteristics that qualify them as GHG and what affect they have on climate. I also think it is long past time we quick calling this effect “green house” as that term leads one to make comparisons with physical green houses that don’t apply to the free atmosphere.

  44. “A secret meeting occurred between Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and members of the British Royal Society. Why the secrecy? It is likely because this collective of specialists is scrambling to recover reputations after being misled.
    Claiming they were deliberately deceived in the propaganda campaign orchestrated through the British Royal Society is no excuse.” ~Tim Ball

    There are so many prestigious, international societies which give legitimacy through membership. Not just the Royal society but all Scientific Unions and Societies facilitate top-down, lockstep scientific “paradigm shifts.” I believe the Greenhouse Gas Paradigm Shift is but a sample of what kind of science this system of worldwide unions enables.

  45. @ferdberple at 6:08 am
    atmosphere is predicted by the kinetic theory of gas to be isothermal. it should be the same temperature at altitude as the surface. and except for GHG it would be

    In agreement with Nullius in Verba at 6:37 am
    It would only be isothermal if it was evenly illuminated, perfectly transparent and there was no convection (vertical motions driven by temperature differences). Since on any planet illuminated more at the equator than poles, and with a night side, there are going to be temperature differences, there must therefore be convection, and hence a lapse rate. Greenhouse gases as such make no difference. (Humidity makes a difference because it condenses giving up latent heat, not because it is a GHG.)

    Nullius, your entire post is very well written and cogent.
    This part, however, I’m not so sure about.
    The atmosphere radiates the same amount – the same amount that it absorbs from the sun – whether there are GHGs or not.
    Tim Folkerts explained well that there is an important spectrum shift. Most of the energy from a 5770 deg K sun passes through the atmosphere and is converted to heat at the surface. That heat, converted spectrum, is absorbed by the atmosphere and re-radiated by the atmosphere. So the atmosphere cannot radiate the same as it absorbes from the sun.

    My problem has always been with the 30% one-way mirror albedo argument getting a non-GHG atmosphere to 255 deg K. Your point about condensation and latent heat transport (and two-way albedo) as water vapor being confused with GHG effects is worth remembering. To say that CO2 and H2O are both greenhouse gasses runs to risk of equating the mechanisms of H2O and CO2, when in reality H2O has many more means than CO2 of transporting heat away from the surface.

  46. Addendum to 9:46 am
    So the atmosphere cannot radiate the same as it absorbes from the sun. It must radiate more than it absorbs from the sun because it also absores heat radiated from the surface.

  47. I am still waiting for the GHEers that claim CO2 causes warming and not cooling, to explain why there has been no warming for 17 years, despite increases in CO2. And, explain why the records show that CO2 levels LAG global temperatures, not lead them.
    LdB. Are you there? I’m waiting,

  48. We (skeptics) would lose all credibility if we suggest CO2 is not a GHG.

    This is a very interesting statement! However I think one can just as easily say:

    We (skeptics) would lose all credibility if we suggest that mankind was not responsible for the huge increase in CO2 since 1750.

  49. Colder oceans will take CO2 out of the atmosphere which with all things being equal lessens the greenhouse gas effect and any potential water vapor /CO2 positive feedbacks.

    Less evaporation would cause less convection which would have a warming effect, however in the tropics where most of the convection takes place I am of the opinion that the temperatures in that area of the globe would not be effected by global cooling ,they would remain the same.

    In the areas most effective by global cooling those being N.H. land areas N.of 30 degrees lat. and oceans N./S. of 30 degrees lat. global cooling would cause less evaporation(but very small lesser amounts of evaporation) in those areas, which itself would impact convection very little ,due to the fact evaporation in those areas is low in contrast to the tropics, and convection to begin with in those ares of the globe is much less then it is in the tropics to begin with, which would mean the warming effect would be minimal due to convection changes, in contrast if this process would to take place in the tropics, where convection is much higher and changes in evaporation rates would be much greater IF the temperature of the oceans in that area should change due to a global cooling, but I contend the temperatures of the oceans in the tropical areas would be essentialy the same, nullyfying this effect.

    Therefore the ghg effect would become less overall through oceanic cooling and less water vapor overall in the atmosphere , while not decreasing in the mid troposhere regions which would perhaps contribute to warming if it were to take place.

    The upshot being the GHG effect due to cooling oceans overall(less co2 in atmosphere) and less water vapor in the atmosphere overall would become less as the energy coming into the climatic system decreased(via the sun), while the convection factor would be at least neutral.

  50. Isn’t the “credibility” argument just a variant of ad hominem? I say let the facts speak for themselves, and let the chips fall wherever they may.

  51. What meeting?

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/11/28/a-right-royal-showdown.html

    There’s the link folks…

    The long-awaited meeting between representatives of GWPF and the Royal Society has at last taken place. Nigel Lawson has a brief report on the meeting at the Spectator, revealing little about the content, except for the fact that he is prevented from telling more by a demand for secrecy imposed by the Royal Society fellows themselves.

    This is, to say the least, monumentally pathetic of them. Lawson sounds as though he found the experience slightly frustrating:

  52. In response to:
    “Climate science is the work of specialists working on one small part of climatology. It’s a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees, amplified when computer modellers are involved. They are specialists trying to be generalists but omit major segments, and often don’t know interrelationships, interactions and feedbacks in the general picture.”
    WIlliam: Howdy. Best wishes. It appears you do understood system analysis theory and it seems that you do not have practical experience in effective analysis of complex systems and the resolution of problems with complex systems. My specialty was system analysis and system problem solving. I was well paid as I effectively and consistently solved complex system problems which required me to study multiple specialties and to work with groups of specialists from different fields using applied structured team analysis techniques. Academics work as lone wolves and have no processes to force specialists to acknowledge that some of their pet beliefs/theories are incorrect (blocks problem resolution) as well as to forced specialists to work effectively as a team. These are the so called soft problems and people problems that must be addressed to enable the team to work effectively and to solve problems.

    The warmists are using incorrect models. It appears that a significant number of warmist scientists are aware that the IPCC models are incorrect. A corruption of the scientific process is very different than the assertion that the failure to correctly answer the question: Is there or is there not a CAGW problem?, after 20 years of research is due to the complexity of the problem. The following are a couple of key observations and analysis points to support the assertion 1) that there is no CAGW problem (planet resists rather than amplifies warming, problem goes away), 2) that the majority of the warming in the last 70 years was due to solar magnetic cycle changes rather than anthropogenic CO2 (there is a new problem it appears the planet is going to cool), and 3) a significant portion of the rise in atmospheric CO2 was due to the increase in ocean temperature rather than anthropogenic CO2 emissions (this is an interesting twist, if point 2 and 3 are correct CO2 levels will drop and we will lose the benefits of higher CO2 levels).

    1. The pattern of warming in the last 70 years does not match the predicted pattern of warming if CO2 was the forcing mechanism. As shown in Bob Tisdale’s graph, temperature anomaly, land and ocean, average 2007 to December, 2012 by latitude, the majority of the warming in the last 70 years was in high latitude regions rather than in the tropics. That observation contradicts what the IPCC model predicted. The IPCC models predicted that the majority of the warming should be in the tropics where the most amount of long wave (infrared radiation is emitted to space). (P.S. The claim that there is polar amplification is nonsense. The high latitude warming is now reversing which is only possible if CO2 was not the cause of the majority of the original high latitude warming, also this pattern of warming has occurred before.)

    As CO2 is more or less eventually distributed in the atmosphere the potential for CO2 warming is the same for all latitudes. The actual warming due to CO2 is linearly dependent on the amount of long wave radiation at the latitude in question before the increase in CO2. As most amount of long wave radiation that is emitted to space is in the tropics the most amount of warming due to the CO2 increase should have occurred in the tropics. That is not what is observed. The following is a peer reviewed paper that supports the above assertions.

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.0581.pdf

    “These effects do not have the signature associated with CO2 climate forcing. (William: This observation indicates something is fundamental incorrect with the IPCC models, likely negative feedback in the tropics due to increased or decreased planetary cloud cover to resist forcing). However, the data show a small underlying positive trend that is consistent with CO2 climate forcing with no-feedback. (William: This indicates a significant portion of the 20th century warming has due to something rather than CO2 forcing.)”
    “These conclusions are contrary to the IPCC [2007] statement: “[M]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
    2. The IPCC models predicted that there should be a hot spot (highest amount of warming) in the atmosphere in the tropics at about 8 km above the surface of the planet. There is no observed hot spot which indicates there is something fundamentally incorrect with IPCC models Vs actual atmosphere processes.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/16/about-that-missing-hot-spot/

    The following is a peer reviewed paper that supports the assertions concerning the lack of a tropical tropospheric hot spot.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/DOUGLASPAPER.pdf

    A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions
    We examine tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 ‘Climate of the 20th Century’ model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.
    3. The paradox that there is no tropical hot spot and the lack of warming for 17 years could in part be explained by Lindzen and Choi’s analysis that determined the planet resists rather than amplifies forcing changes by an increase or decrease of tropical planetary cloud cover (or/and an albedo change of tropical clouds which Marshall found).

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf

    On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
    4. There is the fact that planetary temperature has not increased for 17 years which does not make sense as CO2 is increasing.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/10/maybe-that-ipcc-95-certainty-was-correct-after-all/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/05/benchmarking-ipccs-warming-predictions/

    5. There are cycles of warming and cooling in the past where the same pattern of warming that was observed in the last 70 years (high latitude warming and cooling). The past cycles of warming and cooling correlate with solar magnetic cycle changes, which support the assertion that the solar magnetic cycle changes caused the pattern of warming and cooling. The cooling occurs when the sun enters into Maunder minimum. The solar magnetic cycle changes cause the planet to warm and cool by modulating the amount of low and high level cloud cover at high latitudes. The solar magnetic cycle changes also change the optical properties of clouds in the tropics which cause El Niño and La Niña.
    5. In the last 70 years, the solar magnetic cycle was at its highest and longest period of high activity in the last 6000 years.
    6. The solar magnetic cycle was abruptly slowed down with the fastest reduction in 8000 years of data.
    7. Due to the above observations and analysis, the planet should significantly cool due to the abrupt slowdown in the solar magnetic cycle. Observations to support that assertion are record sea ice in the Antarctic and a rapid recovery of sea ice in the Arctic.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

    8. Lead/lag analysis (phase analysis looking at the timing of changes to determine cause and effect which is a standard system analysis technique) indicates temperature changes do not correlate with CO2 increases. Temperature changes first and then CO2 rises. The Humlum et al phase analysis supports Salby’s assertion that a significant portion of the increase in atmospheric CO2 was due to the warming of the oceans rather than due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions which also indicates that the Bern model used by the IPCC to fundamentally incorrect.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/01/the-bombtest-curve-and-its-implications-for-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-residency-time/

    This is a paper that summarizes alleged IPCC shenanigans concerning modeling of CO2 sinks and sources in the atmosphere (i.e. How is possible that Salby’s assertion could be correct?)

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/ESEF3VO2.pdf

    Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma by Tom V. Segalstad

  53. Werner Brozek says:

    November 29, 2013 at 10:25 am
    “We (skeptics) would lose all credibility if we suggest that mankind was not responsible for the huge increase in CO2 since 1750.”
    ====================
    Assuming “we” had any credibility to lose, the graphs showing the variations of CO2 over past eons, might suggest otherwise ?
    Or, did I miss something?, besides vanity.

  54. @William C. Rostron 9:05 am

    …as a process controls specialist some things about dealing with non-linear functions are clear. Any process that deals with non-linear energy transfer cannot be properly rendered if linear averaging is done on raw data. The average of the function is NOT the same as the function of the average. This is a sophomoric error.

    Models that don’t possess enough spacial and temporal resolution cannot render low level non-linear details that actually give rise to the dynamic behavior under study.

    Well said, sir!
    At times, we all need to work with linearized, if even locally linearized, functions as “first order approximations.” The trick is to know what that does to the precision and accuracy of the output and to KNOW that the model error is within the limits that affect our decisions.

    In the climate sphere, with decision output measured in tenths and hundreds of degrees C, I don’t see how we can know model error is insignificant to the decision. Not when “Time of Observation” adjustments are deemed essential to teasing out the signal from the noise.

  55. My view is this: A GreenHouse Gas [GHG] is relevant to the GreenHouse Effect [GHE] only.
    To use the terminology of a GHG when talking about other explanations or hypotheses, of the atmosphere, is a misnomer. CO2-et-al are just atmospheric gases, and should not be referred to as GHGs.

  56. Has anyone ever done a study of the downwind rural temperature records of major cities to see if there was a discernible difference in temperature from those rural areas that where not downwind? I am assuming the c02 levels would be higher downwind from the major cities and thus have higher temperatures.

  57. I wish someone would define exactly what is meant by the term “greenhouse gas”. Is a greenhouse gas “matter in gaseous form that both absorbs and radiates electromagnetic energy in sub-bands of the infrared (IR) band”? Is a greenhouse gas “any gas in the Earth’s atmosphere whose presence increases the Earth’s surface temperature relative to the absence of the gas”? Is a greenhouse gas “matter in gaseous form that if placed completely around material possessing an internal source of energy will produce a rise in the temperature of the material”? Or is there some other definition? Using the first definition, I agree CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Using the second definition, I suspect that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but I’m open to arguments either way. Using the third definition, I don’t believe CO2 is a greenhouse gas. If surrounding material possessing an internal source of thermal energy with CO2 increases the temperature of the material, then it can be argued that material at any temperature for which CO2 is a gas, the rate heat leaves the material when surrounded by CO2 will be less than the rate heat leaves the material in the absence of CO2. If this is true, hot liquids placed in a vacuum thermos bottle will cool faster than hot liquids placed in a thermos bottle whose vacuum region is filled with CO2 gas. If that were the case, vacuum thermos bottle manufacturers are missing a golden opportunity to improve their product.

  58. The WWF affiliated spy at Yahoo Climate Sceptic is baaack:
    “… I can’t resist pointing out that the old paradigm is natural dominance with no human influence, and growing human influence is the new paradigm that has been coming in because it better explains, even if not perfectly, what has been happening in the world over the last 150 or so years. Quite naturally, the new paradigm will have a hard time against the resistant forces offered by those who just do not want to have their long held views over-turned. I too wish the audience comments had focused on the science as they would be pointing out where the old explanation just does not seem to be working all that well.

    Mike MacCracken

    PS—Now back to my listening mode”

    See Donna Laframboise post on Coal and MacCracken’s friends… http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2013/11/27/that-silly-coal-speech/

  59. Alberta Slim says:
    November 29, 2013 at 10:05 am
    I am still waiting for the GHEers that claim CO2 causes warming and not cooling, to explain why there has been no warming for 17 years, despite increases in CO2. And, explain why the records show that CO2 levels LAG global temperatures, not lead them.
    LdB. Are you there? I’m waiting,

    You are talking about totally different things here you are talking about the entire climate warming, Dragon slayer lunatics deny that CO2 has any action at all they try to use classic physics and usually try and rewrite the whole of physics. That is a long way from your argument and please don’t try and tell a scientist that CO2 isn’t Quantum active. It is one of the easiest gases to quantum pump with massive number of vibration modes. There will be a pile of natural regulation beyond just CO2 because the earth has managed to sustain life for a couple of billion years and frankly that stuff is not my area.

    So are we clear dragon slaying garbage has very little to do with what you are trying to argue. That level of physics is way beyond the stupidity arena of climate science.

  60. “How hot does the CO2 get when it gets zapped?”

    The CO2 molecule does not get warmer at all, it vibrates and rotates from the zap. That molecule can then either re-emit, in which case there is no warming occuring at all, or some or all of the vibrational/rotational energy can increase the translational energy of other atoms or molecules, that is a zap worth of warming, but the 0.0004 fraction of co2 does no do much there having to do with atmospheric warming, it is mainly the h2o which is many, many times more concentrated for it is also an infrared active molecule with many more lines and continuum of absorption.

    “How does CO2 get the new found extra heat to specific areas?”

    Like said above, the co2 specific “extra heat” which is really surface energy is not that which you are trying to apply to it, small compared to h2o. In a one-dimensional view of the atmosphere, just up and down, +z and -z, IR active molecules can be viewed easiest as half reflectors, much as a half coated mirror, half reflects backwards downward and half passes through on its upward path since even a refection of light (any em wave) is an absorption then a re-emission (per Feynman, qed) but there is only a given amount of surface radiation that co2 can even interact with in the 14-16 μm or so range, about 15% of the irradiance available near the surface at its temperature. The key everyone keeps looking for is that once a given line is totally opaque upward from the surface adding more of the molecules absorbing that one exact frequency has no further effect near the surface. If it is not totally opaque, and then becomes opaque, that decreases the window radiation that Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi has meticulously shown is not occurring over some fifty years as co2 concentration has risen. Now if you add atmospheric mass, that would definitely increase the surface temperature, but that is a different subject and what we are adding if any is tiny.

    End of story… but everyone really wants the story to not end, what in the world would they discuss then on a climate site? And that is the real ‘climate’ problem, both sides involved.

  61. Leonard Weinstein: However, you are wrong that CO2 BY ITSELF is not a greenhouse gas.

    Until they start modelling convection then yes, ‘CO2 BY ITSELF’ is a greenhouse gas. As they’re modeling the gasses in a greenhouse. Get back to me once they’ve got a grip on air circulation.

  62. TomRude says:
    November 29, 2013 at 11:41 am “The WWF affiliated spy at Yahoo Climate Sceptic is baaack:
    “… I can’t resist pointing out that the old paradigm is natural dominance with no human influence, and growing human influence is the new paradigm that has been coming in because it better explains, even if not perfectly, what has been happening in the world over the last 150 or so years. Quite naturally, the new paradigm will have a hard time against the resistant forces offered by those who just do not want to have their long held views over-turned. I too wish the audience comments had focused on the science as they would be pointing out where the old explanation just does not seem to be working all that well. Mike MacCracken”

    This is a well-orchestrated “paradigm shift” to the Anthropocene Age in the sciences. In the Anthropocene Age there are dangerous Tipping Points in all natural systems on the earth being triggered by growing crops, keeping cattle, generating electricity, having children, traveling, irrigation, and even ligthing a hearth fire. All the sciences will be reframed to fit the paradigm. This is how Progressive Scientists roll.

  63. adrian smits says
    I am assuming the c02 levels would be higher downwind from the major cities and thus have higher temperatures
    henry says
    you are indeed “assuming”

    Here in Pretoria, South Africa, where we have high levels of CO2 in winter (no rain and wind),
    I could not discern a warming trend as a result of this, (i.e temp. trends in dry winter months versus the rest of the year)

    Unless you can bring me the balance sheet of the amount of (more) cooling or (more) warming,
    caused by more CO2, I will go with the “no change” argument by more CO2
    although the climate is changing:

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

    naturally

  64. @LdB…………
    I wasn’t arguing about anything.
    I was ASKING for an explanation of my two questions, which you sidestepped by running off at the mouth about the Slayers.
    Also, when I read an article by a “Slayer” it did not deny that CO2 did nothing at all. The article said that CO2 is a coolant. Isn’t CO2 a coolant??

  65. adrian smits says
    I am assuming the c02 levels would be higher downwind from the major cities and thus have higher temperatures
    henry says
    you are indeed “assuming”

    Here in Pretoria, South Africa, where we have high levels of CO2 in winter (no rain and wind),
    I could not discern a warming trend as a result of this, (i.e temp. trends in dry winter months versus the rest of the year)

    Unless you can bring me the balance sheet of the amount of (more) cooling or (more) warming,
    caused by more CO2, I will go with the “no change” (null hypothesis) argument by more CO2,
    although the climate is changing:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/29/the-important-difference-between-climatology-and-climate-science/#comment-1487222

    naturally

  66. Reed Coray says:
    November 29, 2013 at 11:38 am
    I wish someone would define exactly what is meant by the term “greenhouse gas”.

    There is no easy way to define it because it is a Quantum effect and most layman don’t have that background and hence that creates the problem.

    Lets see how I go with a fast short form and you will have to bear with it as I will have to butcher some QM to make this understandable.

    Ok temperature is energy in classic physics and at school they teach you that it’s the speed or motion of a gas. Well that’s a half truth like all classic physics rubbish. Molecules can contain vibrations in there bonds so if you want to visualize it imagine the molecules a CO2 molecule where the oxygen atoms could spin faster around its own axis but not move any faster as a joint molecule. Now I warn you I am taking big liberties here because the spins really are not anything you can describe in the classic normal sense. These are a form of quantum spin and like all quantum spins they represent energy and that energy is just like all other energy it can move around.

    So CO2 is weird you can actually put energy into the molecule spins without the molecule moving absolute motion faster and that is what they call pumping. That’s what causes all the problems with classic physics because you can’t use all the normal formulas because it behaves in a way that classic physics doesn’t cover.

    All green house gases exhibit this strange behaviour and they are all called active gain media and if you google that you will probably find you also get the other thing they are all called which is active laser media (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gain_medium). In a laser you control the effect to get a stimulated emission but all the gases will pump always it’s just a matter of how much. The fact you can make a CO2 laser tells you CO2 is a gain media and that’s the stupidity of the dragon slayer argument they are trying to deny the impossible.

    Now out in the earth atmosphere there are a pile of things that will change how much pumping occurs in the CO2 and that really is what climate science is supposedly trying to work out. That is a very open debate and I certainly don’t have the answer but the CO2 has to pump it’s a gain media under all circumstances as far as I know and I did a quick search but I can’t find any situation it has ever been reported with a negative optical gain.

    So I can’t answer how much it pumps with sunlight in the atmosphere that’s a climate science question I only know what it does under controlled conditions in the lab.

    I should add one thing climate scientist won’t tell you CO2 is extremely active to not just light but all forms of energy. It will for example pump from electrical discharge and some RF and magnetic fields rather easily … and that opens a whole other can of worms.

  67. @Alberta Slim: ” Isn’t CO2 a coolant??”

    CO2 is used as a working fluid in heat pipes and other cooling devices. But that neither makes it a heating or cooling agent, on balance, in the atmosphere.

  68. LdB: “So I can’t answer how much it pumps with sunlight in the atmosphere that’s a climate science question I only know what it does under controlled conditions in the lab.”

    ::puts pinky to mouth:: “Planets with frickin’ lazor beems.” It’s a nice discussion on lasers, to be sure, but we rather lack the optical cavity to turn the atmosphere into a laser source. And even then, with something as vaingloriously carbon happy as Venus — it’s not putting out the eyes of airline pilots. Again, interesting about lasers, but has nothing to do with CO2 as such.

  69. u.k.(us) says:
    November 29, 2013 at 11:04 am
    Assuming “we” had any credibility to lose, the graphs showing the variations of CO2 over past eons, might suggest otherwise ?

    I have no problem accepting the fact that as the oceans warmed up, the CO2 increased up to 800 years later. My problem is with the last 17 years where RSS shows no change in temperature but CO2 is still increasing. And this rate of increase just happens to be at about 50% of what humans emit. I have read the recent posts on this topic and on the disagreements here. I am not going to go into that here except to say that if I were to speak to a crowd of people and say that there are other reasons why the increase over the last decades just happened to be half of our emissions, they would totally ignore everything else I would say.

  70. M Courtney says:
    November 29, 2013 at 11:17 am
    He doesn’t state if that was because they feared ridicule or are just afraid of open debate.
    Can anyone think of any other reason?

    If they are starting to be unsure of something and want to discuss it frankly with someone, they may want to ask direct questions without constantly looking over their shoulder so to speak and fear what fragment of a sentence the press my jump on for a good headline. Let them talk to the press when they are good and ready and know what they want to say with a unified voice. They know that future climate events will judge them one way or the other.

  71. @Jquip
    “CO2 is used as a working fluid in heat pipes and other cooling devices. But that neither makes it a heating or cooling agent, on balance, in the atmosphere….”
    Why? [ no Quantum pumping or atom spin please ] ;^)
    What is the difference, on earth or on the atmosphere?
    A GHEer told me that CO2 acts like the insulation in my attic. [no mention of back-radiation however].
    So, I asked him what would happen if I took out my insulation and filled up my attic with dry ice?
    I figure that the dry ice would sublimate, rise up as a gas and out the roof vent, leaving my attic with cold air and my furnace running full tilt. That’s not what I call warming, or back radiation, as the UN IPCC says that CO2 does.
    Just askin’……… ;-)

  72. i read one day that the atmosf. contains 12 900 cubic km water and it stays for whaterr 10 days. 1290 cubic km water goes up as wapor and comes down as rain. It gains latent heat near surface and gives up the same heat when the vapor condences and heats the air.
    I have not seen any calculation of this value of heat relatet to the total heat form the sol.

  73. In reply to: “Claiming they were deliberately deceived in the propaganda campaign orchestrated through the British Royal Society is no excuse. The supposed prestige of that Society was used to persuade other national Science Societies that human caused global warming was a serious and proven fact.”

    The CAGW fiasco is having unintentional consequences. During the COP-19 discussions in Warsaw, the developing countries are making a claim which they will try to push to the world court for past and future damages for climate ‘change’ costs and for the cost to convert their economies to green scams. The idiotic IPCC the sky is falling, the sky is falling propaganda reports will be perfect for their case.

    As the UK and the US developed early and emitted large amounts of CO2 in the past, the developing countries want responsibility for climate change damages (past and future) and green scams to be covered by the developed countries in particular the UK and the US (damages based on past and current emissions and per/person emission calculation to reduce the burden for populous countries). Paying damages to the developing world and paying for green scams for developing countries will be problematic for both the UK and the US, as they are currently running large yearly deficits and have very large accumulated deficits, Politicians wake up get engaged with reality, there is no more money to spend!!! Do not create problems which are not a problem.

    Reducing carbon dioxide emission by say 50% without a massive conversion to nuclear power will increase electrical power costs by roughly a factor of 6 to 10. There is no possibility the US or UK public or industry will accept the reduction in standard of life or the massive loss of jobs that would follow an increase in power cost by a factor of 6 to 10, as surely as winter follows fall.
    As phase 2 of the climate change story plays out (cooling planet and dropping CO2 levels) the public and the politicians will be looking for scapegoats to blame and punish. I would support firings and black balling from future research for the instigators. Tar and feathering and/or flogging would be justified and would provide a fine example to discourage future shenanigans but I suppose some would argue that the principals manipulated and cheated with good intentions.

  74. Werner Brozek says:

    November 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    =============
    I know what you are saying, I’m just saying the whole facade is just about to come crashing down.
    I hope the good guys get out first.

  75. “For the record, I don’t agree with Dr. Ball’s opinions on CO2, not being a greenhouse gas, the science is quite clear on that issue long before global warming being an issue. The only valid question is climate sensitivity”

    When pressure broadening of the absorption lines of CO2 happens, this must necessarily lead to a slightly higher absorption and re-emission of upwelling LWIR from the surface.

    But it also works the other way: Namely, for downwelling LWIR from the sun. Just like slightly more LWIR is reflected back down to the surface, so must slightly more LWIR from the sun be reflected to space.

    Even before we get into the interplay with changing amounts of water vapor.

  76. Alberta Slim: “What is the difference, on earth or on the atmosphere?”

    Convection mostly. Commercial heat pipes also take advantage of expansion to help with the matter. Same things occur in the atmosphere, natch. It’s just a question of how much effect they have in practice in the atmosphere, where it’s ad-hoc, versus heat pipes, where it’s intentionally designed in.

  77. Jquip says:
    November 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm
    ::puts pinky to mouth:: “Planets with frickin’ lazor beems.” It’s a nice discussion on lasers, to be sure, but we rather lack the optical cavity to turn the atmosphere into a laser source. And even then, with something as vaingloriously carbon happy as Venus — it’s not putting out the eyes of airline pilots. Again, interesting about lasers, but has nothing to do with CO2 as such.

    I am sorry you seem mentally challenged Jquip. Media gain is very simple try reading about it and engage your very limited brain power.

    Greenhouse effect and lasers share one basis that both require media gain for to work, if that wasn’t a fact neither would occur.

    Your old black and white television set also shares a commonality with the LHC in that the good cathode ray tube was one of the first incarnations of controlled accelerating of particles and no there is no LHC inside you TV set either … you idiot.

  78. u.k.(us) says:
    November 29, 2013 at 8:08 am

    (…)
    ========================
    You have piqued MY interest, but left me wondering what Dr. Ball might have, to regret.
    Care to explain ?
    I’m all up for learning new things, as I’m sure he is.

    Well, when I read the book “Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” I was appalled at the fundamental misconceptions of basic radiation physics it contains. A large proportion of the book is out and out gobbledegook. It’s not just the occasional error – it is simply riddle with nonsense.

    I found Dr Ball’s chapters, “Analysis of Climate Alarmism” interesting and informative. They review how climate research became politicised and how the IPCC came into existence as an organisation whose mission was to convince governments that they needed to introduce policies based on the danger of man-made global warming.

    I have no idea whether Dr Ball fully endorses the other stuff to be found in the book or whether he is embarrassed to be associated with it. Or perhaps neither of these applies. I have no way of knowing – hence my asking my question.

  79. Martin A says:

    November 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    =============
    Nope, you said “regret”.
    Words have meaning, or don’t they ?

  80. You are right, I originally asked if he had any regrets, rather than whether he was embarrassed.

    I hope that my answer, all the same, made it clear that the thing he might possibly regret was having contributed to a book that contains a lot of incorrect information about the physics of radiation. At least one comment above illustrates the effect his having contributed to the book has had on some people’s opinion of him.

  81. Stephen Rasey,

    “This part, however, I’m not so sure about.”

    Quite right! I didn’t express what I was trying to say correctly. Many apologies!

    The idea that I was trying to get across was that the Earth as a whole is in rough balance, and the energy absorbed by the Earth from the sun has to all be radiated to space again from the atmosphere. If the atmosphere is too cool, it radiates less than the Earth is absorbing, so the whole system warms up. If the atmosphere is too hot, it radiates more than the Earth as a whole is absorbing, and so cools down.

    I was thinking ‘Earth’ and said ‘it’, without noticing that ‘it’ would be interpreted as ‘atmosphere’.

  82. Martin A says:

    November 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    =================
    Be very,very, careful what you say right now.
    Somebody might take exception to it.
    Just saying.

  83. Werner Brozek says:

    “We (skeptics) would lose all credibility if we suggest that mankind was not responsible for the huge increase in CO2 since 1750.”

    =============================================

    Yes, human activity is responsible for part of the increase in CO2 since [pick your date].

    But that is not really the issue, which is this: has the rise in CO2 caused measurable global warming?

    I think Planet Earth has been clearly answering that question. Despite the rise in CO2, global warming has not risen as expected, and as almost universally predicted.

    So there is something wrong with those predictions, no?

    Whether CO2 causes some minor warming, or no warming at all, the predictions of runaway global warming and climate cartastrophe have turned out to be flat wrong.

    The climate alarmist crowd is still fixated on runaway global warming. Most of them will never admit that the planet is falsifying their strongly held belief.

    We can go even farther than that: the changes in CO2 are largely due to changes in global temperature. Alarmists still believe that ∆CO2 will cause ∆T. But all of the empirical evidence — and the only empirical evidence we have — shows that their premise is exactly backward: ∆T is the cause of ∆CO2, not vice versa.

    When the premise is wrong, the conclusion will necessarily be wrong. That is what has happened: the alarmist faction began with the premise that CO2 would cause global warming, when in fact, all of the available real world evidence shows us the mechanism is exactly the opposite: ∆T causes ∆CO2.

    Skeptics do not tell the planet what to do. That is how climate alarmists operate. Scientific skeptics only want to find the truth, to the best of our ability. To the consternation of alarmists, the truth is not what they have been assuming all along.

  84. Martin A says:

    November 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm
    ” At least one comment above illustrates the effect his having contributed to the book has had on some people’s opinion of him.”
    ==============
    How deep do you want to dig this hole ?
    I’ve been trying to let you off easy…….

  85. An equation, using only one external forcing, that results in 95% correlation with average global temperatures since before 1900 is at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/ . The equation calculates reasonable average global temperature trends since 1610 including the recovery from the LIA. Change to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide had no significant influence.

  86. Truthseeker says:
    November 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm
    [snip - not interested in your particular brand of "truth" - Anthony]
    —————————————————–
    So, hypocrisy is OK if you do it, but not if others do it. An on-topic, polite comment was deleted because you do not agree with it. Going to put yourself in your own “Unreliable” category of blog sites now?

    Thought not.

    [Let us verify your email address first. Mod]

    [Reply: The email address checks out as OK. — another mod.]

  87. @ gopal panicker
    “some people use the phrase…climate change science…”
    And there are even some who use the phrase “creation science”.

  88. @ LdB

    “If you can get something that obvious wrong you loose about the same credibility as Mann and his Hockey Stick.”

    You also lose a fair bit of credibility by misspelling “lose”.

  89. “Claiming they were deliberately deceived in the propaganda campaign orchestrated through the British Royal Society is no excuse. The supposed prestige of that Society was used to persuade other national Science Societies that human caused global warming was a serious and proven fact. The only Society that refused to go along was the Russian.”

    Interesting (and unsurprising, having seen skeptic papers published by members of the Russian Academy of Science).

    Russia has apparently had the curious but fortunate circumstance of far leftism in national politics not meaning environmentalist anti-industrial ideology in the way it tends to in the Anglosphere today (e.g., for all its faults, Soviet communism was pro-industry at least), not as much replicating the enviropolitical foundation of the CAGW movement.

  90. Odd Haugland says: November 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    i read one day that the atmosf. contains 12 900 cubic km water and it stays for whaterr 10 days. 1290 cubic km water goes up as [vapor] and comes down as rain. It gains latent heat near surface and gives up the same heat when the vapor [condenses] and heats the air.
    I have not seen any calculation of this value of heat related to the total heat form the sol.

    Here’s one back of the envelope calculation. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/512638.html reports that the average rate of sea level drop from evaporation is 1.2 meters per year. When multiplied by the area of the Earth’s surface covered by water (approximately 4.1×10^14 square meters), this corresponds to approximately 4.92×10^14 cubic meters of water evaporated each year. At a density of 1030 kilograms per cubic meter, the rate of water evaporation is approximately 5×10^17 kilograms per year or 1.6×10^10 kilograms per second. At a heat-of-vaporization of 2.23×10^6 Joules per kilogram (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fluids-evaporation-latent-heat-d_147.html), the rate energy is required to sustain this level of evaporation is approximately 3.58×10^16 Joules per second or 3.58×10^16 Watts. From http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1998/ManicaPiputbundit.shtml a representative value for the solar power flux density at a the top of the Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 1380 Watts per square meter. At this power flux density, the rate solar energy impinges on the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system is approximately 1.96×10^17 Watts. If an average Earth albedo of 0.3 is assumed, then the rate solar energy is absorbed by the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system is approximately 1.375×10^17 Watts. Thus, the fraction of the available solar energy required to sustain evaporation is approximately 0.26 or one quarter.
    The evaporated water will rise in the atmosphere where it will condense at approximately 3000 meters altitude. Raising the water from sea-level 3,000 meters also requires energy at an approximate rate of 4.72×10^14 Watts. Thus, evaporation requires approximately 75 times as much energy as lifting the water from seal-level to altitude. Note: The Earth’s surface will recover some of the energy required to raise the water to altitude. However, if you use for the average raindrop speed a value of 10 meters per second (http://www.shorstmeyer.com/wxfaqs/float/rdtable.html), the falling water when it impacts the Earth’s surface will contain kinetic energy at a rate of approximately 8×10^11 Watts. Even if all of the kinetic energy is converted to heat within the Earth’s surface, the rate of recovered heat is a small fraction compared to the rate heat is required to evaporate the water.

    ["whatever 10 days"? Mod]

  91. While the physics appear to acertain CO2 is a greenhouse gas, if the effect is zero warming or less, is it an effective greenhouse gas?
    We are watching the experiment develop, but the uncertainties are so poorly understood, we may as well just make up the results.(See any RGB post, insufficient data)
    Man’s emissions are up,temperatures are flatlined and seem to be starting to cool.
    If we did like the IPCC and pretended that all natural mechanisms are of no consequence and only the CO2 to average global temperature relationship matters, then CO2 must be a coolant in some decades and a warming agent in others.
    So whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas seems irrelevant, what changes its phase in different time periods?
    Yes sarcasm, but the credibility question is another argument from authority.
    Believing in the magic gas does not change the simple observation, we currently cannot separate out and identify any global warming definitively as mans contribution, in fact we can not say what part of our temperature is caused by the current atmospheric concentration of CO2.
    Geology has indicated,as evidenced by the proliferation of fossilized plants, that such concentrations have been very much higher in earths past.These not fossilized plants did not fry at that time,so what is different about the magic gas now?

  92. 100% in support of Dr. Ball. Zero, nada, rein, keine evidence from weather or climate supports CO2 as a GHG. It has a radiative role which may well be neutral or cooling. How hot would a pure O2 and N2 atmosphere be, on a dry dead planet?

  93. A particularly useful and informative set of comments. My awards go to:

    Nullius in Verba – for discussion of the lapse rate.
    Reed Coray – for discussion of “greenhouse gas.
    wayne – for discussion of the “heat absorption” of CO2.
    fredberple – for that keeper of a quote.

    But I’m probably not being fair to other commenters.

  94. RoHa says:
    November 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    You also lose a fair bit of credibility by misspelling “lose”.

    You have proof readers and spell checkers for that … sorry English is not my first language but then most from USA and UK forget that fact :-) I would also point out I am at least aware how poor my English is, which is more than many on here who don’t have a clue on science and physics and don’t even realize it.

    Anyhow I have had enough of this rubbish, I saw Lubos’s comments about why he doesn’t bother with most comments on here and frankly I agree … not worth the effort.

  95. Nullius in Verba says, November 29, 2013 at 6:37 am:

    ““the effect of adding GHG to the atmosphere is to radiate energy to space from the atmosphere that would otherwise have to radiate from the surface.”

    Correct.”

    Now, why is this ‘correct’, Nullius in Verba? According to you, it shouldn’t be. Because you’re very clear in your opinion that the Stefan-Boltzmann law applies to ALL things with a temperature above 0 K, even to volumes of gas and, more specifically, to layers within them. But, if our atmosphere consisted only of nitrogen, oxygen and argon (which it after all does to within 0.5%) it would still on a daily basis receive vast amounts of heat through convective transfer from the surface, and accordingly and naturally gain a physical temperature way above 0 K. However, according to you, despite this, it would emit zero radiation to space, thus not adhering to the Stefan-Boltzmann law at all, defying the very premise that your ‘raising the effective radiating level’ hypothesis rests upon, that this law (by necessity) applies universally.

    You can’t have both. Either the Stefan-Boltzmann law can not be claimed to apply directly and linearly to gases (and especially not to distinct layers within the volume of a gas), and hence your premise (basic assumption) is false. Or it can, and hence even a layer of atmosphere containing only nitrogen, oxygen and argon should and would emit radiation to space directly corresponding to its physical temperature, and hence we would not ‘need’ the so-called GHGs to cool.

    So what will it be?

    “(…) the amount of radiation to space depends on the temperature of the layer that is emitting it, and that will increase or decrease until it emits just the right amount.”

    No, it does not depend on the temperature of the layer emitting it. Because there is no ONE layer emitting it. The Earth system AS A WHOLE emits it, from the surface to the ToA. Only through the ToA, above the convection top, is the full radiative flux to space achieved, because only above that level all energy transport happens via radiation. Below this level, a significant part of the energy transported from the surface up and out will always be contained within the moving air. The 239 W/m^2 is the total/final flux that goes out from the level where there is no more convective transport of energy, only radiative, and that is at tropopause level. The global average altitude of this atmospheric level is 12-13 km, not 5, and the corresponding mean temperature is ~210K, not 255. 210K; 239 W/m^2. No direct, linear S-B connection. Because this is a layer of GAS, not a solid surface, and the radiation going out through it originates not only from the layer itself, but from all layers beneath it, including the surface itself.

    “So if the surface emits to space, the surface will be at the appropriate temperature (about -18 C) (…)”

    The surface DOES emit to space. Even directly. Yet it has a temperature of about 15C. It achieves this temperature because there is an atmosphere on top of it, weighing down on it, so as to put a limit to how fast the energy coming in (from the Sun) can be removed again from the surface at a certain temperature through the upward movement (buoyancy) of heated air.

    If the layer 5 km up emits to space, the layer 5 km up will be at -18 C (…)”

    This layer also emits to space. As do all other atmospheric layers. They all contribute to the final/total flux (239 W/m^2). Only no specific layer can emit the full 239 W/m^2. That flux is only achieved 7-8 km higher up, above the convection top.

    The temperature of this layer, 5 km up, happens to be set by the surface temperature plus (minus, really) the lapse rate climbing UP from it. The lapse rate doesn’t climb DOWN, Nullius, to set the surface temperature. That’s a nonsensical idea. That’s not how the world works. The surface heats first, THEN the surface heated air moves up through the atmospheric column, along the lapse rate, setting the tropospheric temperature profile along the way. You’ve got it all turned on its head. Still.

  96. LdB says:
    November 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I am with Martin A …. the moment you couldn’t work out what was wrong with the whole Dragon Slayer garbage you ceased to become a climate scientist of any note. If you can get something that obvious wrong you loose about the same credibility as Mann and his Hockey Stick.

    I daresay that loosing credibility is better than losing it.

    /pedant

  97. ‘thingadonta says:
    November 29, 2013 at 4:26 am
    In my career in science, I have come across a curious social phenomenon which is relevant to your discussion.

    Certain agencies I have worked for are charged with studying a subset of a particular field within science. Within such agencies, some individuals have a strong tendency to promote the particular field or subset which is central to the agency they are associated with, above all other, broader subsets of the scientific field, with which it is a part. They do this almost instinctively. In other words, they make their particular speciality more important, or dominant over, other specialities, but without any real justification to do so. Instead of seeing their particular field or speciality as a subset of datasets within a broader field, sometimes more important sometimes less so, they see their speciality as always DOMINANT over others.’

    I saw exactly this during my science career of 1986 – 1997, where the mantra of reductionism using molecular biology, biochemistry, call it what you will, was dominant.

    You could make a career isolating, sequencing and characterising one gene and associated protein(s). In those days it was 3 – 5 years to clone it and sequence it, 3 years to express it, make antibodies, analyse expression in vitro and in vivo, 3 years doing site-directed-mutagenesis and functional studies, 3 years doing X-ray crystallography etc.

    All kinds of mantras grew up in the 2-dimensional world of tissue culture and 3-D organ culture was about as central to research in those days as astrology.

    When Affymetrix came along and industrialised gene chip production, everything changed, of course. At that point global transcription studies became the new mantra: comparing whole transcriptome expression in different scenarios. It ushered in a new era of the generalist.

    My field was quite interesting in that regard, since gene therapy, at its apex, is about delivery of genetic material to organs in vivo. All the early testing is done, for matters of cost, in laboratory situations. We learned early that it was easy to create clean, quantitative systems to characterise our early vectors in the lab, but it was another matter entirely to deliver them successfully to tumours in a meaningful manner. The sorts of tools which would have helped would have been tools to track the fate of injected vector in the manner of pharmacology (since it was clear that not much was getting to where we wanted it to get to), half-life considerations, ability to cross blood-vessel-organ boundaries and the like.

    I had the most unfortunate characteristic that I was a natural generalist in a specialists’ world. I spent 10 hard years forcing myself to become a specialist, eventually obtaining a modicum of competence, but the route to using my generalist skills was being a brilliant specialist and publishing huge numbers of papers using specialist focus. I failed the test, so went off to do other things. My way of addressing this was to leave a legacy of what I had done to those allocated to the roles I would never fill (an Oxford Professor who founded a gene therapy company; an entry essay to business school which was reviewed by a few very senior Professors in the UK). It caused a slight stir, but no-one understood my motives.

    They were: ‘I have been sneered at for a decade and more, well screw you….’

    With the automation now present in biology, it is once again the domain of the generalist, utilising the skills and/or data of the specialists to synthesise new insights.

    It might be fruitful for those giving career advice to youngsters to understand whether specialists or generalists are likely to dominate particular fields in the 20 years from 18 to 38 years of age in the lives of those seek to advise. It might help those youngsters to realise whether they should even enter those fields, since being a square peg in a round hole is one of life’s more pointless career options………

  98. “[Let us verify your email address first. Mod]”

    It has been a valid email address for the 2-3 years I have been commenting on this site.
    Free discussion starts with statements you disagree with. Otherwise you are just repeating dogma. Sound familiar? Saying the science is “settled” are we? That’s been said before. How did that work out for those that have peddled that line in the past?

  99. ” Ian W says:
    November 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Simple experiment: Take a volume of 75% N2 and 25% O2 at a constant temperature there will be no IR radiating from the volume as N2 and O2 are non-radiative gases. Add 400ppm CO2 to the volume and immediately IR will start radiating from the volume as CO2 molecules receive sensible heat from collisions then radiate it as IR. ”

    Ian, I’ve tried to find reference to such an experiment but can’t. Has it been done (reference please) or are you flying a kite?

  100. Kristian,

    “Because you’re very clear in your opinion that the Stefan-Boltzmann law applies to ALL things with a temperature above 0 K, even to volumes of gas and, more specifically, to layers within them.”

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law only applies to black bodies (and grey bodies with an appropriate emissivity coefficient). It’s a good approximation in many circumstances, but coloured/transparent materials can be tricky.

    It is very difficult, in a short comment that non-physicists are expected to be able to read, to condense about 6 lectures-worth of physics, concisely and comprehensibly. I have an unfortunate tendency towards long posts as I try (and inevitably fail) to cram in all the necessary caveats, complications, exceptions, and so on without losing the thread. I’m trying to give a simple picture that people can build on, and understand the core idea before we layer on all the complications. When you’ve got the basic idea, please do ask about the complications, but also please be patient.

    “Either the Stefan-Boltzmann law can not be claimed to apply directly and linearly to gases (and especially not to distinct layers within the volume of a gas)”

    The issue here isn’t that it is a gas, but that it is transparent. Absorption/emission of radiation is an atomic/molecular process – it results from the different parts of a molecule or atom carrying differing electric charges in an uneven distribution. When an electromagnetic wave passes, it pushes and pulls on these charges by differing amounts, bending, shaking, and spinning the molecules in the process. Conversely, the bending/shaking of molecular charges can create electromagnetic waves. So the reason that gases like CO2 and H2O absorb/emit infrared is that the central atom has a different charge to the two side-atoms, and a wave with a frequency that matches the bond’s resonant frequency causes the molecules to bend, and ‘ring’ like a bell.

    But gases like O2 and N2 consist of two *identical* atoms, and don’t have such a wide-spaced charge separation. The passing wave moves both atoms together, the molecule is internally undisturbed. So such gases do not interact with thermal infrared, just as they do not interact with visible light. They are transparent. (At much *shorter* wavelengths, the separation between electrons and nucleus *does* allow interaction. But that’s a lot shorter than the infrared.)

    But the same goes for a transparent solid or liquid. If the material is transparent at those wavelengths, it can neither absorb nor emit light at that wavelength.

    In fact, the same goes to some degree even for opaque materials, since the wave has only a limited probability of interacting. If you spread an atom-thin layer of gold metal onto glass, it is transparent. *Every* material is slightly translucent, and light penetrates into the surface some non-zero depth. It might be a few hundred thousand atoms, as for ‘opaque’ materials, or a few billion, as for ‘translucent’ ones. But the same gradual absorption across layers of material applies to *any* material, including the solid ground. All the atoms inside an opaque body are still emitting and absorbing radiation, but the transfers generally cancel out except close to the boundary, so what we generally do is to ignore all the stuff going on inside, and approximate a minimally-opaque shell around the outside as “the surface”, which emits and absorbs all the radiation. But at the microscopic level, it is more complicated.

    This approximation doesn’t strictly work when you have materials that are thinner than the minimally-opaque thickness, or which are opaque at some wavelength but transparent at others. You have to integrate the full radiative-transfer equations across the whole body, which is *not* a trivial topic for lay-physics explanations. Nevertheless, you can still get an *idea* of what is going on by considering the *average* altitude of emission to space in a fuzzy-opaque atmosphere, and treating it as if all the emission was coming from that layer. It’s not quite correct, but it works for the purposes of intuition. At least initially.

    “It achieves this temperature because there is an atmosphere on top of it, weighing down on it, so as to put a limit to how fast the energy coming in (from the Sun) can be removed again from the surface at a certain temperature through the upward movement (buoyancy) of heated air.”

    The problem is that the weight of an atmosphere doesn’t stop it radiating thermally. The surface/ocean *is* approximately a black body, and so radiates far more energy at that temperature than the sun provides.

    “The surface heats first, THEN the surface heated air moves up through the atmospheric column, along the lapse rate, setting the tropospheric temperature profile along the way.”

    The lapse rate sets the *gradient*, but it doesn’t set the *intercept*. The lapse rate ties the temperature at all levels of the atmosphere into a rigid structure, but this rigid structure is free-floating, and can bodily rise up and down without changing its slope. And so forces applied at the top can affect it just as easily as forces applied at the bottom. You can pump water in at the bottom of a barrel, but it’s where it spills out at the top that sets the level, and hence the pressure at the bottom.

  101. All green house gases exhibit this strange behaviour and they are all called active gain media and if you google that you will probably find you also get the other thing they are all called which is active laser media (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gain_medium). ~LdB

    I… what?

    Did you just say CO2 in the atmosphere takes an input of IR from the surface, energy from some other source, and then emits the IR at higher power?

    Know what Helium, Neon, Nitrogen, Argon, and CO2 all have in common?

    They’re all used as active laser media, your own link says this. Did you miss where it said that?

    If the atmosphere operates like a laser, wouldn’t the overwhelming majority of any “greenhouse laser” effect be due to the Nitrogen which makes up around 80% of the atmosphere?

    I’m amazed that no one else seems to have a problem with this idea.

  102. Take a volume of 75% N2 and 25% O2 at a constant temperature there will be no IR radiating from the volume as N2 and O2 are non-radiative gases. ~Ian W

    Uh: http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o396/maxarutaru/Selection_033.png
    H2O CO2 O2 and N2 on top
    O2 and N2 on bottom

    These are detail shots from the left side of the above image: http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o396/maxarutaru/guest975820037.png

    The gap in the bottom image is the visible spectrum, everything to the right of it is infrared.

  103. I am a kindred soul to Rhys Jaggar above. As a biologist, I am constantly frustrated by the discussions of physical scientists and so-called climate scientists. Like Rhys, I was a specialist in a field that required that I be a consummate generalist, before any work could be done in the “specialization” (epizootiology, for those who like to drop polysyllabic career names in mixed company).
    I sincerely wish the physicists and the climate scientists would drop the term GHG, “greenhouse gas” entirely from the conversation. The term is not scientific, its populist, and part of the reason why no useful common definition exists. It doesn’t describe a physical phenomenon, it describes a “feeling” people have when they enter the popular concept of what a greenhouse is.

    Greenhouse operators don’t manage climate, they manage physiology. Greenhouse “climate” is what they get when they provide the physiological needs of the cultivars. Humidity is added to meet and enhance the base physiological and derivative transpirational needs of the the plants, if they are not xerophytic. CO2 is a food additive, and is added to greenhouses in eye-popping ppm as a growth stimulant. Little consideration is given to its thermal properties, because a) its irrelevant in a greenhouse, and b) the plants don’t care. Its just food to them. Neither CO2 nor humidity are used to provide temperature in a greenhouse, although certainly, water’s latent heat characteristics are a factor in the regulation of the temperature. The climates of the planet are not now, and never will be, uniform, and at worst, the effect of CO2 physics and dynamics on a planetary scale are nothing but benign, in as much as life on this planet is concerned.

  104. Maybe the following report on the “secret meeting” explains why the RS was so anxious to keep the Press out of the meeting.

    “So Nurse’s team were able to tell me little I did not already know. But what did emerge was that, if anyone needed educating, it was them. Despite the fact that they were headed by Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the Director of the Grantham Institute, which has pronounced views on climate policy, and a member of the Climate Change Committee, which is concerned with the implementation of the Climate Change Act, they were very reluctant to engage on the crucial issue of climate change policy at all. What was clear, however, was that they had no understanding of, or interest in, the massive human and economic costs involved in the policies they so glibly endorse.

    The Spectator, 28 November 2013″

  105. J.Seifert says:
    November 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

    “astronomy has been kept out of the climate analysis and the
    variations of the Earth´s orbit were set to have zero effect on a millenial time scale.”

    Spot on.
    And they have effect already at the interannual scale, because the length of the astronomical year varies whole days and the yearly average distance to Sun thousands of kilometers.

  106. A says
    snip – not interested in your particular brand of “truth” –
    Henry says
    Again, I want to make this point.
    This site became great because it allowed free speech, allowing free exchange of ideas no matter what, even if unscientific.
    You should follow a set of rules, if you want to put someone in a sin bin
    (OT comments, thread bombing, swearing and calling other comm enters fools or ugly names)
    That should only be for a certain period, and only after giving at least one warning.
    As it stands, I have to agree with truthseeker.

    REPLY: The “Truthseeker” comment was designed to cause thread disruption and it was off-topic. My perogative based on our site policy. Some of your comments in the past have fit into the same category.

    This site remains well trafficked because we deal with such comments effectively. Otherwise it becomes the messy free for all like we see at some political sites. Feel to be as upset you wish, but I won’t change our policy because you think all comments, no matter their content, validity, or provenance, should pass moderation. See our policy here With over a million comments here, I think it works well. “Truthseeker” has 190 comments here, so it isn’t like he is being picked on, he just stepped over the line with that particular comment. You both need to move on. – Anthony

  107. henry@anthony(if it is you mod)
    it is your loss of traffic (and subsequent loss in ad revenue,)
    not mine.
    But you made me interested in actually seeing his comment….?
    Also,
    maybe slightly off topic
    why publish stories written by people who subsequently do not defend what they wrote?
    I did not see any written comment by Tim Ball
    I think that reflects poorly both on himself and on WUWT.

    REPLY: I’ve notified Dr. Ball by email that there are comments here asking questions of him. I can’t force him to answer. For all I know he may be on holiday this long weekend like so many people are. – Anthony

  108. Dr. Ball gives a list of several disciplines involved in the study of Climate. He omits the biological and agricultural sciences–which are the point of the whole thing.

  109. [snip - not interested in your particular brand of "truth" - Anthony]

    Uh oh, Anthony, this is not your best. Many of us are here in part because very few things are snipped here.. It is full, open, honest debate, which intelligent people find refreshing.
    Having loved this site for years, I trust that your actual reasons for snipping were either foul language or meaningless screaming. You even let some of the latter through, just to avoid censoring.
    This reason for snipping sounds like”I don’t like” or even “I don’t agree with” what you said. Again, I know you better than that.
    But it is not helpful to Truthseeker.
    You did clarify later.

    REPLY: I could have phrased it better but sometimes the human nature aspect of some of the comments I get… push buttons in addition to being policy violations, I’m not perfect. Walk a mile in my shoes and experience the abuse I get daily, then you’ll have a better understanding. – Anthony

  110. I don’t get why anyone gives airtime to Dr. Ball. He’s at the “2+2 does not equal 4″ level of atmospheric physics and yet he’s treated as if he has some sort of scientific credibility. He’s like the guy who thought the Greenland ice sheet was only 650 years old. He’s junk science. Why give junk science coverage?

  111. I was just looking at some rainfall data from Winnipeg. It is going down, as predicted (it lies at 50 latitude) at an average annual rate of about 2 mm per annum. If you put a polynomial fit of the 4th order it shows a sharp decline coming after 2020. It really is quite spooky, seeing as that that is exactly what I am predicting…
    Did Winnipeg also suffer from the effects of the dust bowl drought 1932-1939?
    I should perhaps spend some more time on these data.

  112. To all, but in particular to Nullius,

    Any discussion of lapse rates should also include the observation of inversion layers.
    I grew up in Denver, Colorado in the 1960-1980 range, home of the winter time “Brown Cloud”
    The ground gives up it’s heat via IR on clear nights, lowering the air temperature in the ground layer. It sinks and remains in a topographic bowl. The inversion lasts until the sun warms the ground and ground layer mid morning to restore a “normal” temperature profile.

    It would seem to me that the sutdy of inversion layer conditions, especially from cities at verious altituded and humiditiy levels, could add some boundary conditions to heating and cooling properties of GHGs.

    I’m sure it is and has been studied. But discussion of it seams lacking. Maybe it is because an inversion is a condition of cooling and not warming.

  113. Stephen Rasey,

    “Any discussion of lapse rates should also include the observation of inversion layers.”

    Another one of those complications that requires caveats that distract from the core concept! Sometimes in the past I’ve mentioned them when introducing this topic. This time I didn’t.

    But since you mention it…

    Similarly, you get inversions during the polar winters, and also in the stratosphere due to UV absorption by the ozone layer. Low-level inversions don’t generally have much effect, being very localised and no more than a few hundred metres thick (compared to the 10 km of atmosphere above them), but the stratosphere makes an interesting case.

    Because the temperature gradient is inverted, it means that raising the altitude of the distribution by adding more GHGs actually *lowers* temperatures. More GHGs causes the stratosphere to *cool*, because emission to space comes from a higher, warmer layer, which therefore has to cool to restore global energy balance.

    Or to put it more simply, the GHE is proportional to the difference in altitudes times the lapse rate. If the lapse rate is negative, so is the GHE.

    I recall my amusement at the RealClimate lot tying themselves in knots trying to explain the stratospheric cooling effect with their usual approach to the GHE, and eventually Gavin having to admit he’d messed it up and didn’t understand it. It’s a good test of alternative explanations for the GHE. Can you explain why it’s negative in the stratosphere, and (nearly) zero under water? (After all, liquid water should act like a GHG to IR, only it’s 1,000+ times denser…) If you consider lapse rates, it’s trivial to explain, but tricky for some other methods.

    Happy?

  114. HenryP: “…in Vancouver, atmospheric pressure is dropping at an average annual rate of about 12 mbars per annum since 1995, exactly as I expected this to happen.”

    CO2 is heavier by volume than O2, isn’t it? Is there a hypothetical relationship between additional C in the atmosphere and surface pressure?

    Are there any ongoing measurements of average atmospheric pressure at the surface that could identify a global trend?

  115. Max™ says:
    November 30, 2013 at 5:20 am
    If the atmosphere operates like a laser, wouldn’t the overwhelming majority of any “greenhouse laser” effect be due to the Nitrogen which makes up around 80% of the atmosphere?

    I’m amazed that no one else seems to have a problem with this idea

    Now your in the mood to learn something keep reading the emission of any quantum level change is at a specific frequency (IE it’s in discrete quanta and that creates discrete frequencies). Now go an look at the absorption and emission spectrums of CO2 and Nitrogen you may actually learn how it all fits into the classic physics and yes the emission/absorption characteristics are important.

    That right what we have been discussing creates the distinct absorption and emission characteristics that many others have already discussed above. See in classic physics you never really deal with why the gases only absorb and emit at different frequencies you sort of just accept it and they give you a pretty graph ….. Has the penny dropped yet?

    I have not told you nothing different to the normal climate science it’s just been given to you in slightly different way but it shows you why classic physics gets into trouble.

    That why law like Beer-Lambert are only ever approximations there is no classical law that correctly describes transmission of light thru any real media … and now you know why.

    Probably a good start point for your reading

    http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~brandt/Fluorescence/Quantum_Theory_of_Spectroscopy.pdf

  116. I should add I actually dislike the way climate science explains the emission/absorption because even on the NASA site it almost treats it like it just blocks or just allows different frequencies but it doesn’t really discuss that it’s nowhere near that simple and in the comments and responses above you see why that creates problems and arguments. I often see the discussion of line by line spectrum analysis but again no explaining why it has to be line by line but I guess this is climate science why discuss any real science.

  117. @LdB

    “sorry English is not my first language”

    Then you get extra credibility from being able to write in English so well that I did not realize that.

    Believe it or not, I regularly encounter “loose” for “lose” in texts written by people whose first language is English, or at least some approximation thereof. This error seems to have become popular recently, along with “*tow* the line” for “toe the line”.

    Global Warming causes illiteracy .

    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

    http://www.ericpinder.com/html/lose.html

  118. nutsofasst says
    Are there any ongoing measurements of average atmospheric pressure at the surface that could identify a global trend?
    henry says
    CO2 quickly diffuses into air and therefore the composition in the atmosphere quickly balances out and stays the same at around 0.04% whereas for O2 is 21%.
    I think some people are beginning to pick up that it is getting drier at the higher latitudes, inland. Obviously, they wrongly blame it on AGW….because of the disinformation by the media.

    You should know by know that global warming has stopped and that global cooling has started.
    see here

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2014/plot/rss/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2014/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2014/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2002/trend

    (btw can somebody here just show me or tell me how to make that into a neat small link like I see Anthony and others are doing)

    It is this global cooling that will cause less rainfall at the higher latitudes.

    The Dust Bowl drought 1932-1939 was one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century anywhere in the world. Three million people left their farms on the Great Plains during the drought and half a million migrated to other states, almost all to the West. http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/dust_storms.shtml

    I find that as we are moving back, up, from the deep end of the 88 year sine wave, there will be standstill in the change of the speed of cooling, neither accelerating nor decelerating, on the bottom of the wave; therefore naturally, there will also be a lull in pressure difference at that > [40 latitude], where the Dust Bowl drought took place, meaning: no wind and no weather (read: rain). According to my calculations, this will start around 2020 or 2021…..i.e. 1927=2016 (projected, by myself and the planets…)> add 5 years and we are in 2021.

    Danger from global cooling is documented and provable. It looks we have only ca. 7 “fat” years left……

  119. Gas physics are the simplest there are, you’re a dowsing stick professional somewhere.
    =======
    LdB says:
    November 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm
    I should add I actually dislike the way climate science explains the emission/absorption because even on the NASA site it almost treats it like it just blocks or just allows different frequencies but it doesn’t really discuss that it’s nowhere near that simple and in the comments and responses above you see why that creates problems and arguments. I often see the discussion of line by line spectrum analysis but again no explaining why it has to be line by line but I guess this is climate science why discuss any real science.

  120. There’s a pathologically shallow lie if one was ever told on the internet. English’s most difficult colloquialisms derive from it’s extremely complex conjuctive, adverbial, and to a lesser degree adjectival nature: and the drivel you drizzle

    oozes young, dumb, American left-winger posing as a magic gas blow hard.

    LdB says:
    November 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm
    RoHa says:
    November 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    You also lose a fair bit of credibility by misspelling “lose”.

    You have proof readers and spell checkers for that … sorry English is not my first language but then most from USA and UK forget that fact :-) I would also point out I am at least aware how poor my English is, which is more than many on here who don’t have a clue on science and physics and don’t even realize it.

    Anyhow I have had enough of this rubbish, I saw Lubos’s comments about why he doesn’t bother with most comments on here and frankly I agree … not worth the effort.

  121. Why is it, everyone who associates themselves with magic gas immediately begins unraveling as an either utterly incompetent, or utterly deceptive, almost universally reprehensible, fraud? What is it that draws them?

    My bet is the concept of getting control of large numbers of people through lying: Spin & perception.

    It draws the sociopath. Look at the nearly
    endless
    list

    of people whose work on even cursory examination is revealed: fraud.

    Fraud, fraud, frAUd, frauD. on and on.

    here’s this looptard posing as some Eurodilbert,
    manic-magpie’ing his American English like somebody got into dad’s expensive coffee and went heavy on the sugar.

    Pfft. It’s just pitiful but, it shows ya what it takes to believe in the crap.

  122. The fact is, when someone tells you he’s a scientist he means, he has reproducible work that indicates his most basic of premises are correct. Modern government doesn’t run climate science, it runs a grant scheming pond for those too good to do real work that applies to real laws of physical command issued by a proportionate physics, charge-driven universe, with quantifiable energy content in known mass at any given temperature.

    The hangers on to this movement are far too long after the fact,
    to see how transparent their posturings about magic gases and fantastical backerdisms are.

    Claim: there’s a giant light on in the sky. Panic and give Al Gore and his friends your money.

    Reality: we looked for the giant light on in the sky. It isn’t there. You’re a bald faced liar.

    Pretty much,
    end of story.

    Now it’s a matter of cleaning out the fraudulent personalities from this era of our government being overwhelmed with pseudo science spamming frauds. Because we checked their story.

    And the giant light in the sky
    might be derived from CO2
    but it’s the CO2 reflecting a far larger quantity of sunlight away from the earth,
    than it is, delaying removal of radiative flux from the earth.

    Sun: many times more infrared.
    Earth, many fewer times as much infrared.

    Therefore the gas reflecting the sun, about half the infrared,
    is contributing to cooling. It’s this reflection precisely which reduces sunlight input,

    to the many temperatures mounted, all over, the sphere of our globe, our earth.
    You can’t be blocking about a quarter of the suns total energy to the earth

    and simultaneously be responsible for the energy sensors on earth showing more energy
    arriving,
    than before you blocked that 20, 25%.

    No, you can’t,
    No, someone didn’t,
    or that would be called,
    magic insulation.
    There is no gas, that is a magical insulation.

    Not yesterday
    Not today
    Not ever.

    Which is why, all these people who believe in it, suddenly defy you to act like it’s real science
    with real proofs,
    and real heat engines built with their magic light in the sky.

  123. Henry;
    Any online HTML tutorial will teach you how to make links with the label you want. Here’s a quickie template:

    <a href=”URL”>LABEL</a>

    Include the quote marks around the URL

  124. Henry @ Brian H
    thanks so much. This is what I wanted to learn.
    But I still don’t get it as to how exactly you did that….
    I must admit that I know nothing about computer science! You have start from scratch.
    I get what the url is (that is the long chain)
    I get what label is: that is “Henry’s Link”
    but now: where must I feed your formula into?
    Can I put it in a word document, for future reference? When I put copy and paste of your “Henry’s Link” in a word document, it gives me the long chain link back again….

  125. Steven R Vada says:
    November 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Gas physics are the simplest there are, you’re a dowsing stick professional somewhere.

    Oh yeah that’s right you understand it all .. so genius one quick question because this will sort out what you really know. Give me one gas physics law that you know that is truly correct because they are in your words so simple.

    So just >>> one <<< that is always correct not sometimes correct under some conditions but absolutely true and correct always?

    Not hard there are many gas laws and the gas physics is simple according to you so I just need one that's true.

    Bet you don't answer it because you full of hot air I believe there is an expression for you

  126. Nullius in Verba says, November 30, 2013 at 4:44 am:

    “The lapse rate sets the *gradient*, but it doesn’t set the *intercept*. The lapse rate ties the temperature at all levels of the atmosphere into a rigid structure, but this rigid structure is free-floating, and can bodily rise up and down without changing its slope. And so forces applied at the top can affect it just as easily as forces applied at the bottom. You can pump water in at the bottom of a barrel, but it’s where it spills out at the top that sets the level, and hence the pressure at the bottom.”

    The surface heats first, Nullius. You see it all observational data. The surface temperature goes up or down (it changes), then a bit later the tropospheric temperature follows suit, then in the end, the OLR from the ToA changes. That’s how it works. The tropospheric temperature profile starts at the surface and climbs up through the atmospheric column to the ToA, along the course of the convective heat transfer. If the surface temperature goes up, then the tropospheric temperature profile is lifted accordingly. Not the other way around, sorry. Warming surface >> warming troposphere >> raised tropopause (because of enhanced convection to bring the heat out – and the heat radiates out to space from all levels, from surface to tropopause, not from a specific atmospheric layer). The tropospheric profile never lifts first, to raise the surface temperature, Nullius. If you believe that’s how it works, then please direct me to the empirical observational evidence from the real Earth system.

  127. LdB you’re here to pass the “does it sound sane,
    or does it sound like a manic, unemployed, troubled youth?” test.

    Obviously you’re channeling #2.
    People channeling #2 get laughed at.
    People channeling #2 don’t demand answers.

  128. Kristian says, December 1, 2013 at 4:56 am:

    “Warming surface >> warming troposphere >> raised tropopause (because of enhanced convection to bring the heat out – and the heat radiates out to space from all levels, from surface to tropopause, not from a specific atmospheric layer).”

    And with the raised tropopause (and lifted tropospheric profile), the OLR still goes up with increased surface temperatures. Because upward convective/evaporative energy transport goes up. And hence, in the end, radiation back out to space goes up.

  129. LoL another grammatical error: “which reduces sunlight input, to the many temperatures mounted,” was supposed to be

    “which reduces sunlight input, to the many *sensors mounted, “

  130. Kristian,

    The heat only rises if the temperature gradient of the air above meets or exceeds the lapse rate. Otherwise it stays right where it is.

  131. Nullius in Verba says:
    “The heat only rises if the temperature gradient of the air above meets or exceeds the lapse rate. Otherwise it stays right where it is.”
    Atmospheric Window around 10um?
    Also to frame the stratosphere within the envelope of greenhouse gases misses out the major drivers of gamma and UV radiation producing chemical transformation.
    Stephen Rasey says
    “Any discussion of lapse rates should also include the observation of inversion layers.”
    Agreed and shows how little effect the atmospheric radiation can achieve when at night a higher atmospheric temperature cannot stop surface radiation causing ground frost.

  132. Nullius in Verba says, December 1, 2013 at 7:11 am:

    “The heat only rises if the temperature gradient of the air above meets or exceeds the lapse rate. Otherwise it stays right where it is.”

    Yes. And it exceeds it on a regular basis, every day, when the Sun shines on the surface and warms it, preferably in the tropics. That’s what drives Earth’s large-scale atmospheric convection cells (like the Hadley-Walker cells) – solar surface heating.

  133. Kristian,

    Don’t confuse the source of the energy for the seat of control. The driver decides where the car goes, not the engine.

    The atmosphere warms or cools *as a whole* until the heat emitted to space equals the heat absorbed from the sun. The latter is fixed (ignoring clouds and albedo) so the primary control rests with the emission to space. The amount emitted depends on the temperature of the surface that is emitting, and the changes there then propagate through the rest of the system.

    The temperature at the average altitude of emission to space must be such as to emit the required amount of energy to space. If that altitude is higher off the ground, the temperature distribution must move up. The level is controlled from the top, although it is filled from the bottom.

    The warmists make the same mistake – thinking that just because there is a lot of IR radiating down from the sky, that this therefore *controls* the surface temperature. Control is an entirely different property of a system, and does not necessarily have to go with the flow.

  134. LdB, I’m already well informed regarding QED, I doubt there is anything you could tell me which I haven’t already learned from Feynman, but that is beside the point.

    You said the atmosphere operates like a laser, that suggest you don’t understand one of those things, which is it?

  135. Steven R Vada says:
    December 1, 2013 at 5:29 am

    LdB you’re here to pass the “does it sound sane,
    or does it sound like a manic, unemployed, troubled youth?” test.

    Told you could answer it could you … gee I am surprised.

    So you feel compelled to make a declaration of a fact only it’s not a fact because you really don’t have a clue on any of this stuff. So lets see you are the one commenting on something you don’t understand remotely and I am the manic, unemployed and troubled one … sure dropkick.

  136. Max™ says:
    December 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    You said the atmosphere operates like a laser, that suggest you don’t understand one of those things, which is it?

    No max you said it worked like a laser and no there isn’t a LHC inside your TV either, the atmosphere and lasers share an effect that’s all as do a TV and the LHC.

    So how about we test some science then you asked what about Nitrogen so lets pick that up. You probably don’t know but in our solar system there is a moon of Saturn that actually has an atmosphere of Nitrogen and Methane. Now there is no oxygen or other gases that interfere with the optical pump …. so shall we see what happens.

    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2010/07/01/modeling-titan/

    Gee whizz will you look at that it optical pumps as well and we tested it on earth using a EUV-VUV beam in a chamber.

    See unlike climate science in the hard sciences we test stuff in detail and sorry yes I haven’t told you anything that isn’t correct or been tested.

  137. I should add one final comment Max none of that is remotely controversial it simply explains the greenhouse effect in more detail a level climate science is not familiar with, and it shows why the dragons layers get it so wrong. Once you overlay classic physics over the mechanisms you get pretty much the standard climate science picture but as the dragons layers found if you probe the classic physics too hard there are cracks because it is a horrible simplification.

    I can’t answer climate science and I have no theory on it because it isn’t my area but I know for a fact the dragon slayers are stone dead wrong because the real hard physics says so.

  138. First off, Mr. “I don’t understand lasers”, take your condescending attitude and stow it somewhere uncomfortable, thanks.

    Second, in your links just now you referenced studies using synchrotron radiation to study a similar mix of gases as found on Titan, that is not the same as “Titan has an atmospheric laser effect”, I know english isn’t your first language, so maybe you aren’t to blame here for misunderstanding that the word LASER is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the battle, G.I. Joe, etc.

    Now out in the earth atmosphere there are a pile of things that will change how much pumping occurs in the CO2 and that really is what climate science is supposedly trying to work out. That is a very open debate and I certainly don’t have the answer but the CO2 has to pump it’s a gain media under all circumstances as far as I know and I did a quick search but I can’t find any situation it has ever been reported with a negative optical gain. ~LdB

    Here you describe CO2 in the atmosphere as being “pumped” and a “gain media under all circumstances as far as I know”, which means you are describing the atmosphere as a laser.

    CO2 and the atmosphere in general only reduce the power of radiation, barring something like a lensing effect of course, so no, that is not positive gain, and it is not anything like a laser.

    A laser takes an input and adds energy from an outside source to increase the intensity of the output, which is nothing like the atmosphere.

    A gain media facilitates this process, you are so far the only person I have ever seen who described the greenhouse effect in terms of gain media or laser analogies.

  139. Nullius in Verba says, December 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm:

    “The atmosphere warms or cools *as a whole* until the heat emitted to space equals the heat absorbed from the sun. The latter is fixed (ignoring clouds and albedo) so the primary control rests with the emission to space. The amount emitted depends on the temperature of the surface that is emitting, and the changes there then propagate through the rest of the system.”

    Sigh, I’m done with this discussion, Nullius. You just keep on insisting on your ‘the amount emitted depends on the temperature of the surface that is emitting’ even when knowing full well (just stop and think for a wee while) that there is no ONE surface emitting Earth’s final system radiative flux to space, hence there can be no direct relationship between this total outgoing flux and the physical temperature of ONE such specified layer. (And if there were such a layer, it would NOT be located 5 km up, in the middle of the convective troposphere. It would be the ~210K tropopause, the atmospheric level directly above the convection top.) This idea is nothing but a purely theoretical (and quite nonsensical) construct, conjured up to explain an atmospheric surface warming effect that simply isn’t and never was a radiative one. But it seems impossible to get through to you on this. So I won’t bother anymore. Sorry for taking up your time …

  140. “More dun come out than wint in! Ya’LL!”

    Now out in the earth atmosphere there are a pile of things that will change how much pumping occurs in the CO2 and that really is what climate science is supposedly trying to work out. That is a very open debate and I certainly don’t have the answer
    but the CO2 has to pump it’s a gain media under all circumstances as far as I know
    and
    ***I did a quick search but I can’t find any situation it has ever been reported with a negative optical gain.*** ~LdB

  141. I’d be interested in seeing everyone who claims they believe in the GHE take a simple three question test:

    sphere spinning suspended in vacuum illuminated by broadband light.
    Temperature stabilizes T.

    Sphere is placed behind reflective screen blocking 20% E in, to sphere’s surface sensors.
    Temperature subsequently:

    (A)Rise
    (B) Fall.

    Magic gas belief demands the answer be (A).
    Scientific knowledge demands the answer be (B).

    Number two:
    Cold nitrogen/oxygen bath into which sphere is immersed is much colder than sphere.
    Immersion into cold nitrogen/oxygen bath, causes every sensor on sphere surface to:

    (A)Rise
    (B)Fall.

    Magic gas belief demands the answer be (A).
    Scientific knowledge demands the answer be (B).

    Number three:
    After removal from sphere by reflective screen of 20% total E in,
    even more reflective gas is added around sphere, resulting in 25% E in,
    being reflected away from sensors on sphere.

    Removal of yet more E in, through addition of more reflective gas
    will result in every sensor on the sphere showing energy

    (A) Rise
    (B)Fall.

    Magic gas belief demands the answer be (A)
    Scientific knowledge demands the answer be (B).

    As soon as you start being steered to “just ignore all those reality based facts that make my preposterous proposal utterly impossible,
    and act like you believe in it,
    because I said I know someone else who does,”

    you know you’re dealing with a con man.
    Not a scientist.

    This is why magic gassers despise having to answer your questions about their false science; their false religion.

    You don’t have to crack a book to see they’re barking delusion.

    They run off the rails the moment they go from “earth in vacuum” being cooled solely by radiant emission

    to “earth in cold atmosphere that reflects away a fifth energy in.”

    Right there: they start lying.
    Talking about how “you don’t understand”
    the giant reflective, frigid bath cooling the earth,
    is really, heating the earth.

    As soon as they trot that one out – they can’t stop and let you establish the first truth or they’re sunk –
    they trot out lie number two.
    The reflective gas that’s reduced infrared by 50% and total E in by 20,
    would make every sensor on the surface of the sphere, register yet more E in.

    And so, if you don’t call them on their bull with the very first lie:
    Make them affirm they even know what reducing energy in is,
    make them affirm they even know what washing in cold fluids does,

    you’ve tacitly given them permission to lie till their last breath.

    That the giant cold fluid bath
    is a giant heater nobody understands
    except those who “believe in” it being one.

  142. Max™ says:
    December 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Here you describe CO2 in the atmosphere as being “pumped” and a “gain media under all circumstances as far as I know”, which means you are describing the atmosphere as a laser.

    See incorrect I mean exactly what I said it is optically pumping. There is a hell of a lot more to a laser than just optical pumping or gain media. What you have just done is turned a medical nuclear isotope into a nuclear reactor creating plutonium because they have about the same degree of relevance.

    A laser takes an input and adds energy from an outside source to increase the intensity of the output, which is nothing like the atmosphere.

    No disagreement on that and I am not trying to describe it as such. What we are trying to discuss is the gain media. In a laser the increase in intensity is cause by getting enough inverted population controlled in such a way that it creates a stimulated emission. Go back to our radioactive isotope it emits radioactivity but it is a long way short of a nuclear reactor because that requires controls and purity in exactly the same way.

    A gain media facilitates this process, you are so far the only person I have ever seen who described the greenhouse effect in terms of gain media or laser analogies.

    That is possibly true because climate science tends to wallow around in classic physics and there is no way to describe optical gain media in classic physics. My description is itself no better or worse than the classic physics garbage that climate science uses it is a layman simplification of a fairly complex process. There a pro’s and con’s of both analogies.

    You may well judge it to be worse that’s fine by me but it is technically no less accurate.

    I understand why you got caught with my description because you won’t probably have seen it explained that way but my comments were really aimed at Tim Ball because as a scientist he should have understood them.

    I wasn’t trying to be argumentative with you but I felt it was worth explaining it since you do seem quite sane and normal unlike our friend Steven R Vada.

  143. I’m not your friend.

    Voices telling you “make like a crawfish,” don’t constitute
    an “our.”

    The sound of you doing it
    is the sound of
    ‘consensus’

    meeting something called
    ‘science.’

    When you tried to be
    argumentative.

  144. @LdB: So you can’t explain it coherently (certainly not to us plebs, maybe to a scientist), but we should definitely trust that the GHE now functions like some kind of magic laser entirely on the say-so of an anonymous internet commenter. Anyone who doesn’t get it is stupid.

  145. OR Graham you could try studying it PROPERLY if you don’t accept it. You can’t solve the problem with classic physics because the mechanism is not classical.

    So you have a clear choice … but trying to disprove it using classic physics is simply not possible because classic physics is wrong … has been for 100 years .. did you miss the memo? We still teach it because for most people it is all they will really need in their life and for most situations it is a good enough simplification.

    So if you don’t believe it knock yourself out learn QM and find the mistake .. otherwise shut up and accept it. We don’t believe any layman stupidity in nuclear physics or any other area that classic physics goes badly wrong in either so why would we give a dam about stupid layman and their crazy ideas in climate science.

  146. here is a simple explanation of the GH effect

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2011/08/11/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-principle-of-re-radiation-11-aug-2011/

    If you were able to follow what I said there, then:

    From all of this, you should have figured out by now that any study implying that the net effect of more CO2 in the atmosphere is that of warming, must exhibit a balance sheet in the right dimensions showing us exactly how much radiative warming and how much radiative cooling is caused by an increase of 0.01% of CO2 that occurred in the past 50 years in the atmosphere. It must also tell us the amount of cooling caused by the increase in photosynthesis that has occurred during the past 50 years.

    There are no such results in any study, let alone in the right dimensions. For example, consider the fact that time and (CO2) concentration must be in the dimensions…..

    For more on why it is considered highly unlikely that CO2 is a contributory cause to global warming, see here:

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

  147. I have read Henry’s blog before. Seems to me that what Henry is saying and what Steven R Vada is saying are similar, and I understand it. Whereas I have no idea what LdB is talking about. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong of course, but I have no way of knowing either way. The link doesn’t help, and on page 2 says:

    “The interaction of electromagnetic radiation with molecules is complex. An
    understanding of the process requires an understanding of some elements of
    quantum mechanics. The discussion below is based on quantum mechanical theory.
    If you have never taken a course in quantum mechanics, you probably will have
    difficulty with the theoretical treatments”

    If understanding the GHE now requires taking a course in quantum mechanics, is it any wonder if people don’t understand it? Yet if you question the GHE, you are told that it’s all “basic physics”, settled science, and you’re stupid if you don’t get it. You will then be given a simplification, or an analogy, which will make sense in itself – except it won’t in fact be analogous or relate to what’s really going on in reality.

    • @graham w
      True
      The agw theory is made so difficult that only they understand it…… Why Anthony believes that more co2 causes warming is a mystery to me as well . See note at end of tim ball s post.

      REPLY: there’s no mystery, the CO2 effect is real and is demonstrated by spectral analysis and the operation of IR based CO2 detectors like this one. If CO2 didn’t interact with infrared, the meter wouldn’t work. With CO2 in our atmosphere, most of the warming is occurring in the first 100 ppm of concentration. Additional increases in CO2 produce a warming that decays per this exponential curve below.

      We are nearing the plateau of the effect, i.e. the law of diminishing returns.

      The “blue fuzz” on the graph represents measured global CO2 increases in our modern times.

      To say CO2 has no effect at all is to deny the existing science on it. That’s why I often say “slayers/principia” fit the definition of “deniers”. The only real question is climate sensitivity along the top of the diminishing returns curve.

      -Anthony

  148. Just so you know, LdB, I may not have a degree yet, as I’m still in school, but I’ve been studying the universe since I could read and reach the bookshelves… so figure around 26 years now. That means everything from the impact of socialist policy on Venezuela in outdated encyclopedia sets to the Feynman lectures in the library.

    My issue with your description isn’t due to ignorance, quite the opposite, it is because I understand how lasers work that I was baffled by your choice to compare atmospheric phenomena with a laser. Similarly with your mentioning gain media and implying that the greenhouse gases are gain media, leaving open the idea that gain media are greenhouse gases, when no one that I know of would claim helium, neon, argon, or nitrogen are particularly important for a GHE, yet all are used in lasing.

    That the sets “gain media” and “greenhouse gases” overlap does not imply an equality between the members or mechanism thereof.

  149. Oops, I think the socialist bit was Chile, I forget, it’s been years and they were 1963 Brittanica I think? Lots of random factoids that pop up and make me wonder where I picked them up like that.

  150. The thing is I can understand the concept of “pumping” in simple terms ie energy is going into making the atoms rotate within the molecule, rather than going into making the molecule itself (as a whole) move through physical space. That seems simple enough and I don’t see why you necessarily need a thorough grasp of quantum mechanics just to mentally visualise that concept.

    It’s the bit inbetween this concept and “there you go, the GHE is proven” that still needs explaining. No attempt has been made to explain that at all as far as I can see. If CO2 molecules can store more energy than classical physics suggest how does this negate what Steven and Henry are saying since it cuts both ways…ie if they trap more energy radiated from the Earths surface then they also trap more radiation from the sun!

  151. @Anthony

    Clearly, you also did not present me with the balance sheet of how much (more) warming or (more) cooling is caused by the (more) carbon dioxide, in the correct dimensions, including time and concentration?
    So how do you know the net effect of more CO2 is more warming rather than more cooling?
    quote from recent nasa report:
    “NASA’s Langley Research Center has collated data proving that “greenhouse gases” actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun,” says to this article on principia-scientific.org.

    “The data was collected by Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, (or SABER). SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth’s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances thought to be playing a key role in the energy balance of air above our planet’s surface.”

    “Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats,” explains James Russell of Hampton University, SABER’s principal investigator. “When the upper atmosphere (or ‘thermosphere’) heats up, these molecules try as hard as they can to shed that heat back into space.”

    Which is exactly what your “spectral analysis”

    is telling me.

    This is notwithstanding the fact that the increase in greenery due to more CO2 also traps some heat, of which you also did not present me with any figures.

    Clearly, Anthony, you must understand that when global cooling sets in, people will quickly forget about your “theory”

    In fact, I now suspect that sowing confusion is what you want to keep business going as usual.
    However, I am warning you: keeping to the Truth is what opens up many roads, including getting many more comments….

  152. Margaret Smith says:
    November 29, 2013 at 9:07 am
    The above essay is very interesting and just adds to the green shoots of recovery from the climate change disaster.
    A bit OT but I wanted to note that for the first time in many years I have found a brand new book on weather & climate for general consumption which has absolutely no mention of AGW or CC even when talking about climate.
    There! this just pleased me.

    [The moderator notes that you did not identify what book it was? !? Mod]

    Sorry this took so long but today was the first chance I had to get the info. The book lets itself down with a couple of paragraphs on CFCs and the ozone layer but this scam has not got much publicity so is, perhaps, understandable. Decided to buy the book as it’s quite good, actually.
    It’s:
    WEATHER
    A Guide to Earth’s Weather and Climate
    by Maria Costantino

    The amazing thing is it was first printed in 2005 and this edition in 2009! Unless it has been edited it is very good for a time when cAGW was sweeping all science and logic before it.

  153. @Graham W
    Just to check if I had the right general idea about the interaction of EM and molecules/atoms: microwaves rotate, infrared vibrates, visible makes electrons hop, and higher energy starts to dissociate.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/imgmod/radnion.gif seems to agree.

    Generally lasers make use of state changes more extreme than vibrations offer, while there are IR lasers, naturally they aren’t as… exciting as other areas of the EM spectrum, if you see what I did there.

  154. Ah, so it’s more of a vibration than a rotation then in the case of IR. Thanks for the link, that was helpful, and yes I see what you did there! Nice.

    So I will wait to see if LdB explains how we get from this extra energy which can go into pumping/vibrating the CO2 molecule internally (rather than moving it through space) to “proof of a GHE”.

  155. Max™ says:
    December 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

    That the sets “gain media” and “greenhouse gases” overlap does not imply an equality between the members or mechanism thereof.

    If you remotely understood lasers then you would understand they do equate but the effects can also be blocked by the presence of other gases and hence I gave you the moon titan. I usually ignore some of the more idiot comments on here but I did suspect you were studying. The problem you having at the moment is the way you have been taught light moves thru a media is actually itself a fairly bad simplification itself they will correct it up for you at university. That is why I am sure you don’t really get how a laser really works.

    You are probably aware that light slows thru a media but you are probably unaware you can actually stop light to a complete stop in a media (the current record is 60 seconds) and you can actually make it go faster than the speed of light while in a media (superluminal media).

    I will try to fill in some gaps so probably start here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_light

    The key point is this one:

    In addition to propagating through a vacuum, light may also propagate through many types of matter, denoted as the medium. Light traveling within a medium is no longer a disturbance solely of the electromagnetic field, but rather a disturbance of the field and the positions and velocities of the charged particles (electrons) within the material. The motion of the electrons is determined by the field (due to the Lorentz force) but the field is determined by the positions and velocities of the electrons (due to Gauss’ law and Ampere’s law). The behavior of a disturbance of this combined electromagnetic-charge density field (i.e. light) is still determined by Maxwell’s equations, but the solutions are complicated because of the intimate link between the medium and the field.

    Hopefully you will get it that the simple picture we gave you at school of light moving thru a media that it moves free or sometimes bangs into something is a really a horrible simplification the media is as important as the light itself because there is a complex interaction with the electrons in the media.

    To ultimately show you how complex the interaction is you can take a material which doesn’t allow light to pass thru it like most of your everyday surfaces and use your QM knowledge and make it allow light thru it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetically_induced_transparency)

    So hopefully you will never view light moving through a media the same way ever again like the simpleton way we taught it to you at school.

    That is why I hate the way climate science deals with greenhouse effect because they treat the light and media as unrelated or isolated things and they aren’t. To fully understand what is happening with light in a media you need to understand both the light and the media because they are linked. That is what makes spectroscopy so hard is you need both the media and the light characteristics to be able to determine what is really going to happen.

    What the dragon slayers and Tim Ball in the book he co-authored did was totally divorce the light from the media then used classic physics to try and prove the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist which given the real science I have given you above is about as close to stupid as you can get.

  156. So I will wait to see if LdB explains how we get from this extra energy which can go into pumping/vibrating the CO2 molecule internally (rather than moving it through space) to “proof of a GHE”.

    You have simplified it too much but lets stick with it because even in this simplification you have a problem the molecule has the extra energy so if it reacts while its excited what happens to the extra energy??????? You know the laws of physics about creating and destroying energy.

    The real story is a little more complex than this fairy tale perhaps read my post above back to Max as a start point.

    Wow we actually have a real science discussion going on this is amazing.

  157. Anthony, you state: “To say CO2 has no effect at all is to deny the existing science on it.”

    The question is not whether or not CO2 absorbs some of the IR being emitted from the Earth’s surface. Everyone knows it does. It is not even whether or not this absorption would help heat the atmosphere (through common radiative heat transfer from surface to atmosphere).

    The question is whether or not this atmospheric absorption of IR will make the surface (being the source of that IR) even warmer than what it was when it originally emitted it as radiative heat loss. The central claim of the radiative GHE hypothesis is that it does.

    But warming of the atmosphere in order to insulate the surface better would require the temperature gradient away from the surface to become smaller. On Earth, this wouldn’t work. The lapse rate is what it is. Convection would always automatically maintain it. The atmosphere is free to expand upwards. Putting more CO2 into the atmosphere cannot change this.

    Everybody knows about this. That’s exactly why they’ve had to come up with the clever (?) idea that it is rather by raising the atmospheric layer emitting Earth’s radiative flux to space that we get the enhanced surface warming. Not by the so-called ‘back radiation’. And not by a gentler temperature profile from surface to tropopause.

  158. For a baseline, assume I’ve at least read–and I happen to think understood–the Feynman Lectures: http://www.feynmanlectures.info/

    Because, well, I have, years ago, and many other texts since.

    Again, I’m not disagreeing out of ignorance, I’m disagreeing because you’re the only person I’ve ever seen try to describe a greenhouse like effect as being similar to a laser.

    I’ve read lots and lots and lots of books by lots of people who understand physics better than either of us, I’m confident.

  159. Feynman doesn’t cover much of this area it post dates him I am not even sure why you think it’s relevant which mildly worries me. You may have read the lectures but somethings missing so lets test your understanding because somethings missing

    1.) Does light of the “right” frequencies actually have to hit a CO2 molecule to interact with it?
    2.) If you had a thin sheet one atom thick of a media would it still refract light or would most of the light go through the gaps between the atoms?
    3.) Why does increasing the pressure of a gas or increasing the density of any media change the speed of light in it?

    Lets start with those basics

  160. Feynman covers more than you might think, and remains relevant for college level physics courses at the very least, while your explanations seem aimed far far lower. Plus, it’s not like QED is invalidated just because we added the “Chromo” into the mix. I still happen to prefer the “drawing arrows and squiggly lines” method, your tastes may vary. Aaaaanyways, I think it is relevant because you’re talking like I’m a newb who doesn’t understand basic things.

    The first question seems to be asking if an interaction of a transverse wave with (at least idealized, but more like a lumpy cardioid for CO2) “spherical” wave functions can be described as “hitting” something, the second question is completely dependent upon which atoms, which angles, and what wavelengths are being discussed, the third question involves changes in the group velocity according to the properties of the medium being examined.

    Let’s skip the basics and go to why you think the properties that make a gas suitable as a gain media are related to the greenhouse effect, ideally with a source of some kind supporting this explanation, as I’ve been unable to find any.

  161. Ok cool you pass enough to discuss and are not a newbie definitely and for my part I vote we get LaTex :-).

    Yes question one was aimed at making sure you understood that there really isn’t any hitting involved. You see it time and time again in the comments here about light hitting a molecule of CO2 and it does this that or the other. So whatever analogy we use needs to remove this ridiculous idea of things hitting the CO2 molecule.

    Question two you got partially wrong but I asked the question really badly. I should have said if you had a beam passing thru a medium and refracting and I started whittling it away until the medium was only one atom thick would it still refract the same way. You know the answer yes of coarse it does and you know the why because the electrons in the media still form a plane and the light wave sees the electric field plane and reacts with it no matter how thin you make it.

    Third question again you got partly right you got what is changing but not why. When you compress a gas or increase a density of a media you are putting more electrons per unit area hence you get more reaction with the electric field of light. That’s what generally happens but there are special materials that have critical points and weird stuff happens but lets ignore that stuff.

    But yeah you know enough to have an opinion that I can respect or even care about.

    Are you familiar with how we are explaining laser cooling these days? There were a lot of problems trying to explain how something they think is hot can cool because that usually does layman heads in. Go and look how that gets simplified on Wikipedia and it will sort of show you were I was going with this it sort of follows the theme.

    Now getting back to the laser, there are old optical pump CO2 versions of the laser they are notoriously inefficient. In all actual modern and commercial gas lasers you pass an electric current through the gas mixture because it is a hell of a lot more efficient but look carefully at the old optical designs you will have to ferret around the net if you are really interested. It’s not perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than say NASA does at the moment, here read this garbage (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page2.php)

    You have enough science to have an opinion to me so if you don’t like my simplification that’s fine I will accept it but I will ask how the hell are you simplifying this stuff down when you discuss it surely not using the NASA version :-)

  162. Just realized I never directly answered your question about what relevance has optical gain media got to do with greenhouse gas. It’s covers the most important vibrational and rotational transitions resonant frequencies of the media molecules and the gases will definitely absorb and/or emit at those frequencies and how sensitive it is.

    http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hitran/vibrational.html

    Look carefully at the red and brown coloured entries and why they are coloured.

  163. The whole problem you have is that CO2 reflects any light of any frequency.
    Sunlight that would otherwise energize heat sensors on earth.

    Your bizarre claims, are preposterous ramblings – about whether it matters which rotational and vibrational energizations take place.

    You can’t escape the fact they do take place whatever the spectra.

    Placing you in the
    “check-mate before you even reach the gate” position.

    The one where you claim
    you can explain
    a screen of reflective gas
    arrayed around a target
    removing energy from target sensors
    making more energy arrive at target.sensors.
    =======
    LdB says:
    December 3, 2013 at 12:26 am
    Just realized I never directly answered your question about what relevance has optical gain media got to do with greenhouse gas. It’s covers the most important vibrational and rotational transitions resonant frequencies of the media molecules and the gases will definitely absorb and/or emit at those frequencies and how sensitive it is.

  164. I agree with Steven, that’s what I was trying to get at here with my comment at December 2, 12:07 pm:

    “If CO2 molecules can store more energy than classical physics suggest how does this negate what Steven and Henry are saying since it cuts both ways…ie if they trap more energy radiated from the Earth’s surface then they also trap more radiation from the sun!”

    (OK I know they don’t “trap” energy, they absorb and then release)

    I’m still waiting to see how we get from the difference between classic and modern physics re how CO2 absorbs energy, to a confirmation of the GHE. So far there are lots of comments apparently starting to build to a point but not getting there…

  165. The only people on this earth
    who try telling other adult humans
    they think

    illumination in vacuum
    until temp stabilization

    followed by immersion
    into cold nitrogen/oxygen gas

    makes every single heat sensor on an object
    rise
    by thirty degrees
    are people who
    believe in the G.H.E.

    Only in climate pseudo-science will people repeatedly tell you
    they believe
    illumination immersed in cold, reflective, thermally conductive fluid
    leads to higher temperatures on objects immersed

    than illumination with 20% more energy,
    in vacuum.

    In the very words of the people who invented this,

    “Conduction, convection, and radiation, combined,”
    due to freezing fluid fanned on sensors
    leaves temperatures on them
    30 degrees warmer
    than if you removed the conduction and convection
    by removing the cold fluids blown onto the sensors
    and letting the sensors simply absorb light in vacuum
    and lose heat through radiation alone.

  166. perhaps we all go back to “Start”?

    Quote from Wikipedia (on the interpretation of the greenhouse effect);

    “The Earth’s surface and the clouds absorb visible and invisible radiation from the sun and re-emit much of the energy as infrared back to the atmosphere. Certain substances in the atmosphere, chiefly cloud droplets and water vapor, but also carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons, absorb this infrared, and re-radiate it in all directions including back to Earth.”

    that this definition holds well can easily be demonstrated by the fact that during winter here (Pretoria, South Africa) it is warmer on a winters night when there are clouds then when there are no clouds.
    I have also been able to prove quite conclusively that just higher humidity (no clouds yet) will have the effect of less heat on my floor, compared to lower humidity, meaning that water vapor re-radiates a portion of the 0-5 um where water absorbs, back to space.

    So the effect is real. It is at least a warming effect during the night when there is no sun. There is a cooling effect during the day. Hence my insistence on seeing “time” as a factor in any balance sheet.
    In hindsight, what I saw has happened is that everyone got stuck at Tyndall and Arrhenius, i.e. the closed box experiments. Obviously that won’t work with gases that also have absorption in the 0-5 um and therefore re-radiate during the daylight portion of the day.

    If, as I suspect, the effect is neutral, or it largely balances out, so that an increase in either gas has little or no effect, then the term GHG is rather misleading and incorrect.

  167. There’s only one group of people on earth who claim they think that makes heat sensors rise.
    That’s the climateurs – the people who’ve become known as “climate clowns,” who act as though asking them “we haven’t cracked a book yet, we’re just checking to see if you’re delusional” questions
    is unethical.

    After they answer the questions incorrectly.

    Scientist: “Do you believe immersing a sphere heated in vacuum, into cold fluid, makes it get warmer?”
    Believer: “Yes.”

    Scientist: “Do you believe physically reflecting 20% E away from sensors on an object will make sensors all over it indicate more E arriving?
    Believer: “Yes.”

    Scientist: “Do you believe adding more reflective media to a reflective insulating bath already blocking 20% E in,
    until it is blocking 21% of E in, will make energy sensors indicate more energy arriving?”
    Believer: “Yes.”

    What is a scientist supposed to say to someone like that?

  168. Sorry, had to get my classes sorted back out for the semester, and then those damnable trees decided they would begin crapping leaves everywhere so I had to deal with that as well.

    Now then…

    Look carefully at the red and brown coloured entries and why they are coloured.

    Well, in the case of CO2 and the red 667 cm^-1 it is because it can vibrate up and down:
    ” ~ ,, ~ ” #> ,, ~ ” ~ ,,
    ^ ~ v ~ ^ #> v ~ ^ ~ v
    …where the ,, and ” are an O and two C molecules but I figure this won’t work:
    ₀ ~ ⁰ ~ ₀ #> ⁰ ~ ₀ ~ ⁰
    as I’m not sure if the subscript/superscript zeroes will carry over on wordpress right.

    And it can vibrate like this:
    O ~ o ~ O #> o ~ O ~ o
    (+ ~ – ~ +) #> (- ~ + ~ -)
    …where the capital and lowercase o’s represent motion in and out of the plane of the page.
    So a CO2 molecule can be excited to the same energy level in two ways, and mathematically this is represented as an eigenvalue of the Hamiltonian with more than one eigenstate available, and all of the n-dimensional spaces that come along with it… which is a bit spooky to deal with since I’ve been catching up on Stross and his Laundry stories as it happens.

    Now, as I’m sure you know, as I know, and as probably anyone who has continued reading this exchange knows, there are transitions where the degenerate vibrational state gives up more energy to a rotational state, and there are transitions where the opposite happens. The latter transitions can produce IR photons, while the other dips down into the microwave range.

    In a CO2 laser you make use of various mechanisms to get more of one transition than the other, pumping heated nitrogen in can work, as it lacks the vibrational modes and is only able to lose energy rapidly by pumping CO2 molecules. Do this properly and you wind up with more CO2 molecules poised to fall into the weaker rotational state than you would normally get, and they readily cough up those tasty photons so we can burn stuff with pew-pew deathrays, weee!

    ——————————

    How is this not like a greenhouse effect?

    In the system typically described in GHE discussions you have the ground/water providing energy to CO2 molecules in the form of photons, and a fairly normal population of states means some of them give a tasty IR photon back up, some crap out weaksauce microwaves instead and just end up spinning a bit faster, and some lose energy by bumping into other molecules.

    Yes, it is true that other molecules–warmed in various fashions–bump into CO2 molecules and jostle them properly to cause an excited vibrational state to drop to a lower rotational state and dump that energy as an IR photon.

    Yes indeed, and some of those photons will wind up heading back down to the ground… but that isn’t exactly the mechanism implied now is it: having other gases heating up and losing energy to CO2–through collisions–which then radiates it away in whichever direction.

    That sounds like an unlikely heating mechanism if you ask me, as it kinda seems like the CO2 is helping cool the other molecules when it is put that way, doesn’t it?

    Now, in a CO2 laser the nitrogen molecules need to be dealt with after they do the bump and grind with a CO2 molecule, as they generally aren’t energetic enough to kick off another one of the desired transitions, so they need to be excited again by some other source of energy before you’re likely to get another lasing event, right?

    In the atmosphere, if there is a greenhouse effect functioning like a laser, the only energy source is the sun, and in a roundabout manner the surfaces heated by the sun.

    If said nitrogen molecules are dropping back down to pick up more energy from said source so they can head back up and smack into a CO2 molecule to trigger off another lasing event (which again is just about as likely to occur as the less exciting interactions unless you’re dealing with a specifically manipulated population of molecules under controlled and carefully modulated conditions) and said CO2 molecules are then releasing that energy in the form of photons, let’s be charitable and say half go up and half go down, and let us ignore the possibility of said photons being intercepted en route.

    At best you’re looking at a bit less than half the energy carried away from the surface by said nitrogen molecule making it back down to the ground.

    Said N2 molecules can’t be assumed to bounce off the surface and beeline straight for a CO2 molecule without losing any energy 100% of the time, can they?

    So there’s a loss creeping into this laser mechanism you’re describing.

    Said CO2 molecules can’t be assumed to immediately emit that energy directly back at the ground 100% of the time, even assuming half of all lasing events are fired directly back at the ground, that’s another rather significant loss in your laser mechanism.

    Then we have the lasing events which go up and out into space, which is a strange place to dump energy for a mechanism meant to be heating the surface, isn’t it?

    I mean yeah, more realistically we have to account for the energy carried upwards which doesn’t quite make it to a CO2 molecule before being dissipated in collisions or weaksauce microwave emissions…

    Then we have to tally up the shots which were fired towards the ground that don’t quite make it, some of which may get emitted back towards the ground, some will head back up, and some will get lost in the molecular bump and grind on the way…

    …hmmm, I’m not sure which side of the argument you’re supporting with this atmospheric greenhouse laser idea…

    Oh, but wait, the ground will no doubt emit as well, and some of those photons will make it up to waiting CO2 molecules, and some of those won’t lose that energy to collisions or fire it uselessly towards the stars, and some of those photons shot back towards the surface won’t be intercepted and will actually make it back, along with however many don’t get wasted by this atmospheric greenhouse laser, carrying back a bit less energy than the very same mechanism helped lose to space?

    Just not seeing it, and arguably looking at it from a laser paradigm doesn’t help counter the idea that CO2 does a pretty good job helping the atmosphere cool.

    I mean, if you wanted to waste a lot of energy, running a very low efficiency CO2 laser with no containment whatsoever open to the sky sounds like decent way to do it.

  169. Max says
    Just not seeing it, and arguably looking at it from a laser paradigm doesn’t help counter the idea that CO2 does a pretty good job helping the atmosphere cool.

    Henry says
    It might help us a bit if you let us know exactly who you are arguing with?
    For proof that CO2 is (also) cooling the atmosphere by re-radiating sunshine, see here:

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec

    They measured this re-radiation from CO2 as it bounced back to earth from the moon. So the direction was sun-earth (day)-moon(unlit by sun) -earth (night). Follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um. You can see that it all comes back to us via the moon in fig. 6 top & fig. 7. Note that even methane cools the atmosphere by re-radiating in the 2.2 to 2.4 um range.

    The problem I posed to Anthony was to come up with a balance sheet showing me exactly how much (more) cooling and how much (more) warming is caused by (how much? more) CO2.
    (Hint: concentration and time and energy must all be in the dimensions, at least). In addition we would need to know the amount of cooling caused by the increase in photosynthesis that has occurred during the past 50 years.
    Anthony has not given me an answer to this problem because he knows there are no studies providing such answers.

    Or he thinks I am stupid…..

  170. Oh and the bottom of fig. 6 in that paper is something I’ve been trying to get across to people for literally years now: sunlight is around 45% IR, and despite the misleadingly scaled graphics like this:

    The curve for emissions from the ground doesn’t actually rise up over the downwelling solar radiation, no, not even all the way over in the far infrared.

    I dug around for hours through the various solar observatory and other sites sifting through way more raw data files than I ever want to see again, but I was able to work out that roughly 36 W/m^2/micron reaches the surface in the ~2 micron region of the spectrum, out of 116 W/m^2/micron at the top of the atmosphere.

    So for illustration I scaled the image and inserted a segment to show where the solar curve would be above the atmosphere and at the surface, for reference: http://i341.photobucket.com/albums/o396/maxarutaru/blackbody_zpsbef97587.png

    This should come as no surprise, what with the sun being hotter than the ground and all, that if you fit Planck curves accordingly, you wind up with the cooler ground spectrum lying below the hotter near-surface sunlight spectrum.

    Where am I going with this?

    If a given wavelength of upward emitted radiation from the ground has a given effect in the atmosphere at any altitude, then the more powerful sunlight at those very same wavelengths must as well.

    Lots of chatter about “visible windows” and “15 micron windows” and such won’t change that.

    The only time any effect of any interest could be attributed purely to surface radiation is at night, or under overcast skies… though clouds also emit, but at least they’re generally colder than the ground.

  171. henry@max
    good comment!
    similarly the graph quoted by Anthony

    is completely out of proportion
    which actually made me think that the net effect of more CO2 could be cooling rather than warming…
    anyway, …either way,
    I think the cooling or warming effect (by some more CO2 ) will be so small as to be completely insignificant compared to the natural solar-and planetary factors

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

    best wishes
    h.

  172. Tim, the whining about your degree is an indication of ignorance, inability to look at fundamentals – the roots of alarmist beliefs are in teaching that labels are causative not principles. They aren’t attacking your work, not at whether or not you make sense. That suits the “ivory tower” approach, setting academics up as priests. In logic, they are using a variant of the “argument from authority”

    I am amused that the new president of the University of Victoria is echoing Allan Rock of the University of Ottawa in claiming that graduates of “humanities” programs are better thinkers with broader outlook than those the professions such as engineering. That’s false because much of the teaching is based on anti-human values, graduates vary in their competence, and insulting to many other courses of study including medicine, engineering, and trades. (Many trades people have to figure things out on the job, dealing with unexpected situations.) I expect a university to provide a deeper understanding – e.g. the principles underlying application, and better ability to find more information.

    As for narrow, philosopher Leonard Peikoff once defined an expert as someone who understands the concepts well and is steeped in the details. We need such people in detail fields, we also need integrators – as you note, they need to be good at asking questions of the narrowly-focused experts.

    In climate, I look for integration – fitting it all together. Much research seems narrow, which is essential as building blocks – e.g. the particle physics that may spawn clouds, the particle physics that limits CO2’s effect on air temperature, and CO2 gas exchange between air and water.

    But I don’t accept that enough is known – especially what goes on in the depths of oceans, which can distribute heat around the earth. While various researchers have their area of expertise and passion, funding should go to the gaps of greatest impact on a complete understanding of climate mechanisms.

  173. I am to the point of rejecting any talk of “greenhouse”, because it is usually vague, is mis-used and is hyped – language like “Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” is an example. (Tim Ball does not explain his remark clearly, nor does Anthony explain his objection.)

    Better to concentrate on the actual physics then integrate – such as “how do certain gases absorb/emit energy?”, then “what happens to that energy?” Only a few materials in the atmosphere have the properties referred to in the “greenhouse” talk, only ones with significant concentration or huge effect on energy flow for their size need be looked at in depth. (Everything has to be looked at, at least briefly, then the focus put on those of significant potential.)

    There are many energy flow mechanisms in the atmosphere, plus interactions with surface materials including huge reservoirs of water.

    Skeptics should be precise, and integrate, both because those are the right things to do for life and because alarmists don’t practice them.

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