Warmism: Credible Politics, Incredible Science

Guest essay by Paul Murphy

Here’s Wikipedia’s simplified but canonical description of the greenhouse effect:

 

The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface and the lower atmosphere, it results in an elevation of the average surface temperature above what it would be in the absence of the gases.

Solar radiation at the frequencies of visible light largely passes through the atmosphere to warm the planetary surface, which then emits this energy at the lower frequencies of infrared thermal radiation. Infrared radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases, which in turn re-radiate much of the energy to the surface and lower atmosphere.

This greenhouse effect forms the basis for warmist doctrine: that human CO2 emissions are causing a catastrophic increase in the global average temperature.

Although people like Gaia theorist James Lovelock have predicted that global warming will kill billions of humans the belief that warming would be catastrophic for life on earth is largely unresearched and probably indefensible. There have been many extended warm periods in the earth’s history and the fossil records we have for them suggest that each produced more life, and a greater diversity of life, than the cooler periods preceeding them.

We have reasonable information, furthermore, on the Roman and Medieval warm periods and not only did each of these kick off significant civilizational development, but the polar bear made it through them embarrassingly undead and not a single estuarial or river basin culture, whether in Asia, Egypt, or Europe, is known to have drowned.

The Wikipedia article quoted above gives the two main facts warmism depends on: gases tend to emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it, and measured net solar radiation does not fully account for near surface air temperatures – but doesn’t directly raise the problem that the measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large to be accounted for by the known interactions between thermal radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases other than water vapor.

This problem has produced a widespread search for a forcing multiplier – something which reacts to a small increase in atmospheric CO2 to force a big increase in atmospheric warming. So far, however, none of the candidates for this have withstood even friendly critical review – meaning that those who argue for CO2 as a primary source of a significant atmospheric greenhouse effect are committing themselves to the biggest magical hand wave since crystalline epicycles brought consensus to the Ptolemaic Universe.

The processes modeled in IPCC and related warmist calculations as this unknown climate sensitivity factor may exist in the real world – but every experimental effort to demonstrate that minor increases in atmospheric CO2 lead to major changes in surface temperature has failed to show a repeatable effect in anything near the right range:

 

  1. The biggest “experiment” on this is, of course, reality: CO2 concentrations appear to have gone up by more than 20% since 1958, but we have neither a clear definition of the average global surface temperature nor data to support the belief that any of the proxies we have for it have shown significant change over the period.

     

  2. The smallest and most often repeated experimental demonstration, the Al Gore tabletop special in which one jar contains a bit more CO2 than the other, produces essentially the same result if the same weight of an inert gas like argon is used in place of the CO2.

     

  3. It is easy to demonstrate the greenhouse effect by pointing a thermal imaging camera at the sky, but within the limits of Google and Bing searches it appears that no one mapping variations in the effect to variations in local concentrations of greenhouse gases other than water vapor and urban smog has demonstrated effects beyond the levels (roughly one tenth of the IPCC climate sensitivity assumptions) predicted by the theoretical calculation with no multiplier.

What we know of the earth’s climate history does not support the warmist indictment against anthropogenic CO2 emissions either: none of the warming periods recorded in human history can have been triggered by human CO2 production – and the longer term geological record seems directly contradictory too. Essentially all of the earth’s surface has been tropical at one time and glaciated at another, but nearly all of the information we have about the atmosphere during those periods suggests that CO2 concentrations rose during, but not before, tropical periods and fell significantly during, but not before, glaciations.

What we can say therefore about the belief that atmospheric CO2 increases are causing significant global warming is that it has no theoretical support, no experimental support, cannot be seen operating in the real world, and is contradicted by what we know of global climate history.

Where neither science nor history can explain warmism, politics can. Basically, if you’re someone like Al Gore whose political career is based on railing against American republicans, then an obvious reason for singling out CO2 as a threat to humanity’s future is that this is an easy sell: there is a grain of truth in the science, people can see smokestacks, the SUV is a widely approved target for angry rhetoric, and the political audience is generally eager to accept the burdens a demonstrated need to control national energy use would put on them.

Similarly, what we can say about the idea that global warming would necessarily prove net negative for life on earth is simply that this idea has not been extensively studied but seems to have neither theoretical nor experimental support and is contradicted by what we know about the history of life on earth, but meets the political need for players like Gore et al because people cannot be held hostage to the threat of a good thing happening if they don’t knuckle under.

It is important in forming personal beliefs about the relative roles of science and politics in warmism that we separate belief from reality: most of the alarmists seem to be true believers, most of the deniers merely Missouri skeptics, but there seems to be no objective evidence to suggest that either side genuinely knows whether the global climate is changing or not. Thus we can probably agree that the publicity now generally given a hot day in Death Valley and denied an extended cold emergency in Peru reflects an editorial agenda more than it does climate, but the combination of theory, data, and definitions we have is not sufficient to let us know whether either fell outside longer term climate norms.

The deeper issue here is not that the political action now strangling western economies is politically motivated, but that accepting the arguments for seeing warmism as sheer political fraud means accepting that the talking heads citing science to sell it to the masses are either deluded or dishonest – but because no wolf today doesn’t mean no wolf tomorrow, it also means that warmist politicization of the research process has to be seen as having destroyed the credibility of all involved, and thus as having greatly weakened the world’s ability to recognize and respond to a real threat should one now materialize.

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


Paul Murphy, a Canadian, wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues. This essay was originally written for consideration of the Matt Ridley prize.

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kim

Well, sure.
=======

climateismydj

Geewizz, paranoid much?

John R T

Paul,
Thank you; if this entry doesn’t win, I must read the winning essay; it must be a show-stopper.

One quibble: in re “… people can see smokestacks, …”
I agree, some persons see smokestacks; a few of these may see smokestacks belching un-filtered combustion products [nearly none in North America nor in Europe]; nearly all such sightings are steam and other water phases. Thermal pollution is an other problem.
Aviators trust these landmarks!
Thanks again, for a great start to my day. John Moore

stan stendera

You’re slowly coming around Anthony. We’ve won the science battle now we must win the political battle. Fortunately our opponents, like AL Gore, aren’t very good politicians.

JJ

Although people like Gaia theorist James Lovelock have predicted that global warming will kill billions of humans the belief that warming would be catastrophic for life on earth is largely unresearched and probably indefensible.
Newsflash:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/26/newsbytes-global-warming-downgraded-james-lovelock-recants/

John Shade

I’d give it a prize! A fine essay – succinct, thoughtful, civil, informative, and with a sting in the tail of it.

Frank

“The deeper issue here is not that the political action now strangling western economies is politically motivated, but that accepting the arguments for seeing warmism as sheer political fraud means accepting that the talking heads citing science to sell it to the masses are either deluded or dishonest – but because no wolf today doesn’t mean no wolf tomorrow, it also means that warmist politicization of the research process has to be seen as having destroyed the credibility of all involved, and thus as having greatly weakened the world’s ability to recognize and respond to a real threat should one now materialize.”
This states the deepest problem the Warmist position and tactics bring. If the world ever has to address a real climate problem, our ability to mobilize a real response is deeply degraded by the AGW hysteria of the 90’s and oughts, which followed the “Coming Ice Age” hysteria of the 70’s.

jbird

“What we can say therefore about the belief that atmospheric CO2 increases are causing significant global warming is that it has no theoretical support, no experimental support, cannot be seen operating in the real world, and is contradicted by what we know of global climate history.”
Uh huh. As a former student of Physical Geography and Geology, I came to this conclusion 10 years ago after trying very hard to find out what “proof” the climate scientists had to support this theory. All I ever found were computer models supporting other computer models, all of them making the same assumptions. Then I tried to find out who the 97 percent of scientists were that supported the theory. That claim also just sort of evaporated.
I assumed 10 years ago that the whole thing would just collapse for lack of any credibility. However, I didn’t count upon the persistence of moneyed interests to keep the lie going, nor upon the gullibility of the general public, and the fact that people just don’t have the time to investigate these things for themselves.

sh

And this is the way “greenhouses” work? Some canonical definition that is. More like a canonical twisting of the way that greenhouses work. As we know, they work by inhibiting vertical mixing. Bah. If you ever want to see a confused AGW moonbat, ask them to explain why greenhouses stay warm.

Straightforward enough essay. Its theme is spot on – the Gaia cult is a theology of animosity towards science and the human. As with lizards jumping from trees and turning into birds there is not a single iota of rational investigation nor proof involved. The article is correct in that no science, historical data, nor common sense supports the human-hating cult of warm. Only politics, money, ignorance and anti-humanist bile drives it onward.

OK, short history, I’m 75, spent time in Vietnam (I-Corps) and Laos, came out knowing we almost used nukes because of the huge troop and supply operations from North Vietnam to the south and that resulting in lots of our kids being killed. So, joined GreenPeace with hopes of slowing the spread of nukes. End was at a Greenpeace meeting in Portland Or. where I was asked to leave the meeting and told “If you know what is good for you do not come back.”. It being I was calling out the connections to what I still call the “commie loon influence in the Greenpeace leadership” .
All this global warming, climate change, “con” , “fraud” is the work of commie loons and the Democart Party and its lust for power in conjunction with world wide commies.
Lies about insurance.
Lies about the weather.
Lies, on lies from liars enabled by paid liars like Michael Mann.

gases tend to emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it

What? This would seem to infer some sort of non-linear effect in the ‘vibrating’ gas molecule(s) (think: tuning forks) that is not widely known nor that we are aware of … (PS tuning forks do not perform frequency translation either. PPS It is not strictly ‘heat’ either, but rather EM – ElectroMagnetic – energy at various specific wavelengths, with some spectral line ‘broadening’ due to gas molecule collisions. PPPS Any amount of EM energy absorbed will eventually be radiated … as well as potentially capturing or receiving additional EM energy ‘passing nearby’.)
.

The president believes differently and has, by executive order, established new political committees to stop climate change in its tracks, I hear.

LamontT

One minor quibble with wording Pat. I would suggest not referring to undead polar bears. That brings to mind zombie or vampire polar bears.

lurker, passing through laughing

Bob,
The main visible action of the President’s recent Executive Order is to build a website.
This from a guy whose demosntrated capability to get a large website up and running is now the punch line of jokes around the world.
And he calls skeptics ‘flat earthers’.
I hope we have free historians and freely available records in the future for the historians to study. If so, the 8 years this President has inflicted on American and the world will be a focus of ridicule and amazement at how a free people tolerated the sort of banna republic kleptocratic arrogance being inflicted on them by this Administration.

Alan Clark, paid shill for Big Oil

fobdangerclose says:
November 4, 2013 at 8:38 am
“Lies about insurance.
Lies about the weather.
Lies, on lies from liars enabled by paid liars like Michael Mann.”
Yup exactly. Worse still is the denialism.
Deny people are losing insurance due to Obamacare.
Deny they are lying or have lied.
C02 is Toxic! Climate Change must be stopped! Obamacare is Awesome! The site is working perfectly.
Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirl-wind – is all I can say. Their day is surely coming.

DesertYote

JJ says:
November 4, 2013 at 8:01 am
Although people like Gaia theorist James Lovelock have predicted …”
###
I know they don’t teach anything that does not support the cause anymore in school, but you should note the verb. Its indicates a past action in a perfective aspect. As such, this is a true statement. If the article had used ” … is predicting … ” or even ” … has been predicting … ” you might have a point.

Willis Eschenbach

I find this post about “incredible science” to be totally lacking in science. For example, take this bit:

The Wikipedia article quoted above gives the two main facts warmism depends on: gases tend to emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it, and measured net solar radiation does not fully account for near surface air temperatures – but doesn’t directly raise the problem that the measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large to be accounted for by the known interactions between thermal radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases other than water vapor.

Other than his bald assertion, he doesn’t give a single reference, citation, or backup for his claim that the “measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large” to be explained by the greenhouse effect.
Folks, this kind of “science by assertion” isn’t science in any sense of the word. Which “measured effect” is he speaking of? Who measured it? Where was it measured? How did he determine that it is an order of magnitude too large? Which “known interactions” is he looking at? These questions and a lot more would need to be answered before this even got into the ambit of science, much less became a scientific claim.
In addition, it’s clear from the author’s claims that he doesn’t grasp how the greenhouse effect actually works. For those interested, see my posts called “The Steel Greenhouse” and “People Living In Glass Planets” for an explanation of the mechanism involved.
I’d give this post a D-. It is nothing but an emotional appeal based on unreferenced, unsubstantiated claims.
w.
PS—The claim that “gases tend to [sic] emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it” is meaningless technobabble. They “tend to”? What, they have a decision? The frequency of the radiation emitted by gases is based solely and entirely on their temperature, there is no “tend to” involved.

why does the IR wave leave the earth? what direction is it moving as it leaves the earth and why does it move that way? it leaves the earth because the earths surface is warmer than space and heat energy moves from its source towards colder bodies and space is very cold…..so the NATURAL movement of that IR wave is towards space, once it get grabbed for less than a second by co2 and then released there is NO FORCE applied to it so it will continue it natural path towards space….those claiming that most of it goes back towards earth NEED to explain what FORCE co2 applies that overcomes the natural thermodynamics please?????????
also MOST of the IR wave is NOT impacted by co2 at all, and again the 3 tiny segments that are have only a moments slowing of their movement as the cos releases it in less than a second……..
again i am a mere layman but remain astonished at the utter foolishness spouted by men of letters on this simple concept……
also every bit of heat the co2 grabs for less than a second was already IN the atmosphere and clearly co2 ADDS NO HEAT at all to the system.
to claim a greenhouse causes WARMING, means if you put hot coffee in a Styrofoam cup he coffee inside will get HOTTER! that is the claim being made, that insulation INCREASES the heat in the system and it DOES NOT!

john robertson

Nice essay, for me the basic problem, politically for the warmist, is they lie.
They make no bones about their willingness to lie to further the cause.
This is called shooting your own feet off.
As the Canadian Liberals learnt, the US Democrats are learning, short term lying works, long term you destroy your goals.
Trust us, we are the experts who openly lie? Does not work anywhere, except in academia

Alan Robertson

JJ says:
November 4, 2013 at 8:01 am
“…Although people like Gaia theorist James Lovelock have predicted that global warming will kill billions of humans…”
_______________________________
Lovelock was correct with that prediction, except for the scale of the tragedy. So far, the deaths attributed to attempts to mitigate Global Warming only number in the hundreds of thousands. However, with Obama pulling out the stops on the statists’ latest efforts against us, Lovelock may yet be vindicated.

Konrad

While I would agree with many of Pauls comments about the science, I would have to take issue with his concluding remarks. I do not believe that the political self destruction of the Professional Left will in any way detract from our ability to deal with real threats, terrestrial or otherwise. I believe the reverse to be true, and that shaming and publicly side lining all who sought to promote or profit by the AGW inanity will benifit our society immediately, as well as setting a valuable example for future generations.

steveta_uk

Bill Taylor, wrong on so many levels.
Heat energy moves from its source towards colder bodies if you are talking about conduction. Radiation is completely different.
Photons are massless – therefore no force is required to change direction.
etc….

yirgach

From a somewhat related rant on the Culture of Ignorance:
http://www.theburningplatform.com/2013/10/27/culture-of-ignorance-part-one/
The levels of ignorance are multi-dimensional and diverse, crossing all educational, income, and professional ranks. The stench of ignorance has settled like Chinese toxic smog over our country, as various constituents have chosen comforting ignorance over disconcerting knowledge. The highly educated members, who constitute the ruling class in this country, purposefully ignore facts and truth because the retention and enhancement of their wealth and power are dependent upon them not understanding what they clearly have the knowledge to understand. The underclass wallow in their ignorance as their life choices, absence of concern for marriage or parenting, lack of interest in educating themselves, and hiding behind the cross of victimhood and blaming others for their own failings. Everyone is born ignorant and the path to awareness and knowledge is found in reading books. Rich and poor alike are free to read and educate themselves. The government, union teachers, and a village are not necessary to attain knowledge. It requires hard work and clinging to your willful ignorance to remain stupid.
The youth of the country consume themselves in techno-narcissistic triviality, barely looking up from their iGadgets long enough to make eye contact with other human beings. The toxic combination of government delivered public education, dumbed down socially engineered curriculum, taught by uninspired intellectually average union controlled teachers, to distracted, unmotivated, latchkey kids, has produced a generation of young people ignorant about history, basic mathematical concepts, and the ability or interest to read and write. They have been taught to feel rather than think critically. They have been programmed to believe rather than question and explore. Slogans and memes have replaced knowledge and understanding.

JJ

DesertYote says:
I know they don’t teach anything that does not support the cause anymore in school, but you should note the verb. Its indicates a past action in a perfective aspect.

I know that some evidence of “cause” where none exists, and feel compelled to mount whatever attack they can muster in response to their misperception.
In this instance of that phenomenon, said individual should note the entire sentence, not just one verb in a dependent clause. That dependent clause stands in support of an independent clause built upon a verb used in the present tense. This particular instance of that construction is illogical except in the case wherein the speaker believes that the circumstance described using the past tense perfective in the dependent clause is, in fact, an ongoing circumstance. This particular construction – referring to an ongoing circumstance by mentioning its point of initiation in the past perfect tense rather than using the progressive imperfective aspect – is quite common. An effective and respectful communicator acknowledges this, and responds to what was meant rather than embarking upon exercise in pedantry.
Lovelock recanted. When a fellow mans up and admits he is wrong, he deserves to have that recognized.

The other Phil

@sh
I don’t think I’m catching your point. Many people, especially those who read this site, are aware that the greenhouse effect is not the primary warming mechanism for real greenhouse, so the choice of terms is imperfect.
Are you suggesting that warmists are unaware of this? I suspect some are, some are not.

Richards in Vancouver

@Bill Taylor of the nine question marks at 9:51AM.
I think the answer to your question is: weight!!!!!!!!!! CO2 is one of the heavier components of our atmosphere. It is by nature a ground-hugger, and needs a rigorous mixing to change it’s sneaky ways.
And please note: ten exclamation marks. You’re welcome.

A response to Willis:
1) Your stuff is usually calm and sensible. Just a little over caffinated today, were we?
2) Nature doesn’t have many lasers – “tends to” was supposed to reflect spectra. Sorry.
3) if you want to attack wikipedia’s understanding of the greenhouse efffect, may I suggest starting with the water vapour on Venus problem?
4) if this essay were intended for Physics Today it would have sci-babble and refs, As it was I needed to meet Ridley’s audience and length limits -and so left out 99%+ of the argument.
Very broadly I agree with you here except that this thing was written for a non science audience to make a political, not scientific, argument – hence sloppy.

Ken Harvey

“It is easy to demonstrate the greenhouse effect by pointing……”
The ‘atmospheric greenhouse effect’ has not yet been demonstrated by anyone at all and it cannot be demonstrated to exist by using a thermal imaging camera. If such an effect did exist in the manner stated by Wiki, then it would necessarily be accumulative. The temperature would have been inexorably rising not since 1950 or some such date, but since the final decades of the 18th century. If there were a “greenhouse effect” then our energy problems would be over. We would have perpetual motion that could be used to perform work.
“Solar radiation at the frequencies of visible light largely passes through the atmosphere to warm the planetary surface”. That is somewhat of a gloss over in the usual Wiki manner. They, and pretty well most others, fail to mention that that incoming sunlight consists of about 45% of EM in the infra red wavebands and that the heat potential of some of that radiation never gets anywhere near the surface in the first place..

Txomin

Eloquent essay. Needs hardly any editing. Thank you, Paul.

Chris @NJSnowFan

Yes Ken. Scroll down to butterfly graph.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/solar/

Steve O

Even James Lovelock has said in an article printed by The Guardian that preventing warming might not be the best approach, but that we might be better off adjusting to a warmer climate.

steveta_uk says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:53 am
“Bill Taylor, wrong on so many levels.
Heat energy moves from its source towards colder bodies if you are talking about conduction. Radiation is completely different.
Photons are massless – therefore no force is required to change direction.
etc….”
When are you going to be able to grasp the concept that “Radiation” is not heat, for crying out loud?
Heat is kinetic energy. That is Thermodynamics. Radiation is electromagnetic energy. That is not Thermodynamics. Radiation has no temperature.
It matters not, which direction radiation travels, only that it has sufficient flux density to increase the temperature of matter. If the matter in question is already as warm or warmer than the source of radiation in question no further warming can or will take place and the radiation is scattered.
Willis Eschenbach says:
November 4, 2013 at 9:45 am
“In addition, it’s clear from the author’s claims that he doesn’t grasp how the greenhouse effect actually works.”
The above applies to you too Willis Eschenbach. The so called “Greenhouse Effect” is an hypothesis which has never been empirically demonstrated and therefore, does not “actually work” in ANY sense of the term “actually work”.
Water vapour, the most powerful so called “GHG” for example, is pegged by the IPCC as a “strongly positive feedback mechanism”. However as those of us who live in Maritime climates are all well aware, water vapour is in-fact undeniably a strongly negative feedback mechanism.
Your “Steel Greenhouse” pseudoscience has long been well and truly demolished.

Richard

I just don’t get it, why is co2 any different to the earths surface where the longwave radiation goes straight upwards, if the co2 re-radiates why would it go down towards where it is coming up from. Could downward longwave radiation pass upwards going longwave radiation, seems a bit weird to me.

Brian H

typo: “…,too, but you…” …too. But you …”
[Fixed. -w.]

Brian H

Bill Taylor says:
November 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

to claim a greenhouse causes WARMING, means if you put hot coffee in a Styrofoam cup he coffee inside will get HOTTER! that is the claim being made, that insulation INCREASES the heat in the system and it DOES NOT!

And the rest. Bill, I’m a layman sceptic, too. But you must give the devil his due, or you will get mauled. There is a more-or-less continuous input of energy which starts (Sun) and ends/pauses (Earth) as heat, mediated by EM radiation. So your styrofoam cup is being fed new energy on a continuous basis: the question is how long it takes to escape. The insulation is purportedly being augmented, increasing the transit time for the escape.
Arguing by analogy is dicey business, so be cautious, at the very least, to make the match as close as possible.

magicjava

Paul Murphy said:
What we can say therefore about the belief that atmospheric CO2 increases are causing significant global warming is that it has no theoretical support, no experimental support, cannot be seen operating in the real world, and is contradicted by what we know of global climate history.
——–
There’s no support for the idea that *any* greenhouse gas, not just CO2, causes the planet to warm.
Water vapor, for example, cools the planet by more than 20 degrees.

It seems many answerers here don’t understand the greenhouse effect, yes it is real and warms our planet, but what is disputed is by how much, and because CO2’s warming effect logarithmically diminishes by concentration, how much more warming can, a doubling of 280ppm cause, IMO very little.

magicjava

Brian H says:
And the rest. Bill, I’m a layman sceptic, too. But you must give the devil his due, or you will get mauled. There is a more-or-less continuous input of energy which starts (Sun) and ends/pauses (Earth) as heat, mediated by EM radiation. So your styrofoam cup is being fed new energy on a continuous basis: the question is how long it takes to escape. The insulation is purportedly being augmented, increasing the transit time for the escape.
Arguing by analogy is dicey business, so be cautious, at the very least, to make the match as close as possible.
———-
Brain, not only is there is no experimental evidence that greenhouse gasses cause warming in the climate, it’s a demonstrated fact that they cool the planet. The Earth is over 20 degrees cooler than it otherwise would be because of the water vapor in the atmosphere. Take this water vapor out and the clouds go away, causing the temperature to rise dramatically.
I hope you understand this because it’s key to seeing why AGW is bunk. The AGW theory *depends* on water vapor being produced by heating from CO2. It’s this extra water vapor that they claim will raise the temperatures to dangerous levels.
But there is no evidence to support this claim. All evidence indicates water vapor causes overall cooling via cloud creation, not heating.

magicjava

stuart L says:
It seems many answerers here don’t understand the greenhouse effect, yes it is real and warms our planet, but what is disputed is by how much, and because CO2′s warming effect logarithmically diminishes by concentration, how much more warming can, a doubling of 280ppm cause, IMO very little.
—-
Please provide a link showing experimental evidence that greenhouse gasses cause the climate temperature to go up.
I’ll give you a hint, you not going to find any papers supporting that idea with experiments. The reason you won’t is greenhouse gasses cool the planet, they don’t heat it. You can test this easily: Go stand under a cloud.

Willis Eschenbach

Paul Murphy says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

A response to Willis:
1) Your stuff is usually calm and sensible. Just a little over caffinated today, were we? …

Umm … no. I just objected to the lack of backup for your claims. I do find it interesting, and have noted it before, that when I say something someone agrees with, I’m “calm and sensible” … but when I say something the same person disagrees with I’m suddenly “over caffeinated” …

2) Nature doesn’t have many lasers – “tends to” was supposed to reflect spectra. Sorry.

Lasers? I said nothing about lasers that I recall … not clear what this means.

3) if you want to attack wikipedia’s understanding of the greenhouse efffect, may I suggest starting with the water vapour on Venus problem?

I also said nothing about the Wiki article, other than to quote YOU saying the following:

The Wikipedia article quoted above gives the two main facts warmism depends on: gases tend to emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it, and measured net solar radiation does not fully account for near surface air temperatures – but doesn’t directly raise the problem that the measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large to be accounted for by the known interactions between thermal radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases other than water vapor.

I pointed out that you did not

give a single reference, citation, or backup for his claim that the “measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large” to be explained by the greenhouse effect.

I pointed out that this was not science, saying:

Folks, this kind of “science by assertion” isn’t science in any sense of the word. Which “measured effect” is he speaking of? Who measured it? Where was it measured? How did he determine that it is an order of magnitude too large? Which “known interactions” is he looking at? These questions and a lot more would need to be answered before this even got into the ambit of science, much less became a scientific claim.

Instead of answering the questions, you accuse me of attacking Wikipedia?? …

4) if this essay were intended for Physics Today it would have sci-babble and refs, As it was I needed to meet Ridley’s audience and length limits -and so left out 99%+ of the argument.
Very broadly I agree with you here except that this thing was written for a non science audience to make a political, not scientific, argument – hence sloppy.

It seems you are operating under a misapprehension. WUWT is not a place where you can peddle uncited, unreferenced, unexplained claims and theories without someone saying “citations, please” or asking for references or data and code. I write for a non-science audience myself … but I cite and reference and explain my claims and provide data and code and required. That’s what distinguishes this site as a scientific site—folks insist on citations and references and data and code.
The problem with your piece is that after all this, I still have no idea what underlies your claim that “the measured effect is roughly an order of magnitude too large to be accounted for by the known interactions between thermal radiation and atmospheric greenhouse gases other than water vapor”. So whether you are writing for a scientific or lay audience … it’s not working. See my questions above, all of which remain unanswered.
Thanks,
w.

magicjava

Paul Murphy says:
3) if you want to attack wikipedia’s understanding of the greenhouse efffect, may I suggest starting with the water vapour on Venus problem?
——-
Venus has its high temperatures due to atmospheric pressure, not the greenhouse effect. As atmospheric pressure goes up, temperature goes up too. There are online tools that you can use to calculate this pressure/temperature relationship, and if you do you’ll find they explain Venus’s temperature just fine.
For exactly this reason Mars has a low temperature. While it’s atmosphere is nearly all greenhouse gasses, it’s pressure is very low. Again, use the online tools and you’ll get the right answer for Mars too.

magicjava

P.S. And just as a word of advice, *anything* that comes from James Hansen (such as the greenhouse effect causes Venus’s temperature) should be carefully checked.

magicjava

P.P.S.
And just in case you doubt my statement that water vapor cools the planet, you can check it yourself.
One way to do this is to calculate the amount of energy hitting the earth from the sun and use it to determine what the Earth’s temperature would be if it had no atmosphere. Then compare it to the actual temperature. A Harvard physicist named Lubos did this and got an answer of 24 degrees cooling.
Another way to do it is to use the ISCCP cloud data and calculate the average temperature where there is 0% cloud cover and compare it to the average temperature of the Earth. I did this and got an answer of 24 degrees cooling. If you’d like to see my code, shoot me a request to magicjtv at gmail dot com and I’ll get it to you.

Jpatrick

Sometimes I think the “greenhouse effect” metaphor should be dropped

suricat

Willis Eschenbach says: November 4, 2013 at 9:45 am
“PS—The claim that “gases tend to [sic] emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it” is meaningless technobabble. They “tend to”? What, they have a decision? The frequency of the radiation emitted by gases is based solely and entirely on their temperature, there is no “tend to” involved.”
Oh yes there is Willis. Think about ‘aerial’ spec. tec.. 😉
A monopole aerial will transmit and receive EM frequencies of ‘1:1, 2:1, 4:1 and 8:1’ (full, half, quarter and eighth wavelength) frequencies without upsetting the ‘S.W.R’ (Standing Wave Ratio). IOW, it’s ‘resonant’ to these wave lengths.
It’s only ‘reasonable’ to accept that ‘molecules’ react in a ‘very similar’ way. The little buggers are only ‘receivers and transmitters’ (absorbers and emitters) after all. It just depends on which part of the molecule’s ‘system’ you observe for the ‘absorption/emission’ wave length.
That said, any energetic lag/lead to the ‘peak’ of a ‘pre-determined’ sinusoidal wave length shall ‘add/subtract’ to/from the energy imparted to the ‘EM : mass’ interaction. Which implies that:
A). Wave lengths slightly below these ‘resonant frequencies’ shall ‘detrain’ (reduce) energies at that ‘resonance’.
B). Wave lengths slightly above these ‘resonant frequencies’ shall ‘improve’ (increase) energies at that ‘resonance’.
FWIW, EM transmission is a ‘mixed bunch’ at best. However, I’ll go with ‘entropic decay’ and say that ‘yes’, the original statement is accurate “gases tend to [sic] emit heat at a lower frequency than they absorb it”.
Best regards, Ray Dart.

Jon

Willis Eschenbach says: “That’s what distinguishes this site as a scientific site …”
If it’s a scientific site why do you post non scientific articles about your life?

dp

Time to get out Willis’ shock collar again.

gopal panicker

‘Greenhouse Effect’…is an unfortunate misnomer…the atmosphere moderates temperatures…it should be called the ‘Moderating Effect’…and we should be thankful for it.

Michel

This is no mopre skepticism or heresy, it’s plain denial of physics.
Are Planck and Stefan-Boltzman wrong (falsified or refuted)?
Are absorption spectra of electromagnetic radiations delusions?
It’s not bad to have such post from time to time.
It helps setting some boundaries between phantasms and reason.