Critical mass of Cotton

Yesterday, the climate blogosphere reached critical mass of Cotton. Douglas J. Cotton. And with that critical mass, as such things go, they go boom. Lucia has previously announced why Doug Cotton is banned at her place. Undeterred, and fully advised he has been banned for bad behavior (here at WUWT also), Mr. Cotton continues to use his Cotton Socks™ to sockpuppet his presence throughout the climate blogosphere, and today, Lucia has had enough and has decided to provide Doug his own thread for entertainment purposes called: The Fullness of Time: Doug Cotton Comments Unveiled!

Lest you think this is a problem exclusive to Lucia’s shop, I can advise you that just about every sceptical climate blog has had similar problems with Mr. Cotton posting his own brand of physics under his real and/or list of sockpuppet names and fake emails. We’ve heard that even the Prinicipia/Slayers have un-welcomed him, and over the weekend, it seems critical mass has been achieved as new blogs weighed in via emails behind the scenes. With that, I offer this short play:

Doug J. Cotton orders a pizza (A play in one act)

[The stage is split in half. On the left, Cotton’s study–a room full of books, piles of books, thousands upon thousands of books. In the center a desk covered in manuscripts. Cotton occupies the chair, quill in hand, dashing out another screed. Outside it is snowing, or raining, or sleeting or roasting hot.

On the right, a telephone on a card table. Seated at the table a youth, gender unimportant. Maintains perfect stillness until the phone rings–as it must.]

Cotton: It is a frigid night, and possibly raining, snowing, sleeting perhaps, definitely hot due to atmospheric pressure. In five strokes of the quill I will have completely gutted the Greenhouse Effect and replaced it with the Autonomous Thermal Gradient! Ah… but I am faint with hunger. To the telephone, anon! [He digs under stacks of manuscripts to find the phone. Success.] Hello, Domino’s? I’d like to order a pizza. [to self] Damn these tiny buttons.

Youth: [picking up phone] Thank you for calling Domino’s. How may I be of service?

Cotton: I would like to order a pepperoni pizza. Extra cheese. Oh, and with olives.

Youth: Is that all?

Cotton: That’s about it. What’s the total?

Youth: Nineteen eighty including tax. Your phone number?

Cotton: 555-6219. 234 5th Ave Southeast, Sydney… My name is Doug… Doug Cotton… Doug J. Cotton… I will not soon be forgotten. [awkward pause] I have my own blog. I have a paper describing a new paradigm coming out.

Youth: [nonplussed] Uh… great. That pizza will be delivered in about a half hour. [tries to hang up]

Cotton: Hold on there, youngster. Is it finished yet?

Youth: We’ve hardly had–

Cotton: Okay… well… is it finished now?

Youth: Sir, I haven’t even called the order in–

Cotton: How about now?

Youth: No.

Cotton: Now?

Youth: Still no.

Cotton: I’ve changed my mind. I want salami instead of pepperoni. Genoa salami. With the fatty parts cut out.

Youth: I’m afraid we’re–

Cotton: Is it done yet?

Youth: Look, Mister Doug J. Cotton, you have no idea how this works. Pizza doesn’t appear magically when you say the word. It’s a process. It takes time and heat. Three hundred seventy five degrees, twenty minutes, plus driving time. Got it? Goodbye. [Youth and Cotton hang up simultaneously]

Cotton:[Cotton picks up the phone again, dialing.] I have completely eviscerated the Greenhouse Effect, you know.

Youth: You again? Look, Mr. Cotton, the cheese is finished, and it’s going in the oven, so–

Cotton: Is it done?

Youth: Uh, no.

Cotton: Then we have time to chat. You see, we deal here with fundamental differences in the way we view the world which I believe are rigidly fixed in our flawed interpretations of The Second Law of Thermodynamics. There is also the problem of pride. Does anyone really expect those who have dedicated their professional lives to a phantom magic gas to easily come to grips with just that? Yet that is exactly what the situation boils down to. Can you imagine Roy Spencer conceding that everything he has ever written is meaningless drivel? In a way it is a blessing that he is spared that realization but I am have no compassion for him whatsoever. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the inevitable. We shouldn’t have to wait much longer.

Youth: I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about–

Cotton: Well I guess nobody wants to hear about how the Stefan-Boltzmann Law is applied in flawed ways. That is too bad. I may present that evidence anyway. For the moment let me explain how I intend to go about it…

Youth: [Slams phone down] Asshole.

Cotton: [not missing a beat] …as long as there exists simple criteria sufficient to account for all planetary atmospheres. I have also explained why Spencer is wrong in his assumptions about pressure, bank vaults exploding and internal energy generation on Uranus. Ah… What’s that beeping noise? [Looks quizzically at the phone. Hangs up the receiver. Pauses. Picks it up again.]

[masking voice with an atrocious accent.] Ees thees Daw-mee-nose?



Credit: This bit of humor was originally created for a troll with a similar M.O., the late John A. Davison who also once graced the pages of WUWT some years ago.  Jim Anderson at decorabilia, who also experienced Davison, originally wrote this satire in John A Davison Orders a Pizza.

Since that satirical play describes Mr. Cotton’s present day trolling antics and claims about the greenhouse effect equally well, I decided to adapt it with some changes. Readers might note that some phrases (like bank vaults exploding) are borrowed from this thread at Roy Spencer’s.

You can watch Mr. Cotton’s video, and decide for yourself if his ideas have any merit.

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March 10, 2014 8:46 am

It is rather amazing that Doug has not figured out that no one is required to engage him nor give him space at their blogs. He may, of course, create a blog of his own at, Blogger or other sites. He can create microblogs– also for free. He can tweet. He can post videos. And so on. All sorts of places will let him post his ideas and if people care to read them, they will.
But he doesn’t have any particular right to derail my blog comments with off-topic comments merely because he wants to discuss something I didn’t happen to post on. And he wouldn’t have the right even if his physics were correct.
It is also rather amazing that he will post so many comments knowing they will be moderated and — for the most part– no one will read them or take them seriously. I figured collecting them together was fair. People unfamiliar with Doug can now see the sorts of things he writes. If they wish, they can google, find his vast trove of insight and engage him … elsewhere.

March 10, 2014 8:51 am

The Cotton off-topic comment spamming is getting out of hand. I noticed it on Roy’s blog and then Jo’s when he spammed both ADL topics with his perpetual discussion of his “theory” of greenhouse physics. Unfamiliar commentators were engaging him not knowing any better. Mr. Cotton is not a physicist (though may have a physics degree) but a software developer in Australia who owns a ton of domain names,
His one website makes some amazing claims,
“With just one $55 consultation here in our Sydney Office you will learn how to prevent cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other life threatening diseases by minimising oxidative stress and inflammation that are known to cause premature aging.”

March 10, 2014 8:56 am

12 seconds were quite enough. I doubt if this record will stand long, however.

March 10, 2014 9:00 am

He’s taken to threatening legal action on Jeff ID’s blog.
I suggested contacting his internet service provider and filing a complaint.

March 10, 2014 9:06 am

I will never understand the mentality that uses multiple sock puppets. I have one online screen name, it’s not my real name as I’ve been around for far too long, starting at the end of ARPAnet, to know how easily people will track you based on a real name or email and try and make your life miserable. The Internet is full of too many mentally ill people, especially when you have a less than common name. But I do use a consistent screen nom de net, I have never felt the need to create fake personas to try and bolster my argument by agreeing with myself.

March 10, 2014 9:08 am

Until you linked to Master Cotton’s youtube video, he had a scant 1400 views over several years… Now, dear God, it seems inevitable he’ll see an influx in traffic, and most likely assume he has acquired new faithful acolytes and converts, who have have recognized his genius, and have come over to his “world view.” Master Cotton will thence take heart, steeling his resolve to continue to spread his “message.” In a sense, Anthony, you have assumed the role of Pandora… What is left in the box?

March 10, 2014 9:11 am

I’ve been thinking about calling this kind of behaviour filibustering. The parallel’s not exact, of course, but it’s the best I could come up with. Respect to Lucia, Anthony and all those others “Speakers of the House” who try to keep debate on the straight and narrow, neither censoring nor allowing such destructive practices which are in the end the enemy of freedom of speech and expression.

filiblustering would be a better word, I think – Anthony

March 10, 2014 9:16 am

I’m glad it was you that said that AW: I considered it then thought it might be too tricksy. Filiblustering it is!

March 10, 2014 9:16 am

you should copy all kotten comments to lucias post. put all his crap in one place

March 10, 2014 9:19 am

Here is some irony, look at this website of his and the counter at the bottom right,
…now refresh the page. With traffic like that no wonder he is carpet bombing skeptic sites.

March 10, 2014 9:23 am

People need to get a dose of BS to tune their BS discriminators, just like children need to play in the dirt to avoid allergies (maybe). If there were a way to limit Mr. Cotton to say, two posts per thread, this would allow the readers to sample his BS and build their immunity. I am averse to censorship but also to thread spamming. Could there be a congenial middle ground?

March 10, 2014 9:24 am

Does he do T shirts?

March 10, 2014 9:30 am

Part of what I do is design and install high security walk in vaults. If they are exploding, I need to know about it, but haven’t to date…… 😎

March 10, 2014 9:33 am

“Outside it is snowing, or raining, or sleeting or roasting hot.”
I What this made me picture was a glassless prop “window” with a painted canvas behind it that has various weather scenes painted on. It slowly scrolls past showing the changing “weather” through out the play.

March 10, 2014 9:36 am

Zero tolerance of DJC on my blog too – it’s the only way

Bob Ernest
March 10, 2014 9:46 am

Mr. Watts, the play was wonderful. Thanks very much for your alterations to the original and sharing it with us.

March 10, 2014 9:53 am

Mr. C has two trait in common with the late Dr D. First, they cannot be wrong. Second, their intuition is always correct. For example, “the earth cannot warm the sun”
Mr C has a unique view of molecules reacting to radiation, specifically: “The radiation which is emitted by the cooler atmosphere will have frequencies which are generally lower than the original radiation from the surface. If some of this radiation gets to the warmer surface it cannot be converted to thermal energy. ”
His views are derived from Claes Johnson at who says “The net result is that a warm blackbody can heat a cold blackbody, but not the other way around. A teacher can teach a student but not the other way around. The hot Sun heats the colder Earth, but the Earth does not heat the Sun.”
But Johnson is wrong. The sun is warmer by a microscopic but nonzero amount due to the presence of the earth. Once you reject the “alternative” physics of Johnson and Cotton then the rest of their theories quickly crumble.
Dr D was a Malthusian warmist. Dr D read Tim Flannery’s book (full of garbage) and everything clicked because everything Davison had read and intuited (by his own admission) about the end of civilization was right there in Flannery’s book full of solid facts. In short Dr D was duped and didn’t realize it. But it fit with his Malthusian philosophy:
“The only solution I can offer involves the reduction of our numbers by at least two orders of magnitude to around 70 million, or very roughly the world’s population prior to the industrial revolution a mere two centuries ago. It was that revolution that produced this result. Never in the history of the planet have such great changes taken place over such a short period of time. I consider pandemic disease to be the most likely means by which this reduction will occur. ”
Now I will see if this post makes it through the “C” filter….

March 10, 2014 9:54 am

Evolutionists scream that random chance generates ever more progressive and ‘adapted’ creatures. Cotton et al are clear indications that this theory is nonsense, and a new theory of devolution must be pursued in which intelligence, skills, faculties and cunning degrade, atrophy and finally come to an inert rest.

March 10, 2014 9:57 am

[Do not “test” here, nor on other threads. Use the “Test” thread from the Main Menu links. Mod]

March 10, 2014 9:57 am

He reminds me of an infamous poster back in the grand old days of Usenet (this would have been in the mid-90’s), a cat who went by the name of Archimedes Plutonium. he would spam science message board after message board with long dissertations about how the entire universe was one giant plutonium atom. And the he would bitterly and endlessly argue with anyone who chose to dispute his assertions.

March 10, 2014 9:57 am

the solution, with thanks to Randall Munroe:

March 10, 2014 10:13 am

I actually read through one of his posts that was briefly up at The Air Vent. He has become incoherent. His sentences don’t even scan well as Star Trek techno-babble.
He is as kooky as the AGW believers who see CO2 behind everything, and whose response to any weather experience is “reduce CO2”.

March 10, 2014 10:31 am

The guy is dangerous, not because he is wrong, but because he is wrong and startlingly tenacious about it. Game changing revelations do in fact happen in science from time to time, and those discoveries have difficulty getting traction because the ground has been poisoned by the likes of Cotton. Someone with a real break through will, inevitably, sound a lot like Cotton at first blush. Cotton ensures that the baby is likely to be thrown out with the bath water.

Janice Moore
March 10, 2014 10:49 am

GREAT PLAY, Anthony! A playright is born!
One little edit:
“Cotton: I would like to order a pepperoni pizza. Extra cheese. ,,, AND A TON OF BALONEY… .”
D.C. was only another run-of-the-mill HIGHLY ENTERTAINING kook (with a book — free of course) to me and SO MUCH FUN to TEASE. Then, when he implied in a reply to me about 2 weeks ago that he is inspired by God, he crossed over into vile and I realized he is not just sick, but twisted.
Steven M-osh-er! We actually agree wholeheartedly about something!
And, sigh, we are all giving him the time of his life with all this attention. He’s sitting at that table with the thousands of books around him at this very moment, giggling with goblin-like glee. Meh, so what. EXPOSING HIM TO WARN OTHERS was worth it.
Good show, Anthony Watts (and Lucia)!
Admiringly (of ANTHONY, not you),

DeWitt Payne
March 10, 2014 10:49 am

Speaking of technobabble, here’s a link to what may be the all time classic: The Chrysler Turbo Encabulator Video. How they managed to do it and keep a straight face is beyond me.

March 10, 2014 10:51 am

pochas says: March 10, 2014 at 9:23 am
People need to get a dose of BS to tune their BS discriminators, just like children need to play in the dirt to avoid allergies (maybe). If there were a way to limit Mr. Cotton to say, two posts per thread, this would allow the readers to sample his BS and build their immunity. I am averse to censorship but also to thread spamming. Could there be a congenial middle ground?

Mr. Cotton is free to post his ideas on his website or anyone that wishes to entertain them. As he has done so here,
It is not “censorship” for a website owner to stop off-topic comment spamming. Using your logic all spammers should get a two comment post per topic. Now maybe you want to waste time reading comments about enlarging your manhood but I prefer things that are actually on topic.
Mr. Cotton is 100% a spammer as his comments have no remote relation to anything being discussed in the topic and he should be treated as such.

March 10, 2014 10:54 am

I remember John A. Davison well. Interesting in some ways, but worse of a crank than even me.
He found himself unable to distinguish the tolerable/intolerable line.

March 10, 2014 10:59 am

Dear Gang: I’m the last person to be PC…way last, but perhaps one ought to consider that this gentleman (IMO) may be unwell but able to function in day to day activities. In past “adventures” I have found that its best to unilaterally ban these types as soon as one recognizes that they have been previously banned. To him, (IMO) he is not trolling, YOU are the ones not making sense and its his job to stop or save you. Generally engaging them directly like this is not the best of ideas, IMO, because it can trigger them (IE-empty (or not) threats of litigation). Over half the time, these people do eventually “snap” when directly engaged, especially on what they perceive as a personal level because it feeds their grandiosity and self importance while simultaneously feeding their “mission”. These types may be prone to get creatively vicious, become a time sinkhole to Your productive time or quite destructive. They realize they are crossing the line, but are unable to stop themselves.
Just my opinion.

March 10, 2014 11:17 am

The most informative thing about his YouTube video is it has over 400 comments…. almost all from Cotton himself. It is as if he kept finding his video online for the first time and thought he needed to spam it.

Janice Moore
March 10, 2014 11:25 am

@ Poptech (re: 11:17am) — LOL!

March 10, 2014 11:29 am

My last comment went into the filter for obvious reasons.

David Ross
March 10, 2014 12:35 pm

Poptech wrote:

The most informative thing about his YouTube video is it has over 400 comments…. almost all from Cotton himself. It is as if he kept finding his video online for the first time and thought he needed to spam it.

Yes it kinda reminded me of this scene

Reply to  David Ross
March 10, 2014 12:37 pm


Steve from Rockwood
March 10, 2014 12:42 pm

You know it just doesn’t pay to engage a pizza boy in a discussion on the 2nd law of thermodynamics anymore. They’ll hire anyone these days. Used to be they could only get PHDs. But with the recent surge in climate science funding…there’s a bit of a shortage.

March 10, 2014 1:00 pm

Come’on Man! Haven’t you learned rule #1 yet? Don’t feed the trolls. As was pointed out earlier, you’ve now generated more hits, posts, and views on this troll’s garbage in a single afternoon than he could ever hope to generate on his own. The reason he haunts these blogs is precisely to garner the attention you’ve now given him. Much more attention than he’d ever get at his own blog. Just banish him to the troll bin and be done with it.
REPLY: Normally I’d agree with that advice, but Doug has become a one-man epidemic, and this post serves to put many people on notice of his unsavory antics in sockpuppetry. It also gives a place to refer people to in the future. While Cotton might see a short term gain in interest, the long term trend will likely be negative.
Thanks to this heightened awareness, servers are being updated with improved Cotton Filters that are being shared. – Anthony

March 10, 2014 1:17 pm

It’s all about “my book”. Here are the instances of him trying to flog his book. Only one per comment.

“my new book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” available soon on Amazon.”
“hypothesis in my book”
“Lucia, my book is entitled “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all”
“(in the Appendix of my book)”
“heat creep” explained in my book.”
“Lucia. You personally may think the information in my book to be worth $0,”
“as I have in the book”
“which I have presented in a book””

Do you think he’s trying to flog his crappy, bound toilet paper sheets?

March 10, 2014 1:18 pm

I have seen times when Lucia will adjust her filters, and accidentally block some of her readers. This time she has blocked me. I will wait until I get home to use my desktop instead of a tablet computer on someone else’s WiFi.
Life is tough.

March 10, 2014 1:21 pm

Here is Doug at Spencer’s still trying desperately to flog his BS book. Sheesh!

March 10, 2014 1:40 pm

I suspect that Doug has a personality disorder, he ‘knows’ he is right and can’t understand why people don’t listen to him.
If you are reading this Doug here is a bit of advice. Keep quiet and your book will be a bestseller because you are right. No need to spam or flog your book because it will sell itself. Wait patiently and you will soon enjoy the fruits of your labour. You may even become ‘rich’ like me. 😉

March 10, 2014 2:13 pm

Jimbo says:
March 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm
To me, the fun was watching David Appell spar with him. Two misguided egos pummeling each other over made-up issues nobody else cares about.

Gary Hladik
March 10, 2014 2:38 pm

eric1skeptic says (March 10, 2014 at 9:53 am): “Mr C has a unique view of molecules reacting to radiation, specifically: [snip]”
To me the strongest evidence that he knows he’s wrong is his refusal to perform a relatively simple experiment that would–if he’s right–bring him fame, fortune, and a Nobel Prize, i.e. Dr. Spencer’s “Yes, Virginia” experiment, or some variant of it:
All this writing, blogging, and spamming would be unnecessary if he could actually demonstrate his “theory” via experiment.
BTW, knowing that verbiage is no substitute for experiment is a crucial part of Pochas’s “BS discriminator” (9:23 AM).

Mike Rossander
March 10, 2014 2:47 pm

re: wws at March 10, 2014 at 9:57 am:
I remember Archimedes Plutonium! He was fun – for about the first half hour…

David, UK
March 10, 2014 2:59 pm

Haha! Just followed the YouTube link; about 99.9% of comments are from Doug himself! Jeez, talk about preaching to the converted.

Gunga Din
March 10, 2014 3:03 pm

Maybe if we all (with fingers crossed) promised to read his next book he’d start one and so have less time to jack of….er….derail the topics on other blogs?

March 10, 2014 3:03 pm

Oh, it’s so OBVIOUS! I went to the Cotton video. During the whole 10 minutes (of disjointed drivel)…there is a “clicking sound” in the background. Now, any really good “climate rebel” would know IMMEDIATELY that this is the sound of a geiger counter. Meaning that Cotton really understands that Svensmark’s Cosmic Ray Thesis (TM) is correct, and everything is controlled by Cosmic rays, Cloud Seeding by the Rays, and the resultant change in Short Wave albedo or reflection due to same. (Of course now, let’s not forget the Solar Wind, shielding from same, and the “ups and downs” of the cosmic ray intensity due to the change of solar wind, correlated with sun spot density..)
That you Mental Midgits out there couldn’t make this connection, reveals the slug like brains you all have! GET WITH IT, NOW! (And WHERE IS MY PIZZA?)

March 10, 2014 3:09 pm

“eric1skeptic says:
March 10, 2014 at 9:53 am”
Homeschooling my granddaughter and the grandson of a friend. The AP World History book I am using suggests that China breeched the 100 million population during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE) so the world definitely had more than 70 million at the start of the industrial revolution. It doesn’t seem the Malthusians can get anything correct.

March 10, 2014 3:12 pm

I came to think of Doug as ‘Cottonmouth’ without realising that cottonmouths are known for standing ground when threatened. Neologism?

March 10, 2014 3:37 pm

Gary Hladik says:
March 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm
The key part is the existence of a heat source in the mix. It is true that, for objects which are passively warm, a cooler object will not heat the warmer one. But, that is not the system configuration for the greenhouse effect. There, the Sun heats the Earth’s surface, and the atmosphere impedes the surface’s ability to dissipate that heat back out to cold space.
Here’s the conceptual problem for me, though, which I have not seen satisfactorily answered anywhere. The greenhouse gases actually act to cool things. The lapse rate is established by the boundary condition imposed at the effective radiating surface near the top of the atmospheric column by the re-radiation occurring there from the GHGs. If there were no re-radiation, then the atmosphere would become isothermal from top to bottom (obviously, not including the diurnal cycle of warming and cooling).
It can be pictured as a pyramid, with the base at the surface, and the peak at the effective radiating surface. Adding more GHG should raise the pyramid higher, resulting in a broader base, implying an increase in the surface temperature. However, it should also increase the lapse rate, increasing the slope of the sides of the pyramid, narrowing the base at the surface, implying a decrease in the surface temperature.
Which effect wins out should be dependent on the quantity of the gas, and the other temperature moderating influences going on.
In a nutshell, I am not at all convinced that surface temperature is monotonically related to quantity of GHG. It is surely a positive function, which heats the surface beyond what it would be without any atmosphere at all. But, I see nothing which dictates that it must have incrementally positive slope generally in all possible states of the system.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to do experiments to nail these things down, as we have only a few planet sized laboratories in which we can make observations, and no way of running controlled experiments. Which is why I tend to take things people (and, not just the crackpots) say with such certitude about what will, or will not, happen with a couple of grains of salt.

March 10, 2014 4:17 pm

Reminds of a character who infested the main Vietnam War feed on Usenet back in the day, where this deluded individual spent all his time, 24/7, spewing quoted revisionist Chomsky diatribes against all and sundry viewpoints and in particular participating war veterans. In the end everyone who wanted a reasonable conversation on the topic moved to a moderated private mailing list, leaving the idiot solely talking to himself…

March 10, 2014 4:30 pm

Gary Hladik (March 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm)
Mr. C said a couple days ago at Spencer’s that “When a photon from a cooler source strikes a warmer target [some text deleted] it [the target] cools more slowly as a result of the back radiation, as we all know.” But there’s a but: “But non-radiative processes can increase their rate of cooling to compensate for slower radiative cooling”
But then his quote from his forthcoming book is “How have so many scientists been so misled by this conjecture that radiative forcing supposedly warms a planet’s surface well beyond any temperature that direct Solar radiation could achieve?”
I would have to say they were “misled” by the increasing amounts of back radiation that is slowing the cooling “as we all know”.

Lew Skannen
March 10, 2014 4:56 pm

Can we not send him over to SkS?
He is more suited to the method and style if not the cause.

March 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Ah, the curious case of Doug Cotton…
In foolishly debating Doug at Dr. Spencers site some time ago I was surprised to see him persisting in claims about radiative physics that directly contradicted empirical results of simple and easy experiments. I was further amazed that he refused to conduct any such experiments for himself. This led me to consider that Doug and others associated with “PSI” were part of a “false flag” effort on climate blogs. It can of course be argued that the evidence for this is circumstantial and inconclusive.
This leads to two possible conclusions –
A. Doug Cotton is wrong and has been highly unsuccessful in convincing others.
B. Doug Cotton is wrong and has been highly successful in failing to convince others.
I shall play a round of “Devils Advocate”. Could I have a “B” please Vanna?
What would be the point of intentionally posing as the “crazy sceptic”? The answer here could be the Alisnsky method or rather its failure in the age of the internet. “Progressive” activists have in the pre-internet era been successful with many of the techniques of Saul Alinsky in the manipulation of public opinion. However these methods, such as the Alinsky Diamond or Change Agents, are suited to crowds or group debate. While still effective on Twitface and SpaceChook, they fail on blogs. Despite the warmists having the megaphone of a compliant lame stream media they began losing the debate because of blogs just like WUWT.
Enter the “Anti Change Agent”. Readers may have seen something close used by trolls on political blogs. Typically progressives posing as conservatives and posting extreme comments as they imagine or wished conservatives were thinking. In the climate debate an example would be Peter Gleick and the forgery of the Heartland “policy document”. Australian readers may rememberer the comedic case of “Alena Composta”
An Alinsky Change Agent seeks to find points of agreement between the Change Agent and individual members of a group in which individuals disagree with each other. The Change Agent then becomes the focus of group agreement and can steer the debate. This doesn’t work on blogs because all exchanges are recorded for all to see. An “Anti Change Agent” can be effective on blogs, not by steering it toward a view or idea, but rather by steering it away from ideas that could be dangerous to one side of the debate. While blogs enable greater individual expression, the base fear of tribal non-conformity still holds some sway. Who wants to be seen as having a position that may be close to one of those “crazy sceptics”?
What would an Anti change Agent want to drive debate away from? What is it that the warmists desperately what now? A “soft landing” for global warming, ie: “still warming, but far less than we thought”, and also complicated “sciencey” sounding excuse for this. What is it they most fear? Being totally and utterly wrong, not just about global warming but the entire radiative greenhouse hypothesis itself. And worse, being wrong at such a basic level no hand waving will excuse it.
How many WUWT readers have accused any who question the idea of a net radiative greenhouse effect of “Slayer nonsense”, “PSI tripe” or being part of the “pink unicorn brigade”, even if they had no association with that group or any agreement with any of the individuals linking to it? Did they make those accusations on the basis of science or emotion?
While my round of “Devils Advocate” may sound like a crazed conspiracy theory worthy of Dr. Lewandowsky’s attention (and another ten papers) consider this –
George Soros pumping thousands of dollars through Fenton Communications to set up websites to combat the emerging threat of sceptic blogs. Websites heavily censored while claiming to allow open scientific debate. One website contributed to and controlled by rogue NASA scientists during work hours while on the taxpayers dime. It sounds as far fetched as something sci-fi author Michael Crichton may have written…When billions are at stake, anything is possible in the climate debate 😉
Well, that’s quite enough “Devils Advocate”. Does Vanna have any fabulous consolation prizes…?

March 10, 2014 5:53 pm

“Can we not send him over to SkS?”
He’s been there and done that a couple times. The results are somewhat entertaining: Cotton actually does a reasonable job of dissecting some of their nonsense. For example that back radiation is like microwaves from a magnetron: They ban his address pretty quickly at that point.

March 10, 2014 6:10 pm

“We’ve heard that even the Prinicipia/Slayers have un-welcomed him,…”
He was banned from the forum and I have banned him several times from the blog.He is a pest of the worst kind who refuse to accept the fact that he is a off topic troll.

March 10, 2014 6:34 pm

Very funny but most people wont get the humor in it.
doug is a good read at the air vent

Lloyd Martin Hendaye
March 10, 2014 6:36 pm

Wasn’t it a Cotton Futures chart posted in New Orleans that inspired Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry? In this incarnation, it’s “Cotton, all the way down.”

March 10, 2014 6:38 pm

Prior to this WUWT post and Lucia’s post exposing the commenting behavior of Mr. Cotton, I do not recall encountering him before in my skeptic blog commenting forays.
I think if I was in their place as a blog owner then my reaction would probably be parallel to theirs.
I appreciate both blog owners trying to have a free and open discussion about Mr. Cotton. Thanks.
It looks like to me that Mr. Cotton consistently failed to respectfully follow common blog rules.

March 10, 2014 6:54 pm

Bob says: March 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm
I have seen times when Lucia will adjust her filters, and accidentally block some of her readers. This time she has blocked me.


March 10, 2014 7:05 pm

Lew Skannen says:
March 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm
Can we not send him over to SkS?

He is five moves ahead of all of us. This is epic, Cotton threatened to take SkS down with Facebook!

John Cook: Doug Cotton threatens to rubbish SkS with ‘thousands of people on Facebook’
What’s up with this guy? An Aussie too:
“Name: Doug Cotton
Message: You are really determined not to let readers get to my site because it clearly rubbishes AGW in a way you cannot defend. First you say there was a virus. So I copy the (previous version) of the text. Then you snip that and say I should post the link. (LOL) You delete all my responses because you know they are undeniable. By the time I try to post a link I find that you have blocked the whole account. If you don’t rectify this I will rubbish your site with thousands of people on Facebook reading my posts about your site and the censorship. No one has or can refure what is now stated on the above site. Don’t underestimate me or the group of physics academics I am getting together.”

March 10, 2014 7:10 pm

I watched his video. Almost every point he made was sound physics. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t overlooked other things, nor that his conclusions are right, but he does understand physics. In particular, he made the point that a cooler body can keep a warmer body warmer than it would have otherwise been. The contrary to that is the classic flippant “2nd law of thermodynamics” brushoff that “heat can’t travel from a colder to a warmer body”. IOW, he is contradicting the central stupidity in the principia mob’s nonsense. And that must be a good thing.
So I think it is a crying shame that he has got himself so completely ostracised everywhere. Doug, if you read this, please, please do some introspecting and see if you can understand why everyone is so fed up with you. If you can accept that there might be something wrong, get professional help. OTOH, Anthony, seeing as you have made this issue into a post, can you try just once more to see if Doug can behave? Maybe write to him privately with some firm ground rules? Of course if he can’t, he can’t, and you have to do what you have to do, but still, it’s a tragedy that an obviously good-willed person gets excluded from polite society.

March 10, 2014 7:21 pm

Mr. Cotton spammed the hell out of Skeptical Science (he should get an award for this). The deleted Cotton files from SkS (enjoy!),
Comment 57157
2011-07-06 20:56:29
There is now statistically significant Fourier transform analysis which detects 60 year cycles in temperature data. There are also obvious other cycles, notably one of about 934 years. These cycles also correlate with planetary orbits as I have explained at and so we now have proof that gravity from the sun and planets affects Earth’s climate. Predictions are for slight cooling till 2028, then warming to 2059 then long-term (934 year) cycle is at maximum and so a long term decline to Little Ice Age conditions about 450 years after that. There is a detailed explanation and reasons on my site. I am happy to answer questions to my email address thereon.
Reason: [no reason given] (Rob Painting)
Comment 57160
2011-07-06 21:00:45
There is now statistically significant Fourier transform analysis which detects 60 year cycles in temperature data. There are also obvious other cycles, notably one of about 934 years. These cycles also correlate with planetary orbits as I have explained at earth-climate dot com and so we now have proof that gravity from the sun and planets affects Earth’s climate. Predictions are for slight cooling till 2028, then warming to 2059 then long-term (934 year) cycle is at maximum and so a long term decline to Little Ice Age conditions about 450 years after that. There is a detailed explanation and reasons on my site. I am happy to answer questions to my email address thereon.
Reason: [no reason given] (Rob Painting)
Comment 57428
2011-07-09 15:14:47
See my site re longer cyccles and reasons. Doug Cotton
Reason: Off-topic (and link only) (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 58278
2011-07-17 19:54:30
My detailed criticism of the assumption that anthropogenic CO2 is the major contributor to warming is at Firstly, my key point regarding current trends from 1 Jan 2003 to 1 July 2011 as per NASA “sea surface” satellite measurements (the only years that can be plotted on their site) there is a regular pattern obviously related to the Earth’s orbits each year. The statistical probability that this regular pattern is random noise below an increasing trend comparable with that prior to 1998 is absolutely infinitesimal, so the “excuse” that it is just random noise simply does not hold for these last eight and a half (8.5) years. Now, if you calculate a 12 month running mean each 6 months (taking into account every day) you will find that a linear trend for those annual values is slightly negative. In fact a curved trend passing through a maximum fits better, but I won’t argue the toss on that. What I am saying is that, if CO2 were causing an underlying linear upward trend and no other valid physical explanation can be put forward as a REASON for (in effect) an upside down hockey stick now being observed, then you cannot validate that the data (right up to July 2011, not just 2010) has merely exhibited a random variation, because the REGULAR ANNUAL PATTERN seen here could not happen at random with any reasonable probability. The regularity (caused by the Earth’s orbit as it passes other planets) proves that the underlying trend since 2003 is in fact what it appears to be – namely a slightly declining trend and certainly not one with a positive gradient anything remotely like the IPCC guesses. The key points relating to molecular physics (explaining why CO2 has had no noticeable effect) are in bolded paragraphs copied below and I eagerly await your attempt to refute such. The distance of the Earth from the sun currently varies by about 3.25% as the Earth follows its annual orbit. This means the radiation reaching the Earth should vary by about 6.6% over half a year. There are in fact consistent variations each year as shown here but these are only about 0.65 degrees and are not random noise. Hence the sun seems to be contributing only about 10 degrees out of the 294 degrees that the ground level temperatures have been raised above absolute zero which is about -273 deg.C. So the sun’s solar radiation is not the main cause of variations in temperature – instead over 96% of the heat must come through the surface of the crust or be generated by friction due to tides caused by gravity in the atmosphere itself. Air molecules (mostly nitrogen and oxygen) collide with molecules at the surface of the crust (or on top of the ocean) and gain heat (extra kinetic energy) in the process. They then rise by convection making space for cooler molecules to collide with the surface and repeat the process until equilibrium is achieved. The vast majority of the warming from absolute zero takes place this way, going from 0 deg.K to more than 280 deg.K with the process working on cloudy days and also at night. During the day some extra molecules get warmed by collisions with photons radiated by the sun. Most of these are water vapour, but about 1 in every 2,500 molecules in the air is a carbon dioxide molecule. Over the course of a year, the mean additional warming due to such photons is only about 10 degrees (as discussed above) and most of these photons (on a cloudless day) hit the surface and warm it. The warmer surface then starts warming the air by the processes above, but just a few extra photons are radiated back up again. So, even if one carbon dioxide molecule is warmed by a photon, how much effect is that going to have on the other 2,499 molecules in its vicinity or, in other words, how much is it going to raise the average temperature of all the 2,500 molecules? How much effect will it have on the above 10 degrees of warming we can attribute to the sun’s radiation? Very, very little I would suggest. In fact, as you cannot alter the number of photons (and thus the total energy) coming from the sun, all that will happen with additional carbon dioxide is that this very minute warming will occur at slightly lower altitudes than it would otherwise have. But even so, the warmer air will then rise by convection sooner than it would have with less carbon dioxide.
Reason: off topic (Rob Painting)
Comment 59723
2011-08-08 11:33:40
OK – let any Physicist prove me wrong in my argument that carbon dioxide cannot lead to accumulation of heat from one year to the next. This logic (based on quantum physics and thermodynamics) is outlined on my site Carbon dioxide molecules can only capture some of the photons that are actually RADIATED from the surface. Far more heat conducts to colliding air molecules and then rises by convection, these oxygen and nitrogen molecules then emitting photons that cannot be captured by carbon dioxide. Heat “trapped” by carbon dioxide cannot return to the surface by convection. It only returns temporarily by radiation (though half also goes to space) and that radiation only temporarily slows the cooling off period each evening. The oceans offer by far the greatest potential for accumulating heat, and they did so leading up to the large El Nino at the end of last century. But, allowing time for the effects of that to pass by 2002, we now find taht NASA sea surface data shows no accumulation of heat since January 2003 as proven here: It is the temperature gradient of the heat conducting from the core to the surface which determines mean temperatures above ground. Such temperatures follow cycles which explain the past and predict cooling from 2014 to 2027 for example. Several reasons are postulated as possible explanations for the cycles, but no one really knows why they appear to be related to planetary orbits as discussed on my site. Now, as Einstein said, it would only take one to prove him wrong. Out of 17,000 visitors to my site, no one has done so yet. Still waiting! But if no one from skepticalscience can prove me wrong, then your position does not hold water. … especially illogical deductions like this: ” … satellites which find less heat escaping out to space over the last few decades. This is direct evidence that more CO2 is causing warming.” What garbage – it is nothing more than evidence that temperatures were rising then – and we knew that from our thermometers.
Reason: Off-topic Gish Gallop (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 59796
2011-08-09 21:53:19
This is the type of fallacious argument John Cook puts forward: less radiation out than in – CO2 bands missing – hence CO2 is stopping the extra heat getting out. Garbage. More in than out tells us nothing more than what we already know – that is (was) warming (due to long term and short term cycles) late last century. Yes CO2 captures some photons – but that doesn’t mean the heat doesn’t eventually escape at other frequencies after it returns to earth and then warms non-GH air molecules. Bad logic John! Now, I lay down the gauntlet: read my site and come back with a proof that heat from the Earth all enters the atmosphere as radiation in normal (fairly calm) conditions – because quantum physics says most will enter by diffusion (molecular collisions) and so warm oxygen and nitrogen molecules which will then emit photons that can’t be captured by CO2. See the simple experiment on my site and read the Wikipedia link about “Heat Transfer” Explain to me how it is that (supposed) radiation just happens to regulate the air we breathe to almost the same temperature as underground on a calm night. What a fluke! What if humidity changes? How come Singapore has min 25 or 26 deg.C and max 31 or 32 deg.C EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. Pretty good radiation control! Show me evidence that, just after sundown, there is still massive radiation coming back to earth from the clouds as IPCC models show. Garbage.
Reason: Epic gibberish (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 59854
2011-08-10 12:14:33
I’ll leave it to you to look up Wikipedia “Heat Transfer” second paragraph. In regard to comments about emitted photons being “absorbed” higher in the atmosphere – so what? They get emitted again soon after. It is the last capture in the chain that matters, and about 50% go to space. The rest temporarily warm the surface/ocean. Again, so what? Everyone knows the warmth of the day extends into the early evening. The process repeats. At least some (probably over 80%) of the new heat gets diffused into N2 and O2. Of the rest, no more than hald can come back for another trip. Where is the heat building up these last 8 years or so?
Reason: [no reason given] (Rob Painting)
Comment 59855
2011-08-10 12:15:39
Secondly, I ask you, what is the probability that, if radiation is the only source of heat for the atmosphere, that (in calm conditions at night) it just happens to raise that part of the atmosphere which is very close to the ground all the way from 0 deg.K (-273.15 deg.C) up to almost exactly the same temperature that it happens to be under the ground. For example, in Singapore underground temp is about 298 deg.K and (by a complete fluke?) minimum temperatures are 298 deg.K or 299 deg.K every night of the year. Are you telling me there is no physical cause for such obvious equilibrium – that it only comes about by chance because there is just the right amount of GH gas around to absorb just the right amount of photons from just the right amount of incident solar insolation and emitted IR radiation – to arrive at just the right temperature – always within one degree.
Reason: [no reason given] (Rob Painting)
Comment 59913
2011-08-11 08:37:46
NASA figures and simple maths PROVE that upward radiation from the Earth’s surface (including all resulting from feedback) has energy which is no more than about 30% of the original incoming solar insolation. The IPCC diagram shows figures which amount to 114%. NASA shows that only one third of heat entering the surface is then RADIATED back upwards, the rest being diffused by conduction and then convection. This dramatically reduces the effect of feedback. You either accept NASA’s estimates or the IPCC’s exaggerations which are nearly four (4) times the actual. Prove me wrong! See
Reason: All-caps (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 60070
2011-08-13 14:49:32
Of course I have taken into account basic science – eg quantum mechanics, physics, mathematical statistics – all of which I have studied at tertiary level and in ongoing private study and private tutoring at secondary and tertiary levels, development of widely used mathematics, medical and dental software etc. (My son has a PhD in actuarial studies.) Energy will be distributed among all air molecules and released by emission of infra-red photons by greenhouse gases. Oxygen and nitrogen cannot emit such (at atmospheric temperatures) but can “pass on” energy in molecular collisions which will lead to further emissions by the (very necessary) greenhouse gases.
Reason: Off-topic (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 60184
2011-08-15 11:33:56
PS Re #183: Whether convection takes months or hours to get to TOA does not alter my belief that it causes the temperature gradient in the atmosphere. Please supply a reference for the “hours.” But I simply cannot comprehend how radiation, travelling at the speed of light, is supposed to take “days” to get there. If it is converted to heat on the way up, then those molecules would hop on the fast moving convection conveyor belt. Those photons that are not trapped get from the surface to space in microseconds.
Reason: Acting like a bad rash [just won’t go away] (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 60187
2011-08-15 11:40:05
Tom, can you tell me the proportion that the CO2 notch is out of the total back radiation which I have previously indicated I fully accept as being shown in the 2008 NASA model, for example.
Reason: Just…won’t…stop…pushing buttons (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 60188
2011-08-15 11:45:22
Tom, can you tell me the proportion that the CO2 notch represents out of the total back radiation – which (as indicated about 2 days ago) I fully accept as currently being of the order shown on the nasa (2008) diagram, for example, and as measured.
Reason: IBID (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 60196
2011-08-15 12:31:45
#189 Unlike yourself, I most certainly do study the equations where relevant, having majored in both Physics and Pure and Applied Mathematics. And I also apply both disciplines rigorously where applicable to my deductions.
Reason: obnoxious, condescending bull$$$! and to adelady, no less (muoncounter, Dan Friedman)
Comment 61732
2011-09-03 13:51:23
In the article, Trenberth and Fassulo plot, among other things, an estimate of net radiation at TOA. This gives rise to their “missing energy” which was questioned by Knox and Douglass. This brings to mind the whole issue of whether or not the models are in fact accurate enough to distinguish between a net downwelling or net upwelling radiation. The plain fact is that the errors acknowledged prove that the models are not that accurate. That is understandable when you are calculating the difference of two estimated figures each over 300 and hoping to prove that such a difference is +1 rather than -1. This makes all the difference between warming and cooling.
Reason: Off-topic & Trolling (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 61754
2011-09-03 17:30:03
#200 pbjamm: I doubt that a lab experiment in the 19th century (recently debunked) really established the “science” over 100 years ago. It would have been overlooked but for that hockey stick last century. I have nearly completed analysing borehole data which you can look at yourself if you wish. The current “science” centres around “models” which have errors far too great to be able to prove that the net downwelling radiation at TOA is positive. We know from measurement that it is rarely more than plus or minus 0.5% of total incoming radiation. Taking the difference of estimated numbers (each over 300 with errors at least 5) and assuming you can be so accurate down to 0.5% with that difference is absurd. This is what 75 “scientists” have led gullible people throughout the world to believe. So, yes, I am trying to point this out and perhaps change things, though that is an uphill task in the face of mental inertia.
Reason: Gibberish (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 61755
2011-09-03 17:47:00
#205, #206, #207 I have said over and over that I am fully aware of the low heat flow from the core. I have also explained how the Sun does virtually all the warming and the temperature plot “supports” the stable base temperature. This takes more detailed explaining which I am not going to type out again here because it may seem off topic. You will find such explanation elsewhere based on solid, sound Physics. The data from hundreds of boreholes up to about 500 metres is quite sufficient to prove beyond any doubt that this is happening. The probability of correlation happening at random is billions to one against. While the coffee in a mug is close to boiling point (cf the liquid core) the outside of the mug (surface of the crust) stays much warmer than the room, though the air close to the mug starts to warm. Give the Earth billions of years, and the atmosphere has come into equilibrium with the surface temperature which was and is determined by the temperature of the core, the distance to the surface and the conductivity of the material en route. The last two are constant, but small variations in core temperatures are inevitable.
Reason: Gibberish (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 61760
2011-09-03 20:07:18
#205, 206, 207 DB: The borehole plot posted by DB is not showing a temperature gradient (as a function of depth) as is required to confirm my hypothesis, as is further explaned here.
Reason: IBID (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 61764
2011-09-03 22:01:58
#209 Tom You either haven’t read a word I have written in the link provided in #208, or you simply don’t understand. The issue of the equator v. poles, for example, is fully explained. Do you seriously think there is anything at all in what you have written that, with over 50 years experience studying and tutoring Physics, I am not fully aware? Nor anything that I have not taken into account in my hypothesis? However, your statement in bold is incorrect, because the effect of inflowing solar insolation is easily distinguished in the borehole data. The trend provides quantification. The “mystery” is that the extrapolation of the trend from data beyond the influence of the sun, continually “happens” to hit the surface within a degree or so of the stable base temperature – which could in no way have caused such. This whole AGW matter is a travesty of Physics and you are going to see Professors of Physics like Nahle rising up in unison. I quote from a personal email he wrote me today … “In general terms, we are on the same way: to smash AGW pseudoscience to pieces; therefore, I encourage you to continue your excellent work. Congratulations for your excellent article!”
Reason: Gibberish (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 61769
2011-09-04 00:00:13
#209 You, like Tom, show a lack of understanding of why it is the sun which does the warming, not the trickle of heat flowing from the core. And until you read what I say here you will continue to waste your time and mine with irrelevant posts. The “fairly large quantity in the opposite direction” is both correct and clearly explained.
Reason: Bully-pulpiting (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 65582
2011-10-18 13:16:10
You deleted that post rather quickly didn’t you John. Too hot to handle – too difficult to argue against I suspect. I’ll try again … Interested to note, John Cook, that (a) you have no more physics to your name than I do and (b) you claim to be a Christian as I do – see this site for example. As such, I suggest you should have more confidence in the fact that God is in control of climate. God knew we would need fossil fuels and we would fly planes and drive petrol cars etc etc. He has created Earth in such a way that numerous factors lead to a suitable climate, air and food supply etc. Now along come pseudo-physicists in the form of climatologists and demonstrate their lack of knowledge of physics in several ways. For example, they talk about Ocean Heat Content when they presumably mean Thermal Energy Content – different thing, different units. Thermal Energy interchanges with Potential Energy as when, for example, warm water rises due to convection. And such rising means you can’t trap warmer water at great depths for very long anyway. Then they assume that all radiation from GHG molecules is spontaneous because only spontaneous emission would be in random directions, roughly 50% towards space and 50% towards Earth. In fact, much of the radiation is induced by the upward radiation from the surface, and such induced radiation will continue in roughly the same direction as the incoming radiation, that is, towards space. They go on to effectively claim that their models prove carbon dioxide must cause warming. This would require error bars well under 0.5% in their estimates of upwelling and downwelling radiation, but instead they acknowledge errors of the order of 1% to 2%, this meaning the models cannot possibly distinguish between net warming and net cooling. And as for assuming that the temperature trend must be linear and, because of short term apparent correlation with carbon dioxide levels, further assuming that carbon dioxide levels are forcing temperature levels – well that beggars belief. Try this for a trend: Global temperature predictions based on superimposed long-term (900 to 1000 year) and short-term (60 year) natural cycles fall accurately in line with observed temperatures.
Reason: This is Doug Cotton! (muoncounter, Dan Friedman)
Comment 65584
2011-10-18 13:33:37
Never mind John. I’ve posted a permanent screen capture of the post – see top left at and shall refer to it often when contributors to forums like The Conversation refer to Skeptical Science as if it were a source of all infallible wisdom on Climate Change. Save your time, John, ’cause you’re barking up the wrong tree. Temperatures are starting to decline because of the 60 year cycle and sea levels are following about 4 years behind due to run off times for melting land ice and other factors. Doug Cotton
[DB] Actually, I was the one to delete your previous comment, not John. This is not the proper Forum to debate theology; this website is about the Science of Climate Change and the denial of it by “skeptics”.
Reason: [no reason given] (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 66776
2011-11-03 16:49:24
The level of temperatures at various points more than a few hundred metres underground has virtually nothing to do with solar radiation received at the surface. In general the temperatures soon get well above any that are ever seen on the surface. At just 9Km they can be 270 degrees C for example. And what causes such temperatures? That very small heat flow from the core has done so over billions of years, not any heat coming in from the sun. Continue the argument as you get closer and closer to the surface. At what point does the sun take over? The effect of the sun falls off as the square of the distance underground (according to Fourier) and so even seasonal effects are barely noticeable over 100 metres down. Yes, the surface gets warmer during the day, but this is temporary thermal energy which flows out again at night or, in the case of the oceans, at least by the next local winter. Why doesn’t the surface cool to nearly absolute zero as on the Moon at night? The obvious difference is the atmosphere. The atmosphere acts like a dam and causes the temperature at the surface to be higher because it slows down the rate of heat escape. It does this because thermal energy takes time to move through the atmosphere by both radiation and, more slowly, by convection which involves the physical upward movement of warmer air. The rate at which such heat transfers is a function of pressure which itself depends on gravity and the density of the atmosphere. The proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (being less than 1 molecule in 2,500) makes very little difference to the average density. In general, physicists appear to have kept out of the debate on the greenhouse effect to some extent, though it is dispoved by Prof Wood’s experiment in 1909 which is repeatable and has never been disproved. Consequently, there may well not be peer-reviewed papers on all this as yet. However, interesting and apparently valid calculations have been done by Timothy Casey here and those who are genuinely interested and open-minded may wish to read some of the many papers he quotes supporting his argument. Doug Cotton, B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin.
Reason: sock-puppet (Ed)
Comment 66777
2011-11-03 17:06:58
27 DB: In order to determine a “net effect” I would want to see quantification of the effect of reduced transpiration versus that of increased photosynthesis. 28: Oxygen levels are approximately inversely related (though not inversely proportional) to carbon dioxide levels I understand. I suggest you read the linked summary in 22 if interested. To others: I have spent some time responding on this thread which I had only just become aware of. I really don’t wish to get into further debate thereon, nor to have to repeat what is on my sites. Doug Cotton, B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ), Dip.Bus.Admin
Reason: banned/sock-puppet (Ed)
Comment 70492
2011-12-23 10:48:44
The big picture has now changed dramatically. The long-held scientific belief that electromagnetic radiation has a dual wave-particle modality has come under severe scrutiny and a major fallacy exposed. Particles (even without mass) have one-way motion whereas waves have two-way. The end result of detailed mathematical analysis is that a blackbody has a cut off frequency (which is proportional to absolute temperature) and only radiation with energy levels above the cut off will lead to a conversion of radiated energy to thermal energy. Those below the cut off are not absorbed at all. This is why incoming solar radiation is absorbed and yet only lower energy IR radiation is emitted by the surface. In fact, the two spectra barely overlap at all because the above cut off is between the incoming high energy (SW) radiation and the outward low energy (IR) radiation. Low energy IR coming back from the atmosphere cannot warm the surface. The huge significance of this is that the supposed greenhouse effect is a physical impossibility. There have been, and in 2012 will be more experiments which prove this reality. You can see it yourself in various ways, such as shining identical headlights into each other, or identical electric radiators which will not get warmer any faster – after all we cannot create energy. For further details and links click So the AGW hypothesis is debunked.
Reason: Doug Cotton? (Rob Painting)
Comment 70494
2011-12-23 11:09:58
Tom. You are simply incorrect. You would do well to read Professor Johnson’s detailed analysis before commenting further. And I suggest this is very much on topic regarding the “big picture” but if not I’m happy to post it again elsewhere. For a start, the vast majority (almost all) of the thermal energy generated in the oceans and land surfaces comes from UV and visible light from the Sun. An equivalent amount of energy is then radiated out of the surface, but only at frequencies below the cut off. You will agree that UV is not radiated back upwards, for example, though some may be reflected of course – that’s different. Professor Johnson’s analysis is in total agreement with the observed laws of thermodynamics.
Reason: Doug Cotton? (Rob Painting)
Comment 70495
2011-12-23 11:17:55
The greenhouse effect has indeed been falsified because photons do not exist. The long-held scientific belief that electromagnetic radiation has a dual wave-particle modality has come under severe scrutiny and a major fallacy exposed. Particles (even without mass) have one-way motion whereas waves have two-way. The end result of detailed mathematical analysis is that a blackbody has a cut off frequency (which is proportional to absolute temperature) and only radiation with energy levels above the cut off will lead to a conversion of radiated energy to thermal energy. Those below the cut off are not absorbed at all. This is why incoming solar radiation is absorbed and yet only lower energy IR radiation is emitted by the surface. In fact, the two spectra barely overlap at all because the above cut off is between the incoming high energy (SW) radiation and the outward low energy (IR) radiation. The huge significance of this is that the supposed greenhouse effect is a physical impossibility. There have been, and in 2012 will be more experiments which prove this reality. You can see it yourself in various ways, such as shining identical headlights into each other, or identical electric radiators which will not get warmer any faster – after all we cannot create energy. For further details and links click So the AGW hypothesis is debunked.
Reason: Doug Cotton? (Rob Painting)
Comment 70498
2011-12-23 11:40:01
Click here and then the link “The post which Skeptical Science cannot answer and deleted immediately.”
Reason: Doug Cotton returns (muoncounter, Dan Friedman)
Comment 70621
2011-12-26 23:31:44
Your linked note by Chris Colose claims there is 60 degrees of extra warming due to GHG in the atmosphere. Postma, however, points out that there has to be a natural temperature gradient in the atmosphere due to pressure variations which would still be the case with an atmosphere free of GHG. And he shows the gradient would be quite enough to explain the observed situation. So there is a huge difference of 60 degrees between your favoured author and Postma. To me, Postma’s argument is the more valid by a long shot, whilst Colose would not appear to be allowing for any component of the temperature gradient to be due to pressure considerations. To this I would add the obvious fact that warm air rising by convection also takes a finite time to do so – hence also contributing to the temperature gradient. Regarding the much quoted 255 deg K (with implied 3 significant figure accuracy) the fourth root of an average of two or more numbers is very different from the average of the fourth roots. When insolation varies so much between day and night, the 255 figure is nothing like the average of even just two temperatures calculated on the basis of day and night radiation. And it seems people still believe it relates to the actual surface, rather than being a weighted mean of surface and atmosphere. What do you say it is? Now you can address the new paper by Professor Claes Johnson who shows why low energy back radiation is not converted to thermal energy at all when it reaches the surface. There’s a review and link here.
Reason: More Doug Cotton (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 70623
2011-12-27 00:28:25
Oh come on, Tom. You might pull wool over others’ eyes with such a generalisation, but not mine. He has used straight forward physics (which you ought to know about and which has nothing to do with the altitude of the tropopause) which deduces the temperature gradient from the pressure etc – for the simple reason that thermal energy interchanges with potential energy. I suggest you read his paper. It is not a paper about some single theory which falls apart if some foundation stone crumbles. There are so many points upon which AGW fails it is no longer just a joke – its serious and probably criminal. You yourself have not addressed the 255 deg/K issue which I mentioned, for example. And what about Johnson’s multi page detailed mathematical proof as to why radiation with frequencies less than the (peak) “cut off” calculated from Wien’s Displacement Law does not get absorbed at all by the surface. Have you studied Kohmson’s paper as I have? You’ll find a detailed explanation of the process on my linked page in the above post where you should also read the footnote. You should know by now that I don’t respond to verbage like “whose theories are beyond absurd” – especially when there is empirical proof that they are right. If you can’t address the mathematics and physics (which you probably can’t understand if the truth be known) then don’t bother cluttering the thread.
Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Please can BOTH sides of the discussion keep to the science and avoid personalising the issue. Any further posts containing personal comments will be deleted.
Reason: More Doug Cotton (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 70868
2012-01-01 12:34:07
Some of the longest temperature records date from 1796 for Northern Ireland and show no hockey stick whatsoever.
Response: [Rob P] Please keep image width to 450 in future.
Also note that one temperature series, from one location over a period which does not include the MWP (thermometers did not exist then), is not very enlightening. We are talking about global warming afterall. However, I do note the obvious warming trend at Armagh.
Reason: Yet more, more Doug Cotton (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 70869
2012-01-01 13:07:07
Indeed – a long term natural trend totally unaffected by the onset of industrial age. Northern Ireland is strongly affected by Atlantic Ocean temperatures which, together with rates of current flow, affect ice formation and melting in the Arctic Ocean. So let’s look at the whole Arctic region since 1880 where temperatures are supposed to respond to carbon dioxide more than anywhere else in the world, but don’t respond at all.
Note the higher temperatures 1935-1945 and the steep 4 degree rise 1919-1939.
Response: [Rob P] Interesting that you mention the Arctic. Note the Arctic sea ice hockey stick (blade is facing down):
There has been a dramatic, and unprecedented loss in summer sea ice cover in the last few decades. And you seem to be referring to polar amplification, which is not necessarily a fingerprint of the increased Greenhouse Effect, but of a warming Earth, due to decreased albedo (reflectivity) as ice cover decreases. Not surprisingly that is observed too.
Reason: Yet more, more Doug Cotton (Rob Painting)
Comment 70875
2012-01-01 14:00:57
Whether or not there is any world-wide hockey stick, it is clear from evidence such as Arctic records that carbon dioxide has no effect. The reason it has no effect is that (as has been proved here) back radiation does not have sufficient energy to overcome the threshhold frequency (determined by Wien’s Displacement Law) which would be necessary to allow the required ionization for radiated energy to be converted to thermal energy. The low energy radiation from back radiation is returned to the atmosphere after having absolutely no effect on surface temperature.
Reason: Yet more, more Doug Cotton (Daniel Bailey)
Comment 70879
2012-01-01 14:48:33
When analysing the possibilty of any “hockey stick” it should be possible to look at perhaps hundreds of trends each in a particular location. If the period since about 1950 or 1960 is considered long enough to determine any upturn, then the period from about 1880 up to 1950-1960 should be sufficient to establish the trend in the “handle” section. I can see no need for data prior to 1880 for this exercise. So, the Northern Ireland and Arctic data show no such hockey stick, and nor does United States land temperature data shown here
PS Those who may wish to see my posts which SkS could not answer (and thus deleted without comment) may read screen captures on my site. Whether they censor me or not (as they do all the time now) they still need to respond to Professor Claes Johnson’s Computational Blackbody Radiation which proves that back radiation has insufficient frequency (and thus energy) to warm the surface.
Reason: Doug Cotton at it again (muoncounter, Dan Friedman)
Comment 73974
2012-02-11 17:32:59 “Unfortunately, there is no source in the literature, where the greenhouse effect is introduced in harmony with the scientific standards of theoretical physics.” Try debunking the Germans!
Reason: off-topic (Doug Cotton? [DB – Yup] (Rob Painting)

March 10, 2014 8:34 pm

I wonder what Doug’s take on the physics of cooking a pizza would be. Unique, perhaps?

Crispin in Waterloo
March 10, 2014 8:52 pm

Okay I recognize this guy of many guises. Someone misled him early on saying that a hot body can’t absorb an IR photon from a colder object, as if radiation was the same as conduction. It that were true then a digital camera would not be able to take a photo of a snowman. Well, I have several such photos so I have cottoned onto the fact his physics are loopy.

March 10, 2014 9:32 pm

Anthony, the first two links in your article are “403 Forbidden”:
[snip for brevity – It’s Lucia’s homegrown website server, which has all sorts of oddball problems from time to time. Not worth worrying about – Anthony]

March 10, 2014 11:14 pm

Crispin in Waterloo says:

Okay I recognize this guy of many guises. Someone misled him early on saying that a hot body can’t absorb an IR photon from a colder object, as if radiation was the same as conduction. It that were true then a digital camera would not be able to take a photo of a snowman. Well, I have several such photos so I have cottoned onto the fact his physics are loopy.

What you say he said is the opposite of what I heard him say when I listened to his video. Maybe he’s changed his mind, maybe I misheard, but what I thought I heard him say was the correct version that you mention above, i.e. a photon can travel from a colder to a hotter body.

March 11, 2014 12:44 am

HaHa .. Doug gets around
I knew him from an old now defunct science site that had a small section on climate change and yep everyone on there thought he was a fruit loop and that was both sides of the debate.
I guess he is famous as the person least believed on the internet 🙂

March 11, 2014 4:10 am

Ron House, if you believe his physics is sound, read “Comment 70495” posted by poptech above. He reinvents physics and launches it into forums to see how far it goes. HIs most recent postings at Spencer’s acknowledge that warmer objects can absorb photons sent from colder objects. But then he suggests that conduction speeds up to completely compensate for the increase in heat.
Just because back radiation is now an accepted theory according to him doesn’t mean we should start paying rapt attention. He still contradicts that acceptance on his own website.
Of course we should all keep in mind that back radiation is only a theory and is subject to being overturned like all other science. But it won’t be overturned by Mr. Cotton.

March 11, 2014 4:55 am

Other than the observation that Doug may actually have some basis in fact in what he observes (the ~60 year cycle for instance) the rest is pure loopy.
The problem is that facts in themselves do not prove something. They can only disprove something.

March 11, 2014 6:08 am

I keep getting this whole neverending story confused with the backradiation neverending story. Is there overlap?

March 11, 2014 6:38 am

[….It’s Lucia’s homegrown website server, which has all sorts of oddball problems from time to time. Not worth worrying about – Anthony]

ROFLMAO, I have been pointing this out for years now.

March 11, 2014 6:42 am

Slartibartfast :
Radiation can be considered to be ‘net’ or ‘gross’. Back radiation converts one into the other.

March 11, 2014 6:56 am

Just so people do not think this is an isolated problem for Anthony and Lucia, here is Jeff (The Air Vent) being threatened by Mr. Cotton to be listed on his website and in his book!

Time to wake up Jeff, my boy.
This is your final warning that, if you continue to refuse to respond to posts such as this last one with a proper physics argument, rather than just deleting them or snipping them and thus making them meaningless (as SkS did often) then your site will be listed along with SkS and SoD on both my website and in my book. Don’t underestimate the effect of such!

March 11, 2014 6:57 am

In the same comments Roger (Tallbloke) weighs in,
Jeff, I found the easiest way to stop Doug thread spamming was to give him his own thread to spam. Works like a charm.

March 11, 2014 7:00 am

eric1skeptic says:

Ron House, if you believe his physics is sound, read “Comment 70495″ posted by poptech above.

I was commenting only on the video we were invited to watch, not the whole of his corpus, but yes, the first part of that comment 70495 is strange. But QM does insert various cutoffs into lots of phenomena, including temperature-related emission and absorption; and as he puts it so obscurely, who knows what process he is talking about? I see it more as a symptom of limitations in the ability to communicate with others than nuttiness. Who am I to criticise his mind? We don’t go out laughing at the paralympics, after all – it is considered very nasty to criticise people’s bodily problems, so why are we happily criticising mental ones? I just say to Doug, if the whole world has a problem with you, consider the possibility that there may be something that professional help can improve or fix. Or maybe not, perhaps we are the mad ones.

March 11, 2014 7:00 am

Mr. Cotton has received a significant amount of publicity now.

March 11, 2014 7:05 am

When bloggers have to make posts like this because of one person’s behavior you know it is a problem,

Well in 3 1/2 years of blogging, millions of views and 45000 comments, the Air Vent is now comment moderated. This situation was caused by a single individual, who’s repetitive nonsense commentary and name changing bypassed the spam filter. Doug accomplished all of this while claiming to have overturned basic thermodynamics without a single equation or any apparent recognition of where his blathering contradicts thermodynamics.

March 11, 2014 8:37 am

Radiation can be considered to be ‘net’ or ‘gross’. Back radiation converts one into the other.

Yes. But then people who use that term begin using the concept of net radiation to claim that cooler objects don’t warm up warmer objects, because the warmer object has net outgoing radiation in that direction.
Not to start that whole food-fight again, but some people in that discussion seemed a lot like Mr. Cotton.

Kelvin Vaughan
March 11, 2014 8:46 am

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. – Albert Einstein

March 11, 2014 9:10 am

“cooler objects don’t warm up warmer objects”
More accurate to say that cooler objects can slow the cooling of warmer objects as there are themselves warmer than the alternative.

March 11, 2014 9:32 am

Crispin in Waterloo says:
March 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm
Okay I recognize this guy of many guises. Someone misled him early on saying that a hot body can’t absorb an IR photon from a colder object, as if radiation was the same as conduction. It that were true then a digital camera would not be able to take a photo of a snowman. Well, I have several such photos so I have cottoned onto the fact his physics are loopy.
Doug maybe off the wall, but this example is odd. The snowman photo is not heat transfer it is reflected light. I am sure you can take a IR photo of a snowman, but you have not made that clear.
The link is to an IR photo of a snowman.

March 11, 2014 10:28 am

RichardLH says:
March 11, 2014 at 9:10 am
“More accurate to say that cooler objects can slow the cooling of warmer objects as there are themselves warmer than the alternative.”
Exactly. A colder object cannot, on its own, heat a warmer one, because it is sending out fewer photons to the warm object than it is receiving from it. But, if there is an additional source of heat coming in, it can impede the heat loss from the warmer object, resulting in a greater level of retained heat within the warmer object.

March 11, 2014 10:29 am

mkelly says:
March 11, 2014 at 9:32 am
When a photon is received, there is by definition a transfer of energy. Some photons manifest as heat, others as electrical current to be recorded to form the picture. But, Crispin’s example is incomplete, because the snowman is also receiving photons from the camera and its user.
The question is, what is the net flow of photons between the snowman and the camera.
A passively warm object cannot receive net energy manifesting as heat from a colder one – it is sending out more photons than it is receiving. Its temperature will decrease rapidly regardless of the colder object, though at a slower rate, i.e., the colder object impedes the heat loss from the warmer one. Were that not the case, Eskimos never would have built igloos.
If there is an additional heat source continuously feeding energy into the system (e.g., a warm Eskimo body, or the Sun), the warm object will settle out at a higher temperature than it otherwise would have, because the cold object temporarily imposes a new balance on the rate of heat being received and lost. The retained heat is the net accumulation of any imbalance between the input and output heat flux.

March 11, 2014 11:00 am

Bart says:
March 11, 2014 at 10:29 am
mkelly says:
March 11, 2014 at 9:32 am
Thanks, Bart. I know all that I am at work and was going for brevity. I think he should get the point.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
March 11, 2014 11:30 am

Anthony. Has Mr Cotton used his ideas to scare kids, abuse, sue and rip-off taxpayers while demanding others back to ice-age in public? If not, I fail to see the fun in this.

March 11, 2014 11:36 am

mkelly says:
March 11, 2014 at 11:00 am
I was sort of polishing my bona fides in case the lack of response to my rambling at March 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm was that I was being perceived as having flaked out and joined the Cotton brigades.
I’ve neglected really looking very far into the GHE because of the surface plausibility, and the steep uphill battle in changing any perceptions. But, I really do not see any reason that adding a GHG should necessarily heat the planet’s surface in every situation. Given that the warming observed to date is merely a repeat of what happened before there was a significant uptick in atmospheric CO2, there appears to be no evidence that it works as commonly hypothesized, either.
Is this because of cloud feedback, as some suggest, which retains respectability because of the self-admitted lack of understanding of clouds by the climate establishment? Or, is it more fundamental? Could Cotton, et al., be right, even if for the wrong reasons?
There is this fundamental disconnect for me, which as I admit, I have not spent a lot of time pondering. But, fundamentally, a GHG is analogous to a radiator. It allows escape of heat energy at a lower energy level than it otherwise could escape. How can such activity actually lead to heating? It’s like adding an auxiliary radiator to your car, and expecting it to run hotter.
Something just doesn’t add up. This is all a bit inchoate, and I will have to research further really before forming a coherent opinion, but I thought I’d toss it out and see if anyone else has a perspective they’d like to share.

March 11, 2014 12:31 pm

@Jaakko, since you have not had the “fun” in dealing with Mr. Cotton’s comment spamming then you may not appreciate the fun now.

March 11, 2014 1:09 pm

[snip, Doug, you still don’t get it, You’re BANNED. -mod]

March 11, 2014 3:49 pm

Congrats for proving that you can make it through the filter.

March 11, 2014 4:15 pm

[snip banned -mod]

Arfur Bryant
March 11, 2014 10:39 pm

Crispin in Waterloo says:
March 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm
Okay I recognize this guy of many guises. Someone misled him early on saying that a hot body can’t absorb an IR photon from a colder object, as if radiation was the same as conduction. It that were true then a digital camera would not be able to take a photo of a snowman. Well, I have several such photos so I have cottoned onto the fact his physics are loopy.

Does your camera warm because it is taking the photograph?
This thread is a disgraceful display of internet bullying. If people don’t like DC, ignore him. Or ban him. No need for a circus. George Orwell would love it.

March 11, 2014 11:19 pm

Talk about insanity, “Internet Bullying” what is this the PC police? Please explain how you can “bully” someone whom YOU are trying to get to leave YOU alone? It is Mr. Cotton’s obsessive refusal to abide by these blog’s commenting guidelines or engage in rational debate that has caused this post.

Arfur Bryant
March 12, 2014 2:01 am

You, Anthony Watts, Lucia and everyone else don’t have to read DC’s posts.
I defend his right to post as long as he is not being defamatory or rude.
I also defend your right not to read them.
I also defend Anthony and Lucia’s right to ban DC from their blogs.
Ganging up on someone just because he has a different view is typical groupthink behaviour. This is a blog. It’s Anthony’s blog. He can do what he wants. I disagree with orchestrating an internet crusade against DC based on a dislike of his views. It is, frankly, pathetic and – IMO – it amounts to the internet equivalent of schoolyard bullying. I have read hundreds of posts from DC and hundreds from others in the blogosphere. I don’t have to like the posts. I don’t have to respond.
That is my opinion. Like it or not. It is that simple. Get over it.

You know who
March 12, 2014 2:53 am

I don’t threaten legal action. I just believe in giving people notice of what I will initiate.
You will be hearing Watts if this thread is not removed and if you continue to disallow right of reply. This time you have gone too far.
Signed: you -know-who.

You know who
March 12, 2014 3:25 am

Potential out of court settlement
(1) You remove this whole thread with a published apology
(2) You run a blog with an article that I write, allowing me to mention my book, and you agree to my answering questions on the thread
The book has been reviewed positively by a well qualified physics educator – you can read what he said if you search Roy Spencer for “physics educator.”
Several scientists now agree the grvity effect is valid. See also BigWaveDave’s comment two years ago at the end of your invalid rebuttal. (The wire outside the cylinder develops a gradient also, preventing PPM – all of which proves to me you don’t understand thermodynamics, let alone what happens wit radiation. My March 12 paper on that stills stands unrebutted, and physics are accepting the hypothesis therein.
I am right, Watts, and the GH / CO2 conjecture is false.
REPLY: Mr. Cotton, you are most certainly entitled to your opinion, you have a blog and YouTube channel, go expound there, just not here, as it is my right, just as it is the right of others to dis-inivite you from my home on the Internet after you’ve repeatedly broken the Ground Rules. I don’t respond to threats from bullies who think their opinion is so important that it supersedes the rights of everyone else to have an on-topic conversation without your interference, especially when they have to make those threats under a false name and a bollixed email address.
If your theory has merit, send it to an accredited peer reviewed journal listed in the Web of Science for publication. If you succeed at getting it published on its merits in one of those, I will then offer a full retraction and apology for doubting your theory. In the meantime, you are still banned at WUWT, Lucia’s, and other places. I suggest you try this new tactic rather than the one that has brought you to this point. – Anthony

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