The Value of Old Textbooks

Guest post by David Middleton

Back in my early days of “debating” climate change on the Internet, I ran across this New York Times article:

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype


Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”


In October, Dr. Easterbrook made similar points at the geological society meeting in Philadelphia. He hotly disputed Mr. Gore’s claim that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this” threatened change.

Nonsense, Dr. Easterbrook told the crowded session. He flashed a slide that showed temperature trends for the past 15,000 years. It highlighted 10 large swings, including the medieval warm period. These shifts, he said, were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Getting personal, he mocked Mr. Gore’s assertion that scientists agreed on global warming except those industry had corrupted. “I’ve never been paid a nickel by an oil company,” Dr. Easterbrook told the group. “And I’m not a Republican.”


NY Times

Don J. Easterbrook… Where had I seen that name before?  Funny thing: I remember the names of the authors of many of my college (1976-1980) textbooks.

  • The Oceans by Sverdrup, Johnson & Fleming
  • Principles of Geology by Press & Siever
  • Principles of Sedimentology by Friedman & Sanders
  • Structural Geology by Billings
  • Manual of Field Geology by Compton
  • Evolution of the Earth by Dott & Batten
  • Mineralogy by Berry & Mason
  • Petrology of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks by Hyndman
  • Meteorology by Donn
  • Principles of Geomorphology by Don J. Easterbrook

Who could have guessed that 30+ years later, I would be “fighting” alongside Dr. Easterbrook in the Internet climate change wars?

If that isn’t cool enough, my introduction to climatology occurred in my first semester of college, when I took a course in physical geography.

Physical Geography Today: A Portrait of a Planet by Muller & Oberlander

One day, I was curious as to what my physical geography textbook had to say about the greenhouse effect and global warming… So I dug it out of a box in the garage and opened it to find…

Reid Bryson was a contributor… How cool is that?

The late Reid Bryson was known as the “father of scientific climatology” and a prominent AGW skeptic.  This is what they had to say about the so-called greenhouse effect…

One mention of the greenhouse effect.
“Mostly harmless”… Douglas Adams

This was only 14 years before Al Gore and James Hansen “invented” Anthropogenic Gorebal Warming!

“As a planet, the Earth is not warming or cooling appreciably on average…”

The book was published in 1974, just before Earth was nearly plunged into an ice age.

The Ice Age Cometh? Science News, March 1, 1975

The rate of warming from 1975-2010 is almost identical to the rate of warming from 1910-1945 (smack in the middle of “not warming or cooling appreciably on average” climate). (3)
HadCRUT4 global temperature anomaly (° C). From Wood For Trees.

This leads to the following equation:

  • Green = “not warming or cooling appreciably on average”
  • Red = Gorebal Warming crisis.

Green ≈ Red

Therfore AGW is 


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 20, 2017 11:52 am

Many of these were my textbooks.too! Gt my B.A. in Geology in 1979! I remembered the “coming ice age” so when I was out of the work force for a few years having children, I was befuddled when all of the AGW items started appearing in magazines and newspapers. I thought I was going crazy!

September 20, 2017 11:52 am

And HadCRU of course is a pack of lies.
Without unwarranted “adjustments”, the slope of the two warming pulses would closer. Indeed the early 20th century warming would be greater in amplitude and last longer than the late 20th century warming.

Reply to  Sixto
September 20, 2017 11:53 am

And the intervening cooling would be more pronounced, despite rising CO2.

Reply to  Sixto
September 20, 2017 11:53 am

“Mid-Century Modern Cooling”.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 20, 2017 12:59 pm

That’s like being the fastest turtle.

September 20, 2017 11:54 am

Usual dumb explanation of how greenhouses work. You know, if people understood why greenhouses stay warm, the battle would be mostly over. It has little to do with IR transmission/absorption and tons to do with convection. The myth of the IR absorption cause has been the impetus behind so much of this Escathological Cargo Cult of the CAGW that it stopped being funny a long time ago. A greenhouse stays warm because you do not allow the air to rise and transport heat away from the area. End of topic. You give people the example of a parked car with the windows closed versus cracked and they say ok. They then go back to the transmission/absorption crud. The car has the same IR transmission/absorption with the windows cracked as it does with them closed. The difference in temperature inside the car is immense. You cannot fix stupid.

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 20, 2017 12:00 pm


Reply to  usurbrain
September 20, 2017 2:33 pm


Only +10? You mean +1000.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  usurbrain
September 20, 2017 2:51 pm

…as long as there’s no point deduction for misspelling “eschatological”. Still nets a 999 anyway.

Reply to  usurbrain
September 20, 2017 4:00 pm

Hey, I are a enguneer. Reeding is fine, righten is kinda beeyond me an spulling is someting I has herd of.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  usurbrain
September 20, 2017 4:18 pm

I live in the proverbial “glass house” on this one, I had to remind myself what the word meant, or I wouldn’t have caught the misspell.

Old England
Reply to  ShrNfr
September 20, 2017 12:02 pm

Great explanation to give to people. Thanks

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  ShrNfr
September 20, 2017 12:06 pm

Although the book entry should have been clarified or at least written better, it did not say that IR blocking was the main source of warming in a greenhouse.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 12:23 pm

But the IR blocking effect is real and measurable. The text was misleading, but it wasn’t false.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 1:51 pm

Lots of stuff is real and measurable. The increase in weight of an elephant when I put a mouse on its back is both. Still, when the elephant sits on you, it is the weight of the elephant and not the weight of the mouse that matters. I got the PhD back in the 1970s processing the first generation of microwave sounders. The absorption of energy by oxygen and then its re-radiation is real and by measuring it, we determine the vertical temperature structure of the atmosphere. The effect on the structure of the atmospheric enthalpy is very close to zero. As a note, at the time when I was doing my degree, CO2 sounders were around. Of course, they had a real big problem. They could not see through clouds. How much CO2 was under the cloud or its partial pressure did not matter in the least. The energy balance was dominated by the liquid water. So next time you look at a picture of the earth, just remember, that underneath all those white things, CO2 is irrelevant.

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 2:10 pm

@Eustace: However, that was the implication and further that is what people have come to believe. If you have two effects and the first is 100+ times as powerful as the second, which one will you talk about? Sadly these clowns talk about the one that is 100 times as feeble.

M.W. Plia.
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 3:01 pm

Hey ShrNfr, totatally dig what you’re sayin’ man, right on! (once in a while I like hippy talk).
You are of course exactly right. CO2 does not trap heat (think hot air rises). Heat is kinetic (think molecules moving). Although the confusion of heat flow with energy flow is understandable it’s unacceptable and just plain (as you say) stupid .
CO2 is a radiative molecule that absorbs and disperses terrestrial out-going longwave energy of the far infrared at very specific wavelengths (around an amplitude of 15 microns). The CO2 that matters is still within the troposphere but well above the cloud deck where there is no water vapor to overlap the CO2 effect. Scientists call this level the Effective Radiation Level (The ERL) or TOA (Top Of the Atmosphere) where outgoing terrestrial long-wave infrared radiation (IR) balances the incoming solar short-wave (2 microns) IR. The additional CO2 from fossil fuel combustion raises the ERL to a colder level thus disturbing the equilibrium which in turn means the area below the raised and rising ERL must warm as whole (including the surface) to re-establish equilibrium (so goes the hypothesis)
Now, how much higher the new level is, how much it warms and how long it takes to re-establish equilibrium have not been determined, there is no test and no accepted method of calibration. Although there are thousands of papers supporting the likelihood of an enhanced greenhouse effect, also known as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), there is yet one confirming its magnitude. There is no “settled science”, and it looks like the effect is SFA (IMHO of course).
I find myself forgiving people for not really understanding the uncertainties surrounding the AGW issue. The media has dumbed down the message to sound precise and unquestionable even though the scientific support for Catastrophic AGW is nonexistent, the idea is strong.
To quote Rupert Darwall:…“Global warming’s success in colonising the Western mind and in changing government policies has no precedent.”

Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 3:23 pm

“But the IR blocking effect is real and measurable”. It may be both real and measurable but is it relevant. Try opening two doors at opposite ends of the greenhouse when the temperature outside is below freezing and the wind is blowing and see how well the plants do then. The sun will still be adding heat and the glass will still be blocking the IR. (Not that there’ll be much IR once things cool down!)

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 20, 2017 6:47 pm

1. I’ve known that “greenhouse effect” was a misnomer for, oh, 40 years or so.
2. I was NOT defending warmist ignorance.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 20, 2017 1:31 pm

At the time, the definition was not such a big deal.

Reply to  David Middleton
September 20, 2017 4:03 pm

Wrong is wrong is wrong is wrong. Back in 1,000 CE the theory of the sun going around the earth was accepted seance (sic). If there was some sort of physical barrier to understanding I could accept a lame greenhouse description but there was not. Anybody who has been remotely near a greenhouse knows how you do temperature control. You open and close the vents, you do not change the glass.

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 20, 2017 1:12 pm

Transmission and absorption happen and can be measured. They are important but calling them the greenhouse effect is wrong.
The thing in the atmosphere that allows or prevents convection is the lapse rate. It’s the change of temperature over the change in altitude. Below a certain lapse rate there will be no convection, above it there will. It keeps the planet from losing heat by convection until it gets warm enough. If anything is a greenhouse effect, that’s it.
We used to have tidal waves until someone got his knickers in a knot about it being a misleading, and technically wrong, name. Then we had to call them tsunamis. In that light, it’s a bit gobsmacking that we still call what happens in the atmosphere the greenhouse effect. It really is misleading and technically wrong.

Reply to  commieBob
September 20, 2017 1:24 pm

What should we call it? Radiative retardation? Convective delay? A case of the slows? Heat loss prolongation?
Please suggest something along the lines of “tsunami”. What’s the Japanese word for “lapse rate reduction”?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  commieBob
September 20, 2017 2:14 pm

Keika Reto Sakugen.

Reply to  commieBob
September 20, 2017 3:15 pm

Yes, it’s the lapse rate. The negative temperature slope is supposed to increase in the atmosphere between the cloud tops and the tropopause. That’s also about where the so called “hot spot” is supposed to appear. Below the cloud tops the atmosphere is totally IR opaque due to water vapor, so the slope of the lapse rate is unchanged.
Above the tropopause, the lapse rate reverses. So, adding more CO2 causes the stratosphere to cool.
Check the temp and humidity time plots at the different altitudes at climate4you.

Reply to  commieBob
September 20, 2017 3:19 pm

There’s already a name for it; we call it “inversion”. It happens when warmer air above colder air puts a ceiling on convection.

Reply to  commieBob
September 21, 2017 4:00 am

10/10 for the lapse rate discourse.
However, I’m not so sure about the term ‘tidal wave’ being misleading and technically wrong though. Here’s why.
In an undersea earthquake when a section of two of the Earth’s plates slip vertically, typically in a succession of rapid steps, a number of fast-moving waves are produced. These have very long wavelengths, with not much height but with the full depth of the sea where they formed. In the deep sea they travel very rapidly at speeds similar to a passenger jet.
When they approach the shore all the energy in the waves are concentrated into a relatively thin sheet of water. As the bottom is forced up the water is propelled and accelerated forward, in the direction of the original wave. The net result of this is that almost all the energy originally stored in vertical displacement is transferred into horizontal displacement.
This mechanism is very similar to that of a tidal bore like the one that occurs at certain times of the year in the mouth of the Amazon river and those that occur in other parts of the world which presumably is where the term ‘tidal wave’ comes from.
The danger of these waves as they reach the shore lies more in their length, which may be a kilometre or more, than their height. Since one cubic metre of water weighs a metric ton the amount of momentum involved is truly phenomenal.
All this dawned on me while watching one of those horrendous YouTube videos covering the last big tsunami to strike Japan. As it progressed I first noticed how a succession of waves somehow melded into one giant slab of water moving inexorably and rapidly forward.
I watched how the wave reacted when it reached a very large sea wall protecting one of the villages. At first the sea wall held back the water but the level simply rose until it reached the top of the wall and then poured over it, slowly at first, but then extremely rapidly as more of the wave arrived. Although the sea wall didn’t stop the wave, it did provide valuable time for those trying to escape its clutches. To be totally effective a sea wall would need to be at least as tall as the altitude of the point inland where the wave finally stopped. It would also need to be perhaps, impossibly strong.
For a simple mechanical analogy imagine a very long freight train loaded to the gunnels and trundling along at maximum speed towards a hill. If the power was turned off at the foot of the hill the train would keep moving onwards and upwards until such time as all its momentum was used up. (At which point the brakes should be applied!) One can easily imagine that the train would reach a point much higher up the hill than the rail to roof height of the train itself.
So no, while I don’t have a problem with the term ‘tsunami’ per se, I do think the term ‘tidal wave’ might give folk a better grasp of what one is and what it’s capable of doing.
And yes, the term ‘greenhouse effect’ is definitely misleading and technically wrong. Time for an upgrade!

Reply to  ShrNfr
September 20, 2017 7:56 pm

Exactly right. This description of how greenhouses work (quoted from the textbook) is just plain wrong:

“Because glass is opaque to the long-wave radiation from the warm interior of the greenhouse, it hinders the escape of energy.”

That accounts for only a tiny faction of the warming inside a greenhouse. Greenhouses made of plastic that is transparent to LWIR work just as well as glass greenhouses. The great majority of the warming in a greenhouse is because the glass or plastic prevents convective heat loss.
OTOH, that textboock is not as bad as David Suzuki’s version:

“…We are familiar with this effect in a car that has sat in the sun. The interior becomes hot because the carbon in the glass keeps the heat in…”

David Suzuki, May 12, 1990

Reply to  daveburton
September 20, 2017 8:55 pm

In descending cells of air convection is suppressed just as it is suppressed by a greenhouse roof so that the surface cools less effectively and clouds dissipate leading to increased transparency just like a greenhouse roof which lets more sunlight reach the surface.
That is what causes the greenhouse effect around planets with convecting atmospheres.

Reply to  daveburton
September 21, 2017 5:44 am

Yes, it burns………

Reply to  daveburton
September 21, 2017 6:45 am

I’m sorry, wildeco2014, I don’t understand what you wrote.

Chris Wright
Reply to  ShrNfr
September 21, 2017 3:41 am

It’s ironic – and appropriate! – that the name “AGW” is based on scientific ignorance.

September 20, 2017 11:59 am

A bit of chartsmanship might be needed for alignment purposes.
Otherwise it seems that with over 10 years of hype this dog still won’t hunt.

Randy in Ridgecrest
September 20, 2017 12:01 pm

I think that was a popular textbook, I picked a copy up in some random bookstore. We used a different text in my class, and I sold it back.

Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2017 12:34 pm

Wot’s happened to the ‘hiatus’? Near 20 years now? Or not?

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2017 12:49 pm

Wot’s happened to the ‘hiatus’?

It ended with the El Nino in February of 2016. It will take a long and strong La Nina to bring it back.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Werner Brozek
September 20, 2017 3:01 pm

The chances appear good for that strong La Nina looking at the latest predictions.

Reply to  Werner Brozek
September 20, 2017 3:36 pm

Or a prolonged period of slightly lower temperatures.
As soon as the area under the curve equals the area over the curve, the pause will be back.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Werner Brozek
September 20, 2017 4:29 pm

Mark has a good point. the global temperature could be affected by a cool oscillation of the AMO, PDO, etc. as well as the ENSO variation.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Werner Brozek
September 20, 2017 4:39 pm

Of course, where you start and end the curve will always determine the goal post location. The “tricks of the trade”, so to speak.

Reply to  Werner Brozek
September 20, 2017 7:16 pm

The actual answer is we don’t know. In looking for a trend, the entire El Nino La Nina cycle has to be counted. It won’t be apparent if there is a new trend for several years after that cycle is complete.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2017 4:33 pm

Why do northern hemispheric and tropical SST cycles appear to dominate the global climate? Is it because the north pole is ocean and the south pole is a continent?

September 20, 2017 12:40 pm

Almost anything written about the physical sciences before the late 1960s is far more objective and informative than almost anything written since.
I love reading old geology reports of different regions because the authors took great pains to describe what they saw before launching into interpretation. Much the same is true of historical accounts, where early authors cited factual observations from contemporary chroniclers.
Reading Hubert Lamb’s books [Climate, History and the Modern World (ISBN 0-415-12735-1) and Climate Present Past and Future (ISBN 0-06-473881-7)] today, it is astonishing how little progress has been made in understanding the causes of climate change. Satellite data are now fantastic, but Lamb had all the principal components of climatology well explained by the 1970s

Pop Piasa
Reply to  GeologyJim
September 20, 2017 3:10 pm

“… it is astonishing how little progress has been made in understanding the causes of climate change.”
That’s because the money has been more available for those following the detour into “progressive science” and the actual science stalled and sank in the mire of the politics of scientific research.

Reply to  GeologyJim
September 21, 2017 4:33 am

Not really, when you consider that all the effort goes into proving one claim rather than trying to understand the actual system.

Mumbles McGuirck
September 20, 2017 12:40 pm

It should be said that Dr. Bryson was one of the leading proponents of the ‘global cooling’ scare of the 1970s. It was only after he was ‘stung’ by the blown forecast that he became skeptical of further climate shenanigans. Once burnt, twice shy.

September 20, 2017 12:53 pm

Until they can explain why it’s not natural…..which they can’t
Who would have ever thought something this stupid would have gone on for so long?

Rhoda R
Reply to  Latitude
September 20, 2017 2:46 pm

It has helped with the creeping big government movement as well as globalization.

Reply to  Latitude
September 20, 2017 3:57 pm

Alchemy. This time they are actually turning progressive science into greenbacks.

Reply to  chemman
September 20, 2017 5:23 pm

, just curious… Did you actually ever wear that at a conference?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  chemman
September 20, 2017 5:42 pm

I like the “fill in the blanks” part of that graphic. Makes for infinite humour opportunities.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  chemman
September 20, 2017 5:45 pm

The whole thing gives me fond recollections of Spock’s brain.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  chemman
September 20, 2017 6:49 pm

David, when dressing the part of the geologist, don’t forget a plaid western shirt with a pocket protector.

Reply to  Latitude
September 22, 2017 4:07 pm

Because it has nothing to do with climate and everything to do with social control.

Caligula Jones
September 20, 2017 12:53 pm

My bookshelves are groaning with the weight of used text books, of all subjects. I live near a used book store and get my pick as they come in (amazing that the owner doesn’t exactly want to spend time pricing something that might sell for $1…in ten years).
If I were still a student, I’d curse the business model that says my professor can become a millionaire because he “updates” his textbook I have to use every other year, and I can’t sell it to freshmen.
But as a reader? Love it.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
September 20, 2017 9:06 pm

Better yet, I had a professor at the University of Colorado that wrote his own book on engineering drafting. It was a workbook with tear-out pages to submit as homework all semester. He didn’t even have to revise it every year. Every freshman had to buy it new.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Scott R
September 21, 2017 8:16 am

One of Toronto’s most expensive houses was built by a professor:
Nice to see math being important and all that…but pity the students.

Clyde Spencer
September 20, 2017 1:01 pm

I used Sverdrup, Johnson, and Fleming about 1961. Despite it being encyclopedic in content, I’m surprised that it was still the textbook to go to almost two decades later.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
September 20, 2017 3:59 pm

Thank you very much for the link. It was an interesting read. I think that the longevity and respect for the tome makes a case that scholarship today (especially in climatology) isn’t what it used to be.

September 20, 2017 1:36 pm

With all the thermodynamics discussion recently I’ve had to dust off my old Cravalho & Smith to brush up. When I was in the class the editions were still in paperback, but the equations still haven’t changed.

H. D. Hoese
September 20, 2017 1:39 pm

Also surprised, got you beat by four years, still use it, but could not afford one in college and had to go the library, been there ever since. Smell better than the computer coffee shops they are becoming.

September 20, 2017 1:40 pm

Somewhere there must be an old textbook describing how, for any gaseous body, atmospheric mass and density related to the strength of the gravitational field causes the greenhouse effect via conduction and convection at any specific level of external insolation.
That is how I remember it from the 1950s.

Chris Hanley
September 20, 2017 1:41 pm

On proxy reconstructions in a thousand or more years as the sciences recover from the third dark age (~1100 BC – 800 BC , ~500 AD -1000 AD) the twentieth century warming may appear as a blip or even disappear entirely — who knows.
Well the cultists think they know and seem to have convinced ‘the great and the good’ that they know, as “… Festinger, Riecken, and Schachter found that people turned to a cataclysmic world view after they had repeatedly failed to find meaning in mainstream movements …” (When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World, via Wiki).

Steve Case
September 20, 2017 1:42 pm

For what it’s worth:
My copy of “Aquatic Productivity” by W. D. Russell-Hunter copyright 1970 says on page 159:

“… during the last one hundred years of consumption of fossil fuels man has added about 3.6×10¹¹ tons of CO2 to the atmosphere — an increase of about 13% According to calculations based on the “greenhouse” theory of increased CO2, this should have caused a rise in the surface temperatures of the entire world by about Fahrenheit degree. There exist many detailed records of the century from 1860 which indicate that exactly this rise has occurred …”

Reply to  Steve Case
September 20, 2017 2:50 pm

For simplicity, assume the 1970 atmosphere contained 2640 gigatonnes of CO2, or 2.64E12 tonnes.
Now add 0.36E12 tonnes (assuming those tonnes actually stayed in the atmosphere) to give 3E12 tonnes, then the proportion is .36 divided by 3 = 0.12 or 12 percent. Close enough.
The obvious flaw in that claim is that the CO2 added to the atmosphere stays in the atmosphere.
CO2 never accumulates in the atmosphere, almost none of the 2640 gigatonnes of CO2 in the 1970 atmosphere remains in the 3000 gigatonnes of CO2 in the 2017 atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is maintained by a dynamic balance between source and sink fluxes from much larger surface pools. Just as water flowing in a river is maintained by the balance between sources and sinks. Water never accumulates in a river, it just flows. The same fact applies to atmospheric CO2.
The 14C bomb decay curve shows this conclusively. The added pulse of 14C that peaked in 1964 due to atomic testing fell by 50 percent in 10 years. The 14C pulse is a perfect tracer for all atmospheric CO2 on decadal time scales. The same process remains today, one half of the entire mass of CO2 that existed in the 2007 atmosphere has been removed into deep sinks. About the same amount of “old” CO2 from deep sources has replaced that lost CO2.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  bw
September 20, 2017 3:53 pm

Correct on Carbon-14. This was covered in 2012 in WUWT:
My comment dated July 14, 2012 was based on another old textbook – Eisenbud’s “Environmental Radioactivity”. Residence time of 14C is a decade or thereabouts, not centuries as required by climate models.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bw
September 20, 2017 4:07 pm

Neil Jordan,
Two things strike me about C-14: One is that it will disappear a little more rapidly than C-12 & 13 because it decays by radioactivity. On the other hand, C-12 should be taken up by plants and animals more rapidly than C-13 & 14, leading to a more rapid sequestration.

Neil Jordan
Reply to  bw
September 20, 2017 8:27 pm

Re Clyde Spencer September 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm
The isotope effect might be small, but would work in favor of shorter residence times for 12C as you stated. The half life of 14CO2 (5730 years) is long compared to CO2 residence time in the atmosphere, so the decay rate of about 1% per century can be neglected. Incidentally, atmospheric testing injected the equivalent of about 200 years of natural 14C production. Reference “A new look at the dosimetry of 14C released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide”, Killough & Rohwer, Health Physics, 1978 Vol. 34 (February). Measured CO2 residence times (average about 5 years)are summarized here:

September 20, 2017 2:04 pm

I hired a couple of students this summer and the first day of work at coffee break, we started talking about the weather, as many people do when starting a conversation. I was absolutely stunned when they both agreed that global warming and climate change were now responsible for any new weather events we get, such as the cold wet spring back east and the hot dry summer out west with all the fires.
In both cases without batting an eye, they both agreed that every extreme weather event now was the result of CO2 poisoning of the atmosphere. They weren’t specializing in anything remotely like earth sciences, so there was no debate or substantial discussion to be had, but they explained if they didn’t toe this line, they would have a hard time advancing any course subject, because this was the new truth at their institution. Any deviance from this would be like talking racist themes or very political incorrect chatter about anything and could even be grounds for expulsion if they persisted.
I asked them if they really believed it and they said they had no idea, and didn’t really care, as long as they passed the courses they signed up for. I am shocked that academia has sunk so low, as to crush any thought that may be divergent from their own. I thought academia, and especially science, was supposed to be continually questioned and tested, while being skeptically open minded to new ideas. With a hurricane season ramping up after a 12 year hiatus in North America, there will surely be a lot of food to feed this new crop of students.

Reply to  Earthling
September 20, 2017 2:26 pm

That story is sad and mortifying. Yet, many a young mind has survived an Inquisition. In the 1970s my professors were obsessed with the Vietnam War and Watergate, and I was right in step with them. Yet I emerged into the real world, where I thank God every day that Slick Willy’s cuckolded wife did not become POTUS. Consider that those youngsters freely admit they don’t really believe in the hoax, and are just trying to get along. That will grow old, and they will sooner or later feel rebellious, I’m certain, and just may become defiant. It happens, look around.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Earthling
September 20, 2017 2:27 pm

My student days formally ended fifty years ago, it amazes me how compliant and obedient today’s students are, even their intimidation and violence is usually officially sanctioned or encouraged.

M.W. Plia.
Reply to  Earthling
September 20, 2017 3:34 pm

Go easy on them Earthling. The ability of detached and reasoned thinking has more to do with who you are rather than what you are (your credentials).
I think we have to be forgiving of people for not really understanding the uncertainties surrounding the AGW issue. The media has dumbed down the message to sound precise and unquestionable. For what ever reason, detached, well argued and understandable explanations of what is and isn’t known concerning the radiative properties of CO2 and its relationship with the temperature of the air simply do not exist in the public domain.
Time will tell, eventually they will figure out AGW is non existent, it’s the nothing more than the climate’s natural variability and that we have real challenges as far as the future is concerned…reducing the threat of nuclear weapons, eliminating toxic waste and improving human equity…to name a few.

Reply to  Earthling
September 20, 2017 3:40 pm

There was once a time when academics taught students how to think and welcomed differing ideas.
Then the liberals took over.

Gunga Din
Reply to  MarkW
September 20, 2017 4:12 pm

Every once and awhile I try to find one of the first comments I ever made here.
It had to do with my experience as a teachers’ aid in a junior high school in the mid-70’s. I worked for remedial reading and an English teacher.
Back then I remembered one of the reading lessons in the workbook verbatim.
The gist of it was that a boy liked to play with his little brother “because he’s easy to get along with” and a couple of other reasons. But he didn’t like to play with him because “he screams and cries a lot” and other things that contradicted the reasons he likes to play with him.
And just to reinforce the logical disconnect, the questions asked “What are the reasons” he likes to play with him and “What are the reasons” he doesn’t like to play with him.
This was the mid-70’s.
PS I almost forgot that the last line of the story was, “Just yesterday he broke my favorite model airplane.”

Gunga Din
Reply to  MarkW
September 20, 2017 4:14 pm

I should add that this was a public school in the US.

Reply to  Earthling
September 20, 2017 10:13 pm

When I was in high school (mid-70’s), we were all indoctrinated re the “Energy Crisis”. We had to write reports on it, have classroom discussions, etc… President Peanut appeared on TV in a cardigan, and told us to turn our thermostats down, and we had to crawl around on the freeways at 55 MPH. It sucked.
We were absolutely assured that the oil would run out in about 1985, which seemed at the time to be the distant future, so we weren’t really all that worried, and figured our elders would work out what to do about it. I’m pretty sure we would have been in deep trouble if we had spoken up in class against the idea. Nobody did.
So, I guess I’m not sure this is really all that new. Reagan came in and started taking the edifice down, just like Trump is doing now with the latest, and when the day of reckoning came and went without incident, and indeed, with gas prices at new lows we never thought they would reach again, it was pretty much forgotten. Well, it had a brief resurgence in the last 10 or so years with the “Peak Oil” fiasco before the fracking revolution put it to bed again.
So, plus ca change. Eternal vigilance, and all that. Illegitimi non carborundum.

Reply to  Bartemis
September 21, 2017 10:41 am

The real cost of pump gasoline (in today’s dollars) is lower today than it was in the 1974 OPEC embargo.

Reply to  Bartemis
September 21, 2017 10:43 am

PS Embargo started October 1973, but prices peaked in 1974.

M Seward
September 20, 2017 3:05 pm

What a load of unnecessary facts!

Gunga Din
September 20, 2017 3:06 pm

Old textbooks. Info on paper.
Has anyone transferred the old records of temperature, sea levels etc. from paper to computer as is (or “was”)? That is, a simple, unadjusted digital copy of those pages?
If so, where could they be found?

Reply to  Gunga Din
September 20, 2017 4:02 pm

what and make a source that is three removes from actual science

Gunga Din
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 20, 2017 6:01 pm

Mosh, I make lots of typos/omissions in my comments.
I think you made a few here.
What did you mean to say?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 20, 2017 9:13 pm

Because science, you know, is all about changing experimental data to fit your thesis.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2017 4:38 am

So actual data is somehow “removed from actual science”?
I think you have summed up exactly the problem with “climate change.”

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2017 8:02 am

It’s the BEST way….

September 20, 2017 3:10 pm

Talking of old textbooks, my climatology textbook back in the seventies was Sellers’ “Physical Climatology” and, contrary to what Wikipedia would have you believe, Dr Sellers did not subscribe to the CO2 theory of global warming. There is a section of the book where he discusses this and makes it quite clear why he doesn’t consider it to be a significant factor.

Reply to  Andrew Pearson
September 20, 2017 3:34 pm

One of the pillars of climate science. His book was published in 1965.
We used selected parts in a graduate level atmospheric chemistry class from 1985.
Professor never mentioned global warming once. Most of his interest was in refuting the “ozone hole” claims which dominated climatology at the time.
Ozone formation reaction has a positive pressure coefficient, end of story.
We also used a reprint of “Theoretical paleoclimatology” by J. Murray Mitchell, Jr. from 1965.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Andrew Pearson
September 21, 2017 7:11 am

One of the things missing on this site is any reference to current textbooks discussing the scientific basis for how AGW works, i.e. equations, processes, results of calculations using accepted laws. When I studied for my EE (50 years ago) everything, I repeat, everything had to be explained in mathematical terms. Thermodynamics, electron tunneling, semiconductor operation, etc. Professors made more money from writing textbooks than from actual grants.
I never see AGW proponents referencing textbooks that explain the mathematical basis for any of their claims. All that is referenced are papers that supposedly “prove” something by massaging data to obtain a projection. Why do none of these papers ever substantiate their conclusion(s) by developing a mathematical basis for what they are doing? In other words, derive a theory, law, etc. that can explain the results and that can be included in a textbook.
Don’t quote models to me either. Not unless they publish the algorithms and equations that are used so that people can evaluate them. Models are not theories or laws in and of themselves.
I am too old to review all the new textbooks to see if this work has been done. However, I am skeptical about it since there are never any references made.

September 20, 2017 3:16 pm

Great post

September 20, 2017 3:35 pm

I wish there were more apparent millennials on this thread. It would give me hope.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Doug
September 20, 2017 4:15 pm

A couple of things come to mind with respect to your wish. One is that there seems to be a lot of retired individuals on this blog, who don’t have to worry about the consequences of speaking their real thoughts and beliefs. The other is Earthling’s observation above that many of the Millenials are just struggling to jump through the hoops to get their degrees and haven’t really had an opportunity to step back and question whether everything they are told makes sense.

Reply to  Doug
September 21, 2017 8:56 am

I’m Gen-X (so not Millennial, but maybe among the younger half of the usual denizens of WUWT) but I can assure you that not all of the younger folks are hoodwinked. I personally went from believing the narrative – based in part on articles in Discover magazine which I read as a child – to healthy skepticism as I witnessed more and more projections and forecasts fail. Sites like this helped me along the path. Sometimes it just takes a few trips around the sun to gain perspective. I see it happening gradually among some of my Millennial friends, so please don’t lose hope!

Reply to  ChrisC
September 22, 2017 6:04 pm

What’s the cut-off date for Generation X? I have this awful suspicion I might be an early millennial.
I’ve been a lurker on and off for at least 5 years, possibly longer. Was a sceptic long before I got here.

Reply to  ChrisC
September 23, 2017 3:55 am

Despite being force fed that ‘Inconvenient Truth’ movie for several years in school, my millennial son is a climate skeptic and so are his male buddies I’m happy to say.
Though my millennial daughter is a also climate skeptic, almost none of her female friends are. She has to tread lightly when the subject of climate arises for fear of revealing herself to be an evil heretic hiding amongst the climate righteous. I hope she learns to stand her ground.
The teenage years can be unnecessarily complicated.

Gary Pearse
September 20, 2017 3:52 pm

Don, You’ve even generously used the cooked global temperature map which has had 1930s /40s temps pushed down about a degree and the recent end lifted about 1.5C.
The US temperature chart still had the 30s-40s the record even after the big 98 El Nino. The Team argued, yes, but the US is only 3%percent F global area. Then Paul Homewood found that several stations in South America had similar patterns before the big adjustments, eg: Paraguaycomment image
Similar charts in Bolivia, Argentina and elsewhere showed cooling since mid century of over 1.5C. The Arctic countries including Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia(?) Russia… that mus add in another 35% of the globe. And recently Capetown South Africa:comment image
So over half the globe has temps like US raw, WUWT?

September 20, 2017 4:01 pm

““As a planet, the Earth is not warming or cooling appreciably on average…”
silly textbook
doesnt it know that planets cannot have average temperatures?
didnt anyone tell them that average temperature was physically meaningless?
that we cannot say that mercury has a higher average temp than pluto?
heck we dont even have thermometers on pluto.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2017 4:39 am

He’s talking about changes on average, not actual temperatures.
That’s the thing with science, it’s exact and says exactly what it means.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2017 8:57 am

“that we cannot say that mercury has a higher average temp than pluto?”
You can always calculate an average of any quantity. Assigning a physical meaning to it is the problem.
When you have a disparity of 396 degC between Mercury and Pluto, it’s easy to infer that Mercury is hotter than Pluto. When your anomaly is 0.1 degC, however, it is rather less clear that the one state requires higher energy than the other.
Question: I have a flask of water at 20 degC and of ethanol at 30 degC. Which one is in a higher energy state? Answer: the water. It’s heat capacity is 72% higher than that of the ethanol.

Dan Pangburn
September 20, 2017 4:03 pm

The people who believe in AGW caused by CO2 are the people who are denying science. The science of thermalization and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecule energy explain why CO2, in spite of being IR active (AKA a ghg) does not now, has never had and will never have a significant effect on climate.
Failing to recognize that CO2 has no significant effect on climate is a distressing mistake but is dwarfed by the potential disasters of ignoring what is happening that actually does. Discover the three factors in an equation which matches the measured average global temperature trend 98% 1895-2016. .
The still-rising water vapor (WV) is rising more than twice as fast as expected from water temperature increase alone (feedback, engineering definition). The rising WV coincides with rising irrigation. The warming (WV is IR active, AKA a ghg) is welcome (countering the average global cooling which would otherwise be occurring as a result of declining net effect of ocean surface temperature cycles and a declining proxy which is the time-integral of SSN anomalies) but the added WV increases the risk of precipitation related flooding. How much of recent flooding (with incidences reported world wide) is simply bad luck in the randomness of weather and how much is because of the ‘thumb on the scale’ of added water vapor?

September 20, 2017 4:04 pm

seriously dumb textbook.
we knew more in 1896 than that textbook.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 20, 2017 5:05 pm

“WE” knew more?
Just how old are you? 😎

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2017 4:40 am

And of course in fifty years time nobody is going to be saying that about the textbooks you endorse today…

Gunga Din
September 20, 2017 5:19 pm
Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 20, 2017 5:47 pm

PS Not to demean what were advances in 1896.
But this is 2017.
“The Hockey Stick” is not an advance.
Computers can calculate much faster than anyone could calculate in 1896. They can also produce error much faster.
(PS What program do you use to store historical data? Does it drop values that don’t pass the software’s “test”? Who programs the “tests”?”

September 20, 2017 5:37 pm

“The Coming Ice Age” will soon be resurrected/rehabilitated/refurbished/renovated/re-imagined/redeployed…
A true scientific detective story

September 20, 2017 6:17 pm

I find old textbooks fascinating, too, and have found many gems and bargains on (am not affiliated with them). For example, several copies of Don Easterbrook’s book are on sale right now for less than 10 bucks (but plus shipping).

September 20, 2017 10:38 pm

For some obscure reason, I still have my old uni test books.
Last time I checked in, Newton’s laws hadn’t changed AND CO2 was harmless, odourless gas which assisted plant growth.
The CO2 horsesh*t has to stop.

September 20, 2017 11:18 pm

I have observed that much academic activity these days ignores anything that is not in digital format. It’s effect is to airbrush out those works that form the background and evidence base for many disciplines, enabling modern day academics to re-invent that discipline.

September 21, 2017 1:02 am

I’ve got an old geology textbook from the early 60s too.
It has no mention of plate tectonics and its descriptions of orogeny are thus bizarre to the modern reader…
Science moves on… even climate science

Reply to  Griff
September 21, 2017 4:41 am

How can it when consensus is the proof that something is right?

September 21, 2017 2:09 am

At 3.00 on this video you will hear the Australian FM, Julie Bishop, discussing the impact of AGW in her region:

September 21, 2017 6:48 am

I was at Earth Day I in Madtown, when Bryson was both alive and an advocate of Climate Change, from the cooling side. I believe it was he who gave a lecture stating that, at the rate of airline traffic in 1970, that before the turn of the 21st century, the contrails would merge into one big cloud, so that the sun would rarely be seen by the year 2000.
Not only was that wrong, it was spectacularly wrong, in that shortly after ED I, airlines were de-regulated and airline traffic grew exponentially, so that, if Bryson was correct, his predicted result should have happened much earlier.
I also believe Bryson was wrong on the effect of aerosols on the atmosphere.
Before he died, Bryson turned on his heels and became a Warmist. THat should have destroyed his reputation, given his earlier pro-cooling stance, but alas, it did not.
I too remember the pre-hockey stick climagte graph, showing both mideaval warming and Little Ice Age, which Mann “destroyed” with his “hockey stick” nonsense. I read one of his early papers on that, and in less than 15 minutes had to conclude that he and his “study” were frauds, largely because they “eliminated” the previously mentioned climate phenomena.

September 21, 2017 8:26 am

When I took intro Geology or “rocks” (I was a C student in that class, I’m afraid), the prof talked a lot about plate tectonics, to some extent still a recent discovery in 1973; he also said there was speculation about whether the earth is moving toward another ice age, or away from one. What’s the latest on that?

September 21, 2017 9:12 am

I am a 1978 geology grad (U of Western Ontario). Took “glaciology” from Driemanis. We recognized our expectations of climate changes were the lower frequency changes. High frequency, natural events as post-1979 may well have been much greater than recent – and new Greenland ice core data indicates this to be true.
There is nothing unusual historically in the post-50s temperature rise. The claim of a unique attribution to CO2 is what is unusual.
Geologists are the hated skeptics because we have technically based context. We know things change bigtime and quickly for unknown reasons. We accept large uncertainty. The alarmists KNOW. Al Gore is RIGHT. There is no middle ground.

September 21, 2017 10:09 am

“This was only 14 years before Al Gore and James Hansen “invented” Anthropogenic Gorebal Warming!”
I recently re-read “Asimov: On Chemistry” a collection of Asimov’s essays on the subject. I was surprised to find one on global warming, as I mistakenly remembered reading it elsewhere.
Regardless, I was highly surprised to read the original date of publication of that piece of 1959. The theory and the panic has been around quite a while.
For the record, it is one of the worst pieces in the book, Asimov dutifully accepts calculations as fact, not challenging that the _known_ uncertainty in those calculations was larger than the final result, and that there existed a host of unknowns where rough assumptions were made. Little, if any, experimental or empirical work was provided for support.

September 21, 2017 11:51 am

My guess is that kids aren’t getting taught climate basics, but climate change. You can tell you’re arguing with one because they will deny we have opposing seasons in the northern and southern hemisphere; they will deny that climate is determined by location; they will deny there are climate zones, etc. It is an exercise in futility to argue with them. They were taught that CO2 determines climate, period. They have never heard of climate biomes/zones. they think the planet has only one climate, and CO2 controls it. I just got through talking with another one a little while ago.

Derek Wood
September 21, 2017 1:15 pm

I love this site! This comment thread in particular has been very enjoyable to read. Although I have no scientific background, I have always cultivated a healthy scepticism about most of what I read in newspapers, or I hear on the Biased Broadcasting Corporation here in the UK. I never bought the idea of AGW, for the same reason I was never convinced that the ozone hole would allow cosmic rays to give us all skin cancer, or that acid rain would destroy all the forests in Northern Europe and Russia, or ocean acidification was going to turn our seas into a toxic soup; that kind of stuff. It’s great to read fact-based opinions from educated people who have no hidden agenda. Thanks, WUWT commenters, you’ll do for me!

October 2, 2017 7:35 am

When I took intro geology or “rocks” (I was a C pupil in that course of study, I’m afraid(p)), the prof talked a luck about scale tectonics, to some extent still a recent breakthrough in 1973; he also said there was venture about whether the world is moving toward another frappe age, or away from one.
I never witness AGW proponents referencing textbooks that excuse the numerical cornerstone for any of their claims.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights