Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen – 27 July 2022
A great deal of controversy arose in response to the first three parts of this series, which came as no surprise. One well-respected reader implied that the Global Warming hypothesis and all the fuss for 30 years wasn’t about the Earth Climate gaining heat energy (despite all the emphasis on the Global Energy Budget) but only about temperature rise (as measured by thermometers). Some seemed to be appalled at the suggestion that temperatures from disparate places and times could not be averaged to produce meaningful numeric results.
This brief addendum is to give an example, which if extended to the broader question, will help to explain the chief problem inherent in averaging 2-meter air temperatures (in degrees by any method) from around the world and claiming the result as evidence of Global Warming.
Take a perfectly insulated box 2 meters by 1 meter by 1 meter. This box will have a volume of two cubic meters and, since it is perfectly insulated, will not allow any heat/energy to flow into or out of the box.
At the first instant, the box contains one cubic meter of water at 20 °C and one cubic meter of air with a temperature of 30 °C.
Allow enough time for the temperatures to become equalized – for the energy in the water and air in the box to reach equilibrium (we will ignore any phase changes such as evaporation).
What will be the resultant equilibrium temperature of the whole system (air and water)?
And why will it NOT be the mathematical average (the mean)calculated as 20+30/2 = 25 °C?
Bonus Question: (My high school science teacher always included Bonus Questions – allowing some of us to score over 100% on tests.)
If we raised the initial air temperature by 2°C, to 32°C, how much would it change the final answer of the system temperature at equilibrium?
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I’ll ask readers to provide the correct answer, at least to good back-of-envelope estimates. Most important is the second question, why won’t result be the “average” (the mean) between 20 and 30 °C?
Those familiar with the Earth climate as a system can then explain to others why this also answers the question as to why, if the global warming hypothesis is based on the imbalance of the Global Energy Budget, at least in part due to the increase in the Greenhouse Effect due to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations (and other anthropogenic GHG emissions), then this example also explains one of the reasons why any Global Average Surface Air Temperature metric (in degrees, or as anomalies, or as land and sea skin surface temperature combinations) is not a proper metric to use as evidence for Global Warming by CO2 .
Thanks for reading.
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