The limits of Climate Hysteria

Answering a post today, I realised that I no longer cared about trying to educate the nutters in academia, not because they don’t need educating, but simply because nothing we sceptics have done has ever been listened to – so why should I, who is not paid, waste my time trying to educate people who have been each paid a small fortune – and who won’t listen anyway?

And then I realised, it no longer matters what these climate academics and other nutters think!

limitsmadnessSo, to explain this (to sceptics – it’s above the nutters), I drew the above graph. In the middle, we have the sceptic viewpoint which is as we all know, just plain common sense. The red line represents the academic view – which amongst other off the wall ideas has embraced global cooling and then global warming. And the black outer line represents is the constrain imposed as one gets more and more data.

The point is that I don’t seriously think academics have changed their views because of their exposure to sceptic common sense. Instead, it appears to me that finally the reality of the data is forcing them to tone down their rhetoric. And yes, we could see another “flip” and the academics go all nuts about another aspect of climate, but fundamentally (as we engineers know) as you get more and more data, the room for their kind of lunacy gets smaller and smaller … until perhaps in 100-200 years there will be almost no room at all for the kind of non-science we get at the moment.

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7 Responses to The limits of Climate Hysteria

  1. Ron C. says:

    Your post on Hermann Harde highlights a valuable analysis. He has shown that even if you adopt the Trenberth energy balance model (including the notion of the earth as a flat disk illuminated constantly by the sun at 1/4 power), empirical evidence gives a small fraction of the potential climate sensitivity claimed from increasing CO2.

    I was expecting that Harde, due to his excellent background and expertise, would reference observational evidence regarding surface warming due to rising CO2. Instead, Harde says this:
    “Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation and not heat. Therefore, in the same way, as radio waves can propagate from a colder antenna to a warmer receiver, microwaves can be absorbed by a hot chicken, or CO2-laser radiation (10.6 μm) can be used for welding and melting of metals up to several thousand °C, so any back radiation from colder and higher atmospheric layers can be absorbed by the lower and warmer layers, and this back radiation can also be absorbed by a warmer surface of the earth without violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics. As long as the surface is assumed to be a black or gray absorber, it does not filter any frequencies of the incoming radiation, in the same way as it does not reject any frequencies of the broad Planck spectrum of a thermal radiator, independent, if it has a higher or lower temperature than the earth. Radiation converts to heat after an absorption, followed by an emission in accordance with a newly adjusting thermodynamic equilibrium, which only requires that the net energy transfer is in balance.”

    But, this is an argument from analogy, not from empirical science. Radio waves do not make the receiver hotter. Oven microwaves are powered by 1000 watts. Lasers are focused thousands of times more intense than can be found in nature. These examples are not proof that downwelling IR from atmospheric CO2 can noticeably raise the earth surface temperature.

    It should be noted that CO2 exists only as a gas within the the temperature extremes of the Earthʼs atmosphere and as such, is uniformly distributed throughout the atmosphere. It cannot form layers that are capable of acting as reflective surfaces or insulating barriers. Although CO2 can absorb heat energy from the Sun in the form of infrared radiation, the bulk of that energy is absorbed by the Earthʼs surface, itself, as well as by atmospheric water, oxygen and non-greenhouse gases.

    The mechanism exploited by CO2 induced global warming models is related to specific vibrational frequencies of the carbon-oxygen bond that can resonate with those same frequencies within the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum; thus absorbing that energy and reradiating it to and from other CO2 molecules within the Earthʼs atmosphere.

    However, two important facts have to be considered in connection with this notion. First of all, infrared light (radiant heat ) appears within the low energy region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Secondly, all radiant energy (E) varies indirectly as the square of the distance (D) from its source (E = 1/ D2). On a molecular scale, this weak (infrared) radiant energy will be significantly diffused as it moves among the widely separated molecules of CO2 in our atmosphere. Nitrogen, oxygen and argon, which make up 99.9% (999,000 ppm) of our atmosphere and thus occupy much of the space surrounding its CO2 molecules, can directly absorb that diffused radiant heat in proportion to their individual masses and specific heat capacities.

    The combined masses of non-greenhouse gases in the Earthʼs atmosphere can trap, store, transport and transfer 2,047 times as much heat as the total mass of its CO2. The notion that adding 25% of the CO2 in our atmosphere can cause the melting of glaciers and the warming of oceans falsely implies that an infinite amount of energy can be stuffed into a finite mass.

    All the math and physics is here:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CHALLENGE_7b_1.cwk_(WP)(2).pdf

  2. scottishsceptic says:

    Harde has worked this out from empirical measurements and is applying equations that work on the small scale to larger scales. As such, if his explanation of what is happening doesn’t match yours, then use your own explanation, but really it doesn’t matter how the heating actually occurs or how it is explained, only that the model appears to work in practice and is scalable.

    To put that another way – if his model involved little green men – then so long as it matches what is actually happening the result would be the same.

  3. anng says:

    2 issues:-
    (1) Common-sense is normally proved wrong in detailed science – especially in physics.

    In physics, carbon-dioxide can make infra-red radiation a.k.a heat. So common-sense says “Adding CO2 to the atmosphere is a worry”. Whereas engineers say “Could something be happening which stops atmospheric carbon-dioxide heating earth’s surface? ” and “Has it been proven to happen in the past?” Which are answered by “Yes – 1st guess is that additional rain-clouds could get created reflecting back sun’s radiation” and “No. CO2 is seen to increase after heating, not before.”

    (2) The 1960s/70s global cooling researchers were looking at an inactive sun, like in LIA, and hence worrying that maybe it would have an even less active sunspot cycle next time. 40 years later, climate researchers are surprised that an inactive sun coincides with a halt in warming, and sun researchers are prophesying a more inactive sun next-time round, again. But no-one’s managed to find out (a) why the sun gets more inactive (I favour Jupiter’s gravity) nor (b) what climatic processes might be involved.

    • scottishsceptic says:

      Everyone outside academia knows the phrase “it works in theory – but not in practice”.

      Yes, in an ideal world, with an infinite amount of time, unlimited resources and the ability to do the experiment again in controlled conditions – theory works. But in all the other instances – the theory is just an approximation to what actually happens and often (as in climate) a very poor approximation.

      • anng says:

        Ah. But that’s the point. They don’t have a model Earth and so behave as if the approximate coding of the computer models does the job.

        Only it doesn’t. They have to wait for the ocean currents to change, jet-streams to move, sun to weaken it’s magnetic field etc.

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