In retrospect the remoaner May’s plan was cunningly simple: lie to the people of Britain about fulfilling our instruction to leave the EU & leave the EU in nothing but name. Thus leaving us stuck with all the same extremely costly and destructive rules and regulations foisted on us by the EU – the only change being we couldn’t vote even just to register our protest by voting for UKIP MEPs. Then in a few years of sitting on the fence, one leg in, one leg out, with a picket stuck up our back side, remoaner May or the next remoaner PM would announce to all our treacherous MPs backed by the Brainwashing BBC: “leaving has not worked” … and they would all agree that there was no need for any further referendum and tell us we are rejoining the anti-democratic EU.

I’ve already left the Tories which I joined to help them see this plan through. I’m going to give them a short while to see whether they accept that Boris Johnson is right (undoubtedly our best choice for PM), and if the Tories decide to commit political suicide, then I’m rejoining UKIP.

Yes, I realise that means Labour are almost certain to get in at the next election, but so too will a substantial number of UKIP MPs. And that means at the election after that (which given Labour’s shambolic record may not be long), UKIP have a realistic prospect of gaining power and forcing through the Brexit which we voted for, and were told by the lying May that she would deliver.

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The plastics scare killed global warming

Quite a few years ago, we started getting articles about plastic being digested by marine creatures. Given that marine creatures swallow inert sand in the same way as they swallow inert plastic, and presumably in a similar way birds swallow stones, there clearly wasn’t any harm.

Aside: If this scam is like the global warming one – sure I’ll be labelled a “plastic denier” for daring to suggest it’s a scam and yes I do object to plastic on the beach, but to be honest, if I’m swimming I much more strongly object to jellyfish and sandflies.

I knew something odd was happening when I heard the idiotic Scottish assembly leader puffing up about “banning straws”. Now, I’ve seen many things on beaches, but straws wasn’t one of them. So this move was totally bizarre and clearly had nothing to do with the problem. And when the proposed eco-nutter action has nothing at all to do with the problem … it’s a very clear sign of another environmental scam.

However, except for pointing out to some people who seem to be unaware, that most plastic in the seas come from Asia, and the rest mostly from Africa (where they dump rubbish in rivers) and that we have almost nothing to do with plastic pollution … I’ve been content to let this latest environmental idiocy slither by.

However … the fact that the media and press and all the other numbskulls are latching onto plastics as the latest fad …. does show that the global warming scare is dead. Indeed, now I come to think about it, no doubt last year’s downturn in google searches for “global warming”, is because dumb gullible pupils are now being told to do their latest eco-nutter projects on “plastics”.

So let’s have a look for “plastic waste” and “plastic pollution”:

Plastic_eco_nutter_scare As predicted, just as “global warming” dropped last year after being on a ~5yr “pause”, so “plastic pollution/waste” increased. Unfortunately, the comparison isn’t easy as the plastic scam hasn’t yet hit on the same catch all phrase to equate to “global warming”, but clearly the plastic scare took off last year as the global warming scare dropped.

So, it’s clear to me, the rise of the plastic scam is killing the global warming scam. And the plastic scam, like the global warming scam, and the ozone/refrigerant scam, will in turn be driven by pure commercial greed.

That’s not too difficult to work out. Given that straws and cups were early targets, the key driver the commercial driver will be those who have a product they want used instead of the plastic varieties. And that in turn probably means that there’s been a technological revolution in paper straws and cups which although they cost more, and no doubt have no real environmental benefit, someone with the ear of politicians wants to force the public to buy their product through legislation.

My guess, therefore, is that (plasticised) paper cup/straw suppliers have been giving huge sums to eco-nutters to go on endlessly about the harm of plastics in order to create a market for plastic (not) replacements through legislation, and which does nothing at all to “solve” the problem which the eco-nutters are going on about (massive pollution of plastics from Asia and Africa).

The more I understand how these fads are created by pure greed – the more cynical I become that anything the MSM go on about has any morality.

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The death of Global Warming

There’s a scene in 1million years BC when the hero caveman has thrown a spear into a dinosaur and it lies on its side and all that is heard is its breathing until it stops.

Likewise, the search volumes for “global warming” go through a regularly yearly cycle with a summer minimum (during the University break). This cycle peaked in 2006/7, dropped down rapidly to 2011/12 where it remained pretty constant “gasping its last” until 2016/17. But this year the search volumes are down sharply to around 2/3 of the 2012-2016 “pause” (difficult to see below as the level was already so low).

GoogleTrendLikewise, I searched for recent news concerning “global warming”.  A few years ago there’d be a couple of news stories each hour, today that volume was a similar number a day. Of course, it would be a lot higher if Google didn’t block from their news outlet anyone scientifically sceptical like WUWT.

The key failure of climate academics

And finally. I’ve worked out the reason for this entire debacle. It comes down to a rather obscure misunderstanding of the basics of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics by climate academics (who aren’t the brightest sparks in the box).  It would take a great deal of time to explain. But to put it as simply: they misunderstand heat. That in itself is not a problem many good scientists do, but that means that most (all?) have no proper understanding of statistical mechanics . Which in itself is not a problem, … but unless you have a clear understanding of statistical mechanic, you will never properly understand how to treat noise and natural variation within the climate. And that is where they completely utterly balls up. They went completely arse over tit.

But as I said: they’re not the brightest sparks in the box … and add to that their arrogance and complete failure to admit when they’re so obviously wrong. Well, it’s a bit like trying to explain to someone from a tribe in the remotest part of Amazon how nuclear reactors work. Anyone can learn given time – and given time I’m certain I could get at least some climate academics to understand. But it will just take a lot more time than most and to be frank, just as the general public don’t care about the subject any longer, nor do I.

So let them be clueless.

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The bee gods

Last year I was a beekeeper, this year as my queen died over the winter and the population plummeted in the spring before I could get another queen, I was expecting to cease being a beekeeper.

But never one to give up, I got a new queen as early as I could, I’d asked all three local bee associations for help (which none were willing to give), I’d downsized the hive – leaving it where the old one had been, so that returning bees would go to the same place, and given it will be three weeks before new bees from the queen start being productive, I had bought a “micro” hive about the size of a shoebox and was considering downsizing again to something about 1/30 the size of the hive last year.

But things were dire. Bees at this time of year don’t live long, and below a critical threshold, there just aren’t enough bees to look after enough young to sustain the population, it didn’t look promising. I desperately needed to find a way to boost numbers and literally every bee now counted for them to have any chance .

Things were so desperate, I had thought of cunning plans to capture any other bees that were around. I set up a trap, but it only caught TWO bees!! I was literally at the stage of picking up bees that had “got lost” around the hive++, when I heard a buzzing sound (a warm day about 4.30pm). Now a buzzing sound around a hive is not unusual. But this was more the intensity of a a helicopter … and looking up what do I see, but the sky is filled with bees. And unlike the only swarm I’ve ever seen, these weren’t going anywhere, instead they were flying around and around above my head.

I had to capture this swarm.

Continue reading

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James IV: King of Scotland, Alchemist and Social Experimenter

James IV was the King of Scotland from 1488 till his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden, where he was supposedly killed: the last monarch from all of Great Britain, to be killed in battle. A man with an inquisitive mind, whose experiments were social, scientific and medical, he was a true Renaissance prince with an interest in practical and scientific matters.

James is reported to have conducted a language deprivation experiment, sending two children to be raised by a mute woman alone on the island of Inchkeith, to determine if language was learned or innate. The children were reported to have spoken Hebrew, but historians were sceptical of these claims.

He established an alchemy workshop at Stirling Castle where alchemist John Damian looked for ways to turn base metals into gold. The project consumed quantities of mercury, golden litharge, and tin. Damian also researched aviation and undertook a failed experiment to fly from the battlements of Stirling Castle. He turned Edinburgh Castle into one of Scotland’s foremost gun foundries, and welcomed the establishment of Scotland’s first printing press in 1507.


But there remain many mysteries: where is King James IV’s body? Are the sword, dagger and ring stored in the College of Arms in London really his as many Scots believe – or are they mere copies and should not be returned to Scotland? What about his head? It is said to have been separated from his skeleton centuries ago and used as a football by workmen in Elizabethan times! And did he really die at Flodden?

A friend of mine, Jackie Cosh has recently published a book covering the life of James IV in which these are investigated: The King with the Iron Belt – available in print and as an e-book on Amazon,

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My Twitter blocking policy

If you find yourself on the wrong side of my blocking policy – don’t take it as a personal offence. I apply the exact same policy to everyone.

I don’t issue warning or threats – if you break my policy I block without warning – and I certainly don’t either take offence at being blocked nor take any delight at blocking others.

Blocking Policy

I have a simple policy on twitter. I avoid blocking anyone** unless that person either threatens or does block or mute me. Then irrespective of whether I like the individual, whether I agree/disagree, I take a threat or actual muting/blocking as as a signal that they do no wish further discussion with me and I will block them irrespective of who they are.

If you don’t want a conversation to continue – just say. If you really don’t want to hear me – I don’t want to waste my time on you – so block me – but remember it’s very difficult to talk to someone you’ve blocked, so it’s largely a one way street.

And if you threaten or tell me you will mute me, I always block, It’s that simple.

The reason I don’t mute people and treat a mute as the same as a block, is firstly because when I tried muting one individual they just kept posting on my conversations and so I realised that muting was not the answer – because people take offence and then start making stupid remarks behind your back, and secondly if  someone is muted – no matter if a friend or foe – they have no idea they are muted and can waste a lot of their time responding to tweets. That’s highly disrespectful – if you don’t want a conversation with me – then stop talking or block me. Don’t talk about blocking me, don’t mute me, and certainly don’t threaten to mute me – just ask me to stop, or stop replying to my tweets or if that’s your wish block me.

Unblocking Policy

I’ve never had anyone ask – however, if anyone did ask – I think the answer is yes (except for the very few below**).

As for me asking to be unblocked –  I’ve only tried once, to a certain sceptic many years ago. He never explained why he was blocking me when he blocked me and refused to respond to me in any way through a third party. From that episode I learnt that it was impossible to have a reasonable conversation after a mute/block – so I don’t try.

**There are a few people I actively block:

  1. Those like Mann, who are known to block anyone who disagrees with them and others who I know or suspect of telling blatant falsehoods. I don’t want to hear their views and pre-emptively block them.
  2. Perhaps as few as four people, who have gone beyond what is acceptable. One for allowing racist comments on their blog and refusing to remove them. Another for effectively stalking me on twitter. Another for repeatedly posting tweets when they were totally clueless about the subject and incapable of responding to any tweets explaining why they were wrong. In each case, the person showed a repeated pattern of unacceptable behaviour over weeks if not months.



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Gill 5: Smoke and Mirrors? Some comparisons between Earth and Venus

Collection of five Surrey Mirror Group Website Articles written by Peter F Gill and posted from about March 2015 to January 2016. They now no longer exist on the Internet unless archived by someone.

Scientists and non-scientists often give Venus as an example of a planet with a runaway greenhouse effect. However, some years ago I came across an analysis with a different conclusion. I shall say more about this later. Firstly, let us look at some vital statistics:



Average Distance from Sun

149.6 million km

108.2 million km


12,756 km

12,104 km


5.972×1024 kg

4.867x 1024 kg


5520 kg/m3

5250 kg/m3


78% N2, 21% O2, 1% Ar

96% CO2, 3% N2

Albedo (reflectivity)



Acceleration due to gravity at surface

9.8 m/s2

8.9 m/s2

Pressure at surface

1 bar

90 bar

Average Surface Temp.

2880 K (150C)

7380K (4650C)

Orbital period

365 days

225 days

Rotation period

Approximately 1 day

Approx. 225 Earth days




Although the size and density of the two planets are similar, the factor that most people find striking, is the extreme difference between the planets’ surface temperatures. On Venus, the surface temperature is well over the melting pint of lead and some 450C above the melting point of zinc whilst on Earth the average temperature is only 150C above the freezing point of water. Is the difference due to the fact that most of Venus’ atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide? Well many scientists think not (some examples: H.D Huffman, A. Miatello and D J Cotton). To explain why, I will have to get into a little bit of physics and a little bit of mathematics. Please accept my apologies in advance to those who struggle with these disciplines.

Firstly for reasons that may become obvious a little later let’s look at the temperature at the height in the atmosphere of Venus where its atmospheric pressure is the same as that on Earth at ground level (approximately 1000 millibars). On Venus, the average temperature at that height is about 338.6 degrees Kelvin (about 65.50C) compared with an average of 287.40K just above the earth’s surface (14.30C). Of course, as we have seen from the data above, Venus is closer to the sun than Earth. The amount of solar radiation received depends on the inverse square of the distance of the planet from the sun. So roughly the radiation received by Venus in comparison with Earth is (149.6/108.2)2 = 1.911. To convert this difference in radiation received to equilibrium temperatures then according to the Stefan-Boltzman Law we have to take the fourth root of 1.911, which is 1.176. So, if Venus was at the same distance from the sun as Earth it would have a temperature at the pressure altitude of 1000mb of 338.6/1.176 or about 287.90K (about 14.70C). You will notice that, although I have ignored the difference in reflectivity (albedo) for the two planets, the small difference in the planet disc facing the sun, the fact that the Earth’s rotation is fast compared to Venus and some other factors, this simple calculation appears explain the temperature difference without the need to call upon a greenhouse effect!

In case you think that this is all smoke and mirrors let’s take a slightly different approach and only talk about Earth. You may know that generally as one goes higher the atmospheric temperature reduces. The rate at which this proceeds depends on whether the air is dry or contains water vapour. We call this reduction in temperature with height the lapse rate. The simplest lapse rate is the dry adiabatic lapse rate or the DALR. It can be expressed as a rate of change of temperature T with height h as: dT/dh = -g/cp where g is the acceleration due to gravity and cp is the specific heat of air in the atmosphere at constant pressure. Although g changes slightly with h and cp changes slightly with T to a first approximation one can regard both g and cp as constants. So using integral calculus, we can generate the formula:

Ts –Th = -g/Cp * (hs-h)

Where: Ts is the average temperature at the Earth’s surface and Th is the temperature at height h and hs is height at sea level which by definition is zero. Now the moist lapse rate has many more terms in it but we are interested only in a rough calculation so I will insert the average moist lapse rate for -g/cp as -6.50K/km (or C) the equation simplifies to: Ts = Th+ 6.5*(h). Now let us substitute two numbers for height and temperature at that height. Typically, at say 5km above sea level the air temperature is about 2550K. So using this information let us calculate the surface temperature. It is 255+6.5*5, which is 222.50K or 287.50K (about 14.40C). So, again, without using any radiation formulae we have deduced the average surface temperature correct to within less than one degree Kelvin.

This leaves us with the thought that, if there is a greenhouse effect, it is likely to be small. It also follows that, a change in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is not likely to have very much effect on temperature. On the other hand, because the solubility of carbon dioxide in water (and sea water in particular) varies inversely with temperature one expects to see increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when, for whatever reason, the atmosphere heats up. Interestingly is what we have been seeing since we emerged from the little ice age. Nevertheless, if I was an English Literature graduate I may still be thinking that it is all smoke and mirrors.

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Gill 4: Should you trust the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

Collection of five Surrey Mirror Group Website Articles written by Peter F Gill and posted from about March 2015 to January 2016. They now no longer exist on the Internet unless archived by someone.

If you put “IPCC” into the Google search box, once you get past the Independent Police Complains Commission, your first proper hit will probably be about the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). You will notice that AR5 “provides a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. It consists of three Working Group (WG) reports and a Synthesis Report (SYR).” This implies that those involved with IPCC consider and study all known or possible mechanisms of climate change. Certainly, no restriction would appear to be applied on IPCC’s climate change study scope. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Although Wikipedia is itself strongly biased on the subject of AGW, it accurately reports that “The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to: (1) Human-induced climate change (2) The impacts of human-induced climate change (3) Options for adaptation and mitigation.” The corollary would appear to be that IPCC does not aim to assess the scientific information relevant to climate change resulting from mechanisms other than those identified with anthropogenic (human) activity. However, this is also misleading. Particularly at the start, the scientists involved well recognised that if there was an anthropogenic signal in climate change data it would be difficult to spot given that climate has always changed for a great variety of known and unknown reasons.

IPCC was established in 1988 by two United Nations organisations. Right from the start the idea of IPCC reports was to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. In other words, the idea was to support the notions (read hypotheses) that (a) humans are the main cause of dangerous climate change and (b) that by implication we should stop burning fossil fuels. The idea of supporting hypotheses or speculations, which is the normal everyday term for such things, is essentially non-scientific. If anything, one seeks to find ways of testing hypotheses and if found wanting rejecting them.

Those contributing to IPCC reports, do so on a voluntary basis. Its assessments are supposed to be based on peer reviewed published literature. IPCC does not conduct any original research. Many prominent scientists in fields important to understanding the mechanisms of climate change initially became involved in the IPCC process but for various reasons do not now participate. If you look into some of those reasons, you are in for a shock. By and large, those that have remained involved are recipients of government grants for work in associated fields and those with rather specific agendas.

IPCC published its first Assessment Report (AR1) in 1990 and updated it in 1992. Subsequently IPCC has treated us to the Second Assessment Report (SAR) in 1996, the Third (TAR) in 2001, the Fourth (AR4) in 2007 and the Fifth (AR5) in 2014. There is much good science in the body of these reports. Authors often highlight the uncertainties involved. However, there are disconnects between the detailed reports and the only material that the press pick up, which is contained in the Summary for Policymakers. Even Wikipedia acknowledges that the Summary “..is subject to line-by-line approval by delegates from all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.”

The following are paraphrased extracts from each successive assessment report:

AR1: Computer model predictions of the increase in mean surface temperature over the last hundred years due to the anthropogenic enhanced greenhouse effect is of the same magnitude as natural climate variability.

SAR: The balance of evidence suggests a discernible anthropogenic influence on climate.

TAR: Since the mid-20th century, most of the observed warming is “likely” (greater than 66% probability, based on expert judgement) due to anthropogenic factors.

AR4: Most of the global average warming over the past 50 years is “very likely” (greater than 90% probability, based on expert judgement) due to human activities.

AR5: Anthropogenic influence on the climate system is clear. It is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that anthropogenic influence was the dominant cause of global warming between1951-2010.

So, over the last 25 years the IPCC has gone from there could be an anthropogenic effect on climate to it is almost all our fault that the climate is changing. One could easily conclude that great strides have been made in the understanding of climate mechanisms and that even if the science is not completely settled, it’s more or less all over bar the shouting.

The clear message is that we should move on to adapting to increasing temperatures and to mitigating actions to prevent or reduce predicted AGW. The emphasis has been very much on the latter. In the UK for example we have the Climate Change Act introduced by Ed Milliband and largely written by Friends of the Earth activist Bryony Worthington (now Baroness Worthington for her good work). The Act calls for the UK to decarbonise its energy conversion activities by 80% of its 1990 levels by 2050. This is impossible in the timescale postulated for a number of reasons including: current absence of proven alternative energy conversion technologies, the time it takes to develop alternative technologies and the killer – very high costs. It is now being realised (at last) that to make serious attempts to reach the Act’s aims would be disastrous for the UK economy and would push many more people into fuel poverty and death.

Of course, those reading this who are convinced that IPCC’s findings are valid believe that developed and strongly developing countries worldwide should accept that the price has to be paid to save the Earth from ecological disaster.

There are of course other stories to tell about IPCC. Donna Laframboise covers many of them in her exposé “The Delinquent Teenager who was mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert” (Ivy Press 2011 ISBN 978 1466453487). Donna makes clear, that the extent to which IPCC has been infiltrated by activists from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, is truly alarming.

Sadly, the IPCC authors have either ignored or underplayed many climate change mechanisms. If as indicated AR5 really did provide “a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change” then we would be hearing about those significant climate change factors that I shall talking about in future.

Below are two pictures, one a graph of the increase in carbon dioxide through time, the other of computer model projections of atmospheric temperatures compared with actual measurements of temperature. The computer models are the main source of alarm as regards atmospheric temperature development. As programmed, increases observed in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the main driver of the computer model outputs. If you compare actual temperature data (see satellite measurement) you may notice that nature has not obliged by following the projections of the computer models.

12Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, August 2013

My final story in this brief discussion of IPCC concerns the main alarmist worry about global warming – that of consequent rising sea levels. Some years ago, I attended a presentation by the Lead Author on the Working Group looking at Sea Levels. In the Q&A session, I posed some questions. The answers seemed to me to display a lack of a fundamental grasp of the importance of some factors of which I was aware. However, I did not challenge the responses. Sitting behind me was a friend who realised that I was not happy with the answers to my questions. He asked if I had read any of the papers of the acknowledged world expert in the field, Nils-Axel Mörner. I had to admit that whilst I had read at least one paper by Mörner it was for a specific reason and once satisfied I looked no further. My friend suggested I persue my interest direct with Mörner. A little research revealed that Mörner had written a huge number of papers on all aspects of sea level change. So, I e-mailed him asking him to list his key papers. I had in mind that reading a small number of papers would give me a proper handle on understanding the subject. He replied by return supplying an A4 page with approximately one paper per line in 10 point. At that stage, I realised that I would never have the time to reach a good understanding of the subject. I guess the Lead Author on the subject for IPCC was in a similar position

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Gill 3: Is run-away warming likely? Has carbon dioxide always been the main climate driver?

Collection of five Surrey Mirror Group Website Articles written by Peter F Gill and posted from about March 2015 to January 2016. They now no longer exist on the Internet unless archived by someone.

In previous contributions (scroll down to previous of my blogs if you need to catch-up) I have described and, in a limited way, discussed the first four of the main six hypotheses that form the overall Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis. Now we shall move on to the final two which I listed as: (v) further atmospheric heating will release methane from permafrost causing run-away global warming and finally (vi) the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is and always has been the main climate driver.

AGW Hypothesis (v) further atmospheric heating will release methane from permafrost and cause run-away global warming

In one sense, we may regard this aspect of concern as a consequence of warming (of any origin) like increased sea levels. However because it is thought that the release of methane would lead to even more warming such a consequence maybe classed as a positive feedback which some have argued could lead to a tipping point and runaway warming.

Atmospheric methane (CH4) levels are very much lower than carbon dioxide (CO2) levels by volume. Whereas carbon dioxide levels are measured in parts per million (currently circa 400ppmv), methane levels are measured in parts per billion (currently circa 1825 ppbv). As with the origin of the CO2 increase, there is not universal acceptance about anthropogenic versus natural contributions. CH4 is a more potent Green House Gas (GHG) than CO2 by a variable factor currently close to about 30 times.

Whilst there has clearly been warming since the depths of the Little Ice Age (LIA) compared to previous recent warm periods the present warm period is not as far as proxy data shows anything extraordinary. The Roman Warm Period (RWP) was almost certainly warmer than the present warm period. The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was probably warmer than the present warm period. Going back earlier in the present Holocene era the Holocene optimum was very much warmer than the present. In all of these cases, there is no evidence of runaway warming due to CH4 released from permafrost.

As we have raised the subject of feedbacks, it is worth mentioning some others. Interestingly those who favour the overall AGW hypothesis tend to concentrate on positive feedbacks of which CH4 release is clearly one. Loss of snow and ice reduce the amount of electromagnetic energy that is reflected from the Earth and therefore such warming causes further warming. However, that said I suspect that the elephant in the room is the negative feedbacks due to water in its various forms clouds and precipitation from clouds in particular.

AGW Hypothesis (vi) the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is and always has been the main climate driver.

When I first got involved in the whole notion of AGW back in the 1990s the climate change community readily admitted that there were many factors driving climate change and changes in atmospheric CO2 was just one of them. Things have apparently changed in recent years. I attended a two-day meeting at the Royal Society in October 2011 entitled “Warm climates of the past – lessons for the future?” Although the meeting only concerned itself with very recent times (the last circa 50 million years) it was concluded that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now and has in the past been the main climate driver. This is the most recent main claim by those supporting the AGW hypothesis, which as far as I can see goes contrary to most of the proxy data available for the last 600 million years. In concluding this part of the discussion below, I provide a composite picture of data from C.R. Scotese who generated the average global temperature data and R.A. Berner who generated the atmospheric carbon dioxide data.

Source: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Source: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

I could make many points about this data. However, in relation to the main thrust of the Royal Society meeting the following are appropriate:

  1. Whilst the uncertainty in proxy data is large, it is clear that over the last 600 million years there is no obvious correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature.
  2. The period chosen by the Royal Society for its meeting was one in which in the movement of both temperature and CO2 were broadly in the same direction. For most of the rest of the period, this is clearly not the case.
  3. For approximately 80% of the period the Earth’s average temperature has been some 6-80C above the present average. This was true in the late Devonian and the early Carboniferous despite rapidly reducing atmospheric CO2.
  4. The fact that there seems to be a limit on average global temperature around 220C suggests a negative feedback mechanism in place for which, in my opinion, water vapour effects are favourite.
  5. Average Earth temperatures in the last part of the Ordovician were quite a lot lower than the current average temperature despite the fact that atmospheric CO2 content was circa 4000ppmv i.e. ten times current levels.
  6. The huge changes in climate evident from the proxy data require understanding beyond a simplistic CO2 in charge mantra.

Next time I hope to answer some comments people have made and to move on to a discussion of the missing science in climate change.

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Gill 2: Greenhouse Gases and Climate Sensitivity

Collection of five Surrey Mirror Group Website Articles written by Peter F Gill and posted from about March 2015 to January 2016. They now no longer exist on the Internet unless archived by someone.

Heat moves from hotter to cooler places in three ways – by conduction, convection and radiation. In a garden greenhouse, sun light passes through the glass (or plastic) roof and walls heating the ground by radiation. The air layer in contact with the soil warms by conduction and then starts moving upwards by convection. It is also true that some of the energy coming off the heated surface is electromagnetic radiation in the infrared part of the spectrum. The physical barrier of glass (or plastic) which stops the warm air escaping by convection is the main reason that a greenhouse works. Any retention of heat by limiting the escape of infrared radiation from the ground is very much a secondary effect.

The third and fourth hypotheses I listed previously (scroll down blogs) as forming the overall Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) Hypothesis directly concern the two main so-called greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Just to remind you I listed these two hypotheses as:

(iii) As a greenhouse gas CO2 absorbs upwelling infrared radiation from the Earth and re-emits in all directions effectively causing warming.

(iv) The increase in heat (caused by the CO2 warming) evaporates more of the primary greenhouse gas, water vapour, this multiplying the effect of CO2 increase by a factor of about three.

As you can probably appreciate, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) effect that one hears about in the context of global warming involves rather different mechanisms than what goes on in actual greenhouses. The central idea, but not the only one, is that some types of molecule absorb certain frequencies of upwelling electromagnetic infrared radiation from the warmed surface of the Earth (water, soil etc). Such molecules then re-emit infrared radiation in all directions, including back to the ground. For reasons to do with the laws of physics and thermodynamics in particular, I prefer to describe the effect as one which changes the rate of loss of heat to space which results in a slightly different temperature than if the absorbing gases had not been present. The main infrared absorbing gases present in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapour (highest absorber by far) followed by our old friend carbon dioxide (CO2) as a poor second. Others include methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

The idea that some part of the Earth’s atmosphere effectively keeps us warmer than could otherwise be expected is attributed to the brilliant French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier (1768-1830). John Tyndall (1820-1893) identified water vapour and carbon dioxide as the “heat –trapping” components of the atmosphere. Svante Arrhenius (1879-1927) reasoned that because water vapour fluctuated continually cycling in and out of the atmosphere carbon dioxide is the key component. He argued that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide would cause warming and this would cause increased evaporation of water. As you can therefore see, the basic idea is far from new.

Water is a remarkable compound. According to its position in the Periodic Table of Elements, oxygen hydride (chemical formula H2O) should be a gas at room temperature. Indeed the hydrides of the next three elements in the same series, sulphur, selenium and tellurium are all gases at room temperature. Only the hydride of polonium, the next element in the series, is a liquid at room temperature. Water is in fact rather like a polymer with the formula n (H2O) with a small amount of ionised component giving it a pH value of seven. In fact, I suspect that the anomalous behaviour of water features in disagreement s between scientists on the sign and extent of the GHG effect.

The changes of state of water, from ice to liquid water, from liquid water-to-water vapour and vice versa, involve large changes in energy, referred to as latent heat. The amount of sunlight reflected from the Earth’s surface, called its albedo, depends crucially on the surface type and if H2O its form being high when the form is snow and ice. All these factors play important roles in the Green House Gas (GHG) Effect. However as mentioned there is considerable argument about the overall effect of GHG on the Earth’s energy balance. The majority opinion favours a reduced rate of loss of heat as GHG increase although both effective warming and cooling take place. There is a minority view suggesting a slight overall cooling effect. Unlike politics consensus means nothing in science and so it is possible that the minority are correct. However, for the purpose of the discussion below I shall assume increased GHG have an overall warming effect.

Scientifically the big issues are climate sensitivity to changes in radiative forcing and the nature and extent of positive and negative feedbacks in the climate system. The term “sensitivity” is often used specifically for estimates of the increase in equilibrium atmospheric temperature, when the amount of atmospheric CO2 is doubled. The range of estimates for sensitivity is very wide from typically 0.6 0C to 4.5 0C and perhaps confusingly in computer models it includes for the compounding effect of increased water vapour expected for the increase in temperature caused by the increase of CO2 by itself. Interestingly, although one would expect an increase in the Earth’s atmospheric water vapour content for increasing temperature (for whatever reason), this has not been observed as far as I am aware although it is generally agreed that the Earth has warmed up by almost one degree Centigrade in the last 200 years.

There is a great deal of science hidden in the above remarks and I plan for the moment at least to make just a few comments which I may elaborate on in future. Firstly, when the quantity of any particular infrared absorbing gas increases in the atmosphere each new molecule has less effect than the one before it. The relationship is logarithmic. Secondly, unlike a real greenhouse there is no physical barrier to radiation finding its way to space it just takes a little longer than if there were no GHG present. Thirdly, in recent years despite continuing increases in atmospheric CO2 there has been no significant change in the Earth’s temperature. It had been thought that the effect was being hidden by aerosols, which have a shielding effect on sunlight. However, although real, this effect has been shown to be far less important than previously assumed. In fact, the only place where there is catastrophic global warming (CAGW) is in computer climate models which have been departing considerably from measured values for many years.

Until I have discussed the final two AGW hypotheses I will hold off on two important topics – alternative mechanisms for climate change and appropriate policies for dealing with the consequences of climate change. However, before leaving the CO2 water vapour issue I will relate a short story, which you may find interesting, frustrating or shocking depending on your understanding and point of view.

In late February 2010, I attended a two-day discussion meeting at the Royal Society in London. The title of the meeting was “Greenhouse gases in the Earth system: setting the agenda to 2030”. Before attending, I had not seen the list of papers. However, I expected that since water vapour is largely responsible to the so-called greenhouse effect on Earth there would be a number of papers on the subject. I was looking forward to those addressing water vapour variability especially since increased water vapour levels are linked to increased CO2 levels and an enhanced greenhouse effect. I was disappointed that there was not one single paper on water vapour, its variability or indeed any on the multiplying effects inherent in one of the main AGW hypotheses. Consequently, at the first opportunity, I asked why there were no such papers. The only answer that I received was that climate models fully account for water vapour. Sadly you will not be able to check exactly what I asked or indeed the response I received because these days the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society do not actually include a record of the question, answer and discussion sessions although for the progress of science these are often the most important parts of a meeting.

In the coffee break immediately following my water vapour question, I got into conversation with David MacKay (then Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department of Energy and Climate Change) in connection with one of my learned society roles. After dealing with that matter and another related topic about which we disagreed, David commented about my question to the meeting – “Very rude” he said.

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