Thursday, February 14, 2008


For some time, people have been saying that greenhouse theory makes various assumptions incompatible with the basic laws of physics. That was recently set out at length by two German physicists in an academic paper. Abstract below (semi-popular summary here).

Needless to say, the Warmists on the NYT blog and elsewhere have tried to discredit the German work. Following the abstract below is the disgusted reply to the Warmists from the German physicists:
Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics

By Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner

The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

Source. Full paper here

We (Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner) are very sorry that we cannot reply to all statements published in Internet blogs since our "times on-line" are rather limited. Especially, we do not reply to semi-anonymous virtual climate pets like Eli Rabett and other Internet geniuses such as Gavin Schmidt, Stefan Rahmstorf and others at the "Real Climate" or "Atmoz Blog" anti-scientific smear sites. Most of them know so little about physics that they quote the second law of thermodynamics incorrectly in order to falsify our work. Even the difference between energy, work and heat seems to be unknown to these experts. This cannot be the basis of a scientific discussion.

First, let us start with discussing the identity of Eli Rabett. We have been informed that Eli Rabett is the pseudonym of Josh Halpern, a chemistry professor at Howard University. He is a laser spectroscopist with no formal training in climatology and theoretical physics. On 2007-11-14 one of us (RDT) sent Josh Halpern the following E-Mail:
Josh Halpern alias Eli Rabbett - [If you are not Josh Halpern, then forgive me and delete this message immediately.]

Apparently, believing to be protected by anonymity you (and others) want to establish a quality of a scientific discussion that is based on offenses and arrogance rather than on critical rationalism and exchange of arguments. Scientists cannot tolerate and endorse what is becoming a quality in weblogs and what is pioneered by IPCC-conformal virtual climate bloggers. I must urge you to reconsider. My questions to you:

1. What is the most general formulation of the second law of thermodynamics?

2. What is your favorite exact definition of the atmospheric greenhouse effect within the frame of physics?

3. Could you provide me a literature reference of a rigorous derivation of this effect?

4. How do you compute the supposed atmospheric greenhouse effect (the supposed warming effect, not simply the absorption) from given reflection, absorption, emission spectra of a gas mixture, well-formulated magnetohydrodynamics, and unknown dynamical interface and other boundary conditions?

5. Do you really believe, that you can transform an unphysical myth into a physical truth on such a low level of argumentation?

We did not get any response. We would like to encourage the readers of this blog to read our paper, at least the conclusions. It can be found here:

The following is a delayed reply to the very offending posting #111 of Raymond T. Pierrehumbert who wrote to Marc Morano
You can obfuscate all you want, but you can't hide from the fact that we have been going at this for nearly two weeks now and none of the skeptics we have discussed so far have established a credible publication record for the ideas that qualify them as skeptics in your eyes. Whatever these ideas are, they evidently can't stand up to the same kind of scrutiny that the ideas in the IPCC report have been subjected to.

Neither the validity of a scientific result depends on the publication record of its authors, nor the number of publications is an indicator of the quality of research. To put it bluntly, virtual climate research (Pierrhumbert and his buddies may call it "real climate" research) is nonsense (non-science). The thousands of publications reviewing the results of these computer games are not worth the papers they are printed on, not to mention the hardware, CPU times and memory.
Today I'm in a good mood, so I'll give you a twofer: Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner. Neither of these physicists has produced a single peer-reviewed paper bearing on any aspect of climate science, or even on the radiative physics underpinning climate science.

Indeed, this is a great advantange for the whole discussion, both scientifically and politically. It is a presupposition for to have a fresh look at the topic. We (Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner) are unbiased totally independent theoretical physicists, familar with stochastic description of nature and quantum field theory, respectively, and last but not least familar with the physics lab and software engineering. Of course, we have published our papers in peer-reviewed journals, and on topics that belong to science, not to science fiction as the computer games of global climatology do. We are physicists, not climatologists. The main results of our paper are:

- the CO2 greenhouse effect is not an effect in the sense of a physical effect and, hence, simply does not exist;

- computer aided global climatology will not be science, if science is defined as a method to verify or falsify conjectures, according to the usual definition of science. (We do not get into the ideas of e.g. Feyerabend "anything goes" here in that they do not apply to physics, in particular to applied physics, e.g. aeroplanes).

Due to research grants, a huge amount of financial support, virtual global climatologists suffer from a kind of omnipotence delusion comparable to the state of highness of the early super string community. However, physics is different: "Physics is where the action is", i.e., finally, reproducible results in the lab. We cannot overemphasize that science is a method to prove conjectures, and not to go on-stage like the pop star Al Gore performing what-if-when-scenarios beyond any reality and scaring kids.
The two links you provide in fact point to the same paper. What you seem to be unaware of is that this paper has not been published in any journal. It appears only in the unreviewed ArXIV repository of manuscripts. This repository has no screening whatsoever as to the the content of the papers posted. Indeed, a look at the paper by anybody who has even a nodding acquaintance with radiation physics shows why they wouldn't dare subject it to peer review. About 40 pages of this 90 page opus is in fact devoted to discussing the well-known flaws in the glass-greenhouse analogy sometimes used in simplified explanations of the phenomenon. These flaws have no bearing whatever on the manner in which the greenhouse effect is actually computed in climate models.

We are not sure, whether you, Dr. Pierrehumbert, really know what you are talking about. The full theory of the atmospheric system must be a fusion of magnetohydrodynamics and radiation theory including earth's gravity and rotation. The full theory should be a multi component theory and should include phase separation (interesting!), plasma physics, and highly involved boundary conditions which, in general, even cannot be written down. You, Dr. Pierrehumbert, first solve the turbulence problem, and then we can discuss the existence of a local thermodynamic equilibrium for the photon bath in which the atmosphere is embedded. Point us to only one source in the literature, where the CO2 term enters the fundamental equations (not the useless phenomenological toy model equations).

Mathematically, even within the most simplified models you cannot predict anything, because all these ones crudely approximate non-linear partial differential equations with unknown boundary conditions. There is simply no physical foundation of the computer models with and without CO2.
The rest of the paper is simply bad physics; in fact, if they were right, not only would there be no anthropogenic greenhouse effect, there would be no greenhouse effect at all!

Boy, you got it.
They've proved too much!

We did not prove anything. We did not show anything. We only demonstrated that you and your virtual global climatology buddies and Al Gore and the peace Nobel prize committee do not know anything about fundamental university physics. We conclusively showed that you guy and your buddies never will prove or disprove anything in the context of your unproven computer models. Moreover, we are sure that you are fully aware of this fact.
The Earth would be a solid ball of ice, and Venus would be 400 degrees colder than it is.

In our paper, we clearly show that the standard calculation giving the 33 Celsius degrees for the greenhouse effect is wrong. Moreover, the Venus problem has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect, since in this case even the core presupposition is not fulfilled, namely that the sunlight reaches the ground.
And, as an aside, infrared weather satellites wouldn't work either.

Apparently, you do not know the subtle difference between absorption and warming. Read Chandrasekhar, read Unsoeld, read Schack.
Since the work was never published, it of course has never been discussed in the peer reviewed literature. The obvious flaws in the paper cannot be discussed easily in a comment box, but for a good general guide to the junk physics in this paper I refer the reader to Eli Rabett's discussion at .

Our paper is a brand new preprint submitted for publication. You are allowed to cite it in your future work according to the arXiv conventions. Apparently, you rank a peer reviewed published paper higher than a preprint, no matter of its content. Even so, really surprising in this context is that you attribute to the statements of a semi-anonymous virtual climate pet, namely Eli Rabett, the highest value.


Experts challenge ice shelf claim

Two scientists have claimed that climate change was not the only cause of the collapse of a 500bn tonne ice shelf in Antarctica six years ago. The 656ft (200m) thick, 1,255 sq mile (3,250 sq km) Larsen B shelf broke apart in March 2002. But Neil Glasser of Aberystwyth University and Ted Scambos of Colorado University claim in a new study that it had been on the brink for decades. They argue that glaciological and atmospheric factors were also invoved.

In a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, the pair say that when Larsen B collapsed it appeared to be the latest in a long line of victims of Antarctic summer heatwaves linked to global warming. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey predicted in 1998 that several ice shelves around the peninsula were doomed because of rising temperatures in the region, but the speed with which Larsen B went shocked them in 2002.

But Prof Glasser said the dramatic event was "not as simple as we first thought". He acknowledged that global warming had a major part to play in the collapse [He has to say that. This is a BBC report, after all], but emphasised that it was only one of a number of contributory factors. "Because large amounts of meltwater appeared on the ice shelf just before it collapsed, we had always assumed that air temperature increases were to blame," he added. "But our new study shows that ice-shelf break up is not controlled simply by climate. "A number of other atmospheric, oceanic and glaciological factors are involved. "For example, the location and spacing of fractures on the ice shelf such as crevasses and rifts are very important too because they determine how strong or weak the ice shelf is."

Dr Scambos, of the University of Colorado's national snow and ice data centre, said the ice shelf had probably been in distress for decades before its demise. "It's likely that melting from higher ocean temperatures, or even a gradual decline in the ice mass of the peninsula over the centuries, was pushing the Larsen to the brink," he added.


Afghanistan has worst winter in living memory

The snow is finally melting and the roads reopening in western and central Afghanistan, and the thaw is revealing the true impact of the worst winter in living memory. Officially 800 people have died, but many more will no doubt have frozen to death when the snow fell heavier and the temperatures dropped lower than anybody expected.

Ahmad is 18 and he is lying in one of eight beds in a ward at Herat hospital. Everyone there is suffering from frostbite, and some are groaning in agony. You can see the pain on Ahmad's face as he tries to move himself onto one side - learning to move himself now without his legs, as both have been amputated below the knee and are bandaged. "I thought I was going to die in the snow," he says. He is a shepherd and was out in the fields with the animals when the blizzard caught him. "The cold has taken away my legs, and look at my hands - I have lost my fingers."

He was trapped for six days and six nights without any shelter. His brother Abrahim, who's 20, was sent to look for him, but now he lies in the next bed, his legs also claimed by frostbite. Watching over them is their father, Said Mohammad Sultanzai. He is more than 40 years old and has never seen anything like it. His uncle, who is much older, says winter has never been as bad. Said Mohammad explained that in his area, 85 people had been caught out in the open - 18 died and most of the survivors remain in their district, where healthcare is poor, as it is so difficult to get transport to the hospital for treatment.

At the weather centre in Kabul comes an explanation of why this winter has been so bad. "There have been three problems in the last three weeks," said Abdul Qadir Qadir, president of Afghanistan's meteorological service. "The first was a low pressure area from Iran, and in this front we had 180cm [71in] of snow. "Then another front came in from the Gulf, dropping 80cm more, and then a high pressure area from the North Pole - which passed through Siberia - took the temperature down to -30C. "Our records only go back 10 years, but I have been here more than 30 and have never seen anything like this."

The extreme temperatures and heavy snow struck parts of the country that are not usually hit. About 800 people died, many around Herat and Herat province," says Dr Abdul Matin Adrak, director of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority. "All the people were out of their houses with animals, they were busy with them on the land, but the snow struck and they died."

Central and western Afghanistan are very remote and mountainous. Many roads are still blocked and it could be some time before the true extent of the crisis is uncovered. "We don't have the transport to get to them, or the machinery to clear the roads," Dr Adrak adds, appealing for the international community inside and outside Afghanistan to help.

All that can be seen from the air is a vast and mountainous blanket of snow. Tens of thousands of animals have perished, and that will have a long-term impact on communities. Then there is the fear of flooding as temperatures increase and metres of snow begin to melt. The winter may have kept the fighting down to a minimum across much of Afghanistan, but it has still left millions of people in misery.


Record cold in the USA too

The temperature in International Falls, Minnesota, fell to a record 40 below zero Monday, just a few days after the town won a federal trademark officially making it the "Icebox of the Nation." It was so cold that resident Nick McDougall couldn't even get his car trunk lid to close after he got out his charger to kick-start his dead battery. By late morning, the temperature had risen all the way to 18 below zero. "This is about as cold as it gets. This is bad. There's no wind -- it's just cold," said McDougall, 48, a worker at The Fisherman, a convenience store and gas station in the northern Minnesota town on the Canadian border. "People just don't go out, unless you have to go to work."

Residents of the area use electric engine block heaters to keep their cars from freezing. "You plug in your car, for sure, and you put the car in the garage if you can," McDougall said. His garage is full of other things, so he had to park outside, which he admitted was a "big mistake."

The previous record low in International Falls was 37 below zero set in 1967. Mike Stewart, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the cold was expected. "When the winds finally died off and the skies cleared off, it just dropped," he said.

The temperature also fell to 40 below zero in Embarrass, 80 miles southeast of International Falls. That's just one degree above the all-time record in Minneapolis, 250 miles to the south, that was set in January 1888, the weather service said. Chilly air also spread into the Northeast on Monday and many schools in New York state between Buffalo and Syracuse closed or opened late. Single-digit temperatures plus high wind drove the wind chill factor to nearly 20 below zero across much of upstate New York. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had a "Code Blue" alert in effect, sending outreach crews to coax homeless people into shelters. Monday's low was 10 above zero.

Farther south, freezing rain hit southwest Missouri early Monday, making roads hazardous and closing schools. A coating of ice up to an inch thick was expected across much of southern and central Missouri, the weather service said. "It's treacherous. If you can stay home this morning, do it," Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Bracker said in Springfield.

Thousands of West Virginia homes and businesses had no electricity Monday after the state was hit by weekend wind gusts of up to 55 mph. At least nine counties closed schools because of power outages and the cold. The mountain city of Elkins had a low of 6 degrees. Classes also were canceled Monday for a number of schools in Michigan, which remained in a deep freeze after a weekend of single-digit temperatures and gusty wind. One death was blamed on the weather.



Tajikistan is facing a growing humanitarian crisis. United Nations agencies warn that the health of large parts of the population is already affected, as the country struggles with a cold and energy emergency. The central Asian republic, home to about 7 million people, is currently experiencing its harshest winter for three decades. The average temperature is around minus 15 degrees Celsius, dropping to as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius at night. Roads between several districts are blocked by heavy snowfall, affecting supplies of food and other basic products. The cold wave has also led to severe problems with the water supply system, as supply lines either break or freeze.

The energy problems are seriously affecting the health sector: 50% of all health facilities in the four major districts of Tajikistan - Kulyab, Rasht valley, Kurgan-Tube and Sogd oblast - report severe power shortages and complete blackouts. According to a WHO assessment, all hospitals in the Kulyab district are without water supply. Hospitals and heath facilities in other districts are facing serious water shortages. Maternal morbidity and cold-related diseases are reported to be on the increase.

More here


A nail-biting cold wave is making the country's financial capital - Mumbai - shiver. The minimum temperature in the city dipped to a season's low of 8.5 degrees Celsius Friday. "This is the lowest-ever temperature recorded in the city for the month of February," said K. Sathi Devi, director of weather bureau here.

The minimum temperature recorded Friday at Colaba, in south Mumbai, was 13.4 degrees Celsius, while at Santacruz in north Mumbai it was 8.5 degrees Celsius. This is the coldest ever in the city of stars in the past 40 years. But the record low is 7.4 on Jan 22, 1962. "The cold wave is expected to continue for at least another two-three days (till Sunday)," Sathi Devi told IANS.

More here


For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

mmghosh said...

Mr Ray

Thanks for all your links.

I'm curious about your position, though. Are you saying that globe is not warming? Are the warming trends shown by the surface temperature and satellite data wrong?

More practically, and I am writing from India, is it necessary for us to worry at all about cutting emissions? Shall we carry on using our cars as we are doing as much as possible? Is it necessary to pass new legislation to cut industry emissions, or should we just carry on as we are doing?