Monday, May 26, 2008

Message from Greenland

New snow...again, again, again... But it looks beautiful. We used to have the first flowers by now....Global warming?....Iceage?....


Greenhouse Facts and Fantasies

By Tom Kondis, a retired chemist and consultant with practical experience in absorption and emission spectroscopy

To support their argument, advocates of man-made global warming have intermingled elements of greenhouse activity and infrared absorption to promote the image that carbon dioxide traps heat near earth's surface like molecular greenhouses insulating our atmosphere. Their imagery, however, is seriously flawed.

A greenhouse is simply a physical structure that traps hot air. Solar radiation initiates the heating sequence inside a greenhouse when photons in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, entering through glass or transparent plastic panels, are absorbed by surfaces of opaque objects. Reflected photons exit freely; neither they, nor their "heat," are trapped inside. Drivers who regularly park their mobile greenhouses in sunny locations exploit this principle by placing reflective white cardboard behind their windshields to expel some before they're absorbed.

Although transparent to visible photons, greenhouse panels absorb weaker radiation in the infrared (IR) region of the spectrum. Solar IR photons can't enter. This fact requires spectroscopists to use exotic window materials such as polished rock salt in their IR pursuits. Visible radiation, not IR, energizes a greenhouse.

Advocates misuse the term "absorption" of photons by substances as being analogous to water sopped up by a sponge, unchanged, implying physical entrapment. Actually, it means that the photon smoothly transfers its radiant energy to kinetic form. Absorption is an energy transition, not a trap; photons don't occupy molecular cages. Similarly, emission is the reverse kinetic to radiant transfer.

An absorbed photon disappears as its discrete packet (quantum) of radiant energy dissipates into a diverse kinetic assortment of motion, vibrations or collisions involving atoms and molecules of the absorbing substance. Imagine one shot of your metabolic energy, through cue stick and cue ball, scattering a rack of balls on a pool table. These transfers obey the second law of thermodynamics, popularly stated as the spontaneous downhill flow from high to low energy, or hot to cold. Inside a greenhouse, visible photons define the hilltop from which this flow begins. IR photons, when emitted, are near the bottom of a typical greenhouse energy hill.

Continuing the sequence, the confined greenhouse atmosphere is convectively heated through molecular collisions with hotter opaque surfaces; its composition is at least 99.95% by volume nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and argon. Carbon dioxide, only about 0.035% of the trapped hot air, is insignificant in this role. Drivers of mobile greenhouses recognize this principle too, when they crack open windows of their parked vehicles to partially disable the trap. Any gas can convectively transfer heat, but no gas can possibly mimic greenhouse-type entrapment of hot air. A greenhouse-carbon dioxide analogy has no logical basis.

Because a greenhouse obviously warms in the sunshine, the second law of thermodynamics is sometimes misconstrued. However, using the pool table analogy, if a person could repeatedly strike moving balls as rapidly as the sun pours visible photons into a greenhouse, the chaos on the table reasonably simulates greenhouse heating. But terminate the energy input, and the dissipation process mandated by the second law becomes obvious; a greenhouse cools, and the balls stop.

Advocates err when they equate absorption of IR photons by atmospheric carbon dioxide to absorption of exponentially higher intensity visible photons by objects inside a greenhouse. This exponential energy relationship, the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, is fundamental to thermal radiation and establishes the location of visible photons at the summit and IR photons near the base of typical greenhouse energy hills. For example, visible photons carry the intense energy representing solar surface temperatures. This intensity rapidly decreases with temperature of the emitter such that the human body liberally emits IR photons through our metabolic process, but is much too cold to emit visible photons. Even warm dirt emits IR photons from these lower temperature foothills of human habitation.

Consequently, carbon dioxide should properly be compared with water rather than with greenhouse contents. In all of its phases (gas, liquid and solid), water absorbs in the same region of the IR spectrum as carbon dioxide, and both are transparent to visible radiation. Significantly, the polar ice caps, glaciers and general snow cover all absorb this weaker radiation, obey the second law mandate, and remain frozen. However, advocates mistakenly claim that, despite existing for ages under direct solar IR bombardment, these frozen masses are melting now because carbon dioxide "traps" and leaks IR photons like soggy sponges. They offer no corroboration or experimental evidence to support their exaggeration.

The second law of thermodynamics prohibits carbon dioxide from arresting or reversing the spontaneous downhill flow of energy, putting advocates in the awkward position of insisting that a trace atmospheric component's innocent participation in a natural heat dissipation process is responsible for warming a planet. The fictitious "trapped heat" property, which they aggressively promote with a dishonest "greenhouse gas" metaphor, is based on their misrepresentation of natural absorption and emission energy transfer processes and disregard of two fundamental laws of physics. Their promotional embellishments have also corrupted the meaning of "greenhouse effect," a term originally relating the loose confinement of warm nighttime air near ground level by cloud cover, to hot air trapped inside a greenhouse.


Greenhouse Gas Hypothesis Violates Fundamentals of Physics

By Dipl.-Ing. Heinz Thieme (Germany). Excerpt:

The relationship between so-called greenhouse gases and atmospheric temperature is not yet well understood. So far, climatologists have hardly participated in serious scientific discussion of the basic energetic mechanisms of the atmosphere. Some of them, however, appear to be starting to realise that their greenhouse paradigm is fundamentally flawed, and already preparing to withdraw their theories about the climatic effects of CO2 and other trace gases.

At present, the climatological profession is chiefly engaged in promoting the restriction of CO2 emissions as a means of limiting atmospheric warming. But at the same time, they admit that the greenhouse effect - i.e. the influence of so-called greenhouse gases on near-surface temperature - is not yet absolutely proven (Grassl et al., see here PDF ). In other words, there is as yet no incontrovertible proof either of the greenhouse effect, or its connection with alleged global warming.

This is no surprise, because in fact there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect: it is an impossibility. The statement that so-called greenhouse gases, especially CO2, contribute to near-surface atmospheric warming is in glaring contradiction to well-known physical laws relating to gas and vapour, as well as to general caloric theory.

The greenhouse theory proposed by the climatological fraternity runs as follows: Outgoing infra-red radiation from the earth's surface is somehow re-radiated by molecules of CO2 (mainly) and also O3, NO2, CH4 in the atmosphere. This backradiation produces warming of the lower atmosphere. To convince the public of the greenhouse effect, composites of temperature measurements since the 19th century are exhibited that show a certain warming. Measurements of the CO2 content of the air also show a rise in recent decades (Note CO2). Climatologists then claim that the CO2 rise has caused the temperature rise (see: here).

A second source of misconceptions about the relation between temperature and the CO2 content of air arises from an erroneous explanation of conditions on the planet Venus. The Venutian atmosphere is 95% CO2, and its near-surface temperature is approximately 460oC (see also here ). What climatologists overlook is that atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is 90 bar, and that it is this colossal pressure that determines the temperature.

Strict application of physical laws admits no possibility that tiny proportions of gases like CO2 in our atmosphere cause backradiation that could heat up the surface and the atmosphere near it:

1. The troposphere cools as altitude increases: in dry air, at a rate of around 1oC per 100m; under typical atmospheric humidity, by around 0.7oC per 100m. This cooling reflects the decrease of atmospheric pressure as altitude increases. Higher is cooler, both by day and by night.

2. Backradiation of the heat radiation outgoing from the earth's surface would only be possible by reflection, similarly to the effect of aluminium foil under roof insulation. But the CO2 share in our atmosphere cannot cause reflection in any way. Within homogeneous gases and gas mixtures no reflections occur. As is well known in optics, reflection and even refraction occur only at the boundaries of materials of different optical density, or at phase boundaries of a material or a material mixture (solid-liquid, liquid-gaseous, solid-gaseous). Thus it occurs with suspended water drops or ice crystals, or at the boundary between surface water and air - but never within homogeneous materials, e.g. air, water, glass.

3. If outgoing thermal radiation from the earth's surface is absorbed in the atmosphere, the absorbing air warms up, disturbing the existing vertical pattern of temperature, density and pressure, i.e. the initial state of the air layers. It is well known that warmed air expands and, because it is then lighter than the non-warmed air around it, rises. The absorbed warmth is taken away by air mass exchange. Just this occurs with near-surface air that is warmed by convection from earth's surface, vegetation, buildings and so on. For the same reason the windows of heated rooms are kept closed in winter - otherwise the warm air would escape.

These facts are slowly but surely dawning on climatologists. Grassl and others state (see above) that radiation absorbed by CO2-molecules will warm the atmosphere if no other reactions occur in the physical (in particular dynamic) processes in the earth/atmosphere system. In these "idealised conditions", they say the greenhouse effect would be inevitable. Such "idealised conditions" must obviously include the proviso that air is stationary. It is really quite absurd that even now something so obvious as that hot air rises is not properly taken into account by the climatological profession. When air is heated up locally, it ascends and the warmth is removed. It also expands with decreasing atmospheric pressure at higher altitude, and cools so that no remaining warming can be observed. The warmth taken over by the absorbing air is transported toward the upper troposphere. The greenhouse effect does not occur.

The same process applies to individual CO2-molecules that absorb outgoing radiant heat from the earth's surface or from lower layers of the troposphere. These individual molecules remain at the same temperature as their surroundings. Due to the high density of molecules in the troposphere, an immediate exchange of absorbed radiated energy takes place by convection with the surrounding molecules of air. The CO2-molecules in the air are not isolated and therefore cannot reach a higher temperature than their environment. If energy is absorbed, the molecules in the immediate vicinity will warm up.

4. A prerequisite for any type of heat transfer is that the emitter is warmer than the absorber. Heat transfer is determined by the ratio of the fourth powers of the temperatures of the emitting and the absorbing bodies. Because temperature is uniform within minute volumes of gas in the air, and temperature decreases with increasing altitude, back transfer to near-surface air of radiation from higher CO2-molecules is impossible. In fact, this is just as impossible as it is to use a to cooler heat radiator to heat up a warmer area.

5. The energy discharge from the troposphere takes place at its upper boundary layer, at the transition of the atmosphere from its gaseous state to a state approaching a vacuum. Only in this zone do gases start to emit even small quantities of energy by radiation. The other energy transfer mechanisms - thermal conduction and convection - which at denser pressure are far more efficient than radiation, no longer operate because of the low density of the atmosphere there. But from the surface where man lives and up to 10 to 17km altitude (depending on geographical latitude), gases transfer the small quantities of energy they might acquire from absorbed radiation by convection and conduction - not by radiation.

The climatologists derived the theoretical foundation of the greenhouse hypothesis from the concept of radiative equilibrium over the entire gas area of the atmosphere, right down to the earth's surface. But the fundamental premise of radiative equilibrium - a balance of incoming and outgoing radiation - is correct only as long as it is limited to the vacuum-like zone of the upper atmosphere. In the lower regions of the atmosphere, the heat balance is essentially determined by thermal, i.e. thermodynamic equilibrium, which includes the thermodynamic characteristics of the components of the atmosphere as well as their changes in status.

6. From the upper atmosphere down to earth's surface, air pressure rises continuously. The determinant of atmospheric pressure is the mass and the weight of that part of the atmosphere above the point in question. And as pressure increases, so does temperature. The rise in temperature is caused by the thermodynamic characteristics of the main components of the atmosphere, i.e. N2 and O2. Everyone knows that compression causes gases to warm: the effect is noticeable even when inflating bicycle tires. The atmosphere is no different......


Commonly held perceptions of the climatic relevance of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases rest on a staggering failure to grasp some of the fundamentals of physics. Correct interpretation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and sound appreciation of the necessary physical conditions for emission of radiation by gases lead to the understanding that within the troposphere no backradiation can be caused by so-called greenhouse gases. Therefore it is not at all correct to speak of a thermal effect of these gases on the biosphere.

The thermal conditions in our and any atmosphere are determined by its pressure and the mass of its main components. Higher concentrations of CO2 in our atmosphere - at least until they reached 2% (a 60-fold increase) and thus became injurious to health - would endanger neither the climate nor mankind. To avoid further misunderstanding, the terms greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases should be avoided in describing the functioning of the atmosphere. A more correct term would be atmosphere effect. The operation of this effect is described in "The Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect" here.)

It is completely incomprehensible and unjustified to imagine that mankind can or must protect the climate by attempting to control trace amounts of CO2 in the air.

More here

Another Dissenter: Caribbean Geoscientist downplays CO2 in favor of water vapour

A LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL scientist thinks too little attention is being placed on water vapour or H2O gas as a contributing factor to global warming. Mark Harris, professor in the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Northern Caribbean University, has argued that the popular villain - carbon dioxide (CO2) - might be eclipsed by water vapour in contributing to global warming.

"Popular perception links CO2 with the 'bad guys' - the big oil companies with whom many associate greed and insensitivity. On the other hand, pure, clean water is associated normally with life and health," Harris recently told a gathering at the Mandeville-based university while delivering a public lecture on global warming. "It is, therefore, unfashionable, and even inconceivable, in some quarters to think of too much water vapour as a dangerous substance," he continued.

Indeed, Harris asserted that "no other gas, fossil-fuelled or otherwise traps more heat than water vapour." Noting that water vapour had three times the heat-absorbent capacity of carbon dioxide, Harris explained: "In other words, CO2 does not block heat rays having wavelengths anywhere between five and 16 microns, while water vapour, in general, does."

The trapping of heat or radiation from the sun by certain gases in the stratosphere, which then causes an increase in the Earth's temperature, is described by geoscientists as the greenhouse effect. Substances that trap the sun's radiation above the Earth - thus preventing excess radiation from bouncing back into space - are referred to as greenhouse gases. Water vapour is the most abundant of these, followed in decreasing quantity by carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and chloro-fluorocarbons.

With water vapour causing 36-70 per cent of the greenhouse effect, Harris posited that it is "the most influential natural greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and plays an important role in the context of climate change ..." In questioning conventional wisdom, he argued: "... There is no scientific evidence that increases in CO2 can produce giant storms, while it is known that water vapour provides the energy for hurricanes ... Hence, water vapour requires more study regarding its movements, fluxes and sinks."

Harris, a notable researcher in the field of geoscience, eases some of the culpability from oil producers for the emission of carbon dioxide by pointing out that the combustion of fossil fuel (in the form of gasolene) produces two units more in volume of water vapour than carbon dioxide. He, therefore, deduced that the proliferation of gasolene-based motor vehicles was harmful to the environment by producing two greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Harris pointed, anecdotally, to the impact of the multiplying number of motor vehicles on the weather pattern in Mandeville. "During the 1960s and 1970s, all my friends living in the in-land town of Mandeville ... wore sweaters all year," he recounted. "Nowadays, sweaters are rarely seen there, even in winter. With the extra heat and pollutants - some coming from the proliferation of motor vehicles - of recent years comes unprecedented, regular, conventional afternoon showers at any season," the geoscientist added.

He stated that one litre of petrol burnt in cars added, through water-vapour condensation, nine kilo calories of heat into the environment. When this process is multiplied and influenced by wind patterns, Harris posited, it results in rainfall, which has been on the increase in Mandeville with its elevation of 800 metres.

Speaking subsequently to The Sunday Gleaner, Harris suggested that increases in the quantity of atmospheric water vapour (by up to 20 per cent over the last two decades in the stratosphere) could be minimised by first reducing the level of methane, a greenhouse gas emitted as one of several vehicular-exhaust gases, which reaches into the upper atmosphere.

Water vapour itself is normally rare at such high altitudes, because, by then, condensation by cooling would have increased its density, Harris explained. However, methane never condenses anywhere in the atmosphere, and, therefore, rises higher until it finally breaks down by oxidation, yielding water vapour as a by-product. Thus, whereas accumulated water vapour in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) is removed as clouds and rain, methane-induced water vapour in the stratosphere remains up there for a much longer time. A substantial stratospheric increase of water vapour, Harris argued, could have a significant warming effect through increased absorption of long-wave radiation from the Earth, and could increase global warming.

"Methane itself, therefore, has to be reduced in the atmosphere," said the geoscientist, pointing out that sources of methane are largely natural, arising from the fermentation of organic matters, such as peat bogs and marshes. Other sources of methane, according to Harris, are the release of natural gas during its production and transportation, and as a by-product of oil drilling; the venting of gases from landfills with decomposing waste; and the release of methane from the guts of ruminants, as well as rice paddies.


The Lynching of Carbon Dioxide - The Innocent Source of Life, by Dr. Martin Hertzberg


... Al Gore, the IPCC, and the vast majority of politicians in the US and Europe argue that this [need to reduce CO2 emissions] is all established science. But I
am here to show that not only is this not established science, but that the objective evidence available indicates that it is false.

Shocking isn't it? You might ask, how can a lifelong Democrat like myself reject my party's position on global warming and join the camp of the skeptics, virtually all of whom are Republicans or neocons.

Read the full article: here [PDF, 655KB]

Chill out on global warming

Editorial from National Examiner

Al Gore's cinematic sermons on inconvenient truths to the contrary notwithstanding, it is becoming clearer by the day that major cracks are appearing in the supposed consensus among scientists that global warming caused by carbon emissions is an urgent problem that government must address with drastic measures. Among the most significant cracks are these:

- New data produced by more than 3,000 sophisticated ocean buoys scattered across the world's oceans indicate average water temperatures have been decreasing since 2003, not increasing as would be the case in Gore's globally warming world. NASA's Josh Willis, who studies the output of the sophisticated buoys that take temperature readings from thousands of feet below the surface, says the significance of the new data is unclear.

- The average land temperature of the globe dropped precipitously last year, according to the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction. The temperature drop - more than enough to "wipe out most of the global warming of the past 100 years," according to the online technology publication Daily Tech - was also recorded by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

- The severity of this global temperature drop was reflected in the fact the average U.S. temperature in January was lower than the average for the previous century, according to the U.S. Climactic Data Center. Also, the Canadian Ice Service reports the Arctic ice pack is 10 to 20 centimeters thicker in many places this year than it was in 2007.

- Professor Oleg Sorokhtin of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences is advising people "to stock up on fur coats" because he expects an extended period of global cooling, an assessment that is echoed by Kenneth Tapping of the U.S. National Academy of Science's National Research Council. Both scientists contend solar activity explains most of the temperature variation in the Earth's atmosphere.

- A peer-reviewed study published recently in the journal Nature suggests there will be no global warming until 2015, due to the effects of the Meridional Overturning Circulation, a giant oceanic conveyor belt that moves warmer water into the North Atlantic in a 70- to 80-year cycle, according to the London Telegraph.

At the very least, these developments ought to give pause to legislators and policymakers who are otherwise hell-bent on accepting Gore's apocalyptic warnings and imposing on the U.S. draconian measures designed to stall or reduce economic growth; forcing widespread conversion to unproven alternative fuels for transportation, home and commercial uses; and severely limiting or even stopping suburban new-home construction. Adopting such measures would mean the loss of millions of jobs and a significantly reduced standard of living for most Americans. It's time to take a step back on this issue.



by Indur M. Goklany

Keith Bradsher and Andrew Martin outline in Sunday's New York Times the extent to which the world's aid agencies starved the budgets of international agricultural research institutions that worked on increasing agricultural productivity in the developing world:

Donors increasingly directed the money toward worthwhile but ancillary projects like environmental research. Spending fell on the laborious plant-breeding programs needed to improve crop productivity.... As these trends played out, the stage was being set for a food emergency... From 1970 to 1990, the peak Green Revolution years, the food supply grew faster than the world population. But after 1990, food's growth rate fell below population growth, according to a report by Ronald Trostle, a researcher at the Agriculture Department...

Adjusting for inflation and exchange rates, the wealthy countries, as a group, cut ... donations [to agriculture in poor countries from the governments of wealthy countries] roughly in half from 1980 to 2006, to $2.8 billion a year from $6 billion. The United States cut its support for agriculture in poor countries to $624 million from $2.3 billion in that period... The World Bank cut its agricultural lending to $2 billion in 2004 from $7.7 billion in 1980.

John Tierney ties all this together in Greens and Hunger reminding us how environmental groups succeeded in demonizing (my word) the green revolution and prevailed upon Western "aid" agencies, multilateral agencies (such as the World Bank) and philanthropies, specifically the Rockefeller and the Ford Foundations, to reduce funding to improve crop productivity in Africa.

Looking at other explanations for today's high food prices, the Washington Post's Colum Lynch - a perfect name for a muckraking journalist - notes in a report titled, World Aid Agencies Faulted in Food Crisis: Failure to Support Agriculture Cited:

European governments, meanwhile, have clung to an import ban on high-yielding, genetically modified crops - thus dissuading African nations from using a technology that could increase production. "The two biggest follies are biofuels in America and the ban on genetically modified crops in Europe," said Paul Collier, a professor of economics at Oxford University.

Notably, all three explanations have a common denominator, namely, "well fed Westerners," to use Tierney's phrase, putting the environment ahead of humans in developing countries.

Without their ecochondria, the green revolution would be seen for what it is - a major advance in human well being, the lobby for subsidizing ethanol would be much less powerful, and misanthropic bans on genetically modified crops would not be respectable in a world that claims to cherish both human lives and minimization of human suffering.



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.


No comments: