Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Warmism is contrary to physics

It relies on an ad hoc and unparsimonious theory by Planck

I've touched on atmospheric backradiation before, back when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to construct my own simple computer simulation model of global warming.

In rough outline, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is supposed to work by short wave solar radiation passing through the Earth's atmosphere and being absorbed at the surface of the Earth, and warming this surface, and being re-radiated back out into space as long wave radiation, some of which is captured by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is warmed, and in turn re-radiates this heat as "backradiation" to the Earth's surface, warming it a little more. This extra warming is AGW. And the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greater is this warming.

But some physicists object that this "backradiation" is unphysical, in that it requires heat to be transferred from the cold atmosphere to the warm surface of the Earth, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics disallows heat from flowing from cold to warm. From The Science of Doom:

What’s amazing about back-radiation is how many different ways people arrive at the conclusion it doesn’t exist or doesn’t have any effect on the temperature at the earth’s surface.

It seems that this "backradiation" is a feature of quantum physics, whereby energy is supposed to be released in discrete packets called "quanta". The quantum physical view is said to have been developed by Max Planck in about 1900 in an "act of despair" in order to get round the "ultraviolet catastrophe" whereby the classical wave mechanical understanding of radiation embodied in the Rayleigh-Jeans law predicted an infinite (and therefore impossible) energy content of high frequency radiation. Planck's new quantum mechanical understanding did not produce this "ultraviolet catastrophe", and produced a theoretical result much more closely in line with the observed radiation spectrum (see right).

The result has been a somewhat schizophrenic "wave-particle dualism" in physics ever since, with radiation being regarded as made up of waves for some purposes, and as particles or quanta for other purposes.

But according to Claes Johnson, a Swedish professor of mathematics, the classical wave mechanical view of radiation, which Planck had abandoned in order to circumvent the "ultraviolet catastrophe", can actually be used to get round the problem, by using finite precision mathematics.

A black body is regarded a vibrating string, with a number of harmonics, but with a cut-off minimum wavelength, representing the smallest wavelength the string can carry. Incoming waves excite the string harmonics, and these harmonics are re-radiated. High-frequency waves, with a shorter wavelength than the cut-off, are absorbed as incoherent high frequency vibrations which take the form of heat.

The net result is that a warm blackbody can heat a colder blackbody, through incoming frequencies above cut-off. But a cold blackbody cannot heat a warmer, because incoming frequencies below cut-off will be re-emitted without heating effect.

Since "backradiation" refers to the latter case, the model indicates that "backradiation" is not physical.

And if "backradiation" is unphysical, then it can't be happening. And if that can't be happening, neither can Anthropogenic Global Warming. And then AGW will prove to have been the product of the misdirection of physics by Max Planck in 1900 in his attempt to circumvent the problem of the "ultraviolet catastrophe". It may well turn out that the AGW problem has been a consequence of an unfortunate dualism within physics that has grown up over the past 100 years.

AGW devotees may then be seen as being followers of Max Planck ("Planckists?"), and of the orthodox quantum physics of the past century. AGW sceptics such as Johnson may be seen as followers of the older classical wave mechanical view of radiation ("Maxwellians?"). A dispute within physics has spilled out into a high-stakes political conflict.

If so, it will only be physicists - and not politicians or anybody else - who will ultimately be able to resolve the dispute. Either that, or the actual behaviour of the Earth's climate will prove or disprove one party or the other. Since more or less everyone agrees that the Earth has been warming over the past century or so, during which period carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising, the Planckists have a fairly good case that the Earth's climate is following Planckist directions. However the fact that it doesn't seem to have warmed at all over the past 13 years suggests that the climate is perhaps more Maxwellian than Planckist.

By no means all AGW sceptics deny the existence of "backradiation". Most sceptics are as Planckist (and orthodox) as AGW believers. Their scepticism is not about the fundamental physics so much as the scale of its effects and the nature of other feedback mechanisms.

This month, however, in the wake of the publication of Slaying The Sky Dragon, of which he is a co-author, Claes Johnson has been subjected to censorship by Swedish university authorities:

The highly-experienced and respected professor has been banned by his bosses from teaching any “part of course material in the course Numerical Methods II.” The material is also found in his ebook, ‘BodyandSoul.’

Dr. Johnson laments, “the course, has been “stopped” by the President of the Royal Technological Institute KTH, because the book contains a mathematical analysis of some models related to climate simulation.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

ABC's Harris: Climate Scientists `Embattled' by `Controversial' Skeptics `Despite Compelling Evidence' of Global Warming

On the Wednesday, December 22, Nightline on ABC, inspired by recent extreme weather, correspondent Dan Harris filed a report on global warming in which he gave attention to the views of a proponent of global warming theory, while giving a lesser amount of attention to two skeptics, one of whom he labeled "controversial."

Harris related that, "despite all that compelling evidence" of global warming, climate scientists "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right." He even went so far as to highlight examples of reported harassment of climate scientists, including anti-Semitic insults.

Harris also concluded his report passing on a warning from scientists that there will be more "extremely deadly weather" in the future "if the world doesn’t act very quickly":
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year’s extreme and extremely deadly weather, you’ll likely get much more if the world doesn’t act very quickly.

After beginning the report with a look at weather forecaster Piers Corbyn - calling his methods "unorthodox" because he uses magnetic fields to predict weather - Harris moved to global warming theory proponent Professor Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University:
That’s Princeton scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who says climate change is like loading the dice or tilting a pinball machine, making it more likely that we'll have heat waves, intense rainstorms and higher sea levels. It’s not a pretty picture.

The ABC correspondent passed on complaints by climate scientists that they "feel more embattled than ever," taking heat from "politicians on the right":
It might feel cold outside of your house tonight, but 2010 may well turn out to be the hottest year on record. And, in fact, the last decade was definitely the hottest on record. Despite all that compelling evidence, climate scientists say they now feel more embattled than ever. And some of their biggest opponents, they say, are politicians on the right.

Harris tried to embarrass global warming skeptics by including clips of two public figures - incoming House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Congressman John Shimkus - who expressed doubts that were either flawed or not based on scientific reasoning, before sympathetically returning to Oppenheimer to make his case, even highlighting examples of reported harassment toward global warming theory proponents. Harris:
Meanwhile, the FBI tells us it has seen a spike in threatening e-mails to climate scientists, and a white supremacist Web site recently ran pictures of scientists with the word "Jew" next to them. Michael Oppenheimer says he’s sure this interview will result in angry e-mails.

After a clip of Oppenheimer complaining about a "disinformation campaign" funded by industry, Harris got to global warming skeptic Dr. Fred Singer, whom the ABC correspondent called "controversial," only giving a couple of brief soundbites for the University of Virginia professor emeritus to say that global warming theory proponents are "wrong." Introducing Singer, Harris related:
Their foe, they say, is a well-funded campaign to confuse. Led by people like Dr Fred Singer, a controversial scientific skeptic with whom I conducted this combative interview several years ago, which was heavily criticized by many in the skeptics community.

After noting that Corbyn is also a global warming skeptic, Harris got to his conclusion which dismissed doubters and passed on the call for action, presumably meaning more government regulatoins. Harris:
Corbyn is now predicting a mini ice age in the coming years. However, the vast, vast majority of climate scientists disagree and say, if you like this year's extreme and extremely deadly weather, you'll likely get much more if the world doesn't act very quickly.


GOP all set to wimp out on EPA?

A key Republican is already laying the groundwork for the 112th Congress’ surrender on the EPA’s climate rules. More surprising is the complicity of a tea party group.

Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman-designate of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, co-authored an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal with the promising title, “How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab.”

Now that we face the prospect of flagrantly illegal, arbitrary, expensive and pointless regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA, I was eager to read how the new Congress was going to, say, slash the EPA’s budget to prevent it from implementing the climate rules or perhaps shutdown the federal government if the Obama administration proceeded with its plan to dictate energy policy in order to control the economy.

Instead, Upton offered a mere two sentences of action that are better described pusillanimity rather than pugnacity:

The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules.

Earth to Upton, it will be impossible to overturn or delay the EPA rules because there will likey be more than 40 Democrat senators to filibuster any effort to overturn or delay the rules.

Even if a bill to overturn/delay the rules managed to get out of Congress, President Obama would veto it — and it’s unlikely that Republicans could muster the two-thirds majorities needed to overturn the veto.

The wimpiness, here is breathtaking. Aside from the total ineffectiveness of the plan, Upton fails to support his preferred solution (overturning the rules) with a more aggressive, less-palatable-to-Democrats alternative (defunding the EPA or shutting down the government). Instead, Upton’s alternative course is weaker (delaying the rules) and is offered from the position of a supplicant (“at least” do the “sensible, bipartisan compromise” — pretty please?).

I hope EPA administrator Lisa Jackson doesn’t hurt herself rolling on the floor.

Upton expresses high hopes, if not expectations, that ongoing litigation will curb the EPA. But an appellate court recently held that the EPA can wreak its havoc on our economy while the litigation is ongoing. And who knows how long it will take to get a final ruling from the Supreme Court? Keep in mind that the current Court is philosophically unchanged from the one ruling in 2007 that EPA could regulate greenhouse gases.

Moreover, while the portion of the EPA’s climate rules that is flagrantly illegal is likely to be overturned (i.e., the so-called “tailoring rule” under which EPA unilaterally amended the Clean Air Act to limit regulation of greenhouse gases from 100-ton emitters to 75,000-ton emitters), it is unlikely that the Court will overturn the EPA’s so-called “endangerment funding” (which declares that greenhouse gases are a threat to the public welfare). Under the 1984 Supreme Court case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, it is extremely difficult to show that an agency has acted arbitrarily and capriciousily in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

No profile in courage, Upton is wishing for a litigation miracle so that he doesn’t have to get down in the mud and wrestle with the Obama administration.

Also of note is Upton’s co-author, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) — a nationwide conservative grassroots group that has tried to blend in with the tea party movement. But AFP may be risking its tea party credentials by signing on to Upton’s exercise in bipartisan futility — where liberal/socialist Democrats get what they want and the rest of us get the shaft. That may be standard Washington, DC fare, but it is not what tea partiers voted for in November.

I’m not surprised by Upton’s wimpiness — that’s why conservatives wanted Joe Barton (R-TX) to be chairman of Energy and Commerce, not the light-bulb-banning Upton — but I am surprised by AFP’s. Shame on them.

Here’s the bottom line. Since the new Congress will not rubber stamp Obama’s socialist legislative agenda, the President will seek to socialize us via regulation — regardless of legality. The EPA’s climate regulation plan is unconstitutional on its face (only Congress, not federal agencies, can change laws). Another example of the coming socialization-by-regulation is the Federal Communications Commission’s recent party-line vote to implement net neutrality rules despite the a federal appellate court ruling that it lacks the statutory authority to do so.

“Every battle is won before it is fought,” said Sun Tzu. Upton, according to his op-ed, has already surrendered to Obama. Oh well, at least election night was fun.


Lowest temperatures in 30 years in Korea

A cold wave has swept through Korea. The temperature in Seoul plunged to minus 16 degrees Celsius over Christmas weekend, the lowest since minus 16.2 degrees on Dec. 29, 1980. This winter, the Northern Hemisphere has suffered record-low temperatures and heavy snow since November. Britain had 25 centimeters of snow, the worst in 17 years, and saw the temperature fall to minus 18 degrees, the lowest for November. China also suffered temperatures of minus 10 to 45 degrees and heavy snow. Though the mercury in Korea will begin to go back up Monday afternoon, two or three more cold waves are forecast next month. Since the country began meteorological observation, the lowest recorded temperature was minus 32.6 degrees in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 5, 1981.

The Korea Meteorological Administration blames this year’s cold spell to weaker Arctic oscillation caused by higher temperatures in the North Pole. The Arctic oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases. Such phenomena has weakened due to global warming, so cold air in the North Pole has been pushed by warm air to middle latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. An official at the weather agency said, “We cannot jump to the conclusion that the latest cold wave resulted from climate change. Over the long term, however, it can be seen as a phenomenon of climate change.”

Korea has suffered many weather anomalies this year. On Jan. 4, the central region had 25.8 centimeters of snow, the most since 1937. In spring, the number of rainy days hit 34.7, the highest since 1973, and that of sunshine hours was just 77 percent the usual level. Summer also saw record hot weather. In fall, 259.9 millimeters of torrential rain paralyzed the center of Seoul on Sept. 21. The annual average temperature on the Korean Peninsula has risen 1.5 degrees over the last 100 years, and certain experts predict a rise of another 4 degrees. Are climate changes bringing about a catastrophe?


University Study Confirms Renewable Energy Isn’t Economically Feasible

Colorado State University recently completed a study on the economic feasibility of increasing the usage of renewable energy. The results of this study were published in the world-renowned science periodical, The Coloradoan. Another stimulus-funded study of the obvious? No, what we have here is simply a heavy dose of reality for academicians who aren’t willing to match their rhetoric with their pocketbook. Some of the quotes in this article are quite humorous.
Fort Collins campus President Tony Frank acknowledges that the 2008 plan to “rapidly” become carbon-neutral won’t be a reality for decades because the university can’t afford to make major changes right now.

It took them two years to figure this out? Business owners have been saying for much longer that forcing draconian cuts in emissions would harm their bottom line. Apparently it’s acceptable for businesses to absorb the increased costs, but not a university.
One major challenge for CSU is that its emissions have actually been going up in recent years. In fiscal year 2006, CSU emitted 217,070 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Those emissions rose 7 per-cent by 2009.

An expanding business generates more emissions. Who knew?
For us, you’d have to really jack up tuition and put it toward plans like that.

Really? You mean mandating a huge reduction in emissions would require a business to pass on those costs to its customers?
We could save a lot of energy by sending the students home, sending the researchers home. But that’s not what we do here.

Colorado State University learned more about basic economics here than they ever could have from a government-funded study. While I’d love to believe that this knowledge will be passed on to the greater academic community, I just can’t imagine that it will. The irony of their own comments are completely lost on them.


Pressure on Australia as Japan stalls plans for Warmist laws

JAPAN'S decision to postpone its plans for an ETS by 2013 has increased pressure on Julia Gillard over her goal of pricing carbon next year. The postponement has also set back efforts for a global market to cut global carbon pollution.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt called on the Prime Minister to rule out an emissions trading scheme by New Year's Day in the wake of the Japanese move.

The decision by the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter and Australia's second-largest trading partner to postpone the scheme for a year comes after the US also stepped back from a national emissions trading scheme and as international firms remain concerned about lax pollution controls in China, which has no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Labor and Greens-backed climate change committee is looking at ways to cut carbon emissions and the Productivity Commission is examining carbon reduction regimes around the world.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has repeatedly argued that Australia is "locking our economy into failure" without a carbon price. Two weeks ago, he defended the Rudd government's carbon pollution reduction scheme, dumped by the former prime minister. He said it had included an emissions trading scheme that would have "provided the greatest certainty that Australia would meet its emissions reductions targets".

But, Mr Hunt said, the government's plans were "now in tatters". "First Canada, second the US and now Japan have all determined that there is a better way to cut emissions than a massive electricity tax. "The Prime Minister should drop this electricity tax before New Year's Day."

The government should look at the Coalition's approach of market-based incentives for emissions abatement, he said. "The choice for Australia is now a massive new tax or emissions reductions by focusing on our strengths."

Mr Combet has repeatedly argued that a price on carbon is an essential economic reform that will create an incentive to reduce pollution, stimulate investment in low-emission technology and provide greater certainty for business investment.

"It will also enhance our ability to influence the direction of the international climate change negotiations and provide encouragement for a binding agreement including all major emitters," Mr Combet told the Investor Group on Climate Change this month.

"We either grasp this opportunity for an orderly, planned and gradual transition, or face the later prospect of economic adjustment at greater cost and dislocation - in circumstances where other countries have taken the lead and the competitive advantage."

The Japanese government move came after pressure from business, which was concerned an ETS would add to costs and limit their ability to compete against rivals in China and India who would not face the same restrictions.

The Japanese government remains committed to levying a tax on CO2 emissions from fuel in October next year and to the expansion of a pilot plan for renewable sources of electricity.

At the global climate change meetings in Cancun, Mexico, Japan opposed extension of the Kyoto Protocol, calling it unfair because it did not include 70 per cent of the world's emissions, with top polluters China and the US absent.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government had planned to launch an ETS, under which companies would essentially buy and sell licences to pollute, in the fiscal year beginning April 2013 but had postponed it until at least 2014. The environment and other ministers decided to postpone the plan, saying the country would first "carefully consider it".

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the pollutants companies can emit and then requires heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less, creating financial incentives to cut emissions



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