Tuesday, July 13, 2010

There is no lid on the greenhouse

There is now an increasing number of physical scientists who are ridiculing the entire basis of the greenhouse theory. What they are saying is a bit hard to follow for the layman so I am going to have a stab at explaining it for a general audience. Apologies in advance if I oversimplify.

In a real greenhouse (growing tomatoes etc.) there is a glass lid on the greenhouse, which means that the hot air rising off the bottom of the greenhouse cannot escape and just sticks around in its hot state. Then further hot air rising also cannot escape and adds to the amount of trapped heat.

But there is no glass lid circling the earth. CO2 is just a gas and cannot trap anything. So scientists have to come up with a new type of "greenhouse" if they want to offer a theory about why the earth should be heating up. And their theory is that heat is like a rubber ball: As soon as it hits some CO2 it bounces back down to earth ("backradiation")

But heat is not a rubber ball or anything like it. Heat is just motion -- motion among molecules. So if heated air rising off the earth hits some CO2 it may transfer some of its motion to the CO2 (and thus heat it up a bit) but that is the end of it. There is nothing to bounce and nothing to bounce off.

So the entire "global warming" theory is absurd. Prof Claes Johnson below gives a more precise explanation -- JR
Why a Cold Body Cannot Heat A Warm Body

This post connects to previous posts arguing that backradiation is unphysical.

Recall that backradiation from atmospheric greenhouse CO2 is the scientific corner-stone of IPCC climate alarmism, supported by in particular the Royal Society and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. This corner-stone is unphysical and purely fictional.

In Computational Black Body Radiation I give a mathematical explanation of Planck's black body radiation law based on finite precision computation, as an alternative to the statistics of quanta used by Planck himself.

The basic problem is to explain why and how nature avoids an ultra-violet catastrophy by cutting off radiation of frequencies higher than a certain cut-off frequency proportional to the temperature according to Wien's displacement Law (see fig above): Higher temperature allows higher frequencies to be radiated, as seen in the color of a fire changing with temperature.

Planck explains the cut-off using statistical mechanics by viewing radiating waves to be assembled from a certain smallest unit of energy (quanta) and assuming that high energy/frequency is rare because it requires assembly of many quanta.

In Computational Black Body Radiation I propose an alternative explanation viewing radiation the result of a form of analog finite precision computation (performed by oscillating
atoms/molecules) with the precision being proportional to temperature (mean oscillation amplitude) leading to high frequency cut-off.

The explanation of cut-off by finite precision computation offers an explanation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics expressing that heat/radiation energy by itself can be transferred from a warm to a colder body, but not from a cold body to a warmer. Why is it so?

Because in transfer from warm to cold, high precision/energy/frequency waves are transformed to low precision/energy/frequency waves. In short, high precision can transformed by itself (with low precision) to low precision.

On the other hand, transfer from cold to warm, would require low precision to be transformed into high precision, and that is only possible by exterior (high precision) intervention.

Let us now give some examples illustrating that transfer from warm to cold is physical/observable while transfer from cold to warm is unphysical/nonobservable, because of limitations in analog finite precision computation:


U Mass hasn't heard of 1st Law of Thermodynamics

To help understand why the overwhelming "consensus" of climatologists believe that IR active "greenhouse" gases are warming the planet, it is helpful to visit one of America's top universities, the University of Massachusetts, to check on what the climatology professors are teaching future climatologists. U Mass has kindly provided us with this "greenhouse effect" calculator used in their climatology course to help answer homework questions. The calculator allows you to dial in the essential "greenhouse effect" parameters of solar input, albedo (reflection - primarily from clouds), and the percentage of [unphysical] "back radiation" to calculate the temperature of any planet with a "greenhouse effect" :

Let's use this handy calculator to create our own test of the "greenhouse effect," assuming an Al Gore apocalyptic scenario of the earth's atmosphere [currently 0.0389% CO2] having a greenhouse gas concentration so high that the atmosphere becomes a perfect "back-radiator" of heat from the earth and doesn't let any heat at all escape to space, but still lets the solar energy in. We use the default values for solar input of 1367 Wm-2, albedo of 31%, and set back radiation at 100% (.999) rather than the default 39.7%, and observe that the average temperature of the earth rises to 1428.05°K, or 2111°F. Now 2111°F is pretty hot, in fact aluminum melts at 1220°F, magnesium at 1200°F, and steel at 2600°F. Amazing that the "greenhouse gases" can accomplish this while ideal laboratory conditions cannot. The maximum laboratory temperatures that could be obtained with a laboratory blackbody which absorbs nearly all incoming radiation is given by the Stefan-Boltzman equation, which tells us the maximum temperature with the same inputs would be 359.11°K or 186.72°F. Hmmm, that's less by a factor of 11 than what greenhouse gases can supposedly achieve according to U Mass. The greenhouse hypothesis makes a self-contradictory claim that back-radiation causes a body to EXCEED the blackbody limit, even though a laboratory blackbody EPITOMIZES the effect of back-radiation.

I'm pretty sure that if you tried this at home, with ten 100 Watt light bulbs mounted on a mirror 1 meter square to provide 1000 Wm-2 heat input (analogous to solar input of 1367 Wm-2 minus 31% albedo = 943 Wm-2), hung this contraption a bit above the earth and facing downwards, that the earth's surface temperature would rise less than to 2111°F. Or just stand up and point a 1000W hair blower down at your foot; I did and my foot is fine. I'm also pretty sure that if you did the Siddons mirror example, you would not find that the mirror makes the spot on the wall brighter by a factor of 11 (actual amount is zero).

Why such an absurd result from UMass? It's because greenhouse theory ignores the conservation of energy demanded by the 1st law of thermodynamics by assuming our atmosphere is one giant perpetual heat engine "back radiating" heat energy from colder "greenhouse gases" to the earth, causing it to warm up far beyond the solar input, and rinse, cycle, repeat...global calamity. It also ignores the 2nd law of thermodynamics by assuming a cold body ('greenhouse gases") can warm a hot body (earth).

These errors in basic 18th century physics continue to be promulgated at U Mass and indeed most everywhere else. The "beauty" of the greenhouse theory is that it has two major fudge factors to play with: albedo (which is poorly understood and difficult to measure) and unphysical % "back radiation." By assigning arbitrary values to these two fudge factors one can program a computer model that looks like it agrees with global temperatures and thus bamboozle most scientists and the public, while hiding a perpetual motion machine (heat pump) inside. These science fiction theatrics do not warrant the waste of billion$ to enrich the likes of Al Gore & George Soros to the detriment of the rest of humanity.

For papers reflecting the actual physics of the atmosphere, see the Gerlich & Tscheuschner papers and this non-technical summary. See also the Chilingar et al paper.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The IPCC’s First Test In “A New World Of Openness”

“Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct,” stated the Muir Russell reportinto the Climategate scandal after it found the Climatic Research Unit at the UK’s East Anglia University guilty of “a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness.” This failure, the Russell report declared to wide agreement among climate scientists, led to harm “to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.”

To ensure that climate scientists never again harm the cause of science in this way, the Russell report then recommended that scientists adhere to new standards of openness. “Without such openness, the credibility of their work will suffer because it will always be at risk of allegations of concealment and hence mal-practice.”

The Russell report was released last week. This week the UN’s Intergovernmental; Panel on Climate Change and other scientists have their first opportunity to apply the new standards by admitting to yet another gross transgression.

The opportunity comes via the latest revelation over Amazongate, a scandal that erupted in January, just two months after the Climategate scandal broke in November. The Amazongate story begins with a claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation,” leading to the forest’s conversion to savannah. The IPCC gave as its source a report by WWF, the environmental lobby group. The press then dubbed this failure by the IPCC to rely upon peer-reviewed science “Amazongate.”

Last month, one of the media outlets that exposed Amazongate, the Sunday Times, retracted its story, apparently in the belief that the WWF had based its claim about the looming destruction of the Amazon on legitimate peer-reviewed science. If so, the IPCC’s error was trivial – it had sloppily quoted WWF instead of the actual peer-reviewed science.

With the Sunday Times retraction, most of the worldwide press and climate-friendly blogosphere jumped to the assertion that the IPCC had been exonerated. “Newspapers retract faulty climate reporting,” stated a Washington Post headline. “Lies Concocted By Climate Deniers Likely To Stick Around Despite Corrections,” stated the Huffington Post. Climate scientists everywhere supported the belief that WWF had based its views on peer-reviewed science.

One reporter, Christopher Booker at the London Telegraph, wondered where, exactly, was the peer-reviewed document that the WWF relied upon. When he was stonewalled in obtaining answers he dug and dug and finally found WWF’s source. As he explains, it “was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.” Booker’s impressive sleuthing is described in detail here.

The IPCC now has the opportunity to rise to Muir Russell’s challenge. He posed the following problem for science in introducing his Climategate report to the press: “How is science to be conducted in a new world of openness, accountability and indeed what I might term citizen involvement in public interest science? … There need to be ways of handling criticism and challenge, of responding to a range of different sorts of criticism and getting into a more productive relationship with critics than we have sometimes seen in this case.”

Will the IPCC and others in the climate science establishment pass this, their first test in the new world of openness? I hope they do. I know they won’t.


Checking The Hockey Team

The third British investigation into the Climategate scandal — led by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell — amounts, at best, to a greywash. No reason, it claims, to doubt the honesty of the scientists related to the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (which commissioned the review). However, buried within the review’s 160 pages considerable doubt is raised about the operations of both the CRU and the organization that it serves, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For anybody who wants to understand the scientific and psychological background to Climategate, there is no better read than Andrew Montford’s new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science.

Climategate was based largely on emails related to the so-called “Hockey Stick,” an iconic graph that purported to show that 20th-century temperatures were unprecedented in at least a thousand years. As Mr. Montford points out, “[T]he chief importance of the Hockey Stick lies not in that it is central to the case for man-made global warming, but in the fact that the IPCC promoted it as if it were.”

In other words, the real scandal lies in whoever was pulling the political strings of the IPCC.

The U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, an influential skeptical institution, has now appointed Mr. Montford to run an inquiry into the three British inquiries. There will be no whitewash here, although it will be fascinating to see how far Mr. Montford can penetrate into the Yes Minister nature of the investigations, whose guiding principle seems to have been that of the Three Wise Monkeys.

The Hockey Stick Illusion leaves no doubt about Mr. Montford’s reporting abilities. He tells a gripping detective story in which the star gumshoe is semi-retired Canadian mining consultant Steve McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, unfortunately for his opponents, happens to combine mathematical genius with a Terminator-like relentlessness. He also found a brilliant partner in Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph. Their story is one of intellectual determination in the face of Kafkaesque “peer review” and Orwellian “freedom of information.”

The Hockey Stick derived from the arcane science of paleoclimatology, which reconstructs pre-thermometer temperatures from proxies such as tree rings. The most oft-quoted of the Climategate emails referred to a “trick” to “hide the decline” in proxy data after 1960. Those post-1960 proxy figures not merely failed to correspond with actual temperature increases, they raised inevitable issues about past reconstructions. This was particularly important because the Hockey Stick had — conveniently — eliminated the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings were farming in Greenland.

If temperatures were as warm or warmer a thousand years ago, then the claim that 20th-century heat was unprecedented and due to rising levels of man-made CO2 was weakened. (And even if the 20th century was unprecedented, that still wouldn’t have “proved” man-made global warming. Correlation is not causation.)

The Hockey Stick reconstruction was led by an ambitious and aggressive young climatologist named Michael Mann of the University of Massachusetts. It was eagerly seized upon by the IPCC. Its prominence made Prof. Mann an academic star and the recipient of hefty research grants. In 2002, Scientific American named him one of “50 leading visionaries in science.”

However, Mr. McIntyre’s determined digging suggested that Prof. Mann’s conclusions rested on dodgy statistical manipulation of a tiny amount of data from a few unreliable proxy trees in very specific locations. It also led to two U.S. congressional inquiries, one of which Mr. Montford notes was flagrantly rigged.

Mr. Montford’s book might be accused of being one-sided, but Mr. McIntyre’s opponents emerge as an unresponsive clique who were hardly likely to co-operate with a narrative that had them lying, destroying data, and mounting vicious ad hominem attacks (such as that Mr. McIntyre had close links to the perpetually demonized “fossil fuel industry.” He didn’t.).

“The Hockey Team,” as Mr. McIntyre wryly called them, were also no credit to the scientific method. CRU head Phil Jones — whose emails were at the heart of Climategate — sent an amazing response to an Australian researcher asking why he should provide data “when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” But that is exactly why data and methods should be made freely available.

Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick were in fact brought into the IPCC review process for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, but presumably mainly to keep an eye on — or muzzle — them. However, being involved in the process confirmed how rigged and conflicted it was.

Mr. Montford concludes that the Hockey Stick affair suggests that “the case for global warming, far from being settled is actually weak and unconvincing. The implications for policymakers are stark. They have granted an effective monopoly on scientific advice to an organization that has proven itself to be corrupt, biased and beset by conflicts of interest. Their advisors on the global-warming issue are essentially a law unto themselves ….”

Meanwhile, the hockey stick may be only one of many other examples of botched or manipulated science. “Who knows what other instances there are of arguments contrary to the IPCC consensus disappearing into the ether, of doubts suppressed and questions ignored?” asks Mr. Montford. “It is clear that it would be foolish in the extreme to give the IPCC the benefit of the doubt. Their record is too poor, the stakes too high.”

Mr. Montford’s book is required reading, but it only scratches the surface of the much bigger scandal. The Hockey Stick graph was used as a promotional tool for a political agenda. No inquiry has even begun to address the origins and nature of that agenda, which amounts to building a rationale for unprecedented global economic control. Prof. Mann writes in one of the Climategate emails about letting “our supporters in higher places” deal with Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick. But who were these “supporters?” Another Hockey Team member, Keith Briffa, wrote: “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data,’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”

Where was that “pressure” coming from?

The wholesale acceptance of the alarmist hypothesis by virtually the entire global political establishment and an overwhelming proportion of the world’s popular media also demands analysis.

Prof. Mann, who is now at Penn State, continues his campaign of bluster and demonization of those who would merely dare to ask questions. In an interview in the wake of the Russell report, he continued to deride the “malicious” and “dishonest” attacks on him by alleged “professional climate change deniers” and “contrarians” and “special interests.” (In the interview he exploded his scientific credibility by claiming that the current North American heat wave is proof of man-made global warming!)

Anybody who reads Mr. Montford’s book will understand that Prof. Mann’s charges of “well-funded” opposition are ludicrous. The only oversight of the Hockey Team was “provided by volunteers like McIntyre and his ragtag band of skeptic supporters.” But, as Mr. Montford points out, Prof. Mann’s strategy has always been to try to shout “louder and longer.”

Ultimately, Prof. Mann and his colleagues were merely foot soldiers in a bigger ideological thrust to use the environment as a rationale for assuming global economic control.

Mr. Montford writes of one of the early climate meetings that “One can almost detect the germ of an idea forming in the minds of the scientists and bureaucrats assembled in Geneva: here, potentially, was a source of funding and influence without end. Where might it lead?”

But it is unlikely that such thoughts were articulated as anything other than concern for the planet, and a burning desire to “speak up” for those who were most vulnerable to bad weather caused by materialism and greedy “fossil fuel interests.” The lust for power almost invariably cloaks itself in high moral purpose. What higher purpose could there be than saving the world?


Wind Power is More Dangerous than Coal or Oil

The recent explosions in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine and on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig highlight the tragedy of workplace fatalities. Though improvement in statistical averages do little to lessen the loss of those whose loved ones have died, the American workplace has gotten safer which means fewer will be grieving. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reached a record low in 2008: 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers. Yet with the recent noted losses in the oil and coal industries, some might think that workplace fatalities could be reduced even more by moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The facts suggest the opposite.

The largest source of new renewable energy is wind power, which accounts for 62 percent of renewable electricity generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t publish accident data specifically for the wind-power industry, but the Caithness Windfarms Information Forum(CWIF) has created a list of fatalities for the wind industry worldwide. The list is compiled from news reports and is unlikely to be comprehensive.

That there are any fatalities in this industry should not be surprising. Towers for modern wind turbines can rise 300 feet or more and the blades for the rotors extend another 150 feet beyond that. (For comparison, note that the Statue of Liberty on its 150-foot granite pedestal reaches 305 feet.) A single wind farm can require erecting a thousand of these 450-foot structures. How many fatalities have there been?

Taking the CWIF fatalities for the U.S. and removing deaths that are only tangentially related to wind power, shows that there were 10 deaths in the wind-power industry over the years 2003-2008. This would seem to make wind power much safer than coal mining, which had 176 fatalities over the same period. However, much less energy was generated by wind than by coal.

To project changes in workplace safety from switching to wind from coal, it is necessary to know the mortality rate per megawatt-hour. The low number of total deaths in the wind-power industry is undermined by the very low amount of power generated by wind. Adjusting for power production yields a surprising result. On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008. Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate. For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that for oil and gas on an equivalent-energy basis.

Meeting the 20 percent renewable energy standard from the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill with wind power would require swapping about 800 million megawatt-hours of coal generated current with 800 million megawatt-hours of wind power. Using the recent mortality rates as a guide, we would expect there to be 4-5 more workplace fatalities per year than if there were no wind power at all. Even this comparison ignores the fatalities we could expect from the additional power lines needed for so much remote wind power.

Certainly the impetus for moving to wind power did not come from concern over workplace fatalities. However, the story of wind and safety illustrates an important dimension of the energy debate—there is a lot we don’t know about the impact of forcing dramatic shifts in our energy portfolio. At small levels of production, negative impacts might be overlooked or even misinterpreted. For instance, the energy inputs needed, the environmental costs, and the impact on the food supply were significantly underestimated by many who promoted ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. Now that ethanol consumes roughly 30 percent of our corn crop, these impacts offer a sobering reality check on the previous euphoria.

Further refinements on mortality rates for wind energy may show that it is relatively better or worse than this first cut at the estimates. But what we see when we look deeper is that due, in part, to its unreliable nature, wind power is an imperfect and very expensive substitute for conventionally-generated electricity; that it takes huge amounts of land; and it’s not so good for some components of the environment like bats. The argument for forcing consumers to buy increasing amounts of wind power gets weaker the more we investigate its full impacts.


Government Science in Australia: Cowed and Corrupted by Politics

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that government science bodies in Australia had become cowed and corrupted by politicians.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that following the lead of the climate alarmists infecting the government owned ABC, CSIRO, BOM and most state and federal science departments were now singing the government song on climate. “It’s time to de-politicise the Australian government climate science industry.”

Forbes explained: “The once great CSIRO has abandoned objective climate research in favour of global warming activism. “This started with its selective promotion of extreme drought scenarios. With a portfolio of over twenty unproven climate models to choose from, CSIRO chose one forecasting severe droughts to support the alarmist Garnaut report. “Then CSIRO applied pressure on staff who disagreed with Penny Wong’s ETS. One who wrote a critical report was censured and resigned.

“The last straw was the recent appointment of CSIRO’s Chairman – he is a lawyer whose day job is a merchant banker with a huge vested interest in carbon trading. He is a global warming alarmist whose long term climate observations are taken on weekends from his yacht in Port Phillip Bay.

“Both CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are now focussed, not on climate research or weather forecasting, but on holding secret meetings to discuss how to spread alarmist propaganda on man-made global warming and how to combat “skeptics and denialists”.

“Even the numerous state departments of Agriculture and Forestry are so cowed that not one scientist is prepared to say out loud that, over the life of a cow or a tree, there are ZERO net emissions or extractions of carbon dioxide.

“The corrupting influence of government money and government control has destroyed the spirit of open enquiry in Universities, CSIRO, BOM, the EPA, the government media machine and most of the state departments of Agriculture, Environment, Forestry, Energy, Planning and Resources. Politics is even affecting Science Education.

“All government science organisations should be removed from the ACT (Australian Carbon Territory) and the corroding influence of Carbonerra City. They should be directed by scientists and producers from the agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and processing industries they supposedly serve.

“Finally, all government research projects should have a specific life and goal and be put out to tender.”



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


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