Sunday, 5 November 2017

Greenhouse gas effect: "The Science" vs. science.

Following on from Prof. William Happer's remarks on how the green-house gas effect really works.

The greenhouse effect is often explained in terms of carbon dioxide absorbing long-wave infrared (LWIR) rays leaving earth's surface as the surface cools. Then re-emitting the radiation at the same wavelength. It cannot happen in this manner, so why do 'scientists' describe it this way? Scientists claim they don't believe fairy stories. But some clearly do. A CO2 molecule, in air, typically experiences about 1 billion collisions with other air molecules each second. One second is about the time it would take to re-emit the LWIR it absorbed. In reality, when LWIR is absorbed, it is typically thermalized. Meaning: the energy in the LWIR is shared with other air molecules. This will raise the general temperature of air. But will remove energy from CO2 so that the radiation can't be emitted at the same frequency it was absorbed at.

The absorption length for the existing concentration of CO2 is around 25 meters i.e. the distance to reduce the LWIR intensity by 1/e.

What actually happens is that those radiation frequencies at which CO2 absorbs well are removed from LWIR leaving earth. Yet a proportion of the LWIR, originating from earth's surface is unaffected by any greenhouse gas (GHG). Ignoring scattering it goes straight out to space and earth does, indeed, cool.

So only a proportion of LWIR leaving earth is subject to the greenhouse gas effect (GHGE). Even that energy is not 'trapped'. It is all eventually lost to space. Most of the LWIR subject to GHGE is absorbed by water vapour, not CO2. Much of the LWIR is ignored by GHG. This implies we need more sophisticated GHGE models, which treat different radiation bands according to how GHG affects them. There are clearly some unanswered questions here.

  1. In terms of energy, what proportion of LWIR is entirely unaffected by the GHGE?
  2. Why do climate scientists insist on treating all LWIR in the same way. With the same macro equations which ignore the actual frequencies absorbed and ignored by GHG?
  3. After air is warmed due to thermalization, at what frequencies does the air emit radiation to cool down?
  4. When cooling down, which air molecules emit (O2, N2, H2O, CO2, ... ?), and at what frequencies?
  5. What would a true GHGE model look like?
  6. Can we model the effect of clouds and GHG together to write a proper model?

Those are just some of the questions on my mind.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The greenhouse gas effect.



Subject: Another dumb question from Dave

From: David Burton Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 10:48 PM
To: William Happer
Dear Prof. Happer,

At your UNC lecture you told us many things which I had not known, but two of them were these:

1. At low altitudes, the mean time between molecular collisions, through which an excited CO2 molecule can transfer its energy to another gas molecule (usually N2) is on the order of 1 nanosecond.

2. The mean decay time for an excited CO2 molecule to emit an IR photon is on the order of 1 second (a billion times as long).

Did I understand that correctly?

You didn't mention it, but I assume H2O molecules have a similar decay time to emit an IR photon. Is that right, too?

So, after a CO2 (or H2O) molecule absorbs a 15 micron IR photon, about 99.9999999% of the time it will give up its energy by collision with another gas molecule, not by re-emission of another photon. Is that true (assuming that I counted the right number of nines)?

In other words, the very widely repeated description of GHG molecules absorbing infrared photons and then re-emitting them in random directions is only correct for about one absorbed photon in a billion. True?

Here's an example from the NSF, with a lovely animated picture, which even illustrates the correct vibrational mode:

(Aside: it doesn't really shock me that the NSF is wrong -- I previously caught them contradicting Archimedes: before & after.)

If that NSF web page & illustration were right, then the amount of IR emitted by CO2 or H2O vapor in the atmosphere would depend heavily on how much IR it received and absorbed. If more IR was emitted from the ground, then more IR would be re-emitted by the CO2 and H2O molecules, back toward the ground. But I think that must be wrong.

If 99.9999999% of the IR absorbed by atmospheric CO2 is converted by molecular collisions into heat, that seems to imply that the amount of ~15 micron IR emitted by atmospheric CO2 depends only on the atmosphere's temperature (and CO2 partial pressure), not on how the air got to that temperature. Whether the ground is very cold and emits little IR, or very warm and emits lots of IR, will not affect the amount of IR emitted by the CO2 in the adjacent atmosphere (except by affecting the temperature of that air). Is that correct?

Thank you for educating a dumb old computer scientist like me!

Warmest regards,

From: William Happer Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM
To: David Burton

Dear David,

Some response are entered below in square brackets and upper case.  Thanks for your interest!


From:David Burton
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 10:49 PM
To: William Happer
Subject: Another dumb question from Dave

Dear Prof. Happer,

At your UNC lecture you told us many things which I had not known, but two of them were these:

1. At low altitudes, the mean time between molecular collisions, through which an excited CO2 molecule can transfer its energy to another gas molecule (usually N2) is on the order of 1 nanosecond.

2. The mean decay time for an excited CO2 molecule to emit an IR photon is on the order of 1 second (a billion times as long).



So, after a CO2 (or H2O) molecule absorbs a 15 micron IR photon, about 99.9999999% of the time it will give up its energy by collision with another gas molecule, not by re-emission of another photon. Is that true (assuming that I counted the right number of nines)? [YES, ABSOLUTELY.]

In other words, the very widely repeated description of GHG molecules absorbing infrared photons and then re-emitting them in random directions is only correct for about one absorbed photon in a billion. True? [YES, IT IS THIS EXTREME SLOWNESS OF RADIATIVE DECAY RATES THAT ALLOWS THE CO2 MOLECULES IN THE ATMOSPHERE TO HAVE VERY NEARLY THE SAME VIBRATION-ROTATION TEMPERATURE OF THE LOCAL AIR MOLECULES.]

Here's an example from the NSF, with a lovely animated picture, which even illustrates the correct vibrational mode:


(Aside: it doesn't really shock me that the NSF is wrong -- I previously caught them contradicting Archimedes: before & after.)

If that NSF web page & illustration were right, then the amount of IR emitted by CO2 or H2O vapor in the atmosphere would depend heavily on how much IR it received and absorbed. If more IR was emitted from the ground, then more IR would be re-emitted by the CO2 and H2O molecules, back toward the ground. But I think that must be wrong.[YES, THE AMOUNT OF RADIATION EMITTED BY GREENHOUSE MOLECULES DEPENDS ALMOST ENTIRELY ON THEIR TEMPERATURE. THE PERTRUBATION BY RADIATION COMING FROM THE GROUND OR OUTER SPACE IS NEGLIGIBLE.  CO2 LASER BUILDERS GO OUT OF THEIR WAY WITH CUNNING DISCHARE PHYSICS TO GET THE CO2 MOLECULES OUT OF THERMAL EQUILIBRIUM SO THEY CAN AMPLIFY RADIATION.]

If 99.9999999% of the IR absorbed by atmospheric CO2 is converted by molecular collisions into heat, that seems to imply that the amount of ~15 micron IR emitted by atmospheric CO2 depends only on the atmosphere's temperature (and CO2 partial pressure), not on how the air got to that temperature. [YES, I COULD HAVE SAVED A COMMENT BY READING FURTHER.] Whether the ground is very cold and emits little IR, or very warm and emits lots of IR, will not affect the amount of IR emitted by the CO2 in the adjacent atmosphere (except by affecting the temperature of that air). Is that correct? [YES, PRECISELY.  WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT WHAT CHANDRASEKHAR CALLS AN “ABSORBING ATMOSPHERE” AS OPPOSED TO A “SCATTERING ATMOSPHERE.”  ASTROPHYSICISTS ARE OFTEN MORE INTERESTED IN SCATTERING ATMOSPHERES, LIKE THE INTERIOR OF THE SUN. THE BLUE SKY DURING A CLEAR DAY IS AN EXAMPLE OF SCATTERING ATMOSPHERE.  VERY LITTLE HEATING OR COOLING OF THE AIR OCCURS WITH THIS “RAYLEIGH SCATTERING.”]

Thank you for educating a dumb old computer scientist like me! [YOU ARE HARDLY DUMB.  YOU GET AN A+ FOR THIS RECITATION SESSION ON RADIATIVE TRANSFER. ]

2 attachments
Statz67-lifetimes.pdf  2090K
H2O-masers.pdf  396K

From: David Burton Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM
To: William Happer
Wow, thank you very much, Prof. Happer!

I feel like I've just gotten a taste of Princeton education, for free.  You are very, very generous with your time, and I am very grateful.

Warmest regards,

From: David Burton Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM
To: T
Dear T,

I think you will find the discussion below very interesting. Prof. Wm. Happer is one of the world's top experts on CO2's emission and absorption of radiation. He's a colleague of America's most illustrious living scientist, Prof. Freeman Dyson. Prof. Happer's reply to me is in [BLUE] below.

Note that the NSF has got it wrong (again)!

Here's an audio recording + powerpoint of Prof. Happer's lecture at UNC, which prompted this discussion:
Sorry, there was no video recording made, but you can view the powerpoint slides while listening to the audio, which is almost as good.

Warmest regards,

From: T Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:03 PM
To: David Burton

That is interesting, but not sure what the significance is to the discussion.

If greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere due to absorption of photons, and emission is dependent only on temperature, isn't the net effect the same? A warmer atmosphere emits more LW radiation.

From: David Burton Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:31 PM
To: T
Hi T,

To me it is interesting for three reasons:

1. It means that the amount of LW IR which is emitted by the CO2 & H2O in the atmosphere, and absorbed by the ground, is independent of the amount of IR emitted by the ground (except that warm ground helps warm the air, through both IR emissions & convection, and the temperature of the air controls the amount of IR that it emits).

2. It means the common description of IR being emitted by the ground, absorbed by the CO2 & H2O vapor, and re-emitted (in a random direction) -- i.e., what the NSF describes -- is wrong.

3. It means my own understanding of how the GH effect works was wrong.

I don't like being wrong. It is uncomfortable. But I like learning, and I learned something new!

Warmest regards,

From: T Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:46 PM
To: David Burton

I'm not sure that functionally there is any difference. If the ground emits more LW, the atmosphere warms and responds by emitting more LW. So they aren't independent.  That is why the air warms during a sunny day, because of increased IR emissions from the ground.

From: David Burton Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:56 PM
To: T

The way the NSF describes it (and the way I mistakenly thought it worked), the amount of IR which the ground absorbs from the atmosphere depends almost entirely on the amount of IR which the ground emits. It might not be the very same photons, but it might as well be: the photons the ground receives are just a fraction of those which it emits. But that's wrong.

The reality is that the amount of IR the ground absorbs from the atmosphere depends almost entirely on the air temperature & composition, and not at all on the amount of IR which the ground emits.

The two aren't completely independent, because IR emissions from the ground do affect the air temperature, which, in turn, affects the IR emissions from the air, but the linkage is weak, because other factors (like convective heat transfer) affect air temperature more.


From: Robert G. Brown Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM
To: David Burton
On Thu, 13 Nov 2014, David Burton wrote:

Dear Prof. Brown,
I think you might find the discussion below interesting. Prof. Happer's
reply to me is in [BLUE] below.

Yeah, I already know most of that stuff, and I'm pretty sure I have his
powerpoint presentation slides as well. I wasn't aware that there were
levels with lifetimes as long as 1 second -- that's actually pretty long
as atomic/molecular lifetimes go -- but those particular levels are then
going to be very sharp and not terribly responsive to non-resonant IR.
Either way, CO_2 doesn't "scatter" LWIR radiation, it absorbs it
(typically within a few meters, the mean free path at atmospheric
concentrations) and the energy is almost instantly transferred to the
surrounding air.

That doesn't mean that they don't radiate. It just means that their
radiation temperature is in equilibrium in the surrounding air, and it
isn't reradiating of a photon it absorbed, it is radiation initiated by
e.g. a collision with an air molecule.

That's why the greenhouse effect is basically logarithmic at this point.
It is long ago and overwhelmingly saturated. The atmosphere is
basically totally opaque in the CO_2 aborptive bands from sea level up
to maybe 8 or 9 km. Somewhere up there, where the air is much colder,
the molecules get far enough apart that LWIR emitted from the colder air
have a good chance of escaping without being reabsorbed. Increasing
CO_2 basically causes a very small variation of the average height and
-- due to the adiabatic lapse rate, which has little that is directly
due to the GHE itself -- therefore the temperature at which the
atmosphere becomes effectively transparent. The rate at which the
energy in this band emerges from the atmosphere is hence much less than
the rate at which it was originally emitted at the surface in this band.
Given constant average SWV (visible) delivery of radiation into the
system from the Sun, the ground temperature has to warm a tiny bit in
order to compensate for the loss of outgoing power in the CO_2 band.

Here is a curve indicating just how much explanatory power CO_2 has as
far as the temperatures over the last 164 years are concerned. Quite a
lot, actually. Happer might be interested in this curve. I think he
passed on the reference to Wilson and Gea-Banacloche in AJP (2012) which
reviews the CO_2-only no-feedback GHE and ends up concluding that the
no-feedback total climate sensitivity on doubling CO_2 ought to be
around 0.9 to 1.1C. I get an excellent fit to all of HadCRUT4 with TCS
around 1.8C,

If I add an entirely heuristic (but obvious) harmonic correction to the
fit to account for the 67 year whatever is causing the systematic
variation, the fit is even better, but the direct fit to the physically
motivated log only has enormous statistical explanatory power with a
residual standard error of 0.1 on 163 degrees of freedom and only two
fit parameters, one of which does nothing but line up the (arbitrary)
scale of the anomaly with that of the fit. There is, in fact, almost
nothing left to explain but noise and the harmonic term. Hard to see
why we need to bother with the world's most expensive, difficult,
chaotic, nonlinear, horribly underresolved models at all, if they cannot
beat a one parameter physically motivated radiative model that ignores
everything but CO_2.
Robert G. Brown
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567 Fax: 919-660-2525

2 attachments
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From: David Burton Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 11:52 PM
To: William Happer
Dear Prof. Happer,

I just stumbled across someone else discussing the same topic, and he came to a "similar" conclusion, sort of. Dr. Joshua Halpern, who blogs under the pen name of Eli Rabett, calculated that 1 in 10^5 rather than 1 in 10^9 IR-stimulated CO2 molecules will give up that energy by re-emisison of an IR photon, rather than collision with another air molecule. He gets about the same radiative lifetime as you, but a collisional lifetime of about 10 microseconds rather than one nanosecond.

A difference of four orders of magnitude suggests to me that he goofed, but I don't understand this well enough to understand how. Here's the article:

Warmest regards,

From: William Happer Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:05 AM
To: David Burton

Dear David,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Measurements show a broadening of order B = 0.1 cm^{-1} = 3 GHz for CO2 lines at 1 atmosphere and 300 K. For example, see Fig. 1 of the attached paper. This would imply a "time between collisions" of t = 1/(2*pi*B) = 50 ps = .05 ns.

The "about a nanosecond" I mentioned was an estimate of the lifetime for velocity changing collisions that go in to the spatial diffusion coefficient. Here are typical numbers:

Density of air molecules at ground level = Loschmidt's number = N = 2.69 x 10 {19} cm^{-3}

Kinetic cross section = sig = pi*(10^{-8})^2 =3.14 x 10^{-16} cm^{2}

Mean relative velocity (roughly sound speed in air) = v = 3.43 x 10^{4} cm s^{-1}

Lifetime = 1/(N*v*sig) = 3.45 ns

On a quick read of Joshua's reference he seems to have assumed that only other CO2 molecules in the air cause deexcitation, but not N2 and O2 molecules. It is true that the "self-quenching" rates for CO2-CO2 collisions are much larger, typically a factor of 10 if my memory serves, than the rates for CO2-N2 collisions, but there are thousands of times more N2 and O2 molecules so they dominate the deexcitation.

I will try to be more careful in my wording in the future. I appreciate the feedback and I hope you will keep it coming.


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Rothman-etal92.pdf  2481K


Sunday, 6 August 2017

How I became a climate skeptic.

Once upon a time, about 4 years ago, I was a climate believer. I believed the mainstream (IPCC) projections for climate change, and blamed most of it on carbon dioxide.

It seemed reasonable to decarbonize the energy system. I became a bit of a nuclear power advocate. I read books on nukes. I did introductory online courses on nuclear power. I noticed how the energy issue was totally partisan and divided right down the middle.

On one side were pro-nukes, on the other side the 'greens'. The greens were united along several lines. They:

  • opposed nuclear power
  • supported green issues
  • worried about global warming
  • were keen to reduce human energy use

For them, the debate was not about saving the planet by stopping carbon dioxide emissions. It was about saving the planet from the scourge of humanity.

The other side: pro-nukes was split. It included eco-modernists, conservatives, nuclear industry people, liberals and lefties.

I could not help notice that the news sources worrying about climate change were doing two things:

  1. opposing nuclear power
  2. greatly exaggerating climate change effects, and engaging in a little war against people they called 'deniers'.

Early on, I wanted nothing to do with any of these 'deniers'. They were right wing. They must be wrong. Right?

It slowly dawned on me that the only reasonable people refuting this climate alarmism in the news sources were the 'deniers'. What about all the reasonable people - those who accepted the mainstream IPCC analysis? Where were they in this debate? How come they weren't refuting the obvious over-exaggerations in the media?

The answer is that the 'mainstream' believe the establishment can only be goaded into action by exaggeration. So they stand by and let the hard-core green movement exaggerate. That was my first wake up call. My second wake up call came when I noticed the greens blaming global warming on nuclear power. What kind of good, ethically upright person, has any truck with that kind of politics. No me. That's the point when my pro-humanism kicked in and I dared to think the unthinkable. What if carbon dioxide was not much at fault for climate change? Then I looked at the evidence. The more evidence I looked at, the longer the term for the evidence: thousands, and even millions of years - the more I too turned into a 'denier' too. I have to call myself a skeptic.

I think CO2 has some effect on climate. I think it should warm climate mildly, but only a quarter to a third what IPCC say. I expect 0.6C per doubling of CO2. Q: What about the warming which has already happened? I hear you say. Surely that proves CO2 guilty? A: No.

  • Because we've seen no real warming for 18 years now. If it's 90% the fault of CO2, there cannot be a hiatus, but there is.
  • When you tell me what caused the Medieval Warm Period, then I'll believe there's such a thing as climate science. Till then it's climatology again.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) is overwhelmingly caused by water vapour. Not carbon dioxide.

Claim: The greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) is overwhelmingly caused by water vapour. Not carbon dioxide.

The current "consensus" says: the GHGE is very important at the equator (so climate models say). Approximately between +20º and -20º latitude. This extra heat 'trapped there' rises and settles down at the poles thereby warming the planet. This extra trapped heat is due to more CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Models say 24% of the GHGE is due to CO2. That about 72% is due to water and ~ 4% to other gases (mostly Ozone).

Let us move away from assumptions and models (alarmism) to basic science (below), which no one can dispute:

  1. The sun angle controls water vapour content of the atmosphere. So the atmosphere in the equatorial zone is 80× to 90× more H2O than CO2. [see diagram below]
  2. Water is a much more powerful GHG than CO2 because the bonds in water have far more degrees of freedom so can undergo far more electron bond transitions. It's these bond transitions which cause infrared (IR) radiation absorption. CO2 can only absorb IR at 3 frequencies. Water absorbs at dozens of frequencies.
  3. A plot of GHG forcing against water vapour in the atmosphere shows "the upper limit to the back radiation of GHGs is approximately 420 W/m² at water vapour concentration of approximately 32,000 ppmv, or an H2O/CO2 ratio of 80:1; (2) the lowest back radiation is 97 W/m² at the South Pole" where the ratio H2O:CO2 is 1:1.

This Is The Clincher:

Consider at the South pole where CO2:H2O is 1:1 and GHGE = 97W/m². If that is 24% due to CO2, it means CO2 effect = 23W/m² (at the poles). Moving on to the equator: CO2 is well-mixed so it's also 23W/m² out of 420 W/m² there. That means only 5.5% of GHGE at equator (where it really matters) is due to CO2.

The GHGE is said to be responsible for warming the climate by 33ºC above what it would be with no GHGE. From -18ºC to +15ºC. (Averaged). The US state of North Carolina has an average temperature of about 15.3ºC. NC is located latitude 33° 50' N to 36° 35' N. On Average that's 34.2 °N Let's treat it as the average place on Earth. Assume the ratio of H2O to CO2 = 34:1 there. Implying GHGE ~ 345 W/m². Subtract the part due to CO2 then it is 345 -23 = 322 W/m² due to H2O and O3.

What's the maximum CO2 GHGE?

Let us do a basic maths back of the envelope calculation to give us a maximum for the CO2 GHGE. It can not be more than half of the polar effect. Because even at the poles there's as much water in the atmosphere as CO2, and water is a more powerful GHG [see the last diagram below for a comparison of water and carbon dioxide GHGE]. Let's say the upper limit of the CO2 GHGE is 33% (at the poles) = 33 W/m². Let's count squares in the diagram above. 7 × 33 ÷ 50 = 4.62 squares show CO2 GHGE. The diagram has ~ 49 squares. 4.62 ÷ 49 = 9.5%. That puts an upper limit on the CO2 GHGE of 9.5%. 9.5% of 33ºC = 3.1ºC. (given earth's surface is 33ºC warmer than it would be with not GHGE.)

Remember how the effect of more CO2 tails off logarithmically?

So the CO2 GHGE is already nearly maxed out at about 3.1ºC, and most of that was due to the first 20ppm of CO2 in that atmosphere. Doubling CO2, from 280ppm to 560ppm does not double the effect. It only increases by a fraction of a degree.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Climate modeling is not science. It's not even good modeling.

Climate models cannot model the climate

  • Models rely on untested, assumptions e.g. of constant relative humidity with rising temperatures. This is an 120 year old assumption no climate modeler thinks worth testing. Why not?
  • The ground station data that models use is mostly incomplete. Especially so over oceans which are 70% of earth's surface
  • Models omit many causative factors, such as the Sun (it's various cycles both long and short-term), Volcanoes, ...
  • Models do a poor job describing ocean circulation, and ocean heat emission (e.g. from El Niño). Oceans act as heat reservoirs, and hold 1000 × more heat than the atmosphere can. So oceans are crucial to any good model. Climate modelers understand oceans badly.
  • Scientists have an incomplete understanding of weather and climate. e.g. Do clouds have a net warming or cooling effect? They cannot say for certain.
  • Models work at too course a resolution to be 'simulations', which they, wrongly, claim to be.
  • The climate is more complex than modelers make out. They can only run their models by grossly simplifying things.
  • It would take about a hundred million, trillion years to run a computer model at something close to the correct resolution.
  • A fundamental model mistake is an assumption that IR absorbed by GHG is retransmitted instantaneously. That's both impossible and wrong. Reemission of absorbed IR will take many hundreds of milliseconds. During each millisecond, a molecule will collide with 1 million other air molecules. So any IR (heat) absorbed will be shared with them. Or 'thermalized'. So the 'heat' to be retransmitted as IR is in fact dissipated to the surrounding atmosphere. This rather messes up the downwelling IR model.

Leading experts at modeling have consistently explained that climate models cannot be trusted. So anyone claiming climate model accuracy is denying both modeling best practice and science.

1. Leading Expert Modeler, Prof. Christopher Essex, tells Why Climate Models Hardly Better Than Hocus Pocus: “Welcome To Wonderland”!

2. According to expert modelers: Kesten Green and J. Scott Armstrong:

Scientific forecasting knowledge has been summarised in the form of principles by 40 leading forecasting researchers and 123 expert reviewers. The principles summarise the evidence on forecasting from 545 studies that in turn drew on many prior studies. Some of the forecasting principles, such as ‘provide full disclosure’ and ‘avoid biased data sources,’ are common to all scientific fields. The principles are readily available in the Principles of Forecasting handbook.


We then audited the IPCC forecasting procedures using the Forecasting Audit Software available on Our audit found that the IPCC followed only 17 of the 89 relevant principles that we were able to code using the information provided in the 74-page IPCC chapter. Thus, the IPCC forecasting procedures violated 81% of relevant forecasting principles. It is hard to think of an occupation for which it would be acceptable for practitioners to violate evidence-based procedures to this extent. Consider what would happen if an engineer or medical practitioner, for example, failed to properly follow even a single evidence-based procedure.

- Kesten C. Green & J. Scott Armstrong, in Climate Change: The Facts.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Where do alarming climate projections come from?

The answer in a nutshell : mathematical trickery.

The IPCC equation for the Feedback factor, used to calculate climate sensitivity, is given on AR4, WG1, page 631, footnote 6. It is:

Under these simplifying assumptions the amplification of the global warming from a feedback parameter λ (in W m-2 °C­-1) with no other feedbacks operating is
1 ÷ (1 + λ ÷ λp) where λp is the ‘uniform temperature’ radiative cooling response (of value approximately –3.2 W m-2 °C-1; Bony et al., 2006). If n independent feedbacks operate, λp is replaced by (λ1 + λ2 + ... λn).
Feedback Factor:0.300.350.400.450.500.550.600.650.70
- 40% varianceFF[low]
Feedback Factor:FF[mid]0.300.350.400.450.500.550.600.650.70
+ 40% varianceFF[high]0.420.490.560.630.700.770.840.910.98
Climate sensitivity[low]

Let's consider just how easily we can arrive at a high climate sensitivity value from what looks like a midling feedback factor. The IPCC give their modelers a feedback factor of 0.5 to use
(= λ ÷ λp above, which is a unitless number). Jessica Vial's team were tasked with coming up with (inventing?) this number; as they did. To this central estimate, they add and subtract ±40% (2 standard deviations up or down) because they say they want to cover 95% of eventualities. This is shown in the table (above). Rows 2, 3, and 4 show the feedback factor with -40%, 0%, and +40% adjustments (labeled: FF[low], FF[mid], FF[high]). With a feedback factor of 0.65 (only 0.15 more than their central estimate), the +40% figure for climate sensitivity = 11! That means the equation projects a doubling of CO2 to 560 ppm from pre-industrial times will give an average 11C temperature increase at earth's surface. Don't worry. It's a maths trick it's not real. Unfortunately the likes of Angela Merkel, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, countless Tories seem to believe in magic, faeries, and impossible maths equations.

Christopher Monckton has a lot to say on this mathematical trickery here and here. I've yet to read chapter 3 of Bode's "Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design", 1945, from which it looks like the climate modelers stole their feedback ideas. But pray, don't blame Dr. Bode (RIP). The climate modelers did a slight of hand by not using the whole of the forcing in their equation. By only taking the difference in forcing, they created an equation just balanced on the edge of a catastrophe. This has been the climate sensitivity equation since 1979. It predates the IPCC and is used for all 5 IPCC reports. I will elaborate more in another blog. For now: please watch Monckton's talk at the Heartland’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change. After I think I can explain it better, I'll blog it again. I want to show the difference between just using differences (as they do) and what they should do (putting all the forcing in).

How and why does this con work?

You may think the boy that cried wolf story is 'true' of people, in the sense the story chimes with us. That we disbelieve people we know are lying to us. It ain't so. When the liars pose an existential threat to our existence, when they make it a matter of the survival of humanity, then, sadly, we listen to them, again and again. That's why the climate feedback equation is like that. Because with just a bit of tweaking, it can threaten our very existence, and guarantee climate alarmists an audience for their doom-mongering. It's not really about the climate for them. Don't be fooled. It's about putting the brakes on human technological progress. Tying us down, enslaving us to our fears, so we won't be able to harm the environment.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Electric cars are overhyped.

I read here about a revolutionary new battery which:

  • "would allow electric cars to be recharged instantly" That is not true.
  • The energy density of batteries is still about 1% that of gasoline. So the engine and fuel of electric cars still weighs a lot more and the journey range is a lot less.
  • Modern electric cars only drive very well on a full charge. Once they lose a proportion of their charge they are much less responsive.
  • So there are 3 or 4 big issues with electric cars: (1) The long time taken to recharge during which the car is useless, (2) Short range, (3) Lack of infrastructure, (4) Low energy density of batteries compared to liquid fuels like gasoline. This causes the weight of the engine/fuel to be much higher. So lowering the efficiency.

    I discussed the prospects of electric cabs with one of the cab drivers who drives me on my daily journey to work. He thinks electric cars need to be a lot better to be useable as cabs. Meanwhile the local council want every cabbie to have an electric cab in 5 years. My cabbie thinks the local council don't give a toss whether the tech works or not. I think they just want to be seen to be 'saving the planet'.

    PS: The local council in question is St Albans in England. It's not a "socialist" council, nor is it Enviro-Stalinist. It is split between Tories and Lib Dems. The electric cab initiative is mostly Lib Dem - who are like a light green Green Party.

    "We are now consulting on the Councils proposals to introduce fully electric Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles to be licensed. The consultation will last for 12 weeks and will end on 15th June 2017,we hope to report the responses to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 18th July."

    Sunday, 4 June 2017

    How did the UN come to believe that 99.9% of substances/activities they'd tested might pose a cancer risk?

    The Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research wrote a recent article about how the UN's cancer agency IARC flat out refuse to say that coffee is safe to drink.

    For decades, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warned coffee drinkers that their favorite beverage might cause cancer. Finally, the agency updated its assessment in June 2016 and downgraded coffee to Group 3 or “not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans.” While this decision is a step in the right direction, it raises new questions and concerns.

    First, IARC did not categorize coffee as Group 4, “probably not carcinogenic to humans,” even though there is considerable evidence supporting the health benefits of coffee consumption, including protection against Parkinson disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Second, IARC’s decision to classify coffee in Group 3 rather than Group 4 represents a pattern of ignoring scientific evidence that supports certainty and the safety of products and behaviors. In fact, IARC has examined almost 1,000 agents over the past 30 years, only once classifying a substance as Group 4. IARC has explained this by saying that to be downgraded to Group 4, science would have to “prove a negative,” a statement that is neither reasonable nor useful to the goal of providing meaningful information to the public. In the end, IARC’s treatment of coffee provides another example of the urgent need to reform both the Agency and its processes.

    This blog is my attempt to explain how this peculiar state of affairs arose

    The idea that science should 'have to “prove a negative,”' seems to me to come straight out of what's now called 'precautionary thinking'. It also defies the scientific method. How did they do that? The IARC seem to have taken the precautionary principle, PP, and cubed it. The original PP said we should place a moratorium upon technologies which might have the potential to cause widespread environmental change (foreseen or unforeseen), posing a potential existential threat to life. The PP was the environment movement's alternative to cost benefit analysis, CBA. A kind of 'radical' risk analysis. Their arguments against GMOs, nuclear power, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and recently, nanotechnology, try to derive existential threats from otherwise benign technology. I sense the PP was only ever there to avoid CBA. Today enviros often call it 'precautionary thinking', with an implication that it's a way to looking at the world, rather than a principle to be applied in extremis (as the PP was supposed to be). I would not be surprised to find the IARC have never published or acknowledged a CBA of coffee. Please tell me I'm wrong.

    Saturday, 13 May 2017

    How big is human CO2 contribution compared to earth's CO2 budget?

    Nicholas Schroeder May 13, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Per IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 prior to year 1750 CO2 represented about 1.26% of the total biospheric carbon balance (589/46,713). After mankind’s contributions, 67 % fossil fuel and cement – 33% land use changes, atmospheric CO2 increased to about 1.77% of the total biosphere carbon balance (829/46,713). This represents a shift of 0.51% from all the collected stores, ocean outgassing, carbonates, carbohydrates, etc. not just mankind, to the atmosphere. A 0.51% rearrangement of 46,713 Gt of stores and 100s of Gt annual fluxes doesn’t impress me as measurable let alone actionable, attributable, or significant.

    And in some other words.

    Earth’s carbon cycle contains 46,713 Gt (E15 gr) +/- 850 Gt (+/- 1.8%) of stores and reservoirs with a couple hundred fluxes Gt/y (+/- ??) flowing among those reservoirs. Mankind’s gross contribution over 260 years was 555 Gt or 1.2%. (IPCC AR5 Fig 6.1) Mankind’s net contribution, 240 Gt or 0.53%, (dry labbed by IPCC to make the numbers work) to this bubbling, churning caldron of carbon/carbon dioxide is 4 Gt/y +/- 96%. (IPCC AR5 Table 6.1) Seems relatively trivial to me. IPCC et. al. says natural variations can’t explain the increase in CO2. With these tiny percentages and high levels of uncertainty how would anybody even know? BTW fossil fuel between 1750 and 2011 represented 0.34% of the biospheric carbon cycle.

    ----- = 1.2%

    Sunday, 12 March 2017

    Why increasing CO2 can not lead to catastrophic global warming

    From the blog: Knowledge Drift; The Science of Human Error

    The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, GHG, tails off logarithmically. On doubling CO2, from 280ppm (pre-industrial level) to 560ppm an extra 3.7 W/m2 warming is expected.

    That is expected to lead to about 1ºC warming of the average global surface temperature. Note: more CO2 does not cause 'global warming', it just slows down the rate of loss of atmospheric warmth. All other things being equal that would cause warming. All other things are not equal. There is a negative feedback operating called the Stefan–Boltzmann effect. As temperature rises the rate at which black bodies emit heat increases according to the 4th power of temperature. When the temperature increases the Stefan–Boltzmann relation means that everything else (ground and oceans) emits more black body heat. This extra heat is eventually radiated to space so is lost to the climate. This built-in negative feedback on temperature rise keeps earth's temperature at a reasonable level : a temperature rise leads to a faster emission of black body (LWIR) heat. The black body formula (Stefan–Boltzmann relation) used to calculate how much heat is being dissipated to space is P = 5.76 × 10-8 × T4 where P is power in watts per square meter and T is temperature in degrees K or Kelvin. So the amount of LWIR emitted increases according to the fourth power of the temperature.

    CO2 radiative forcingStefan–Boltzmann effect
    CO2 ppmAddition
    (W / m²)
    (W / m²)
    PT (ºC)Net warming
    (W / m²)

    Comment: multiple catastrophic errors

    The errors climate alarmists seem to have made are many-fold:

    1. Eliding how the CO2 GHG effect tails off logarithmically,
    2. Assuming the atmosphere is a heat sink. It is not. The oceans are earth's heat sink. Earth's atmosphere has a tiny heat capacity compared to its oceans. Oceans have over 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere
    3. Misuse of this saw them to invent 'catastrophic warming' by putting all their extra heat into the atmosphere! (which it isn't going to hold!). It was a convenient con because a body with a small heat capacity can (in theory) be made to warm quite fast!
    4. Logically, it would make more sense to put their extra heat into the oceans. Because the amount of heat which could, in theory, warm the atmosphere by 10ºC can only warm the oceans by 0.01ºC. Fail. Put the heat in the oceans and catastrophic global warming is not 'catastrophic'.
    5. Ignored basic physics of the Stefan–Boltzmann negative feedback.
    6. The majority of climate models miss (forget, or never bothered to consider) many ocean oscillation effects. These are like smaller versions of El Nino. In the North and South Atlantic and Indian oceans. In this situation an area of the ocean collects warm water. Heat is transferred to the atmosphere by evaporative cooling, etc. So oceans heat the atmosphere. Not CO2. CO2 just slows down the rate of cooling. Ocean oscillations give global warming records a bumpy or spikey appearance.
    7. ... on to infinity. There will always be yet one more 'error' they're prepared to make to push their alarmist/Luddite/Malthusian political agenda.

    Friday, 10 March 2017

    Global circulation model hindcasting - real or fabricated?

    Global circulation models - AKA climate models claim to be legitimate because they say they can hindcast previous atmospheric temperatures. i.e. They claim their model projections reproduce past climate. For example: The global cooling period from the early 1940s to mid-1970s. This was done by adding a special factors (aerosols) for this period which they claim is no longer important today. Some people this is just fabricated data to give the GCMs a gloss of legitimacy. Just about all GCMs run too hot. They mis-forecast future temperatures too hot.

    This is another 'reblog' of a comment.

    Allan M.R. MacRae January 9, 2017 at 5:47 am,

    Ladies and Germs,

    Have you looked at the model-hindcasting/fabricated-aerosol issue, as described below?

    The climate models do not honestly hindcast the global cooling period from ~1940 to ~1975, because their authors fabricated false aerosol data to force hindcasting.

    Therefore, the models cannot forecast anything, because they cannot hindcast. except through fraudulent inputs.


    The climate models cited by the IPCC typically use values of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 (ECS) values that are significantly greater than 1C, which must assume strong positive feedbacks for which there is NO evidence. If anything, feedbacks are negative and ECS is less than 1C. This is one key reason why the climate models cited by the IPCC greatly over-predict global warming.

    I reject as false the climate modellers’ claims that manmade aerosols caused the global cooling that occurred from ~1940 to ~1975. This aerosol data was apparently fabricated to force the climate models to hindcast the global cooling that occurred from ~1940 to ~1975, and is used to allow a greatly inflated model input value for ECS.

    Some history on this fabricated aerosol data follows:

    More from Douglas Hoyt in 2006:

    Monday, 6 March 2017

    The P-T (extinction) event was caused by global cooling, not warming as previously blamed.

    Hot off the press - revolutionary climate finding - The worst extinction event in earth's history (according to wikipedia) was caused by global cooling - not by global warming (as previously thought). So much for "the science is settled"

    Quote (from WUWT):

    ... Scientists from the UNIGE explain the global temperature drop by a stratospheric injection of large amounts of sulphur dioxide reducing the intensity of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth. “We therefore have proof that the species disappeared during an ice age caused by the activity of the first volcanism in the Siberian Traps,” added Urs Schaltegger. This ice age was followed by the formation of limestone deposits through bacteria, marking the return of life on Earth at more moderate temperatures. The period of intense climate warming, related to the emplacement of large amounts of basalt of the Siberian Traps and which we previously thought was responsible for the extinction of marine species, in fact happened 500,000 years after the Permian-Triassic boundary ...

    Alarmists think CO2 caused the P-T event, 252 million years ago, by causing run-away global warming. They got everything precisely back to front. They are exactly wrong. This P-T event is one of the reasons they get so uptight and rude when you don't believe their propaganda. Many of them think they are saving the world from an analogous P-T extinction by stopping "carbon pollution". Idiots!!!

    “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
    -- T.S. Eliot

    Ref: Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms, by Björn Baresel, Hugo Bucher, Borhan Bagherpour, Morgane Brosse, Kuang Guodun & Urs Schaltegger. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43630 (2017). doi:10.1038/srep43630

    Saturday, 4 March 2017

    Polar bear "decline" ?

    This is a rare example in the climate debate where the evidence is clear cut: one side lies and the other tells the truth, and it's obvious. Counting polar bears is quite simple (compared to most other climate science).

    That's why I picked this example. It's impossible to disagree on the science without lying.

    The challenge is: If Susan Crockford is wrong on polar bears, read her paper and explain to me how and where she goes wrong. If you believe Susan Crockford is wrong and Desmogblog are right, but you can't point out an error in Susan's paper then you are anti-science.

    Sunday, 19 February 2017

    Social "cost" of carbon dioxide, or benefit.


    Ken Gregory | February 10, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    When the FUND integrated assessment model (IAM) is run using the Lewis and Curry analysis of climate sensitivity adjusted for the millennium warming cycle and the urban heat island effect, TCR = 0.85 C, warming 1916 to 2100 = 0.57 C, the model gives a best estimate of the social cost (benefit) of carbon dioxide of US$ -16.7/tCO2, with a likely range of US$ -19 to -12/tCO2, assuming a 3% discount rate. That is, warming on a global basis, CO2 emissions are very beneficial when a realistic transient climate response is used.

    Other IAMs PAGE and DICE fail to include the benefits of warming and CO2 fertilization and should not be used to estimate the SCC for policy making.

    Wednesday, 15 February 2017

    El Niño cured my worries about global warming / climate change.

    Once upon a time I was worried about the climate. Genuinely concerned. Now I'm not. The recent El Niño is a big part of this. Beginning in late 2015, peaking in early 2016, it has now dissipated. El Niño is an ocean current effect, poorly understood. We don't ultimately know what causes such ocean currents to behave as they do. The effect on atmosphere is to concentrate ocean heat in a particular Pacific ocean area. This heat is given up to the atmosphere. If can effectively increase the average surface temperature of the atmosphere by 0.6°C. What it did in 2015/2016. That's where the global warming spikes (1998, 2016) come from:

    Beginning from a low at about [temp anomaly = +0.22°C ] in late 2015, the temperature of surface air peaked in Feb 2016 [temp anomaly = +0.84°C ]. By Dec 2016 it was down to +0.23°C. Jan 2017 sees the anomaly at +0.3°C. Within a few months (February to December) all the heat gained was lost. The average temperature at the earth's surface dropped by 0.61°C. This showed that earth's atmosphere does not hold heat well, even with its GHG effect. That puts a nail in the coffin of catastrophic global warming. It indicates the greenhouse effect of CO2 is unlikely to count for much. If the greenhouse blanket can't hold 0.6°C for less than one year, it has no chance of regularly accumulating heat as the climate models tell us it should. It may seem to you, dear reader than doubling CO2 from pre-industrial times (~ 280 ppm in 1750 to 560 ppm sometime later this century) adds a lot more greenhouse gas (GHG). Not really. Because each addition of GHG causes less 'warming' (there no actual warming - there is a blanket effect) than the previous one. W.r.t. CO2, the first 20ppm (20 parts per million) in the atmosphere is responsible for over half the CO2 GHG effect. After that the GHG effect tails off logarithmically. By the time it gets to 400ppm (where it is now) another CO2 doubling will contribute only 6% more to the CO2 GHG blanket. The GHG (water and CO2 combined) warms the surface air to about 33°C above what it would otherwise be. No GHG = -18°C. With GHG (water + CO2) = 15°C.

    CO2 is responsible for between 25% and 40% of the GHG effect (The so-called 'settled science' can't even decide upon that). A doubling (CO2 from 280ppm to 560ppm) will only add 0.15°C to the GHG blanket effect of CO2 in theory.

    Where did that El Niño heat go?

    Simple answer: it was radiated out to space. That's the only place it can go. Heat from the atmosphere cannot warm the earth by any measurable amount. There is just no mechanism for that to happen. In the climate: the sun warms the earth and oceans. The oceans warm the air by evaporative cooling and radiative warming. The warm air cools as it dissipates heat to outer space (as infra red emission). We just saw that warm air cooling, in 2016, by a whole 0.6°C in less than a year.

    This indicates:

    1. that the atmosphere has little capacity to store heat.
    2. that when the atmosphere gets warmer it quickly loses the heat to outer space by radiative emission of IR.
    3. that future additions of CO2, GHG will have a minimal effect upon the GHG blanket effect.
    First I believed what I was told : that, for doubling of CO2, global warming would be 3°C. Next I thought : about 1.5°C (1°C from the CO2 plus an amplification of 0.5°C due to more moisture in the air. Now I believe it will be about 0.2°C. Negligible.

    CO2 is not 'pollution'

    Meanwhile all that CO2 added to the atmosphere is accelerating world-wide plant growth and helping to make arid areas greener. Because CO2 is plant food. Because higher CO2 concentrations mean plants keep stomata open for less time, so respire less, and lose less water to the air. So more CO2 means plants can grow with slightly less water. Making plants grow better in arid areas.

    More CO2 is a boon to nature. If you love nature, you should love CO2. All animals, including humans should love nature; it's in our nature to.

    CO2 is not pollution. It is an essential compound upon which the tree of life on earth rests

    What's been causing global warming?

    (1) Surely I don't 'deny' global warming?

    Of course not. I accept what the thermometers tell us.

    This is a badly sited temperature monitoring station in Oregon:

    Note: The preference by NOAA for land-based temperature monitoring. Their refusal to accept the satellite evidence which is the only comprehensive atmospheric surface temperature record. Land-based stations are subject to a number of error sources. Typical errors include the 'urban heat island effect'. This means the temperature monitoring stations are located close to where scientists work. Scientists live near other people. People living in towns, cities and even villages tend to warm our houses, and use heat. When we measure temperature close to us it will be warmer than more isolated locations. But more isolated locations are the norm. 95% of earth's surface is populated by only 5% of the population. 5% of the earth's surface is populated by 95% of the population. NOAA need to stop collecting data from badly sited weather stations. They need to stop interpolating data where there are no weather stations. That is also known as making data up.

    Here (below) is a temperature record for the last hundred years.

    (2) So what's causing the warming?

    WTF, why should I know, or care what's causing the warming? What caused the global warming from 1909 to 1944? Scientists, climate or not, can't tell us. They do not agree. If climatologists can't tell us what caused the warming from 1909 to 1944, why should they expect me to believe them about 1976 to 1998? I know, for a fact, that the 1998 spike was El Niño. I know it quickly dissipated. I know the heat for El Niño comes from the ocean. That's all I'm willing to say about 1976-1998. I have no idea what caused global cooling from the mid-1940's to mid-1970's either.

    I recall about 10 years ago the president of the UK Royal Meteorological Society said something like

    "It must be carbon dioxide because I can’t think what else it could be"
    That is not actually a scientific statement. It's not something any scientist should have any truck with. Sadly I can no longer find this quote on the web. It looks like it's been cleaned. So obsessed are our global warming friends with cleansing the historical record.

    Another issue I have with climate 'scientists'

    Most scientists are happy to explain their work to the public. Climate scientists seem eager to keep the public dumbed down. By not debating their critics. By not explaining the science. CO2 is supposed to cause global warming by a blanket effect.

    The earth radiates infrared heat into space. Atmospheric CO2 molecules intercept the outbound IR and re-emit. Reemission happens in any direction. The CO2 molecule has the sky above, ground below and sky at its sides. So instead on ONLY heading off into space the IR bounces about in the atmosphere a bit before finally leaving earth. This absorption and re-emission of IR is supposed to, one day, cause the temperature of the atmosphere (at ground surface) to increase by 3°C or, as previously some climate scientists claimed, by up to 10°C !).
    Yet the recent El Niño showed the atmosphere radiating so much extra heat to outer space that the surface air cooled by 0.6°C in 10 months. So now we have some idea of just how long IR will bounce about to blanket the earth before heading off into space. No where near enough time to raise the temperature of the atmosphere by 10°C or even 3°C. It currently can't even raise the temperature 0.6C for any length of time. Additional CO2 contributes only marginally to a warmer blanket due to the logarithmic falloff in the effectiveness of CO2 GHG.

    I still don't know how long, on average, a CO2 molecule can hold extra energy before it re-emits the IR. This seems like top secret stuff. Fit for only climate scientists to discuss. I have low trust for people who are contemptuous of me. I trust climate scientists about as much as drug dealers, used car salesmen or financial advisors. Not very much at all. Now we see global warming and climate change hysteria for what it is: a busted flush, as deal offered by a conman.

    Perhaps El Niño heat dissipated into the rest of the atmosphere?

    The problem with this notion is that the rest of the atmosphere is cooler than the surface. If the El Niño heat gets to the rest of the atmosphere (above the surface) it's on its way out to space anyhow, but faster as there tends to be little water vapour above the troposphere since it precipitates out due to the cold.

    Anyhow: this is changing the subject. Alarmists promised us 3°C per doubling of CO2. That was never on. All this based on modeling. Models never properly validated against reality. Because climate models are complex and one can only easily validate simple models against reality. Models where you change one variable and know what to expect as a result.