Sunday, 12 November 2017

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Renewable Energy support does not add up

Renewable Energy supporters are either:

  • neo-Malthusians
  • idiots
  • dilettantes
  • worse

Once upon a time I was a green 'eejit' too. (1) I believed in renewable energy. I thought our government were idiots for not using it to replace fossil fuels. E.g. for making electricity. (2) I also believed in global warming, or climate change, as they call it today. and (3) I though that chemicals in the environment could be killing us with cancer. Back then, I considered myself a well-educated, serious, responsible, person. I read the liberal-left press. They told me renewable energies were scalable, and doable. I believed them. Then, in 2006, two acquaintances told me I was wrong renewables, are too expensive. That was the beginning. I took notice. If renewable energy could not decarbonize our economy, then what? However, the thing that really piqued my interest in the energy debate was the Internet film "Thorium Remix 2011", by Gordon McDowell which was mostly based on Kirk Sorensen's nuclear power presentations of the Oak Ridge Molten Salt Reactor Experiment(s) from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Here I found the solution to global warming, and plentiful energy for the world. A 'non-carbon' power source. Almost infinitely scalable. It emitted no CO2, ran in breeder mode, so needed practically no fuel. Did not make any appreciable amount of waste. Could make power for less than the price of coal. Posed no meaningful risk to anyone because it ran at atmospheric pressure (or close). No possible accident posed a risk of releasing dangerous amounts of radiation over large areas. What was not to like? Why didn't everyone support this idea? Who could possibly oppose it?

That was my real introduction to the energy debate. I read papers and books to understand the issues. I researched. I blogged from April 2014. The pros and cons of each technology. The risks of nuclear power. Especially radiation. I also became interested in human pathology: the green movement in particular. Their peculiar, ambivalent attitude towards our fellow humans. I'd always known there was a neo-Malthusian contingent in the green movement; from reading Murray Bookchin's Re-enchanting Humanity, back in the 1990s. And from attempting to discuss the pros and cons of technology with greens. My discussions got nowhere. Every argument I raised in favour of something like nuclear power, GMOs, etc. was greeted with but, ..., the Precautionary Principle! Yet I thought neo-Malthusians were a minority of greens. Now, with COP23 refusing to discuss nuclear power, it's dawned on me that neo-Malthusians rule them. Both politically and intellectually.

There's a tendency, in common sense thought, to look at the world in terms of scarcity. Scarcity is the natural state of things. Yet our natural faith in scarcity as the way the world works is both wrong and lazy. Julian Simon explained why in "The Ultimate Resource". Human ingenuity overcomes most obstacles.

End of the long digression/biography

So how is it that I believe renewable energy supporters are either:

  1. neo-Malthusians
  2. idiots
  3. dilettantes
  4. worse?

First do the maths. If you propose to replace fossil fuel use with renewable energy it has to work. Otherwise you are in camps (1, neo-Malthusian), or (4, worse. e.g. you are just in it for the money or your career). Renewable energies do not work very well. The arguments against it, in most places, and in most forms, are compelling

The arguments above kill renewable energy. The nuclear power alternative is just so much better. If you are still a believer, but have not done the maths yourself then you are either an idiot (can't do maths), or a dilettante (too lazy to do it, happy to take someone else's word). The actual exclusion of nuclear power from the table at COP23 tells us that the majority of environmentalists saving the planet at COP have ulterior motives. They are not very interested in decarbonizing the economy. When people yelling Fire in a crowded theatre aren't running for the exit, then you know something dishonest is going down. Beware. Another development is Mark Z Jacobson taking his scientific critics to court for defamation. This original blog title was: 'Renewable Energy supporters are either evil or stupid' That's all folks.

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.

Reblog: http://sealevel.info/Happer_UNC_2014-09-08/Another_question.html

Ref: http://www.sealevel.info/Happer_UNC_2014-09-08/


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,
Dave


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!

Will

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).

Did I understand that correctly? [YES, PRECISELY.  I ATTACH A PAPER ON RADIATIVE LIFETIMES OF CO2 FROM THE CO2 LASER COMMUNITY. YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THE BENDING-MODE TRANSITIONS, FOR EXAMPLE, 010 – 000. AS I THINK I MAY HAVE INDICATED ON SLIDE 24, THE RADIATIVE DECAY RATES FOR THE BENDING MODE ALSO DEPEND ON VIBRATION AND ROTATIONAL QUANTUM NUMBERS, AND THEY CAN BE A FEW ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE SLOWER THAN 1 S^{-1} FOR HIGHER EXCITED STATES. THIS IS BECAUSE OF SMALL MATRIX ELEMENTS FOR THE TRANSITION MOMENTS.]
 

You didn't mention it, but I assume H2O molecules have a similar decay time to emit an IR photon. Is that right, too? [YES.  I CAN'T IMMEDIATELY FIND A SIMILAR PAPER TO THE ONE I ATTACHED ABOUT CO2, BUT THESE TRANSITIONS HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY STUDIED IN CONNECTION WITH INTERSTELLAR MASERS. I ATTACH SOME NICE VIEWGRAPHS THAT SUMMARIZE THE ISSUES, A FEW OF WHICH TOUCH ON H2O, ONE OF THE IMPORTANT INTERSTELLAR MOLECULES.  ALAS, THE SLIDES DO NOT INCLUDE A TABLE OF LIFETIMES. BUT YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO TRACK THEM DOWN FROM REFERENCES ON THE VIEWGRAPHS IF YOU LIKE. ROUGHLY SPEAKING, THE RADIATIVE LIFETIMES OF ELECTRIC DIPOLE MOMENTS SCALE AS THE CUBE OF THE WAVELENTH AND INVERSELY AS THE SQUARE OF THE ELECTRIC DIPOLE MATRIX ELEMENT (FROM BASIC QUANTUM MECHANICS) SO IF AN ATOM HAS A RADIATIVE LIFETIME OF 16 NSEC AT A WAVELENGTH OF 0.6 MIRONS (SODIUM), A CO2 BENDING MODE TRANSITION, WITH A WAVELENGTH OF 15 MICRONS AND ABOUT 1/30 THE MATRIX ELEMENT SHOULD HAVE A LIFETIME OF ORDER 16 (30)^2 (15/.6)^3 NS = 0.2 S.
 

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:

 
Am I correct in thinking that illustration is wrong for about 99.9999999% of the photons which CO2 absorbs in the lower troposphere? [YES, THE PICTURE IS A BIT MISLEADING. IF THE CO2 MOLECULE IN AIR ABSORBS A RESONANT PHOTON, IT IS MUCH MORE LIKELY ( ON THE ORDER OF A BILLION TIMES MORE LIKELY) TO HEAT THE SURROUNDING AIR MOLECULES WITH THE ENERGY IT ACQUIRED FROM THE ABSORBED PHOTON, THAN TO RERADIATE A PHOTON AT THE SAME OR SOME DIFFERENT FREQUENCY.  IF THE CO2 MOLECULE COULD RADIATE COMPLETELY WITH NO COLLISIONAL INTERRUPTIONS, THE LENGTH OF THE RADIATIVE PULSE WOULD BE THE DISTANCE LIGHT CAN TRAVEL IN THE RADIATIVE LIFETIME. SO THE PULSE IN THE NSF FIGURE SHOULD BE 300,000 KM LONG, FROM THE EARTH'S SURFACE TO WELL BEYOND A SATELLITE IN GEOSYNCHRONOUS ORBIT. THE RADIATED PULSE SHOULD CONTAIN 667 CM^{-1} *3 X 10^{10} CM S^{-1}*1 S  WAVES OR ABOUT 2 TRILLION WAVES, NOT JUST A FEW AS IN THE FIGURE.  A BIT OF POETIC LICENSE IS OK.  I CERTAINLY PLEAD GUILTY TO USING SOME ON MY VIEWGRAPHS. BUT WE SHOULD NOT MAKE TRILLION-DOLLAR ECONOMIC DECISIONS WITHOUT MORE QUANTITATIVE CONSIDERATION OF THE PHYSICS.]
 

(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,
Dave
[...snip...]


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,
Dave
[...snip...]


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

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.
[...snip...]


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,
Dave
[...snip...]


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

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.
[...snip...]


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

Dave
[...snip...]


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.
 
rgb
[...snip...]
 
Robert G. Brown http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567 Fax: 919-660-2525


2 attachments
Toft-CO2-PDO.eps  108K
(or converted by ZamZar to Toft-CO2-PDO.png 202K)
Toft-CO2-vs-MME.eps  58K
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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,
Dave
[...snip...]
 

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.

Will


1 attachment
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 ForPrin.com. 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]0.180.210.240.270.300.330.360.390.42
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]1.221.271.321.371.431.491.561.641.72
[mid]1.431.541.671.822.002.222.502.863.33
[high]1.721.962.272.703.334.356.2511.1150.00

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.

     555
    ----- = 1.2%
    46713
    

    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)
    Subtraction
    (W / m²)
    PT (ºC)Net warming
    (W / m²)
    280396.315
    5603.75.5401.816-1.8
    11207.411.1407.417-3.7

    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.

    Hypothesis:

    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: