Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

It's waste heat

What the science says...

The contribution of waste heat to the global climate is 0.028 W/m2. In contrast, the contribution from human greenhouse gases is 2.9 W/m2. Greenhouse warming is adding about 100 times more heat to our climate than waste heat.

Climate Myth...

It's waste heat
"Global warming is mostly due to heat production by human industry since the 1800s, from nuclear power and fossil fuels, better termed hydrocarbons, – coal, oil, natural gas. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2 play a minor role even though they are widely claimed the cause." (Morton Skorodin)

When humans use energy, it gives off heat. Whenever we burn fossil fuels, heat is emitted. This heat doesn't just disappear - it dissipates into our environment. How much does waste heat contribute to global warming? This has been calculated in Flanner 2009 (if you want to read the full paper, access details are posted here). Flanner contributes that the contribution of waste heat to the global climate is 0.028 W/m2. In contrast, the contribution from human greenhouse gases is 2.9 W/m2 (IPCC AR4 Section 2.1). Waste heat is about 1% of greenhouse warming.

Radiative forcing from waste heat vs anthropogenic greenhouse gas radiative forcing

What does these numbers mean? They refer to radiative forcing, the change in energy flux at the top of the atmosphere. Or putting it in plain English, the amount of heat being added to our climate. Greenhouse warming is currently adding about 100 times more heat to our climate than waste heat.

Last updated on 27 July 2010 by John Cook.

Printable Version  |  Offline PDF Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

1  2  3  4  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 157:

  1. In 1983 I asked my Dad if it was warmer outside because everyone was running furnaces to heat their houses. He said yes.
  2. Somebody's crunched numbers. Small globally, noticeable regionally:

    Nearly all energy used for human purposes is dissipated as heat within Earth's land–atmosphere system. Thermal energy released from non-renewable sources is therefore a climate forcing term. Averaged globally, this forcing is only +0.028 W m−2, but over the continental United States and western Europe, it is +0.39 and +0.68 W m−2, respectively. Here, present and future global inventories of anthropogenic heat flux (AHF) are developed, and parameterizations derived for seasonal and diurnal flux cycles. Equilibrium climate experiments show statistically-significant continental-scale surface warming (0.4–0.9°C) produced by one 2100 AHF scenario, but not by current or 2040 estimates. However, significant increases in annual-mean temperature and planetary boundary layer (PBL) height occur over gridcells where present-day AHF exceeds 3.0 W m−2. PBL expansion leads to a slight, but significant increase in atmospheric residence time of aerosols emitted from large-AHF regions. Hence, AHF may influence regional climate projections and contemporary chemistry-climate studies.

    Flanner, M. G. (2009), Integrating anthropogenic heat flux with global climate models, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L02801, doi:10.1029/2008GL036465.
  3. The central concern of man-made CO2 emissions has to do with its IR absorptive qualities, and for this reason it is referred to as a "greenhouse gas". Given that CO2 represents a very small percentage of the Earth's atmosphere, and in respect to the particular concerns, the implication is that its efficiency to radiate and absorb IR must contrast substantially with that of N2 and O2.

    The effect of greenhouse gas warming has to do with final results, such as the melting of polar caps and glaciers, and the warming of ocean water and land as well as the N2 and O2 that make up 97% of the Earth's atmosphere (i.e. climate change).

    Exothermic man-made industrial waste heat involves IR emission, but most of this heat consists of direct convective heating of both water and air. The idea that a significant portion of global warming could be attributed to industrial waste heat resides in the question of how N2 and O2 dissipate heat when its temperature is elevated beyond mechanisms that are normally found in Nature.

    While N2 and O2 (the bulk of the Earth's atmosphere) are not the best radiators at nominal atmospheric temperatures, they do cool nicely convecting to cooler water and ice, so as to provide a heat channel from one's home or automobile directly to oceans, glaciers and polar caps. On the other hand, it can be assumed this system is lossy to some degree in that CO2 picks up some of this energy and sends it upward to the heavens, but for all practical purposes, energy that enters the atmosphere stays here on Earth.

    For however small this energy may be, if it is accumulating, we should begin to notice it as something that is building slowly (i.e., hocky stick graph). And addressing those that dismiss waste heat on arguments based on numerics, it is not a matter of comparing a figure of forcing per square meter if this heat is not efficiently involved with radiative processes. In other words, if N2 and O2 are not GHGs they can only deliver heat by convection to cooler places.
  4. RSVP errata
    (a) but for all practical purposes, energy that enters the atmosphere IN THIS WAY stays here on Earth.

    (b) can only deliver heat by convection to cooler places (i.e., global warming).
  5. RSVP, there's no difference between heat that enters the atmosphere via radiative absorption and heat that enters the atmosphere as waste heat. It's not that one "accumulates" and the other doesn't. It's just that, globally averaged, the quantity of watts from waste heat is much smaller than the quantity of watts from absorption by GHGs.

    Doug kindly provides the numbers in his comment before yours. Globally, waste heat is roughly two orders of magnitude below the sum of CO2, CH4, N2O, and halocarbons. It's not zero, but it's negligible.
  6. RSVP at 19:53 PM, to determine whether or not waste heat is accumulating and contributing to global warming, it's only necessary to go back to the very basics.

    If the rate at which the planet is warming is less than that which waste heat adds, then NO, waste heat possibly does not contribute to the global warming and is dissipated.
    However, if the rate of global warming is greater than that which waste heat adds, then YES waste heat must both contribute, and continually accumulate year upon year.
  7. Sorry, johnd, but that's not particularly logical.

    Re your first statement, one could imagine a scenario where waste heat was contributing a huge warming forcing, but it was being countered by an even larger cooling forcing. The fact that the (imaginary) planet was cooling overall wouldn't negate the actual warming effect of waste heat.

    Re your second statement, the candles on my dining room table must "contribute" to warming the global atmosphere, too. But not in any meaningful amount! This is why it's important to quantify forcings, which is exactly what Doug Bostrom does in his comment upthread.

    Globally, waste heat is two orders of magnitude below greenhouse gases in its importance. Saying that non-quantitatively it must "contribute" is pretty much useless.
  8. RSVP, let's for the moment assume that the 'waste heat' argument isn't complete nonsense. Temperatures are still rising at the same rate. Humans are still causing it (i.e. it is still "AGW"). Fossil fuel use is still the source.

    What then should the proper course of action be? Under this view the rising temperatures which have been observed are due to the buildup of heat from burning fossil fuels over time. Does this not argue for converting from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind? The only significant difference is that nuclear power is out as an alternative because it is just as much a 'waste heat' generator as fossil fuels.

    So... that would suggest that you should support all the changes being suggested by AGW proponents EXCEPT that you should be against nuclear power.

    Is that the case?
  9. "Ned at 21:38 PM on 26 July, 2010
    RSVP, there's no difference between heat that enters the atmosphere via radiative absorption and heat that enters the atmosphere as waste heat. "

    I agree. Heat is heat. However how it gets to the atmosphere is different.

    Internal combustion engines for instance are very efficient in the way they employ convection to rid themselves of excess energy. The car's radiator heats N2 and O2 directly, pushing cool air over a large surface areas. Heat that accumulates on a boulder during the day on the contrary, cools for the most part via radiation. Most all of that energy makes its way into outer space. If this was not true, the Earth would not maintain its temperature equilibrium. The AGW theory precisely points to anthropogenic CO2 as improving the "efficiency" of the atmosphere in capturing this radiated energy, even though most of this energy passes through like a sieve (i.e. the atmosphere is IR opaque in relation to "GHG" concentration.)

    Another way to explain this... If CO2 heat capturing efficiency is 5% (I am making this up for sake of the discussion, and referring to the efficiency of CO2 to pick up heat that warms the air), as compared 90% efficiency of convective heating of say an air conditioner. If I have 100 joules, in the first case, I am only going to warm the atmosphere by 5 joules, whereas with my air conditioner it will leave 90 joules.
  10. RSVP, the radiative forcing from CO2 (and other GHGs) only includes the outgoing longwave radiation that is actually trapped within the atmosphere. It doesn't need to "get to the atmosphere"; it occurs within the atmosphere.

    All of your arguments about waste heat accumulating in the atmosphere apply in exactly the same way to heat from GHG forcings. The only difference is that GHGs produce vastly more heat.
  11. CBDunkerson at 23:01 PM on 26 July, 2010
    "What then should the proper course of action be?"

    I personally dont think humans are better off changing the chemistry of their atmosphere. And the challeges are huge. As such, we better get our ps and qs straight. There is no guarantee that the ill effects of global warming are going to be sufficient to stop fossil fuel burning. It might even be the biggest straw man to justify continuing to do so. If on the otherhand it turns out that higher CO2 levels has profound ill effects on the biosphere (for who knows what reasons), then that is where the science and effort should be dedicated.
  12. RSVP - Do you not remember our conversation over GHG's acting as an IR antenna?

    Energy goes into the atmosphere (conduction/convection from your automobile radiator, household AC, LWR from the ground. The air mass from this energy acquires a certain temperature. The source doesn't matter, just the total energy! GHG's radiate over their thermal spectrum based upon the temperature of the air mass.

    The 'waste heat' (mis)issue is that total industrial waste heat is 2 orders of magnitude smaller than the GHG forcing, the extra solar energy held by greenhouse gas increases. Those are the numbers, RSVP, waste heat is only 1% of the problem, hence nobody is really worried about it.
  13. Ned
    "All of your arguments about waste heat accumulating in the atmosphere apply in exactly the same way to heat from GHG forcings. The only difference is that GHGs produce vastly more heat. "

    The bulk of the atmosphere is N2 and O2. Most of the heat radiating off of the Earth goes up and out, otherwise we would have temperatures like the hot sidewalk midday.

    If a photon happens to excite a CO2 molecule, this energy may or may not make it to a nearby N2 or O2 molecule. All this describes a not so efficient heat capturing system.

    Nearly all the heat passing over a heat engine elevates the temperature of N2 and O2 directly (through convection). These gases in turn are not good emitters of radiation.
  14. KR
    "RSVP - Do you not remember our conversation over GHG's acting as an IR antenna? "

    I do. :)

    KR
    "The source doesn't matter, just the total energy! "

    I disagree. The efficiency of energy capture is what matters.
  15. RSVP
    "The efficiency of energy capture is what matters. "

    Example...
    Depending on the material, an object placed in a microwave oven may or maynot get hot.

    This is how it works.
  16. RSVP, if the CO2 molecule re-radiates the IR, the energy leaves with the photon. If not, the CO2 heats up, and hence the air mass does as well.

    The thing is, given the average path length before absorption for surface pressures and GHG concentrations, the photon will hit another GHG molecule before it's gone very far at all. There are so many chances for absorption that it's not going very far. So that energy will add/subtract repeatedly to the energy of the air mass, and to its temperature.

    If first you don't succeed, try try again... really expresses this.

    The only way that energy leaves/cooling occurs via LWR is if the sum of emission events is higher than the sum of absorption events - which happens at the surface (396 W/m^2 going up, 333 W/m^2 going down), between the layers of the atmosphere as it cools with height and absolute GHG concentration drops, and the top of the atmosphere (238.5 W/m^2 LWR going out).
  17. CBDunkerson #8
    "So... that would suggest that you should support all the changes being suggested by AGW proponents EXCEPT that you should be against nuclear power.

    Is that the case? "

    Renewable does not guarantee avoidance of warming. A black solar panel lowers the planet's albedo for instance. This is however getting off topic.
  18. KR
    "The only way that energy leaves/cooling occurs via LWR is if the sum of emission events is higher than the sum of absorption events "

    I assume you are talking about diffusion at some atmospheric boundary layer. However if I was passing overhead on a satellite pointing my IR detector towards the ground, I assume I would "see" IR energy as long as it was "brighter" than this intermediate IR "cloud". In other words, the GHG issue you are talking about is real but subtile, not unlike being able to see fog lights through daytime fog.

    The point being that if the ground is hot enough, the IR energy will make its way out.
  19. RSVP writes: The bulk of the atmosphere is N2 and O2. Most of the heat radiating off of the Earth goes up and out, otherwise we would have temperatures like the hot sidewalk midday.

    And the heat that goes "up and out" is not included in the stated radiative forcing for CO2. Thus, we can directly compare the radiative forcing from CO2 to the waste heat forcing. As has been pointed out over and over again, the latter is two orders of magnitude smaller than the former.
  20. RSVP, it would help if you would please give us a reference to a paper or a study that shows that the magnitude of the forcing from waste heat has been dramatically underestimated and that it's comparable to the 2.5 W/m2 from greenhouse gases.
  21. RSVP - yep, a glowing fog is all you would see from a satellite at GHG wavelengths. You need to choose a different wavelength (visible, for example) to resolve ground objects.

    You still have not addressed the base issue of this thread, however. That is the fact that all industrial energy production (waste heat, used energy that eventually becomes heat via entropy, etc.) sums up to a number 2 orders of magnitude smaller than the GHG entrapment of solar energy.

    If we were to convert all energy production to solar power, with a decrease in Earth albedo, the 1-2% forcing gain in albedo and solar panel waste heat inefficiencies would be more than balanced by the 99% decrease from GHG entrapment. See the RealClimate estimates of energy balance from solar replacement of fossil fuels.
  22. RSVP wrote: "I personally dont think humans are better off changing the chemistry of their atmosphere."

    Sooo... you agree that we shouldn't be emitting all that CO2. Excellent.

    That said, a few things which need explaining if you want to continue running with this 'global temperature increases are being caused by waste heat' bit;

    1: Why are temperature increases most pronounced at the poles... where there is virtually no industry generating waste heat?

    2: Why do we not see huge spikes of increased heat around urban industrial centers gradually leveling off as you get further into non-industrial regions?

    3: Why has warming been most pronounced at night and during Winter? That makes sense if the warming is due to decreases in the rate heat escapes... but not if it is due to increasing 'accumulated heat'.

    4: Why is the stratosphere cooling? Again, that makes sense if heat is being prevented from escaping to the stratosphere... but not if the total heat of the planetary environment is increasing.

    Those are just a start. There are dozens of other things which clearly indicate that 'waste heat' is not the cause... even setting aside issues of scale.
  23. CBDunkerson, those are all interesting questions. For me, though, they're secondary.

    Being a skeptic by nature, I'd like to see some evidence from RSVP, in the form of a paper or a study or some actual data.

    Until something like that is presented, why should anyone care about waste heat? Flanner 2009 calculates that it's minuscule, and RSVP hasn't given us any references to contradict that.
  24. Ned, many deniers assume that all data which contradicts their beliefs has been faked. Thus it may help to present proofs based on basic logic in addition to those based on data. Or not. Some are impervious to both.
  25. Yes, CBD, I think that's a useful approach for many topics here.

    In this case, though, RSVP hasn't offered any empirical evidence in support of his claims for waste heat. Well, I'm a skeptic. I want to see some evidence before I concede that it's even worth discussing.
  26. CBDunkerson #22
    "1: Why are temperature increases most pronounced at the poles... where there is virtually no industry generating waste heat?
    ------------------------------
    This gets back to the issue of how N2 and O2 dissipate heat. Not by radiation. Since energy cant be destroyed, it must be spreading itself everywhere.

    2: Why do we not see huge spikes of increased heat around urban industrial centers gradually leveling off as you get further into non-industrial regions?
    ----------------------------
    answer to 2.:
    We do. See links.
    http://www.epa.gov/heatisld/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island
    http://www.concretethinker.com/Content/ImageLib/lblgraph.jpg

    3: Why has warming been most pronounced at night and during Winter? That makes sense if the warming is due to decreases in the rate heat escapes... but not if it is due to increasing 'accumulated heat'.
    ---------------------------
    The idea that N2 and O2 are not good emitters of IR agrees with your statement about "decrease in the rate heat escapes". The difference here is in what we assume is causing this.

    In addition, for a fixed quantity of man-made heat, the lower the temperature, the higher the percentage this represents quantitatively relative to the ambient energy level, and convective heat transfer is in proportion to the difference in temperature. So this also can be applied to answering in part question 1.

    And I dont know about you, but I personally use more heating oil in the Winter.

    4: Why is the stratosphere cooling? Again, that makes sense if heat is being prevented from escaping to the stratosphere... but not if the total heat of the planetary environment is increasing."
    -----------------------------
    Is it really cooling? Obviously this is not based on tree ring data. ;)
  27. RSVP - I see no no numbers in your latest post, no evidence. All you present are "it seems like it should..." statements contradictory to what we observe. The numbers, the measured values, and the physics all say you are incorrect about the importance of waste heat.

    A hypothesis must be congruent with the evidence. If a hypothesis is contradicted by all the evidence, it's time for a new hypothesis.

    Waste heat driving global warming just doesn't make sense, RSVP. And you have proved exactly zero evidence to support that hypothesis.
  28. RSVP #26

    1: Your answer makes no sense. Heat spreading through atmospheric Nitrogen and Oxygen does not explain why the poles are heating faster... there is not more Nitrogen and Oxygen there.

    2: Your answer is clearly false. Yes, the Urban Heat Island effect (which has very little to do with waste heat) causes cities to be warmer (though nowhere near enough so to explain the GLOBAL temperature increase), but it does not result in warming of the rural areas around these urban centers as we would expect if global warming were simply the spreading out of heat from urban sources. Hence the 'island' part of the name... it is a sharply localized effect.

    3: Again, your answer makes no sense. How are atmospheric Nitrogen and Oxygen responsible for a decrease in the rate of heat escape? Especially as they have not themselves changed significantly? As to 'more heating oil in Winter'... I thought you had claimed that measured warming was due to ACCUMULATED waste heat because it is magically prevented from escaping the atmosphere. Thus, when the heating oil was burned is irrelevant... the heat should still be there in the Summer.

    4: Here you seem to simply deny the data.
  29. Previous comment, last sentence - that should be *provided*, not *proved*; I believe that makes more sense.

    ...must...practice...typing...
  30. CBDunkerson
    I have tried to answer your questions. It would seem fair that you try to answer some of mine.

    1. Can energy be destroyed?

    2. Where exactly does the Urban Heat go?

    3. What does the word energy dissipation mean to you in this context?

    4. What are the radiative properties for cooling of N2 and O2?

    5. How do these properties differ from GHGs?
  31. RSVP, I'm (honestly) still uncertain about what point you're making. I -think- you're saying that observed increases in global temperature are significantly affected by anthropogenic liberation of heat energy. If that's the case, your argument is stuck here

    Nearly all energy used for human purposes is dissipated as heat within Earth's land–atmosphere system. Thermal energy released from non-renewable sources is therefore a climate forcing term. Averaged globally, this forcing is only +0.028 W m−2...

    until you can provide a substitute number for Flanner's calculated result that is both much larger and more correct.

    If you're driving at something else, different matter of course.
  32. RSVP, you could simplify this whole process a lot if you would just point us to a paper, a study, or anything, really, that quantitatively shows waste heat being equal to or greater than radiative forcing from GHGs.

    Once we have such a source, we can debate the data, methods, interpretations, etc. But until you give us something that at least remotely resembles a shred of evidence, what's the point?
  33. N2 and O2 are transparent to IR. These gases do not radiate since they are not GHGs, and therefore have a hard time loosing their heat outside of convective cooling with water and ice.

    The cooling of manmade heat engines raises the temperature of N2 and O2 directly. This heat is carried around the planet and is being discharged and dissipated in the cooler regions since convection requires a lower temperature for heat to be transferred.
  34. I think we can conclude that this is a dead end, unless RSVP can produce a number for "AHF" more useful and much larger than Flanner's.
  35. N2 and O2 are transparent to IR. However, the CO2 and H2O content of the air mass can and does absorb and emit IR.

    GHG's at air temperature will lose/gain energy as they emit/absorb IR, and through molecular collisions will cool/heat the air mass as a whole, including the N2 and O2. And that thermal exchange is very efficient, very fast.

    The air mass as a whole, containing GHG's, is not transparent to IR - it heats and cools depending on the IR in/out balance. What exactly is not clear about that?!?

    I've got nothing more to say here, unless RSVP comes up with a measurement supported number comparable to Flanner's.
  36. RSVP, the point that Doug and KR and I keep emphasizing is the main one -- you need to provide some evidence here.

    But aside from that, I admit I'm confused by all the references to N2 and O2. Why do you think there's some kind of distinction there? Most of the waste heat from anthropogenic sources will be carried in the atmosphere by O2 and N2. Likewise, most of the heat from GHG absorption will also be transferred to O2 and N2 molecules, thanks to the fact that each CO2 molecule collides with N2 or O2 molecules roughly one billion times per second.

    Perhaps you're under some misimpression that when a greenhouse gas absorbs IR radiation it only raises the temperature of the GHG molecules themselves? If so, that's wrong. The atmosphere is not a mix of gases each with its own distinct temperature.
  37. KR
    "The air mass as a whole, containing GHG's, is not transparent to IR - it heats and cools depending on the IR in/out balance. What exactly is not clear about that?!?"

    The crux of the AGW theory (and the campaign to control GHGs concentrations) rests on the assumption that the efficiency of "The air mass as a whole" to "emit/absorb IR" is a function of concentration. Making this kind of a blank statement about how air gets rid of heat ignores the premises upon which AGW is based on.
  38. Ned
    "I'm confused by all the references to N2 and O2. Why do you think there's some kind of distinction there? "

    What makes a GHG a GHG? N2 and O2 are not greenhouse gasses by definition, otherwise the atmosphere would be 100% GHG and there would be no problem with emission of GHGs. How can you ask this question?
  39. Ned
    "Likewise, most of the heat from GHG absorption will also be transferred to O2 and N2 molecules, thanks to the fact that each CO2 molecule collides with N2 or O2 molecules roughly one billion times per second. "

    Why does GHG concentration matter? Does it go to two billion times per second as concentration doubles?

    My point is you make it sound like all the energy captured by CO2 goes directly into the surrounding molecules (one minute), but concentration "modulates" this process another minute when it comes to justifying the reduction of GHG emissions.
  40. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere affects the absorptance of longwave IR. It doesn't particularly affect the rate at which the energy from that absorption is shared with the rest of the atmosphere. Those are two entirely different processes.

    You really don't understand how this works, do you?
  41. Maybe this will help. RSVP, think of each individual CO2 molecule as a tiny machine, taking in fuel (IR radiation) and giving off waste heat (vibrational energy transferred by collisions with other molecules in the atmosphere).

    Every year, we add billions of tons of those tiny machines to the atmosphere. The waste heat they produce is two orders of magnitude greater than the heat from our clunky mechanical devices down here on the surface.

    Does that help?
  42. In the medium concentrations we have for GHG's in Earth's atmosphere, a doubling of CO2 concentration increases the width of the blocked LWIR band enough that the Earth's surface must be 1oC hotter for the integrated spectrum at the top of the atmosphere to sum to the energy coming in. Increased GHG concentrations slow the escape of the LWIR energy from the atmosphere.

    The 10^9 collisions/second ensure that the GHG's maintain the same temperature as the rest of the air mass - you can't separate N2 and O2 temps from the air mass as a whole, and it's rather silly to claim so.


    Back to the point of the thread - Human energy use releases energy at a rate 2 orders of magnitude less than the GHG entrapment. Unless you provide some evidence to the contrary, which you have not done so far, waste heat is not an issue worth worrying about.
  43. Here's another summary on this topic, with some references: Global Warming Waste Heat
  44. An metaphore to "queue threoy" may help you all...

    There is a highway that goes into the city. The flow is constant everyday (no weekends in this theoretical land).

    The flow of cars depends on the amount of traffic since the channel (the highway) but in generally is usually constant and flows well.

    One day Road Maintenance needs to paint the lines on the side of the highway and places cones on the right lane. This slows traffic down slightly. (This might be effects of elevated CO2... perhaps).

    On top of this however, there is a special event that day (rock concert) and the number of cars increases, but only by 1%. (waste heat)

    Since the flow was basically optimal before these two occurrences came about, the traffic almost comes to a complete halt. There is now a traffic jam and cars are moving bumper to bumber.

    Someone in a car wants to see a huge accident to justify this inconvenience. As he passes the cones, he is dissappointed that there is nothing dramatic to see.
    (AGW guy, asking me for numbers to justify the effects of man made waste heat).
  45. RSVP, imagine that as cars from the rock concert move down the congested highway the mayor of the local city connected to the highway announces that an asteroid is approaching and will strike the center of the city within hours. Many residents respond to the announcement by "getting out of Dodge," ironically jumping into their Dodge automobiles and hightailing it for the proverbial hills. Proportioning the public panic to the relative numbers of AHF forcing versus forcing by a doubling of C02, the highway must then cope with not only the increase of traffic from the concert but a panic stricken flood of drivers representing over 100 times more additional vehicles beyond that created by the concert traffic.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, you're obsessing over a very tiny number.
  46. RSVP - queuing theory, with its associated transition points at certain flow rates, has absolutely nothing to do with this topic, and can only be considered an (rather poor) attempt to change the subject.

    Your waste heat issue is 1% the effect of GHG entrapment, negligible in comparison. You have shown no evidence whatsoever to the contrary.

    This is a science blog site - Appeals to Belief and Red Herring logical errors really don't hold up to actual numbers or physics.
  47. Also take a look at Common Sense error, strongly related to the Dunning-Kruger effect
  48. Ned at 22:36 PM, part of the issue being discussed was whether waste heat accumulates or not, and whether accumulative it's effect is more than negligible.
    Obviously if the total heat losses from your dining room, being well insulated one hopes, remains less than that being provided by the burning candles, then it is the total accumulated heat that is relevant in any quantitative comparison at any point of time.
    Naturally, if at some point of time someone opened a door introducing a period of increased heat loss, that is a period of cooling, then a portion or perhaps all the accumulated heat of the burning candles would be lost.
  49. RSVP at 06:35 AM, perhaps another analogy may help.
    A well designed and up to date maternity hospital has been built and access is via a revolving door that is designed to maintain an efficient environment and minimize heat losses by operating only with one person entering and one person leaving at the same time.
    Only 1% of those entering the hospital do so to give birth, the bulk of those entering, and leaving are visitors or staff.
    At what point does the hospital board have to go back to the engineers who did the original design calculations, and ask them if the assumption they made that as only 1% of those entering the hospital were pregnant, and so could be considered negligible, was a indeed a valid assumption?
  50. johnd - False distinction logic error: thermal energy is thermal energy, none of it is 'pregnant' or otherwise distinguishable from the other.

    This is akin to the G&T arguments where some skeptics thought that an object would somehow 'know' that certain photons came from colder objects, and would not therefore contribute to energy balances. Photons (and joules) don't carry ID cards, unlike Arizona citizens.

    Thermal energy gets distributed by the usual suspects - conduction, convection, latent heat, and radiation, with radiation measured to be the dominant pathway. The source of the energy is irrelevant to how it leaves. As per the thread, however, only ~1% of that thermal energy comes from energy usage, the other 99% comes from GHG entrapment of solar energy. Bad analogies don't change that.


    If nothing else, this thread has been a delightful example of logic errors...

1  2  3  4  Next

Post a Comment

Political, off-topic or ad hominem comments will be deleted. Comments Policy...

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

Link to this page



The Consensus Project Website

TEXTBOOK

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

THE DEBUNKING HANDBOOK

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2014 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us