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Climate Hustle

2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #18

Posted on 6 May 2017 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. Articles of high signifigance are highlighted in the Editor's Picks' section.

Editor's Picks

No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously

Global Emissions Pathways - Oil Change International (Oil Change International)

One of the morbidly fascinating aspects of climate change is how much cognitive dissonance it generates, in individuals and nations alike.

The more you understand the brutal logic of climate change — what it could mean, the effort necessary to forestall it — the more the intensity of the situation seems out of whack with the workaday routines of day-to-day life. It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is acting like it is. And it’s very, very difficult to be the only one acting like there’s an emergency, especially when the emergency is abstract and science-derived, grasped primarily by the intellect.

This psychological schism is true for individuals, and it’s true for nations. Take the Paris climate agreement.

In Paris, in 2015, the countries of the world agreed (again) on the moral imperative to hold the rise in global average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius, and to pursue "efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees." To date, 62 countries, including the United States, China, and India, have ratified the agreement.

Are any of the countries that signed the Paris agreement taking the actions necessary to achieve that target? 

No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Apr 29, 2017 


It can’t just be a march. It has to be a movement.’ What’s next for climate activists?

Peoples Climate March Washington DC

Mike Theiler / Reuters

“Okay, so what’s next?” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, on Sunday morning as he looked out at the nearly 100 women gathered inside a meeting room at Union Station.

Less than 24 hours earlier, they had joined tens of thousands of demonstrators on a sweltering day in the nation’s capital for the latest mass protest of the Trump era. The Peoples Climate March had been a chance to push for action on climate change and to oppose what activists see as an unprecedented assault on environmental protections during President Trump’s first 100 days. Protesters had chanted and sung, carried clever signs, Snapchatted and tweeted their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Now, the streets of Washington were quiet. The crowds had mostly gone home. Trump was still in the White House. Republicans still controlled Congress. And the entire climate movement, which had seen the Obama era as a time of progress in combating global warming and prioritizing environmental safeguards, faced the question Karpinski had posed: What’s next?

‘It can’t just be a march. It has to be a movement.’ What’s next for climate activists? by Brady Dennis, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, May 1, 2017


Global warming scientists learn lessons from the pause that never was

 Temperature

‘Despite all the other indicators of global warming showing business as usual, a fixation on the average temperature of the globe stuck firm.’ Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

People don’t talk about how global warming has stopped, paused or slowed down all that much any more – three consecutive hottest years on record will tend to do that to a flaky meme.

But there was a time a few years ago when you couldn’t open your news feed without being told global warming had stopped by some conservative columnist, climate science denier or one of those people who spend their waking hours writing comments on stories like this.

The issue at hand was one of the multiple measurements used by scientists to monitor the state of the planet – the globally averaged temperature.

Depending on which particular set of data you looked at, and how you calculated trends, there was an argument that temperature rises had slowed over a period of about 15 years. 

Global warming scientists learn lessons from the pause that never was by Graham Readfearn, Planet Oz, Guardian, May 3, 2017


Negative emissions tech: can more trees, carbon capture or biochar solve our CO2 problem?

ForestsReforestation is the least controversial negative emissions technology - but a substantial amount of good quality land is needed. Photograph: Jenny Bonner/Getty Images 

In the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 195 nations committed to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels. But some, like Eelco Rohling, professor of ocean and climate change at the Australian National University’s research school of earth sciences, now argue that this target cannot be achieved unless ways to remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are found, and emissions are slashed.

This is where negative emissions technologies come in. The term covers everything from reforestation projects to seeding the stratosphere with sulphates or fertilising the ocean with iron fillings.

It’s controversial – not least because of the chequered history of geoengineering-type projects, but also because of concerns it will grant governments and industry a licence to continue with business as usual. But many argue we no longer have a choice.

“Most things are not applied yet on larger scales but we have a pretty good feeling of things that will work and we can quantify roughly how much carbon we should be able to remove from the atmosphere with them,” says Rohling. 

Negative emissions tech: can more trees, carbon capture or biochar solve our CO2 problem? by Bianca Nogrady, Innovations in Renewables, Guardian, May 4, 2017


The Glaciers are Going 

Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard Norway The Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard. Photo: Andreas Weith 

As can be seen above, the Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway, has retreated substantially since 1900. Svalbard’s glaciers are not only retreating, they are also losing about two feet of their thickness each year. Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect people around the world, their drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that around the world glaciers (excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets) will decrease in volume between 15 to 55 percent by 2100 even if we are able to limit global warming to under 2˚C; they could shrink up to 85 percent if warming increases much more.

In Earth’s history, there have been at least five major ice ages, when long-term cooling of the planet resulted in the expansion of ice sheets and glaciers. Past ice ages have been naturally set off by a numerous factors, most importantly, changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun (Milankovitch cycles) and shifting tectonic plate movements that affect wind and ocean currents. The mixture of gases in the atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide and methane) as well as solar and volcanic activity are also contributing factors. Today we are in a warm interval—an interglacial—between ice ages. 

The Glaciers are Going by Renee Cho, State of the Planet, Earth Institute, Columbia University, May 5, 2017


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Comments 1 to 31:

  1. No doubt DeanMJackson's masterpiece of junk science, conspiracy theories and paranoia will soon be deleted for multiple comments policy violations, of which the most egregious are the accusations of fraud.  However, for the record:

    1)  The heat capacity of a gas is, to a first approximation, a function of the number of degrees of freedom it has, ie, the number of different way in which it can vibrate, rotate and in other ways store heat energy.  As a three atom molecule, CO2 has a greater molar heat capacity (28.46 J mol^-1 K^-1) than either N2 (20.8 J mol^-1 K^-1) or O2 (21.0 J mol^-1 K^-1)

    2)  The heat capacity thus defined is the molar heat capacity, ie, the amount of energy storable per mole (ie, 6.022140857×10^23 molecules).  Contrary to DeanMJackson, volume and mass do not measure the same thing.

    3)  Heat gained by molecules by radiative transfer is almost immediately redistributed to the rest of the gas through collisions.  Which type of molecule stores the most heat is therefore irrelevant to understanding the greenhouse effect.

    4)  Where DeanMJackson says:

    "With a smaller volume than either Nitrogen and Oxygen,
    Carbon Dioxide can only possess LESS heat than Nitrogen and Oxygen, and when more COOLER carbon dioxide is pumped into the Nitrogen-Oxygen based atmosphere (>99% of the atmosphere's gasses), the result can only be a COOLING of the atmosphere."

    he not only gets the relative molar heat capacities wrong, and misunderstands the nature of the greenhouse effect, he confuses heat capacity (an amount of energy stored per degree of temperature increase) with actual temperature. 

    4)  The way the greenhouse effect actually works is through the capture and emission of radiation.  For that to occur in the IR portion of the specturm, you need an electrical dipole (difference in charge) within the molecule.  That is effectively impossible with molecules made up of two atoms of the same sort, so O2 and N2 are IR transparent.  CO2, on the other hand, creates an electrical dipole in two out of its three vibrational modes, and can absorb and emit IR radiation strongly.

    I could go on.  His junk science does not end there.  But that should be enough to show that DeanMJackson is ignorant on the relevant science.

    1 0
  2. Tom Curtis says:

    "1) The heat capacity of a gas is, to a first approximation, a function of the number of degrees of freedom..."

    Reply:

    Which is why the drgrees of freedom for Nitrogen and Oxygen are LESS than for Carbon Dioxide, which is a function of Nitrogen and Oxygens greater volumes.

    Tom Curtis says:

    "2) "volume and mass do not measure the same thing."

    Reply:

    I never said they do!

    Tom Curtis says:

    "2) The heat capacity thus defined is the molar heat capacity..."

    Reply:

    Which tells us nothing about gasses that EXPAND due to HEAT! Molar heat capacity measures the heat capacity of the particles that are in a gas, and since gasses expand due to heat, molar heat capacity can't be used to quantify the heat of a gas. Only volume can determine the true heat a gas can retain at any particular atmospheric pressure and temperature, hence why Carbon Dioxide is a COOLING molecule in Earth's atmosphere. Very simple to comprehend!

    Tom Curtis says:

    "3) Heat gained by molecules by radiative transfer is almost immediately redistributed to the rest of the gas through collisions. Which type of molecule stores the most heat is therefore irrelevant to understanding the greenhouse effect."

    Reply:

    Gas molecules also obtain heat from ground based thermals and latent heat induced collisions caused by water vapor originating from oceans/seas/lakes/rivers, not just by radiative transfer, and which type of molecule stores the most heat is critical!

    Tom Curtis says:

    "The way the greenhouse effect actually works is through the capture and emission of radiation. For that to occur in the IR portion of the specturm, you need an electrical dipole (difference in charge) within the molecule."

    Reply:

    Why only the IR portion of the spectrum, Tom?

    Tom Curtis says:

    "That is effectively impossible with molecules made up of two atoms of the same sort, so O2 and N2 are IR transparent."

    Reply:

    Once again, why are you fixated on the IR spectrum? Nitrogen and Oxygen not only absorb infrared radiation, they also absorb gamma rays, x-rays, and uv light. Oxygen also absorb visible light.

    That being cleared up, do you recall your high school chemistry teacher’s instruction on the high heating effect of Carbon Dioxide, where there's two jars and a heater next to each of the two jars? Carbon Dioxide is pumped into the second jar, and the temperature rises faster than the temperature in the first jar, thereby proving that Carbon Dioxide is a warming molecule. What the teacher didn't tell you is that by adding more Carbon Dioxide into the second jar, naturally the temperature within the jar will rise faster than the first jar because the atmospheric pressure in the second jar is GREATER due to the addition of the extra Carbon Dioxide!

    For those scratching their heads, forgetting their high school physical science class instruction, increasing atmospheric pressure increases heat.

    Now, a proper experiment, using the scientific method, would have included a third and fourth jar, where additional Nitrogen is pumped into the third jar, and additional Oxygen pumped into the fourth jar. But the scientific method isn’t used, because if it were the temperatures within the third and fourth jars would climb even higher than the second jar where additional amounts of Carbon Dioxide are pumped in.

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  3. DeanMJackson, he might or might not return to give more detailed response to your lattermost post — but until such time as Tom Curtis makes comment, please allow me to say :-

    Your own comment that CO2 is a "cooling gas" in the atmosphere, can only be described as strange & confused.

    Your comment seems to rest upon the strange and magical concept that each atmospheric molecule of a low-specific-heat gas (such as argon) lives in its own little parallel universe and does not interact (collide) with neighbouring molecules of other types.

    Absurd nonsense, of course!  And your other comments are little better.

    Are you really so scientifically ill-informed — or are you simply engaging in disingenuous nonsense for its own sake?

    1 0
  4. DeanMJackson @2, responds with much nonsense.  Rather than wade through it all, I will focus on his claim at the end that:


    "That being cleared up, do you recall your high school chemistry teacher’s instruction on the high heating effect of Carbon Dioxide, where there's two jars and a heater next to each of the two jars? Carbon Dioxide is pumped into the second jar, and the temperature rises faster than the temperature in the first jar, thereby proving that Carbon Dioxide is a warming molecule. What the teacher didn't tell you is that by adding more Carbon Dioxide into the second jar, naturally the temperature within the jar will rise faster than the first jar because the atmospheric pressure in the second jar is GREATER due to the addition of the extra Carbon Dioxide!"


    Here is that experiment being done properly:

    You will notice that:

    1)  The flask into which the CO2 is introduced is open at the top while it is being introduced.  That means the pressure inside the flask remains at atmospheric pressure through out, and only sealed once no more CO2 is being introduced, so there can be no warming by compression of the gas.  With the CO2 being introduced in this way, it merely displaces air, remaining in the flask because of its greater density.

    2)  The CO2 is generated by an endothermic reaction.  That means the CO2 is cooled by the process that generates it, and in turn that the CO2 enriched flask will be slightly cooler than the other flask at the start of the experiment.

    Because of (1) and (2), any excess heat gain by the CO2 enriched flask will be due to the IR absorption of CO2, and no other process; something DeanMJackson claims to be impossible.  Indeed, he claims that enriching the atmosphere with CO2 with no change in pressure would have a cooling effect, the opposite of what is observed. 

    1 0
  5. In the article "No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Apr 29, 2017", the following statement is made

    "What is clear is that we are betting our collective future on being able to bury millions of tons of carbon. It’s a huge and existentially risky bet — and maybe one out of a million people even know it’s being made."

    It is not millions, nor billions, but eventually will be closer to a trillion tons of CO2, or more, that we must capture, transport, and bury. If we must sequester 10 Gigatons/yr., and if we do that for about 100 years, that equates to a trillion tons. Most articles talk about CO2 emissions from oil, gas, and coal reserves, but agriculture and the meat industry emits large quantities GHGs comparable to that emitted by the transportation sector, and to get to net-0, those emissions will also have to be offset.

    1 0
  6. Actually, if we do take it seriously and say---cut down or stop burning fossil fuels---we jump up .5 to 3 degrees C.  (due to the reduction of our sulfate caused global dimming).  This already pushes us past 1.5 degrees and possibly over 2 degrees C.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't springs to mind.

    All but the 'worst case scenario' in the IPCC rely on effective and immediate climate engineering.  And the worst case listed is 8.5 degrees C.

    Whatever we do, billions of us have got to go.  Famines expected in Africa this year to start (the Indian Ocean is very warm this year).  
    Dustbowls elsewhere to come.  Only a few even have a chance.

    1 0
  7. There is a chain of events that has to happen; all unlikely but all possible.  It may be too late but we can at least try.  Bernie Sanders must be elected with a new party and must then legislate to get vested interest money out of politics.  He must then do all the obvious things to get America off fossil fuels including legislating Hansen's tax and dividend.  Clearly all subsidies of whatever type must be removed from fossil fuel and transferred to renewables and energy storage and a huge program must be put in place to re-train people put out of work in the fossil fuel industry to take their place in the renewable energy field.  Other measures needed are obvious to any reasonably bright year 12 student.  The barrier are the very people we have put in place to solve problems like this.  This might help as well to convince the politicians.  http://mtkass.blogspot.co.nz/2010/10/forget-climate-change.html

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  8. DeanMJackson @2, none of  your comments above  make any sense.

    This greenhouse gas issue is nothing to do with volumes or densities of gases. The heat absorbing properties of interest to us relate to the shape of certain molecules like CO2, as in this article and animation below. This is proven textbook science. You seem to think scientists are dummies that dont consider all possibilities, but you just show yourself to be the narrow minded person.

    scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation

    Your comments about the CO2 experiment with the jars lacked validity as pointed out above by Tom Curtis. They also just lacked plain commonsense, so the rest of your views are likely to be dubious at best.

    I suspect you are paid to spread garbage. No self respecting person would really believe any of what you say. It would only fool a few complete dummies.

    By the way your assertion that oxygen is a greenhouse gas is nonsense and also fails the commonsense test, as levels of oxygen have actually been falling slightly long term, so obviously cannot account for  global warming.

    scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation

    The urban heat island issue you claim causes global warming is a myth that has been dispelled 100 times over, and there are plety of related articles on this website. Again theres a mountain of research like the Best Study with a mountain of complex evidence, but theres little difference in rates of warming between urban and rural areas, and that alone should tell anyone with any commonsense that global warming is not caused by urban development.

    2 0
  9. Sorry, this is the link related to oxygen levels falling longer term

    www.livescience.com/56219-earth-atmospheric-oxygen-levels-declining.html 

    It's quite interesting quite apart from the climate issue.

    1 0
  10. Tom Curtis says, "1) The flask into which the CO2 is introduced is open at the top while it is being introduced. That means the pressure inside the flask remains at atmospheric pressure through out, and only sealed once no more CO2 is being introduced, so there can be no warming by compression of the gas. With the CO2 being introduced in this way, it merely displaces air, remaining in the flask because of its greater density."

    Reply:

    You do realize that Carbon Dioxide is more dense than Nitrogen and Oxygen (hence also explaining Carbon Dioxide's cooler physical quality than either Nitrogen and Oxygen; greater heat expands a gas, while less heat contracts a gas), and greater density creates greater pressure, thus greater the temperature observed!

    0 2
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Excessive repetition deleted. You are about to relinquish your privilege of posting comments on this site because of repeated violations of the SkS Comments Policy.

  11. DeanMJackson @10, says "and greater density creates greater pressure, thus greater the temperature observed!"

    You must be joking surely. The CO2 doesn't just sit as a layer on the oxygen and nitrogen, compressing it like some sort of bicycle pump. Any effects on density when mixing together would also be trivial.

    You also said in another post "With a smaller volume than either Nitrogen and Oxygen,Carbon Dioxide can only possess LESS heat than Nitrogen and Oxygen"

    This is irrelevant. It's not about heat capacity as such. It's about the ability of certain molecules to both absorb and re-radiate infra red radiation and only certain gases do this like CO2. 

    Here is just one proof in the real world. Forget about flasks with mixtures of CO2 and other gases. Consider the planet Venus, which has an atmosphere of nearly pure CO2, and surface temperatures of above 400 degrees celsius, and compare that to earth where the atmosphere is mostly oxygen and nitrogen and lower in temperature. (But increasing as we add CO2)

    So despite your claims about CO2 having a smaller volume it has greater propensity to cause warming.

    Please also note Venus gets little sunlight at the surface, because it's reflected by high level clouds of sulphuric acid, and despite this the greenhouse effect from CO2 is enough to cause pretty intense temperatures. Its one demonstration of the greenhouse effect and it's been explained by the specific nature of the CO2 molecule and what it specifically does to radiation.

    This website ran an article a few weeks back, or had some comments from Tom C, or somebody on exactly how CO2 infuences radiation at a quantum physics level. I learned a lot, but I'm not sure where the article is now.

    2 0
  12. Just for the record, DeanMJackson has now suggested that the experiment I linked to, although it directly contradicts his prediction, does not refute him because of the pressure induced warming due to the greater density of CO2.  Taking into account the dimensions of the base of the type of flask use, and assuming a volume in the flask of 1 liter, and pure CO2 (both obvious over estimates), the increase in pressure amounts to 7.1*10^-4% of atmospheric pressure.  Given the ideal gas law, and the fact that the flask contains a constant volume, that means the increase in pressure for pure CO2 would in the flask would result in less than a 2.6x10^-6 oC increase in temperature.  That is almost certainly less than the cooling associated with the endothermic reaction generating the CO2, not enough to register on the thermometer used, and certainly not enough to explain the approximately 1oC greater increase in temperature in the flask containing CO2.

    Of course, we all knew each fact stated in the last sentence of the above paragraph without needing to crunch the numbers.  I find it difficult to believe that even DeanMJackson did not know that.  Therefore I now regard him as a troll and will treat him as such.  DNFTT

    2 0
  13. DeanMJacksons claim that the GHE of a gas depends on its density can easily be debunked by comparing the molecular mass of some gases. The molecular mass determines the density of gases when their pressures and temperatures are the same. First, the two major constituents and non-GHGs in our atmosphere:

    N2:                          28
    O2:                          32
    And then some greenhouse gases:
    CO2:                        44
    H2O:                        18
    CH4 (methane):        16
    N2O (nitrous oxide): 44
    O3 (ozone):              48
    NH3 (ammonia):       17
    SO2 (sulfur dioxide): 64
    CFCl3 (Freon-11):    137

    So, it's evident that the molecular mass (and therefore density) of GHGs can be both lower and higher than the two major non-GHGs in Earth's atmosphere!

    1 0
  14. Tom Curtis says, "Just for the record, DeanMJackson has now suggested that the experiment I linked to, although it directly contradicts his prediction, does not refute him because of the pressure induced warming due to the greater density of CO2."

    Reply:

    That's not the only problem with the 'experiment'. Specific heat means the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a [volume of] gas [one degree], and because Carbon Dioxide can raise its temperature with less heat than Nitrogen and Oxygen can (Nitrogen and Oxygen have high specific heats, meaning it takes more heat to raise their temperatures), naturally the temperature of the Carbon Dioxide only jar rises faster than the predominantly Nitrogen-Oxygen jar!

    0 2
  15. HK says, "DeanMJacksons claim that the GHE of a gas depends on its density..."

    Reply:

    Where did I say density? I said volume! Let's take a look at the volumes of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen at 1 atmosphere/70 F* ...

    One pound of Carbon Dioxide has a volume of 8.7 cubic feet,

    Oxygen is at 12.1 cubic feet.

    Nitrogen is at 13.8 cubic feet

    With a smaller volume than either Nitrogen and Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide can only possess LESS heat than Nitrogen and Oxygen, and when more COOLER carbon dioxide is pumped into the Nitrogen-Oxygen based atmosphere (>99% of the atmosphere's gasses), the result can only be a COOLING of the atmosphere. As demonstrated by the three volumes illustrated for Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen and Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide holds approximately one-third less heat than either Nitrogen or Oxygen, proving Carbon Dioxide's cooling effect on the atmosphere. To better grasp this fact, let's use a more familiar everyday experience we witness involving water: When a small amount of cooler water is added to a larger warmer body of water, the result is a cooling of the water.

     

    0 2
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] If you are trolling by making ridiculous misstatements of physics then please find another website for your amusement. If not, then please, please open a textbook...

  16. DeanMJackson @15, since you think CO2 is a "cooling gas" go and live in Venus and see how long you survive.

    Honestly you either havent got a clue, or are deliberately and knowingly spreading junk science. 

    2 0
  17. To the moderator, DeanMJackson @14 states:


    "That's not the only problem with the 'experiment'. Specific heat means the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a [volume of] gas [one degree], and because Carbon Dioxide can raise its temperature with less heat than Nitrogen and Oxygen"


    Engineer's toolbox (and here for densities):

    Air 1.01 kJ/(kg K)    1.205 kg/m^3  1.01 * 1.205 = 1.217 kJ/m^3

    Oxygen 0.919 kJ/(kg K)  1.331kg/m^3  0.919 * 1.331 = 1.223 kJ/m^3

    Nitrogen  1.04 kJ/(kg K)  1.165 kg/m^3  1.04 * 1.165 = 1.2116 kJ/m^3

    CO2 0.844 kJ/(kg K) 1.842 kg/m^3  0.844 * 1.842 = 1.554 kJ/m^3

    Products rounded to three significant figures.  Densities, and hence heat capacities per unit volume at standard temperatures and pressures.

    DeanMJackson has just finished arguing the importance of the greater mass in the flask.  He now wants to totally ignore that and treat the masses as constant across the flasks while using the heat capacity per unit mass of the gases.  It is clearly his intention to introduce facts, or ignore them as they suite his argument rather than to try and come to a consistent understanding of the case.  Indeed, that is being to generous.  He is also very willing to simply introduce falsehoods if they suite his argument as well.

    He has now given more than sufficient evidence that he does not wish to abide by the comments policy on excessive repetition.  He has also repeatedly demonstrated he is unwilling to give "substantial reasons" for his arguments, meaning his posts constitute sloganeering by the definitions of the comments policy.  I move that the member be no longer heard, as it were.  Certainly unless and until he acknowledges that a mole of any gass occupies the same volume at a given temperature and pressure as every other gas, and that hence in the atmosphere the molar heat capacity is the most usefull in determining the heat capacities of gases, and that, therefore, for atmospheric purposes, CO2 has a greater heat capacity than ordinary air, N2 or O2; and that therefore his argument against the greenhouse effect, in addition to being invalid (it would not prove his point even if his premises were true) is unsound (it would not prove his point even if valid for the premises are false).

    If you think the most appropriate process is to clear his posts root and branch, I certainly would not disagree and would be quite happy for my posts to be deleted as well in such a response.  

    2 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] the bar for "most astonishing misunderstanding of physics by a commentator" is quite high but Dean is pushing it and I strongly suspect troll instead. I'll leave it to DB to adjudicate.

  18. DeanMJacksons #15:

    "Where did I say density? I said volume!"

    You are talking about cubic feet per pound of different gases. The definition of density is mass per unit of volume, whether measured in your archaic units or more modern ones like kilogram and cubic metre, so you are in fact talking about density!
    And as I showed in my post 13, greenhouse gases can have both higher (CO2, N2O, O3) and lower (H2O, CH4, NH3) density than the non-greenhouse gases oxygen and nitrogen, so density is clearly not a defining characteristic of a greenhouse gas. Why is that simple fact so hard to understand?

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] DNFTT

  19. I found this silly article by DeanMJackson:

    sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/throwing-cold-water-on-global-warming

     

    This is the source of all the craziness. He quotes some paper in geophysical letters that finds oxygen and nitrogen allegedly have some weak properties of infra red heat absorption and transmittance similar to CO2 although much weaker. (I have no idea if this paper has been refuted or supported). He argues that the large quantities of these gases multiply this property enough to make it significant.

    However he fails to grasp that levels of oxygen have actually been falling slightly over the centuries, so are not a factor in climate change. As I pointed out earlier.

    Now interestingly enough, atmospheric levels of nitrogen are increasing very slightly, in a short term sense, due to (wait for it) burning of fossil fuels and forests! So it's possible nitrogen does have some small effect on global warming, although less than CO2,  but unfortunately this doesnt let fossil fuels off the hook.

    www2.ucar.edu/news/backgrounders/nitrogen-earth-system

    I think Mr dean Jackson has basically shot himself in his own feet.

    He also expands on his silly volume theory of gases. 

    1 0
  20. nigelj @19, the paper DeanMJackson relies on is very clear:


    "We have found that on global average under clear-sky conditions the OLR is reduced due to O2 by 0.11 Wm-2and due to N2 by 0.17 Wm-2."


    For comparison, under the same conditions they found an OLR reduction due to CO2 of 26.8 Wm-2 (see table 1).   That is 95.7 times the strength of the combined of effect O2 and N2.  Further, that is 95.7 times the strength with 2,433 times the amount of gas (by volume).  Contrary to his source, DeanMJackson treats the global values as being relative, which can then be adjusted for relative abundance by mass which contradicts his source.

    As a side note, his source uses single factor subtraction to determine the radiative effect of each gas.  The problem of that approach is that it will ignore overlaps.  As a result the sum of its stated contributions (100.57 Wm-2) is substantially less than the total reduction in OLR by all gases (123 Wm-2).  Some of that will be due to gases not considered, notably the chloroflourocarbons.  The bulk, however, will be due to overlaps, particulary between CO2 and H2O.

    Finally, I will note the absurdity of DeanMJackson calling scientists liars because in simplified explanations they call N2 (which absorbs 0.045% of upward IR radiation) and O2 (which absorbs 0.029%) transparent to IR radiation.  Window glass, for comparison, has a transparency of 80-90%, and optical glass typically has a transparency of 99.95%.  DeanMJackson is saying scientists lie because they call something transparent which is more transparent than the glass used in camera and telescope lenses. 

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Having been given ample opportunity to make his case, and having abdicated the usage of logic, reason and physics, the user in question has recused himself from further participation in this science- and evidence-based venue.

  21. My first post is skeptical.

    Much of the climate change debate is wheather man made CO2 is the main culprit for rising tides, melting glaceres, and higher acidity in the ocean. Coincidentally proponents of this cheering squad are usually in favor of spending money on new electrical cars, new solar pannels, and alternative energies. This changing of the energy guard ushers in new money and new profits. Unfortunately I believe their arguments are more about the money than the environment. Furthermore I don't believe they really seem cite specific sientific evidence.

    For example I keep hearing about these glacial air bubbles that show CO2 levels increasing by 50% in the last 65 years. What is not clear about this information is how many data sets are there that show this phenominon and is the air trapped in the bubbles being compared to air at the same location today on a really good air quality day or a particularly bad air quality day.....or is it being compared to air above a poluted city like Beijing China? The air bubble arguments just seem very lacking to me right now..... I vow to look more at this evidence.

    Whcih brings me to what concerns me. Why aren't more people talking about the changes in coastal lands and metropolitan areas have undergone in the last 2 centuries? California's Central valley used to be a swamp until it was dredged and sent out to the ocean. All the water that used to rain on the LA basin used to be absorbed into the ground. Now becasue of farming, manmade development, impervious hardscapeing, and storm facilities much more rain water water goes directy into the ocean than ever before in history. That rain water takes with it the fats, oils, greases, and fertalizers that might also be the cause the higher acidity in the oceans. This has happend in costal lands and metropolitan areas all over the world. Why isn't man made develoment, farming hydromodifcation, and storm water facilities given more of the blame for global warming?

    My therory to this question is that because the cost to fix these problems will be borne by the wealthiest 2% of people who are the land owners and future land developers. It is much easier for them to sell electric cars for a profit then invest in groundwater replenishment systems which have no profit other than environmental.

    I would like to finish this comment by making a statment about climate change models . A mathmatical model is not evidence of anything unless all the assumptions made are correct and the parameters can be measured and predicted with 100% accuracy. I don't see how this is possible with any climate model predicting weather, cloud patterns, development, and other naturally occuring phenominons that have changed the earth many times in the past.

    When someone says the model predicts "such and such" I immedeatly want to ask does the model take into account
    "this, this, this, and this?"

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  22. SCE - tried looking for some answers by say reading the IPCC WG1 report? Or even the summary for policy makers?

    "Much of the climate change debate" - not much "debate" in published science - only attempts to seed doubt by misinformation sources.

    "usually in favor of spending money" - when facing a potential threat what do you expect peoples response to be? The belief that scientists must be motivated by some money-making scheme appears to be a case of projection to me. Where do you see the science being influenced by money?

    "keep hearing about these glacial air bubbles that show CO2 levels increasing by 50% in the last 65 years." Wonder where you "keep hearing" that? CO2 levels are measured directly at multiple stations all round the globe - the continuous Mauna loa record goes back to 1958 - spot measurements much longer. Ice core is a way to extend that record back nearly 800,000 years and funnily enough most ice cores are from Greenland or Antarctic. Furthermore cores from diametrically opposite position deliver the same gas composition record.

    Again if you read the IPCC report you would find the numerous papers that have quantified the effect of land-use change and it contribution to AGW. (small, negative, but not insignificant compared to GHG).

    Does it seem to fair to you that the cost of fixing the problem should by borne by those who created the problem? If you dont fix it, then those who have contributed the least to problem are those who will bear brunt of its effects. (eg see here).

    "A mathmatical model is not evidence of anything unless all the assumptions made are correct and the parameters can be measured and predicted with 100% accuracy." No parameter can be measured with 100% accuracy but yet we find mathematical models in physics extremely useful. The modern world relies on them every single day.

    However, GCMs are not proof of climate theory, but they are the best we have for predicting what the consequences of various policy options will be - far ahead of examining entrails or assuming nothing will change. The question to ask is "are they skillful at predicting climate - ie the the 30 year average" and yes they are - remarkably so.

    I can suggest you do a lot more reading of the actual science before leaping to unwarrented conclusions.

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  23. SkepticalCivilEngineer @21:

    1)  The most commonly cited source of CO2 concentration data is the Mauna Loa station, which is on top of a very tall mountain in the middle of the Pacific.  However, that is not the only remote station detecting CO2 concentrations.  Here are the locations of various CO2 concentration data stations:

    As you can see, they are overwhelmingly from remote locations, and the ones commonly cited (those in black, plus Cape Grimm, the CSIRO station in Tasmania) are all remote.  There are also multiple partially overlaping CO2 records from ice cores.  The records from a significant proportion (possibly all) of those CO2 recording stations, plus four ice cores are shown in the famous pump handle video.  If you want data from approximately the same location, just compare the four ice core records shown, which are all from Antarctica, with the South Pole data.

    2)  The change in carbon stores in various reservoirs was shown by the IPCC AR5 in this diagram:

    This data was determined by a combination of direct observation and counting of inventories, and cross checked by isotope data.  For this discussion, the important thing is that the amount of the increase in the atmosphere (240 PgC) represents 57% of the industrial emissions, ie, emissions from fossil fuels and cement manufacture:

    It follows that the 155 PgC increase in the oceans represents 37% of that increase.  There is just no plausible scenario in which nearly 37% of our oil and gas production has been lost as fats, oils, and greases washed into the ocean.  That is quite apart from the fact that oils, fats and greases are largely insoluble so that in water, they eventully (after their surface scum is broken up), form insoluble sludges gathered in low points in the ocean.

    Most fertilizers are nitrogen based rather than carbon based, and do not enter into the equation at all.

    3)


    "My therory to this question is that because the cost to fix these problems will be borne by the wealthiest 2% of people who are the land owners and future land developers. It is much easier for them to sell electric cars for a profit then invest in groundwater replenishment systems which have no profit other than environmental."


    I will note, firstly, that that theory is a conspiracy theory, and needs to meet a very high evidentiary bar before we would trust it; and that climate scientists are not paid sufficiently highly to be in that 2%, or anywhere close.  Nor do they typically profit from sales of electric cars or solar panels (although some may have individual small investments in that area).  Given that the people warning us of the danger are not in the group you say are running the scam, your theory falls at the first hurdle.

    4)

    You are correct that models are not evidence.  This is a point I wish was made much clearer, and it is a genuine ground of criticism of climate scientists that they are not clearer on this point.  What climate models are is algorithms that predict the consequences of changes in atmospheric composition given our best current theories on radiation, energy transfer, conservation of momentum etc.  More correctly, they provide approximate predictions because, due to limits of computation, they must approximate based on average responses across fairly large scale cells.  Further, as the best way to make those approximations is not known, the prediction is best considered to be the mean of the predictions of the various methods tried (ie, the ensemble mean).

    We need models to make more than very rough predictions about what would happen given a particular increase in GHG concentrations, or solar forcing, etc.  Without models, the falsifiable content of climate science would be very small, and limited to general claims about rising temperatures plus a few other things.  With models, the falsifiable content is greatly enlarged.

    Two things are important about this.  First, when somebody says, "climate models are evidence that XYZ", they should really be saying, "our best theories predict that XYZ".  That is still important knowledge, because it means the evidence behind those best theories (which is very substantial) also combines to predict XYZ.

    Second, if you don't have a climate model of your theory, your not even in the science game when it comes to climate science.  It means you have not expanded on your theory sufficiently to generate predictions that can be compared with reality.  Unless your disagreement with climate science is very particular, on a subtle point; where the predictions can be checked without reference to a full model, your not even doing science (or at best, your alternative climate science is as undeveloped as standard climate science was at that and the end of the 19th century).

    Paradoxically, this means the use of climate models represents a strong commitment to empiricism.  It is an attempt to expand the types of data which can be used to falsify the theory, and to narrow the range of values within that data which will falsify the theory.  Those, in contrast, who reject models are really insisting that their theories should be allowed to remain vague, and prediction free (ie, not science at all). 

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  24. scaddenp @22 & Tom Curtis  @23

    One of the reasons why I posted here is because I am not a climate scientist and welcome the insight that I might find on this site. I have tried not jump to any unwaranted conclusions but see the big push for alternative energy comming from the same industrial countries that have a reputation for having weak environmental standards themselves. Those lower standards and higher profit margins is one of the many reasons why production in the United States has moved overseas.

    In response to the statement: "Those, in contrast, who reject models are really insisting that their theories should be allowed to remain vague, and prediction free" : I'm not sure how to go about realistically building a model that incorperates all the changes to coastal lands over the centuries and what effect that might have had on weather patterns, cloud cover, the ocean's temperature, and the planet as a whole. I don't think that allows my theory to remain vague, and prediction free,  it just makes me a skeptic of the models that are presented as though they account for everything. I am still asking the question what don't we know and how much of that unkown is causing the problem. What do the models not account for what assumptions do they make? There is Warming, the planet is changing again, it has changed before. Is CO2 the only reason?

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  25. SCE - I struggle with the apparent logic "I suspect the motives of some countries therefore the scientists in all countries are wrong". This motive-based style of reasoning is an appalling way to assess the validity of science. Please to spend some time on this site so you are not working from such a terribly low base of understanding.

    And frankly the diagnosis of where the "push" is coming from is based on what information? So far you seem to be relying on appallingly inaccurate source of information on which to base your opinions. Looking at Paris and earlier conferences, I would say the most desparate push is coming from countries most affected - but as I say, this is largely irrelevant to the science. USA, Europe, Japan would be the biggest contributors to our science.

    Just because you dont know something does that mean noone does? The models dont attempt to predict weather, are poor at regional prediction and have no skill at even decadal level prediction. However, they are very good at studying the energy balance on earth which is what ultimately determines climate.

    It seems you are also still stuck in the notion that AGW is somehow all climate models. Why not look at all the other ways of investigation (eg the first few chapters of the WG1).

    Instead of look for a blog commentator response on the models, why not just read the chapter in the AG5?

    If you want to propose some alternative to current theory, then you need an alternative source of energy to be heating the earth. With solar flat or down, Milankovich going negative, its a tough job. Try spending some time with the "Climate changed before" myth (top left). The Arguments button, taxonomy is also a very good way to navigate this site and get answers to questions.

    On the other hand, if your skepticism is motivated by ideology or group identity, I very much doubt that anything you read here will change your mind. Can I suggest that in advance you think hard about what is the data that would convince you when examining an aspect of the science? It is the standard scientific way of overcoming our biases.

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  26. Can I also recommend "The big picture" for fast look at the problem. Note also that we can measure the increase in surface irradiation from CO2. The ocean heat content is way to estimate the radiative imbalance.

    The surface temperature rise and heating is what we expect from the net forcing (sum of all the things positive/negative affecting the energy balance). If you dont want to accept GHG warming, what do you propose happens to the irradiation of the surface? Hopefully you are not a conservation of energy denier.

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  27. SkepticalCivil Engineer @24

    I don't see how loss of jobs to countries with low environmental standards or poor labour laws relates to climate science, or in some way reduces the need to reduce emissions. It's a political and economic issue, and remember while globalisation has some problems as you mention, it has provably bought many benefits. It's just a whole entirely different issue needing resolving separately from the climate issue.

    I also dont believe anyone has ever claimed climate models are perfect or perfectly account for every possible variable. I mean its just a strawman claim. All predictions have error bars that reflect the uncertainties that are around exact climate sensitivity and various regional factors. However climate science is highly certain CO2 is the main cause, and has ruled out solar changes and the like.

    The real test of any model or theory is predictive ability, and the models have done well so far as below. The fact the models are doing well is proof the uncertainties you claim exist are not significant enough to undermine the models. Im a lay person with a very decent education, and I take nothing for granted, but I just think the evidence we are altering the climate and are the most dominant cause by far is now overwhelming.

    www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

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  28. Wonder how a civil engineer would like rejection of a project proposal with objections like:

    "Your design uses concrete and I bet that was pushed on you by all those concrete firms who will make money if we accept it".

    "I havent the faintest idea how you can assess the strength with all those different materials being used so your factor of safety must be wrong."

    "I've  heard steel goes runny 50 years and I you havent accounted for that".

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  29. Tom Curtis@23, final bit about models, that is very helpful. Thanks. I get a bit cross-eyed at times with all the technical material, since a real layperson has to figure out what to believe and sciencey arguments are all over the place. It's also one of the few times I've seen falsifiability mentioned where it isn't used to obfuscate, show off, or go off on a complicated tangent with some group that really wants to focus on the philosophical side.

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  30. Here is a new CSIRO techonology that could be a game changer for emission free transport.  Essentially the technology splits hydrogen of from ammonia.  That means renewable energy can be used to extract nitrogen from the air, and hydrogen from water, combining the two to make ammonia.  Ammonia can then be used as a liquid (and hence easy to transport and store) fuel.  Finally, this technology would allow the hydrogen to be split of and burnt as fuel, leaving emissions of N2 and H2O rather than the NO2 and H2O which would result from burning the ammonia.  Needless to say, NO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas.

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  31. Also of interest.  A significant revision of the amount of the Earth's surface covered by forest.  The news article says of Professor Andrew Lowe, one of the papers authors:

    'He said if the newly discovered forests are protected, they could provide information about how trees "fix" carbon, and prompt a re-evaluation of the global "carbon budget".

    "We know that forests sequester huge amounts of carbon, so increasing the area of forest globally helps explain additional carbon sequestration opportunities that are available," Professor Lowe said.'

    It probably will result in a reevaluation of the total carbon stored in forest systems, but is unlikely to lead to a reevaluation of the change in the amount stored IMO.  That is because the later is constrained by isotope data.

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