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Independent on Lindzen

Richard Lindzen's talk in London yesterday is reported at the Independent:

How to explain the procession of eminent opinion leaders – some even in our own Royal Society – who advance the tenets of catastrophic global warming? “It is science in the service of politics,” he said.

If Lindzen is right, we will never be able to calculate the trillions that have been spent on the advice of “scientists in the service of politics”.

Interesting to see the Independent giving such a fair hearing to a sceptic.

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Reader Comments (51)

Simon Carr is of course a parliamentary correspondent and sketch-writer, not a science or environmental journalist - see Climate Audit's Opening Night Reviews in the UK Press on 2 Mar 10. This is a brilliant summary of Lindzen - I couldn't even make the show yesterday but I know the man's material well enough to see that. It's proving a good week so far.

Feb 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

A very good week!

Feb 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

A very, very good week!

Feb 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

It's groupthink like this that gets sceptics a bad name :)

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

From Richard Drake' s link Simon Carr in The Independent:

“I’m a scientist,” Labour’s Graham Stringer said. “If I want to check your results, I can’t.”

Dr Jones fiddled with that allegation (he’s not without Westminster talent) but the committee didn’t look persuaded. His reply to a request for information was quoted: “Why should I make data available to you when you only want to find something wrong with it?” Stringer concluded: “That is unscientific!”

His defence was a bit unscientific too: “I’ve obviously written some very awful emails,” followed by a wry smile. But the committee declined to be charmed. Why wouldn’t he release the codes?

“Because we had an awful lot of work invested in it.”

Yes, by the sound of it there was considerable data smoothing and oiling and homogenising and substituting and standardising… I don’t know much about statistics but I know what I like. And when a scientist says: “We couldn’t keep the original data, only the added-value data,” all sorts of sirens and alarms go off.

Real journalists know a story.. I wonder if Simon was just passing by and dropped in by chance, or planned to come.

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

It's a shame the author had to have a swipe at the 'millennium bug', which in contrast to CAGW, was real enough, but handled well and in time, by people like Robin Guenier. He may be along to elaborate, but he might equally be fed up with it by now!

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Yeerrss, but it's only in the blog section, not in the paper itself. Still, progress of a sort, I suppose.

Lindzen is the source of perhaps my favorrite comment on AGW hysteria:

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

A very, very, very good week!

UAH temperatures plummet tho!

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

From the Simon Carr piece: Lindzen says: “Claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a Greenhouse Effect, and that man’s activity have contributed to warming are trivially true but essentially meaningless.”

In those last five words he has crisply summed up millions of words in the warmist-rationalist debate.

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

It's groupthink like this that gets sceptics a bad name :)
Feb 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

We all agree with you, we've got to be different.

Now where's Brian.

Feb 23, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

A very, very, very good week!

UAH temperatures plummet tho!

Knowing our luck, they will!

Seriously though. That's an unprecedented low in the ten years of data and still heading downward. Now call me a serial worrying if you like but with all the talk of a new Maunder Minimum and talk of something like quarter of Scotland's population dying in the 1690s during the last.

If you want a really depressing read ... buy "Famine in Scotland: the 'ill years' of the 1690s (not cheap £40)

As Matt Ridley rightly said, we are much more able to cope with climate extremes these days ... what he didn't say, was that is because of our modern fossil-fuel powered economy.

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

I was there! Richard Lindzen was good and exceedingly convincing. The video of his presentation will be available soon. It's a pity there weren't a few people from the Met Office or the alarmist side there to add to the debate.

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Isn't it wonderful when even the 'unconverted' media come out with a crisp few lines like these....

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid


"trivially true but essentially meaningless"

Or, as H2G2 put it, mostly harmless.

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

It's a pity there weren't a few people from the Met Office or the alarmist side there to add to the debate.

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Phillip Bratby

My point exactly about the Bish's talk at the MO.

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

One of the commenters to that Independent piece is claiming Lindzen is wrong, citing Wikipedia as proof! Then in a followup he makes it clear that he doesn't understand how Wikipedia works never mind climate science.

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Preaching to the converted does have some value - it cheers us up, sharpens our saws.

Preaching to the in-between is probably best value of all - they may be more disposed to think

Preaching to the zealots is doomed from the start - they are not to be moved by reason and may even be enraged by the diversion of it - 'look pal, I've got a planet to save and you're in my way'

So, so to bestride a few posts like a colossus, I'd say the Bish was talking to the middle group, Ridley to the last group (who if not zealots might at least have been zealot groupies), and Lindzen possibly mostly to the first - the 'Independent chap presumably being in the middle. The good guys can benefit from all the talks by getting copies of them, and by learning from them and from reactions to them.

As for groupthink, I'm not quite sure what line we take on that t....

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

It's still full of casual elisions of fact that mislead, though, innit?

For example,

Over the last 150 years CO2 (or its equivalents) has doubled. This has been accompanied by a rise in temperature of seven or eight tenths of a degree centigrade.

More accurately, temperature has fluctuated up and down and up again over a period in which CO2 crept steadily upwards. There is no consistent observable correlation between the emissions, total atmospheric CO2 and temperature over the period and neither has anybody explained what mechanism has in the past caused temperatures to fall while CO2 was rising. CO2 might by the same logic be the reason why there are fewer witches.

If the Independent were to write that I might believe their good faith, but they have an uphill climb given the notorious "children won't know what snow is" lie of 10 years ago.

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

James P - well work to fix the millennium bug wasn't all wasted I grant you. In the organisation where I worked it lead to much needed updating of legacy systems in the year up to the date, improving the quality control of those areas for the future.

BUT that should have been done anyway - I think those countries that did little or nothing such as Spain (my daughter lived there at the time) and Japan suffered no problems at all. Which I think is what was being alluded to. The dire warnings were simply wrong.

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

John Shade

I am in complete agreement. I try to do my bit.

I gave a presentation recently on the stupidity that is bio-energy and how it has lead to ridiculous policy decisions in the UK and increases in CO2 emissions plus unforgivable deaths in the third world. I based it on figures from Matt Ridley's excellent article -

I usually start one of these short sessions with a couple of slides of "real world" climate data - not opinion. Someone shouted at me after one sentence and eventually stormed out claiming it wasn't science. I am pleased to say that we have made up now and I have given him material to consider, but I was amazed how deep-seated this AGW scam is.

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Go to the Independent website and search for Peter Gleick. zilch, zip, nada. Strange.

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEl Sabio


"The dire warnings were simply wrong."

I'm not an expert on this at all, but I've read several of Robin's pieces on the subject, which have always struck me as reasonable and persuasive. No doubt the direness of the forecasts was hyped up by the media, who love nothing so much as bad news - hence the mess we're in over AGW!

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

John Shade - I meant to say (old age again) that I doubt Bish was talking to the middle group in reality, although I have a feeling that if the Sun watchers are right more will end up that way. Met Office staff may be warmists (it comes with the job) but they are usually pleasant people.

I think it is unlikely that his Grace will have any converts.

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

James P "No doubt the direness of the forecasts was hyped up by the media, who love nothing so much as bad news"

First the scientists started worrying. Then the ecos realised that it fitted their agenda. Then the NGO ecos started publicising it massively, the media took it up and then the scientists read the papers and realised that they had been right all along. Then the NGOs used their standard tactic of creating a bogey-man in "BIG-OIL ... BIG-OIL then started to heavily push green energy to try to recover its PR.

But, the myth of BIG-OIL funded sceptics as the bogey-man was far too good, so the NGOs greens with their huge PR budgets kept up the story.

Then the climate scientists, in their paranoia, started looking for BIG-OIL funded sceptic conspiracies everywhere, and know they were right (as the media had told them) and know the sceptics were wrong (as the media had told them), they denied the evil BIG-OIL funded sceptics any part of their subject.

And the less sceptics there were ... the less anyone questioned what the team did, and so the more convinced they became.

Team PR "research" was pushed to the NGOs, who then liberally sexed it up for the papers who printed the stuff, so that by the time the team read it they wondered why they had been so conservative in only exaggerating sea level rise by a few 10s of meters, when the press were publicly willing to print anything they like.

And no one ... apart from evil sceptics .... was complaining. And it was the most important issue on the planet (they were being told by the NGOs) so this was a special case, where mere scientific methodology shouldn't get in the way of saving the planet from the impending doom that was imminently upon us ....

.... after all the consensus was that they were right.

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Mike Haseler
Very well put and probably totally accurate.
The beauty of it is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy which means that if (and I grant it's a fairly big 'if') you can find the right pin and the exact spot to stick that pin in, the whole thing deflates.

Feb 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

James P:

Y2K and CAGW

Thanks for the kind remarks. You're right: there is no parallel - essentially because Y2K ("The Millennium Bug") was a real problem and CAGW almost certainly is not. I urge anyone who doubts the former (e.g. Retired Dave**) to read this, or at least its Executive Summary. Interestingly (for me anyway), it was my responding to an AGW sceptic's comment that AGW was another empty scare like Y2K (commenting on an article by David Whitehouse in the New Statesman in December 2007) that caused me to become interested in the climate issue. And the parallel continues to be drawn, not least - and most unfortunately - by the otherwise heroic (and, as Josh will confirm, lovely) Donna Laframboise.

So, although I feel pained whenever I see the parallel drawn (after all, the wretched Y2K problem absorbed three years of my life), I remind myself that, were it not for that, I would not have got involved in the important, fascinating and (particularly recently) hugely entertaining AGW issue.

** See especially Section 5: it's completely untrue that Spain and Japan "did little or nothing". And "suffered no problems at all"? Well, see end note xxxvii.

Feb 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Thanks Bish, an interesting read.

Feb 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

I too was one of the many thousands of people who had to spend time dealing with the Y2K thingamy. I just don't get these occasional references on the sceptical blogs to the problem not being a real one. It was real and potentially massive. So steps were taken to check it out and make changes as needed.

Simple as that.

If some countries didn't bother checking it out and got a way with it, then good luck to 'em. But to argue that there was no problem is... well it's just utterly ignorant. And I mean trivially ignorant. If you don't understand the possible problems of a computer program coding a year using only 2 digits at a time when the century changes... Really.

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

James Evans. Re: Y2K thingamy.

I would say it started with total apathy ... nobody cared.
Then like swine flu the government got interested
Then it took off
Then it got hysterical and a huge number of people tried to jump on the bandwagan and scare the sht off businesses to get them to buy all kinds of rubbish.

I know. I was in a company with about 7PCs, and none of them did anything more complicated than spreadsheets. It took five minutes to check whether any spreadsheets had a date that would be affected and that was that.

It took several days to persuade the MD that nothing more needed to be done and that none of the processing equipment (none of which used dates) would be affected.

The real problem was that management hadn't a clue about these new fangled things called computers, and a lot of shrewd barrel-boy software pushers knew it.

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Please Mike Haseler read the paper I link to above. For the reasons set out there, the government was quite right to get interested. And in reality very few people tried to "scare the sht off businesses to get them to buy all kinds of rubbish". Evidence? But, of course, you're right: a small business with 7 PCs had little to worry about - something we (Taskforce 2000) learned in 1996. See page 9 of my paper.

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

The real problem was that management hadn't a clue about these new fangled things called computers, and a lot of shrewd barrel-boy software pushers knew it.

Indeed. I worked briefly for one such company in the early 2000s and can attest, though anecdotally, that a disproportionately large amount of money had been made out of a relatively insignificant issue, riding on a climate of fear and the inappropriate application of the precautionary principle. I'm not suggesting that there was not the potential for *some* issues but the reality, as so often is the case, bore no relation to the predictions.

Feb 23, 2012 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I'm with Robin, James and James on the subject of Y2K, having also been one of the IT infantry drafted in to do testing in the run-up to the big day.

Re the Simon Carr article - very encouraging. Evidence of a quiet change under way in the media?

I was also at the Richard Lindzen talk, which was excellent.

Feb 23, 2012 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Robin Guenier, the simple fact is that at the time, given the typical failure rate of software and hardware, the added failure from the millennium bug was not going to affect most companies. In fact, I did far more damage by turning off a machine once (£5000).

There were a few places with complex software in continuous use where there was significant risk. These companies probably already knew the problem was there long before the politicians got involved.

As for the rest, even at its worst, .... it's the kind of glitch that could have happened on a leap day. I produced something similar when someone entered a date/time starting at midnight.

The truth was that a lot of "consultants" saw this as easy money, taking companies for a ride ... much the same as stores take us for a ride with additional product guarantees. That doesn't mean that products don't break, down, the problem wasn't that it could happen, it was that for the overwhelming bulk of users it was a very trivial problem if a problem at all.

(Remember at the time even £10million companies were doing accounts on spreadsheets - usually taken from paper copies)

Feb 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Simon Carr's article is excellent, but how predictible, and how shameful, that it is not in the print edition.

Carr being a political writer is fine, because CAGW is a POLITICAL matter. the puppetmasters and the pollies could care less if an endless debate rages over the science - EXCEPT IT SHALL NOT RAGE IN THE MSM PROPER, ESPECIALLY TV NEWS - because there will never be proof one way or another.

as a former CAGW believer, this has been my real awakening; grasping the fact no-one can predict the climate of the earth 50-100 years from now. nonetheless, it's wonderful to observe the sceptical scientists, statisticians, meteorologists and other interested parties pick apart the so-called CAGW concensus.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Mike Haseler:

I'm tired of arguing about Y2K, so I'm not going to debate the issues you raise. I suggest you read my paper. Then tell me where it's wrong. Thanks.

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Any chance of Professor Lindzen being invited down to Exeter, in order to provide some shock and awe climate science re-education [back to climate physics basics?] - for our government funded - Met office and AGW shills?

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Robin Guenier's paper is excellent and should be read by anyone tempted to express a view on the Y2K matter. I was involved in the Y2K process at the time (though not at RG's elevated level) and reading it reminded me of much that we went through.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJane Coles

Science in the service of money, or patronage.
Ever thus.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarkR

Lindzen is being alarmist in that he is mistaken about the extent of CO2-AGW. This is because he clearly buys into the Tyndallian view which is that the intrinsic CO2 climate sensitivity is ~1 K. This assumes 100% direct thermalisation by energy from absorbed IR quanta in the vibrational states of CO2 molecules being transferred in dribs and drabs to kinetic energy of O2 and N2 molecules.

This is impossible because of the quantum exclusion principle, i.e. you can't transfer the energy except in one go, and that can only be to another molecule with similar vibrational states - another GHG molecule. In practice what has to happen is that an already thermally activated CO2 molecule [~5% of CO2 at room temperature] will emit exactly the same energy photon in a random direction, scattering, which because it restores Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium, means there cannot be local thermalisation!

So, how do you explain Tyndall's experiment [and the more modern BBC PET bottle experiment]. Well, there's an astounding error in the experimental set up. They are both constant volume so as IR is scattered by the CO2, heating the walls of the vessel which them warms the CO2, it increases its pressure, increasing temperature still further. Slacken the PET bottle cap and the heating is much less [can't go back to the 1860s and open Tyndall's valve....].

The only possible thermalisation of the scattered IR is at second phases, cloud droplets, bare aerosols, at lower thermodynamic temperature than the average Earth's surface [this process is integrated around the World because the scattering is to places over the horizon]. In turn, the Prevost Exchange Energy coming down to the earth's surface which climate scientists mistakenly call 'back radiation' comes from a huge volume of the atmosphere also because of multiple scattering.

Climate scientists who view this blog should seriously consider this view of the physics because what they're doing now is so laughably simplistic and wrong that their subject needs to be assessed by external professionals.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I like slide #12 showing how the data has changed over from 2008 to 2012

We may not be able to predict the future, but in climate ‘science,’ we also can’t predict the past

Feb 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert of Ottawa

Mydog, what you write about energy transfer is not correct, although you write it with great confidence. Take a CO2 molecule with one quantum of bending vibrational energy. This state lies ca. 20 kJ/mol above the ground state and hence has a Boltzmann equilibrium population that is very small at or near room temperature. Upon repeated collision with other molecules, e.g. of N2 or O2, it will eventually relax to the ground state, with the energy released being coverted to translational or rotational energy. The reverse process also occurs, precisely at the rate required to maintain a Boltzmann distribution.

You write on a lot of issues claiming that the consensus gets them wrong, stupidly wrong. On the two topics where I understand what you're saying well enough to be sure (the above, and the possibility of any back-radiation - not NET back-radiation) you are plain wrong. Can I urge you to be less confident? I'm pretty sure the IPCC consensus is wrong - but in a subtle way, not a gross mistake. I saw it written somewhere that on technical issues where there is a strong consensus among experts, they can still be wrong - but it is virtually impossible that they are wrong in a simple, stupid way.

Feb 24, 2012 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Jeremy Harvey: thanks for your comment. I appreciate it because there needs to be a discussion about this. I have seen various claims about thermalisation and I would accept that I could be as likely to be incorrect in adopting a position of no direct thermalisation as the reverse, adopted by climate science..

However, just look at the problem in terms of Local Thermal Equilibrium. Because the GHG molecules are very dilute, most of the collisions are with non GHG molecules. Also we know that such a mixture emits IR so a proportion of the CO2 molecules is excited naturally. Hence the process you describe operates in both directions to create the no IR illumination thermally-excited GHG molecules with the quantised energy to emit IR.

Now add an external supply of IR energy. IR photons are absorbed but they are also emitted. Furthermore, J Willard Gibbs worked out a long time ago [ ] that molecules do not have historical knowledge hence entropy is an extensive property.

So, In all likelihood when the heat source is not much different in temperature, the absorption of an IR photon in the assembly is immediately followed by emission of a photon of exactly the same energy in a random direction elsewhere in the assembly, restoring LTE.

That completely negates the argument used in climate science to justify complete thermalisation. However, the reverse argument requires that one looks at the probability that a molecule that has just absorbed an IR photon begins the 'cooling process' before another already-excited molecule emits the same energy photon. Obviously that depends on the number of molecules, temperature and pressure but although I'm guessing, I don't expect it to be important for ambient levels of these parameters.

So, what I think happens is that the great majority of the IR photons bounce around throughout the atmosphere until absorbed at heterogeneous interfaces. As for experimental work, you can't have an IR absorbing apparatus and that's hard to achieve! Hence you have to reject the Tyndall experiment and the closed bottles, then prove a constant pressure experiment doesn't heat from the walls. PET is a beautiful IR absorber and CuO also absorbs IR, possibly at Frenkel defects plus it's reflected by the brass so the path length is high..

Now for 'back radiation': I am on totally solid ground here. Climate science sticks a radiometer pointing upwards and forgets it also shields the detector. That detector measures an apparent energy flux but it is not real in that it is part of the bidirectional standing wave communicating the IR density of states in the emitter-absorber pair. You prove this by considering equal temperatures [let's assume solid substances for now]. The net transfer of IR energy to and from the kinetic energy of each substance is equal so no net heating or cooling and the energy radiated from each body towards the other is exactly the same, 100% Prevost Exchange.

It's more complex for the atmosphere because the IR emission/absorption is peaky and you get a lot of direct transmission, so I am revisiting Hottell to get inspiration. The problem that most people have is that they are taught the photon theory of energy flow but this was invented by Planck as a convenient way to overcome the 'UV catastrophe':

You get to understand this, and it's taken me 40 years, by understanding the fundamentals by which we get Kirchhoff's law of Radiation, at equilibrium, emissivity and absorptivity in any wavelength interval are equal for both emitter and absorber. Moreover, it is a fundamental axiom of science that you can't transfer energy from a cooler to a hotter body because by definition, the fact that less energy is received in the IR density of states at the hotter body surface from the cooler body than is transferred from the interior, the net conversion of radiant to heat energy is never cooler to hotter, as required by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

My teacher of thermodynamics was one of Planck's students in the 1930s and was rigorous when he taught us chemical thermodynamics. I could be wrong in which case he failed, but in this area, you use simple, quantitative arguments and the experiments are mostly trivial. Thus Nasif Nahle is apparently using partial molar Cp data for CO2 in air and the bending and bashing appears in the van der Waals interactions. However, can anyone tell me for certain that LTE doesn't dominate when you have external IR entering the system? It's the most basic argument you can have!

PS I am well known for being an iconoclast and it doesn't matter if people call me out because it improves the thinking.

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

PS: the Prevost exchange energy from the atmosphere is a measure of the impedance of the IR transmission to space. I do not think it is directly a measure of temperature and emissivity because you mix in with it the IR from the ground scattered to the ground, and that can arrive from over the horizon.

This is a truly immense bit of physics in more ways than one and I think that the simplistic IPCC approach has been because to try to think it out was considered off-message for what is a political project.

However, no-one will get away with telling me that 97% of scientists agree with the IPCC mantra. No-one who does agree can be a scientist by my definition which is to understand all the intermediate steps in an argument, which means peer review as a precedent is no allowed by whoever signs off that bit of science.

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

mydog, you write:

So, In all likelihood when the heat source is not much different in temperature, the absorption of an IR photon in the assembly is immediately followed by emission of a photon of exactly the same energy in a random direction elsewhere in the assembly, restoring LTE.

This is not correct. What you can say is the following: in a given small region of space, the concentration of each vibrational state of CO2 is constant (steady-state approximation). This requires:

Rate of formation of excited state due to random thermal exchange with other gases + rate of formation of excited state due to absorption of IR photon = Rate of loss of excited state due to random thermal exchange with other gases + rate of loss of excited state due to spontaneous (or induced) IR photon emission. You only include the radiative processes - as I said above, the non-radiative collisional processes are important too.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Thanks Jeremy: I shall ponder a while!

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Right Jeremy, I have pondered and you're probably not going to like it!.

'Back radiation' as a means of doing thermodynamic work is absolutely wrong. Climate science has used it as a crutch to support bad thinking. As for IR properties of gases, I used to run an open hearth plant so I was brought up on Hottells's work. However, it too and the rest of the IR physics of gases is wrong because unless you measure the properties in a chamber at absolute zero, just like an OH plant where the silica roof is an integral part of the heat transmission system, every parameter is operational, the property of the gas and the container.

As for Boltzmann energy distribution of the IR frequency oscillations of GHGs, nope, can't be true otherwise you wouldn't have IR bands. Between 250 and 350 K, Cp of CO2 rises by 13.1% as the long wavelength bands develop and the internal energy increases.

But this doesn't matter because the IR coming in as radiation is immediately removed by the emission of the same energy in a random direction to maintain LTE AND this occurs along the chain at the speed of light to a heterogeneity at which the IR is converted to heat or lost to space, the ultimate heterogeneity. So, GHGs are a heat transfer medium to cloud droplets which getter local CO2, the ground, bare aerosols and to space.

Do you now you see why I think 'back radiation' is a crutch for stunted imaginations? The whole atmospheric system is resonating with the standing wave we call Prevost Exchange Energy and which when you shield the detector, you pick up as a radiation signal, but it's an artefact of the experiment. The only certainty is that as you go higher, the proportion of the energy that comes from the surface falls so thermodynamic temperature of the assembly falls.

As for basic measurement at TOA, I'm unhappy about this because what you measure is confined to the view angle of the detector. The straight-through energy is correct but the rest is what happens to be scattered into that viee angle and some could come from the other side of the planet!

Lot's of hostages to fortune here but climate science has to learn to walk without its back radiation crutch. It can't transfer energy and the tactic of setting the IR energy from the surface as the S-B emission in a vacuum to which is added separate evaporation and convection is plain wrong. You must work with the net IR which is the radiometer-measured upward flux minus the Prevost energy that comes downwards AND this has to be integrated hemispherically.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I post elsewhere as Abiogenesis. After reading the comments of njp1, Fareham & Philip Tomas for the Simon Carr article, I suggested they should try and refute the science in Prof. Lindzen's seminar and provided the BH link for them to access. I should have reserved a copy of my comment, but I did not anticipate the pre-moderation process. I would have thought an hour would have sufficed, so I had another attempt as below:

Dear moderator,

Why are you taking so long to decide whether a link to Professor Lindzen's Seminar speech is not too provocative for the Independent? Is it because his presentation of the science is unassailable? I would have thought such a challenge would be child's play for the stagedoor cognoscenti who hang around here? It's here!!!!!!!!!

And still I stand and stare.

Feb 25, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

Both comments extant at Independent.

Feb 25, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

If you want to talk about radiative transfer could you please take it to the discussion page.

Feb 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Point taken! Sorry.

Feb 25, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

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