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« The Crazy Gang | Main | Nordhaus and the sixteen »

Another rebuttal

Richard Betts points us to this paper by a group of climatologists who seek to rebut Richard Lindzen's talk at the House of Commons the other day. The authors are, in the main, familiar names. John Mitchell and Brian Hoskins featured regularly in the Climategate emails and both were involved in the coverups too; Eric Wolff made a couple of brief visits to BH in the wake of the Cambridge Conference last year, but was put off by the over-hostile reaction from commenters; Tim Palmer has been mentioned on the pages of BH a couple of times. Keith Shine is less familiar to me although he too has been mentioned before as one of the members of the Royal Society's advisory panel on climate change (as indeed are most of the others).

With my current focus on climate models, here's an interesting excerpt:

At every stage models should be evaluated by exhaustive comparison with observations. The models encapsulate our understanding of the basic science of the climate system, including for example, Newton’s laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics and the quantum theory of radiation. When deficiencies are found at one level then improvements are sought and the lessons learnt should cascade to models at other levels. This is, of course, the ideal: the actual development of the science is rather more irregular but very definitely in this direction. Even the models at the more complete and complex end contain many uncertainties and deficiencies, which are widely recognised within the modelling community, but they are the best guide we have as to how the climate system may change in the future. Their results are not to be accepted in an unquestioning manner; they should be analysed in detail, with the dominant processes behind any climate variability and change thoroughly investigated using observations and simpler models in the hierarchy.

I think the words "out of sample" need inserting in a couple of places in that paragraph. I think it would also have helped if Hoskins had reiterated his earlier clarification about the limitations of climate models - namely that they are "lousy".

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Reader Comments (212)

The concepts of the blanket and the electric blanket are interesting as is the contrast between a passive and an active impedance to heat flow.

The blanket with its lower thermal conductivity imposes a temperature rise at its hotter surface for a given rate of heat transfer to the colder side. However, the analogy breaks down when applied to the Earth's atmosphere because it has parallel paths for heat transfer which become more active as the impedance to IR transport rises and the absolute temperature near the surface increases.

This is the positive/negative feedback argument, shown experimentally by Lindzen and Choi's Korean paper where it is shown that contrary to the predictions by the IPCC models, higher SST causes higher TOA IR.

The idea of the electric blanket is a variant of the physical principle called the 'heat valve' which by decreasing the temperature gradient on the hot side can significantly reduce heat transfer rate. This idea is much enamoured by warmists, but the L&C experiment disproves it.

What the L&C experiment proves is that the blanket is actually a reverse electric blanket: increase the temperature on the hot side and its impedance to heat flow decreases! Aren't I wicked to put it this way!

Apr 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Richard, I'll ask again because you've been busy fielding questions. Are the models referred to by Hoskins et al the same models that spectacularly forecast, I think it was six, but it may have been less, consecutive long term forecasts for the weather to be warmer and failed on all accounts? The number of quarters is actually irrelevant given that the embarrassment caused the Met Office to stop publishing long term forecasts. Even that decision was, I'm convinced, tied into the Met Office's political stance on global warming, given the ridicule they were attracting for always forecasting sizzling summers and warmer wetter winters.

Which leads me onto a supplementary question, if the Met Office models had forecast the hiatus in temperature why didn't the long term forecasts reflect this?

Apr 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

This was a politically motivated essay, according to this quote 'Tim Palmer, one of the scientists who wrote this latest response, told us he felt it was important to respond in this case because Lindzen is "an established atmospheric scientist and hence likely to have some influence". He and the other scientists thought it was important to make it clear to UK policymakers that Lindzen's view that the threat of substantial climate change is minimal runs "completely counter to the view of almost all who work actively in the field."' - Source:

It is helping provide more insights into the minds of those agitating for and around alarm over CO2. The above link is to one such site, and the post to which it links gives insight into their attitudes. But the best parts are to be found in the comments beneath it by people I would regard as displaying both higher integrity and higher intelligence:

(1) Gordon Fulks. Extract: 'As an astrophysicist, I need to take issue with your ill-informed attacks on Professor Richard Lindzen using material from various political sites like Real Climate and Skeptical Science. They feature all sorts of arguments that appear to contain some science because their writers know the terminology of climate science. But there is a vast difference between those who are conversant on this topic and those who understand it. Quoting the opinions of your preferred "experts" is also a logical fallacy in science where only logic and evidence hold sway not asserted authority.

This statement betrays a large lack of understanding:

"Lindzen's arguments are not
anywhere near sufficient to discount man-made climate change."

First of all, the thesis is neither "climate change" nor "man-made climate change." It is "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming or CAGW" Attempts to restate it as a truism because our climate is always changing or as a phenomenon that cannot be distinguished from natural events is completely unscientific.

Secondly, the burden of proof always lies with those promoting a scientific theory. Show us the proof and address Lindzen's concerns! Do you understand the scientific method? Asserting that the theory still stands because Lindzen failed to take it down is ludicrous. Lindzen pointed out severe weaknesses in the theory, weaknesses that many of us have pointed out too. Theories must withstand ALL challenges to remain standing. CAGW cannot. The proof is missing.'

(2) Dan Miller. 'Whoever one may disagree with about Dr. Lindzen's positions on the causes and severity of climate change, they are shameless and reprehensible to assert that Dr. Lindzen is antithetical to the scientific method of open debate, free exchange of data and ideas, and inquiry unfettered by political ideology. Truly this attack at on a superb scientist is grotesque. '

(3) Monckton of Brenchley. Extract 'The less than scientific tone and manner of the UK's scientific climate campaigners is in marked contrast to the Professor's dignified, thoughtful and scientific presentation. Those members of both Houses who had the pleasure of hearing him will be confirmed in their suspicion that he is right by the shoddiness of this unprincipled attack by soi-disant "scientists" who know that reasoning as sloppy as theirs might not find its way into the pages of even the most true-believing of learned journals. Shame on them all, and three cheers for the Professor.'

(4) Luboš Motl. Extract 'Even if one could collect 50 people in the U.K. and give them degrees that are seemingly similar to those held by Richard, it still doesn't mean that their words have the same weight as Richard's words. (One can't overlook the similarity of these collective criticisms from criticisms by the official scientists in Germany against Albert Einstein in the 1930s.) In science, one doesn't count quantity - the number of mediocre researchers hired by an institution. One counts the actual evidence and to obtain the relevant evidence, quality of a researcher is much more important than quantity. None of the "team members" is really comparable to Richard.'

I remain grateful that the essay was published, and that our attention has been drawn to it. We are not dealing with impressive science nor with impressive arguments when we tackle climate alarmism, even in its more sheep-like clothing as presented in this essay (which does not use the term 'alarm' but which will be found useful by those who would). But clearly, these people have won big-time in terms of influence, recognition, and funding. For example, they have clearly been impressive to politicians, and/or politicians have been content to act as if that were so. That contrast continues to intrigue me.

Apr 5, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

@Martin A: Apr 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM. "But noone denies the "woolly blanket effect"." You can't keep a corpse warm with a woolly blanket Martin. With an electric blanket yes but with a woolly blanket no. With a woolly blanket you need a heat source (human metabolism). The woolly blanket then mitigates the rate of heat loss to create a comfortable equilibrium but the the poor old corpse just gets colder and colder (less quickly with the woolly blanket admittedly) but still inexorably downwards towards ambient temperature.

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Hi Stephen

The chap that asked questions that Monckton cut off (on his second question) turned up at Climate Etc, his name is Martin Lack. and did not come across very well there either.

(@icey_mark) Dr Mark Brandon (Frozen PLanet contributor) had this to say to Martin:

"I was at the House of Commons too (actually sitting next to Barry Woods).

I just wanted to give a couple of comments. I’m not going to argue a science position here, but I will say it was for me an interesting and valuable way to spend a couple of hours.

You say in your original post “i was prevented from actually asking a question.”

Sorry – that’s just not true. The way you posed your question was too broad and very confusing. I have sympathy with where I think you were going, but you were not clear enough at the time. From memory you spent probably close to a minute trying to frame your question, before Christopher Monckton identified it as not being clear enough for Richard Lindzen to be able to answer, so he closed you down and moved on. You did have your chance and were not prevented in any way.

There were other people waiting to ask questions (some of which, IMO, were less than credible), but they had a right to ask too. I am no fan of Christopher Monckton by a long way, but if you take away the pomposity, he chaired it effectively.

He did not let you ask a second question because there were other people waiting and I imagine he thought it may end up in the place your first question ended. Had I been chairing I probably would have done the same thing.

As you remember we were quickly ushered out at the end of the 2 hours. No time was wasted in the room and there were others who had more questions to ask.

I understand that you may have felt that you were not allowed to speak on an area that you are clearly very motivated about. But it does not help the surrounding discussion when you say things, like on your blog “I was not allowed to ask questions”, which are not credible. Your blog says you had three questions prepared, but as a listener in the conversation the one you did ask (or probably in your view attempted to ask) did not come across as prepared at all.

I invited Mark along (from twitter) and as I recall he said to me (at the time) he had no idea what Martin was going on about either. Mark also suggested to me to leave Martin alone, as it would be like kicking puppies.

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

@Martin A: Apr 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM. "But noone denies the "woolly blanket effect".", and further to my post at 10:01 AM (interesting btw that 10:01 AM really is later than 12:15 AM).

At night clouds mitigate the rate of surface cooling but cooling is nonetheless what the surface unfailingly does until sunrise. The idea that clouds create a backradiation which actually warms (increases the temperature of) the surface is clearly nonsense. It is an accounting device, nothing more. Overall, heat always flows from hot to cold, as any fule kno.

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Hi Geronimo

Thanks for asking again!

Are you referring to global annual forecasts being "too warm", or UK seasonal forecasts?

If it's the former, we discussed that over on the "Questions for the UKMO" discussion thread - see the posts starting on Feb 16, 2012 at 5:22 AM by matthu . The idea that the global forecasts were too warm was wrong because the models had truly global coverage but the observations did not include the Arctic, so it was not comparing like with like. When the comparison was done over the area for which we actually had the observations, the agreement was much better.

If it's the latter, yes, there have been some high-profile problems with communicating the seasonal forecasts, but I don't think it's as bad as you perceive. The skill of these forecasts is 60%, and that was always known (indeed they were always viewed as experimental), but the infamous BBQ summer was communicated too confidently (the news release did say "Odds-on for a BBW summer" but even that was arguably too confident!). We stopped issuing the UK forecasts publicly because it was simply viewed as too hard to communicate the probabilistic nature.



Apr 5, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Hi Richard how are thge hottest year predictions looking?

Looking ahead, The Met Office expects 'half the years between 2010 and 2015 to be hotter than the hottest year on record'.

As for 2011 they are expecting another very warm year, with a global anomaly forecast of +0.44C above the 1961-1990 average.

That would make 2011 the equal 6th warmest year on record. Their latest forecast for 2011 can be read here.

So far, it's been a very cold start to the year globally. With La Nina, an area of cold water in the tropical Pacific which depresses global temperatures, expected to continue well into 2011, the Met Office's global forecast is already beginning to look too warm.

ie yet again that prediction was wrong (11th wasn't it)

So the Paul Hudson question does the Met Office have a warm bias, seem an interesting one, especially if the years to 2015 do not match those predictions...

Can anybody find the Met office press release that Paul hudson links to in his BBC article, as when I click on it, it says page not found?, he quotes this from it..

"The Met Office expects 'half the years between 2010 and 2015 to be hotter than the hottest year on record'.

Apr 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Tracked the Met Office Press Release down:extract:


One such internal fluctuation over the last decade could have been enough to mask the expected global temperature rise.

However, the Met Office's decadal forecast predicts renewed warming after 2010 with about half of the years to 2015 likely to be warmer globally than the current warmest year on record.

Commenting on the new study, Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office said: "Decades like 1999-2008 occur quite frequently in our climate change simulations, but the underlying trend of increasing temperature remains.

We cannot be complacent. Indeed, other signals of climate change are increasing as fast, or even faster than ever due to the combined effects of global warming and natural variability - the rapid loss of summer Arctic sea ice is one such example. Early action to reduce the extent and impacts of climate change remains vital."

Should this prediction be wrong, yet more retrospective explanations, or just ignored? (3 yrs to go)
If it actually cooled for a few years - what then?

Apr 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry: there's a copy of it here, can't find the link direct from the Met office website.

Apr 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger


Apr 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Hi Barry

We already discussed Hudson's article - and why it's not as bad as he says - over on the "Questions for the UKMO" discussion.

Anyway I'm off on holiday now for a week, see you here after that.

PS. Enjoy your lunch with Mark Lynas and Jonathan Jones.



Apr 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

I said

Don Pablo, I understand your analogy well enough. What I don't understand is why you think it's a good analogy.

Don Pablo replied

Because it is exactly the point in question.

But it's not exactly the point in question. It is a superficially related but actually quite separate situation. You cannot naively take conclusions drawn from putting ice cubes into hot water and apply them to radiatively coupled grey bodies in dynamic equilibrium with an external energy source (the sun) and an infinite sink (space).

Non-standard terminology may be the curse of professional climate science. But poor analogies and incorrect conclusions drawn from them are the curse of blog commentary on climate science.

Apr 5, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Oops ,re Met Office article , I should read the comments more carefully....

Apr 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I'm not quite seeing why we need to argue about ice cubes in microwaves or any other analogy. This process of CO2 warming is supposed to be happening right here, right now, all the time day and night. Are you telling me we can't measure it? Observe it? Sort out the convection and the vapourisation bits from the radiative bits? We need to look at ice cores and dead shellfish to work out that it is happening, when it is claimed to be here right now? We need to put coke bottles under electric lights to 'prove' the effect? Measure it, or tell me why you can't.

Apr 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

RE: At every stage models should be evaluated by exhaustive comparison with observations.

This is the ideal process. The real process evaluates the climate model against the model designers expectations and iterates until model results = modeler's expectations.m It's not even GIGO; it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

Apr 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSabastian

The way I read it, the opinion paper, shorn of its adverbs and adjectives, could (almost) have been written by Lindzen himself. Another interesting aspect of it (which I'm sure people like Ben Pile or Shub would notice - a shame they haven't been on this thread) is the political aspect of writing it, let alone the political aspects of its content (which, the authors claim, do not exist). The act of writing this is nakedly political.

About mydogsgotnonose: he is an infuriating mixture of very stimulating ideas, generalized invective at all climate scientists, repetitive nonsense, and unwillingness to define his terms or engage with detailed questions. As an example of stimulating thoughts, his statement above, comment 151, "What the L&C experiment proves is that the blanket is actually a reverse electric blanket: increase the temperature on the hot side and its impedance to heat flow decreases! Aren't I wicked to put it this way!", to the extent that I can understand it, seems like a good way to explain negative feedback from cloud cover. But on the other hand, he bangs on about back-radiation and the idiocy of anyone who believes in it, yet refuses to engage on the question of net vs. gross fluxes of heat (net flow of heat from cold to hot cannot occur, but that does not stop one having fluxes in both directions). Also, he appears to conflate equilibrium thermodynamics and non-equilibrium cases, where there is a constant flux of heat from the earth's surface to space, due to the constant incoming flux of energy from the sun. In brief, he constantly flummoxes this Professor of Physical Chemistry.

Don Pablo de la Sierra, if ice can never lead to heating up (or, better, to a decrease in the flux of heat away from a constantly warmed body), why do Eskimos build igloos?

Apr 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Jeremy, I have mixed up equilibrium vs non-equilibrium thermodynamics. However, I am rock solid on no 'back radiation' because ultimately it is based on simple statistical thermodynamics. You impose a density of activated states intermediate between kinetic [heat] energy and radiation. That invokes the principle of indistinguishability [q.v. Gibbs' Paradox] so absorbed energy quanta lose all connection with their origin.

This explanation automatically resolves the net vs bidirectional problem. Indeed some physicists imagine there is backscattering of energy quanta by filled states and others, of the practical variety, refer to these 'photons with no home' as a virtual gas.

As for the precise nature of 'fluxes in both directions', I have tried to establish a new principle. 'Prevost's Theory of Exchanges' refers to the net zero transfer of heat energy by radiation between bodies at equal temperature. In a temperature difference, the net energy flux is superimposed on the Prevost flux from the hotter to the colder body and the energy from the colder to the hotter body is all Prevost flux but with opposite sign.

Us engineers were taught to calculate the net flux as the difference between the two S-B equations corrected for emissivity, absorptivity and geometrical view factor. The insight here is that a radiometer with a shield which blocks radiant energy from the backward-facing hemisphere and points towards the colder body creates a signal equal to one part of the Prevost Exchange flux.

So, the radiative flux from colder to hotter that climate and any other scientists believe they measure is imaginary, an artefact of the measurement process. Because it is imaginary, it can never do any thermodynamic work defined as being absorbed by an empty active state then being converted to kinetic energy: without the sensor, it does not exist.

This is the physics Planck never developed. There are some really odd bits to it, particularly what happens when you have a layer of nanoparticles in a temperature gradient in the presence of a gas. In this case you generate a pressure gradient hotter to colder sufficient to cause some insulation materials to bulge away from the material they are insulating. This is the non-equilibrium thermodynamics' bit. Over to you!

Apr 5, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

"If it actually cooled for a few years - what then?"

They will change the data, in fact they already have made 1998 lower than 2010, the next adjustment will make the warming fit the forecasts. It's depressing to see science being dragged through the mud like this, but these people believe that humans are a blight on the planet, and are quite prepared to see millions or billions of us die to save the planet.

As someone has pointed out of course once we set out on the course of action to eliminate CO2 from our energy output the inevitable will happen, our economies will slump, energy will become too expensive and the spare cash lying around in the economies of the western industrial civilisations will dry up, and we will no longer be able to afford the unprecedented investment in science given to us by the use of cheap energy. Once that's done and the innumerable scientists working on the destruction of our civilisation and the empoverishment of our economies are kicked out of work realism will return and we the search for, and use of, cheap energy will resume. It's a negative feedback.

In the meantime global political power will have switched from the West to China and India, along with the jobs.

The Vicky Pope's, Brian Hoskins' and the rest believe we're being reckless, I believe they're being reckless and don't swallow the guff in the paper that they aren't about telling the politicians what to do, that's precisely what they're telling the politicians through the green NGOs that they support.

Blimey, I haven't even had my nightly glass of red and I'm venting, not like me.

Apr 5, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

mdgnn: Do you know the more I read what you're saying the more I believe you may be on to something. I guess what everyone is thinking is that why would MDGNN understand something that working physicists appear to have overlooked. If you want to move forward on this I suggest you give your paper to Professor Jones (not the FOI evading, decline hiding, data refusing, lead IPCC author) the one who graces these blogs, and if he's got time ask him to read and critique it. Prof Jones may not be thanking me for this so I suggest you tread warily in asking him.


Apr 5, 2012 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM simon abingdon
"It is an accounting device, nothing more. Overall, heat always flows from hot to cold, as any fule kno."

I agree completely. I hope I did not say something that suggested I believe otherwise.

Apr 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Hi geronimo kimosabe. I am reacting to the clamour of the crowd to approve the IPCC's incorrect 2.7 times increase of heat energy in the models and Hansen's 3.6 times calibration error. It's wrong.

I am also trying to counteract the other mistakes and have worked out the correct aerosol optical physics. If anyone is offended, hard luck! Someone has to correct the scientific time line!

I could be wrong though but that's the World of science......

[Always trust real experimental data, never models and weasel words from 'Managers'. We have just has snow in April at a level last seen in the 1980s - global warming?]]

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

I’ve been offline all day so missed Richard Betts’ response (12:05 AM) to my comment at 9:03 PM yesterday. I see Richard is away – but, as I think the matter we were concerned with goes to the heart of Lindzen’s talk, I’ll respond anyway.

In my comment, I noted (as I’d already done several times on this thread) that the essence of the talk was his claim that there is minimal evidence of a connection between predicted warming and the catastrophes of which we are regularly warned. I asked Richard: is Lindzen’s claim right or wrong?

In his reply, Richard didn’t answer my question because, as he put it, Lindzen’s use of the word “catastrophe” is a strawman - “the impacts don't have to be catastrophic in order to be undesirable”. He goes on to say, “We are highly uncertain about” [the impacts] “but this does not mean there is no problem”.

I’m sure Lindzen would agree with both extracts I quote above. But I fear Richard (along with the authors of the critique) has wholly missed the point of Lindzen’s talk. It was addressed to a non-scientific audience and dealt specifically and deliberately with a question reasonably well-informed lay people are asking: is there good evidence of, as Lindzen put it, “[a] connection of [anticipated] warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes”?

That use of “catastrophe” is no strawman. For years, we have been bombarded with alarming warnings of catastrophe and disaster from climate change – warnings that go far beyond a view that the outcome might be (as Richard puts it) “undesirable”. They have come from politicians (see the examples I have given in earlier comments on this thread), from the MSM, from august institutions – and from “climate scientists”. Re the latter, James Hansen is probably the prime example but, as Rob Burton notes above (3:52 AM), even Brian Hoskins has referred to “a very dangerous experiment with planet Earth”. And it’s these warnings that are used to justify the draconian political and economic measures that we are told are essential “to combat climate change”.

We – informed lay-persons – want to know if these warnings are based on sound science. And that was the question Lindzen addressed. He did so unambiguously – throughout his slides you can find about 20 references to “catastrophe”, “alarm” etc. His conclusion? Well, here’s his final slide:

Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.

In the meantime, while I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.

In other words, the case for alarm has not been made – a point that, interestingly enough, is confirmed by a careful reading of the Hoskins et al note.

Apr 5, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

At night clouds mitigate the rate of surface cooling but cooling is nonetheless what the surface unfailingly does until sunrise. The idea that clouds create a backradiation which actually warms (increases the temperature of) the surface is clearly nonsense. It is an accounting device, nothing more. Overall, heat always flows from hot to cold, as any fule kno.

Temperature is "an accounting device". So is pretty much every macroscopic physical property – unless you think momentum or velocity are due to the presence of some fundamental particle. Heisenberg suggests even location is uncertain and statistical in nature.

That something is "an accounting device" does not make it useless.

If a body radiates at a specific rate and an insulation layer is added, then it can be modeled in two ways. The rate of radiation can be lowered, or an "accounting device" added that sends back some of that heat. In practical terms these are identical. That the models choose the non-physical over the physical does not make them wrong as a model. I would always chose the second option as a modeler because it allows the radiation level and the insulation rate to be modified separately, even if they were actually part of the same physical process.

MDGNN cannot understand the difference between these two concepts: one that is the real world, and the other that is how it is mathematically modeled.

Cue endless rants, no doubt. But no actual proper write up of his thoughts. That Nobel Prize in Physics for confounding the knavish tricks of his enemies apparently is too much bother.

Apr 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

This study must have been the result of some very specific funding.

Climate effect of inhaled anaesthetics
K. P. Shine

It would have been worrying if all the warming had been caused by inhaled anaesthetics. If you'd asked be and I ha to randomly guess though I think I would say they were totally insignificant (Even if I really believed the chemicals in them had some greenhouse warming effect.)

Has anyone done followup studys on the link between CFC's and the ozone hole?? That was the main 'problem' I remember from the nineties that seemed totally overblown.

Apr 6, 2012 at 4:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Is mydogsgotnonose at all cognizant of the spectra of the gases involved (CO2, H2O)?

Is mydogsgotnonose at all cognizant of (or ever observed, first hand) IR nighttime cooling, and that said cooling diminishes (the rate of cooling is reduced) on those nights that are more humid (increased relative humidity)?

Can mydogsgotnonose admit that the reduced rate-of-cooling on the humid night is due to the 'back radiation' (IR reflective nature) of the H2O molecules present?

A practical experiment he may and probably can conduct in his own back yard I dare say ...


Apr 6, 2012 at 4:48 AM | Unregistered Commenter_Jim

Apr 6, 2012 at 4:48 AM | _Jim

"Can mydogsgotnonose admit that the reduced rate-of-cooling on the humid night is due to the 'back radiation' (IR reflective nature) of the H2O molecules present?"

I would like to here his response too, though if you look at his other replies I'm sure he understands it. Remember, the atmosphere doesn't retain any significant energy and if the following night is clear and not humid that 'Stored' energy is gone Forever..

Apr 6, 2012 at 4:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

'In other words, the case for alarm has not been made – a point that, interestingly enough, is confirmed by a careful reading of the Hoskins et al note.'
Robin Guenier at Apr 5, 2012 at 11:10 PM

I think this is indeed the crucial insight. I suspect that many on the other side are perfectly aware that the case is not convincing, but they have been swept along in the stampede orchestrated by those who choose to act as if the associated crisis was a fact and not merely a 'projection'.

There are therefore moral as well as scientific issues here.

Is the mere possibility of a crisis many decades from now, perhaps a century or more away (a timescale orders of magnitude beyond our competence for social as well as climate forecasting), good enough to warrant more generous funding in climate research?

That's one end of the 'impact now' range of costs.

The other contains poorly nourished people whose plight has been made worse by bio-fuels, the smaller and weaker developing nations whose hopes for industrial development might be dashed by condemnations of conventional power stations by aid agencies and western governments, the yet-to-be estimated harm to the spirits and indeed their very childhoods of the children exposed year after year to talk of imminent doom that is their fault or their parents' or their society's, the increased energy costs in the developed world making life harder for the many relatively poor there and inhibiting industrial competitiveness, the industrialisation of once-held-precious landscapes and seascapes by windfarms where every rotation of a blade makes most of us less well off as we pay for the subsidies one way or another, the empowerment of authoritarian groups who wish more and more control over society - and, at the extreme end of that set, the effective destuction of modern ways of life and massive reductions in freedom (and even of population levels - the self-haters dream).

Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

_Jim and Rob Burton: you are confused. Don't worry, it took me a long time to get it right but I had the greatest Chemical Engineer in History, Hoyt C. Hottell, as my guide. Just refocus your thinking. It's about potential gradients and impedances not ‘forcing’.

The potential is temperature. The impedance is the absorptivity of the local atmosphere, in turn IR optical depth. Re-radiated energy will return to the earth's surface. You may call it 'back radiation' but because it is exactly offset by IR from the surface as its density of states communicates at the speed of light with activated GHG molecules, it cannot be converted to heat at the surface.

Greater IR optical depth from higher humidity means a higher proportion of the IR energy from the surface is re-radiated back to it; greater Prevost Exchange Energy. This reduces the proportion of the surface’s density of states occupied by heat energy from the interior, reducing heat loss rate so it and the local atmosphere stay warmer. Also, higher air temperature/emissivity means more IR is directly emitted from it to the surface.

Implicit in this argument is that the proportion of the heat loss from the ground by IR is much lower than claimed by the IPCC. Using Trenberth et. al. 2009, it’s 39% [100x63/(17+80+63)] instead of 80% [100x396/(17+80+396)]. Look at any engineering textbook, I use McAdam, and for high emissivity solids you need to have ~100 °C before radiative exceeds convective heat loss rate. For aluminium it’s ~300°C.

‘Emissivity’ is a vacuum parameter. Its effective value falls when there is a second, cooler radiator nearby as Prevost Exchange reduces the proportion of activated states on the surface filled by transfer of internal kinetic energy. In air, a lot of those states also transfer the energy to adsorbed gas molecules. Real calculations are complex which is why we engineers are much smarter than the average scientist hence I am having to give this lesson! You must use an operational combined heat transfer coefficient.

I shall now demolish another shibboleth, the claim of 100% direct thermalisation. Tyndall's and the PET bottle experiments are constant volume so much temperature rise is adiabatic warming. Unscrew the cap and temperature rise is lower. Replace the thick PET with thin Mylar and Nahle couldn’t measure any temperature rise s it seems most thermalisation is indirect.

So, the raison d’etre of climate science, the ‘heated blanket’, may disappear. It's kinetically easier for the absorbed energy to be lost by simultaneous emission of the same energy photon from a thermally-excited GHG molecule thus restoring Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium. My current thinking is that the whole atmosphere is in such thermodynamic equilibrium with IR photons disappearing into space or being absorbed at heterogeneities, mostly cloud droplets and the ground, no direct thermalisation.

Climate science has got it wrong because it imagines ‘back radiation’ can do work, also IR emission from the earth’s surface is that of a black body in a vacuum and IR is thermalised in the local atmosphere instead of being pseudo-scattered. I am not certain that the thermalisation is indirect but the effective emissivity of clouds is much higher than clear air and the GHG emission lines are much more prominent in the latter suggesting clouds convert GHG-specific pseudo-scattered IR to broad spectrum IR. From this you also get a mechanism which could explain Miskolczi’s hypothesis that the earth maintains constant IR optical depth so there can be no net CO2-(A)GW.

I could very well be wrong but at least my analysis is consistent with 200 years of experimental validation of the laws of physics.for combined convection and radiation and it explains issues like the high effective emissivity of clouds.[whose droplets getter local CO2 perhaps why the CO2 emission lines are so low].

Apr 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37 AM | John Shade

Your final paragraph sums things up nicely but, as far as the UK is concerned, thecitizens are locked into a daisy chain from which there appears to be no escape.

On this thread, Apr 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Richard Betts:

Note that they don't talk about future impacts, either "dangerous" or otherwise, and also they specifically say:

It is up to policy makers, not scientists, to decide whether governments should take concerted mitigating action to try to reduce this risk. On this we do not comment.

In July 2011, a government minister delivered a speech:

The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is rising. Concentrations of CO2 have grown by 40% since pre-industrial times. Two thirds of that increase has happened in the last 50 years.

With all this extra greenhouse gas floating about, we would expect the Earth’s surface to get warmer. And so it has: by about 0.8 degrees in the last century.

Much of this warming has occurred in the last 50 years. From 1960, temperatures have risen at an average rate of 0.13 degrees per decade. The ten warmest years on record were all from 1998 onwards.

So the basic science is clear. It tells us these three things: greenhouse gases warm the planet. Global emissions continue to climb. And the world is warming up.

It is a compelling picture, and one supported by a growing body of evidence. Arctic sea ice is melting. Since 1900, global sea levels have risen by more than eight inches.

Severe droughts are now twice as common as they were in 1970. Research suggests human action doubled the risk of the 2003 European heatwave. And climate change made the autumn 2000 floods in the UK about twice as likely.

Every major scientific institution in the world concurs: the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Academie des sciences. Change on this scale cannot be explained by anything else.

There is no computer model of world temperature and climate that can explain what has happened without greenhouse-gas induced global warming. None.

Unless we act to curb greenhouse gas emissions, continued warming is not a matter of speculation. It is inevitable. And scientists fear it will accelerate.

So, as a result of the statements by Vicky et al, the government is convinced that global warming is not a matter of speculation, it is inevitable and the likes of Vicky et al fear it will accelerate.

Vicky et al say that it is down to the government, the government says it is down to Vicky et al.


Apr 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

_Jin, can you differentiate between convective, evaporative and IR cooling in your nighttime scenario? Can they be separatelt measured? Surely if they can we can clear the whole thing up with a few observations, no? Why is the Trenberth budget not subject to empirical confirmation? Why can't we model a square metre and compare to actual measurement?

Apr 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Mooloo: you and I must go behind the bike shed! Your accounting device is apparently anything but benign!

If the 2009 Trenberth Energy Budget is a correct representation, it claims that IR emission from the Earth's surface is 396 W/m^2 , the S-B prediction for a black body at 16°C in a vacuum. The 16 °C is I presume the implied average temperature of the Earth's surface. That physically incorrect value [see above for why it cannot occur in 1 Atm. air] is obtained by adding to the 63 W/m^2 presumably experimentally measured IR [but I'm beginning to doubt that], 333 W/m^2 'back radiation'.

My view is that this does not exist in terms of being able to do thermodynamic work and it's an artefact of the very act of setting out to measure it. I could be wrong.but you're going to have to convince me with some very good science including experimental proof, that it is valid to increase by an 'accounting device' the energy coming off the earth's surface by a factor of 2.6 times the net SW input [(17+396)/160)]:

I could accept this as an 'accounting device' only if the extra 333 W/m^2 is not assumed to heat up the GHGs in the atmosphere [that energy is apparently multiplied by a factor of 4.3].

I will now prove using real experimental data why I'm probably right. I'm on a beach, air temperature 25 °C, sand temperature 30 °C, low because most of the absorbed SW energy is lost by convection. I put up a windbreak and the sand temperature rises to 45 °C to maintain the same total of combined convection and radiation. Assuming a local air absorptivity of 0.2, emissivity of sand = 0.85 and 50% of that extra absorbed IR energy is returned, I have just increased local back radiation by ~5 times the IPCC's claimed net AGW 'forcing' of 1.6 W/m^2!

Is the UHI the real cause of global warming........?

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

John Shade:

Well said - particularly your final paragraph. When I said (11:10 PM yesterday), re Lindzen's talk, "the case for alarm has not been made – a point that, interestingly enough, is confirmed by a careful reading of the Hoskins et al note", I had particularly in mind this extract from their paragraph headed "Models":

Even the models at the more complete and complex end contain many uncertainties and deficiencies, which are widely recognised within the modelling community, but they are the best guide we have as to how the climate system may change in the future.

If the best guide we have to future climate change contains "many uncertainties and deficiencies" how can it it conceivably justify action having the ghastly consequences you list? Plainly it cannot. But the scientists are not so advising the politicians. For example, before Copenhagen, Gordon Brown, having insisted that the science of climate change was settled, asserted that "we mustn't be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate sceptics. We know the science. We know what we must do.” [My emphasis.]

So who was telling him what "we must do"? I don't think he just made it up.

Apr 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier


Could we consider a two disc setup that might be more closely related to the earth atmosphere problem.

I want to conduct the thought experiment inside a chamber that has completely "black" internal walls so no photons coming from the discs can be reflected back from the walls to the discs. I also want the internal surface of the walls to be held at absolute zero so that they can emit no radiation to the discs. The final condition is that the chamber has been completely evacuated of all gas molecules.

To start with I would like to place one disc in the chamber. One side is coated with a material that has zero emissivity and the other has an emissivity of one. The disc has a built in heating element with the power coming from a supply external to the chamber. Now, I think it is common ground here that we can directly apply the SB equation to derive the total radiated power from the one radiating surface of the disc if we know the area and the temperature of the disc surface. I think it is also common ground that the temperature of the disc will only remain fixed if the total radiated power is equal to the power given out by the heating element. In this case there really is no Prevost exchange energy as the wall of the container cannot supply any energy to the disc. It is a simple one way flow from disc to wall. To keep things simple let us assume the surface area is 1m2 and the power supplied by the heater is 100W. I calculate the temperature of the disc will have to be 204.9K. Let us call this T1.

The interesting part is when we place a disc with the same area up very close to the first disc. Close means that virtually no energy can escape out of the gap which is the same as saying the view factor is very close to one. This second disc has an emissivity of one on both faces. The question is what will the temperatures of each disc settle out to be if the first disc still has its 100W heater connected.To me it is very clear that the second disc will have to be at the temperature T1 that the first disc started at as the outer face is the only place that can radiate the 100W to the walls. My chain of argument for determining the temperature of the original disc runs like this. The second disc must also be radiating 100W from the inner face, all of which, must be arriving at the inner face of the original disc. This disc now has to radiate 200W to equal the 100W from the heater plus the 100W from the inner surface of the second disc. This must be a higher temperature than the original T1 as it has to radiate twice as much energy. My calculation for the new temperature of the original disk gives 243.7K. Call this T2

Some people flatly deny that the original disc will increase in temperature but I do not think that this is the position that you are adopting. If I understand you correctly it is the 100W of Prevost exchange energy that is the trouble. In some sense you think it is not real. I explicitly used the 100W returning from the second disc to the original one for my calculation but I can make it disappear from sight. I will just use a different formulation. The real power transferred from the original disc to the second is a function of the temperature of both discs. P=Sb * (T2^4 - T1^4). If I calculate T2 using this equation with P=100W Sb=5.6704 e-8 T1=204.9K I get exactly the same answer of 243.7K as before but the Prevost exchange energy has vanished from the calculation. In reality, it is just an algebraic trick. In the first case I expanded the equation to P=(Sb * T2^4) - (Sb * T1^4) revealing the Sb * T1`^4 exchange energy and in the second case I did not.

It seems to me that whether the Prevost exchange energy, sometimes called back radiation, is calculated or not we get the same increase in temperature of the original disc when the second disc is adjacent to it. Clearly this simple two disc experiment is a long way from the complexity of the earth to atmosphere to space reality but it does seem to show that the presence of a warm emitting body above the surface can affect the surface temperature even though the warm body derives all of its warmth from energy supplied by the surface.

My only claim to any authority in these matters is that I did get an HNC in Applied Physics many many years ago.


Apr 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Jorge: thanks for your interesting analysis. You say the second disc has exactly the same area as the first, From this I assume you mean it has the same radius/plan area. But as it also has an emissivity of unity on both sides, its area for emitting radiation is 2 m^2!

If you assume Prevost Exchange Energy can do thermodynamic work, do the sums [for the heating transient] and disc 1 eventually emits 200 W thermal power so has to be at the 243.7 K you claim. However, disc 2 is at 204.9 K because it emits 200 W over 2 m^2. But it's wrong; what really happens is this:

1. a hole appears in the radiation density of states of disc 1 and is filled by kinetic energy creating a kinetic energy hole then filled by more kinetic energy from the heater. The constant replacement of kinetic energy reduces the frequency at which activated radiation states decay inwardly so as to ensure continuous ejection of 100 W of radiation energy.

2. That energy is gobbled up by hungry holes in disc 2’s radiation density of states. They’re hungry because kinetic energy is being depleted the other side of the plate by more hungry radiation states, depleted by pushing out photons to the surrounding black body.

So, at equilibrium, 100 W of thermal energy is converted to radiation energy at the single emitting face of disc 1 then received by the density of radiation states at the inner face of disc 2. Because these states are continually being transferred to kinetic energy there can be no ‘back radiation’ from disc 1 to disc 2, no Prevost Exchange, so none of the photons emitted from disc 1 are replaced by photons from disc 2. Therefore, net radiative power transfer is 100 W.despite the plates being nearly at the same temperature. There will be a slight rise in temperature of disc 1 set by the overall impedance of the system, mainly thermal conductivity of disc 2!

If you have two ‘one-sided radiation’ plates with the unit emissivity faces facing each other, at temperature equilibrium an equal number of filled radiation states emits photons as decays to kinetic energy meaning no heat gain or loss. In this case, the Prevost Exchange comprises all the S-B calculated energy from each plate so there is no net energy transfer.

Apr 6, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

As a rider to the above, let's assume disc 2 has an absorptivity/emissivity of 0.2, corresponding to the atmosphere. In this case, 100 W power is opposed by 10 W emitted in the reverse direction so the temperature of disc 1 has to rise by ~5 K to force 100 W through the extra impedance.

A rise in the absorptivity/emissivity by an increase of GHG concentration will raise the potential difference and the internal energy of the system for equilibrium. However, once that transient is over, the extra Prevost Exchange Energy does no thermodynamic work because there has been no change in the energy transfer from external energy source [electrical or in our case, the Sun!] or the transfer to the universe by radiation.

Apr 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Sorry, should be an absorptivity/emissivity of 0.8 meaning increased impedance corresponding to a 0.2 absorptivity gaseous path.

Apr 6, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose


You are quite right that I meant the discs had the same radius. I suppose I should also have said the discs are very thin and/or made of superconducting material! As you note this is mainly a problem for disc 2 which has to conduct the 100W from one face to the other.

I am not quite clear which of my two temperatures has been wrongly calculated. I am very confident that the outer face of disc 2 must be at 204.9K as this must emit 100W to the wall. If it does not do this there will be a net heat gain or loss within the chamber. The relation between the power and temperature is pure SB as there is no question of return flow from the wall to that face of the disc. It seems you do not a agree with my calculation of the temperature for the original disc. If so, the problem must be with the equation I used to calculate the heat transfer between the two concentric discs under these rather special circumstances.

I used the equation P = Sb(T2^4 - T1^4) because the areas are 1m2, both emissivities are one and both view factors are one. I thought this was a pretty standard engineering calculation but I may have misinterpreted it. This may be a bit confusing because here T1 is the temperature of the second disc and T2 is the temperature of the first disc. As I want a positive heat flow from disc 1 to disc 2 T2 must be the higher temperature. We can clearly see from the equation that there would be no heat transfer if both temperatures are the same and I think we agree about this.

You say "Therefore, net radiative power transfer is 100 W.despite the plates being nearly at the same temperature. There will be a slight rise in temperature of disc 1 set by the overall impedance of the system, mainly thermal conductivity of disc 2!"

I think I have disposed of the problem of conductivity with disc 2 and would like to ask what you mean by the overall impedance of the system. It would be very helpful if you could show the equations that you would use to calculate the temperatures of the discs in this rather special set of circumstances. Can we leave the complications of non-unity emissivities for another time.
I would prefer not to get involved in real climate problems until we can clear up the apparent disagreement on what I had thought was fairly standard textbook stuff. I must say I would be very surprised if the textbooks were wrong on this basic material but it would be no surprise to find I have misunderstood it.

Apr 6, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Jorge, I agree with you on the numbers here. It is, as you say, a standard calculation.

mydogsgotnonose, can we please keep to the admirably simple situation that Jorge describes, afforced by his additional statement that the second disc can be taken as being perfectly conducting of heat, so that the two sides are at the same temperature. What do you think will be the equilibrium temperatures of the two discs in this case? Never mind why for the moment, lets just stick to the numbers.

Apr 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

I see that Doug Cotton continues the spamming campaign that he has been running for several weeks now all over the blogosphere promoting science (fiction?) publishing company Principia Scientific International (PSI) and his own blog article. As Watchman said sarcastically on Dr. Roy Spencer’s “Global Warming As Cargo Cult Science” thread ( “ .. Isn’t this “paper” in Principia Scientific? Are you suggesting this is a “peer reviewed” scientific journal? .. What a prestigious honor to be published there! .. ”.

It also looks as though Doug may have been daft enough donate the latest $50 to the PSI begging bowl (

On 26th Dec. 2010 Doug’s hero “dragon slayer”, PSI CEO and Legal Consultant John O’Sullivan made an appeal for $3000 to the 17-strong group of us involved in E-mail exchanges in which John was trying to persuade others to help him set up PSI as a Community Interest Company. His plan, outlined in his Chapter 21 of his cobbled together collection of blog articles “Slaying the Sky Dragon”, was to take legal action against some of the most powerful government agencies in the world, such as NOAA, using mandamus petitions. On 28th Dec. 2010 John claimed that “ .. beating the AGW fraud in the courts - its the only serious game in town .. ” (see etc.).

That appeal (amounting to a trivial $180 each) failed miserably, with Hans Schreuder (PSI’s CFO) and Oliver Manual offering $500 each, Miso Alkalaj offering Euro100 and Tim Ball (Chairman) offering to make an undisclosed contribution. Other members of the group refrained from making any offer of a contribution, which says appears to sum up their confidence in John’s plans for PSI.

That internal appeal having achieved little John’s next begging bowl came out on 17th January in front of a much wider group, via the gofundme site, where he claimed to need money for the purpose of “ .. supporting Principia Scientific International (PSI). Help us bring about change .. Give generously for this good cause knowing you can help to counter the creeping folly of misguided societies that appear to have been commandeered by political lobbyists and shills serving self-interested corporations or misguided national governments .. ” (

Having failed miserably once again to attract much more than loose change into his begging bowl with that appeal despite that initial donation of $350 (from a member of John’s family in the USA!) the next bowl went out 12 months ago begging “ .. Help asked for Dr. Tim Ball in legal battle with Dr. Mann .. ” (

In my opinion it would be prudent for anyone considering making donations to John’s appeals or getting involved with PSI to first read carefully the comments on Professor Curry’s “Letter to the dragon slayers” thread ( There are over 1300 to get through but if that is too much then those contributed by Andrew Skolnick, some of the “Slayers” and me are worth reading.

John seems to have set a trend for begging for money for good causes relating to the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) hypothesis. We now have the “other side” begging for money for “The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund: Protecting the Scientific Endeavor” ( This one appears to have been initiated yesterday (4th April) by staunch CACC supporter Scott (Super)Mandia who begged “ .. Help the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) raise money to cover the costs of Dr. Mann’s legal defense as well as other scientists who face similar challenges .. ” (

Eye-catching sales gimmicks seem to be a must for this kind of begging.
John O’Sullivan had his offer of “ . If you contribute £60 (Sixty British Pounds) or more (approx. US$100) we will ensure you receive a copy of ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ plus a bonus book (two volume pack RRP: $38.98) .. ” – most science fiction books are far cheaper that than!
Scott Mandia offers “ .. $25 .. t-shirts .. $150 .. three of the t-shirts and a copy of Climate Change: Picturing the Science .. $300 .. a hockey stick signed by Mike Mann.. $1000 .. 16×20 signed silver gelatin print by Joshua Wolfe .. ”.

It seems that there is much more support for the CACC supporters’ begging bowl than there is for John’s. He only managed to raise £450 14 months in his PSI bowl, despite that initial £350 boost in the first hour. That recent additional £50 (from Doug?) hasn’t inspired anyone else to throw any spare change into the bowl. On the other hand it is claimed that for Scott’s bowl “ .. The outpouring of support was overwhelming. In less than 24 hours, Scott received $10,000 in small donations from scientists, students, and other concerned individuals .. ” (

Here’s a link especially for Doug Cotton

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Apr 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete Ridley

Please.. ! Why not always take this discussion to the discussion thread..
It allways dominates/distracts from the actual topic at hand.

Apr 6, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Apr 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM Robin Guenier

For example, before Copenhagen, Gordon Brown, having insisted that the science of climate change was settled, asserted that "we mustn't be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate sceptics. We know the science. We know what we must do." [My emphasis.]

So who was telling him what "we must do"? I don't think he just made it up.

This is an important question. The CAGW delusion is a catastrophe in progress and it did not happen spontaneously.

I would say it was Slingo, briefing Sir David King (Govt Chief Scientific Advisor) who advised the cabinet that The science is settled - anyone who questions it is a flat-earther. ( Brown would not be capable of making that up that sort of stuff himself.)

King's views: Climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism, the UK Government's chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir David King said the US had failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And without immediate action flooding, drought, hunger and debilitating diseases such as malaria would hit millions of people around the world. (9 January 2004)

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Jorge, I'm not playing this game because the way I see it is that you cannot use the standard 'difference between two S-B equations' because you have forced a considerable deviation from radiative equilibrium. That means Kirchhoff's Law of Radiation does not apply; absorptivity does not equal emissivity for either of the inner faces.

In effect, for the inner face of disc 1, epsilon=1 and alpha=0, and it's the reverse for the inner face of disc 2. This is because for disc 1, heat energy forces radiation into a gap with no radiative thermal impedance. The inner face of disc 2 accepts it and almost immediately transfers the energy to the outer face with no conductive thermal impedance. The energy is then converted to radiative energy into an enclosure with no radiative thermal impedance.

I have explained why this happens from the viewpoint of the density of states. Emissivity and absorptivity are related to this: the forced high conduction shifts the statistics dramatically. Another way of looking at the problem is that you have made the radiation equivalent of two vacuum diodes in series with an almost infinite thermal impedance in the reverse direction!

It's an interesting problem though: bet you didn't expect this answer either but it's perfectly logical.once you understand it is an extreme non-equilibrium situation. Here's some MIT course material for radiation between two plates:

Kirchhoff's Law does not apply in this case so the maths will have a very difference solution! Because both plates emit 100W, they are near to 204.9 K! There can be no Prevost exchange energy in the gap. I could be wrong but this is extreme non-equilibrium.

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Sorry about the all bold, not intentional.As for you thinking this is standard textbook material, it most certainly is not and you have to treat it very differently.

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Well said Barry and thanks Martin.

Yesterday Richard Betts (in a response to me) suggested that Lindzen’s argument might “be summarised as ‘anthropogenic climate change is not a problem’”. I believe that’s a total misrepresentation. But, to be sure I had not misunderstood it (see my various comments above), this afternoon I watched the talk video again along with Lindzen’s slides. It wholly confirmed my view that a far more accurate summary would be, "there is no scientific case for linking anticipated warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes”. This is of the first importance because it's that alleged link that has justified actions with the grim consequences eloquently spelled out above by John Shale. In my view, it simply isn't good enough for those scientists, such as the authors of the Hoskins et al note, who plainly know there is no such link (see my comment at 12:15 PM above) to wash their hands of the issue by pretending that these consequences are the responsibility of politicians and have nothing to do with them. Not speaking out is, in my view, disgraceful irresponsibility.

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Can I add my support and appreciation here to Robin, Barry and Martin, who are rightly returning to Lindzen himself. But also to Jonathan and Jorge. It may strictly be the wrong thread for it but when did that ever stop mydog. It's good for someone to attempt some precision.

Apr 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake; as a professor of physics, you are the best person to comment on the Jorge question which has made me think very hard. As a rider, I am depressed at how scientists nowadays cannot work out things from first principles.

To solve real problems you think very hard before committing yourself. And I suspect that the Met Office is full of people who are just starting to realise they are in a big mess.

The pyrgeometer does not measure what they think it does. The IR physics is wrong. The aerosol optical physics is wrong [and I have fixed it, to be published.]. The radiation physics is laughably wrong since Aarhenius because no-one except Neils Bohr seriously thought what it meant. There is no hope of recovery until they stop using modelling to disguise bad science.

Apr 7, 2012 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Apr 6, 2012 at 11:24 PM Robin Guenier

In my view, it simply isn't good enough for those scientists, (...) to wash their hands of the issue by pretending that these consequences are the responsibility of politicians and have nothing to do with them. Not speaking out is, in my view, disgraceful irresponsibility.

There are a couple of things that are now going on:

- Panic about the failure of CAGW (or any further global warming) to materialise.

- The re-writing of history is now under way (the lack of further warming was predicted, blame the politicians, not us the scientists).

Apr 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A


"radiative thermal impedance"

What's the definition of thermal impedance? What are its units? Is it a well-defined concept? [I understand very well electrical impedance/admittance]

Apr 7, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Martin A
I must say "thermal impedance" wasn't a phrase I'd come across (which is probably hardly surprising!) but when I went a-googling there it is.
I think this probably has the best definition.

Apr 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

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