Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Climate Epistemology

Verdict: unambiguous fail. (Via.)

I've been assuming that the CO2 greenhouse effect is about preventing energy from escaping into space. But, as I find myself repeating, no radiation in CO2's absorption band is escaping to space already. It is saturated. (Backup link.) Please note this is from Wikipedia. If there's any bias, it is in the other direction. (The bias is pretty funny, check out the picture's caption on the greenhouse gas page.)

I thought, surely they've performed this simple verification of the physics. I must be missing something. Nope.
"The serious skeptical scientists have always agreed with the government climate scientists about the direct effect of CO2."
Right, but we're not talking escaping to space, though, yeah? It's just taking energy that was absorbed higher up and absorbing it lower down?
"The climate models predict that when the surface of the earth warms, less heat is radiated from the earth into space (on a weekly or monthly time scale)."
Haha, nope.

Now. To make sure I don't perform the same mistake: I've never seen a climate article talking about how climate change is cooling regions of the upper atmosphere. Have you? Please pass it along, if so.

"A major study has linked the changes in temperature on the earth's surface with the changes in the outgoing radiation."
Outgoing radiation cannot change due to increasing CO2. Especially not in the infrared band. It literally took me less than ten minutes of research to discover this. On La Wik, I emphasize. Apparently, nobody else has thought to check.

You cannot expect me to believe these guys are taking climate research seriously when they fail these basic, basic checks. (What other simple tests have they failed to carry out, that I haven't thought of because I don't have a thorough survey?)

Conclusion: I don't believe in climate scientists, let alone specific climate science papers.


Jehu said...

There's a simple route on climate. I took it back in the very early 90s.
So you claim that based on your premises that global warming is an existential threat to humanity.

What solutions do you offer?
The solutions that you offer will not, based on your premises, mitigate the problem significantly that you claim is existential. (In fairness, you'd need something akin to Rainbow 6 to do that, or geoengineering).
Therefore you're not honest men. Honest men would propose a plan that would address the problem that they think they've identified, or say that the problem is not amenable to a solution. What they wouldn't do is symbolic nonsense that nevertheless gives them lots of political and economic power.

Anomaly UK said...

The "saturation" argument is not correct. CO2 does not absorb radiation in a fixed band, but has an absorption curve that absorbs easily at a central frequency, and smaller and smaller proportions at frequencies further away from that centre. The radiation in the middle of that bell curve is pretty much all absorbed, but there is always a marginal zone where increasing CO2 concentration increases absorption.

That does result in some pretty severe diminishing returns to increasing CO2. In fact, the effects are logarithmic with the concentration, but that's all in the theory, and has been from the beginning. CO2 concentrations have increased very substantially over the last hundred years, so there could still be a reduction in radiation emitted from Earth as a result.

Is there actually such a reduction? Hard to say. It's hard enough to measure surface temperature, we don't have reasonable records of upper atmospheric temperature going back any time at all. One of the big suspicious coincidences of global warming is that it more or less stopped around the time we started being able to measure it accurately. So a 20-year history of satellite measurements doesn't tell us much.

The real reasons for believing it's all crap are a little bit more subtle...

Alrenous said...

The logarithmic decay isn't theory. I've personally tested it in a lab with a gas cell.

What it means is that if CO2 concentrations increased 100-fold, we'd see maybe a 1% drop in transmitted radiation, all things equal. That's officially negligible.