Examining Climate Science, Again

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One of the mental games I like to play is called, “Let’s pretend I’m stupid.”

It works like this. Take something I already know, or at least, think I know, and then try to disprove it. If I can’t at least come up with several good arguments against it, then I’m not playing hard enough.

The process of evaluating things with logic and reason is challenging, to say the least. It exposes whatever biases I have, uncovers new facets of my ignorance, and causes me to question some very basic things I hold dear. In the process, I have to relearn things I’ve forgotten, and go back to a more primitive state.

One of the most exciting feelings I have ever had is the feeling of doubt. That is, “Can I actually pull it off? Can I really go back and demonstrate a clear enough understanding of this subject that I can honestly continue to believe in the thing I already knew?”

There are only two possible outcomes of the exercise. Either my knowledge is confirmed, or it is exposed as incorrect. Whenever it is exposed as incorrect, it is hopefully replaced with better, more accurate knowledge.

In the end, it helps me be a better teacher, and keeps my mind sharp.

I’ve lately re-examined the science behind climate science. (I apologize that I’ve allowed the language of these papers to change my usual writing style.) I’ve exposed myself to countless arguments against the things I’ve already learned. I’ve uncovered a few interesting bits of knowledge, or at least a renewed enthusiasm for principles I already know.

First is the solid foundation of basic physics and logical rigor. I have long ago developed a sixth sense that informs me when someone isn’t using sound logic. I love talking with mathematicians and theoretical physicists because every thing they say follows this rigor. Their knowledge has been honed by the very exercise I have done over decades and decades, and further polished by communication within their field.

We can trust science, at least real science, as long as it is based on plain observations and rigorous logic.

There is another aspect of science, the seedy side of science. Scientists being fallible people, they are prone to mistakes. Mathematicians and physicists are well aware of this, which is why their immediate instinct is to distrust their own results. If they can find problems with their work, then they’ll fix it before publication. After publication, they have to acknowledge any errors they made. The reason for publication is to get others to look at it closely and help find the errors.

However, certain scientists don’t behave this way. Rather than take on this attitude, they try instead to build themselves up as the next Einstein or they try to manipulate the science to get a desired result. These people are pretty easy to find, when you know what to look for. Every one of the vocal advocates of Global Warming reek of this attitude. The so-called “ClimateGate” emails have revealed it for all the world to see. The sham of a cover-up that was done makes the scientists look even more foolish. The amount of credibility these scientists have is exactly zero in my mind.

Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be hard to falsify their claims. After all, science doesn’t depend on who’s making the claim, but the claim itself.

Examining the claims of Global Warming I see self-contradictions, contradictions between scientists, and ultimately, contradictions with nature itself.

Over at this blog post, the most fundamental aspects of Global Warming have been thoroughly examined, and found to be sorely lacking. If you want to understand, you have to read the 3 papers mentioned. If you don’t have the patience or the ability, then there are lay-persons explanations of the 3 papers. To date, there is no rebuttal to the original paper that has any weight at all. I have read hundreds upon hundreds of arguments against the original paper. Only a few actually acknowledge the ideas presented in the paper, and they fail in rebutting them. The rest are vacuous statements made in complete ignorance of the topics addressed in the paper.

All the other arguments for or against Global Warming end up being meaningless after the publication of the above paper. No number of ice cores or tree rings or satellite imaging or contemplation of Venus or Mars or hurricanes or whatnot has any bearing on the discussion. The entire field has been leveled, because none of it matches with the first principles of physics.

I am sure that the temperature changes over time. After all, it is generally warmer in the daytime than in the nighttime. I am sure that there are changes in the weather, because I see it. I am sure that the climate changes as well, because we read about it in history books. What we cannot be certain of, and what the paper marvelously exposes, is the repercussions of these changes and variations. These fall within a realm of physics and math where you have to throw up your hands and say, “We do not know. We cannot know.”

You can safely assume that anyone who claims to know anything definitive about the weather and climate is an idiot who can’t do basic math or physics. Either that, or they are an all-powerful being with knowledge and power far beyond our own.

Note that meteorologists, the ones we rely on every day, do not claim certain knowledge. Their field is based on statistics and some general principles, principles which may be based on some first principles of physics. The further in the future they look, the less and less likely their predictions are to come true. Certainly no meteorologist would even pretend to know what the weather will be like a year from now.

Why, then, do these climate scientists persist? There are only two reasons, really. One is ignorance, the other is greed. If they are ignorant, then the solution is educate them and others. Perhaps one day we’ll teach the full story of thermodynamics to 2nd Graders, and it will be as common knowledge as Newton’s 3 Laws, but that day is not today. It is incumbent upon us who do know the 2nd Law to be so well versed in it that we can explain it to children in a scientifically rigorous way.

On their greed, well, we all struggle with greed. When we see it cloud people’s judgments, the solution is to pay it no heed. We certainly shouldn’t fuel it by funding it with public money.

Those who claim that Climate Science is real in any way are not only foolish, they are wrong. It’s ok for people who don’t know any better to do so. We can educate and correct any misstatements they make, and after a while, they’ll come to agree with us. Those who know better, or who remain close-minded to the possibility that they are wrong, can only be ignored. We cannot convince someone who has set their thoughts in stone.

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23 Responses to “Examining Climate Science, Again”

  1. demo kid Says:

    Again and again and again and again, you demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding about the Second Law of Thermodynamics — the Law covers NET heat flow, not ALL heat flow.

    As noted here:

    There appears to be confusion about whether the Clausius statement applies to net heat flow or simply any flows of heat. Qualitatively one can make a simple argument about interchange of thermal energy between two bodies. Consider two perfectly absorbing disks in a vacuum at temperatures TA and TB, with TA > TB. If B is isolated, it will emit thermal energy at a rate given by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. If the Clausius statement referred to any flow of heat when the two disks were placed opposite each other B would have to stop radiating towards A because if it did not, heat would be transferred between a body at lower temperature to a body at higher temperature. This is obviously absurd. The ability of either disk to radiate does not depend on the presence of another disk that absorbs the emitted radiation. Further it is not necessary to restrict the heat transfer mechanism to radiation, the same argument holds when energy is transferred by molecular motion, or electrons. Thus, the Clausius statement clearly must apply only to net heat flow, and one must consider all heat flows when applying the second law and not just selected flows in isolation from the others.

    But again and again, you keep bringing up the Second Law, and cherry picking papers as “evidence”. If you have enough of a grasp of physics to declare the work of a number of major scientists to be invalid, you can show me the process by which two sources of radiative heat “detect” each other, and figure out which is the warmer so that one doesn’t emit ANY radiation in its direction.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m glad you’ve introduced a new source to look at. However, I’ll have you note that they have not published. I find their paper very, very weak.

      I could write a refutation but no refutation is necessary. He has yet to pass his paper through any serious scrutiny.

      As some of the commenters noted, the blog post you mention doesn’t address any of the paper’s original assertions at all. You would do well to read Terry Oldberg’s response near the end.

      Also, if the greenhouse effect exists, why can’t we measure it with ordinary gasses? Can’t we just measure how much heat is reflected back with a simple experiment? Yes, we can, and we have, and found CO2 just a regular old gas, like any other. The experimental results are put at the beginning of the paper, because that’s his point. We’ve measured the Greenhouse Effect, and it is 0.

      Any speculation as to why it is 0 beyond that is really a pointless exercise, except for the fun in proving or disproving things from first physical principles. As we know from history, even bulletproof histories fall apart in reality, because even the brightest among us miss some important details.

      I want you to consider, again, what you are claiming. You are claiming that heat is reflected. Remember heat, although it is a form of energy, does not obey the normal rules energy follows. Heat flows between bodies, and causes the thermodynamic properties to change. Heat is a one-way road. You don’t ever think of parts of heat, because you don’t need to.

      If you really want to understand why energy flow makes bodies expand or increase their pressure or change their temperature, you need to go to first principles of physics. as the paper beautifully illustrates, this is not a simply process, and using simplistic models as the author of the blog post proposes does no justice to the true complexity of temperature.

      • demo kid Says:

        It’s not a “source”…. it’s an explanation in a blog post. And you don’t happen to read the direct response by the author to Oldberg:

        You also repeat G&Ts major error. Take your example, you point out that the net interchange of energy is from the hotter to the colder (not at zero K) plate, however you, and they do not take into consideration that this is NET, energy flows from the hotter to the colder but also, a lesser amount from the colder to the hotter.

        If you removed the colder plate and let the energy flow out into space (effectively at absolute zero), the hotter plate would cool faster. The presence of the colder plate limits the rate at which the hotter one cools.

        If what you assert about the Second Law of Thermodynamics is true, there would be no point to insulate your house (as a subsequent commenter noted). As an exterior wall would be colder than the inside of your house, it couldn’t “transfer heat” inside your house and keep you warm.

        So again, you’re trying to use the Second Law to “prove” something when you don’t understand it. It applies to NET flows within an entire system, and not ALL of the heat flows within that system. You still have not provided any kind of reasoning on your end as to why one heat source would suddenly, miraculously STOP radiating in the presence of another, warmer heat source.

        Also, these authors seem quite willing to spout off about how a “real greenhouse” is nothing like the “greenhouse effect”, and therefore, the greenhouse effect is without merit. Bravo — I agree that the Earth isn’t protected by a giant glass shield, but what does it matter? Black holes aren’t “holes”, “lead” in pencils aren’t elemental lead, and “coconuts” aren’t nuts. A misnomer isn’t proof that something doesn’t exist, just that a simple metaphor created several decades ago and in common lay use sometimes does not line up with the actual scientific process.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        If you’re saying the CO2 is a better insulator than other gasses, then let’s go measure the insulation. Oops! Turns out CO2 is a slightly worse insulator. What happens when we double the CO2 in the air? Almost nothing. No Greenhouse Effect, no insulative effect, nothing. It doesn’t matter what you think is reality, when you measure reality and it says something else, you must agree with reality. And reality states that CO2 doesn’t have magical heat properties.

        The way insulation works, from a TD perspective, is that heat transfer is slowed because less heat flows per unit time.

        Insulators don’t work by reflecting heat back or any other nonsense. Heat isn’t reflected. Heat isn’t energy like that. Heat is transferred from one body to another. And the 2nd Law clearly states that it won’t flow from cold to hot without additional work.

        The rebuttal to Oldberg, by the way, is nonsense. Again, confusing energy with heat without doing the math to connect the two. In Oldberg’s case, arguing with him is like saying, “I don’t care what reality’s opinion is!” If you’re a physicist, you simply can’t say things like that and be taken seriously.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Here’s a good quote to illustrate what I am talking about when I saw the author of the blog post doesn’t meet the criteria where I have to seriously think about what he said.

      If B is isolated, it will emit thermal energy at a rate given by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. If the Clausius statement referred to any flow of heat when the two disks were placed opposite each other B would have to stop radiating towards A because if it did not, heat would be transferred between a body at lower temperature to a body at higher temperature. This is obviously absurd. The ability of either disk to radiate does not depend on the presence of another disk that absorbs the emitted radiation.

      Here, he fails to see that heat is a completely different concept than radiation. Radiation is a mechanism whereby heat transfer occurs, it is true, but heat doesn’t care about its transport method.

      If you were to look at this properly, you would say, “At first, A and B are isolated from each other, so no heat transfer occurs. When we place A near B, then heat flows from the hotter to the colder disk.” You could also so, “Objects with non-zero temperature radiate according to the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. This radiation may be lost to space, or may be absorbed by nearby disks.”

      Note that connecting radiative energy to heat transfer is very, very hard. The fact that he doesn’t even resolve how the two are connected shows he is missing the point altogether. Note, very carefully, that SOME of the energy coming from the warmer disk may actually, in isolation, cause the colder disk to get even colder, or vice-versa. You can imagine a particle moving in a certain direction, and then when the light particle collides with it, it slows down. Exactly what portion of the energy will lead to the temperature / volume / pressure increasing, and which will cause them to decrease? That is why you can’t simply say all energy is heat. The two things are very, very different.

      Either you look at the world through thermodynamics, in which case heat flows from the warmer earth to the cooler atmosphere, and you can measure the insulative effects of it, which show the Greenhouse Effect doesn’t exist. Or you go the full route where you look at atoms and particles and photons and radiation and consider the statistical nature of it all.

      When you look at heat, and look at heat transfer methods and their measured properties, then you see that there is no Greenhouse Effect and there never can be. If you go the route of thinking about photons and energy, then you’ll be lost in a mess of math that will eventually reduce down to the heat model, which already shows that there is no Greenhouse Effect.

      • demo kid Says:

        Exactly what portion of the energy will lead to the temperature / volume / pressure increasing, and which will cause them to decrease? That is why you can’t simply say all energy is heat. The two things are very, very different.

        You’re splitting hairs at a quantum level, but you’re not really making sense. Again, it’s a simple exercise that’s designed to show that NET heat transfer at a non-quantum level is in play with the Second Law, and not ALL heat transfer. Given that they’re metal disks as well, you can likely assume that the “pressure” is not a big issue. Also, since the topic is radiative heat transfer, that is the mechanism that he’s addressing. He’s pretty much stated as much because it is within a vacuum.

        This concept of NET flows versus ALL flows applies to other applications of the Second Law. Molecules that “move” from a greater to a lesser concentration of solute, for instance, aren’t all simply moving in the same direction. It’s that at any one time, there are more molecules moving randomly out of an area of greater concentration than from an area of lesser concentration. If you were to track individual molecules, you would probably see that while the NET movement is according to the Second Law, an individual molecule may wander in one direction or another in a Brownian way, and not simply because there are no molecules in one direction.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        Can you show me where you can even try and separate out heat transfer into components?

        The “splitting hairs” is an important understanding of what’s really going on. If you don’t understand that you can actually cool material by adding energy to it, you don’t really know what’s going on and why energy isn’t 1-1 with heat.

        Your example of the molecules is a great example of why you can’t break it down to individual components. If you were to do so, then you must consider everything, and the net result would be the same as predicted by thermodynamics. So while there may be reflection going on in the atomic scheme of things, in the thermodynamic picture, that is already accounted for. If you show 10 units of energy reflecting back, then that means there are 10 more units flowing forward to begin with.

        Now, why won’t anyone answer the question about the thermodynamic properties of CO2? If the Greenhouse Effect exists, then gasses like H2) and CO2 should have a much higher insulation value than comparative gasses? No one dares answer this question because they can’t, and they know it. None of the warmists have ever even attempted to explain why, when you measure CO2, the Greenhouse Effect registers as exactly 0.

        Do you care to explain to me why we can’t measure the Greenhouse Effect? Or do you want to continue to try and explain to me why the thermodynamic properties of CO2 are irrelevant in thermodynamics?

      • demo kid Says:

        The “splitting hairs” is an important understanding of what’s really going on. If you don’t understand that you can actually cool material by adding energy to it, you don’t really know what’s going on and why energy isn’t 1-1 with heat.

        No, this is getting nonsensical. We’re working with ideal situations here, where radiant energy is being exchanged between two metal disks on the basis of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, as noted above. The situation is ideal, yes, but if you are of the belief that one disk might actually *cool* as a result of one disk receiving radiant energy from another… well… I think you may need to go back to college physics.

        (Heck, we’re lucky that the Sun doesn’t just freeze us, then!)

        Likewise, “insulation” deals with slowing the process of heat transfer. In current climate change models, this is not because the heat capacity of air increases when you add 100 ppm of carbon dioxide, as you’re attempting to claim here. No one is even beginning to pretend that this is the driving force behind climate change, and you’re being dishonest by suggesting it.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        Nice try. Stefan-Boltzmann Law has NOTHING to do with how radiant energy is absorbed, only in how it is emitted.

        Let me walk you through thermodynamics, in five minutes, without any of the math, instead replacing it with handwaving and hopefully common sense.

        Yes, it is true that energy coming from one object may indeed cause the other object to cool. This is because we understand temperature to reflect the average kinetic energy of the particles within an object. If we imagine a particle of energy that strikes the other object at the right angle at the right moment in the right location, we can see how the moving particles within the other object might slow down.

        If we could build such a device that can predict the motion of individual particles in the other object, and direct energy in such a direction as to cause the particles to slow down, then we could build a sort of freezing microwave. Of course, such a device doesn’t exist, and here’s why.

        When you start talking about numbers of particles that are so large that we don’t even have words to talk about them, then you have to consider the statistical nature. Imagine a game of cards where you have almost an infinite number of cards, but certain cards are all but guaranteed to exist in proportion to other cards and in proportion to the total deck of cards. This isn’t any different than what’s happening within the objects themselves, with certain particles traveling one way or the other, some at very slow speeds, others, quickly, and still others at exceptionally high speeds. Indeed, we can use the same math to give us a good picture of what happens when you randomly strike those random objects with bits of energy traveling in different ways.

        When you place a warmer object next to a cooler object, then there is some energy exchange going back and forth at any moment in time. Some of the energy comes from the cooler object and strikes the particles in the warmer object, and vice versa. Some of that energy is reflected back, some of it causes some of the particles to slow down, and some of it causes the particles to speed up. It’s quite difficult to actually evaluate all the possible scenarios, sum up their likelihood of occurrence, and then find out what the sum total behavior is, but the end result is exactly what you know to be true: The hotter object cools slightly, and the cooler object warms up slightly.

        Now, in considered thermodynamic scenarios, we could, as some people would like to do, consider each method of energy exchange in isolation from each other. This is what the Greenhouse Effect advocates do. Of course, if you are not willing to go through the entire mathematical exercise I described above to consider the net effect of everything working at the same time, it’s quite a pointless exercise because it will tell you nothing about how the temperatures will change.

        If you do want to understand how temperature is going to change, then you need to stick with the thermodynamic model of things. That means you don’t consider radiation, evaporation, or any other heat exchange technique in isolation. You simply set up an appropriate experiment and measure the heat exchange from hot to cold. As this simple experiment is done in real life, all the weird effects and theories are meaningless. You simply measure what the material does, and write it down, and that’s your number.

        As it turns out, CO2 actually conducts heat slightly better than other gasses, probably due to its heavier mass or maybe because it has three axes around which it can spin, and also 2 springs which can vibrate, rather than other diatomic gasses which only have 2 axes and 1 spring. Regardless, the effect is so slight, and CO2 is such a trace gas in our atmosphere, that doubling the CO2 has almost no effect on the insulative properties of air.

        With the Greenhouse Effect registering as 0 in experiments, it’s not even an effect, let alone sound theory. After all, theories which contradict observed reality are just really nice ideas, but not scientific.

      • demo kid Says:

        Nice try. Stefan-Boltzmann Law has NOTHING to do with how radiant energy is absorbed, only in how it is emitted.

        Assume that it is a black-body, with no reflection and a constant specific heat. You’re making an idealized example into one that is unnecessarily complex.

        Let me walk you through thermodynamics, in five minutes, without any of the math, instead replacing it with handwaving and hopefully common sense.

        Don’t see the common sense here.

        Yes, it is true that energy coming from one object may indeed cause the other object to cool. This is because we understand temperature to reflect the average kinetic energy of the particles within an object. If we imagine a particle of energy that strikes the other object at the right angle at the right moment in the right location, we can see how the moving particles within the other object might slow down.

        You’re looking at particles individually, and not in bulk. Still, if you’re convinced of this, try to eat an ice cream cone under a heat lamp, and we’ll see how well it cools your dessert.

        Now, you’ve pretty much derailed your ENTIRE argument from before with this:

        When you place a warmer object next to a cooler object, then there is some energy exchange going back and forth at any moment in time. Some of the energy comes from the cooler object and strikes the particles in the warmer object, and vice versa.

        What you’ve described is, as you’ve stated CONTINUOUSLY, is a “violation of the second law of thermodynamics”. Now, when you say:

        Now, in considered thermodynamic scenarios, we could, as some people would like to do, consider each method of energy exchange in isolation from each other. This is what the Greenhouse Effect advocates do. Of course, if you are not willing to go through the entire mathematical exercise I described above to consider the net effect of everything working at the same time, it’s quite a pointless exercise because it will tell you nothing about how the temperatures will change.

        You’re completely lying about what everyone is saying. NO ONE in climate science would ever claim that on a NET basis, heat is moving from a cold to a warm body through radiant means. In all the descriptions you poo-pooed, they’ve stated this quite explicitly.

        As it turns out, CO2 actually conducts heat slightly better than other gasses, probably due to its heavier mass or maybe because it has three axes around which it can spin, and also 2 springs which can vibrate, rather than other diatomic gasses which only have 2 axes and 1 spring. Regardless, the effect is so slight, and CO2 is such a trace gas in our atmosphere, that doubling the CO2 has almost no effect on the insulative properties of air.

        Again, this betrays the fact that you don’t understand anything about what is going on here. The processes that have been endlessly described to you DO NOT involve conduction of heat alone. Air is a horrible conductor, and many discussions in climatology consider that cold or warm air will rise and fall in “packets” in relation to their density (based on their temperature). Conduction is an effect that must be considered, of course, but it is not as dominant in these discussions as radiation.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        You haven’t addressed any of my arguments.

        First, you have poo-pooed the actual measurements of real CO2 gas, and you can’t explain why that measurement isn’t important without resorting to “needless complexity” that you think is unnecessary. Outside of bold assertions, I can’t detect a reasonable argument.

        Your contradictory nitpicking on my explanation of thermodynamics shows that you have nothing to add to it. I walked through, bit by bit, and demonstrated why ice cream would melt in a heating lamp. I worked from a model of individual particles, so-called first principles, all the way up to the macroscopic effects we see every day.

        The fact that you can’t distinguish energy from heat is not my problem. Trying to apply your inability to distinguish the two to my arguments doesn’t disprove my arguments, only the limited nature of your vocabulary. It does, however, expose your confusion due to your limited vocabulary.

        Again, if you are looking at it from a thermodynamic perspective, there is only heat flow from the warm earth to the cooler air, and the measured properties of the air-ground interface govern that. There is no heat reflection, the nature of the heat flow is irrelevant, whether it’s conduction or convection or radiation or whatever. Those details are unnecessary complexity, things that the measurements have already accounted for.

        If you are looking at it from a radiative perspective, then you cannot say that radiative energy equals heat. It does not, because I can demonstrate to you that a small unit of radiation can actually cause a small unit of matter to cool. You must resort back to the math that will eventually derive into the thermodynamic perspective.

        If you are looking at it from the atomic perspective, then you cannot say that all emitted photons lead to a warming of the earth, or in other words are heat. For the same arguments I would use for the previous example, I can show you that some of the photons will cool the earth. Again, if you want to take everything together, you will work back to the thermodynamic perspective.

        As the paper I cited clearly demonstrates, the Greenhouse Effect is bogus, and the math that is supposed to support it, when done properly, destroys it.

        Until you can show me some experiment that actually measures the thermodynamic (not radiative: Thermodynamic) properties of CO2 as a profoundly superior insulator than other non-greenhouse gasses, then you can’t even begin to build theory connecting human “pollution” of CO2 in the atmosphere to a global change in temperature, weather, weather patterns, or climate, at least not with the Greenhouse Effect as the central tenet. Citations of Tyndall’s work don’t cut it. He isolated the CO2 so that other heat transfer methods, which he knew to be far greater than the radiative, would be eliminated, so he could measure the radiative properties of CO2 in isolation.

  2. tensor Says:

    Insulators don’t work by reflecting heat back or any other nonsense. Heat isn’t reflected.

    You really just don’t know anything about radiative heat transfer, do you? Here’s an article on an energy-efficient factory in Texas:

    So Westbrook and his team looked at every area where they could cut sources of heat. The largest, in a sense, was the roof. The building covers 220,000 square feet, or five acres. And the relentless Texas sun irradiates that area with an average of nearly 100 megawatt-hours of energy a day. To combat that, the TI team designed a roof covered with an enormous white plastic sheet. The membrane reflects away about 85 percent of the incoming radiation, which could make for more than a 20° difference on a hot summer’s day. “We cut over 100 tons of cooling just from our roof reflectivity,” Westbrook said.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Perhaps you need to go lecture my fellow mechanical engineers on how they don’t understand heat transfer or thermodynamics? After all, the poor dears probably think their factory’s cooling bill is lower because of the heat reflected away from the roof! You might want to inform them that “[h]eat isn’t reflected.” (I’m sure they’ll thank you for explaining that to them.)

    Heat is transferred from one body to another. And the 2nd Law clearly states that it won’t flow from cold to hot without additional work.

    It states that the entropy of a closed system will tend to a maximum over time. Since the earth’s atmosphere is very much open to solar radiation input, and to radiating heat away to space, it’s not a closed system. You’ve made an invalid assumption, and are thus applying the Second Law inappropriately.

    When a molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere radiates heat it has absorbed from the earth (or from the sun, or that it had with it when it was formed in the combustion chamber of a jet engine in flight), that heat may escape into space, or it may strike the earth and be absorbed; in the latter case, there has been a retention of heat within the earth’s biosphere that would not have happened without that molecule’s presence. The temperature of that molecule, and the temperature of the earth’s surface, have nothing to do with whether heat radiated from the molecule strikes the earth or not.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m glad that the article you cited is careful to use the right terms.

      The radiation is reflected, which I don’t argue with. Note that 85% of the radiation is reflected, but we don’t see the temperature drop 85% (on the Kelvin scale). That’s because all that happened was the insulative effects of the building-outside was changed. You can now measure how much heat transfer there is from the sun to the building, and from the outside to the inside. Radiation is one of the mechanisms by which heat transfer occurs, but it is not heat transfer until you look at the larger thermodynamic picture.

      You have, once again, equated heat with radiation. Note that the article does not say HEAT was reflected. Heat and radiation are two different things.

      The closed system we are considering, when I talk about the 2nd law and the Greenhouse Effect, is the sun-earth-atmosphere-space system. Or are you thinking that I missed something and energy is being added or removed from that closed system?

      You cannot talk about thermodynamics and heat with such small things as a CO2 atom. It doesn’t make any sense. Temperature, pressure, and volume are all statistical results of the individual motions of the atoms. If you want to connect radiation to heat, you have to walk all the way from individual particles and radiation’s effect on them, and then work the statistics all the way up to pressure, volume, and temperature. You will see that not every ray of energy will increase the temperature of the system it interacts with. Radiation does not mean heat transfer.

      If you are considering the atmosphere without CO2 and an atmosphere with CO2, are you increasing the mass of the atmosphere, or are you simply replacing one type of molecule (N2 gas, for instance) with CO2? If you increased the mass of the atmosphere, or the number of particles, then you would see a TD effect, although you can’t blame that on the Greenhouse Effect.

      The Greenhouse Effect, stated simply and in logical terms, is that CO2 gas is more insulative than other gasses because it has a unique radiation profile. Again, we can measure this with simple experiments, and it is simply not the case that CO2 is much different from other gasses. Certainly it is not true that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will have any noticeable effect at all.

      • demo kid Says:

        Note that 85% of the radiation is reflected, but we don’t see the temperature drop 85% (on the Kelvin scale).

        Because the neighbourhood isn’t at absolute zero, and the relationship between energy inputs and heat also involves the re-radiation of heat away from an object.

        The Greenhouse Effect, stated simply and in logical terms, is that CO2 gas is more insulative than other gasses because it has a unique radiation profile.

        It absorbs and re-emits infrared energy. It is a proven fact. You’ve tried to distort this issue, and you seem to be confusing and/or conflating a number of different factors here because you’re pursuing a political/religious goal, and not a scientific one.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        It’s also a proven fact that the measured Greenhouse Effect of CO2 gas is 0.

        I’m not the one distorting the issue. If anything, it’s the Greenhouse Gas people that can’t even distinguish between radiation and heat.

  3. tensor Says:

    Note that 85% of the radiation is reflected, but we don’t see the temperature drop 85% (on the Kelvin scale). That’s because all that happened was the insulative effects of the building-outside was changed.

    Correct. The roof reflects heat.

    You have, once again, equated heat with radiation. Note that the article does not say HEAT was reflected. Heat and radiation are two different things.

    You’re making a verbal distinction where no real difference exists. Heat is transferred via radiation. That’s why the reflective roof prevents solar heat from transferring into the factory.

    You cannot talk about thermodynamics and heat with such small things as a CO2 atom.

    CO2 is a molecule of three atoms. And one can certainly talk about the heat energy of a single molecule.

    Temperature, pressure, and volume are all statistical results of the individual motions of the atoms.

    There are bulk definitions of temperature and pressure, yes. But we can also speak of the temperature of a single molecule (or atom, or particle) if we’re talking about the radiative heat transfer, because radiation is NOT a bulk phenomenon.

    If you want to connect radiation to heat, you have to walk all the way from individual particles and radiation’s effect on them, and then work the statistics all the way up to pressure, volume, and temperature.

    Wrong. A single particle can have a temperature, because it may radiate or absorb heat. You really need to learn the differences between conduction, convection, and radiation.

    Radiation does not mean heat transfer.

    Radiation is a form of heat transfer. Stand in the sunlight on a warm day.

    The Greenhouse Effect, stated simply and in logical terms, is that CO2 gas is more insulative than other gasses because it has a unique radiation profile. Again, we can measure this with simple experiments, and it is simply not the case that CO2 is much different from other gasses.

    Again and again and again, you deny Tyndall’s work, work which you have admitted you cannot even find, let alone understand. And you have yet to cite the values of radiative absorption for carbon dioxide, water vapor, O2, and N2. If you do, you’ll see — as did Tyndall — that the former two have much higher values than the latter two, at least in the infra-red range. (And, if you want to see the “radiation profile” of CO2, you can follow the very first link I provided in this comment thread; NASA provides a diagram.)

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Correct. The roof reflects heat.

      Please show me any instance in any thermodynamic textbook or any scientific paper on thermodynamics where someone states, “reflects heat”. I’d like to see this, because heat does not work that way.

      Radiation may be reflected, but it is not heat.

      Again and again, you make the mistake of assuming that radiation and heat are the same thing. They are not. Radiation is not heat anymore than the transfer of energy through kinetic interactions is heat. Just because some energy transfers from one body to another does not mean that that energy transfer will necessarily contribute to a rise in entropy, volume, pressure, or temperature. In fact, it is possible to cool objects with specific applications of energy.

      I think it’s useful here to point out Maxwell’s Demon. Maxwell demonstrated, clearly, that transferring energy from one body to another could lead to a reduction in temperature in the target body. The only reason why it doesn’t work in real life is because of the fact that we’re dealing with almost innumerable particles and it would be all but impossible to consistently target the energy in such a manner. However, that does not erase the fact that some of the transferred energy ends up cooling the target.

      I do not deny Tyndall’s work except where he made mistakes. Please don’t make things up. Note that the paper cites Tyndall’s works. In other words, the refutation of the Greenhouse Effect is possible thanks to the work that Tyndall did.

      Will you not admit that when we measure the thermal properties of CO2 that there is no measurable Greenhouse Effect? Or will you show me the experiment that measured the properties of CO2 and showed the Greenhouse Effect? Note that you have to take into consideration all the heat transfer methods, or in other words, what happens when ground and air interact, which is what we have in nature. If you rely on isolating a particular heat transfer method to the exclusion of all others, you are not measuring the thermal properties of the ground-air interaction.

  4. tensor Says:

    Radiation may be reflected, but it is not heat.

    You’re merely playing games with words. (Do you really feel the warmth of the sunlight on your face and think, “The sun is not hot.”?)

    The article described how the engineers reduced the amount of heat entering the building by reflecting incoming radiation away from the building. This reduced the cooling cost of operating the building. In what practical sense, then, is “radiation” not “heat”? (Or are you going to give them a condescending lecture about how they just don’t understand capitalism as well as you do, and therefore they only foolishly believe the building costs less to operate?)

    Your denial of climate science depended, in part, on your contrafactual claim that “heat is not reflected.” When engineers (not the honest scientists you smear and slander) devised a practical way of reducing heat by reflecting radiation, you simply declared that one is not the other. Keep denying science all you like; the rest of us will keep using science to improve our lives.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Distinguishing radiation from heat is critical. It is more than semantics.

      I am not denying that radiation is one of the heat transfer methods, and that building an object so that it reflects radiation rather than absorb it will increase its insulation (provided that there is a significant amount of heat transfer through radiation to begin with.) What I am denying is that there is a 1 to 1 relationship of heat to radiation, or vice versa. The two are not the same thing.

      My denial depends upon an accurate understanding of thermodynamics. When you consider how much heat is transferred, you have to consider all heat transfer methods. When we measure the amount of heat that is transferred due to radiation, it is not a factor at all, and the physical properties of the earth-atmosphere boundary in the thermodynamic sense does not change significantly when you double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, nor does the sun-earth-atmosphere system show any sudden increase in the temperature of the earth if you should double CO2 in the atmosphere. I’m also denying that the Greenhouse Effect is even documented as a legitimate effect because it is not measured not is it even reasonable given current theories and understanding.

  5. tensor Says:

    What I am denying is that there is a 1 to 1 relationship of heat to radiation, or vice versa. The two are not the same thing.

    So, how were the engineers able to reduce the cooling costs on their building by reflecting solar radiation away from it? If the relationship between heat and radiation is not 1:1, then what is it? What is the relation, and what is your justification for another ratio?

    When we measure the amount of heat that is transferred due to radiation, it is not a factor at all…

    Then how does the earth transfer heat to space?

    …and the physical properties of the earth-atmosphere boundary in the thermodynamic sense does not change significantly when you double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere…

    Table 7 covers only the conductive properties of the atmosphere. It says nothing about the radiative properties. As no solid material connects the earth to the sun, moon, or stars, why should the conductive properties of the atmosphere matter?

    …nor does the sun-earth-atmosphere system show any sudden increase in the temperature of the earth if you should double CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Tyndall’s work says otherwise. He found the radiative properties of carbon dioxide and water vapor caused an increase in the temperature of the surface of the earth. Since combustion of fossil fuels increases the amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should expect a rise in the temperature of the earth. That is what the data shows.

    I’m also denying that the Greenhouse Effect is even documented as a legitimate effect because it is not measured not is it even reasonable given current theories and understanding.

    “Current” means “not within the last 150 years,” apparently.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I feel like I am running in circles with you. Very well, let’s start yet another lap.

      If the relationship between heat and radiation is not 1:1, then what is it? What is the relation, and what is your justification for another ratio?

      You don’t have to think very hard to determine the relationship. All you have to do is pull out a thermometer and measure the temperature to calculate the properties adding a shiny piece of metal has on a building.

      Since you freely admit that you do not know how to connect radiation to temperature, I call my point proven. If it isn’t trivial to show that reflecting a certain percentage of sunlight will increase the insulation of the building by a specific amount, why do you claim to know that the radiative properties of CO2 will have a similar effect on the earth? Please, show me the math, or show me a paper describing the math without any errors, and I will show you how that the same equations show that the Greenhouse Effect is 0. (Please read the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner and follow the math all the way to the end. Show me where they made a mistake.)

      Then how does the earth transfer heat to space?

      Why are you so interested in *how* the heat transfer is done? We can measure it. We know it occurs at a specific rate, and we can calculate the insulative effects of the atmosphere.

      To answer your question, OF COURSE, there is radiation going on, and OF COURSE there are other heat transfer methods (such as mass transfer, which I don’t think you have accepted yet because you insist on a narrow view of TD that is incorrect.)

      Table 7 covers only the conductive properties of the atmosphere. It says nothing about the radiative properties. As no solid material connects the earth to the sun, moon, or stars, why should the conductive properties of the atmosphere matter?

      I am going to treat this as an honest question, because you posed it as such. I hope you pay attention to my answer.

      When you are doing TD, you do not think about HOW the heat transfer occurs. It is irrelevant. You only know THAT it occurs, and your only question can be “How quickly?”

      The conductive properties of material tell you, exactly, HOW QUICKLY the heat transfer occurs. If the conductive properties of the atmosphere change when you double the CO2 in the atmosphere, then there would be a Greenhouse Effect, because CO2 is not that special of a gas. The very fact that the conductive properties of CO2 does not differ significantly from other gasses, and that doubling the TRACE gas CO2 in the atmosphere has ALMOST NO EFFECT AT ALL means that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would have no effect on the insulation of the atmosphere and thus the surface temperature. We absolutely WILL NOT see the temperature change in any measurable amount, and certainly not the 1 degree that people like to invent.

      What he did is basic Thermodynamics. The properties of the atmosphere included every possible heat transfer method, including radiation. The fact that the CO2 molecules wiggle in a certain way or react to certain frequencies of light are already taken into account, including every other possible method of heat transfer.

      What Greenhouse Effect advocates MUST do is either show why you can’t use basic TD, or that CO2 has significantly different properties than we already know it has. That is a very, very steep mountain to climb. Good luck overturning centuries of precise physics!

      Tyndall’s work says otherwise. He found the radiative properties of carbon dioxide and water vapor caused an increase in the temperature of the surface of the earth. Since combustion of fossil fuels increases the amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should expect a rise in the temperature of the earth. That is what the data shows.

      I would LOVE to see Tyndall’s work. Please point me to where I can see what you are talking about.

      As far as I know, Tyndall only showed that CO2 absorbs certain frequencies of light. That is interesting, but irrelevant. He did not show that CO2 has different thermal properties. (For an explanation on why absorbing radiation does not equate to heat, see above.)

      Arrhenius proposed something akin to the Greenhouse Effect, but he was roundly refuted by contemporary scientists. He even attempted to use an inversion of the burden of proof (bold from the paper):

      The opinion that a decrease of carbonic acid in the air can ex-
      plain ice-age temperatures is not proved wrong until it is shown, that
      the total disappearance of carbonic acid from the atmosphere would
      not be sufficient to cause a lowering of temperatures about four to five
      degrees.

      In other words, “Rather than show you how reducing CO2 in the atmosphere would lead to cooling, I’m going to assume it’s true because no one has shown me it won’t.”

      “Current” means “not within the last 150 years,” apparently.

      Solid science doesn’t just disappear because it gets old. TD is just as valid today as it was 150 years ago.

  6. tensor Says:

    Since you freely admit that you do not know how to connect radiation to temperature, I call my point proven.

    I did not admit any such thing, and I defy you to show where I did. Either prove your accusation, or retract it, along with your fake proof.

    I asked you to justify your entirely groundless claim: What I am denying is that there is a 1 to 1 relationship of heat to radiation, or vice versa. The two are not the same thing. You haven’t answered, and your taking of your non-answer as proof of your point (!) even outdoes most of your previous work here, where you simply assume the truth of what you, in fact, need to prove.

    The paper describes how the building’s designers used reflective material to reduce the amount of heat entering their building. Because this simple, obvious method contradicts your claim that heat is not reflected, and the engineers have in fact measured how much heat was reflected — it was exactly the same amount of cooling they saved — you created a fictional difference between “heat” ad “radiation” without even defining it, let alone showing it exists.

    If it isn’t trivial to show that reflecting a certain percentage of sunlight will increase the insulation of the building by a specific amount, why do you claim to know that the radiative properties of CO2 will have a similar effect on the earth?

    Your assumption is wrong. It is relatively easy to compute the heat reflected by the building, and the extra cooling which does not need to be done agrees with this measurement. How you could completely misread the paper, and yet still consider your understanding of thermodynamics to be superior to anyone’s, just boggles my mind.

    Please read the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner and follow the math all the way to the end. Show me where they made a mistake.

    I already told you: they did not account for the heat transferred from the warmer earth to the colder atmosphere. That missing heat is the reason they wrongly claim the transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the earth requires a heat pump. (And, in a classic “straw man” fallacy, they misattribute their mistake to Tyndall. It’s their admission that he was right; they seem to know they can’t argue with what he actually wrote.) They — and you — give absolutely no reason why two entities at different temperatures would not transfer heat from warm to cold. Their argument depends on this mistake, and so fails.

    When you are doing TD, you do not think about HOW the heat transfer occurs.

    What a silly statement. Of course the heat transfer method matters. The earth cannot conduct heat to the moon, because no solid matter connects them. It cannot convect heat to planets of other star systems, because there is no way for matter to travel from the earth to such places. Only radiation allows for these transfers of heat.

    … such as mass transfer, which I don’t think you have accepted yet because you insist on a narrow view of TD that is incorrect.

    That’s a form of convection, the physical carriage of heat by matter in motion. (For someone who does not understand basic physics, you certainly like to lecture other persons on our supposed ignorance of thermodynamics.)

    The conductive properties of material tell you, exactly, HOW QUICKLY the heat transfer occurs.

    But only via conduction, not by radiation. And the Greenhouse effect works via radiation, not conduction.

    The properties of the atmosphere included every possible heat transfer method, including radiation.

    Wrong. The table lists only conductive properties, not radiative properties. You keep making the same mistake, over and over. You cannot determine anything about the radiative properties of the atmosphere by looking at the conductive properties alone. The properties in that table apply to dry, still air. How much of the earth’s climate consists of dry, still air? Not very much, as anyone living in the wet Puget Sound basin, under the Jet Stream, should know.

    What Greenhouse Effect advocates MUST do is either show why you can’t use basic TD, or that CO2 has significantly different properties than we already know it has.

    You have yet to cite even one correct fact about the radiative properties of atmospheric gasses. Stop blaming others for your failures. (As for who “can’t use basic TD”, that would be persons whose “explanation” of climate doesn’t include heat transfers from the warmer earth to the colder atmosphere.)

    I would LOVE to see Tyndall’s work. Please point me to where I can see what you are talking about.

    (You don’t know anything about his work, yet somehow you know it is irrelevant or wrong. Care to pick one claim and stick with it?)

    Here, again, is the link to John Tyndall’s work on atmospheric physics; it’s the same one I used in another thread here. I don’t know why you didn’t read it then, but here’s another chance. Pay particular attention to this description, which immediately precedes the graph showing the radiative properties of various atmospheric gasses:

    Tyndall’s experiments also showed that molecules of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone are the best absorbers of heat radiation, and that even in small quantities, these gases absorb much more strongly than the atmosphere itself. He concluded that among the constituents of the atmosphere, water vapor is the strongest absorber of radiant heat and is therefore the most important gas controlling Earth’s surface temperature. He said, without water vapor, the Earth’s surface would be “held fast in the iron grip of frost.” He later speculated on how fluctuations in water vapor and carbon dioxide could be related to climate change.

    That is the simple, elegant, and (to you) Inconvenient Truth, which all of your endless gaming with words seeks to obfuscate.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      By all means, connect reflection / absorption / emission and other radiative properties with heat transfer. I would love to see you try. When you make the connection, you will see that it is largely irrelevant.

      What I have shown, and what you must show me is wrong, is that using basic thermodynamic principles, that is, measuring the heat conduction (ie, insulation) of CO2 and other gasses, we do not see the supposed Greenhouse Effect. Now it is up to you to either explain why our measurements were wrong, why we can’t use simple thermodynamics (which works regardless of the heat transfer method), or why G&T didn’t apply the basic TD principles correctly. Note that when calculating the insulation (ie, heat conduction) of the building when a reflective layer of metal is applied to the outside is done not by theorizing on how reflective the material is or what spectrum is reflected and which is absorbed, but by a simple measurements of the rate of heat transfers of the building with and without.

      I’m practically handing to you the tools you need to prove the Greenhouse Effect and disprove the work that G&T did. And yet you do not attempt to do so, but persist in dealing with physics and math beyond your understanding.

      Once again, you have misunderstood a basic principle of TD, which suggest either you claim credentials you do not have, or you have forgotten some of the most basic principles. When you put two objects in heat contact (you don’t need physical contact for heat transfer to occur), you can measure how quickly heat transfer occurs, without thinking about what specific heat transfer methods are used and to what degree. Measuring how quickly the heat transfer occurs gives you the thermal conductivity, which is simply a number that will tell you how quickly heat transfer occurs in that particular arrangement. Some combinations of materials conduct heat well, others do quite poorly (again, no contact is necessary!). When measuring the thermal conductivity from the ground to the air, we find that changing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has such a small effect it is not measurable or noticeable, except in highly precise and controlled conditions.

      Once again, I dare you to show me why the measured thermal conductivity of CO2 is incorrect. If CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas, and if the Greenhouse Effect is real, we should see thermal conductivity drop because, as the Greenhouse Effect says, “heat is reflected back to the earth”. We do not see this. In fact, we see the thermal conductivity increase, meaning if anything, CO2 helps conduct heat away from the earth. This shows that looking at the radiative properties of a substance and deducing its thermal properties is fraught with error. The two do not relate in the way people who believe in the Greenhouse Effect think it relates. Again, show me the equations that relate reflection / absorption etc with heat transfer, and you’ll see how it doesn’t matter.

      Your link to Tyndall’s work is a wonderfully short biography of the man. While it is interesting that he was a great scientific orator, I find little in the way of scientific statements. The leap from CO2 being a good absorber to being a poor heat conductor (and thus a good insulator) is not one to be made lightly. Unfortunately, the only reference seems to be a 200 page book. Can you do me a favor and just post for me how Tyndall showed that a gas’s radiative properties connect with its heat properties? Or show me where I can find his scientific statements and reasoning? Otherwise, there is only a conclusion without any clear reasoning behind it.

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