Hey, IPCC, quit misusing the term “risk”

March 31st, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The latest report of Working Group II of the IPCC, entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, was approved yesterday. In it, the concept of the “risks” posed by human-induced climate change figures prominently.

Now, I can understand using terms like “possibilities” when it comes to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). It’s theoretically possible that the average warming of the last 50+ years was mostly human-caused, and it’s possible that the slight sea level rise over this time was more human-caused than natural (sea level was rising naturally anyway). But we really don’t know.

And the idea that severe weather, snowstorms, droughts, or floods have gotten worse due to the atmosphere now having 4 parts per 10,000 CO2, rather than 3 parts per 10,000, is even more sketchy. Mostly because there is little or no objective evidence that these events have experienced any long-term increase that is commensurate with warming. (It’s possible they are worse with globally cool conditions…we really don’t know).

But the main point of my article is that the IPCC has bastardized the use of the term “risk”. Talking “possibilities” is one thing, because just about anything is possible in science. But “risk” refers to the known tendency of bad things to happen as a result of some causal mechanism.

Walking across the street raises your risk of being hit by a car. We know this, because it has happened many thousands of times.

Cigarette smoking raises your risk of lung cancer. We know this because it has happened millions of times (and is consistent with other medical evidence that human tissue exposed to repeated injury, anywhere in your body, can result in the formation of cancerous tissue).

But when it comes to climate change, there is no demonstrated causal connection between (A) an extra 1 CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air, and (B) any resulting observed change in weather or climate.

There are theories of how the former might impact the latter. But that’s all.

You cannot use the term “risk” to describe these theoretical possibilities.

The fact that the IPCC has chosen to do so further demonstrates it is an organization that was political in its intended purpose, with the ultimate mission of regulating CO2 emissions, and operates within an echo chamber of like-minded individuals who are chosen based upon their political support of the IPCC’s goals.

Now, you might ask, “Dr. Roy, are you telling me there are NO known risks to adding more CO2 to the atmosphere?”

Well, I can only think of one. There are abundant controlled scientific studies which suggest that more CO2 will cause most vegetation to grow better, with more drought tolerance and more efficient use of water.

If you want to call that a “risk”, fine. But it doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to me, especially given the life-enhancing benefits of access to abundant, low cost forms of energy.

90 Responses to “Hey, IPCC, quit misusing the term “risk””

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. James says:

    Simple fact is that there has been no appreciable warming in the last 17 years, the predictive computer models the IPCC relies upon are so far off from the actuals it is ridiculous to use them, and the doom and gloom predictions from just 10 years ago haven’t happened. Therefore, the IPCC is doubling down on the doom and gloom rhetoric. Why? Simple, because the UN wants the power to control the masses using climate alarmism as the mechanism. It’s also about redistribution of wealth too. Not one person can adequately explain how taxing the wealthier nations somehow benefits the climate. It doesn’t. Last time I saw, taxes never solved anything just enriched the powerful politicians and promotes their agenda for a one world government. I will also point out to the alarmists that since you are breathing out CO2 you therefore are polluting the planet so stop breathing.

  2. Mike Haseler says:

    Please – there is a huge massive and palpably present risk clearly caused by rising CO2 – and that is the risk of people using the risk to spread alarm and panic about CO2 for their own profit.

  3. libertas says:

    Hey, Roy, quit misusing the term “theory.”

    There are three types of scientific statements:


    A hypothesis gives a plausible explanation for an observed phenomenon. Predictions for additional observations can be derived from the explanation and used to test the validity of the explanation.

    A law is a description of an observed phenomenon, that provides reliable predictions but does not offer an explanation. An example would be Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.

    A scientific theory is a hypothesis that has been repeatedly and widely tested to the point where it is generally accepted as being correct. Of course, any theory can be falsified at any time.

    • yeah, point taken. Sometimes I make the same point myself.

      • John Garrett says:

        When the putative evidence advance to support CAGW is as weak, ambiguous and equivocal as it is, I prefer the term “conjecture.”

        • Truthseeker says:

          I am not an engineer, but I like to use their terminology in this area.

          If you cannot use it to build something that works in the real world, it is speculation.

    • Gustav Meglicki says:

      “A scientific theory is a hypothesis that has been repeatedly and widely tested to the point where it is generally accepted as being correct.”

      Er…. no. But I’m going to “respectfully differ” from what Wikipedia has to say on this in the following.

      To me, a theory is a large body of theoretical work addressing some natural phenomenon, but it can be a purely mathematical construct too, e.g., the Galois theory of groups. It does not have to be confirmed in any way, or even true. For example, we had the Salam-Glashow-Weinberg theory of electro-weak interactions, for years, before it was confirmed, its last remaining bit becoming confirmed last year only with the discovery of the Higgs Boson. But all these years, even before its first confirmation, the experimental discovery of charm, it was a theory.

      We also have Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which although confirmed by every observation carried out so far, may turn out to not be true in the end, as it does not lead to working “quantization.” And then, it may very well survive every empirical test that’s thrown at it. There was also Einstein-Cartan theory of gravity that added spin and torsion to Einstein’s equation. It does not appear to be true, so far, but it’s a theory.

      CAGW is a theory too, as is AGW. From most of what we’ve seen so far CAGW appears to be false, but it’s difficult to advance a truly convincing argument in this matter as the system that’s being described is excessively complex and difficult to observe. We’re really talking about something like satellite observations of the whole globe, including all possible atmospheric and oceanic parameters, plus the biosphere, for at least a century or more to produce a convincing proof one way or another. Numerical models prove little, if anything.

      Now, what is a hypothesis? To me, a hypothesis is a small statement upon which a part of theory may be based. For example, a hypothesis that a free falling observer has no means of detecting gravitational field he’s falling in and that all physics appears to him “inertial” is a hypothesis upon which the General Theory of Relativity is built. The theory has many other bits and pieces. There’s pseudo-Riemannian geometry there, curvature, geodesics, Einstein field equations, black hole and more. A hypothesis is a statement that you can capture in “let us assume that… “

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      There is a difference with many words in how they are defined scientifically and how they are used in every day language. It comes down to the meaning conveyed.

      If I tell you the Sun is setting. that’s not even a hypothesis, it’s just plain wrong. We now know that the apparent setting Sun is an illusion produced by the rotating platform on which we reside. Yet scientists and non-scientists alike use the terms sunrise and sunset as if they are true.

      Same thing with a theory. We get the point that when it is used it is suggesting we don’t know for sure. You seems to be taking issue with the degree if uncertainty.

  4. The IPCC is ridiculous and has not a leg to stand on in giving their latest climate risk forecast going forward.

    If I heard correct they said they expect average global temperatures to be 6 to 7 F higher by the end of this century. This is a laugh especially when one looks at the recent temperature trends and the possibility of very quiet solar conditions going forward.

    I maintain the climate models will never get the climate correct due to the following:
    Incomplete data.
    Inaccurate data.
    Inaccurate and incomplete beginning of the state of the climate data.

    Also if one looks at all the climate models predictions and projections the models all show a slow gradual change in the climate which is NOT how the climate works. When the climate changes it goes in jerks after being more or less steady for some x period of time.

    I don’t recall ever seeing the climate ease into a new climate regime in the past, as the models are suggesting the climate will do during the course of this century. Then again the models are clueless when trying to portray earth’s climate system.

    When the climate changes try a decade or two.

    • Streetcred says:

      The IPCC is standing on prosthetic legs … get it ? 😉

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Salvatore del Prete “I maintain the climate models will never get the climate correct due to the following…”

      They have far more fundamental problems than data. They have programmed a positive feedback into model programs that does not exist. Furthermore, they have not justified the use of CO2 as a forcing agent. To hear NASA GISS climate modeler Gavin Schmidt talk about anthropogenic CO2, he arbitrarily gives it an atmospheric warming effect ranging from 9 to 20 something percent.

      There is no way that a gas as rare as ACO2 in our atmosphere could possibly have that much of an effect on warming. Richard Lindzen has claimed a fraction of a degree, if that. He claimed that as an upper bounds.

  5. Phyte On says:

    The sky is falling! We are doomed.

  6. Johan says:

    Risk is where you know all possible outcomes and the probability associated with their occurrence. As for uncertainty, you don’t even have a clue of what might happen, let alone that you could know what the probability is of “that something” happening …

  7. Ossqss says:

    The biggest risk I see is a handful of unelected ideologues driving energy policy through unverified theory. The poor are at greatest risk of cheap energy deprivation. Let alone the 1.3 billion folks who don’t even have access to electricity. This particular risk needs to be completely mitigated.

    • GeneH says:

      The biggest risk is not the unelected ideologues, but the elected ones, who use the conclusions of AGW “science” for their political ends — as Obama is doing now. Now that’s dangerous.

    • Sirfire says:

      I have seen with my own eyes what massive pollution looks like in poorer countries, in fact in a cloudless day with the SUN high in the sky it is nothing more than a blur due to thick smog.

      I also work for an Indian Based company in Australia and we have many temporary workers coming in to work for 6 months stints. Out 8 out 10 have coughs or asthma and it cannot be just coincidence. You may think pollution or selling coal to developing countries is just making money but it is also destroying people’s health. I know you do not see it so why should we care. I cannot fight this train of thought, but I know I can sleep at night with a clear conscience without the need for greed.

  8. David Vanegas says:

    Be wary of the man sitting in an ivory tower who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk ….. His position is one of manipulation.

    I fear too many sheep have signed up to the green religion for it to collapse now. One day, in the future when countless £$€billions have been spent and countless lives were never given the opportunity of prosperity and long life, our grandchildren will look at the data and wonder how on earth they got it so badly wrong. And how we let them get away with it.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Roy.

  9. Paul in BarneyFrankistan says:

    As much as it pains me to defend anything about the IPCC, they appear to be using (or misusing) standard risk management terminology. A risk has two components: probability and impact. The risk associated with a possible adverse event is determined by plotting the severity of impact vs. probability of occurrence on a two dimensional grid, with regions on the grid assigned to defined levels of risk. An event with a possibly catastrophic impact can still be assessed as “low risk” if the associated probability is low enough.

    Of course, this process depends on clear, agreed-to definitions of probability and impact, as well as an well understood definitions of the risk regions on the Probability/Impact Diagram (PID).

    In this case, if there’s is no verifiable link between CO2 pp and the event, the probability is zero and the associated risk is considered to be nil, or “not credible”.

    Bottom line: yes, you CAN use the term risk when discussing “theoretical possibilities” (i.e. potential adverse events) – that’s pretty much the definition of Risk Management. Proper use of RM, however, dictates that a risk with zero probability of occurrence is not credible and should be excluded from mitigation planning.

    • Alick says:

      To manmade CO2 global warming enthusiasts, the “severity of impact” is so high, it allows them to ignore the “probability of occurance”.

      This means that even if their theory of how the greenhouse effect works is incorrect, taxing CO2 emissions is still the correct course of action.

      • Sirfire says:

        I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.

    • Dan M says:

      The problem with the IPCC statement is

      1. They assume that the small increase in temperature over the last 50 years was caused by CO2 and is anthropomorphic, despite the fact that 95% of their models have vastly over-predicted temperatures for the last 15 years. This means that they really don’t know the cause, and that they cannot predict the future with any accuracy.

      2. Even if the temperature tragectory were to “get back on track” and start rising again, the IPCC really doesn’t know what the result of increasing temperatures might be. Their impact statements themselves are only guesses. For example, they say that there will be more intense storms, more drought, and worse farm productivity. In reality, the opposite might be true.

      3. If anything, the only conclusion one can come to based on the climate data is that the models are grossly wrong and need to be reworked. The models are based on data only from the early 1980’s, so creating and testing models with reasonable predictive power, i.e. shown to be correct for the longer term, must be measured against the decades for which we already have data plus at least one or two more.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Paul in BarneyFrnakistan ” A risk has two components: probability and impact”

      That would be interesting if they had validated models in which to apply the risk theories. As it stands, all models are unvalidated hence they have no predictive value. The IPCC were forced to drop the word ‘predict’, replacing it with the word ‘project’, since their invalidated models can predict nothing.

      Here’s how the IPCC applies probability: they invent a statistical method based on their belief and consensus. They apply confidence levels based on their invention.

      Their idea of a confidence level is different, however. In the 2007 review, 50 lead authors claimed in the Summary for Policymakers that it is 90% likely humans are causing warming. They pulled that number out of a hat. The main report did not concur so they used the Summary to rewrite the main report.

      In the 2013 review, they noted that no warming trend had been detected for 15 years. Lower the confidence level, right? Nope, the IPCC increased the confidence level from 90% to 95% that humans are causing the warming.

      It’s quite obvious that the IPCC are no longer dealing with science and that they have gone wholesale into propaganda.

  10. RW says:

    Well said, Roy. I’ve often said it is fundamentally no less risky to do nothing than it is to try to reduce emissions, because in such a dynamic and chaotic system, doing something and not doing something is equally unpredictable.

  11. AlecM says:

    The explanation of the IPCC’s failure is obvious to any professional engineer, but too many scientists have been taken in. This paper claims experimental proof of ‘back radiation’, really our version of Phlogiston: http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/simple-observational-proof-of-greenhouse-effect/

    The authors failed to understand the difference between a Radiation Field, detected by an optical pyrometer or an IR spectrometer, a potential energy term, with a real energy flux, the vector sum of opposing Radiation Fields.

    This is Radiative Physics 101. No professional scientist or engineer would allow the Law of Conservation of Energy to be breached by any computational model. The concept of ‘back radiation’ breaches that Law, the most basic aspect of science, and the IPCC models fail it.

    It’s why they can never predict climate. 13 out of the last 14 annual UKMO World predictions have been too warm, as reported by BBC Meteorologist Paul Hudson: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson/posts/Met-Office-global-forecasts-too-warm-in-13-of-last-14-years

    This is absolute physics. The fact that 10s of 1000s of so-called scientists with inadequate education to understand the physics disagree is no proof to the contrary!”

  12. Glenn Strickler says:

    So let me ask a couple of questions here as an observer with no scientific degrees: 1. What could be considered the ideal temperature that the Earth is suppose to be? If people are running around saying it’s getting too warm, then they must have some idea. A geologist might say we could technically still be in an ice age considering the geologic past and could point to proof that it’s been much warmer in history. An archeologist would show proof where early Man migrated because of changing climate. An astronomer might mention that a warming has been measured on some of the planets of the Solar System as a result of increased output of the sun during the 80’s and 90’s, but now the sun appears to be reversing course. Al Gore would say none of that matters, you must buy carbon credits.

    2. Would it not make more sense to turn our efforts to adapting to our changing environment as our ancient ancestors did rather than shutting down economies in an effort to cool the planet?

    I have been reading about the subject ever since the 1960’s when as a high school student and a college student (major was actually business) , we were being told that if we didn’t stop using fossil fuels, we would have a new ice age by the turn of the century. Of course, that scared me into study, and a couple of things I have learned for sure. There is a lot of junk science out there and people are using it to try to control people when they failed to do it politically, and the statement “98% of the worlds scientists agree that human activity is the principal driver of climate change should be amended to say “98% of the scientists who earn their living from government grants agree”, as once you get outside that group that gets their leaving from a government teat, that percentage drops to a very low minority. Now pardon me, since I am retired now, I spend a lot of time gardening and tending my fruit trees, which for some reason, are doing really well. Must be the Miracle Grow, as CO2 is an evil gas ……..

    • AlecM says:

      We evolved at the present temperature, therefore it’s our ideal temperature.

      To go further, you have to go into the irreversible thermodynamics of OLR, the mathematical physics of Gaia!

      • lewis says:

        In answer to #1 above – the ideal temperature is whatever I say it is, nothing more, nothing less.

      • Glenn Strickler says:

        “We evolved at the present temperature, therefore it’s our ideal temperature.”

        Now it’s pretty conclusive that’s not accurate. Just running the math on how fast evolution moves and extrapolating backwards through time and comparing that to the geologic evidence proves there have been wild climate shifts all over the planet during Human’s time on Earth and it’s been much, much warmer.

        Just look up the quaking aspen called Pando in Utah. Massive climate shifts during it’s lifetime. Of course, now you are probably saying “Huh?” because I have yet to meet an AGW person who has even heard of that tree, much less explain the findings there to fit their model. There are many other examples on the planet to point to also. Remember, to sell the perfect temperature and AGW to people who have MBAs instead of scientific PHDs, things have to be logical and when the “numbers are run” the numbers have to reconcile. There is so much here that doesn’t.

        Now all that being said, it’s logical to assume that Man can’t burn fossil fuels without having some effect on the weather, or local climate (deep breath in China, anyone?). However what’s the extent and what we should do about are the questions. Considering that one volcanic eruption can change the temperature of the planet for a couple of years, I have a feeling that Man’s effect is very small.

        • Aaron S says:

          Human evolution has occured over millions of years, Caucasians and Asians for example are a hybrid between cold adapted Neanderthal and trompical Homo Sap Sap, which diverged about .7 Ma ago. Obviously the evolutionary history of humans goes back much deeper in geologic time for other transitional species into the Miocene and Pliocene (prior to the emergence of this ultra cold earth we know today). One of the primary drivers of human evolution was the emergence of C4 grasslands at mid latitudes because Primates exploited this new ecosystem as an open niche, which was likely a primary factor that led to the bipedal lifestyle that started our divergence away from tree dwelling apes. What I find interesting about this story is: that it was a drop in CO2 below a critical threshold of about 500ppm that initiated the expansion of grasslands becasue the C4 metabolic pathway is more efficient in low -CO2 conditions than the trees and C3 grasses that made up the open Savanahs prior to about 5 million years ago. So human evolution is actually tied directly to CO2. I don’t know how significant this ‘CO2’ threshold would be on the Mid Latitude Ecosystem, but really more CO2 is the norm and the low conditions are the exception in Geologic time.

          • Glenn Strickler says:

            Now that adds up, Arron, thanks for that post. Not paying much attention to science except for reading about climatology and geology (I have a daughter who is a geologist, so I had to try to keep up a little there) until I retired, I am trying to catch up, which I never will do.

            One thing I have learned, the more that I learn and know, the more that there is that I don’t know, it seems. One thing for sure, science is never settled.

  13. Doug Cotton says:


    To Roy and all readers:

    The whole concept of greenhouse radiative forcing has been “supported” by arguments about a “runaway greenhouse effect” on Venus. This is totally fictitious, and I copy below a note I’ve added to the Wikipedia talk page on Venus.


    It cannot be substantiated with standard physics that the surface of Venus is kept hot by radiation from the colder carbon dioxide atmosphere. The small solid core of Uranus (55% the mass of Earth) has a surface temperature several times that of the Venus surface, and yet only about as much methane as Earth has water vapor. Uranus is nearly 30 times further from the Sun than Earth is, and thus receives little more than 0.1% of incident solar radiation.

    In fact the surface temperature of Venus rises by about 5 degrees (from 732K to 737K) during the four-month-long day and so this requires an input of thermal energy, which cannot be coming from the colder atmosphere because, if it were, entropy would be decreasing.

    Venus cools by 5 degrees at night, and so it could easily have cooled right down over the life of the planet if the Sun provided no insolation. So we can deduce that it is energy from the Sun which is gradually raising the temperature of the Venus surface during those four months of Earth time. But less than 20 watts per square meter of solar radiation gets through to the surface because carbon dioxide actually absorbs incident solar radiation.

    If one tries to explain the 5 degree difference with Stefan-Boltzmann calculations for radiation, there is a difference of about 450 watts per square meter just between the two temperatures 732K and 737K, and so this is not supplied from the direct solar radiation which is only about one tenth of that which reaches Earth’s surface.

    Hence there is no scientific basis for assuming that direct radiation to the surface is the cause of the high surface temperatures on Venus, and thus there is no “runaway greenhouse effect.”


  14. Chorche says:

    I Believe only satellite data with automated temp averaging is valid for precise enough calculus in short term (100 years) prediction. No manipulation or error can be ensured on such case.
    Satellites started about 1979, so we have the 80′ 90′ and 00′, just to 2013. In this period it seems 50% of time no warming has occured despite constant increase CO2 in atmosphere. As experimenter I would be cautious with these results!
    My wish, and Roy Spencer helps in this “a bit”, is to know the temp trend NOW. I would love the most to have an IPPC supported page with the live WORLD TEMPERATURE, following a precise and no changing algorithm of satellite data compilation: “today world is at 12.4065 ℃, so yes, we get cooler”.

    Thanks Roy for your page.

    • Curious George says:

      I would like to share your confidence in satellite data. But even the CERES specifically designed to measure radiative fluxes has an unexplained discrepancy of 5 W/m2. We are slowly getting there (let’s hope).

  15. Doug Cotton says:

    Will someone tell the IPCC to catch up with the 21st century new paradigm in climate change science. This peer-reviewed paper was published over a decade ago …


    Hans Jelbring


    The main reason for claiming a scientific basis for “Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW)” is related to the use of “radiative energy flux models” as a major tool for describing vertical energy fluxes within the atmosphere. Such models prescribe that the temperature difference between a planetary surface and the planetary average black body radiation temperature (commonly called the Greenhouse Effect, GE) is caused almost exclusively by the so called greenhouse gases. Here, using a different approach, it is shown that GE can be explained as mainly being a consequence of known physical laws describing the behaviour of ideal gases in a gravity field. A simplified model of Earth, along with a formal proof concerning the model atmosphere and evidence from real planetary atmospheres will help in reaching conclusions. The distinguishing premise is that the bulk part of a planetary GE depends on its atmospheric surface mass density. Thus the GE can be exactly calculated for an ideal planetary model atmosphere. In a real atmosphere some important restrictions have to be met if the gravity induced GE is to be well developed. It will always be partially developed on atmosphere bearing planets. A noteworthy implication is that the calculated values of AGW, accepted by many contemporary climate scientists, are thus irrelevant and probably quite insignificant (not detectable) in relation to natural processes causing climate change.

    Energy & Environment · Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003

  16. Ken Gregory says:

    There is no such thing as a “gravity induced greenhouse effect”. If there are no greenhouse gases, the “planetary average black body radiation temperature” will be identical to the surface temperature because the atmosphere would be transparent to longwave radiation. Observed from space, the temperature signals would all come from the surface. Using the greenhouse effect definition in this abstract, the GHE would be zero without longwave absorbing greenhouse gases.

    • bwdave says:

      But the planet isn’t a black body, so its actual temperature will be the black body temperature divided by the planet’s emissivity.

  17. wizard says:

    Plants use co2 and expel oxygen.
    Mammals use oxygen and expel co2.

    Humans use words and create bullshit.

    Cannabis thrives on force feeding of co2. at rates of 1200 ppm.

    Solution. Stop talking bullshit and grow cannabis.

  18. Doug Cotton says:


    So why are we still talking about that old 20th century greenhouse conjecture? It’s now debunked by the Ranque-Hilsh vortex tube. Didn’t you realise, Roy?

    It’s not pressure which maintains the warmer temperatures at the base of a planet’s troposphere – gravity maintains both density and temperature gradients. Pressure just follows as a corollary.

    The state of thermodynamic equilibrium (which the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will be approached) automatically has both a density gradient and temperature gradient. Pressure gradients just follow as a result of these, because it is actual molecules than get moved around first.

    Anyway, the gravito-thermal effect has now been unmistakably observed and measured in a Ranque-Hilsch Vortex tube, so there can be no further dispute, and thus there is no need for any greenhouse effect, which never explained anything anyway.


  19. Pierre-Normand says:

    “But when it comes to climate change, there is no demonstrated causal connection between (A) an extra 1 CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air, and (B) any resulting observed change in weather or climate.”

    This seems to be a very strange rhetorical argument coming from you (rather than from Lord Monckton or Dough Cotton, say). Don’t you agree that *only* 3 CO2 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of air, rather than none at all, makes for the Earth surface being about 33°C warmer, on average, than it otherwise would be (assuming constant albedo)? Isn’t that something readers of your blog should be aware of? Wouldn’t it be very surprising, then, that the first 3 CO2 molecules have such a huge effect on the climate and 33% more molecules would have no significant effect at all?

    Isn’t also the variation from 2 CO2 molecules to 3 CO2 molecules per 10,000 molecules of air (carbon cycle feedback) a significant contributor, together with the albedo change feedback and Milankovitch forcing, to the large temperature swings between glacial and inter-glacial periods? How about twice as many CO2 molecules as there were 150 years ago? That’s where we are heading withing the next several decades. It’s just because the effect is logarithmic that the expected surface temperature increase is so low as 1.5°C to 4.5°C per doubling of CO2 (equivalent) forcing.

    • Threepwood says:

      As below the VAST majority of the existing GH effect is from water vapor ‘pollution’ , not CO2 ‘pollution’

      Doubling CO2 would directly equate to a little over 1C- & mostly at night, not too much disagreement on this

      The greatest risk of doubling CO2 is having to mow your lawn more often,

      Anything more scary relies 100% on computer simulations not any scientific method

      • Pierre-Normand says:

        Water vapor ‘pollution’, as you dub it, is a result of other climate forcings, and whatever other modes of internal variability, that modulate troposheric temperature. The amount of water vapor that the troposphere can hold is a function of air temperature. Some scientists who believe climate sensitivity to be low (in the 1°C to 1.5° range, say) rather than close to the IPCC middle range estimate of 3°C/CO2, say, argue that it is likely lower because of a negative cloud feedback. Such negative feedback could offset the positive water vapor feedback. But I don’t know any climate scientist who seriously doubt the positive feedback from water vapor.

    • Dr. Strangelove says:


      “Don’t you agree that *only* 3 CO2 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of air, rather than none at all, makes for the Earth surface being about 33°C warmer, on average, than it otherwise would be (assuming constant albedo?”

      No. CO2 accounts for only 25% of greenhouse effect. Water vapor is 60% Methane and other greenhouse gases are 15%


      • Pierre-Normand says:

        OK. I meant CO2 and other non-condensable greenhouse gases (such as methane N2O, CFCs, etc. But you are quibbling since the molecule count of those trace gases is even smaller — so that makes my point. And water vapor is condensible. So, remove all the non-condensible gases from the atmosphere and the water vapor will almost all precipitate out of it, eventually, as the troposphere cools, until the average surface temperature settles about 33°C lower than now (and even lower that that accounting for the increasing snow/ice albedo.)

        • Pierre-Normand says:

          …is condensable…

        • Dr. Strangelove says:

          You cannot remove CO2 and leave water vapor. Greenhouse effect is 60% due to water vapor. Your CO2 greenhouse effect is overestimated.

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            “You cannot remove CO2 and leave water vapor.”
            Yes. That’s exactly what I am saying. If you were to remove the non-condensable greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, then the temperature of the troposphere would drop and most of the water vapor would eventually precipitates out. And the reverse occurs when you add non-condensable greenhouse gases. Hence water vapor concentration is an amplifying feedback to climate forcing (either solar forcing, volcanic forcing, or the radiative forcing from CO2, methane, etc.)

          • Aaron S says:

            So doesn’t the very, very poor attempt to model the sun worry you at all Pierre … I mean it is the biggest driver of earths temperature and it is dynamic in so many ways (magnetic, CME, total irradiance, band specific radiance). The ipcc models only consider total irradiance and don’t include feedbacks (clouds and magnetics for example)… Isn’t that the elephant in the room?

          • Dr. says:

            Water vapor will not precipitate. The absolute humidity of air at -10 C is 2.3 g/m^3. Water vapor is a product of fossil fuel combustion. It is also a forcing. Warmer temperature gases out dissolved CO2 in oceans. CO2 is also a feedback.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            BTW that’s Dr. Strangelove

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            I said *most* of the water vapor would eventually precipitate out as indeed it would. There would remain a little but that’s taken into account in the 33°C calculation. If all of the water vapor would be removed from the atmosphere, along with the other greenhouse gases, then the drop in average surface temperature would be even more than 33°C. All this is consistent with water vapor concentration being a feedback.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Even in ice ages the global temperature is about 10 C. Still a lot of water vapor in the air. You cannot remove it in the atmosphere. Water vapor is not just a feedback to CO2. There is always water vapor in the atmosphere just as there is always CO2 in the last 600 million years. You can argue theoretically but it doesn’t happen in reality.

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            Google up: “Why 33 deg. C for the Earth’s Greenhouse Effect is Misleading”

            “But what many people don’t realize is that the 33 deg. C of surface warming is not actually a measure of the greenhouse warming – it represents the balance between TWO competing effects: a greenhouse warming effect of about 60 deg. C (the so-called “pure radiative equilibrium” case), and a convective cooling effect of about 30 deg. C. When these two are combined, we get the real-world observed “radiative-convective equilibrium” case.

            This has been known since at least 1964 (Manabe and Strickler, 1964). It was also discussed in Dick Lindzen’s 1990 paper, Some Coolness Regarding Global Warming, which is when I became aware of its significance.” –Roy Spencer

  20. Ross Handsaker says:

    In reply to Pierre-Normand comment, the Eemian inter-glacial period ended when temperatures plummeted, but carbon dioxide levels were high!

    Regarding the 33 deg C warming effect of “greenhouse” gases, water vapour and clouds (not carbon dioxide) are the main contributors.

    • Pierre-Normand says:

      We went over this already. When inter-glacial periods end, the Milankovitch forcing is trending down (especially in Northern latitudes) and this initiates the cooling. The albedo and carbon cycle feedbacks amplify the cooling since ice-sheets and sea ice expand, reflect more incoming solar energy, and CO2 dissolves in the cooling oceans. But in recent millennia until now the Milankovitch forcing was trending down and still is. So was the atmospheric CO2 concentration until we started dumping lots of it into the atmosphere. This suddenly reversed the 8,000 year old Holocene cooling trend. So, the situation is not comparable to the late Eemian. What was a response to the cooling (falling CO2 concentration) now it driving the warming.

      Also, for sure water vapor and clouds are contributors. Feedbacks *are* contributors to the temperature changes caused by variations in radiative forcing. If they weren’t, then they would not be called feedbacks. The larger contributors they are, then the more potent positive feedbacks they are (while negative feedbacks contribute negatively to the temperature changes). So, you can’t have it both ways — argue that the (net) feedbacks aren’t strongly positive *and* that most of the temperature change is a result from them rather than from the CO2 (+methane, etc.) forcing alone. That would amount to arguing that climate sensitivity if both larger and smaller than 2°C per CO2 doubling.

  21. Pierre-Normand says:

    For sure, Ross. But during glacial/inter-glacial transitions, Milankovitch forcing change is usually the triggering cause while albedo change, and changes in greenhouse gas concentration (including water vapor) are amplifying feedbacks that can be out of synch because of their differing time constants (except water vapor — which responds the quickest). Have you looked at all the feedbacks and forcings regarding the late Eemian period? In the modern period, CO2 variation is the main forcing change while changes in water vapor concentration (and cloud, snow albedo, etc.) still are a feedbacks. Notice that the difference in forcing from increased CO2 concentration is larger than the change in Milankovitch forcing that drove the glacial/interglacial transitions.

    In any case, it is would be ridiculous to argue that the change in CO2 forcing when the absolute atmospheric CO2 concentration varies significantly can’t play a significant role just because it amounts to just one more CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air during inter-glacial periods compared to glacial periods. If this effect were insignificant, then the change in Milankovitch forcing would be even less significant. But it isn’t. It’s still strong enough to drive the feedbacks (including CO2). There is no physical reason why the comparatively weak Milankovitch forcing would have that potency and CO2 concentration wouldn’t likewise when the latter is the independent variable (as it is now) and the calculation of the magnitude of its forcing is uncontroversial among serious and competent scientists (including Spencer, Lindzen, Curry, etc.)

    • Threepwood says:

      changes in CO2 lag changes in temp by 8-900 years, this alone is pretty compelling evidence that the opposite forcing does not happen to any significant degree

      • Pierre-Normand says:

        No. It’s only evidence that warming oceans normally outgassed CO2 in the geological past. And so the concentration of atmospheric CO2 constitutes a feedback when the initial warming has some other cause (such as an increasing Milankovitch forcing). But that’s not what’s happening now. First, the Milankovitch forcing in Northern latitudes has been trending down for the last 8,000 years. Second, we are now responsible for the atmospheric CO2 increase, and so it now acts as a forcing rather than as a feedback. Third, even though they are warming, the oceans are taking up atmospheric CO2 (about half the amount we are emitting) because the atmospheric partial pressure has risen so sharply.

    • Ross Handsaker says:

      The scientists you mention are referring to a theoretical calculation of warming expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide levels but how such a doubling effects temperatures in the “real” world is unknown. As Dr Roy has opined, if feedbacks from the additional carbon dioxide are not positive, any extra warming is likely to be too small to measure. Until the sensitivity of the climate is known, any calculations of the forcing effect of additional carbon dioxide are guesswork.

      Historically, changes in carbon dioxide levels follow changes in temperature; ice cores show periods of steady carbon dioxide levels but wide fluctuations in temperatures. Also, carbon dioxide levels change seasonally each year while the Earth’s average temperature has an annual variation of nearly 4 deg C. However, during the peak temperature (the Northern Hemisphere summer), carbon dioxide are lower. Carbon dioxide rose steadily during the recent periods of 1950-1975 and 2000-2013 but temperatures either fell or flat-lined. The foregoing suggests the forcing effect of carbon dioxide levels above 100 ppm are likely to be minor.

      • Pierre-Normand says:

        Ross, my issue isn’t about feedbacks but about radiative forcing. The radiative forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is strong. If the negative feedbacks exactly cancel the positive ones, or even overpower them, then, fine, climate sensitivity (ECS) might be about 1.0°C/CO2 doubling or even lower. This doesn’t reduce the magnitude of the radiative forcing from CO2 one bit. So Roy’s suggestion that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration from 300ppm to 400ppm is unlikely to have significant effects on the weather or climate *because* that amounts to just one more CO2 molecule per 10,000 molecules of air still makes no sense. That still amounts to a difference in forcing larger than would result from the Sun going to a new Maunder Minimum (though with opposite magnitude). The argument that climate sensitivity might be low is a completely different argument that at least makes sense and that I haven’t taken issue with in this thread.

        • bwdave says:

          Please explain how radiative forcing from three or four CO2 molecules raises the temperature of the other 9997 or 9996.

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            The question makes no sense. The CO2 molecules make atmosphere layers more opaque to longwave radiation. It is irrelevant how many non-greenhouse gas molecules there are around (except for their effect on spectral band broadening through collisions with CO2 molecules). Likewise, very little black ink mixed in water would make the water in a glass container fully opaque to visible light. You might ask how 0.01% of opaque ink particles could possibly make the surrounding 99.99% of clear water opaque. But they need not. Only the ink is opaque and this is sufficient to absorb all the visible light going through the water since almost all the light rays that go through the body of water encounter at least one ink particle.

            It is the opacity of the atmosphere to shortwave radiation that provides the basis for the greenhouse effect. The change in forcing value when the CO2 concentration increases doesn’t characterize the rate of heat absorbed by CO2 molecules (as you seem to think) but rather the temporary imbalance at the top of the atmosphere that results from the increased opacity all the atmospheric layers. This imbalance is only restored after the Earth surface has warmed, with the constraints provided by the constancy of the lapse rate, modulation from the climate feedbacks, etc.

          • bwdave says:


            While I doubt your claims about the opacity of dilute ink, we are talking gas here, liquids are on the order of a thousand times as dense as gasses.

            Are you saying ghg molecules are each making 100’s of non ghg molecules opaque to longwave radiation?

            How is CO2 supposed to be heating the atmosphere?

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            First CO2 isn’t heating the atmosphere and needs not to. Likewise, insulation in the walls of your house don’t heat it. It’s the central heating system that heats your house and insulation just changes the conditions for heat flux equilibrium through the walls. (The temperature in the house must rise higher for the rate of heat escaping through the insulated walls to exactly balance the heat generated by the central heating system.) The story just is a bit more complicated for the greenhouse effect but it’s also a matter of heat flux equilibrium between the Earth/atmosphere system and space. The Sun provides the heat input. CO2 and other greenhouse gases modulate the radiative equilibrium condition.

            Also, there is no question that the full atmosphere is fully opaque to CO2 in the vicinity of its main absorption bands (around 15 microns). This can be checked from the temperature of the upwelling longwave radiation as measured by satellites from space. Ask Roy Spencer about that. The temperature of this radiation (around 15 micron) is about -53C°. This means most photons in those bands that make their final escape to space (while avoiding being captured and re-emitted again by CO2 molecules) do so at an altitude where the temperature is -53°C. That’s pretty high up in the atmosphere (close to the tropopause, I think). That means atmosphere layers are mostly opaque to CO2 from any lower altitude on the way up.

          • bwdave says:

            So if CO2 is insulating and not heating the atmosphere, how is insulation at -53C supposed to make the atmosphere warmer?

            Do you agree that the molecules get further apart, higher in the atmosphere?

          • Pierre-Normand says:

            For sure the CO2 molecules are further apart on the way up. That’s why there is an effective radiation level at all. When they are so far apart that a infrared photon on the way up has more chances than not to escape without encountering another CO2 molecule, then that defines (roughly) the effective radiation level. That’s about 5km to 6km up for all the thermal infrared photons (not just near the CO2 bands). As you move up, the atmosphere becomes cool and dry. The CO2 molecules outnumber the water molecules. And it remains opaque to 15 micron radiation up to the level where CO2 molecules are far enough apart for most emitted photons to miss them on the way up.

            When the CO2 concentration increases, then the opaque level is moved up. Because of the vertical temperature profile (maintained by the convective lapse rate in the troposphere) this means that in many bands the infrared radiation makes its final escape from a higher colder altitude. Colder gases emit thermal radiation at a lower power. This is the effect which is analogous to an increase in insulation. It creates a power imbalance since the energy received from the Sun remains roughly constant. (Most of it is shortwave and greenhouse gases are transparent to it). The imbalance causes the surface to warm until enough longwave radiation can be emitted from the warmer ground (and ocean surface) into space to compensate from the reduced radiation from the top of the atmosphere. This occurs in the bands where there is no or little absorption by the greenhouse gases — the so called atmospheric window.

          • Aaron S says:

            Pierre, you clearly are knowledgeable in agw theory … I would like to take this opportunity to ask a serious question but Rather than waste my time and write an entire technical thesis that is not answered I’d like to just keep it simple then if you respond I will elaborate. Do you think the sun is properly represented as a climate driver in agw theory and the ipcc models? Id argue no way based on the empirical data and I’m totally confused how the greater scientific community is not considering the sun’s activity as an alternative hypothesis to the century of global warming we have just witnessed.

  22. snazzy says:

    Usually I see eye to eye with you


  23. lewis says:

    There is some risk involved here, but it is only with those who have built their sandcastles on the politics of fear. If the fear goes away for the majority and politicians, the money goes away for the mongers and they might have to find a new bottle of magic elixir to sell.

  24. What does not make sense is how a trace gas with a trace increase is going to somehow control the vast climatic system of the earth.

    Further their are NO correlations between CO2 concentration increases and temperatures.

    Medieval, Roman ,Minoan past warm periods were as warm if not warmer then today while CO2 concentrations were lower.

    Further CO2 follows the climate/ temperature does not lead it and above all it does not DRIVE the climate.

    The sun drives the climate and the sun is what governs the climate thru primary and secondary means.

    Co2 concentrations are a result of the climate not the cause of the climate.

    Co2 has zero effects on changing the climate.

  25. Colder oceans will take CO2 out of the atmosphere which with all things being equal lessens the greenhouse gas effect and any potential water vapor /CO2 positive feedbacks.

    Less evaporation would cause less convection which would have a warming effect, however in the tropics where most of the convection takes place I am of the opinion that the temperatures in that area of the globe would not be effected by global cooling ,they would remain the same.

    In the areas most effective by global cooling those being N.H. land areas N.of 30 degrees lat. and oceans N./S. of 30 degrees lat. global cooling would cause less evaporation(but very small lesser amounts of evaporation) in those areas, which itself would impact convection very little ,due to the fact evaporation in those areas is low in contrast to the tropics, and convection to begin with in those ares of the globe is much less then it is in the tropics to begin with, which would mean the warming effect would be minimal due to convection changes, in contrast if this process would to take place in the tropics, where convection is much higher and changes in evaporation rates would be much greater IF the temperature of the oceans in that area should change due to a global cooling, but I contend the temperatures of the oceans in the tropical areas would be essentialy the same, nullyfying this effect.

    Therefore the ghg effect would become less overall through oceanic cooling and less water vapor overall in the atmosphere , while not decreasing in the mid troposhere regions which would perhaps contribute to warming if it were to take place.

    The upshot being the GHG effect due to cooling oceans overall(less co2 in atmosphere) and less water vapor in the atmosphere overall would become less as the energy coming into the climatic system decreased(via the sun), while the convection factor would be at least neutral.

    My take on how the GHG effect works.

    Yes their is a GHG effect but how effective it is ,is based on climate parameters.

    Recent GHG effects have been strong enough to keep the temp. of the globe some 33k higher then what it would be if no greenhouse gases were present.

    As the energy coming into the climate system dwindles via a weaker sun, the GHG effect will lessen and will no longer result in a 33k higher average temperature for the globe it will be less.

  26. chuckarama says:

    Oh. You didn’t read stefan’s latest post, on Real Climate, explaining your fallacy. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/the-most-common-fallacy-in-discussing-extreme-weather-events/

    “…it is the classic confusion between absence of evidence and evidence for absence of an effect of global warming on extreme weather events.”

    In other words, don’t rely on science to produce cold hard facts and observational evidence. Not when you have good ole intuition to guide you.

    If you had read and understood all this you would understand that “risk” can quickly be compared to any scary outcome our imaginations can conjure.

  27. THE HOCKEY SCHTICK: The last refuge of anthropogenic …


  28. Monday, February 3, 2014

    The last refuge of anthropogenic global warming theory fails to stand up to scrutiny

    Reblogged from ICECAP:
    Looking at the latest refuge of AGW theory that fails data scrutiny

    By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM 2/3/14

    AMS is meeting in Atlanta this week as the north gets buried in snow and cold continues. The academics though still are pushing their agenda making the meeting uncomfortable for those who don’t buy into the scam. Many skeptics have left the society. Many like me remain because we have earned a CCM, a Broadcast Seal or CBM, designation as a Fellow. We will prevail.

    For 19 going on 20 years, global warming has stopped. Cooling has replaced warming in winters during that same period for the CONUS – we will update after this year for 20 years). Using projected February anomalies and anomalies to date it will rise to -1.25F/decade cooling for the last 20 winters.

    This has been true even as CO2 has risen 9.7%. In Europe and in places elsewhere including the US, the green agenda has led to harmful increases in the cost of energy or energy shortages, as winters have trended colder and snowier. This has falsified the climate models and assessments which had accelerated warming and snowless winters.

    In the United States, the number of high heat extremes have been declining since the 1930s. 23 of the 50 state all time heat records occurred in the 1930s and 39 before 1960. More cold than heat extremes have been set since the 1940s. The claims to high temperature months and years is with “adjusted” (manipulated) data. The actual heat and cold records are unadjusted.

    The tropical heat build-up in the atmosphere and oceans, one of the key outputs in ALL the climate models, has not been seen in the weather balloon, satellite data, or the dense ocean buoys used to track El Nino and La Ninas down to 300 meters depth, in the last 3 to 5 decades or 2000m in the ARGO buoy data since its implementation in 2004.

    Sea level rise has slowed dramatically from the 20th century, and there is no upward trend in incidents of droughts and floods. Hurricane activity globally is at a 34 year low. “Superstorm” Sandy was a borderline Category 1 storm. Eight Category 3 or greater storms hit the Atlantic coast from 1938 to 1960. The total tornado count this year was over 140 incidences less since records started in 1953. The number of wildfires are the lowest since modern records began in 1985.

    The arctic ice cover bounced back over 50% with one of the coldest arctic summers on record while new records for ice were set in Antarctica, even trapping a research ship this past month, during the Antarctic summer.

    Snow was supposed to become increasingly rare. Instead as this week will reinforce, it is increasing. 4 of the top 5 snowiest years for the northern hemisphere have been in the last 6 years. In just 4 years, we have had more east coast snowstorms this decade than any in history.

    The great physicist Richard Feynman said not matter how smart you are, who you are or how beautiful your theory, if data doesn’t support your theory, it is wrong. Einstein noted a model or a hypothesis cannot “prove” anything. But data can invalidate a hypothesis or model. Einstein described the “Key” to science well when he said: “The case is never closed.” “Many experiments may prove me right but it takes only one to prove me wrong.”

    In the case of global warming, we have many examples proving it wrong, but with the political motivation of heavy funding, exceeding $79B the last decade, data is ignored with claims of a consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton wrote “Historically the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is settled.”

    By claiming both sides of every weather extreme (warm or cold, drought or flood, no now or too much snow), they have created an unfalsifiable hypothesis. They want you to believe every weather event proves their hypothesis. The most recent example is the controversy over the “polar vortex”. Though this is a common phenomenon, somewhere around the hemisphere most every winter, and has occurred in the United States often in the cold decades, as well as the last decade, they believe they can convince you that (You and your SUV are responsible).

    This weekend, I enjoyed meeting with a friend (PhD climatologist) from the Weather Company (TWC etal). Some outspoken TWC mets have convinced themselves that AGW is real because of the extremes (which in reality have not increased as discussed above) and the negative North Atlantic Oscillation in recent years they relate to the arctic warming and melting of arctic ice which has resulted in inconvenient colder winters in varying parts of the northern hemisphere.

    My friend told them they need to look further back in time. He is absolutely right. The arctic ice and warming relates to the AMO, and warming and melting happened before when the AMO was last in its warm mode from the 40s to 60s when winter turned colder and blockiness increased.

    The University of Alaska at Fairbanks shows how warmer Atlantic waters make their way into the arctic increasing ice melt (from the bottom) and air temperatures.


    It appears also influenced by the geomagnetic solar activity.

    Our quiet sun in recent years and reduced geomagnetic Ap aligns with a declining NAO much as we have seen in similar circumstances in the past.

    Posted by MS at 9:23 AM
    Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest


    Berthold KleinFebruary 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    A Hypotheses is only one possible explanation for some observations in the real world. The hypotheses can only be

  29. Magoo says:

    Hi Dr. Spencer. Love your work and your website.

    A friend of mine noticed that your article above has been plagiarised and copyrighted by a news outlet. The article is dated Thursday, 3 April 2014, 12:26 pm, is now under the name Kevin Hearle, and there is a ‘© Scoop Media’ at the bottom of the article:


    • Pierre-Normand says:

      I see the first sentence in this article is a hyperlink to the original article on Spencer’s blog. So this might not be deliberate plagiarism but rather incompetence about the proper forms of attribution.

      • Magoo says:

        Hi Pierre. I didn’t notice that, thanks for pointing it out. I suspect you’re right about the proper forms of attribution.

  30. Ossqss says:

    Seems NASA and the IP CC are out of sink, no?


    • Pierre-Normand says:

      They are quite in sync.

      “5.6.1 Global costs to agriculture

      Fischer et al. (2002b) quantify the impact of climate change on global agricultural GDP by 2080 as between -1.5% and +2.6%, with considerable regional variation. Overall, mid- to high-latitudes agriculture stands to benefit, while agriculture in low latitudes will be adversely affected.”

      From AR4 WG2

  31. Doug Cotton says:

    It would be soooo much easier if someone, just someone from the IPCC went to physics school and tried to understand thermodynamics.

    There’s a thing called the Second Law of Thermodynamics (which hardly anyone seems to really understand) but in fact is not all that hard to grasp.

    The law tells you things tend towards a state in which there are no unbalanced energy potentials. Got it? A molecule has energy – some of it in its kinetic energy (KE), some in gravitational potential energy (PE), plus some other energy which, for our purposes here, stays the same.. But temperature is a measure only of kinetic energy.

    Sooooo … if we have unbalanced energy potentials then the sum of these two forms of energy (PE+KE) tends towards being homogeneous (uniform) at all altitudes in a planet’s troposphere. But PE varies with altitude. So there is a variation in KE, which means there is a thermal gradient (aka adiabatic lapse rate) but that thermal gradient is really the state of thermodynamic equilibrium that the Second Law told you about.. (This time look it up here and also the link therein to thermodynamic equilibrium.).

    How are you going? Do you get it yet? Do you understand the significance? We don’t have to worry about carbon dioxide at all. All that “33 degrees of warming” has been done by gravity.

  32. Doug Cotton says:

    Wikipedia watch out! An attitude of “we don’t care” may warrant a legal opinion.

    When Wikipedia talk pages are edited with comments based on valid physics, which point out errors in their various articles, they take a “we don’t care” attitude. They deliberately introduce greenhouse talk, even in an article about Venus, where the surface temperature cannot possibly be raised by the small amount of radiation reaching it. All they do is cite 1980’s literature which contains nothing but assertive assumptions that the carbon dioxide atmosphere is “obviously” the cause of the high temperatures.

    I’m just making a suggestion as to what I believe Wikipedia administration ought to find out for themselves from their lawyers, because I don’t think they can hide behind the cover of an encyclopedia (in the eyes of the law) and excuse the propagation of fictitious propaganda about the greenhouse effect, now disputed by hundreds (if not thousands) of scientists and academics. But I’m not a lawyer and I’m not suggesting that I would be involved, unless called to address some committee investigation or court hearing.

    Just suppose, for example, when the truth comes out about the carbon dioxide political hoax, that large companies (affected by elecricity and carbon tax costs) pool their funds to mount a global class action against those parties who have contributed significantly in the promulgation of biased “information” likely to be read by voters and politicians alike, and likely to have led to corruption in numerous ways pertaining to research funding, and also likely to have wasted many billions of taxpayer funds.

    The radiative greenhouse conjecture is false. It is a part of a sinister political agenda. It does not stand up to the rigors of valid physics theory, such as (ironically) WP does also publish. Nitrogen and oxygen hold about 98% of the energy in the Earth’s atmosphere, and they slow the surface cooling. But the cooling stops at night where the gravitationally induced thermal gradient supports the surface temperature. Carbon dioxide and water vapor cool by radiating energy (mostly from nitrogen and oxygen) out of the atmosphere, and also lowering the gradient so that lower surface temperatures result. The key fallacy in the radiative greenhouse effect is assuming that all the radiation from the surface is transferring thermal energy out of the surface, when in fact most of it is just scattering the back radiation.

  33. Chris Smith says:

    Earlier today, Douglas Cotton was blocked from editing Wikipedia. The text of comment from the blocking administrator follows:

    “I am sorry, but it appears clear that you neither agree with or are willing to abide by Wikipedia policies regarding reliable sources for content and fringe theories in particular. I have indefinitely blocked you from editing.”

    This was in response to Cotton rejecting Wikipedia’s core value than everything in the encyclopedia must be verifiable with a citation to a reliable source. Cotton insisted that he be allowed to his anything he wants into the encyclopedia because he thinks he is right.

    The problem with this is that there are a huge number of people who want to insert material into Wikipedia because they think they are right. Scientologists. Creationists. Holocaust deniers.

    Those of you who are skeptical about Climate change are welcome to join Wikipedia and help to improve our climate change pages, but you will need to stick to what can be proven through reliable sources, which in this case would be peer-reviewed scientific papers. Looking over this website, I see that this is what you are already doing.

    Look at it this way; if We let Douglas Cotton or even Roy Spencer put things into Wikipedia based on nothing more than “because I say it is true”, we would also have to let Al Gore do the same thing.

    More about how Wikipedia works:




    • Doug Cotton says:

      Yes, the block was expected and engineered.

      My point is that Wikipedia has a responsibility of due diligence to check the information it propagates. It is naïve to imagine that the only truth in this world resides in the sources which they selectively choose to call “peer-reviewed scientific papers.” For example, I have had published a peer-reviewed scientific paper (which you can see under ‘Radiated Energy’ on the P S I site) but they would of course reject such.

      The points I have made were supported by mainstream physics in a very direct fashion. For example, mainstream physics tells us energy is not created in simple thermodynamic processes, and WP editors must know at least that much physics. It is not hard to confirm that even all the solar radiation reaching the top of the Venus atmosphere is less than a quarter of what would be required to raise its surface temperature by radiation alone. So the atmosphere obviously is not multiplying energy by four.

      Yet, despite my pointing out matters like this, I just get responses about my “theory” which I have never claimed to be anything more than a hypothesis, and which was not what I was writing about anyway.

      So I maintain that Wikipedia is indeed playing a significant role in fraudulently promulgating the hoax that carbon dioxide supposedly causes warming of Venus and Earth. As a result, public and private enterprise, and individuals paying for power and taxes are all incurring costs directly resulting from the fraud.

      Someone has to pay for the lack of due diligence, and my purpose in registering with Wikipedia, and deliberately incurring their arrogant responses (as anticipated) and their blocking action was primarily to obtain evidence (retained in screen captures) which may well be helpful if large companies initiate class action against the IPCC, Wikipedia, universities and maybe some individuals.

    • Doug Cotton says:

      “we would also have to let Al Gore do the same thing”

      (LOL) – you did.

  34. Doug Cotton says:

    Roy, I know you don’t read much of what I write, but I would urge you to respond to this.

    The Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube develops a force field of about a million times the acceleration due to Earth’s gravity. Hence it very clearly displays (and thus verifies) a gravitationally induced thermal gradient between its inner and outer regions.

    Hence your Item 6 in your “Misunderstood” article is incorrect because there would never be isothermal conditions in any troposphere. Those who understand thermodynamics can understand why the state of maximum entropy has no unbalanced energy potentials, whereas an isothermal state would, because of the extra gravitational potential energy at the top.

    Hence there is no need for “33 degrees” of warming by back radiation (which could never happen anyway) since gravity has already set up the thermal profile.

    Let’s just say the above-mentioned class action is more likely to start in Australia, with John Cook (here in Queensland) being one of the targets, so you are pretty safe. But you should still pay due diligence to what physicists are explaining, because climatologists have very limited and usually incorrect understanding of mainstream physics.

  35. Doug Cotton says:

    The latest article on P S I about corruption is worth the read, Roy. I quote …

    “Science is rife with corruption, incompetence, dishonesty and fabrication–and now, thanks to a frank resignation letter by the US’s top scientific misconduct official we have a better idea why.

    “David E. Wright, a respected science historian, has just quit his job as director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI; part of the Department of Health and Human Services) and is scathing about his experiences there.”

  36. yonason says:

    Here’s a nice summary of what the science shows compared with what is falsely claimed that it shows . . .

    see section titled:

    “How IPPC report was ramped up to predict wars, extreme weather and famine… while its authors slept on the job” – By BEN PILE

  37. Geckko says:

    From financial context I would simply state that “risk” means more than one potential outcome.

    The more astute instantly realise two things about such a definition:

    It does not imply anything about the desirability of the outcomes – when you enter the lottery you are exposed to the “risk” of winning it.

    Everything involves risk, because there is always multiple potential outcomes, even if some are extremely remote.

    The problems come when we try and measure risk. At that point we need to be able to specify a probability distribution to encompasses the risk – i.e. enumerate all potential outcomes and the likeihood. (in other words, what is the PDF?).

    Of cuorse that introduces us to the close cousin of “risk” – “uncertainty”. Because in many cases we can nethier identify all potential outcomes, nor can we accurately of confidently assign probabilities to those outcomes. We have insufficient information.

    and here we get into he realm of the IPCC. There is indeed risk, but the amount of uncertainty (insufficient information) means we can neither enumerate the possible outcomes nor can we assign any probabilities with the remotest confidence.

Leave a Reply