Technically, Scott Brown is Correct

August 26th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

SbrownofficialGawd, I wish the media were as smart as they think they are.

Scott Brown, Republican candidate running to be a senator from New Hampshire, on Saturday participated in a debate during which he was asked if he believed:

“…the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven”.

Now, first of all, nothing is science is “proven”. If you think it is, you don’t understand science.

Brown’s answer to the question was “no”. And that is correct. There is no way to prove that our addition of 1 molecule of CO2 to each 10,000 molecules of atmosphere over the last 100 years has had any measurable influence (there are no fingerprints of human-caused versus natural warming).

All the usual left-leaning news outlets have been having a cow over this supposed reversal of Brown’s position. The ThinkProgress site entitled their article, “Scott Brown Flips to Full-Blown Climate Denier“.

The “flip” is because Brown had previously (in 2012) said that climate change was “a combination between man-made and natural” in origin.

And that statement, too, is correct. As a climate researcher, I also believe it is some (unknown) combination. But there is no way to “prove” it.

I haven’t been following the race, and so have no opinions on the candidates. I’m just pointing out that Scott Brown’s position is entirely defensible, and the media conveniently hears what they want to hear.

If the media can’t ask a technical question correctly, they shouldn’t ask the question.

Or, don’t ask one question, then assume the resulting answer is to a different question.


57 Responses to “Technically, Scott Brown is Correct”

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  1. Jerry L Krause says:

    Dear Professor Spencer,

    Since you know that science cannot prove anything to be true, it seems you knew that the new science law I proposed could not prove anything true. But science can prove something to be false or to need revision. And I clearly stated that I considered that the law pointed to the fact there was a reason, different from the greenhouse effect, to explain the average earth’s temperature.

    Best wishes, Jerry

    • “Since you know that science cannot prove anything to be true…”

      Only in some utterly abstract and useless sense can a factual claim of any type NOT be proven to be true. I don’t think anyone seriously questions Newton’s Laws so long as they are applied to specific cases and are not treated as “universal truths” applicable everywhere and at all times. Hence, the point you’re trying to make, doesn’t work.

  2. RW says:

    Yes, it’s likely some unknown combination, but this seems trivial to me. We can be pretty sure man’s influence is at least something, but we don’t even know whether it’s net cooling or net warming. This whole thing is so ridiculous.

  3. HG54 says:

    Michael Mann has suggested that we watch the Koch money flow, presumably Brown’s way. A prima facie case of defamation if you ask me…

  4. Glenno says:

    I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t think we can honestly say Brown was technically correct, because the question was not “is it mathematically proven” or “is it proven with 100% certainty.” The question was whether it’s *scientifically* proven, and in science, we understand the colloquial concept of “proof” is not the same as technical mathematical proof.

    As Stephen J Gould famously noted, in discussing evolution: “In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.”

    Scientific “proof” is not a binary thing as it is in mathematics. It can be said to have been achieved when overwhelming evidence confirms a theory so strongly that it’s rational to act accordingly. E.g., tests that have proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity. As one of the most highly regarded academic scientific journals — Science — put it: http://news.sciencemag.org/space/2011/05/long-last-gravity-probe-b-satellite-proves-einstein-right

    If Brown had gotten into a philosophical discussion about how nothing is technically proven with absolute certainty in science, including, say, our own very existence, then fine, he’d be on solid ground.

    But let’s think about this honestly. If the question had been “Do you think it has been scientifically proven that the earth goes around the sun?” does anyone believe he’d simply have answered “No” without any philosophical elaboration?

    That’s probably our answer.

    • Yes, some things have more confidence than others in science, so point taken.

      But the cause of recent warming is not one of the very high confidence ones that approach the level of “scientific proof”, when almost all climate models cannot even explain (as a hindcast!) how little warming there has been since we’ve monitored global temperatures on a truly global basis (since 1979).

      So, even with a less restrictive definition of “scientific proof”, AGW fails. Not that it’s wrong…we simply don’t know.

      The question was sufficiently ambiguous that it constituted a “trap”: Brown could hear the question one way, the asker probably meant something else.

      • gbaikie says:

        “I happen to think the big bang is unlikely mostly true, and I think Giant Impact Hypothesis is probably mostly correct. ”
        Should be: “I happen to think the big bang is likely to be mostly true, and I think Giant Impact Hypothesis is probably correct.”

        Another example of theory is related to how life started on Earth.
        Which can be summarized as conditions of Earth in the past were such, that through random events life was created on Earth.
        Abiogenesis, “the natural process of life arising from non-living matter such as simple organic compounds”
        and:
        “Nonetheless, the exact steps in the abiogenesis process, whether occurring on Earth or elsewhere, remain unknown.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

        So a similar question, think the theory that life was created on Earth is scientifically proven.
        Or one could ask do you the the theory that life was created in space is scientifically proven- or is Panspermia theory proven.

      • Fonzarelli says:

        “…monitored global temperatures on a truly global basis (since 1979)”

        Dr.S., I would think that the “truly global” nature of your data set makes it superior to all others. In fact yours may well be the ONLY data set that is in lock step with carbon growth. Do you view the fact that UAH tracks so closely with carbon growth as confirmation of your work?

    • gbaikie says:

      –But let’s think about this honestly. If the question had been “Do you think it has been scientifically proven that the earth goes around the sun?” —

      But this is fairly clear question.
      What is the theory of man-made climate change.

      For example there is a theory called the Greenhouse Effect.
      It has a definition. It based upon a premise that an ideal spherical blackbody at Earth distance from the sun would have uniform temperature of about 5 C. Then there are various assumption made which reach the conclusion that without trace gases called greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, that Earth would have either uniform or average temperature of about -18 C and that the trace greenhouse gases increase Earth’s average temperature to average temperature of about 15 C. Or that these greenhouse gases increase the Earth’s temperature by about 33 C.
      This theory claims that water vapor causes 36–70% of this 33 C of warming, and that CO2 causes 9–26% of this 33 C of warming.
      And it’s also part of this theory called Greenhouse Effect
      that only greenhouse gases can be responsible for increasing -18 C world by 33 C. Or said:
      “The surface temperature of this hypothetical planet is 33 °C below Earth’s actual surface temperature of approximately 14 °C. The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual surface temperature and the effective temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect

      Now the greenhouse effect theory has not been proven.
      Or giant impact making the Moon, the Giant impact hypothesis
      also is not proven:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis
      Though, “The giant impact hypothesis is currently the favoured scientific hypothesis for the formation of the Moon.”

      So the correct answer to: is Big Bang, Giant Impact Hypothesis, or the Greenhouse effect proven, is obviously
      no.
      I happen to think the big bang is unlikely mostly true, and I think Giant Impact Hypothesis is probably mostly correct. I can’t say the same for Greenhouse effect theory- I think there are lot things wrong with it.

      • Jerry L Krause says:

        Dear gabsikie:

        Liked your correct review of what is called the greenhouse effect. August 13th I began posting comments on Spencer’s blog of that date. I did this to call attention to the very common observation that the atmospheric temperature being routinely observed at many locations for decades, if not centuries is always greater than the dewpoint temperature. Thus these consistent observation constitute a scientific law, which fixes the minimum possible temperature of the diurnal temperature oscillation. Hence, the 14°F average temperature of the earth is a consequence of water vapor’s dewpoint and not its ability to absorb certain wavelengths beyond the visible. Then, Aug 25th I wrote to review what R. C. Sutcliffe, C. Donald Ahrens, and Richard Feynman had written about the possible interactions of radiation and clouds. To this point in time no one had replied about these Aug 25th comments. This reply is merely to draw your attention to them in hopes you might tell me what your take on this information is.

        Best wishes, Jerry

  5. MikeN says:

    He should make the left really go crazy and tell them that renewable energy causes global warming.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/images/main_image/carbongraphmain.png

    • Interesting plot. Obviously, the pause in warming is due to a pause in renewable energy use. So, you must be right. 🙂

      • MikeN says:

        I think the reverse is plausible, that an increase in temperature causes more renewable energy, as you have perhaps more sunlight and maybe more wind to use. However, I can’t seem to come up with a theory to the reverse, though it is plainly visible in the chart. Perhaps I should build a model.

  6. mpcraig says:

    I’ve discussed the strength of scientific theories with physicists and many feel that the second law of thermodynamics is the one most likely to never be falsified.

    There are a few others which are really strong but it drops off pretty fast. Where to you think the theory of CO2 warming lies? Actually, I’m not even sure of the exact climate theory which can be falsified?

    Perhaps the best description of the current “mainstream” climate theory is the equilibrium climate sensitivity is 3C +/- 1.5C (i.e. the same as it was for the Charney report in 1979). But then again, that’s not really a falsifiable theory. Sensitivity could be 1.5C and still “fit”.

    Maybe climate theory is the one most likely to never be falsified since it hasn’t been adequately defined.

    • your last point is a good one.

      • Richard Feynman said in 1964
        “You cannot prove a vague theory wrong…… If the process of computing the consequences is indefinite then with a little skill any experimental result can be made to look like the expected consequences.”

        Although, by the very nature of the subject matter, the GHG warming hypothesis will always be somewhat vague, but in over twenty years there has been little attempt to make it more precise. Or at least to remove some of the human biases in interpretation, such as setting quality standards for data analysis, and independent auditing of results.

  7. The fact is this past 100 years or so has been one of the more stable periods of climate going back 20000 years.

    One would think such stability would not be present if man were upsetting the climate system.
    Past history shows climate changes many times in magnitude greater then what took place last century.

  8. This shows if indeed man is having any effect on the climate it will be overwhelmed by natural causes.

    Don Easterbrook says:
    August 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

    A big problem with computer models is that the results depend not only on what assumptions you put into the model, but also what you don’t put in.
    Some major problems with this particular model include:
    1. “The rapid climate changes known in the scientific world as Dansgaard-Oeschger events were limited to a period of time from 110,000 to 23,000 years before present. The abrupt climate changes did not take place at the extreme low sea levels, corresponding to the time of maximum glaciation 20,000 years ago, nor at high sea levels such as those prevailing today – they occurred during periods of intermediate ice volume and intermediate sea levels.”
    This statement is dead wrong–both the oxygen isotope ratios and temperature curves from the GISP2 ice core show that the most sudden warming that brought the last Ice Age to a close occurred abruptly 15,000 years ago when ice sheets were at their maximum extent and sea level was at its lowest. The ice sheets had been at their late glacial maximums for several thousand years when, out of the blue, temperatures suddenly soared 13 C (23 F) in something like 100 years, causing wholesale melting of the ice sheets. Then, just as abruptly, temperatures turned around and cooled 10 C (18 F) by 14,000 years ago. Temperatures then fluctuated up and down( but not so intensely) at intermediate levels for about 1,000 years. 12,700 years ago, temperatures took another nosedive into the Younger Dryas cold period and remained at full glacial conditions for 1,000 years. During the Younger Dryas, temperatures repeatedly changed abruptly from cool to warm (the Dansgard-Oeschger events). 11,500 years ago, another great warming spike caused temperatures to soar 12 C (21 F) in about 100 years (at one point, around 20 degrees in 40 years), then continued warming at slower rates for a total warming of 17 C (30 F) from 11,700 to 10,000 years ago. (Keep in mind that these temperatures are for Greenland, not global, but they correlate very well with temperature conditions in the rest of the world). These abrupt, multiple, intense changes (back and forth) at full glacial conditions (not ‘intermediate’) hardly sound like changes caused by gradual changes in ocean/atmospheric conditions.
    2. All of the five most significant colder temperature changes that occurred during the past 500 years (the Little Ice Age) coincided with low sunspot intervals, lower total solar irradiance, lower solar magnetic flux, and increases in the production rates of beryllium-10 and carbon-14 (isotopes created in the upper atmosphere by increase in cosmic ray flux rates). These are not mere coincidences–such good correlation is not random chance, but must be due to cause-and-effect circumstances. None of this, of course, made it into the computer model simulations.

    There are other serious problems with the methodology in this paper, but the bottom line is that (1) their initial premise of changes occurring only during ‘intermediate’ glacial conditions is dead wrong, and (2) sunspot intervals, lower total solar irradiance, lower solar magnetic flux, and increases in the production rates of beryllium-10 and carbon-14 argue strongly for other factors not included in their models. Thus, their conclusions cannot be considered

  9. Doug says:

    Roy there can be absolutely no man-made component of warming due to carbon dioxide, because all radiating gases like that and water vapour help to produce lower surface temperatures when they reduce the temperature gradient in the troposphere, as is well known. The temperature plot rotates about a pivoting altitude and becomes lower at the surface end.

    The fact that water vapour cools can be verified from real world data in studies such as I have published and reproduced here months ago. You could do a similar study yourself, but it seems you don’t dare to face the fact that more moist regions have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.

    This one fact blows apart the whole James Hansen guesswork that radiation from such cooler gases in the troposphere can help the Sun to raise the temperature of the surface to observed values.

    The truth of the matter is that, especially in the case of the thin surface layer of the ocean, the small amount of radiation absorbed there is nowhere near the amount of radiation emitted by the surface of the ocean. The difference is supplied from the atmosphere by non-radiative processes resulting from the gravito-thermal effect.

    There are some well established laws of physics, Roy, such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You may well have received an “A” in thermodynamics, but you have not studied it intensely as I have and, more importantly, thought through the consequences, as did the brilliant 19th century physicist, Loschmidt who was first to estimate the size of air molecules. He understood how those molecules would be affected by gravity. The infant science of climatology has ignored him and put forward pseudo physics which is contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Fullstop.

    • RW says:

      “You could do a similar study yourself, but it seems you don’t dare to face the fact that more moist regions have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.”

      Everyone already knows this, Doug. The data is quite clear, as is the physics. Moreover, you cannot arbitrarily disentangle the effects of water vapor from clouds and vice versa.

      Evaporated water is not only a very strong source of surface cooling (via the latent heat of vaporization), but it is also fuel for cloud cover, where the data is unambiguous:

      http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ca.png

      The inflection point around 0C is where the net effect of increasing/decreasing clouds switches from cooling to warming and warming to cooling. That this inflection point is roughly where the surface reflectivity, due to the presence or not of snow and ice, is a clear indication why the net effect of clouds changes in response to a change in surface reflectivity. Above about 0C, the average net effect of clouds is to cool, i.e. more solar power is reflected than is delayed beneath the clouds, where as below about 0C, the average net effect of clouds is to warm, i.e. more solar energy is delayed beneath than is reflected away in total (due to the reflectivity of snow and ice being about the same as the clouds).

      http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_wc.png

      At approximately the same point that the clouds start to increase again (above 0C) in the prior above plot is also where increased water concentration in the above plot no longer results in further rise in temperature. The fundamental physical mechanism(s) behind this is beyond a certain temperature there is so much water being evaporated, removing so much heat from the surface (as the latent heat of evaporation), providing so much ‘fuel’ (i.e. water) for cloud formation, that the combination of cloud caused (from solar reflection) and evaporative caused cooling overwhelms any increase in atmospheric opacity from increased water vapor.

      Drier regions with less water vapor — well — have less water to evaporate and subsequently less fuel for cloud coverage; thus are warmer on average. This in no way invalidates the radiative GHE theory.

      • Doug says:

        Quoting myself: “more moist regions have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes.”

        Well it’s fine, RW, if you think everyone knows it. It seems you don’t know that water vapour is accused of causing over 80% of that assumed 33 degrees of warming. Try persuading James Hansen and his cronies that water vapour cools!

        Of course it can’t help the Sun warm the surface, and it never does.

        So, if you think you understand the physics, then you should be able to roughly quantify the effect of various percentages of water vapour.

        Don’t put you trust in evaporative cooling too much. By the time the rain is just about to enter the ocean again it is almost back to the temperature it was before it evaporated. Yep – the water cycle conserves energy, surprise, surprise.

        Sorry, but you’re not even close to understanding why all radiating molecules in any planetary troposphere lead to cooler surface temperatures, with or without oceans.

        • RW says:

          Doug,

          “It seems you don’t know that water vapour is accused of causing over 80% of that assumed 33 degrees of warming.”

          water vapor is the most numerous infrared absorber, thus it is the dominant gas that serves to elevate the surface temperature above what it would otherwise be without it. More water vapor by itself in the absence of clouds would result in warmer temperatures, but since clouds modulate the amount of solar energy that enters the system and the other GHGs don’t, the combined effect is less temperature elevation that would otherwise be if there were no clouds.

    • RW says:

      It’s important to note that this plot:

      http://www.palisad.com/co2/gf/st_ca.png

      does not establish causation in either direction. Rather it simply establishes that above about 0C, the more cloud covered surface there is — the cooler it is on average, and below about 0C, the more cloud covered surface there is — the warmer it is on average; and that this is independent of why average cloud coverage is what it is in a particular location. That is, the data in the plot does not establish a physical reason why average cloud coverage is what it is in a particular grid area, latitude or hemisphere. In both hemispheres, the average cloud coverage is highest in the higher latitudes. The reason why the plot is so significant is that the data points are composed of the total cloud amounts independent of the combination of cloud types that make up the amounts.

      These plots here are what establish causation for temperature changes to cloud changes (again 25 year averages from the same data set):

      http://www.palisad.com/co2/plots/wbg/nh/gain.png
      http://www.palisad.com/co2/plots/wbg/sh/gain.png

      Note how as the incoming solar energy increases, the cloud coverage increases, and as the incoming solar energy decreases, the cloud coverage decreases. Note how in both hemispheres the average surface temperature stays well above 0C. This suggests the fundamental mechanism that maintains the energy balance appears to be that, on global average, increasing cloud coverage causing cooling (more solar energy is reflected than is delayed) and decreasing cloud coverage causes warming (more solar energy is absorbed than exits to space). Or that on global average, when clouds are increasing, the surface is too warm and trying to cool, and when clouds are decreasing, the surface is too cool and trying to warm. That is, these counter balancing mechanisms dynamically maintain the energy balance.

      The advantage of this approach is the use of long term averages (multiple decades). This is because climate change is fundamentally a change in the average steady-state surface temperature of the system. The short term behavior and net effect of clouds and water vapor is largely chaotic and unpredictable, where as if you look at the long term averages, a clear pattern of net average behavior emerges. The idea is the plots provide the average net dynamics of clouds and water vapor, and which is what is applicable for how the average dynamics would change in response to climate change.

      BTW, this analysis of the data I’ve outlined is completely consistent with the results Lindzen is getting looking at tropical data (and then extrapolating to the poles) in his latest 2011 paper with Choi.

    • RW says:

      *BTW, for the satellite data plots, each small dot represents a monthly average for one grid area for a 2.5 degree slice of latitude. The green and blue dots are the 25 year averages for each 2.5 degree slice of latitude (1983-2008). From right to left, it goes from the tropics to the poles.

    • Cotton buster says:

      Your confinement in the home for the aged must be affecting your mind. I bet your nurse is teaching you thermodynamics while changing your diaper.

  10. Gunga Din says:

    Typical Media response to inconvenient facts, Twist and Shout!

  11. Noblesse Oblige says:

    If only the media’s lack of knowledge of science were its only shortcoming. In the J-schools the budding journalists are indoctrinated with all the agendas they carry forward into their careers (you ought to see what passes for a course on ethics). They are not trained in investigative techniques; fact checking is a lost art; and perhaps worst of all they are fatally lazy and incurious.

  12. rick says:

    Nobless Oblige says:

    “…budding journalists are indoctrinated…”

    A Marxist would say with a laugh – and be quite correct – “You asked for it!”, because of the fatal tendency in American Capitalism towards “Commodification”.

    That is to say, “News” is a “Product”, which implies an “Industry”, which calls for standard “Production Techniques”, which calls for a sub-industry in “Teaching said Techniques” which calls for a sub-sub-industry called “Making the Approved Teachers”…and in the end the Consumer doesn’t know how “his sausage is made”.

    His sausage is really made by Academia.

    “Science” is another idea which has been “Commodified” and is also made in Academia. Naturally, Media supports AGW because that is just another product of the same conglomerate.

    And the Marxist would laugh again, and say “Monopoly Capitalism!”. But it isn’t a monopoly to make profits for the owners of physical capital but to make money for the owners of human capital. After all, the owner of that diploma has invested twenty years of sitting on his bum listening to droning fools, and $500,000 of his parents’ money, to get it. He wants a fat return.

    The owner of the intellectual capital also wants to think he is part of the solution when he is actually part of the problem. And the Marxist would have the last words : “False Consciousness!”.

    • rick says:

      “…invested…$500,000 of his parents’ money…”

      Some of it is going to pay for fake essays – even up to the ph.d. level. It is another sub-sub-sub…service industry.

  13. rick says:

    “…budding journalists are indoctrinated…”

    A further comment, from the time when Academia was entering its growth spurt:

    “The struggle for mastery of the schools is no temporary feud, but an unending battle.”

    Sir Patrick Geddes, 1904.

  14. Scientific “proof” is not a binary thing as it is in mathematics. It can be said to have been achieved when overwhelming evidence confirms a theory so strongly that it’s rational to act accordingly. E.g., tests that have proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

    In that case, Scott Brown is still correct to say no even by your own interpretation of what constitutes scientific proof, because as Roy has amply shown in his excellent blog, the evidence is anything but overwhelming.

    The models are the evidence, and the models, for lack of a better term, are a crock of shit.

    • Fonzarelli says:

      “…crock of shit”

      Nice to see you,”hot potato”! Looking forward to reading your ever so eloquent comments…

  15. No doubt we’ll hear soon enough ISIS/IS/ISIL is targeting Warmistas as part of their recruiting efforts.

    The surest way to prevent further warming, even though according to their crock of shit theory it’s well past that point, is to bring down Western civilization and ISIS/IS/ISIL provides that pathway.

    My tongue is just barely in my cheek with this statement. Everything’s satire now.

  16. Kristian says:

    Roy, you say:

    “The “flip” is because Brown had previously (in 2012) said that climate change was “a combination between man-made and natural” in origin.

    And that statement, too, is correct. As a climate researcher, I also believe it is some (unknown) combination. But there is no way to “prove” it.”

    Then how is Brown’s statement ‘correct’?

    If he says (without caveats or qualifications) that climate change is the result of a combination between man-made and natural factors and you simply believe that there is in fact some such combination, but that this is both unknown and unprovable, then how can what appears to be a factual statement about it be correct?

    There is not a shred of empirical evidence anywhere in the real world that there exists an anthropogenic contribution to climate change at all.

    • Fonzarelli says:

      Kristian, as far as I know, Dr. Spencer’s proof of an anthropogenic contribution lies in the carbon satellite data. It measures the different levels of radiation (at the “bands” of co2) that reach the satellite to determine carbon levels around the world. Paraphrasing the good doctor here; it would be difficult to imagine a scenario where the retention of some radiation by co2 doesn’t cause some warming…

      • Kristian says:

        Retention of some radiation!?

        How do you picture this radiation to be ‘retained’ by more CO2 in the atmosphere?

        This is not what those ‘carbon satellites’ are showing. It is simply one of the many fairy tales told by ‘Climate ScienceTM’ which people walk around believing to be true.

        • Fonzarelli says:

          Then what are the “carbon satellites” showing?

          • Kristian says:

            That Earth’s radiation to space is apparently not emitted through the 15μm band. That doesn’t mean the energy is somehow ‘trapped’ inside the atmosphere, unable to get out in any other way.

            What did you think they show? That the ‘CO2 bite’ is direct ‘proof’ that more CO2 in the atmosphere MUST make the surface of the Earth warmer?

          • Fonzarelli says:

            Kristian, if you could articulate your case a little better that would be nice… I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around what you’re getting at. (i’m not exactly the brightest bulb on the tree) I really want to understand your point as I really like dr spencer’s argument but also want to hear (and understand) any counter arguments. Thanks much…

          • Kristian says:

            Fonzarelli says, August 28, 2014 at 11:54 AM:

            “Kristian, if you could articulate your case a little better that would be nice… I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around what you’re getting at.”

            OK. If you take a look at his diagram:

            http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/co2-absorption/nimbus-satellite-emissions-infra-red-earth-petty-6-6.jpg

            you will see what it’s all about.

            CO2 blocks the 15μm band so tightly, meaning it absorbs so completely within that wavelength, that hardly any IR-radiation being emitted from the surface or from inside the troposphere within that band is able to escape to space before it’s reabsorbed. Only at and above the tropopause will this happen. This is why CO2’s effective contribution to Earth’s total IR flux to space comes from the uppermost part of the troposphere.

            WV, on the other hand, is not such a complete absorber, but instead absorbs and emits across a much wider spectrum of wavelengths than CO2. So some IR from within those bands are always able to escape to space even from the lower parts of the troposphere, although most even here is emitted from the upper parts.

            So when we see that Earth’s IR to space is emitted up through the entire tropospheric column, this is from WV and clouds and the bands that they cover, NOT from CO2.

            So I should rephrase my statement from my last comment: “That Earth’s radiation to space is apparently not emitted through the 15μm band.”

            It is, but essentially only from tropopause height. Most of Earth’s total IR flux to space is emitted directly from the surface or from H2O (WV, cloud tops) all the way up through the tropospheric column, mainly from the upper part.

            However, it’s the convective processes from the surface that determine how much energy that is ultimately to be radiated to space. It’s got nothing to do with the temperature of the specific air layer that’s going to radiate it, as the ‘climate estbalishment’ want us to believe. If convection brings less energy up, then less IR will be emitted to space. And vice versa. It’s that simple. We see this very clearly in the OLR data. For instance, warm ENSO events bring lots of deep moist convection, humidifying and warming the troposphere. And OLR through the ToA shoots up. Cool ENSO events hold convection back, the troposphere dries and cools. And the OLR drops.

            What controls total OLR through the ToA on Earth is basically the water cycle’s response to surface processes, mainly ENSO. OLR is very much correlated to the ENSO process and responds specifically to 1) surface temps, 2) tropospheric temps and humidity, and 3) cloud cover.

            There is no observational evidence whatsoever from the real world that more CO2 in the atmosphere could and does raise a postulated ‘effective emission height’ in the troposphere. The tropopause will lift if the troposphere warms. And with a warming troposphere, MORE IR will be emitted to space, not less. This is what we see in the OLR data over the last 30+ years.

            What we DON’T see anywhere in the data is the tropopause lifting FIRST and THEN the troposphere warms. The causal chain moves UP, not DOWN.

          • Kristian says:

            Kristian says, August 30, 2014 at 8:19 AM:

            “OK. If you take a look at his diagram:”

            Oops, should be “THIS diagram.”

  17. Doug is so WRONG in what he is trying to convey.

  18. Abstract

    The three evidences of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that the apparent contemporary atmospheric CO2 increase is anthropogenic, is discussed and rejected: CO2 measurements from ice cores; CO2 measurements in air; and carbon isotope data in conjunction with carbon cycle modelling.

    It is shown why the ice core method and its results must be rejected; and that current air CO2 measurements are not validated and their results subjectively “edited”. Further it is shown that carbon cycle modelling based on non-equilibrium models, remote from observed reality and chemical laws, made to fit non-representative data through the use of non-linear ocean evasion “buffer” correction factors constructed from a pre-conceived idea, constitute a circular argument and with no scientific validity.

    Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%. Any CO2 level rise beyond this can only come from a much larger, but natural, carbon reservoir with much higher 13-C/12-C isotope ratio than that of the fossil fuel pool, namely from the ocean, and/or the lithosphere, and/or the Earth’s interior.

    The apparent annual atmospheric CO2 level increase, postulated to be anthropogenic, would constitute only some 0.2% of the total annual amount of CO2 exchanged naturally between the atmosphere and the ocean plus other natural sources and sinks. It is more probable that such a small ripple in the annual natural flow of CO2 would be caused by natural fluctuations of geophysical processes.

    13-C/12-C isotope mass balance calculations show that IPCC’s atmospheric residence time of 50-200 years make the atmosphere too light (50% of its current CO2 mass) to fit its measured 13-C/12-C isotope ratio. This proves why IPCC’s wrong model creates its artificial 50% “missing sink”. IPCC’s 50% inexplicable “missing sink” of about 3 giga-tonnes carbon annually should have led all governments to reject IPCC’s model. When such rejection has not yet occurred, it beautifully shows the result of the “scare-them-to-death” influence principle.

    IPCC’s “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma rests on invalid presumptions and a rejectable non-realistic carbon cycle modelling which simply refutes reality, like the existence of carbonated beer or soda “pop” as we know it.

  19. rick says:

    “…’scare them to death’…”

    Some people might remember a character in one of the novels of Charles Dickens, namely a fat “potboy” (“bus-boy” in America). The lad was very fond of passing on dismaying gossip, with the introduction, “Gents! I intend to freeze ya blood!”.

  20. Frank K. says:

    Two points:

    (1) I live in New Hampshire
    (2) I will be voting for Scott Brown (and not because of his views on “global warming” and “climate change”).

  21. Nabil says:

    “Brown’s answer to the question was “no”. And that is correct. There is no way to prove that our addition of 1 molecule of CO2 to each 10,000 molecules of atmosphere over the last 100 years has had any measurable influence (there are no fingerprints of human-caused versus natural warming).”

    As a matter of fact there is mathematical proof. Just go to my website. The effect of the 1 molecule to each 10,000 molecules of atmosphere is amplified by time and sheer size of the atmosphere.

  22. D o u g  says:

    It is not back radiation – it is the gravito-thermal effect which increases the temperature by creating a temperature gradient that is then reduced by about a third by intermolecular radiation between water vapour molecules and some carbon dioxide molecules.

    My hypothesis works on all planets with significant atmospheres. Nothing else can explain the temperature at the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere. There’s no water vapour there my friend and no direct solar radiation, but it’s hotter than Earth’s surface and nearly 30 times further from the Sun.

    Now go away, read my book and then, if you understand it, you will be able to explain how the necessary energy gets into the surface of Venus to cause its temperature to rise when the Sun is shining.

    Radiation from anything in a colder atmosphere cannot help the Sun’s radiation to raise the temperature of Earth’s surface. Read my peer-reviewed paper as you don’t understand radiative heat transfer either.

    The radiation of 161W/m^2 striking Earth’s thin ocean surface mostly passes right through it as it would through a pane of glass. It cannot possibly warm it to the observed temperatures. The back radiation does not penetrate more than a few nanometres, so neither can it warm the thin surface layer of the oceans. It’s like on Venus – all the radiation reaching the surface cannot explain its temperature.

    Over to you Roy and anyone to respond.

  23. Glenno says:

    RW, what do you mean we don’t know? We have a very strong understanding based on overwhelming evidence in many disparate scientific fields.

  24. Glenno says:

    No, you’re incorrect about the evidence and our level of confidence, Dr. Spencer.

  25. Glenno says:

    It’s not scientific to let one’s political views blind oneself to solid data and dispassionate rational assessment thereof. I’m interested in science, period, wherever it leads. That’s perhaps where we differ.

  26. Glenno says:

    Oh… you’re also a Creationist? Never mind, I’m so sorry. I thought this was a science blog.

  27. Glenno not sure what you attempted there but to the casual reader you come off as rather unhinged.

  28. Doug Griggs says:

    Dear Dr. Spencer. I would greatly appreciate it if you could update the graph you published either in late 2008 or 2009 on the levels and values of the PDO. What has been happening during the previous 6 years? If I had to bet, I would bet that it has been in negative “territory” more than positive territory. Thanks.

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