the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Kicking Puppies

Posted by Jeff Id on January 5, 2011

Recently at WUWT, I made a post on a thought experiment about the greenhouse effect.  It was fun IMO, despite less than optimal wording. People got to vote on a couple of different situations which help them sort the reasons that ‘greenhouse’ is a misnomer.  Well of course in the wild blue of the internet, you can pick up some interesting folk.  I picked up someone who calls himself Will who has been explaining how fooled and dishonest people are who describe the AGW greenhouse effect.  The thread is linked here if you’re interested in the complete history.  Will is of the opinion that AGW is completely impossible, it’s not that far from my own except that I say it’s a real effect of unknown magnitude.  Ok, so it is opposite.

Anyway, the dialog continued until even Anthony got tired of it.  Sorry Anthony but I’m dogged if nothing else.  It ended like this:

Will,

You are the Cliff Claven of WUWT. :)

To which he replied:

I have presented a sound logical argument as to why the “Greenhouse Effect” is bogus. I have given data backed by real replicable experiments.

Followed by:

I’ll tell you what Will, who is so certain he’s proved science wrong. If you like, I’ll do a post on your spinonthat page linked above that got the approval of your friend. If I can’t find 10 distinct errors in the single post, I’ll apologize for comparing you to Cliff Claven.

I didn’t know if he would reply but boy did he let ‘er rip.

You, do a post on my Diurnal Bulge paper? Ha! Boy you got some ego I’ll give you that.

and:

10 distinct errors? In your dreams.

Hmm.

Here’s the post in which I will attempt to locate 10 errors.

Error #1

C) That re-emitted IR from the ground inside the greenhouse is the only mechanism responsible for raising the temperature of the air inside a greenhouse.

Greenhouse air temp increases primarily  by reduction in convection, evaporation and conduction which are much greater effects than IR emission.  No AGW supporting scientist claims otherwise.

Error #2

When a photon of light collides with an air molecule, it’s direction of travel will be randomly altered. This has the effect of reducing the overall watts/m2 reaching the ground because the collision between the molecule of air and the photon of light not only has the potential to alter the direction the photon is traveling, but the molecules also absorb some of that energy from the photon which causes the gas molecule to vibrate and become heated. The energy of the light photon is then somewhat diminished.

Most air molecules vibrate electrically with most  photons in a collision and the photon is transmitted unimpeded or refracted.  Others absorb and re-emit them in random directions with the photon having exactly the same magnitude as absorbed.  Most others which have absorbed the photon collide and trasmit the energy through mechanical mechanisms that reduce the energy of the molecule which may at some point in the future give up a lower energy photon.

Error #3

Low powered long wave radiant heat transfer from two dimensional surfaces to three dimensional gases via conduction requires plenty of air movement because heat can only be transmitted to the first few millimeters of adjacent air conductively before convection occurs.
This process is a very slow and inefficient form of energy transfer.

Conduction is many times more efficient than radiation.  And conduction is completely unreliant on IR to happen.  It is a physical process by which molecules in contact with each other pick up their momentum.  This statement like so many in his blog is completely scientifically unintelligable.

Error #3.1

Conduction in this respect then is a consequence of radiation.

What?

Error #4

If the atmosphere was really transparent to incoming electromagnetic radiation, as is claimed, then among other things, all shadows would actually appear black.

Nobody, and I mean nobody but Will, ever claimed that the atmosphere was perfectly transparent to EM radiation (light).

Error #5

The fact that shadows have a full spectrum of colour proves that the atmosphere diffuses the full spectrum of visible incoming electromagnetic energy.

Shadows on both clear and cloudless days don’t have the full spectrum of incoming electromagnetic energy.

Error #6

Diffusion of incoming electromagnetic energy is in-fact absorption and re-emission. In order for air to diffuse light, air molecules must absorb the light photons and then re-emit those photons in random directions.

Diffusion is caused by many things other than absorption including diffraction, transparent particulate transmission and refraction.

Error #7

The argument from the AGW fraudsters is that O2 and N2 are “IR inactive”, or in other words that these two gases are transparent to infra-red.

Nobody argues that other components of the atmosphere are transparent to IR.  Link for O2..Link for N2. Does that count for two?

Error #8

If atmospheric O2 and N2 really were “IR inactive”, as some have claimed, neither would be able to obtain enough energy to become gases in the first place.

Conduction is perfectly capable of heating molecules without IR.

Error #9

One of the main problems with such a claim is that most of the Earths surface is covered with oceans which mostly remove energy from the atmosphere by conduction. There aren’t many regions on Earth where you can swim in the sea to get warm for example, which indicates that the atmosphere at most locations on Earth, is usually warmer than the oceans.

While I’m no proponent of AGW, he’s right that conduction is another method of heat transfer.  However,  claiming the oceans primarily remove energy because that’s a cold place to swim is a bit wild.  If the oceans only removed energy, wouldn’t they get hot?  Weird science but if you want to find some alternative unexplained energy transport which only goes from ocean to land – let me know.

Error #10

Finally when the atmosphere transmits energy to space, it does so at the speed of light in the form of infra-red radiation as opposed to the much slower process of conductive heat transfer from the Earths surface.

Anyone who has studied thermo knows that conduction is a far more efficient and quick removal of heat than radiation.

Error #11

Therefore it is not possible that 99% of the atmosphere (O2 and N2) is heated slowly via conduction by less than 30% of the Earths two dimensional surface.  This process could never keep pace with the energy being emitted by 100% of the much larger three dimensional surface, emitting energy at the speed of light.

It is entirely possible to heat the atmosphere by conduction in this situation – and the conclusion that the land must create all of the heating is false.  The speed of light is irrelevant — and funny!! :D

Error #12

This is a critical point and worth reiterating. It is claimed that a greenhouse works because glass is opaque to infrared and blocks it in both directions

Greenhouses work by blocking convection and evaporation, the IR is a minor subtlety to be optimized at the owners convenience.

Error #13

So the opacity of glass is crucial and even central, to the “Greenhouse Effect” hypothesis.

Moot.

Error #14

These two photographs prove conclusively that glass is not opaque to infra-red radiation, as is required by the “Greenhouse Effect” hypothesis.

LED’s used in the camera image emit in near infrared. 8 50-950 being fairly common.  Glass is opaque to longer wavelength IR.  The most transmissive glasses reflect 4% per surface so that there will always be a shadow.

Here

Here

Endless other examples left to the reader.

Error #15

Proof that glass is not as transparent as it looks and yet, not as opaque to IR as is claimed.

This demonstration provides no evidence about the claimed transmission of glass.

Error #16

The fallacious claim that glass is opaque to IR is not just a sloppy mistake, it is a 150 year old brazen lie.

Proof that I’m wasting my time — be good to me Kenneth!

Error #17

The implications are very serious because without this false opacity of glass to infra-red radiation, the so called “Greenhouse Effect” attributed to greenhouses is false.

The effects and assumed consequences are completely unrelated.

Error #18

Much of the energy absorbed by the leaves of the plants themselves, is utilised by the plants for photosynthesis.

Under 3 percent of the energy absorbed by the leaves is used.  Even I can use a spell checker.

Error 19 — I’m really tired.

The fallacy in this logic is of course that when energy is lost it has a cooling effect not a warming effect. But the AGW logic has flipped reality upside-down so that atmospheric warming is caused by the energy being lost to space which is really in actual fact, cooling.

Yes yes yes, except that a bottleneck in cooling causes ‘warming’.

Error #20

The most obvious clue that this graph is fraudulent is the fact that the incoming and outgoing energy have been set as equal or balanced. This is not a true energy budget of the Earth at all.

Nope, the miniscule energy locked into molecules has no measurable effect on temp.  It is a constant subtraction of heat energy.  That supresses temp slightly — slightly being insanely small.  Were the energy in the graph imbalanced, we would have continued heating/cooling.   Two errors agian?

Error #21

In the official bogus “Greenhouse” theory with the “opaque to IR” glass, there is no stated mechanism by which a greenhouse can achieve equilibrium because as long as there is daylight, the ground will absorb SW energy and re-emit that as LW energy and the “greenhouse gases” will continue to absorb.

Complete exhaustion ensues.  I skimmed the monster post before and didn’t realize how crazy it was.  No comment.

Error #22 – the experiment

Two bottles behind a IR absorbing window ….

Error #23

Same image,

Two bottles behind an IR absorbing plastic.

Error #24

Two bottles who’s inner surfaces are covered with IR absorbing water

Error #25

Two bottles trying to detect a temperature change from an already absorbed and non existent photon with a mean path length of several meters having a mean gas crossection of a few centimeters.  Probability of gas capturing any given IR photon — not very big.

Just why did he put the bottles in the window?

Error #26

Again, clearly the reason that the “Greenhouse Effect” has yet to be demonstrated with such a simple experiment is because it is false.

AGW would predict thousandths of a degree of difference yet he uses sticker fish tank thermometers.  Hopefully, he works at a sticker fish tank thermometer company and got them for free.

I skipped at least a dozen examples of complete scientific illiteracy but that should be enough to give me my 10.

Dr. Lightening!

Sorry again Kenneth, sometimes you gotta tell the slow that they are slow.

End vent


28 Responses to “Kicking Puppies”

  1. Anthony Watts said

    Serious pwnage

  2. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,

    I am always amazed that you (or anybody!) would spend the considerable time needed to refute a series of obviously nonsensical claims (the ‘pronouncements of a lunatic’ seems a good description in this case).

    My personal preference is to ignore those who are either deranged or unwilling to learn (and sadly the two seem, at least at blogs, strongly correlated). If it is obvious they are nuts, why bother? Why would you bother wasting time on a crazy… it is not like you are ever going to ‘save them’ from their nuttiness.

  3. Jeff Id said

    Steve,

    Well he insinuated that I was dishonest!

    hehe

  4. Mark T said

    Where did this guy get the idea that a photon can hand off part of its energy? An in-flight frquency change would be a cool thing to witness.
    Mark

  5. Carrick said

    People need a dose of reality therapy once and a while, and Jeff was willing to provide it. Will “Craven” certainly asked for it… and he got his money worth here.

    Just another 10 percent’er thinking he’s in the 90% percentile range.

    That’s apparently an epidemic these days.

    Steve I don’t see anything wrong with looking at bad science and criticizing it. First of all, it alerts others who have no technical background that this person is similarly clueless. Secondly, it provides a foil for looking at what really is interesting to look at. T

    Remember, there are no dumb questions, just dumb people. (Just kidding.)

  6. Ben said

    I think you’ve got your ten, but your statement of error #2 is wrong.

    @ Mark T: It’s called the doppler effect. A photon reflected off a moving object (or absorbed and instantanously re-emmitted in a different direction) will have a different wavelength and hence a different energy.

    Since the photon is emitted in a different direction, it’s momentum has changed. (Photons have momentum, by the way). Conservation of momentum will tell you that the atom has picked up a corresponding change in momentum. On average this will increase the kinetic energy of the atom. On average then the emitted photon will be slightly lower in energy. Not by much, mind, and on average.

    It depends: If the atom was moving in the same direction as the photon, it will pick up more energy. If it was still or moving at right angles it will pick up a truly tiny amount of energy. If it was moving towards the origin of the photon it will actually lose energy and impart it to the photon. (Essentially, the doppler effect red/blue shift due to the movement of the atom, imparts exactly the right change in energy to the photon that the momentum change of the atom implies in it’s own kinetic energy).

    On average though, it will lose energy.

  7. steveta_uk said

    “The energy of the light photon is then somewhat diminished.”

    Must have slowed down a bit.

    “Conduction is many times more efficient than radiation… It is a physical process by which molecules in contact with each other pick up their momentum.”

    But atoms don’t really touch, so virtual photon exchange must be the mechanism for conduction, so he’s right (for completely the wrong reason).

    “There aren’t many regions on Earth where you can swim in the sea to get warm for example, which indicates that the atmosphere at most locations on Earth, is usually warmer than the oceans.”

    Utter bollocks – I’ve often swam in a heated pool at 70F then warmed up in air at 65F. It’s nothing to do with relative temps.

  8. mrpkw said

    WOW !!!
    There needs to be a category above “Cliff Claven” for Will !!

    Great work Jeff

  9. IsItTheSamePhoton said

    Mark T said ..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compton_scattering

  10. M. Simon said

    Well he insinuated that I was dishonest!

    That happened to me once on a board I moderate. My smack down was simpler:

    “I may be mistaken (it happens far too often) but lying is not my style. I will not stand for being called a liar.”

    I actually got an apology.

  11. None said

    “C) That re-emitted IR from the ground inside the greenhouse is the only mechanism responsible for raising the temperature of the air inside a greenhouse.

    Greenhouse air temp increases primarily by reduction in convection, evaporation and conduction which are much greater effects than IR emission. No AGW supporting scientist claims otherwise.”

    On the time honoured charge of not reading what is written, but what you think is being said, you are wrong on this.

    The air temp increases for the reason he states. It DOES NOT COOL for the reason you state. Convection is a cooling mechanism. The heat is being introduced by the IR, the heat is not dissipating (as rapidly) due to the reduced convection.

  12. Mark T said

    Compton scattering: Xrays and gamma rays, not IR.
    Mark

  13. kuhnkat said

    “Most others which have absorbed the photon collide and trasmit the energy through mechanical mechanisms that reduce the energy of the molecule which may at some point in the future give up a lower energy photon.”

    I am asking for clarification. I have read several statements elsewhere which flatly stste that all photons have the same quanta of energy. Please explain the lower energy photon if you have time??

  14. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: kuhnkat (Jan 6 17:49),

    I have read several statements elsewhere which flatly stste that all photons have the same quanta of energy.

    If that were true then all photons would have the same frequency and wavelength. But it’s not.

    E = hν , where E is the photon energy, h is Planck’s constant and ν is the photon frequency.

    λ = c/ν , where λ is the photon wavelength and c is the speed of light.

  15. IsItTheSamePhoton said

    Re: Mark T (Jan 6 17:38),

    Compton scattering: Xrays and gamma rays, not IR.
    Mark

    Agreed but a photon is a photon. Obviously not a relevant effect, but your statement was broad.

  16. stevenmosher said

    that’ll leave a mark

    I suppose somewhere people are taking note that JeffId audits skeptics.

  17. Jeff Id said

    I’m not winning too many popularity contests, but the dude was loud and wrong. Not a good combo.

  18. John M said

    “…the dude was loud and wrong”

    …but never uncertain.

  19. Harold said

    If photon transmission always led to faster moving molecules/atoms, it would be impossible to use lasers to cool atoms close to 0 degrees K, which has been routinely done experimentally. I agree the guy’s thinking is incredibly confused.

  20. lucia said

    This one is my favorite:

    Error #3.1

    Conduction in this respect then is a consequence of radiation.

    What?

  21. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,

    I read over the referenced exchange. He does appear to be totally disconnected from reality. As with all disconnected bloggers, he has not a clue about even the most basic of scientific concepts, and is 100% immune to reason, logic, and even data. The exchange was at least a bit amusing… I had to smile as Jeff was trying to remain calm, all the while Will becoming more and more shrill with each post.

    I did much the same at WUWT exactly twice, once on CO2 increases in the atmosphere, once on the possibility of GHG driven warming. The utter lack of progress with the shrill known-nothings, despite my best efforts to give calm and reasoned explanations, cured me.

  22. Mark T said

    Yes, it was, and should have been narrower. I did know of the effect (somewhat, not in detail) but it did not occur to me at the time I posted.
    Mark

  23. Carrick said

    IsItTheSamePhoton, bottom line is the Compton effect is irrelevant here, by many orders of magnitude.

    It’s a bit like worrying about the relativistic mass of a moving car when trying to improve the gas efficiency of your car.

    The statement made above that you can get a doppler shift in the back-scattered light is a true one.

    Doppler LIDAR uses this technique to measure the vertical wind profile (and it typically uses IR wavelengths so it’s apropos to the discussion). They tend to be very high-end in cost, so our group usually sticks with SODAR, which is a less expensive, albeit not as versatile, remote sensing technology.

  24. steveta_uk said

    Carrick, when the cop’s issue you with a radar generated speeding ticket, can’t you argue that due to impact of the radar, with a bit of uncertainty principle thrown in, they cannot know the actual speed without the effects of the radar itself?

  25. IsItTheSamePhoton said

    Re: Carrick (Jan 7 03:12),

    Completely agree — I was not trying to be difficult. Just get things right.

  26. kuhnkat said

    Thank you DeWitt.

    Probably my misunderstanding of the source. If it is the same frequency it would be the same energy.

  27. Mark T said

    Steveta_uk: the Doppler effect from a reflected LIDAR (or any other EM source) signal is known well enough that the “error” is insignificant compared to the resolution desired. There are many other problems associated with such radar sytems that are beyond the scope of this post, but I figured this point was worth mentioning.
    Mark

  28. stevenmosher said

    steveta_uk said
    January 7, 2011 at 7:16 am | Reply w/ Link

    Carrick, when the cop’s issue you with a radar generated speeding ticket, can’t you argue that due to impact of the radar, with a bit of uncertainty principle thrown in, they cannot know the actual speed without the effects of the radar itself?

    ###
    well you can argue a calibration issue, but as mark T notes the velocity error is well known. You are better off trying to do some ECM on the cops radar, maybe something akin to VGPO (velocity gate pull off) . You could for example jam it with a very powerful signal at around 100mph ( which is a typical interference signal given off by powerlines.. so I’m told)

    Sounds like a mythbusters episode

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