Posted by Jeff Id on May 25, 2011
Bart Verheggen left a link to atmospheric sciences student Chris Colose’s reply to Dr. Happer’s article featured at WUWT and here. The article is titled ‘Even Princeton Makes Mistakes’ which is certainly true. This is all Bart had to say on the matter:
I’m sure most here won’t appreciate the post, but Chris Colose over at SkS disagrees with Happer:
It was published at ‘skeptical science’, a blog skeptical of anything which doesn’t support leftist science – a form of politically motivated science which has invaded our universities (like Princeton and UEA) in replacement for ‘actual’ science. Ya know, save the planet by growing your own vegetables, riding bikes and building wind farms. That sort of thing.
It is an ironic post to say the least as it critiques the lack of content of of Happer’s excellent and well written article The Truth about Greenhouse Gasses, while providing little content of its own. You have to wonder what they are teaching in college these days. I’m certain from the papers I’ve run across, that math is not heavy enough in the atmospheric sciences department. Still, in an ever expanding effort to tell us how to live and what to think, the head in the sand opinions keep coming. Chris though likes to take his shots where he can:
In the case of many of the more prominent global warming skeptics who have actual publishing experience, much of what they say on the internet is done precisely because it would never get accepted into a journal document.
It makes you wonder the purpose of Real Cliamte, Climate Progress and all the wild assed leftist climate blogs which do nothing but spout spoon fed conclusions without critique or even consideration of anything other than the source. Do they publish on line just because it can’t be published also? Chris has this to add:
Just who is William Happer to someone who doesn’t really care much? Well, he is “the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University”, which probably makes him correct concerning a lot of physical phenomena he chooses to talk about. But then you come across an article such as this (which was then reproduced at Watts Up With That, presumably for the sole reason that it is a disinformation piece).
Well the left does enjoy giving power and trust to authority, however I really don’t care if William Happer is king of the world, I make my own decisions and from his article, I find little or nothing to disagree with. It is simply reason in the face of an insane world whereas rational scientific thought is being actively suppressed in response to proper skepticism. Recall James Annon’s head in the sand comments about models not running higher than trends by an obviusly huge margin (and the fact that people such as myself don’t get it). It is obvious that climate models have overestimated the amount of warming, yet no admission or updates are forthcoming. Those admissions reduce the alleged potential for disasters and therefore the funding, so simply say the opposite until everyone on Earth realizes it really isn’t ten degrees warmer than before outside..
They have stated their positions and will not back down. The paleo proxies are bad data. You can’t even trust the ice cores for temperature. I wish you could, but the data is uncalibrated something, it is not clean temperature. That doesn’t stop the conclusions in climate science though. We don’t know temperature history from proxies, we don’t have a true clue. Yet that isn’t what the IPCC will tell you. The reasoning for declarations of historic knowledge become clear when you consider the ‘warmest ever’ mantra we contend with. Instead of that kind of ‘science’ Happer writes paragraphs like this:
The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.
Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.
The reality is that this is science and fact, nothing more or less. Chris the annointed, responds in his post with this:
This would, of course, be a perfectly valid counter-argument to would-be fallacious reasoning, yet it isn’t the reasoning any real scientist uses, and is therefore a smokescreen. Naturally, the WUWT crowd has eaten it up without thinking twice. The causative mechanism is the underlying radiative physics of how a CO2 molecule interacts with infrared light, and also a wide variety of indirect signatures of climate change induced by agents acting on the longwave part of the spectrum, such as stratospheric cooling or the radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.
Of course that missing tropical hotspot that just won’t materialize disturbs this future climate alarmist’s thoughts not one bit. He knows that it will come, just because the data doesn’t show it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.
Chris also writes:
There’s a whole list of other quick talking points about climategate, the hockey stick, etc that readers here will be well familiar with. What is most surprising to me is that a distinguished physicist apparently has no original thoughts on the matter.
No original thoughts caught my attention. What more is there to say, climate scientists gamed the system in cliamtegate (bearing out sections of the Wegman report) and the hockeystick graphs are the ugliest combinations of bad math and data that I have ever witnessed. It left me wondering, what is Happer supposed to write? Not that it would have changed Chris’s already decided head one bit.
Happer did point out a lot of sore spots in the consensus duma community which I’m sure sting a little to read.
A rare case of good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature is provided by ice-core records of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods of the last million years of so. But these records show that changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that the levels were an effect of temperature changes. This was probably due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans and the reverse effect when they cooled.
BTW, this makes a hell of a lot more sense than the hand waiving exercise climate scientists go through in their own efforts to explain away the observed reversal of time-space causation.
Happer makes a number of good observations in the next couple of paragraphs, although a couple of his possible explanations for observed warming are off base IMHO, many are quite plausible.
The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period). The message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. The other factors are not well understood. Plausible candidates are spontaneous variations of the complicated fluid flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere of the earth—perhaps influenced by continental drift, volcanoes, variations of the earth’s orbital parameters (ellipticity, spin-axis orientation, etc.), asteroid and comet impacts, variations in the sun’s output (not only the visible radiation but the amount of ultraviolet light, and the solar wind with its magnetic field), variations in cosmic rays leading to variations in cloud cover, and other causes.
The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period were an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment, because they showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning fossil fuel. The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate change crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record.
Still though, it doesn’t stop Chris from writing his own opinions:
Happer’s reasoning is well out of line throughout his entire article, yet that doesn’t stop a Princeton physicist from declaring with such confidence that this CO2-induced global warming thing is all a sham. Throughout the article he shows his unambiguous mission to confuse the reader, and his own ignorance concerning the physics of climate. He makes a number of serious accusations against a very large community, something which if unfounded (as it is surely is) should ruin the reputation of any serious scientist. Indeed, for me at least, it has. It is possible his own area of research is so far removed from climate that none of his colleagues will bother to care.
The only accusations I read by Happer were toward the climategate emails which were quite accurately described by Happer. If Chris Coloese is making the statement that climategate scientists were not directly involved in the manipulation of data, hiding of results, clipping of temperature graphs, all to make the appearance of global warming ‘science’ more certain, then he is promoting propaganda before truth. Truth is truth and these leftist to a man climate students seem to take courses in lying with a straight face. They know after cliamtegate that any insane thing they write or say will be backed by the fully committed on-board media, all their peers and no harm can come to them no matter which data they manipulate or which lies they tell about it.
I’ll finish with a couple of paragraphs from Happers work which are far more enjoyable to read. A little sanity for an ever-more-corrupted climate community.
Let me summarize how the key issues appear to me, a working scientist with a better background than most in the physics of climate. CO2 really is a greenhouse gas and other things being equal, adding the gas to the atmosphere by burning coal, oil, and natural gas will modestly increase the surface temperature of the earth. Other things being equal, doubling the CO2 concentration, from our current 390 ppm to 780 ppm will directly cause about 1 degree Celsius in warming. At the current rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere—about 2 ppm per year—it would take about 195 years to achieve this doubling. The combination of a slightly warmer earth and more CO2 will greatly increase the production of food, wood, fiber, and other products by green plants, so the increase will be good for the planet, and will easily outweigh any negative effects. Supposed calamities like the accelerated rise of sea level, ocean acidification, more extreme climate, tropical diseases near the poles, and so on are greatly exaggerated.
“Mitigation” and control efforts that have been proposed will enrich a favored few with good political ties—at the expense of the great majority of mankind, including especially the poor and the citizens of developing nations. These efforts will make almost no change in earth’s temperature. Spain’s recent experiment with green energy destroyed several pre-existing jobs for every green job it created, and it nearly brought the country to bankruptcy.
What a crazy world.