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Archive for May, 2013

A Real Challenge to PSI

Posted by Jeff Id on May 31, 2013

This is awesome, the wife is downstairs watching a movie, I’ve finished my work and have a little time for blogging.   Not a lot, but some…

There are too many pressures in my head.  Today a commenter, who is anonymous to me, left a slayer-style comment which has none of the Doug Cotton inflections about it. (new guy!)  I am truly curious about the understanding of this group because I have worked hard at it and they represent something which doesn’t make any sense to me.   We know slayers see global warming as a complete farce rather than the pseudo-science based money printing machine it has become.   I have different replies from each individual from this group and hope to gain some understanding of where they separate from basic science.

It is an interesting challenge which I think careful second-law readers here will find ironic.  — So how does one find the bulk opinion of a group of moderately independent variables?   😀


nope one more thermo-smiley


Two beers in and I’m already having fun.

Anyway, this is the comment left on the last (very old) thread:

Climate_Science_Researcher said

May 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm e

If you believe that planetary surface temperatures are all to do with radiative forcing rather than non-radiative heat transfers, then you are implicitly agreeing with IPCC authors (and Dr Roy Spencer) that a column of air in the troposphere would have been isothermal but for the assumed greenhouse effect. You are believing this because you are believing the 19th century simplification of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which said heat only transfers from hot to cold – a “law” which is indeed true for all radiation, but only strictly true in a horizontal plane for non-radiative heat transfer by conduction.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics in its modern form explains a process in which thermodynamic equilibrium “spontaneously evolves” and that thermodynamic equilibrium will be the state of greatest accessible entropy.

Now, thermodynamic equilibrium is not just about temperature, which is determined by the mean kinetic energy of molecules, and nothing else. Pressure, for example, does not control temperature. Thermodynamic equilibrium is a state in which total accessible energy (including potential energy) is homogeneous, because if it were not homogeneous, then work could be done and so entropy could still increase.

When such a state of thermodynamic equilibrium evolves in a vertical plane in any solid, liquid or gas, molecules at the top of a column will have more gravitational potential energy (PE), and so they must have less kinetic energy (KE), and so a lower temperature, than molecules at the bottom of the column. This state evolves spontaneously as molecules interchange PE and KE in free flight between collisions, and then share the adjusted KE during the next collision.

This postulate was put forward by the brilliant physicist Loschmidt in the 19th century, but has been swept under the carpet by those advocating that radiative forcing is necessary to explain the observed surface temperatures. Radiative forcing could never explain the mean temperature of the Venus surface, or that at the base of the troposphere of Uranus – or that at the surface of Earth.

The gravitationally induced temperature gradient in every planetary troposphere is fully sufficient to explain all planetary surface temperatures. All the weak attempts to disprove it, such as a thought experiment with a wire outside a cylinder of gas, are flawed, simply because they neglect the temperature gradient in the wire itself, or other similar oversights.

The gravity effect is a reality and the dispute is not an acceptable disagreement.

The issue is easy to resolve with a straight forward, correct understanding of the implications of the spontaneous process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Hence radiative forcing is not what causes the warming, and so carbon dioxide has nothing to do with what is just natural climate change.

Carrick had a very useful comment on a Lucia thread a week ago on the matter of lapse rates.

As Nick says, the g/cp = 9.86/1.006 = 9.6°C/km lapse rate is a correct theoretical result only for dry air (note the lapse rate is defined as the negative of the change in temperature with elevation, hence Nick has an extraneous minus sign). This result is satisfying in that it can be derived exactly but it really is the “spherical chicken” approximation of climate. When you include moisture, the maximum sustainable lapse rate is reduced from ~ 10 to around 6.5 °C/km. This is referred to as the “environmental lapse rate”, and can be predicted from theory fairly accurately in the troposphere using the known vertical wind-speed profile and a prescribed vertical humidity gradient.

Manabe and Strickland 1964 is the classic reference for from-first-principles calculation. It is written in a very comprehendible way for people with a physics/engineering background.

Figure 4 of their paper is especially instructive.

What you see from this is that the radiative lapse rate is even larger than the dry-air lapse rate, and hence is never physically realized in the troposphere.

I don’t think Nick is right that radiative transfer is an “underrated factor”, unless he means in the semi-lay blogosphere. I think it’s role has been well understood since Manabe’s days.

Straus’s notes may be useful.

Basically radiative transfer acts to keep the tropospheric lapse rate to be maintained near the maximum stable value (the radiative equivalent of keeping tension on a string). So it plays a critical role in atmospheric dynamics and converts a dynamic calculation into basically a static one (read simpler problem), but doesn’t play a direct major role in the vertical transfer of heat energy (see below for numbers).

If convection were impossible, the temperature at the top of the atmosphere would be the same, but the surface temperature would be about 35°C warmer than it is now (using Fig 4 of Manabe). Note that a dry atmosphere it would be about 10°C warmer.

What Fig 4 is basically saying is that a radiation-only atmosphere has a much larger greenhouse gas effect than a convective dry atmosphere, and an atmosphere with moisture acts to further reduce the greenhouse gas effect from what it would be in the radiative only model. I think these are as, now well, agreed to results.

There’s a bit additional non-controverial results, which are summarized in Ramanathan 1981.

First definition of the processes

Secondly the results.

Note that about 3/4s of the net feedback effect from GHGs is due to convective heat energy transfer in this model.

I should mention there is an important controversy relate to the tropical lapse rate & the “missing hot spot”. Probably its resolution is the violation of the assumption you can treat the atmosphere as a vertical stack of air.

I think all of this is appropriately “off topic” for a thread on “DC”. Note that in online gaming, DC also mean “Dis-Connected” which also seems like an appropriate alternative moniker for the individual in question. ;-)

There is a pile of information there so nobody  – except a couple of us – would literally check all of the links but the discussion doesn’t need to get this deep with those who don’t believe CO2 warming is a real effect.   In order to understand this phenomenon, what we need to do is find out where the standard physics and those who don’t agree with it, part ways.

So this was my reply to the individual, whom the readers here are far more likely to know the identity of than myself.

Work, heat, entropy are all bulk concepts. The second law is a law only in the bulk context. It is a law in that after twenty trillion rolls, the probability is toward the heavy side of the die.

Backradiation is a sub-process which in no way “violates” the second law. This is a common misunderstanding from those who didn’t grok the meaning of their basic physics rules. Saying it can or can’t be explained by either theory is rather amusing to me because mathematically – en bulk – they are equivalent. Where slayers here have faltered is that they don’t give a coherent message and too many members are scientifically weak.

I would be very happy to debate this issue. We have to start with fundamentals though and work our way up from there. This is necessary because I have been taught classical physics and we need to determine where our understanding bifurcates.

Why make this post?

Tis’ a good question.   Recently there was a minor kerfuffle between the slayers and Roy Spencer.   Some gauntlets were thrown challenging mathematical proofs with models.   I really failed to understand the point  of the “modeling” — mostly because of the discontinuity of the slayer argument but there was another reason.  My interpretation of the discrepency is that both standard theory and PSI theory are mathematically equivalent WRT bulk properties, yet fail on other levels.   Still, not a single PSI member has succintly explained to me the difference between standard physics and their version.  Tellingly, nobody from the group has demonstrated a basic working understanding of the main-stream principles of the second law of thermodynamics such that they could address and refute the discrepancies.  The problem is apparent enough to shut the group out entirely and ignore them but I would rather understand the discontinuity.

The other reason for this post is that when you consider the second law, the sum of the rate of energy transfer is delta temperature only.  Therefore, from my known slayer energy transfer explanations the energy transfer is the same no matter which religion you subscribe to.  They have said, electromagnetic energy stops going backward when other greater energy is coming forward, thus E = E1 – E2.  Standard physics also says E = E1-E2 .   The real challenge for slayers should be to mathematically show any difference at all for physics rather than show how one is better.  Instead we have a lot of PSI “papers”, chock full of unsupported conclusion.

I am frustrated with the whole thing.

While writing this post, the discussion continued on the previous thread.    This has to be kept short because we are here to understand not nitpick.  My very simple challenge to the slayers therefore is as follows, each of the 3 points with 300 words or less and no links:

1 Define and describe the probability characteristics of Second Law of Thermodynamics as interpreted in classical physics using your own words.   Demonstrable understanding of the standard version of the second law is important so that we have common ground.

2 Describe standard physics interpretation of radiation absorption from a cold to hot body.

3 Describe the PSI interpretation of the Second law highlighting differences in energy transfer from the standard interpretations.

4 Describe the PSI interpretation of what happens to radiation from a cold to hot body, with focus on temperatures.

The discussion below will be open to all.  300 words, no links will be strictly enforced.

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Posted by Jeff Id on May 21, 2013

So all you skeptics want answers to how much warming we should expect from adding CO2 to the atmosphere?   An interesting new study has been released which matches quite closely to Nic Lewis’s work.  The difference is that 14 of the authors are lead-coordinating lead authors of the pending AR5 IPCC report.  It is being hosted at Bishop Hill blog and WUWT.

New energy-budget-derived estimates of climate sensitivity and transient response in Nature Geoscience


Since Skeptical Science pooped all over Nic’s result just last month, and that result has now been replicated by 14 lead authors for the IPCC AR5, I wonder if they will take back their critiques….  Seriously though, these studies represent an important result because it seems like we are finally coming to realize the magnitude we should expect from CO2 based warming.   It also seems like the leaked AR5 draft is going to need an update for its projected warming — downward.   This is the very issue that has given most of us science-minded critics the label skeptic.  You know the label that causes people to put us on lists and declare that skeptics are dangerous, should be charged with crimes and such.   So now that a large group of IPCC authors agree with us that higher projections from models aren’t matching observed sensitivity, are they skeptics or are skeptics now climate scientists?

From Nic:

The take-home message from this study, like several other recent ones, is that the ‘very likely’ 5–95% ranges for ECS and TCR in Chapter 12 of the leaked IPCC AR5 second draft scientific report, of 1.5–6/7°C for ECS and 1–3°C for TCR, and the most likely values of near 3°C for ECS and near 1.8°C for TCR, are out of line with instrumental-period observational evidence.

In a less politicized field, there might need to be some additional time for the IPCC to absorb this information through all of its chapters. Because of our long history with the advocate crowd controlling this field, I’m sure it still means doom for us all, but at least we won’t be as hot when the world ends.  ;D


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Guess John Cook’s Title — Contest

Posted by Jeff Id on May 4, 2013

John Cook (of the inaccurately named Skeptical Science blog) sent me a link to a new survey.  The survey has been discussed around the internet for the last couple of days because John was involved in the last Lewandowsky paper which combined poor methodology with libelous remarks directed at the “subjects” being “studied” to justify the authors pre-determined conclusion personal attacksLucia’s blog has an interesting discussion on the survey.  She decided that she would not to link the new survey at all.  It is an understandable decision as we can be certain that this new survey will result in another propaganda piece attacking those of us who live in reality.

I am so certain of the pending result, that before providing the link at this blog, you will be mirandized — Skeptical Science style:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say WILL be misrepresented to your detriment in the court of public opinion.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before the survey and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, you are on your own.
  • If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer John’s questions without an attorney present?

Survey link here:

I will not take the survey myself, because of my certainty of the authors biased motivations but it still might be fun to guess their conclusions so I think we will have a contest. Guess the title of John’s new paper! After the paper is released, I will categorize the results of our contest and we will vote on the best guesses for both creativity and closest match.   To guess right, we need to find some clues!!

First, a clue as to where the survey conclusions are going on the first page:

Please read each title and abstract then estimate the level of endorsement that is expressed in that paper for anthropogenic global warming (e.g., that human activity is causing global warming).

It is hard for me to understand how you “rate” a scientific paper based on its acknowledgment of a completely uncontested fact like CO2 based temperature change.    It seems a bit like rating a paper on its acknowledgment that the sky is blue.  Fortunately there is more detail to work with on the survey page:

Survey of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research

Below are listed the titles and abstracts (summary) of 10 randomly selected scientific papers; mouseover each title to read the abstract (summary). Please read each title and abstract then select from the drop down to categorize each abstract. Your rating should be based on the abstract text. Your submission will be anonymous. The drop down indicates indicates the level of endorsement within the abstract for the proposition that human activity (i.e., anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is causing global warming (e.g., the increase in temperature).

Note: AGW is Anthropogenic Global Warming or human-caused global warming.

Options are:

  1. Explicit Endorsement with Quantification: abstract explicitly states that humans are causing more than half of global warming.
  2. Explicit Endorsement without Quantification: abstract explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a given fact.
  3. Implicit Endorsement: abstract implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gases cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause.
  4. Neutral: abstract doesn’t address or mention issue of what’s causing global warming.
  5. Implicit Rejection: abstract implies humans have had a minimal impact on global warming without saying so explicitly. E.g., proposing a natural mechanism is the main cause of global warming.
  6. Explicit Rejection without Quantification: abstract explicitly minimizes or rejects that humans are causing global warming.
  7. Explicit Rejection with Quantification: abstract explicitly states that humans are causing less than half of global warming.

NOTE: These papers have been rated by the scientists who authored the papers. After submission, you may view a comparison of your ratings with the ratings by the authors of each paper.  –MY RED

In order to compose a title, we have to guess the results he will find.  A reader at Lucias noted that the abstracts the reader sees are “randomized” based on the proxy address you are using and that repeated abstracts at different proxy addresses are common.  That suggests a low pre-selected paper count which is confirmed by the additional fact that the survey answers can be compared to the authors own answers.  Of course not every author would participate in the study, they can only have a small set of abstracts. It is also possible that in order to gain cooperation, some authors were aware of the intent of the survey.  This may have been justified in John Cook’s mind, since they are oft represented by his Skeptical Science blog as unimpeachable.

So here is what I am guessing will happen.  Some skeptics will give low ratings for the papers because their obviously biased support of catastrophic warming and the pervasive poor level of science in climate change.  Those who are advocates for climate catastrophe science (including the authors) will be biased toward giving 1’s (top ratings) for their endorsement but will slide on papers which are less extremist in the abstract.  We already know that the Climate Science field is comprised nearly universally of politically left advocates, so the authors your answers are compared to will be biased in the same direction as the advocate blogging crowd.

The opening page of the survey notes a “proven consensus” paper coming out, so adding to that conclusion is unlikely to be the point.

This survey mirrors a paper, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, to be published soon in Environmental Research Letters, that analysed over 12,000 climate papers published between 1991 to 2011.

Additionally, those who link from skeptic blogs or from advocate blogs will probably be sorted by their links (I am guessing).  So with that little bit of guesswork, here are some of my predicted titles:

Skeptics Deny Science Literature

Motivated Denial of Scientific Literature

Skeptics are so stupid!  — I am formally registering the exclamation point as an integral part of the title.

Skeptics Reject Scientific Consensus

Scientific Rejection, A Manipulated Manifestation of Morons.

It is possible that those taking the survey will be unsorted, but I doubt it.  That does lead to a whole slew of other potentially winning titles!  😀




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