Oh Noes. Yes, Global Warming. Part 3.

Oh Noes. Yes, Global Warming. Part 3.

The final installment in a discussion of Klaus Müller's "Global Warming Deception".

I was quite looking forward to doing this part. Müller certainly saved his best for last. And by best I mean his craziest, most mouth-frothingly confused theories. Let's get started.

During the last century an Austrian politician and dictator was supposed to have said that a lie becomes believable if repeated often enough.

That's it. I'm sold. Global warming is a complete lie! How could I ever have thought it possible. Of course it's a fraud. I mean, at some point between 1900 and 2000, someone once said that someone said that a lie becomes believable if repeated often enough. Of course!

The quote is actually usually attributed to Lenin, in the form: "a lie told often enough becomes the truth". Lenin was a politician, and you could possibly call him a dictator, but he certainly wasn't Austrian. Hitler fits the description given, but is not connected with the quotation. The quotation is sometimes given as from Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda, usually with the addition of an "and loud enough". But Goebbels was neither Austrian nor a dictator. So, it's hard to know who Müller is talking about. Perhaps he just wanted to sound more authoritative - but then why did he over quantify his statement with "supposed to have" and make it vague with "during the last century"?

As we often do, let's give Müller the benefit of the doubt: we'll assume that a lie told often enough really does become believable. But that does not mean that every believable thing is just a lie told often. That's obviously what Müller is trying to say about global warming, so let us assume that too (really, we're going beyond what Müller argued and being overly charitable in our interpretation).

Well, then global warming is a believable lie. But whether something is a lie does not affect its truth. If you haven't studied ethics, that might give you pause, but I'll try to explain. Consider Mt Everest's height. If I believe the summit of Mt Everest to be 8,817 metres above sea level and tell you it is 8,848 metres above sea level then I have told a lie. My intention was to deceive you. The actual elevation of the mountain is objective and set but we need not consult it to determine my intentions. And it is intentions that matter in determining if something is lie. As Wikipedia says, "a true statement may be a lie if the person who makes the true statement genuinely believes it to be false, and makes the statement with the intention that his audience believe it to be true". Hilariously, the "factual accuracy" of the Wikipedia page for Lie is disputed.

How often have we all heard or read the mantra "Greenhouse Effect?"

Not often enough! Hum it with me: greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse effect greenhouse efect greenhouse effectgreen houseffect greenhouse effectgreen houseffect greenhouseffect greenhouseffect greenhouseffect greenhouseffect greenhouseffect greenhouseffect.

The Swedish Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius built a greenhouse in 1896 to predict future ice ages. He proposed that the heat buildup in a greenhouse was based on the concentration of CO2, which he believed enveloped heat. Almost all scientists, particularly leading German scientists from the Kaiser Wilhelm-Max Planck Institute, as late as 1970, considered this random speculation.

Total rubbish. You can read Arrhenius' 1896 paper, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground if you like. But if you don't want to, I'll spoil the surprise for you: it's nothing to do with greenhouses. Arrhenius actually used infrared observations of the moon to determine the absorption of CO2, and concluded that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would produce an increase in ground temperature of around 5 degrees. That figure was remarkable accurate - the latest estimates of it put it between 2 and 4.5 degrees.

Müller's reference to "random speculation" is similarly confused. It's not Arrhenius' conclusions about CO2 levels that were ever in doubt, but his idea that it was the greenhouse effect that caused ice ages. Rather, most scientists did, and do, believe Earth's orbital eccentricity to be the ultimate cause of ice ages, with the greenhouse effect providing an amplification of the change.

However, scientific treatises and scientifically "correct" colleagues at the "Club of Rome" have since revisited this theory, bringing it back to life.

Translation: I blame Majestic 12. Or perhaps the Bavarian Illuminati. I'm not sure which.

The so-called and actually perceivable greenhouse effect in a real greenhouse can thus only be attributed to a lack in air exchange (convection).

Correct. But the "greenhouse" part of the greenhouse effect is actually metaphorical. Climatologists do not think Earth is an actual greenhouse, replete with glass and plants. That would be like insisting that all greenhouses be green. Instead, they use the name greenhouse effect to usefully describe a complex set of interactions between solar radiation, terran thermal radiation and atmospheric gasses. And convection (or lack thereof) doesn't actually play much role in all of that. In a sense, the greenhouse effect is a misnomer: it refers to a different mechanism to the one actual greenhouses use to keep plants warm. Keeping that in mind, we'll continue:

Besides, a greenhouse effect presumes a closed system, which simply does not fully exist in a greenhouse and certainly not with planet Earth. There is no definable border from the Earth to the cosmos—in the final analysis both are part of the same system.

No, you cannot claim anything you like about Earth's climate simply by saying that Earth and everywhere else are "in the final analysis" one in the same. Is there life on Mars? Well, in the final analysis, Earth and Mars are both part of the same system. So, the answer is yes. I don't know why NASA spends billions of dollars answering that question!

And no, the greenhouse effect doesn't presume a closed system. It presumes energy coming from the sun, and that energy being absorbed by the atmosphere and the surface. I think, here, Müller is confused and believes the greenhouse effect has something to do with convection and (correctly) that heat cannot be "convected" out into the vacuum of space, so there is a enclosed (not closed in the scientific/thermodynamic sense) system within which the greenhouse effect is purported to work. In fact, convection plays next-to no part in the greenhouse effect. Here's a quick overview of how the greenhouse effect works:

Radiant energy arrives at Earth from the sun. This radiant energy is in a smooth black-body (at 5525K - thus, the one true colour temperature) curve. Not coincidentally, a lot of this radiation is in the visible spectrum (evolution at work!). 70% of this radiation is absorbed: 42% is absorbed by the surface and 28% by the atmosphere - absorption raises the temperature of both.

All hot things radiate heat, but the earth and atmosphere, because of their lower temperature relative to the sun, will radiate differently from the sun. And what they radiate will be absorbed differently. Of what the earth emits, very little makes it through the atmosphere, due to greenhouse gas absorption. In fact, only about 8% makes it to vacuum. The rest ends up heating the atmosphere. So, the atmosphere is receiving heat from both above and below. The atmosphere is non-uniform too (in terms of density, and what gasses are present), so it actually radiates upward and downward in different amounts. About 40% is radiated upward, and 60% downward to Earth, to go through that part of the cycle again.

The whole system is in equilibrium. The amount of energy directly radiated by the Earth plus the amount radiated upward by the atmosphere is equal to the amount absorbed by both from the Sun (conservation of energy). The amount of energy received by the surface is equal to the amount received there from the sun and from the atmosphere (the atmosphere actually contributes more!), and also equal to the amount from the surface radiated directly plus absorbed by greenhouse gasses.

If you increase the amount of energy (mostly from the earth, actually) that is absorbed by greenhouse gasses, then you increase the temperature of the atmosphere. And this increase carries through to the amount of energy radiated downward by the atmosphere toward Earth. Which increases the Earth's temperature.

Why is it that CO2 or other gases cannot contribute to heat absorption? CO2 does have the potential to store heat, but there is another consideration which collapses the reasoning behind the CO2 Greenhouse Effect. There is this law of physics: liquid or solid bodies, i.e. oceans, clouds and earth, emit and absorb energy via a spectrum of rays. Gases such as CO2 can only selectively absorb or emit energy, a fact easily verifiable in any elementary chemistry textbook. Based on the aforementioned facts, the Greenhouse Effect does not exist; neither in a garden greenhouse nor on Earth. To put it more directly—even if the atmosphere consisted of 100% CO2, the Earth's atmosphere would be unable to heat up as claimed; it is impossible according to the law of physics.

I'm not sure what "the law of physics" is. Perhaps Müller means "a law of physics" or "the laws of physics", but then every law of physics is consistent with the greenhouse effect, right through to quantum physics, which helps explain black body radiation.

The atmosphere's heat exchange is in equilibrium, not stasis. Energy, regardless of "potential", isn't stored - it bounds around at the speed of light. This is easy to verify; if the sun were to be switched off, the atmosphere would cool. Heat in the atmosphere is being constantly maintained by the sun. CO2 does only absorb or emit energy selectively. But that's the whole point of my discussion above about how much energy makes it through the atmosphere to heat the Earth directly (most of it), and how much makes it from the Earth back into space directly (not much). The Earth and the Sun radiate at different wavelengths because they are (we hope) at different temperatures. And it just so happens that the Earth radiates in the infrared, where greenhouse gases and water vapour do absorb energy.

If the Earth's atmosphere consisted of 100% CO2, it would still heat up because it would still absorb radiant heat from the Earth. And even if it didn't, carbon dioxide absorbs infrared light in bands around the 2 and 3 micrometre wavelengths (in addition to the lower wavelength bands which are currently more important for the greenhouse effect), so light from the Sun would directly heat it too.

Since the IPCC panel deems the effect of water vapor simply too difficult to calculate and predict, they must call on other culprits, foremost CO2, but also CO, ozone and fluorocarbons. To be blunt, it appears that two-thirds of the hypothetically assumed Greenhouse Effect's factors are not taken into consideration. Since they do not appear in any calculations, they make for an easy conclusion by anyone with a sound mind.

Let me draw your attention to the latest IPCC report, known as the IPCC WG1 AR4 Report. Part 2, "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing". Section 2.3.7, "Stratospheric Water Vapour". It begins on page 152. Or perhaps you'd prefer section 2.5.6, "Tropospheric Water Vapour from Anthropogenic Sources", starting on page 185.

To claim that water vapour isn't taken into consideration is, "to be blunt", ridiculous. You don't hear much about the effects of water vapour on climate change because those effects are very limited. First, a definition from the IPCC report, "radiative forcing (RF) is a concept used for quantitative comparisons of the strength of different human and natural agents in causing climate change." The RF value of atmospheric CO2 is +1.66 [±0.17] W m–2. The RF value of water vapour in the context of clouds is –0.7 [–1.1, +0.4] W m–2. And the impact of stratospheric water vapour is +0.07 [± 0.05] W m–2. See the difference in magnitude?

As discussed in a prior article, CO2 constitutes a mere 0.038 percent of the atmosphere. Human CO2 production accounts for a mere 3 percent of the total CO2. [...]CO2 naturally concentrates near the ground, where plants can derive nourishment. By contrast, in the upper atmospheric regions where CO2 is accused of wreaking havoc, the CO2 concentration lowers to under 10 ppmv (parts per million by volume).

Yes, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 380ppm. But that's up from pre-industrial levels of 280ppm. The actual human impact on the figure is 35%, not 3%. And it's not absolute concentration levels we should be worried about, but relative ones.

If it were absolute concentrations that we concerned ourselves with, why would we worry if we came across a 300 ppm atmosphere of HCN (Hydrogen Cyanide)? Obviously the effects of such an environment would be too small to consider! In reality, breathing it would kill a human within a few minutes. And in reality, a 380ppm concentration of CO2 does make a real impact on the climate.



This is the longest news item yet, by about 6000 characters.
It's 2237 words long!
Kudos, Dom. This whole series has been wicked to read.. I'm certainly more willing to believe that the human race and its progression is directly impacting the rate of global warming.

That Epoch Times article was fucking ludicrous.

I'm assuming you've seen An Inconvenient Truth - is it worth watching?
It's pretty Oprah, but quite watchable. Some nice touches. It's also really interesting if you see it as the account of Gore after the 2000 defeat - how it affected him and what he's been doing since. And how different things could be now.

I've heard the science has some faults, but no specific criticism, so perhaps that's FUD.