A climate denier? Ha ha ha!

Climate Science 101: that tiny Sun heats this whole gigantic Earth and that little moon.

Oh, I’m no denier, I just have a few questions. But first…

I’ve been called a “climate denier” hundreds of times because I lie about global warming, ignore unfavourable reports, obscure the truth and all this is funded by big oil. For over ten years I’ve apparently bamboozled the public by introducing doubt where no doubt exists, stirring up needless arguments over climate science that’s already settled, I’ve delayed crucial emissions policies and killed millions of people by allowing global warming, so I certainly deserve prison after all this and maybe a death sentence as well.

These assaults on my character are triggered by questions or statements based (to the best of my knowledge) on science. The attacks still hurt me, but where in the beginning I became angry and depressed, now I just feel frustrated that they aren’t listening. I remain anxious to discover what is true about global warming, clarify its issues and bring them to the widest possible audience. Because this has nothing to do with me, it’s about the welfare of the world.

A few days ago we learned that the briefing to the incoming NZ climate change minister revealed the cost to New Zealand of meeting its first emissions target in 2030 could be up to $36 billion over 2021-2030, or $4 billion per year—over $400 per year for each of us, babies included. The National government managed moderate surpluses, but this stupid emissions adventure will put a stop to that. It’s a high cost to reduce insignificant global warming by an unknown (but trivially small) amount.

But it hasn’t been warming

Considering that NIWA’s own data show the national temperature has not gone up for 20 years, and the global temperature has barely risen, our sacrifice is unnecessary and, of course, this is just NZ’s cost. Bjorn Lomborg calculates the Paris climate agreement commits the whole world to paying $US1-2 trillion EVERY YEAR, or at least $US100 trillion by 2100, for a reduction in warming of just three tenths of a degree—if every country holds up its end of the bargain, which is already dismally improbable.

The recent NZ Herald science article, Does NZ really have a science denial problem, suggests New Zealand shares a world-wide problem of science denial, which poses a problem for all the sciences. However, in climate science it is the scientists themselves in denial, not the uninformed public. In fact, public opinion around the world declares increasing dissatisfaction with the pronouncements of climate scientists.

But questioning orthodox views of dangerous anthropogenic global warming makes life difficult for believers, who have no answer. The questions challenge their thinking, so they’ve developed standard modes of response that fall generally into one of two camps: they declare that either the questioner is mistaken or perverse, or that science, sadly, failed to impart its message of alarm. Admitting the question has merit is avoided.

Many studies have been published in recent years seeking to explain the rising numbers of “climate deniers” strangely resistant to reason, attempting to show they are mentally awry, averse to change or hostile to science, or one of endless permutations of those. Other studies focus on the skill of science communicators and advise them on tactics, to press on bravely with greater determination to persuade their audience of what is not true.

Evidence is strongly persuasive but they don’t present much evidence—if only they could see that that is their problem …

Who was the first climate denier?

Calling someone a “climate denier” has become such a common form of disparagement that we hear it on the nightly news without noticing and read it in major newspapers without so much as a raised eyebrow. Unless we’re connected to the climate debate we miss the vicious censure it embodies and the silence it imposes on its victim. So some readers might be surprised to learn that climate denial didn’t begin with ignorant bigots who refused to believe in the path of science, or conservative baby-boomers unable to contemplate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, created in 1992, redefined the term “climate change” to mean caused by human activity. This was a deliberate act of sabotage on our language. It is instructive to reflect on the hubris of this move, the sheer conceit required to lay claim to the power of changing the climate. Under “Definitions” the convention says:

2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

The United Nations decreed that climate change was no longer a natural force, but was done through human activity, and what was once called “climate change” was renamed “natural climate variability.” If you don’t believe that, ask anyone under the age of fifteen: “What causes climate change?” They’ll tell you it’s eating meat, air travel, coal-fired power stations and their parents’ cars. But that’s the result of the first, biggest and most brazen “climate denial”—by the United Nations.

An open study of climate change motivated by genuine curiosity raises natural questions around what is said and not said about “the science” of global warming. It’s a dark view indeed that claims well-founded queries are any kind of denial. I hope that one day orthodox climate scientists and alarmists alike might treat sceptical questions with a degree of warmth and courtesy.

The following questions, or their equivalents, have occasioned much abuse, but I present them here without guile. There’s no wish to deceive, obscure or mystify. They are just honest questions, documented as well as I can and in no particular order.

Now to those questions

  1. Why do you say the air above heats the ocean below?

You can point a hairdryer at a cold bath all day, but the water won’t warm. This is a rough approximation of what the IPCC expects us to believe: that man-made emissions warm the ocean from above, except that at least the hairdryer stands a chance because it’s so hot. Long-wave infrared radiation only penetrates the ocean by 10 microns and anyway has very low energy per photon. Oddly, the IPCC acknowledge the importance of ocean warming as the foremost peril that faces us because it produces sea level rise, but it never describes the mechanism. For example, the AR5 WGI (p 265) gets into the detail:

It is virtually certain that the Earth has gained substantial energy from 1971 to 2010 — the estimated increase in energy inventory between 1971 and 2010 is 274 [196 to 351] ZJ (1 ZJ = 1021 J), with a rate of 213 TW from a linear fit to the annual values over that time period (Box 3.1, Figure 1). An energy gain of 274 ZJ is equivalent to a heating rate of 0.42 W m-2 applied continuously over the surface area of the earth (5.10 × 1014 m2). Ocean warming dominates the total energy change inventory, accounting for roughly 93% on average from 1971 to 2010 (high confidence). The upper ocean (0-700 m) accounts for about 64% of the total energy change inventory. Melting ice (including Arctic sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers) accounts for 3% of the total, and warming of the continents 3%. Warming of the atmosphere makes up the remaining 1%. The 1971–2010 estimated rate of oceanic energy gain is 199 TW from a linear fit to data over that time period, implying a mean heat flux of 0.55 W m–2 across the global ocean surface area (3.60 × 1014 m2). The Earth’s net estimated energy increase from 1993 to 2010 is 163 [127 to 201] ZJ with a trend estimate of 275 TW. The ocean portion of the trend for 1993–2010 is 257 TW, equivalent to a mean heat flux into the ocean of 0.71 W m–2 over the global ocean surface area.

Yada, yada, yada. But all that warming is done by the sun. It’s clear the IPCC consider ocean warming an important element of DAGW (dangerous anthropogenic global warming). For example, AR5 WGI (p 257):

Ocean warming dominates the global energy change inventory. Warming of the ocean accounts for about 93% of the increase in the Earth’s energy inventory between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence), with warming of the upper (0 to 700 m) ocean accounting for about 64% of the total. Melting ice (including Arctic sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers) and warming of the continents and atmosphere account for the remainder of the change in energy. The estimated net increase in the Earth’s energy storage between 1971 and 2010 is 274 [196 to 351] ZJ (1 ZJ = 1021 Joules), with a heating rate of 213 TW from a linear fit to annual inventories over that time period, equivalent to 0.42 W m–2 heating applied continuously over the Earth’s entire surface, and 0.55 W m–2 for the portion due to ocean warming applied over the ocean surface area. {Section 3.2.3, Figure 3.2, Box 3.1}

The missing mechanism

But the IPCC had it exactly back to front, for meteorology teaches that the ocean determines the temperature of the air above it (heat rises, remember?). For example, the 2004 paper, Estimation of the air temperature over the ocean based on satellite data, by Y.S. Kim et al., uses SST to calculate air temperatures which accord well with buoy observations of air temperatures.

NASA agrees: “As heat rises and eventually escapes the ocean to warm the overlying atmosphere, it creates air temperature gradients and, consequently, winds.” Again: “It becomes clear that there is an almost mechanistic system by which the ocean drives climate change, which is why it was dubbed by scientists the ‘global heat engine.'”

Tropical cyclones (TC) cannot form when sea surface temperatures (SST) are less than about 26°C, described, for example, in this 2015 paper Sea Surface Temperature Thresholds for Tropical Cyclone Formation, by Australian meteorologists K.J. Tory and R.A. Dare.

But the IPCC needed a strong anthropogenic influence on the climate. How could they say that the tiny amount of man-made CO2 was making the sea rise, when they knew full well it wasn’t? It turned out to be easy: they would simply gloss over the missing mechanism of radiative heat transfer from air to ocean. (I leave out conduction and convection for the reason that water vapour or warm air in the boundary layer heads upwards at a great rate of knots.) In AR5 WGI (p 905) they introduce the topic:

Relying on expert assessment, the AR4 had concluded based on modelling and ocean heat content studies that ocean warming and glacier mass loss had very likely contributed to sea level rise during the latter half of the 20th century. The AR4 had reported that climate models that included anthropogenic and natural forcings simulated the observed thermal expansion since 1961 reasonably well, and that it is very unlikely that the warming during the past half century is due only to known natural causes (Hegerl et al., 2007b). [emphasis added]

“Expert assessment” is guesswork, not science. For example, if they calculated from first principles the magnitude of some response to a known quantity of energy, that might be science. Their problem was that models didn’t produce enough warming to match the observed temperature rise, and they needed more to claim that humanity was heating the globe. “What can it be?” they said, “We can’t think of anything else, so it must be human emissions.” The notion that the models could be a tad inaccurate didn’t occur to them. They added some warming, called it anthropogenic and said: “That’s pretty good. We must be right.”

They had a little more work to do—watch the subtle phrasing in the next section, AR5 WGI (p 905):

The observed contribution from thermal expansion is well captured in climate model simulations with historical forcings as are contributions from glacier melt when simulated by glacier models driven by climate model simulations of historical climate (Church et al., 2013; Table 13.1). The model results indicate that most of the variation in the contributions of thermal expansion and glacier melt to global mean sea level is in response to natural and anthropogenic RFs (Domingues et al., 2008; Palmer et al., 2009; Church et al., 2013). [emphasis added. RFs: radiative forcings]

The first bold passage shows us they understand thermal expansion (“we’ve got this, guys”). The second bold passage links thermal expansion with anthropogenic emissions, referred to here by the form of influence (radiative forcing from air to water) they’re trying desperately to sneak in because they know they can’t prove it. They’re trying to tell us the hair dryer heats the bath water. But now watch the black magic, again from AR5 WGI (p 905):

The strong physical relationship between thermosteric sea level and ocean heat content (through the equation of state for seawater) means that the anthropogenic ocean warming (Section 10.4.1) has contributed to global sea level rise over this period through thermal expansion.

So there, it was done. Some slightly gobbledygook sciencey stuff makes a statement of the bleeding obvious sound true. For it means that our emissions have made the sea rise even though it’s physically impossible and they have no evidence for it.

  1. How much feedback do you reckon follows GHG warming, which is so far the only sign it might be dangerous?

First, the AR5 WGI Summary for Policymakers (p 16) makes a dramatic case for ignoring 4 billion years of geologic time. They claim that now, for the very first time, the earth will respond to a rising global temperature with positive feedback. That’s a serious situation. If it warms, it will keep warming and never stop warming:

The net feedback from the combined effect of changes in water vapour, and differences between atmospheric and surface warming is extremely likely positive and therefore amplifies changes in climate. The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types combined is likely positive. Uncertainty in the sign and magnitude of the cloud feedback is due primarily to continuing uncertainty in the impact of warming on low clouds. {7.2}

“The net feedback is extremely likely positive” is a stupendous reversal of the geological evidence. The climate has never experienced runaway warming, as once would be enough to destroy the environment for ever. It has at times been so generally cold we use the term “snowball earth” but it has never, since it obtained all the water, been generally too hot. There is no evidence for a reversal.

The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multicentury time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence)16. The lower temperature limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2°C in the AR4, but the upper limit is the same. This assessment reflects improved understanding, the extended temperature record in the atmosphere and ocean, and new estimates of radiative forcing. {TS TFE.6, Figure 1; Box 12.2}

IPCC: global warming may not be a problem

What is to stop the temperature rise at 6°C or thereabouts? The footnote (16) is curious:

16 No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.

The magnitude of predicted warming is the most important metric in the most authoritative report on the physical science basis of climate change, which is widely accepted to be the greatest challenge of our age, and the leading experts cannot agree on its most likely value! Brilliant. Psychology professors around the world study people’s inability to accept that there’s an existential problem in global warming, but the official word from the IPCC is that IT MAY BE NO PROBLEM. Has anybody read this?

  1. The IPCC estimates present an enormous range of global warming, from gently helpful to catastrophic. Sure, our emissions of CO2 have been rising, no question. But about half of it is happily absorbed by the biosphere, leading to an unprecedented increase of terrestrial leafiness in both cultivated and wild plantations that contributes to year-on-year record food production. What’s the problem?

There are many benefits of a slightly higher temperature, as evidenced from our earliest history. Having more holiday destinations will accommodate those poor people who will now be able to afford a holiday from their increased production. People are warmer, therefore happier, and they have fewer arguments, leading to fewer wars, rebellions and insurrections. Being happier, people travel more easily to foreign countries and knowledge is shared more frequently, leading to greater understanding and the spread of clever improvements in living. There’s no evidence that our puny emissions will increase sea levels.

  1. After 500 hundred million years in which temperature rises made atmospheric carbon dioxide rise and fall, you claim that carbon dioxide now causes the temperature to rise. But you know that water vapour, up to four hundred times more abundant than CO2, absorbs longwave infrared in more frequencies and at greater strength than CO2.

There’s no doubt from the ice core records from Antarctica and Greenland that at least a couple of hundred years, sometimes many more, would pass after a global temperature increase before the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide rose—something massive was involved in slowing that response. It’s inconceivable that it has unaccountably reversed. But the key point here is that various atmospheric gases are opaque or transparent to various frequencies of shortwave and infrared radiation, sometimes called the “atmospheric window”. Carbon dioxide is one of the least significant absorbers of longwave radiation. Here’s a good representation of them:

Atmospheric absorption of incoming shortwave (left) and outgoing longwave (right) radiation. Total atmospheric absorption indicated by bottom row.
White areas indicate regions of the electromagnetic spectrum not affected (low absorbtion) by the atmosphere where solar radiation can reach the Earth’s surface and terrestrial radiation can escape out to space. The visible light spectrum and infrared atmospheric window stand out in this regard. Water vapour has a prominent role in absorbing Earth’s longwave (outgoing) radiation.

By reason of its atmospheric scarcity (it’s a trace gas, remember, at 400 ppmv) and the relative abundance of water vapour (say 20,000 – 40,000 ppmv in temperate regions), global CO2 cannot absorb more longwave radiation than H2O. The area of the globe in dry desert and polar regions, where the warming effect of CO2 is perhaps measurable, is approximately 14% but the remaining 86% of temperate land and ocean emits an abundance of water vapour of up to 4%, averaging 2% or more (figures approximate, from The Physics Factbook, Universe Today and Wikipedia). Globally, there is up to 100 times more water vapour than CO2 and every molecule of H2O outmuscles the molecules of CO2 in the frequencies it absorbs. You tell us an ant (3 mg) overpowers a sparrow (30 g)? Stop horsing around, birdbrain.

  1. More carbon dioxide in the air provides enormous benefits—why do you not know this?

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it’s the elixir of life. It regulates mammalian breathing and feeds terrestrial and marine plants, else they die.

A 2013 paper, The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide: Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Global Food Production, by Craig D. Idso, of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, presents an analysis of the effects of increased CO2 on food crops. He shows over the 50 years from 1961 to 2011 the value of global crops increased by $US3.2 trillion. The annual value of the rising CO2 started at $US18.5 billion in 1961 and by 2011 it was creating an extra $US140 billion every year. That was just the portion provided by the annual increase in the atmospheric level of CO2.

  1. Why do the IPCC give volcanism only desultory consideration with no attempt to quantify its effects?

AR5 WGI (p 1159):

The global energy balance is a fundamental aspect of the Earth’s climate system. At the top of the atmosphere (TOA), the boundary of the climate system, the balance involves shortwave radiation received from the Sun, and shortwave radiation reflected and longwave radiation emitted by the Earth (Section 1.2.2). The rate of storage of energy in the Earth system must be equal to the net downward radiative flux at the TOA. [emphasis added]

AR5 WGI (p 127):

Changes in the global energy budget derive from either changes in the net incoming solar radiation or changes in the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR).

Over recent years more has been learned about significant volcanic activity beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) since it was formed:

There is an increasing body of aeromagnetic, radar ice–sounding, heat flow, subglacial volcanic earthquakes, several exposed active and subglacial volcanoes and other lines of evidence for volcanic activity associated with the West Antarctic Rift System (WR) since the origin (~25 Ma) of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which flows through it.

I suggest that 4 mm/yr melting of the WAIS rivals the amounts of polar ice “loss” which have recently led some climate alarmists to become visibly upset when describing the unfolding environmental disaster allegedly caused by our paltry emissions of CO2.

  1. Why do alarmists believe that RCP8.5 is actually possible, when it was devised to be beyond reason?

It’s illuminating to hear Matt Ridley examine the assumptions in RCP8.5:

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

This extreme scenario, devised deliberately to be impossible, is the only source of predictions of high temperatures, extraordinary sea level rise, severe droughts and floods and extreme storms. None of the news organisations reporting these fact-free forecasts reveal that they’re founded in a fiction. Thank God for the independent internet.

  1. The alarmists look at the huge range of suggested temperatures and think there’ll be a disaster. Do they realise it’s likely to be lukewarm?

This is the comedic side of the IPCC’s predictions: they’re likely to be completely boring, but the alarmist believers go for the extreme numbers every time.

Matt Ridley wrote:

The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

  1. Finally, why do you accuse me of being funded by big oil, when I’m still waiting for my first cheque?

Seems I don’t need funding to twist your tail—only the truth.

Views: 962

32 Thoughts on “A climate denier? Ha ha ha!

  1. Dennis N Horne on 14/12/2017 at 9:30 am said:

    A rational person who wants the science goes to reputable science sites: Royal Society, National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society etc etc etc, all of whom endorse the consensus of >30,000 publishing climate scientists. Earth is warming abruptly, human activity is causing it, mankind needs to reduce GHG emissions urgently.

    This is not a conspiracy. It’s a fact.

  2. Richard Treadgold on 14/12/2017 at 9:49 am said:

    Hi Dennis,

    You make a good point. In my turn, (feeling rational, as you advise) I would make the point that I never used the word conspiracy—please don’t imply that I did. As far as going to “reputable science sites” is concerned, you should have noticed that I quote extensively from the latest report of the IPCC, which gathers information from scientists affiliated with the institutions you mention, and more. You cannot do better. If you disagree with anything I’ve written, then say what it is. Your innuendo doesn’t help. Incidentally, if you can produce any well constructed opinion survey that shows 30,000 climate warmster scientists agree with something, I would love to see it. As far as I know, no survey involves that many warmster views. Not even Oreskes and Lewandowsky got to that kind of number in a survey, they only looked at papers.

  3. Richard Treadgold on 14/12/2017 at 9:58 am said:

    Dennis, by the way, please show evidence of the abrupt warming you mention, and please try to show that mankind is causing it.

  4. Andy on 14/12/2017 at 10:17 am said:

    A rational person goes to read peer reviewed literature and checks the facts for themselves

    For example, I can read the peer reviewed literature on NZ sea level rise, which claims in several papers that there is no acceleration in sea levels

    On the other hand, I could read a Ministry for Environment report, which claims that the sea level rates have doubled over the last 100 years, and that 1.9 metres of sea level rise (10 times the current rate) is possible over the next century

    Which should I believe?

  5. Richard Treadgold on 14/12/2017 at 10:56 am said:

    Exactly. The same holds for the New Zealand temperature record. This was the approach I intended to take in this post, but there was too much to say to keep it going. Basically that’s what we’re all up against when we take an interest. I just cannot understand how some of the warmsters fail to find any contrary data and are persuaded that only one sort is correct.

  6. Andy on 14/12/2017 at 5:08 pm said:

    No one denies that climate exists
    No one denies that climate changes.
    No one denies the trivially true assertion that humans affect the climate to some degree (for example, building a city changes the local climate quite a bit)

    The problem is, if the activists define the issue in strict scientific terms (i.e in sensitivity to CO2), then as you say they would have to admit the wide range of uncertainty

    So, in general, they find solace in just insulting people and hoping that the insults are returned so they can note what dreadful people the “deniers” are

  7. Mike Jowsey on 14/12/2017 at 8:16 pm said:

    +1 Andy. Nutshell.

  8. Simon on 15/12/2017 at 9:23 am said:

    So we all agree then that the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is very likely somewhere between 1°C and 5°C?

  9. Richard Treadgold on 15/12/2017 at 9:49 am said:


    If that’s the best you can say, then you don’t know much about it, do you? Nor can I reduce that range, so I don’t know much about it, either. So a lot of us really resent you guys insisting on changing the foundation of our industry by abandoning cheap, reliable, plentiful hydrocarbons on the basis of our extensive ignorance and your obviously excessive zeal to control the world.

    You expose your own ignorance by claiming your models know the future; you betray your chicanery with your forked-tongue evasions; you harm humanity in obstinately clutching a destructive strategy. Give it up and let the rest of us work.

  10. Andy on 15/12/2017 at 10:20 am said:

    Gosh Richard your comments sound almost Biblical

    “Forked-tongued evasions”

    Love it!

  11. Richard Treadgold on 15/12/2017 at 12:03 pm said:

    haha. Glad you like it. I didn’t intend Biblical; just as long as they have some effect. I’m really angry. It’s such a waste of time and resources, like any war, but we must oppose ignorance.

  12. Andy on 15/12/2017 at 12:58 pm said:

    “Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth. For that would be an established plague, a perpetual curse. Men of false and cruel tongues are of most use when they go to fatten the soil in which they rot as carcases: while they are alive they are the terror of the good, and the torment of the poor. God will not allow the specious orators of falsehood to retain the power they temporarily obtain by their deceitful speaking.”

    Psalm 140:11

    Seems appropriate 🙂

  13. Andy on 15/12/2017 at 1:37 pm said:

    By the way, I’m not suggesting that we should “fatten the soil in which they rot as carcases” to any of our commenters here..

  14. Andy on 15/12/2017 at 3:13 pm said:

    New report is “grim reading” according to James Shaw


    The new report looks like the same as the old leaked report, at first glance

  15. Simon on 15/12/2017 at 10:06 pm said:

    You are trying to portray yourself as reasonable and rational even though your article is full of strange misconceptions. I am trying to find the common ground.
    Surely we agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? And that humans are continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere? Good.
    Now let’s go a bit further. Do we all agree that water vapour is a greenhouse gas and that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour? Do we also acknowledge that warmer oceans outgas CO2? That step might be a bit difficult for those of you who don’t believe that atmosphere and oceans can exchange heat.
    Anyway, you can see how determining ECS is a series of feedback mechanisms. When it comes to policy, we must agree what is a ‘safe’ level of warming. The Paris Agreement is based around 2 degrees. What do you think is safe?

  16. Richard Treadgold on 15/12/2017 at 11:01 pm said:

    Before I answer your questions, why don’t you have a go at answering mine? For example, No. 1: Why do you say the air above heats the ocean below? Since you scoff, saying “that step might be a bit difficult” you obviously know how it works.

    But did you realise that even the IPCC fails to answer this fundamental question? So, when you’ve given your answer, which is probably so easy for you, you could try explaining, or speculating, whichever you think is best, why the IPCC doesn’t answer it.

  17. Richard Treadgold on 15/12/2017 at 11:18 pm said:

    Well, we had a visit from Dennis, who could’ve predicted that? Nice of him to drop in. Shame he doesn’t say much, bit like Simon, actually, although he’s nowhere near as polite as Simon, of course, haha.

  18. Mack on 15/12/2017 at 11:46 pm said:

    That question , No. 1, of yours Richard asks Simon to explain the “greenhouse effect”.
    Simon asks you, “surely we agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?”
    Simon seems perversely unaware that a “greenhouse gas” is the consequences of this “greenhouse effect”.
    The problem is easily resolved….there’s no such thing as a “greenhouse effect”… and, there’s no such thing as a “greenhouse gas”.
    Here’s the explanation for you, Simon …
    There’s further comments of mine, upstream in that mass of comments for you to read , Simon.

  19. Mack on 16/12/2017 at 12:33 am said:

    I’ve scrolled upstream for you ,Simon ..and about here is where to read…

  20. Richard Treadgold on 16/12/2017 at 8:43 am said:


    Thanks for the references at WUWT, very interesting. However …

    The problem is easily resolved….there’s no such thing as a “greenhouse effect”… and, there’s no such thing as a “greenhouse gas”.

    Regrettably, that leaves us a problem, which is this. Certain gases are known to absorb long-wave IR from the land and sea (as seen in the diagram above), notably H2O, CO2 and Oxygen. While those interactions occur, the radiated energy, in bouncing around between entities, is delayed in leaving the atmosphere, temporarily raising its temperature. Not by much, granted, but measurably.

    Now, I can’t say whether this description accords with the various explanations I’ve just been reading at WUWT under Willis’ post on cold/hot objects, but presumably it violates at least one of them and yet it feels right. Unless the satellite observations that gave rise to the diagram from the Space Science & Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been hopelessly compromised, it does leave a problem if you say “there’s no such thing as a “greenhouse gas”.” Because there is, actually.

  21. Dennis N Horne on 16/12/2017 at 9:01 am said:

    Since aerosols have reduced the effect of increased GHG levels in the atmosphere, we can say human activity has been responsible for 110% of the observed warming.

    Without an atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, Earth would not be +15C, it would be -18C. So, without non-condensing GHGs, like CO2 and CH4, there would not be much water vapour. Therefore WV is a feedback, not a forcing. It follows temperature. CO2 is a forcing and a feedback – because increasing temperatures causes outgassing of CO2 from the oceans.

    I’m sorry, I cannot begin to understand the difficulty in seeing how the GHE warms the oceans. DSR (sunlight) warms the water and DLR (infrared) keeps the surface warmer thus reducing cooling. In any case, whatever the explanation, the oceans are warming.

    That someone persists on rejecting perhaps the most thoroughly examined science in history, endorsed by scientific societies whose prestige depends on their credibility, demonstrates that man is indeed a mad animal.

    Although brainwashing by fossil fuel billionaires might be offered in mitigation.

  22. Richard Treadgold on 16/12/2017 at 12:33 pm said:


    Without an atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, Earth would not be +15C, it would be -18C. So, without non-condensing GHGs, like CO2 and CH4, there would not be much water vapour. Therefore WV is a feedback, not a forcing. It follows temperature.

    I don’t know the relevance of “non-condensing”, but I guess it means that condensing diminishes the influence of WV? I cannot conclude, however, that without CO2, O2 and O3 (CH4 has too puny an influence) there would be little water vapour. First, you cannot eliminate substances that clearly are present, except in a thought experiment. Second, there is no such thing as an average temperature of the earth, so even without GHG, tropical temperatures would be precisely as they now are, with the full power of the sun beaming down, evaporating water and the whole system of fluid transport would be shifting the energy to the poles. I would note that even in the frozen zones, sublimation by wind and sun is responsible for putting significant quantities of WV aloft, which as a highly buoyant gas zooms heavenward (80 MT from Antarctica alone).

    In any case, the average temperature is as it is, with the energy moving poleward. I cannot support the conclusion that atmospheric WV is only a feedback, since natural forces send gigantic, variable quantities of the stuff aloft at every moment. I would grant that some WV is a feedback, but you (not I) will have to quantify that if you claim that it’s a significant contribution to dangerous man-made global warming.

    Certainly, WV follows temperature, but not solely; the wind is an enormous contributing factor, and the sun, too, is tremendously effective even at sub-zero temperatures, especially on near-vertical, sun-facing faces, where solar radiation approaches tropical magnitudes. It won’t melt flat sea ice, but it does dry out the ice mountains.

    A comment from the 2015 Live Science article linked above:

    This means that a total of 80 billion tons of snow each year is removed from the surface in these regions and is not being accounted for by climate models. [emphasis added]

    That’s a direct increase to the “greenhouse effect” being attributed right now to our CO2. Never mind, it ought to stop shortly. Just as soon as they quantify the global effects. What could possibly be interfered with?

  23. Richard Treadgold on 16/12/2017 at 12:44 pm said:


    I forgot this:

    I’m sorry, I cannot begin to understand the difficulty in seeing how the GHE warms the oceans. DSR (sunlight) warms the water and DLR (infrared) keeps the surface warmer thus reducing cooling. In any case, whatever the explanation, the oceans are warming.

    Putting aside your difficulty for a moment, sir, perhaps you might a) describe the process of our emitted GHG warming the ocean (and I’m extremely glad to hear that you understand it); b) quantify it (a most important step, if you don’t mind). I suggest that the quantity of heat energy trying to exit the ocean easily overwhelms the weak effect of some micro-heating in the top few microns of the “cool skin” and reaches the atmosphere extremely quickly. Though you’re welcome to refute that if you can. There’s no paper on it that I can find.

    Please don’t say “whatever the explanation, the oceans are warming”. You know very well that why they are warming is precisely the reason we’re being told to stop emitting CO2. So the reason they’re warming is very, very important. Thank you.

  24. Magoo on 16/12/2017 at 12:58 pm said:


    The answers to all your questions are easy, and you’re fully aware of them as they’ve all been pointed out to you in the past, but here we go again:

    1/ Yes, I agree CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It’s widely accepted to warm approx. 1.2C per doubling of total (not just man’s) atmospheric levels.

    2/ Yes, water vapour is a greenhouse gas and a warmer atmosphere CAN hold more water vapour. The thing is you purposely neglect to mention that when WV condenses & it rains the heat stored in the WV is released upwards to space, & the IPCC states that there has been increased levels of precipitation. In addition, lower level water vapour (i.e. clouds) are thought to have a negative feedback as they reflect incoming radiation back to space (think of what happens when a cloud passes overhead & blocks the sun) – some water vapour has a negative feedback.

    But let’s double check the water vapour feedback with the empirical data in the IPCC AR5. In Box 8.1: Upper-Tropospheric Humidity and Water Vapour Feedback at the link below the IPCC states the following:


    ‘In GCMs, water vapour provides the largest positive radiative feedback (see Section alone, it roughly DOUBLES THE WARMING in response to forcing (such as from greenhouse gas increases)’


    ‘Under such a response, for uniform warming, the largest fractional change in water vapour, and thus the largest contribution to the feedback, occurs in the UPPER TROPOSPHERE. In addition, GCMs find enhanced warming in the TROPICAL UPPER TROPOSPHERE, due to changes in the lapse rate (see Section 9.4.4).’

    In summary the IPCC states that water vapour should double the effects of CO2, and that this feedback should occur in the upper troposphere, i.e. the climate models say the upper troposphere should warm at a faster rate than the lower troposphere/surface. Let’s have a look in the IPCC AR5 report to see if this has been happening:

    Table 2.8, page 197, Chapter 2: Observations: Atmosphere and Surface, Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, IPCC AR5 report, 2013.


    ALL temperature datasets in Table 2.8 shows that the lower troposphere (LT) has been warming faster than the upper troposphere (MT) – the opposite of that predicted for positive feedback from water vapour by the IPCC. There is no evidence for positive feedback from water vapour, the empirical evidence from ALL temperature datasets prove it conclusively.

    Now, ‘let’s go a bit further’, as you say. If the IPCC says that water vapour should double the effects of CO2, & there is no positive feedback from water vapour, then the climate models should be running hot by approx. double, correct? Let’s have a look at the climate models vs. the temperatures from 4 surface datasets to see if this is happening:


    The climate models predict roughly twice the amount of warming shown by the empirical temperature data – exactly what would be expected without positive feedback from water vapour.

    The reason you are consistently wrong on AGW is you choose to ignore the vital points that contradict your weak & falsified arguments.

  25. Richard Treadgold on 16/12/2017 at 1:04 pm said:

    Wow, nicely worked through, Magoo, thanks. Been spending some energy there!

  26. Magoo on 16/12/2017 at 1:52 pm said:

    Thanks RT. Not too much work as I know the page numbers of these things in the AR5 now after referencing them so many times.

  27. Magoo on 16/12/2017 at 1:58 pm said:


    If atmospheric heat prevents heat escaping from the ocean because the atmosphere is warmer than the ocean during the day, what keeps the heat in the ocean at night when the ocean is warmer than the atmosphere?

  28. Barry Brill on 18/12/2017 at 8:11 pm said:

    Simon, you enquire:
    “Do we all agree that water vapour is a greenhouse gas and that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour? Do we also acknowledge that warmer oceans outgas CO2?” Speaking for myself, I do agree.

    The maximum possible level of relative humidity (RH) is correlated with temperature. However, this theoretical ceiling is relevant only if RH is usually constrained by it. Real-world data shows that this is not the case, and raising the ceiling has no practical effect on feedbacks. Humidity levels are driven by a host of other factors, most of which are poorly understood.

    Warmer oceans outgas CO2, but usually after a significant lag. The Vostok ice column shows that CO2 outgassing typically maxes out some 800 years after a warming incident.

    I have no problem with the hypothesis that initial GHG warming could instigate positive feedbacks through RH increases, albedo, etc. It also instigates negative feedbacks such as increased cloud cover. What is the NET effect?

    Nobody knows, and this is the critical question that divides most “mainstream” climate scientists from most “lukewarmers”. The former rely upon the assumptions in their models, while the latter claim to rely upon empirical data.

  29. Barry Brill on 18/12/2017 at 8:49 pm said:


    You believe that “a rational person who wants the science goes to reputable science sites: Royal Society, National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society etc”.

    Why would you make such a claim? Don’t you know that the Royal Society gained its erstwhile reputation by insisting upon “nullius in verba” over 300 years ago? Is there any place for a scientific method (or even the Enlightenment) if we all go back to the fallacy of arguing from “Authority” or “Revelation”?

    Surely, we are past this. How could you adopt a theory of relativity or quantum mechanics or string theory, by reading about the consensus views of a faceless group of scientists who have forsaken their laboratories for a committee membership?

    The quangos you have cited exist to advance the interests of their members. Scientists elect peers to represent them in Societies rather than Trade Unions, but they serve exactly the same purpose. This is how the demand for research outputs from public-sector scientists is manipulated at a macro level. What would happen to aggregate research grants if the societies were to say in unison: “all is well, no threats on the horizon”?

    If evidence of ECS exists, it will be found in a peer-reviewed journal paper, not a word-crafted Society website.

  30. Mack on 18/12/2017 at 9:38 pm said:

    ……”brainwashing by fossil fuel billionaires”…..
    Nah, Dennis, the real brainwashing occurs here….the link in this comment…
    Here’s some more indoctrination for you…..

  31. Mack on 18/12/2017 at 9:59 pm said:

    In that second piece of govt. propaganda, they start with…
    ” Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane surround the Earth like a blanket and stop it freezing to death”
    Here’s what I think of that….

  32. Maggy Wassilieff on 19/12/2017 at 10:34 am said:

    @Dennis N. Horne

    In any case, whatever the explanation, the oceans are warming.

    Well, are they? – All of them?
    If we look at recent papers that discuss actual measurements of ocean temperatures with time and depth,
    we might discover that things are much more complicated than your simple statement implies.
    Some oceans have been cooling in recent years. Some parts of our oceans warmed rapidly in the early decades of the 20thC.

    25 Papers: Natural Forcing Explains Why The Globe’s Oceans Have Been Recently Warming AND Cooling


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