Tiresome climate propaganda

Here’s a (lightly improved) op-ed I submitted to the Herald a month ago with no acknowledgement. Prof Geoff Duffy describes scientific properties of greenhouse gases that raise significant doubt about the wisdom of mitigating our emissions of any gas. How odd that these fully informed colleagues make no argument against his criticisms, preferring an ineffectual allegation of being “wrong about many [unspecified] aspects of science.” So I ask you, lady and gentlemen: what aspects and how is he wrong? — RT

The letter Our impact on climate very clear, of 8 Oct 2018 (right), by Prof Dave Frame and seven other local climate scientists, gives misleading information about greenhouse gases.

Seeing a letter over those scholarly signatures sparks interest in the pending illumination. But, sadly, Frame et al. (or Frame ‘n Pals) recite the tiresome propaganda of the IPCC without demur and tip-toe around the scientific points made so well by our friend Dr Geoff Duffy.

They present sentences arranged to resemble a logical argument that are in fact unconnected. Each one tells part of the truth, so it’s not wrong, but it neither contributes to an argument nor supports the next sentence.

Any connection between them rests only on our gullibility.

Rises like hot air at 300°C

Frame ‘n Pals would distract the unwary by claiming water vapour “acts as an amplifying feedback on changes in greenhouse gases”. They say it’s created by warming and amplifies that warming. But they mislead us, since water vapour enters the atmosphere in countless ways. It doesn’t need warming. Water vapour is one of the lightest of gases. It is more buoyant than hot air at a temperature of over 300°C, so it rockets into the heavens.

Water vapour is evaporated constantly by natural forces. Direct sunlight evaporates surface water and so does the wind, as farmers and clothesline makers know. Wave action and turbulence increases surface area, thus increasing evaporation, geothermal heat helps and the constant breathing of quadrillions of plants and animals provides a continual torrent of water vapour. None of this depends on the temperature.

As a greenhouse gas, water vapour outweighs, outfights and out-competes all the others in 1) abundance, 2) the number of infrared bands at which it absorbs energy and 3) the proportion of available energy it absorbs at those frequencies.

Most of the signatories to Frame’s letter are fellows and members of the Royal Society. They cite “the most significant sentence” in the AR5: “human influence on the climate is clear.”

No evidence for us then—what are these scientists doing?

But the NZ Climate Science Coalition, of which Geoff and I are members, last year asked the Royal Society of NZ directly for evidence that human activity causes dangerous global warming and they had none to give us.

This letter from members of the Royal Society now says a human influence is clear. It’s troubling that they boldly assert what a few months ago they had no evidence for. What on earth are these scientists doing?

Dr Jim Salinger is quoted in the Herald yesterday (Jim Salinger: The real facts on methane) saying: “The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere exists in direct relation to the temperature.” But he fails to say it’s a loose relationship with temperature.

Ice sublimes without melting and wind evaporates it however cold it is. Winds lift billions of tonnes of water vapour into the air every day and, in evaporating, each molecule cools the ice, snow or water it came from. Because the atmosphere is seldom saturated it can always take up more water vapour, except sometimes in the tropics. The point is, it doesn’t need warming.

Salinger dead wrong

It’s disturbing that Salinger says: “Duffy claims that water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. This is incorrect.” Salinger is simply dead wrong. IPCC says “water vapour has the largest greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere.” So also says NOAA and innumerable other sources. Aiguo Dai (2006) in a study of global surface humidity, opens with: “Atmospheric water vapour provides the single largest greenhouse effect on the earth’s climate.”

Salinger and his Frame ‘n Pals, government-employed climate scientists, still cannot prove that human emissions cause dangerous global warming, which is what this dispute is about. That’s why they produce no evidence against Prof Duffy.

They also display a disregard for accuracy in their explanations of the climate change hypothesis. What are they hiding?

Salinger contradicts the IPCC about the supremacy of water vapour and defies widely known scientific characteristics of greenhouse gases.

No evidence of a positive net feedback

Few care about the arcane details of infrared frequencies, or differences between carbon dioxide and methane, or nit-picking disputes over global warming potentials on the 50-year or 500-year horizon. All that is as meaningless to most voters as disputes over pinheads and dancing angels.

But Frame and Salinger both preach that water vapour responds with positive feedback to warming, when there’s no evidence of this. Were it true, the world’s climate would have tipped into catastrophic warming millions of years ago. Scientists and engineers know that strong positive feedback creates instability which destroys a system. But the atmosphere is warming and cooling all the time with no instability whatsoever.

Geoff Duffy says “measure everything accurately” and that’s hard to argue with.

Richard Treadgold
Climate Conversation Group
Member of NZ Climate Science Coalition


19 Thoughts on “Tiresome climate propaganda

  1. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is directly proportional to the air temperature. The water vapor feedback loop makes temperature changes caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions even larger.

  2. Richard Treadgold on November 23, 2018 at 11:12 am said:


    I’d say you’ve got that word-perfect; you’ve obviously been practising what the AR5 says. But now you ought to prove it, since they overlooked that step. When you do, kindly remember to account for the handful of causes I list above of increases in humidity that are independent of temperature change.

    To support my assertion, you may be interested in this statement given to me by Professor Geoff Duffy, together with the graphs from the online Lenntech relative humidity calculator:

    Probably the most surprising fact is that the atmospheric water vapour concentration can increase even with NO change in temperature at all. This is shown in the following two plots where an extremely small 5% change in relative humidity from 70% to 75% at 15°C (approximately the average world temperature) increases the atmospheric water vapour concentration by 540 ppmm (from 7,490 ppmm to 8,030 ppmm). This is more than the total current atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 ppmv, and is achieved with only a 5% relative humidity change which can occur rapidly, even at constant temperature. — Prof Geoff Duffy (pers. comm.)

    First, 70% RH at 15°C, with H2O at 7.49 g per kg of air:

    Then relative humidity (RH) increases. How? Well, a herd of wildebeest might pass by, huffing and puffing with their efficient little lungs; or a couple of rogue waves might crash on yon shore, spraying water droplets on the breeze for miles inland; or a strong wind might arise, created by a faraway cyclone and sweeping tonnes of evaporated water from the surface of yon lake. Anyway, now we have 75% RH at the same temperature, 15°C, with H2O now at 8.03 g per kg of air:

    Note the CO2 concentration has risen by 540 ppmm, which (please correct me if it’s wrong) is about 428 ppmv—in other words, it has more than doubled in that place, yet it’s not caused by warming and I’ve never heard reports of temperature fluctuating significantly as a result.

    Ergo, IPCC is wrong. Wonder how they missed that? Still, please prove your assertion that atmospheric water vapour concentration is always and everywhere proportional to air temperature.

  3. Brett Keane on November 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm said:

    I say prove it, too, Simon. Not holding my breath though, based on past performance. Troll.

  4. Geoff needs to uncover a mechanism as to why humidity will decrease in a warming world. There is no indication of this happening in current Global Climate Models. If one exists, then it will mean a drier climate, which will likely be disadvantageous to crop growing.
    In the absence of such a mechanism, the status quo should be assumed. Paleo-climatic history clearly shows the correlation between CO2 and surface temperatures.

  5. Richard Treadgold on November 23, 2018 at 4:56 pm said:


    Before you criticise what other people say, kindly justify your own remarks. You say water vapour concentration depends on temperature, only we don’t believe you, so prove it.

  6. Barry Brill on November 23, 2018 at 9:14 pm said:

    Simon, I was intrigued to read your assertion: “The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is directly proportional to the air temperature”.

    Could you please offer a link to the actual research you are relying upon? The 2008 news release you reference has no link to Dessler’s “experiment” and it doesn’t seem to be mentioned in AR5 or anywhere else. The article’s throwaway comment that warming is (always?) correlated with humidity does not seem to originate from any peer-reviewed research.

    In my part of the world you can get dripping wet fog at the coldest part of the day (6am) while the air becomes dryza bone once the temperature rises about 5°C (2pm).

    An obvious problem is that increased humidity means increased cloud, which usually means decreased temperature. Then there are all the complexities of the humidity being caused by evaporation which is accompanied by cooling. All this has been happening for millions of years so we know it must be self-correcting.

  7. Richard Treadgold on November 24, 2018 at 10:26 am said:


    The press release says:

    Increasing water vapour leads to warmer temperatures.”

    But it would be more accurate to say it MAY lead to warmer temperatures. At greater altitude, as the water vapour cools, it may condense, forming clouds, as Barry mentions. This is an example of what Geoff Duffy calls “double phase-change”. He says:

    Probably the heat transfer mechanism that receives the least attention is double phase-change; that is evaporation at the ocean surface and then condensation (cloud, mist, fog formation). Water concentration variations in the atmosphere are massive and can change rapidly. … a large amount of energy is used to evaporate water from the oceans … and then much of this is released to space when clouds form by condensation.
    A powerful additional effect is that clouds are very effective thermal shields or ‘umbrellas’ for solar radiation. They can instantly intercept incoming radiant energy as well as absorb a good portion of it. The additional interactive transfer of energy from rain, hail, transpiration, and snow is also huge because of the extremely large interface, or gas-liquid surface area, that promotes energy transfer. Clearly all these factors must be considered simultaneously with radiant energy transfer in any rational appraisal of the causes of weather change.

    The NASA press release then says warmer temperatures

    [cause] more water vapour to be absorbed into the air.

    Again, it would be more accurate to say more water vapour MAY be absorbed. The warmer air has a greater potential to absorb more water, that is all. Barry describes a very dry atmosphere at 2pm, when temperatures are much warmer. We also observe very high temperatures in desert regions, with no increase in water vapour.

    Finally, NASA say:

    Warming and water absorption increase in a spiralling cycle.

    But this is a classic description of a positive feedback that is known to destroy the system where it occurs without interruption. As Barry points out, it’s self-evidently self-correcting. You have to acknowledge this.

  8. Brett Keane on November 25, 2018 at 10:50 am said:

    The CO2 relation to Temperature has been shown to be as a follower eg c.800yrs with Ice Cores. Thanks to Oceanic and Seabed Crustal processes including Cold Bottom Water Formation. Self-styled climate scientists have no idea of how much CO2 is outgassed Tectonically on the seabed. But such processes, including Subglacial activity, are now being measured. The detective deductions of Prof Murry Salby showed this was likely and now we start to see how and why…..
    Similarly, certain claims on the RH, SH, Temperature relationships were used to justify the CAGW scam. Measurements show they are false. Like the Hotspot. When it became obvious that CO2 lacks the radiative power to do the job they gave it, they shuffled sideways again by claiming that, no, CO2 caused more Water Vapour to form. But we know it has not but Simon has not caught up with this, how embarassing.
    Simon’s claimed Hypothesis falls down and the Null Hypothesis stands yet. End of story, bar the squawking from non-scientist apparatniks.
    Brett PS, we expect the Quiet Sun to lead to more gassing because Muon impacts on the Mantle increase when the Magnetic Fields weaken. Stirring things up.

  9. is running climate doomsday stories everyday this week

  10. Stuff have this on the bottom of all their articles on climate change

    Stuff accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity. We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change, but do not intend to provide a venue for denialism or hoax advocacy. That applies equally to the stories we will publish in Quick! Save the Planet and to our moderation standards for reader comments.

    So presumably Stuff asserts that natural climate change does not exist. Unfortunately we can’t ask because it is “denialism”

  11. “Natural” climate change occurs over millennia. What we are currently experiencing is large change over a matter of decades.
    You could always get your climate briefings from Fox News, apparently people with very high levels of intelligence watch it.

  12. Ian Cooper on November 29, 2018 at 12:52 pm said:

    So I take it Fox isn’t on your play list Simon?

  13. Stuff say “climate change is real”

    Yes I accept that

    Weather is real
    Climate is real
    Climate change is real

    Then they say “climate change is caused by us”

    Ok that’s all climate change, or just the anthropogenic component?

    I accept ghe trivially true assertion that humans affect the climate to some degree (planting a single tree affects the climate)

    So what I presume that they mean is that human caused climate change is caused by humans

    Yes I accept that. The sentence is self evident

  14. Richard Treadgold on December 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm said:


    “Natural” climate change occurs over millennia. What we are currently experiencing is large change over a matter of decades.

    So, no response to Barry Brill’s request for evidence, no response to my comments, just a ridiculous statement about decadal changes as though they’ve never happened before.

    Since the LIA, which ended, say, 170 years ago, there’s been some warming which was too early to have been caused by human activity. So this was natural climate change occurring over a few decades, which contradicts your first sentence.

    You could always get your climate briefings from Fox News, apparently people with very high levels of intelligence watch it.

    Do you? I don’t watch it.

    You’re just rude and mischievous. We ask questions which you treat as lies. But a question can’t be a statement. Yes, that’s painfully pedantic but you’re being stupid.

  15. All of your water vapour questions were answered in the NASA link, if you had bothered to read it.
    Temperature change during the Little Ice Age were much smaller than those experienced in our generation. Volcanic eruptions can produce sudden drops in temperature, but they are short-term. Humans have been altering the climate for thousands of years, but not at the magnitude we see today.

  16. Richard Treadgold on December 2, 2018 at 9:34 pm said:


    I’m glad I seemed to induce an attack of conscience. But these answers are unhelpful.

    All of your water vapour questions were answered in the NASA link, if you had bothered to read it.

    Oh, I read it all before (I really am looking for evidence). But there’s no evidence in that ancient document showing that water vapour concentration is proportional to temperature. It’s pretty important to your case, so surely you have a barrel of proof. We’re looking for real-world numbers here, not an assertion of theoretical likelihood. Show us that a temperature increase actually makes a difference of a certain magnitude in WV concentration. Quantify the resulting temperature increase as well.

    Temperature change[s] during the Little Ice Age were much smaller than those experienced in our generation.

    If you can prove that, please explain why you mention it.

    Volcanic eruptions can produce sudden drops in temperature, but they are short-term.

    Sort of the definition of natural climate change, really. No way you can pin that on us.

    Humans have been altering the climate for thousands of years, but not at the magnitude we see today.

    Now you’re being outrageous. Even the IPCC put the beginning of a detectable human influence at 1950. But prove it if you can, feel free. Come to that, prove modern anthro climate change since 1950. Nobody’s even done that so far.

    But Simon, I’m not keeping this up interminably. Inject a spark of intelligence into your comments or I’m cutting the connection.

  17. Brett Keane on December 3, 2018 at 6:51 am said:

    If we feed the trolls, we fall into their trap. Which is to waste our time because they have no constructive intent. “The truth is not in them” Brett

  18. Sir David Attenborough: Climate change ‘our greatest threat’

    The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”.
    Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate Change.

    “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

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