Climate Coalition conversations

The knowledgeable conversations in the NZ Climate Science Coalition are often gripping and inspire me to more research. I’d like them to find a rich appreciation among a broader audience, so let’s see how they appeal to you, the reader. This first one is from about four days ago. Some of our members prefer to remain anonymous. — RT

[Dr Jock Allison:] Please have a look at page 19. This is the first of a series of four articles that Harry intends to write for the NZ Farmer’s Weekly. Harry Clark is the CEO of the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, and I sent him a copy of the Allison & Sheahen paper (attached), with my assessment that anthropogenic methane was responsible for less than 1% of the world’s warming. His response was as follows.

[Dr Harry Clark:] Our paper looks at anthropogenic warming, i.e., the change in temperature due to human activities over a certain time period. Human activity doesn’t directly change the quantity of water vapour in the atmosphere. Water vapour itself, while being important in keeping the earth warm, is not regarded as a driver of temperature change since, without changes in other GHGs, its concentration in the atmosphere is stable. Changes in its concentration in the atmosphere are being driven by temperature change, not the other way around. These changes in water vapour due to changes in other gases then amplify the warming effect. The primary drivers of temperature change are the GHGs other than water vapour.

Your calculations are not assessing the change in temperature due to anthropogenic emissions, they are I think trying to assess the relative contribution of the different GHGs to total warming relative to those gases not being present in the atmosphere. Without GHGs the average temperature of the earth would apparently be about -18°C rather than the current 15°C. Water vapour has a dominant role in keeping us at 15°C but it doesn’t drive changes from the 15°C. That is driven by other gases.

Water vapour warms the earth,  but doesn’t raise the temperature

The following is a statement by the American Chemical Society.

…water vapor is the largest contributor to the Earth’s greenhouse effect… However, water vapor does not control the Earth’s temperature, but is instead controlled by the temperature… If there had been no increase in the amounts of non-condensable greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide), the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would not have changed—with all other variables remaining the same. The addition of the non-condensable gases causes the temperature to increase and this leads to an increase in water vapor that further increases the temperature. This is an example of a positive feedback. The warming due to increasing non-condensable gases causes more water vapor to enter the atmosphere, which adds to the effect of the non-condensable gases.

Harry Clark PhD | Director

[Dr Jock Allison:] Dr Clark is the scientist on the Interim Climate Change Committee, and has the IPCC view of the way the atmosphere works. The additional information from the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre is at You can see that Harry Clark in his NZ Farmer’s Weekly article has a table that shows CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere for centuries. I will email the editor of NZ Farmer’s Weekly and ask to publish the dissenting view. Comments?

[Dr Anon:] Harry Clark’s foremost error is in this statement:

The primary drivers of temperature change are the GHGs other than water vapour.

That is not true. All kinds of other natural factors drive temperature change. Thousands of years of data show that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature.

The “water cycle” is taking place at the 1% – 3% level, and the H2O content of the atmosphere is widely variable. Therefore, when some more H2O is produced (along with CO2) when fossil fuels are burned, nobody bothers about the tiny change in H2O.

The standard IPCC position says that more H2O is a positive feedback, but that statement overlooks the role of clouds, which add an important negative factor. At night, clouds act as a blanket, retaining warmth; in the daytime, clouds bounce sunlight off into space, a cooling effect. The tops of clouds reflect away incoming sunlight, reducing the amount of incoming radiation that actually reaches the earth. Nobody has ever come up with a good model to account for clouds. The fact that the grid size for calculations is much larger than a typical cloud size makes it very difficult to treat clouds properly. We hear the term “parameterization” with regard to clouds, but that means “hand waving.”

Monckton says IPCC is wrong

Starting with the Charney report of 1979, belief in H2O as a positive feedback agent has been strong; those arguing for negative feedback have been brushed aside. However, quite recently Monckton et al. have explained why the entire IPCC method of treating feedback is wrong; the IPCC method deals only with perturbations to the atmosphere, not the entire atmosphere. That’s a fundamental mistake in physics. Presuming that H2O is a strongly positive agent is not going to compensate for that large error.

Meanwhile, another recent important contribution is that of Ed Berry, who showed how CO2 comes and goes in the atmosphere and measured its lifetime as about a decade — emphatically not the 200 years alleged in the “Bern model” formerly used by the IPCC. We have known since third grade that CO2 is plant food and Berry’s analysis of observational data shows that CO2 is taken up steadily by natural mechanisms.

[Richard Treadgold:] Clark says:

without changes in other GHGs, water vapour’s concentration in the atmosphere is stable.

Which leads neatly to the approved IPCC conclusion:

The primary drivers of temperature change are the GHGs other than water vapour.

Which lets the UN attack our way of life because we’re creating a little more of one of these trace gases, CO2. The truth is more complex, as you are all variously saying.


Atmospheric water vapour concentration is in fact highly variable spatially and temporally. Clark says water vapour is “important in keeping the earth warm,” while at the same time assuring us that it’s “not regarded as a driver of temperature change.” But “not driving temperature change” cannot mean cooling, so it means not warming.

Water vapour is somehow keeping the earth warm without raising the temperature.

But let’s say for the sake of argument that Clark is right. Then, since the amount the air can hold is a function only of temperature, if water vapour is being absorbed at higher temperatures while creating higher temperatures, we are shortly to be burned to a crisp and there’s nothing to stop it!

What else does “not regarded as a driver of temperature change” mean? We can only hope that Harry lets us know.

Water does indeed cool while it warms. It is the magic liquid, the alpha aqua, its phase changes, thermal capacity and temperature range keeping the surface temperature in a livable temperature range for millions of years without our help.

Our expert atmospheric scientists of the national Greenhouse Gas Research Centre might like to consider that water heats and cools its environment at slightly different times, in different places and by different mechanisms. Whenever it evaporates it soaks up prodigious amounts of energy from the water, earth and surrounding air, moving the energy upward and towards the poles. When it condenses at altitude, it releases huge amounts of energy into the air, where much of it can go to space. As it forms clouds, it provides massive cooling by reflecting the rays of the sun back into space. As the micro-particles of water in the cloud grow larger and precipitate, they cool the air as they fall and the earth and water again when they land.

The housewife, the farmer and the physicist

The power of the wind, with no temperature change, to evaporate vast quantities of water should be familiar not only to the housewife, the farmer and the physicist. It should be known by every student of the environment, for that powerful drying force raises millions and billions of tonnes of water vapour in minutes or hours from the oceans and the earth, cooling them down and shifting stupendous amounts of energy high into the air, where much of it escapes to space.

This leads to a continuously variable airborne concentration of water vapour. It is incorrect to say, with Harry Clark, our Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the IPCC, that “water vapour does not control the Earth’s temperature but is instead controlled by the temperature.” Because they both occur. Wherever free water exists, there appear at its surface free molecules of water vapour. In the absence of air movement they remain there, perhaps moving back into the liquid condition, to be replaced by other evaporating molecules.

If they are swept away, they rise high into the air, as befits their natural buoyancy. Water is unaware that, if there hasn’t been a temperature rise, it’s not meant to evaporate when a breeze moves over it. So it evaporates, putting more water vapour aloft in an act of tremendous cooling.

Atmospheric water vapour does not persist in an unvarying stability in the absence of temperature change. For some reason the IPCC mistakenly assures us that it does, and for some reason our public scientists, including Drs Harry Clark, Dave Frame, James Renwick, David Wratt and many others concur.

I suggest this picture of the dual role of water vapour is a readily assimilated factoid for electors—who alone can persuade politicians to fight the UN attack on our way of life.


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” Without GHGs the average temperature of the earth would apparently be about -18deg C rather than the current 15deg C ” says Harry Clark.
Give me strength , these wacko -18deg C frozen earth “greenhouse” loons are running this country.


“Please explain” Wow, thank you, Richard, Where to begin ?! Well it begins in NZ right from the word go, with children being indoctrinated with “naughty gases.” A little bit further on , we have this…. Now notice the very first sentence reads “Gases such as CO2 and methane surround the Earth like a blanket and stop it freezing to death”. The children have already got the notion about “naughty greenhouse gases” going on in their heads, so they are concentrating on that, and missing (are cunningly diverted from) the sheer lunatic teaching in that sentence that, they, (the “greenhouse gases”.. atmosphere, or whatever) .. surround the Earth LIKE A BLANKET AND “STOP IT FREEZING TO DEATH” Further schooling of the theory goes in later years , in which numbers are introduced, to “verify” this “Greenhouse” effect preventing the OCEANS from being totally FROZEN. … namely the -18deg C. average Global temperature.! ! The -18deg C, frozen Earth, was sheeted home to me by this individual ..Greg House in which he says… “..You do believe that nonsense” “So Mack, you surely understand that makes you as stupid as Doug in… Read more »


If Dr Anon believes that the Charney sensitivity is wrong, all he needs to do is write a paper in a respectable peer reviewed paper. Every policy maker in the world wishes that the current estimates are wrong.
Clouds are a positive and a negative feedback, depending on composition. You are trying to argue that the climate won’t change because the climate will change.
Monkton & Berry’s ideas are just plain wrong, you won’t find them publishing in real journals.


Kept out by the warmster gatekeepers who insist on annoying things like obeying the laws of physics and showing experimental evidence.

Barry Straight

Just started reading the exchange. Came across this comment: “Thousands of years of data show that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature.”

Is this the level of discussion that occurred?

Looking at the recent geological (lets say prehistoric) record then the exogenous inputs (mainly from volcanism) seem to have been low relative to historic exogenous inputs (mainly from agricultural Soil OM breakdown and fossil fuel burning), which means that the two eras are not comparable and so conclusions drawn from one can not be applied to the other.

Looking longer term, isn’t it now agreed that the Eocene high in global temperature was driven by large releases of CO2 produced by volcanic eruptions through carbonate rich sediments?

Me thinks the trees are being seen but the implication of a wood is not being recognised.

Barry Straight

What’s absolutely true? That “Thousands of years of data show that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature.”. Sure, I’m fine with that as a statement of knowledge. What I was objecting to was it’s doubtful use in the discussion. I thought I made that clear. Are you saying that you feel the evidence of the past hundred years or so that raised levels of atmospheric CO2 are driving increased atmospheric temperature is unreliable? What would it take to make you trust its reliability? Further comments. Umm, I read to the end but the talk about water vapour seemed kind of pointless so maybe I missed stuff. Are the “skeptics” saying that the water vapour in the atmosphere is in a dynamic equilibrium and that CO2 has negligible impact on it? I just think of the tiny changes in solar radiation that occur through Milankovitch cycles but which appear to have precipitated dramatic changes in climate over the past million years or so. So I presume that climate scientists believe/have shown that the climate is sensitive to the relative change in CO2 over the past few hundred years ie all that stuff about… Read more »


Barry Straight, Look a little further than what the warmists are pushing, which is Catastrophic Global Man-made Warming that they are blaming on the use of fossil fuels which raise the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which then leads to water vapour increasing and that leads to runaway global temperatures. This is what the whole debate is centered on. The doubling of CO2 will only raise the global temperature by 0.6 Celsius. That is a scientific fact. The theory of global warming depends on the tropical hot spot which, despite frantic searching and many false claims, has not been found. Any further warming can only happen if water vapour is a positive feedback and amplifies the very small warming that the doubling of CO2 causes. A slightly warmer atmosphere will hold a little more water vapour but clouds both cool and warm the earth and at this time can not be modelled well enough to incorporate into the climate models which all run too hot except the Russian one. The world has warmed since 1880 and a very small part of that warming could be due to CO2 but the world… Read more »

Brett Keane

BS, the ice cores show how CO2 lags T, for starters. Henrys Law. Changes of ocean T on dissolved CO2, which dwarfs that in air about 60 times.
CO2, just a hook to hang your Big Lie on. Courtesy of marx stalin and goebbals etc. You may win, but who then will feed you? Even nasa now predicts cooling from solar effects.

BrettK Keane

Our creepy little trolls need their snouts rammed in this post above. But they are not helpable of course. Brett

Brett, please restrain the level of ad hominems. Keep it civilised. Thanks. — Richard.
Maybe instead of spending 3 Trillion USD on Population Control (, we should invest in REAL science and scientists and at least attempt to work towards survival as a species. All this has happened before and will again.

Or maybe it’s the increased Universal Solar Radiation making us all crazy?

Barry Straight

Hi Graham, As I said at the end of my first post, I think you guys are being distracted by details. I guess you are looking for those glitches that are the indications of forgery, but I accept that my $10 note is ‘real’ and want to know what I can do with it. So I’m not that interested in the minutiae of atmospheric processes. Agreed, various people/groups are attempting to mobilise general populations to push for policies to address climate change. However, it’s pretty hard to do as individual people aren’t too good at recognising systematic warming, though it has been evident to people near the arctic circle for a few years now. So the ‘activists’ tend to be perceived as scaremongers and treated like Cassandra (of Illiad fame). In this analogy, I guess you are playing the part of the Trojans, who dismissed her warnings. What motivates the scaremongers? Some of them see it as an opportunity to impose their values, political beliefs and utopian solutions on society. ie they have hidden agendas and are simply taking advantage of a perceived crisis, a bit like Roger Douglas / Richard Prebble back… Read more »

Brett Keane

BS, so expound on the Physics base of what you espouse, please. And the energetics of it all. Brett

Barry Straight

BK, I think I have expounded enough and I don’t think there is any physics base, let alone energetics to it all. If you read my comments you will see they are almost all about people, their beliefs and interactions. ie no physics etc to explain


Brett Keane

Then, ho hum, BS, just mt words. No Physics, no use. Cmon, you can do better than that, I know you can. Why do Venus Earth and Titan share the same surface T and gradient relative to solar distance and planetary/atmospheric mass? What does this mean for agw?

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