Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

Results about which You've Not Read

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Physics explains color in terms of frequencies — or, equivalently, in terms of wave-lengths — of light. And the colors of substances are explained in terms of what frequencies these substances absorb and what frequencies they radiate or allow to pass.

An object of some color is so because it radiates or allows to pass light of frequencies participating in that color, but absorbs all others. When the object absorbs light of other frequencies, the energy of that light is absorbed. The reason that everyday objects don't then heat-up indefinitely is that they radiate the energy as light, but in the frequencies natural to their substances, rather than simply in the frequencies that were absorbed. A blue sweater converts white light to blue light. Moreover, under stable conditions, substances radiate light in the same set of frequencies. The blue sweater stays blue.

If the Earth did not radiate back into outer-space a significant amount of the light energy in which the Earth is bathed, then it would be dramatically hotter. But, as the surface of the Earth radiates light into the atmosphere, some of that light is absorbed by the atmosphere and then radiated back towards the surface; and, as some of the light radiated by lower parts of the atmosphere is radiated upward, some of it is absorbed by higher parts of the atmosphere and then radiated downward.

What are called greenhouse gasses have their effect by absorbing light energy and then returning a share of it downward, instead of allowing it to escape into outer-space. (Actual greenhouses work by a different principle.)

The theory of anthropogenic global climate change says that release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere by human activity causes significant changes to climate by increasing the amount of light energy radiated back downward, instead of being allowed to escape into outer-space.

Climate surely changes, and indeed has warmed and cooled, but that much was true before the first humans appeared, and well before humans released nearly so much of greenhouses gasses since the onset of the Industrial Age. So, if we seem to observe change now, or even warming now, then we want a means of determining whether the human contribution is significant or the change is about what it would be without us.

When the theory of anthropogenic global climate change first came into fashion, its models assumed a linear effect. That is to say that doubling the amount of a greenhouse gas would double the amount of light energy trapped, and so forth. Proper economists were naturally doubtful; we are used to marginal effects beyond some point diminishing. Indeed, the particles of a greenhouse gas would have to be arranged in some remarkable configuration in the sky to have linear effect. We could also imagine remarkable configurations in which marginal effects became immeasurably tiny. It should be no surprise that the linear models failed miserably.

As it happens, the effects of the greenhouse gasses are empirically measurable. Carbon dioxide, methane, and the other greenhouse gasses are like other chemicals, including the dye of that blue sweater that I mentioned. The greenhouse gasses don't simply radiate light energy back towards the surface of the Earth; they radiate it in characteristic frequencies. If you had the resources for strategically placed sensors, then for the last ten, twenty, or thirty years you could have measured the light energy in the relevant frequencies, and could have compared these measurements against the changing levels of the gasses — if you wanted to know.

Many of the various national states have the resources, and every reason to support such a study if its results conform to the theory of anthropogenic global climate change. But the results of a study effecting such measurements on a meaningful scale have not been reported. If that silence is because the results are being kept secret, then plainly they are inconvenient to whomever has kept them secret. If the silence is because such a study has not been undertaken, then plainly that is because the results are expected to be inconvenient.

If you're not autistic, then you recognize the significance for the theory that results have not been reported.

Theatre of the Absurd

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

It is often asserted that the current President runs a continuous campaign; that, even now, when he can no longer be reëlected nor get a Congress more to his liking before his Administration ends, he campaigns.

Well, more generally, his Administration has been theatre. The apparent campaigning is a manifestation of that. And to-day I read that he has produced a trailer for his up-coming State of the Union Address. A trailer. It makes perfect sense, because the Address is theatre. It has long been theatre, but he does theatre as did no President before him.

He's been concerned to posture and to act in ways that he expects to be made to look good by to-day's mainstream media and by that bloc of historians who decided, even before he took office, that they would depict his Administration favorably almost without regard to whatever he ended-up doing.

The recent climate accord, for which there was so much build-up and from which nothing came but loose and unenforceable promises, was theatre. The negotiations with Iran, in which many meetings were held to agree that the United States would throw up its hands (something that it could more simply have done unilaterally) were theatre.

Even the Affordable Care Act has become theatre. As costs spiral out of control it approaches its implosion, but it will be portrayed as a Noble Effort, ruined by Republicans and by the inherent wickedness of market forces.

And it was theatre when the man who has killed so many children with his drone strikes wept for the murdered children of Sandy Hook.

Theatre. The cost of the ticket is very high.

Cosmic Awareness

Sunday, 25 October 2009
Cosmic pattern to UK tree growth by Matt Walker at the BBC

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space.


As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.

(By saying rays impacted tree growth, the Beeb goes further than the data actually warrant. Cosmic rays are positively correlated with tree growth, but their effect may be negligible. It may be something else, also correlated with the rays, that has been affecting growth rates.)

The source paper is available here:

but a subscription is required to view more than the abstract.

Increase as Alleged Evidence of Downward Trend

Sunday, 14 June 2009
From Ideas, the 'blog of David D. Friedman:
Global Sea-ice, Deceptive Reporting, and Truthful Lies, 12 May 2009:

The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing.

That statement, from the JPL, is dated April 2009. The actual data for northern hemisphere sea ice, measured as the deviation from its 1978-2000 mean, are shown below. The source is The Cryosphere Today, a web site of the Polar Research Group, Department of Atmosphere Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, not a site devoted to critics of global warming. […]

Looking at the graph, the pattern is pretty clear. For about ten years, from 1997 to late 2007, the area of sea ice was decreasing. That trend then reversed, and the area has now been increasing for more than a year. […].

Sea Ice II: Reading Graphs, 13 May 2009:

On the other hand, poking around the same source, I found the graph for March, which provides at least a little support for the JPL comment I have been attacking, which was published in April. It shows March sea ice rising a lot for two years, but falling a little in the most recent year. To describe that as "continues to shrink" strikes me as clearly misleading, but it's an exaggeration to describe it as a flat lie.

Arctic Sea Ice Briefly Continued, 11 June:

[…] I emailed someone at NASA. […] Eventually he conceded that he was a media person, not a scientist, sent my question off to a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and sent me the response.


I got back an evasive answer that came down to (not a quote) the long term trend is down, so objecting that JPL says the current data shows that trend continuing when it doesn't is merely a technical semantic objection.

Thicker Insulation

Monday, 2 March 2009

Back in April, I noted that some advocates of the theory of global warming had modified their theory to allow for climate to actually cool for up to a decade (after which the ostensible warming trend would resume). There has been a further adjustment:

Global Warming: On Hold? by Michael Reilly at Discovery News
Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.

This is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950, Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn't have one.


Swanson thinks the trend could continue for up to 30 years. But he warned that it's just a hiccup, and that humans' penchant for spewing greenhouse gases will certainly come back to haunt us.

(Underscore mine.) So, now, for at least the next thirty years, no matter what the temperature data say, the theory of global warming isn’t to be taken as falsified.

What Else Is New?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

As is its wont, the Beeb gets things quite wrong:

Race for God particle heats up by James Morgan of the BBC
Fermilab say the odds of their Tevatron accelerator finding it first are now 50-50 at worst, and up to 96% at best.

Cern's Lyn Evans admitted the accident which will halt the $7bn Large Hadron Collider until September may cost them one of the biggest prizes in physics.

The race hasn't heated-up; it has slowed-down as a result of the CERN accident, giving Fermilab a chance to catch-up and possibly win.

Speaking of the Beeb getting things wrong (this time for lack of ethical bearings), here's and interesting (if somewhat lengthy) critique of Earth: The Climate Wars:

Nicely Insulated

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Given the thrust of most reporting, one might be forgiven for not knowing this, but the earth as a whole seems to have stopped warming for the past four or five years, and in fact seems to have slightly cooled. (And, compared against 1998, it is more clearly cooler.) Of course, we are told that the trend is none-the-less upward.

Now, some proponents of the theory of global warming have even presented a remarkable prediction:

Next decade may see no warming by Richard Black from the BBC
A new computer model developed by German researchers, reported in the journal Nature, suggests the cooling will counter greenhouse warming.

However, temperatures will again be rising quickly by about 2020, they say.

So now a theory of global warming allows for at least a further decade in which temperatures won't actually rise.

For at least the next ten years, no matter what the temperature data say, the theory of global warming isn't to be taken as falsified.