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Picking up the gauntlet

February 7th, 2011

As I mentioned, my Fin article on Thursday was intended as an appeal to those on the “do-nothing” side of the climate debate to take the risk of climate change seriously and abandon silly culture wars, cheap pointscoring and so on. It didn’t take long to elicit a reply in the form of a snarky, anonymous and (of course) hopelessly wrong piece of “gotcha” journalism from the “Cut and Paste” column in the Oz. Tim Lambert does garbage pickup.

Being attacked by The Australian is not something to get upset about. But it does give me a little more incentive to disabuse of their illusions the declining of paper who still believe this worthless gutter press rag to have some value. So, I’m going to add a regular feature pointing out the lies and silly errors that fill the news and opinion pages of The Australian. I’ll try to avoid duplicating Tim’s “War on Science” posts (up to number 60 with the one mentioned above!). I’ll retrospective label the “Factor of Five” post from last week as item 1. Suggested contributions are welcome.

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  1. Chris O’Neill
    February 10th, 2011 at 19:52 | #1

    Charlie was obviously asleep during the high school lesson about the heat capacity of water.

  2. James Haughton
    February 10th, 2011 at 20:07 | #2

    Charlie,
    What you mean is, stop all irrigation everywhere in the world, forever, and you achieve the same reduction as the stopping the net anthro CO2 emissions above natural sinks, for one year. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would not drop. This is because water vapour’s residency time in the atmosphere is about a month. CO2′s residency time is about 50 years. By your own argument, total anthropogenic CO2 emissions (~110 ppm) are 55 times as powerful as total human irrigation (equivalent to 2 ppm on your figures).

    Surely you realise that atmospheric science and our understanding of all the different forcings, feedbacks, etc, and ability to calculate them, has advanced since the late nineteenth century days of Arrhenius and Tyndale. Start with Spencer Weart’s History of the discovery of global warming if you want to know how.
    The idea that the IPCC somehow fails to take into account that CO2′s effect on temperature is logarithmic is an absurd conspiracy theory, and could only be believed by someone who takes Lord Monckton at face value.

    Charlie, I’d like you to consider how much ground you have had to concede in this discussion. You’ve agreed that CO2 does warm the atmosphere; that warming the atmosphere produces water vapour, which produces further warming; that human production of water vapour is negligible compared to the impact of human production of CO2; that the combined effects of CO2 and other forcings has produced at least 0.8 oC of warming since 1900. Perhaps you should also concede that the world scientific community knows what they’re talking about.

  3. Donald Oats
    February 10th, 2011 at 21:51 | #3

    Arrhenius explained the log(concCO2) vs T relationship in 1896; have a look at the article and realise just how ridiculous the claim is that climate scientists don’t know about the logarithm term. What is it with our trolls (Tony G brought this one up once too, except it was directed at us, the readers, but same point applies – anyone who has done some reading of the real literature or faith derivative literature, is unlikely to have missed it).

  4. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 21:57 | #4

    James Haughton (I had guessed you were JamesH): Where to begin? You serially misquote me and generally screw up (as usual! or is that unfair?).

    1. “Stop all irrigation everywhere in the world, forever, and you achieve the same reduction as the stopping the net anthro CO2 emissions above natural sinks, for one year.” Yes, your only correct statement.

    2. “The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would not drop”. Agreed – but it would not increase.

    3. “This is because water vapour’s residency time in the atmosphere is about a month”. Not true, it takes about 8-12 days for evaporation to precipitate, but that is a continuous process with constant overlaps.

    4. “CO2?s residency time is about 50 years”. Not true, elementary inventory analysis shows the turnover is 8-12 years, as every year about 10% of total atmospheric CO2 comes down (photosynthesis and oceanic absorption) and goes up again (eg respiration etc).

    5. Your next sentence is silly: the annual forcing from irrigation’s H2O is not the same as the annual turnover of total CO2 in para. 4.

    6. You brought in Tyndale; I mentioned Arrhenius, why don’t you check what he had to say about water vapour?

    7. IPCC & logarithms: Given that actual change in GMT has been 0.8 oC for 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1900, the next 40% should produce less than 0.8 oC, say 0.6, and the next 20% less again, say 0.3, total from now 0.9, but the IPCC has 3+++ for doubling.

    8. Your final para. is not an accurate summary of what I have said here.

    9. “Perhaps you should also concede that the world scientific community knows what they’re talking about.” Why? That is an appeal to authority. There is an obvious inconsistency between TAR (Houghton) and AR4 (Solomon) on the subject of water vapour, the former says it is a “powerful greenhouse gas”, the latter deletes it (AR4, WG1: 28) and its Forster & Ramaswamy’s Chapter 2 states “Anthropogenic use of water is less than 1% of natural sources of water vapour and about 70% of the use of water for human activity is from irrigation”, citing Doll (2002) and Boucher et al. (2004).These authors conclude “radiative forcing from anthropogenic sources of tropospheric water vapour is not considered here, since these sources affect surface temperature more significantly through non-radiative processes, and a strict use of the RF [radiative forcing] is problematic. The emission of water vapour from fossil fuel combustion is significantly lower than the emission from changes in land use”.

    10. However real scientists (unlike those in Solomon et al) know that for example combustion in air of propane and other hydrocarbon fuels generates CO2 and water vapour in the ratio 2:1, but that the radiative forcing of the latter is about double that of CO2 (Houghton), so that they have at least equal radiative forcing. Go figure!

  5. jquiggin
    February 10th, 2011 at 22:07 | #5

    Can I remind everyone that trolls like Charlie (kindly replacing Tony G, who got boring) are here for our amusement. Don’t argue with them – mock them for the fools they are or pretend to be.

  6. Charlie
    February 10th, 2011 at 22:38 | #6

    James Haughton: further to my last, Forster & Ramaswamy (in AR4 WG1) are seriously in error when they state “The emission of water vapour from fossil fuel combustion is significantly lower than the emission from changes in land use”. Actually Le Quere, Canadell, & Raupach show (in their Global Carbon Project data set), given that the chemistry indicates a ratio of 1:2 for H2O:CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, that the extra H2O component of anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions is of the order of 4 GtC equivalent mass p.a. in 2006-07, much more than their estimate for land use change emissions of 1.47 GtC. That justifies the doubling of the RF from CO2.

  7. Chris O’Neill
    February 11th, 2011 at 08:41 | #7

    This Charlie troll is a bit similar to the Curtin troll, a bit more technical detail perhaps but a similar ability to mangle atmospheric physics and for irrelevant citation, though not quite as offensive yet.

  8. JamesH
    February 11th, 2011 at 09:28 | #8

    I tried.

  9. Freelander
    February 11th, 2011 at 11:02 | #9

    We are lucky to be graced with the wisdom of Charlie.

    He is yet another one of these self educated savants who mainstream scientists are forever trying to suppress. So feared are they that their own scribblings will be exposed for the nonsense they are, these ‘scientists’ refuse to publish findings from any of this army of savants. Lucky are we that the natural democracy of the internet is here to remedy this serious injustice.

    Is there any limit to the self acknowledged genius of these rough gems whose brilliance a mere twenty years ago would have been wasted in the limited fora of local bars?

    But then again, maybe a good supply of beer is required for full appreciation?

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