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Geo. Chilingar paper - Is this science?

  1. Dec 11, 2006 #1

    Andrew Mason

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    I have read Geo. Chilingar's which can be http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-climate.html" [Broken]

    The same journal that published this paper (Environmental Geology)
    also printed a rather scathing rebuttal which can be http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-rebuttal.html" [Broken] (one wonders why they published the Chilingar paper at all if this rebuttal is well founded).

    Neither paper is all that difficult to understand. I would be interested in some of your comments (eg. Andre, Evo, Bystander) to these questions:

    1. Why would anyone in a serious paper talk about the heat given off by burning fossil fuels? It represents a miniscule fraction of the amount of heat from the sun. Since no one is arguing it has an impact on global warming, why even talk about it?

    2. Why talk about annual fluctuations due to changes in the sun-earth distance? That has nothing to do with changes in the average earth temperature, which is an annual average temperature.

    3. Why talk about total outgassing of C02 since the dawn of time? Isn't this like saying don't worry about Katrina: the rain it will bring is but a tiny fraction of all the rain that has fallen on New Orleans since the dawn of time, and the wind energy it will pack is but a tiny fraction of the wind energy that New Orleans has withstood since the dawn of time!

    This paper sounds like something written by someone at the end of a distinguished career starting to dabble in something that they only partially understand. The name of William Shockley comes to mind. Ponds and Fleishmann and cold fusion also comes to mind.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2006 #2
    Hi, I read the first bit of that paper and then I just had to stop, it just wasn't good science.

    1. Why talk about burning fossil fuels? I think people are arguing about burning fossil fuels. The problem is he's arguing about it by saying that we use 0.0077% as much energy as the Sun gives us, therefore the Sun is the dominant force in driving the atmosphere. That's just bad science.

    We know the Sun drives the atmosphere already, nobody was ever arguing that the energy given off by our power consumption generated more heat than the Sun. A lot of the Sun's energy is reflected into space, it drives an ecosystem and warms up oceans, you think you could do all that with fossil fuels? Besides that's not the point, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas.

    It's the effect of insulating the Earth slightly that does the damage, not the actual release of heat! This is linked to your third point, I didn't read what the guy wrote about the history of CO2 release, but if he cared to look at the evidence he probably would have realized he was enhancing his antithesis. The record shows long warm periods in the Earth's history, what caused these warm periods? Could at have been runaway greenhouse gases? I fail to see how it couldn't.

    I suspect that if we heat the Earth to a point the climate will runaway, all the best climate models show this. The release of natural gas hydrates (massive reserves of solid methane that will evaporate) will be unstoppable, and will almost certainly be accompanied by a mass extinction. If it's happened in the past it'll happen again.

    All in all this guy has grossly oversimplified the earth's climate. Alarm bells rang when he listed off references that showed anthropogenic warming was a 'myth'. I've yet to find a shred of evidence that could possibly allow such a bold statement.
  4. Dec 12, 2006 #3
    I agree that the paper is bad, but not all is wrong and the rebuttal is not correct on every point.

    I'm a bit pressed for time and away from my resources for the moment so you have to take this without substantiation for the moment.

    There is a very recent paper early this year that shows a strong measured correlation between industrial "temperature grids" and satellite MSU data for the lower troposphere, which may also have upset the local thermometers. Therefore the influence of the direct heat is not a fable. I'll find it back.

    Edit: I did find it back, brainflash: http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/2006joc1292.pdf [Broken]

    This runaway idea aka flickering climate is based on a misinterpretation of the Greenland ice core proxies, which can be demonstrated to be wrong. Concequently climate will not runaway.

    However we could turn that around and demand for the evidence that anthropogenic warming is substantial. haven't seen that yet, despite numerous appeals.
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  5. Dec 12, 2006 #4
    No this isn't based on the 'misinterpretation of Greenland ice core proxies', it's based on a body of evidence. Warm peiods have occured in the past, this is a fact. Take the K-T boundary and the Early Eocene for example, are you gonna tell me they weren't hot?

    And even if you read some study about how someone misinterpreted the ice record (which has blatantly happened in some cases) you cannot suddenly jump to the conclusion "Concequently climate will not runaway".

    The fact is there are a lot of feedback mechanisms that might cause the temperature to runaway (definitely NOT aka "flickering climate"). For example if one year there is less sea ice production in the winter, this will make for a warmer summer - in turn making for less sea ice the following winter -> a warmer summer......

    Also I'm not arguing that anthropogenic warming is 'substantial', I'm pretty sure that the phenomenon exists but I know that it is fairly small in relation to the whole earth. Thus I'm simply arguing that it is not a 'myth'. There are two sides, and I sit somewhere in the middle. I'm lucky enough to study in a department with some of the leading thinkers in this field (esp. w regards to ice sheet modelling), none of them are callous enough to firmly take one side, the dynamics of the system are more complicated than any computer can model.
  6. Dec 12, 2006 #5
    The flash heating idea and the tipping point nonsense is based on the interpretation of the Bolling Allerod - Younger Dryas - Preboreal sequence of the isotopes in the greenland ice cores. Ten degrees within a decade was the slogan. Panic all around. There is now a body of evidence that periglacial warming of the Northern hemisphere started some one and a half millenium before the Bolling-Allerod, (i.c ~17.5 ka versus 14.7 ka) effectively falsifying the ice core interpretation. Please do http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=2273&posts=20&start=1[/URL]. Skyhunter may wonder why Georg Hoffmann never ever commented in that thread despite my numerous challenges to do so.

    [quote] Take the K-T boundary and the Early Eocene for example, are you gonna tell me they weren't hot?[/quote]

    The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum is less understood than ever. [url=http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v442/n7103/abs/nature05043.html]Duckweed and tropical algae[/url] at the North Pole is rather impossible to explain with some greenhouse effect. if you want to reach those temperatures at the North Pole then the equator would be boiling. But even then, fresh water duckweed in the salty ocean! Clearly the PETM is a formidable magical trick of the Earth which requires considerable thinking out of the box to get it solved.

    It can be done though. :approve: :biggrin: When I'm confident enough to face the consequences like shooting the piano player, I might give it a try.
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  7. Dec 12, 2006 #6

    Andrew Mason

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    Are you suggesting that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas?

    Are you suggesting that CO2 levels are not increasing due to fossil fuel burning?

    Leaving aside the issue whether the increase in CO2 levels over the last 2 centuries has had a material impact on average earth temperature, are you suggesting that if we continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate that we will not increase the concentration of CO2 to a point that it will effect a material climate change?

  8. Dec 13, 2006 #7
    The problem with CO2 is that it's greenhouse effect is grossly over estimated. I have shown here in old threads with Modtran and Stefan Boltzman that the immediate result of doubling CO2 in a black body setting would mean an increase of 0,68 degrees for doubling CO2 and about 1,2 degrees after regaining thermal equilibrium which should take centuries to millenia. Not something to get scared about. So for some positive scaremongering feedback, the water vapor positive feedback effect was invented but this was debunked by Olavi Karner here:


    and here:


    which means that the actual warming for Earth conditions with negative feedbacks may be around 0,3 degrees for doubling CO2 considering the Hurst-factor mentioned in the first paper.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
  9. Dec 13, 2006 #8
    CO2, H2O, and CH4 are the only MAJOR greenhouse effects. Without them, the earth would freezing. If we keep increasing CO2 the temp will raise. Its radiative transfer, nothing more.

    "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that, if unchecked, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will have risen to between 650 and 970 ppm by 2100. As a result, global temperatures would warm by nearly 6°C compared with 1990 levels, the IPCC predicts."
  10. Dec 13, 2006 #9


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    Sneez, when quoting from a website, please include a link to the website. If quoting from another source, please cite the source.
  11. Dec 13, 2006 #10
    Without citing a source, I predict that there will be a big CO2 war within a few months and this http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/Kreutz_J__1_%5b2%5d.pdf [Broken] has a lot to do with that.

    Would it matter, by the way that CO2 dissolves in suphur acid? Answer within the same few months.
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  12. Dec 13, 2006 #11
    Okay granted, one evidence is no evidence and one swallow doesn't make a summer yet (Dutch slang). So observe what Misra measured in India, shortly after http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/Kreutz_J__1_%5b2%5d.pdf [Broken].

    http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/misra1.GIF [Broken].

    May it redundantly be remarked that "0.049%" is 490 ppmv whilst the current average CO2 concentrations are around 380 ppmv.

    Edited with:

    Actually together with some more papers like that (but granted I showed the best), I digitized some graphs, and used the tables to compile monthly average CO2 concentration during the ninetheen-forthies. Also granted, I omitted hap hazard results of single measurements, for instance at the Antarctic, which yielded about 1500 ppmv but in the elaboration, the author told that he had to hold his breath during sampling. Any idea how long the air hovers on the same spot below -40 regardless celcius or fahrenheit? Indeed he measered his own breath.

    Anyway, http://home.wanadoo.nl/bijkerk/fortiespike.GIF [Broken]
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  13. Dec 13, 2006 #12
    I really appreciate your work andre, but CO2 connection with temperature increase was showed decisivelly (IPCC report). There is enough evidence of that. This whole 2 camps of global warming looks to me just like ozone hole when discovered was so badly denied and sponsored by corporations (du pont in that case). And it might not be bad, it will lead to more rigorous proof that human impact on global worming, but when the evidence is just too obvious, well,.......

    Lets remind ourselves that climate and ecology is higly non-linear/chaotic. "seemingly small" changes may introduce (and obviously do) big changes.

    I will go through your papers and let you know what is my opinion.
  14. Dec 14, 2006 #13
    That's the general idea. However you may want to to reread the IPCC Third assessment report and show where that evidence is exactly. I haven't seen it.

    Don't forget that the hockeystick (fig 1b of the summary for policy makers) is effectively debunked, that the CO2- isotopes of the ice cores show a inverse dependence: CO2 rises after temperature rise. And the measured 1940-ties CO2 spike confirms that ice cores are lousy CO2 storage containers.
  15. Dec 14, 2006 #14

    Andrew Mason

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    CO2 affects the thermal reflectivity of the earth in a small way (by absorbing thermal radiation that will otherwise be reflected). But it has a much greater effect on the temperature gradient within the atmosphere. It is the temperature gradient factor that is critical.

    Each square metre of the earth receives an average of about 340 watts of solar energy (averaged over 24 hours). Let's assume for the moment that this does not change. Blackbody physics will tell us the atmosphere's outer surface temperature at which the earth reaches thermal equilibrium (ie the outer surface temperature at which the earth will emit energy at the rate of 340 watts/m^2). Assuming reflectivity (hence emissivity [itex]\epsilon[/itex]) does not change, that temperature of the outer surface of the atmosphere will not change.

    But that does not tell us what the atmosphere's inner surface temperature will be (ie. down here on the earth surface). That depends upon the temperature gradient within the atmosphere and that depends upon the heat trapping properties of the atmosphere.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
  16. Dec 14, 2006 #15
    Exactly. Plus you can't consider one mechanism alone. If for example a buoyant fresh water layer covers the ocean from say the melting of the ice sheets, this will infringe upon deep water formation. Then the Sun's energy will be not be distributed over such large a volume concentrating the energy at the surface, this will cause further heating of the atmosphere possibly leading to the melting of the permafrost in places like Siberia and Alaska, then gas hydrates (methane) will be released which itself is a greenhouse gas. This will of course have a heating effect.

    You could say that the CO2 won't cause the ice sheets to collapse, but considering that bi-polar glaciation is not the norm in earth's history, anything we do to tip the balance away from this ice age might well cause the earth to warm.
  17. Dec 14, 2006 #16
    The main reason for the current warming may well be variation in cloud cover. Check out this thread:


    I'd say that an r2 of 57% in the correlation between albedo and global temperature is not that bad at all.
  18. Dec 14, 2006 #17
    The figure you refer to andre show indeed that CO2 lags the initial warming. However, that does not mean it's not playing a crucial role in the warming. In fact, its role in warming is pivotal.

    Lets, not let global warming become binary evidence driven. Truth is more complicated and than either interpretation of temp following CO2 or CO2 following temp. From the picture its obvious that once the proces of warming began it will stay its course.

    CO2 was acting as a "feedback" over the time period in the figure above. In the past century, however, humans have taken over the carbon cycle and now dominate the year-to-year atmospheric changes. Thus CO2 has now become a "forcing."

    But most importantly, i feel both sides of the debate do not fully realize the abrubt climate changes, which in non-linear systems with multiple equilibria are irreversible and are sudden.

    Real world coupling between complex systems can cause them to exhibit new collective behaviours, ['emegent properties], that are not clearly demonstrable by models which do not include such couplings. (couplings between ocean, atm and terrestrial and biological systems). Furthermore, responses of coupled systems to external focing can become quite complicated. Example which is evident in climate and biological systems and irreversibility of hysteresis (changes that persist in the new post disturbance state even when the originial level of forcing is restored). This irreversibility may be consequence of multiple stable equilibria in the coupled system- that is, the same forcing might produce different responses depending on the pathway followed by the system. Thus, anomalies can push the coupled system from one equilibrium state to anothe, wach of which has very different sensitivity to disturbances. (Ramshoft, 1996;Schneider 2004).

    In non-linear system, the rate of forcing (CO2 dumping made by humans) might be THE triger rather than the values of polution which will make us sorry as far as change of climate.

    Zheng, Eltahir 1998- their analysis of monsson circulation illustrates relatively small areas of land cover might determine the quilibrium state of the atmosphere-biosphere system of an entire region. SImilare feedback are certainly restricted to vegetation and land.

    Todays, models do not incorporate transient effects of climate change. Clearly , what happens along the path to a new equilibrium is of interest as well, especially in the enet of abrupt change. The long-term impact of climate change may not be predictable solely from a single steady-state outcome, but could very well depend on the characteristics of the transient path.

    Furthermore, rapid transients and non-linear events could well affect not only the mean values of key climate indicators, but also higher statistical moments. And it is critical assumption of today's climate models that probabilities remain unchanged or will change with the mean change in the climate according to unchanged variability distributions. Mearns (1984) showed that this is very wrong assumption.

    If today's models do not include low-probability but hight consequence events we may shift the debate the wrong direction. The policy makers may decide adapting to the prospective changes rather than attempting to avoid them.

    The implications of potential irreversibilities such as melting ice-caps, the shut of THC (Thermohaline ciculation) and extinsion of species,..., which are dangerous to our life should not be about which camp is right or wrong. Whether a few generations of ppl demanding higher material standards of living and using the atmosphere as an unpriced sewer to achieve such growth is ethical makes this value laden debate.
  19. Dec 15, 2006 #18
    The depiction of this world is missing a major player, which, -if added- would give a completely different picture, explaning a little more from what really happened in the last glacial transition as well as in the others of the 100ka cycle.

    Try this thread:

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