Climatologist James Hansen is under sustained attack accused of global warming fraud at a time when the powerful science journal, Nature admits “research is riddled with systematic errors.”
The Nature article (May 9) marks a defining critical moment as a slew of top scientists openly attack climate activist, Professor James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Science (GISS). Since the 1980’s Hansen has been at the forefront of claims that human emissions of carbon dioxide are “catastrophically” warming our planet. For his ceaseless alarmism Hansen has been named and shamed by, among others, the U.S. Government’s premier extreme weather expert, Martin Hoerling (of sister U.S. Government agency, NOAA) who calls Hansen’s science “patently false” and “policy more than it is science.”
As Nature states, “Alarming cracks are starting to penetrate deep into the scientific edifice.” Although the article baulked at naming and shaming Hansen, the beleaguered spokesman of climate alarmism nonetheless immediately rushed to defend himself in an OpEd in The New York Times (May 10). But Hansen was then summarily shot down the following day when a damning set of doctored graphs was released implicating him as fraudster-in-chief of the U.S. and global temperature records – all perpetrated while Hansen was pocketing millions for his sub-prime science.
Another salvo against the NASA GISS boss then appeared on the world’s leading science blog, WUWT. Here Hansen and others are denounced for ignoring facts that prove the greenhouse gas theory doesn’t fit the data at a time when independent researchers are also demonstrating that natural factors better explain our ever-changing climate.
But as the wider scientific community is turning up the heat on Hansen, future generations will examine his leading role in promoting as “settled science” the now discredited greenhouse gas theory (GHE). Indeed, as retired former U.S. Navy meteorologist, Dr. Martin Hertzberg laments, “prior to the 1970’s no mainstream science journals considered the “greenhouse effect,” let alone the theory that human emissions of CO2 had any influence on the weather.” Indeed, it can be shown that back in 1967 Hansen claimed (when he was a fringe theorist) that if there was a GHE it was likely induced by dust (aerosol particulates). [1.]
Hansen was pitching his “Dust Insulation Model” (DIM) to anyone and everyone after obtaining his PhD from the University of Iowa and starting work at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Of course, scientists all agree that our sun is the overwhelming source of our planet’s heat. But what Hansen’s DIM science proclaimed was that atmospheric dust particles (or aerosols) act in conjunction with solar energy to cause additional global warming.
In the 1970’s such disaster science became the rage inspired by Immanuel Velikovsky, a leading advocate of Catastrophist ideas as opposed to the prevailing Uniformitarian notions. Hansen, as a disciple of Velikovsky, was crying about an impending ice age on Earth while at the same time speculating that dust aerosols in the atmosphere of Venus caused a “runaway greenhouse gas effect” on the hot planet.
But then television science celebrity and fellow catastrophist, Carl Sagan, won fame with his claims about a “runaway greenhouse effect” on Venus all due to carbon dioxide. Sagan speculated that the same could happen on Earth. So Hansen saw his opportunity and grabbed Sagan’s coat tails and quietly abandoned his DIM dust theory.
But while Sagan baulked at wholesale acceptance of Velikovsky’s ideas Hansen embraced them despite there being no evidence of any “runaway” GHE for Venus (with it’s 98 percent CO2 atmosphere) without showing any evidence to demonstrate CO2 actually caused atmospheric warming. This was especially puzzling when considering the fact that the atmosphere of Mars, like Venus, was almost entirely CO2 – yet that planet was freezing cold. While on Earth there is virtually no atmospheric CO2 to speak of (less than 0.04 percent!).
But over time James “Boiling Oceans” Hansen honed his doomsayer act into a fine art as evidenced by his book, ‘Storms of My Grandchildren‘. In Chapter Ten Hansen uses his climate crystal ball to foretell, “if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”
But a recent paper by Hansen shows how he can flip-flop about the climate forcing properties of aerosols when it suits. Returning to his old DIM science idea Hansen now says aerosols are part of the control knob for a planet’s energy content. But contrary to what he claimed before, he now says they cause cooling, not warming. And their impact is whatever magnitude Hansen needs to prop up his runaway GHE musings.
Thus in Hansen’s world aerosol forcing is the fudge factor needed to keep the funding dollars flowing in. In his world there is no actual research into aerosols going on – just modeling – all a guessing game. As such, Hansen’s models will deliver exactly the right results he needs to justify the model’s behavior – a scientific shell game – a blatant tautology and a veritable obfuscation for the public.
That Whatchamacallit Greenhouse Gas Effect
But an even more worrying aspect of Hansen’s science is his astonishing claim that Earth receives an additional 33 degrees Celsius of heat due to the so-called greenhouse gas effect. Hansen and fellow GHE believers say this additional 33 degrees is due to our atmosphere creating a “blanket effect” so that Earth is “warmer than it would otherwise be.”
But independent scientists have shown that this “blanket effect” warming is bogus, being merely the product of a statistical trick – all achieved by Hansen crassly opting to model Earth as a flat disk. As such Hansen is a true “flat earther” – ironically this is the charge he and other alarmists make against skeptics all the time. Critics claim that by “simple physical analysis” it can be shown that treating Earth as a flat disk rather than as a 3-Dimensional rotating sphere Hansen hid a gross calculating “error” – the mixing of two incompatible mathematical variables – scalars and vectors (as explained below).
But from 1975 to 1998 when a warming trend seemed in lock step with rising levels of atmospheric CO2, no one seriously scrutinized Hansen’s assertions and calculations. But since 2003 the correlation between global temperatures and CO2 was broken and global cooling began. Then, as any good scientist knows – when there’s no longer any correlation you must then begin to question claims for causation.
Thereafter, NASA’s top climatologist Hansen was under increasing scrutiny and exposed as a poor climate prophet. Among his many failed prophesies were his claims that by 2006 Earth will be at its “warmest for 100,000 years” and by 2030 melting ice caps would cause a sea level rise halfway up the side of Manhattan Island.
Sad for Hansen (but good for humanity) is the HadCRUT evidence that shows temperatures are almost back to where they were when Hansen gave his infamous “sweaty” testimony before Congress in June 1988. Better yet NASA data proves sea levels are falling – not rising as Hansen predicted. In November 2009 the Climategate scandal erupted, igniting fears of a data fraud after independent scientists were unlawfully blocked from seeing how those official – and now failed – climate models were programmed. Hansen and other Velikovsky disciples were accused of trying to cover up their failings.
Now in disarray, Hansen has had to contradict his prior warming claims about aerosols to state that aerosol-emitting industrial China by chance was creating exactly the right amount of particulates to counterbalance the global warming effects he predicted from CO2. To further bolster his claims Hansen resorted to fiddling yet more temperature data but was caught again – this time rigging the numbers for Iceland. But the scam is no longer being bought by the public and anger mounts as the realization sets in that trillions of tax dollars have been wasted from apparent climate criminality.
Alarmists are now reduced to scavenging among less apocalyptic forecasts made in a Hansen paper published in a 1981 edition of ‘Science‘. [2.] But even in that paper Hansen is exposed as either incompetent or dishonest. In it he claims carbon dioxide absorbs in an atmospheric “window” from 7 to 14 micrometers – which transmits thermal radiation emitted by the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. But the scientific reality is that carbon dioxide only has an effect on the atmospheric window centered on 14.77 microns with a range from about 13 to 17 microns – not from 7 to 14 micrometers. So how did “peer review” miss that Hansen howler?
Flat Earth Physics Mixes Vectors with Scalars
But a bigger gaffe is Hansen’s claim that “Earth absorbs only 240Wm^2, averaged over the surface of the planet.” In this number fudge Hansen applied a bogus averaging technique to illuminate a flat Earth by a constant frigid twilight. As such he deliberately omits to account for the fact Earth is a rotating sphere subject to the constant heating and cooling effects of night and day.
But is that a very big deal? You bet it is. That’s if you believe experts in thermodynamics (that branch of science specifically dealing with heat and energy transfer). Thermodynamics experts say it’s impossible to acquire anything meaningful by attempting to average the Sun’s irradiance. They say Hansen’s flat Earth physics can never work and there is no need to factor in any GHE to correctly calculate Earth’s energy input and output.
One such independent scientist detailing the errors is Joseph E. Postma, an astrophysicist with the Canadian and Indian space agencies. [3.] Postma and his colleagues at Principia Scientific International (PSI) demonstrate that the trick of making Earth a flat planet with 24 hours of weak and frigid sunlight is done to create what is called a blackbody radiation balance. This is where scientific validity stops because advocates of Hansen’s failed science then go on to equate that blackbody radiation balance with the temperature found at the surface of the Earth, which is a scientifically ludicrous comparison. By crudely hammering down the geometry of Earth from a time-functioning rotating sphere into an immovable flat disk, Hansen acquired what is termed a “static equilibrium” for both temperature and energy balance on Earth. By doing this GHE theorists made our planet (impossibly) behave like a “superconducting” blackbody with a constant temperature.
But as thermodynamics experts say, this is utterly wrong. Earth cannot be treated as a flat disk with a freezing cold Sun shining on it. Why, even common sense tells us that Earth has no average temperature. So, in this age of super-computers, why do climate scientists prefer to model with flat-earth physics?
Critics believe GHE modelers did this to avoid factoring in the uncomfortable truth that radiation is not the only component in Earth’s heat equation. Quite the contrary, they say the processes of convection and conduction are huge forces at work whereby our oceans temper the extremes of hot and cold so we don’t suffer the full impact of the kind of night and day temperature extremes seen on our moon. Thanks to our “wet” planet we see not heat “trapping” but rather “temperature moderating” and Hansen has his models wrong all along.
Junk Science – Bananas Added to Apples Equals Banapples
So where precisely did Hansen get it so wrong? Former NASA Apollo mission engineer Dr. Pierre R. Latour puts his finger on it: “Hansen subtracted a radiation temperature vector (it is an energy beam with direction) from a thermal temperature scalar (molecular kinetic energy intensity without direction), which are two different phenomena.” [4.]
What this means in effect is that Hansen mixed the scientific equivalent of bananas with apples to make banapples. As such Hansen fatally subtracted a vector (banana) from a scalar (apple) – that you cannot do. Postma’s paper shows precisely how the “vector minus a scalar” gaffe is completely avoidable if Earth is modeled as it actually operates – as a rotating sphere (not Hansen’s flat disk) with actual energy input calculated for the variations of night and day.
By modeling Earth in three-dimensions instead of Hansen’s flat disk planet Postma and his colleagues proved there was no need for Hansen to concoct an unfeasible extra 33°Celsius “greenhouse effect” to simulate Earth’s energy budget. As such, with no need for any GHE fudge factor, this in turn means that there is no scientific basis for attributing any global warming to carbon dioxide.
With so many of these uncorrected Hansen “errors,” more than 50 former NASA specialists including Astronaut and Physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA’s Apollo 7 have come out to denounce such junk science. Cunningham laments, “Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASA’s own data contradict him.” While Hansen’s former supervisor, Dr. John Theon, declared Hansen has “embarrassed NASA.”
Now that Nature has tacitly endorsed esteemed former Apollo legends and independent researchers in their quest against junk science, Hansen is likely to be further marginalized and will struggle to cling to his high office. Thus Velikovsky’s catastrophe theorists and their dubious post-normal methods will be supplanted by a new breed of scientists adhering to the traditional scientific method. Then policymakers and the general public will fully understand that our planet’s ever-changing climate is driven not by humans but by natural variability – as measured on a decadal or centennial scale.
[1.] Hansen, J.E., and S. Matsushima “The atmosphere and surface temperature of Venus: A dust insulation model”Astrophys. J. 150: 1139–1157 (1967) Bibcode 1967ApJ…150.1139H. Doi:10.1086/149410.
[2.] Hansen J., Johnson D., Lacis A., Lebedeff S., Lee P., Rind D., Russell D., SCIENCE 28 August 1981, Volume 213, Number 4511, Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
[3.] Postma, J.E., ‘Copernicus Meets the Greenhouse Effect (September,2011) Principia Scientific International.