Would Hamlet Suffer the Outrageous Fortune of the Greenhouse Gas Theory?

Those deniers of the greenhouse gas theory – the Slayers – are under attack on the prominent Bishop Hill blog. But they may wonder – as did Shakespeare’s famous character – that perhaps it’s better to be insulted than ignored. At least – in the melee of jibes and brickbats – there are inquisitive souls made curious to actually read what the Slayers (reincarnate as Principia Scientific International) showed with their assault on the scientific cornerstone of man-made global warming.

Principia Scientific International Stands No  Global Warming Theatrics

Principia Scientific International Stands No Global Warming Theatrics

In his ‘A new typology for the climate debate,’ Lloyd Robertson, offers a guest post that pulls no punches. “ I suppose the skydragons, whoever they are, are plain ignorant, not trying to learn, but probably honest. I don’t read them, I had never even heard of them until Judy Curry sharpened her lance against them.”

That’s what put me in mind of the Hamlet’s famous soliloquy:

To be or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them

Relentlessly, these “deniers” confront the believers.  The “To be or not to be” of the greenhouse gas theory remains the question. And despite all the slings and arrows flung at the four dozen or so scientists that comprise the slayers – not “sky dragons” as per Robertson’s gaffe – these naysayers aren’t going away.

On several levels Robertson reveals he doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about and glorying in his own ignorance and prejudice Robertson proceeds to pigeonhole all and sundry. From the blog owner, Andrew Montford to the likes of Steve McIntyre, Judy Curry, Pielke Jr. etc. the so-called “lukewarmists” – they are made the good guys in the man-made global warming debate. Robertson determines these are noble folk possessed of “Socratic ignorance combined with some knowledge, still learning, and communicating honestly”

In less cuddly and lovable terms does Robertson paint the likes of Kevin Trenberth, James Hansen and other primetime doomsaying alarmists. This clique, Robertson says, suffer from “plain ignorance, lack of knowledge, not trying to learn, still communicating dishonestly.”

Obviously Robertson is honest enough to admit he’s not a man who personally chooses to go in for an in-depth and intellectually challenging analysis on the finer points of physics, atmospheric chemistry, and other imponderables. No, he lets others do that for him and all he has to do to be right is to appeal to their “authority.” The author, in his trite style picks the “middle way” in all things science. As self-appointed representative of the willfully ignorant he chooses the middle because it seems so utterly reasonable and safe to huddle in a mass when you’re someone who either lacks the inclination or ability to think it through for yourself.

But then one of those  “plain ignorant, but probably honest” slayers, Ken Coffman,  happened to post the first comment on Robertson’s fluff piece. Canny Ken is none other than the U.S. publisher of “Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory.” Being the no-nonsense kind of guy he is Ken then poses the kind of tough questions that the Robertsons and other unthinkers would rather not ponder.

First Ken declares: “…The subject is not that complicated…conduction, convection and radiation always act in the same direction: to integrate, dissipate, diffuse, disperse, etc.”

He then poses his questions: “ If object A is going to make object B hotter via radiation, then what is the most fundamental thing you should be able to say about the temperature of object A? Don’t turn off your brain…think this through. Honestly, anyone with any common sense and the barest grasp of physics can recognize the pure nonsense of the human-caused global warming theory.

I’m ignorant, unwilling to learn, but honest? Really? I’m not the one who sees a 33C greenhouse gas effect mentioned in a physics textbook and accepts it without knowing its basis. Where does it come from? How does it work? How can I replicate it in my living room or a lab?”

Ken, of course, is referring to the myth enshrined in certain climatology textbooks since the 1980’s that declare that so-called “greenhouse gases” can trap/delay heat transport sufficiently to make our planet “warmer than it would otherwise be.” But Ken and his colleagues understand that compelling empirical evidence proves carbon dioxide cannot trap or delay the emission of heat energy by any more than 5 milliseconds.  Ken then asks, “So, is this meaningful from an average temperature point of view? No, it isn’t. It will decrease the peak temperature immeasurably slightly and it will increase the valley temperature immeasurably slightly. It will have no meaningful effect on the average. Period. It can’t. It won’t. It doesn’t.”

Well said, Ken. Perhaps some will get it. Perhaps others won’t and the insults will still fly. Perhaps another telling verse from Hamlet should waft into that “middle road” of science so that others may glean a little insight from the Bard:

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment

What Principia Scientific International has shown – by its publications – is that the hydrological cycle, the Ideal Gas laws, adiabatic pressure and actual physical solar insolation are the fundamental physics that explain Earth’s atmosphere and not the mythical sky dragon of greenhouse gas theory alarmists. By learning these fundamental truths we may conclude that while the physics of the GHE may have been stitched together by a cynical few, it owes its obduracy to the confirmation bias of so many uncritical academics and well-meaning but quiescent folk.

Update (September 17, 2012):

Bishop Hill blog owner, Andrew Montford has now withdrawn the fact-free offensive ad hom by Lloyd Robertson and there is now no reference whatsover to “sky dragons.” If only a reasoned discussion on the science could also ensue!



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7 responses to “Would Hamlet Suffer the Outrageous Fortune of the Greenhouse Gas Theory?

  1. Pingback: Would Hamlet Suffer the Outrageous Fortune of the Greenhouse Gas Theory? « Skeptics Chillin'

  2. Andrew W

    Well, I’m sure the GHE has been explained to you a million times before, so I guess me explaining it to you yet again wouldn’t achieve anything.

    Ken, of course, is referring to the myth enshrined in certain climatology textbooks since the 1980’s that declare that so-called “greenhouse gases” can trap/delay heat transport sufficiently to make our planet “warmer than it would otherwise be.”

    sigh, from wiki:
    The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, and more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.[5][6]

    • johnosullivan

      You’ve been duped by Wikipedia on the so-called “history” of the GHE. Go do some detailed study of the work of Arrhenius and Tyndall and you will learn that both men based their beliefs on the utterly discredited notion of “luminiferous aether.” How’s that for “solid science!”
      Also, which of the confused “theories” of the GHE do you believe in – is it delayed cooling version or back radiation? Because these are mutually contradictory physical processes. My colleagues and I proved that there are no fewer than 63 variants of the so-called greenhouse gas theory taught and used in leading institutions – many of them fatally contradictory.
      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 carbon dioxide (CO2) had any influence on the weather.” When we carefully charted the history of the infant science of climatology we saw that emphasis on radiation really took hold thanks to the work of two men: James Hansen of NASA and Tom Wigley from the now disgraced Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. It is they who set about re-writing history and science. Indeed, in the early days we found that Hansen’s scientific papers confirm that carbon dioxide barely raised peripheral interest among GHE researchers, even in 1967. At that time, Hansen – an up and coming theorist – shared Carl Sagan’s view that dust (aerosol particulates) drove the GHE. This is exposed in Hansen’s famous 20-page paper about the GHE on Venus of which catastrophe theorists still make so much. Tellingly, in black and white, amongst 7,687 words “dust” (42 times) and “aerosol” (33) or their derivatives are the focus of concern while the apparently irrelevant CO2 makes just the one appearance – on Page 1151 (see here: 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).

  3. Carl Brehmer

    “The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, and more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.[5][6]”

    It is curious to note that most of these scientists who are credited with developing the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis predate the development of the first weather balloons. It was in 1896, in fact, that Léon Teisserenc de Bort, a French meteorologist, did some of the first extensive weather balloon soundings. So, while Svante Arrhenius was doing mathematical calculations in his den and hypothesizing about what “greenhouse gases” might do, Léon Teisserenc de Bort was actually sending weather balloons skyward and studying what “greenhouse gases” actually do.

    The most revealing thing about weather balloon soundings is that they demonstrate that water vapor “the most powerful of the ‘greenhouse gases’” actually has at least four affects on the temperature profile of the atmosphere and the temperature of the ground that could be rightly be named “anti-greenhouse effects” because they result in a cooler planetary surface.

    1) The “greenhouse effect” hypothesis predicts that the entrapment of IR radiation by water vapor will result in a reduction the “effective radiating temperature” of the atmosphere. As it is currently operating the “effective radiating temperature” of the atmosphere can be found at about 500 hPa, the atmosphere’s center mass, the altitude that the standard atmospheric pressure drops in half, the altitude at which ½ of the atmosphere is higher and ½ of the atmosphere is lower. One can observe in weather balloon soundings that the presence of water vapor increases the temperature of the center mass of the atmosphere. Since the amount of IR radiation that the atmosphere emits into space is directly proportional to its temperature this should enhance the ability of the atmosphere to emit OLR.

    2) Evaporation: Since water vapor can only come into being through evaporation its creation “disappears” thermal energy from the ground.

    3) Condensation: When water vapor condenses into clouds this shades the earth, which prevents it from warming in the first place. It has been observed using pyranometers that clouds can cut the amount of insolation that the ground absorbs in half.

    4) Decreases the lapse rate: What nobody wants to say is that what is being called the “greenhouse effect”, i.e., the reason that the atmosphere’s center mass is about -18 C while the air near the surface of the earth is circa 15 C, is because gravity compresses the lower half of the atmosphere against the earth; this creates an adiabatic lapse rate. So, when -18 C air from the atmosphere’s center mass descends to replace rising air it warms adiabatically on average up to about 15 C by the time it reaches the surface of the earth. How much it actually warms is the “lapse rate” and water vapor has been known for many years to decrease the adiabatic lapse rate. Ergo, the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere reduces the “greenhouse effect,” i.e., it decreases the lapse rate; it decreases the amount that descending air warms adiabatically.

    The sum of these affects is that an increase in the quantity of water vapor in the atmosphere is observably associated with ground cooling rather than ground warming. So, in spite of what the “godfather’s” of the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis may have postulated prior to weather balloon soundings, water vapor is demonstrably not a “greenhouse gas” since it cools, not warms the ground.


  4. Carl, I don’t know you, but I like the way you think, sir. Is there any chance you’d post this wonderful comment at BH?

    And John, I’m really glad you’re alert and paying attention. Thanks.

  5. Bill Irvine

    Free Domestic Heating and Energy. The thermal diode.
    Is this worth patenting? It is certainly worth a substantial research and development grant.

    The CO2 in the atmosphere raises the atmosphere temperature by anything up to 33C degrees. Increasing the concentration of CO2 raises the temperature further.This is known and agreed to by 97% of world scientists.

    My device consists of a house enclosing envelope made of glass or perhaps mylar. One of the tasks of the funded research will be to establish the perfect material and its opacity / reflectivity across the em spectrum. This envelope contains twice the concentration of CO2 as the external atmosphere. This is still a comfortable breathable concentration. Of course all the other gasses are there in the same concentration as the outside air thus maintaining all the “positive feedback”.
    This gas mixture will raise the envelope internal temperature by up to 33C degrees. Depending on the ambient external temperature, a comfortable living temperature can be obtained by altering the concentration of CO2.
    For domestic hot water, a hot water tank enclosed by a series of concentric envelopes each with increasing concentrations of CO2 will maintain the water at any required temperature.
    Of course this heat energy has to come from somewhere so I suggest that a refrigeration system could be run in parallel with this heating system. I have not thought out the technical details of this yet. Similarly with raising the heated water temperature above boiling point and generating energy from the steam.

    I am sure that there is a snag to this but given sufficient funds I am convinced that influential politicians could be persuaded that this method of capturing and storing re-usable energy is a goer.

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