Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change" is a Fraud

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CAGW) is a fraud. More and more evidence of this is surfacing, yet tens of millions still believe it. Why? The major reason is a lack of understanding of atmospheric science and just plain general knowledge. I'm going to try, in this post, to provide the necessary information to allow anyone to understand why CAGW is not, and cannot, happen.

First, we need to know something about the atmosphere. Here is the chemical composition of Earth's atmosphere, from

This is composition of air in percent by volume, at sea level at 15°C and 101325 Pa.

Nitrogen -- N2 -- 78.084% (78%)
Oxygen -- O2 -- 20.9476% (21%)
Argon -- Ar -- 0.934% (1%)
Carbon Dioxide -- CO2 -- 0.0314% (0.03%)
Neon -- Ne -- 0.001818% (0.002%)
Methane -- CH4 -- 0.0002%
Helium -- He -- 0.000524% (0.0005%)

As you can see, Carbon Dioxide is the fourth most predominant gas in the atmosphere, behind Argon, but makes up only 3/100 of a percent of all atmospheric gasses. Methane, another "greenhouse gas" makes up 2/10,000 of a percent.

Next, we need to know about the so-called "greenhouse effect", and how it works. We also need to know how the name is misleading, and what actually takes place.

The way a greenhouse works is that it allows sunlight into an enclosed space, where the air is warmed to above what it would be outside. The reason the heat is trapped is that there is little or no air movement. Some greenhouses augment this by having a 'thermal trap' that absorbs visible light energy, converts it to long-wave thermal energy, and 'traps' the heat until the sun no longer strikes the surface before re-radiating it. The Earth's atmosphere does something similar. From CO2 Science:

The mechanism by which carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere is commonly referred to as the "greenhouse effect." Stated very simply, carbon dioxide, or CO2, is nearly transparent to the solar radiation emitted from the sun, but partially opaque to the thermal radiation emitted by the earth. As such, it allows incoming solar radiation from the sun to pass through it and warm the earth's surface. The earth's surface, in turn, emitts a portion of this energy upwards toward space as longer wavelength or thermal radiation. Some of this thermal radiation is absorbed and re-radiated by the atmosphere's CO2 molecules back toward earth's surface, providing an additional source of heat energy. Without water vapor, CO2, and other radiatively-active trace gases in the air, the planet's average temperature would be about 34°C cooler than it is at present.

Note how the explanation includes ALL greenhouse gasses, including water vapor. This is very important. Water vapor makes up 95% of ALL greenhouse gasses. Carbon Dioxide is the next most prominent greenhouse gas at 4%. All others - about 20 - make up the last 1%. The Earth's average temperature without greenhouse gasses would be 34 degrees Celsius cooler, or about 14 degrees BELOW zero Fahrenheit.

We know approximately how much energy is re-radiated from CO2 back to the Earth, and how much is re-radiated into space. Recent findings, however, show that the Earth is losing more heat (about 40% more) than estimated based on current heat-loss determinations. The science isn't completely settled yet, but the main reason for additional heat loss may be from water vapor, which has a much larger "window" of infrared ratiation.

We noted above that water vapor makes up 95% of all greenhouse gasses, with CO2 a distant second at 4%. There are problems with using carbon dioxide as a "driver" of warming: the effects of CO2 are logarythmic, not linear. Here are a few links to people who explain this a lot better than I can:

Dr Roy Spencer
The Tucson Citizen
David Archibald at Watt's Up With That (an excellent source of all things related to global climate change).

So, carbon dioxide does NOT drive temperature increases beyond about 500 parts per million (PPM). The IPCC and most "climate scientists" get around this by saying that CO2 causes some increase in temperature, which causes more water vapor, which raises temperatures more. The problem with that is that water vapor forcing is more often negative than positive - that is, it DECREASES temperature by increasing cloud cover (thus increasing the amount of solar energy reflected back into space) and by cooling the air in general by precipitation.

Another major problem with blaming "climate change" on human burning of fossil fuel is that we add so very little to the atmosphere - less than 3% of all the CO2 added. I used to think that 3% of 4% (the amount of human-created CO2 versus the total amount of CO2 in all greenhouse gasses) was a ridiculously low number, and it is (it works out to about 0.12%), but that's the wrong way to look at this. We need to look at the total amount of CO2 increase within the entire atmosphere! That makes the formula 3% of 0.03%, or 0.009%.

The bigger problem is some pretty shoddy science has been used to attempt to scare people into believing in a doom-and-gloom scenario. Let's begin with the most important one: what is the "normal" temperature of the Earth? That temperature has ranged from about five degrees Celsius (5C - +41F) during Ice Ages to about 26 degrees C (+79F) before the last Ice Age started.

Harping on the role CO2 plays does nothing to explain the Earth's current climate. The only reason "climate scientists" are harping on it is because it's something we ARE contributing to, and it's something they can BLAME US ALL FOR, and therefore, enhance their own personal power and prestige. The truth is, we really don't understand much about climate, or what affects it. We THINK we know what causes Ice Ages, but we're not certain. We THINK we know what causes interglacials like the one we're currently in, but we're not certain. In fact, the number of things we're not certain about is extensive:

  • We really don't understand the sun and solar cycles. We know the sun is a variable star, and that solar output varies by anywhere from 2% to 4%, but we don't know why, what triggers it, and what the overall effects are on Earth or the rest of the Solar system. We have some ideas (hypotheses), but we're not CERTAIN. Some of the questions we don't have complete - and sometimes even partial - knowledge of are what causes sunspots to form or not to form, how do sunspots affect the Solar Wind, the magnetic field of the sun and Earth, how much do they contribute to total solar variance, especially beyond the visible spectrum. We're just beginning to determine if galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth, especially cloud formation, and how. We haven't begun to determine if space dust has an effect on the sun, or what that effect might be. We're beginning to study coronal mass ejections (CMEs) more closely, but we haven't even begun to determine if (or how) they may affect day-to-day weather or long-range climate.

  • We're just beginning to research how much cloud cover affects the Earth's climate, and how. We've made the first tenative studies of how cloud formation moves heat from the lower troposphere to the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. We're only now beginning to recognize the importance of cloud cover as a feedback mechanism, and how it works. We still have a long way to go before we can say we're CERTAIN of how clouds affect long-term climate, or even day-to-day heat distribution.

  • We're still in the early stages of knowledge about our oceans, and how they control not only climate but weather. We're just beginning to acknowledge the large roles played by the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) not only on short-term weather changes but also on long-term climate variations. We still have much to learn about the Deep Ocean Circulation System and how the oceans store heat and carbon dioxide, among other things.

  • We are still "barely walking" in our understanding of the entire CO2 cycle. We have a glimmering of knowledge of how CO2 is sequestered in soil and water, how plants utilize CO2, how they respond to increased levels of CO2, how much CO2 is sequestered by growth worldwide, and a number of other factors. There is still much to be learned. We do know that plants respond positively to increased CO2, but not how much CO2 this actually sequesters on a planetwide basis. There is still much that needs to be learned.

  • There are dozens of other items that affect overall climate that haven't been looked at closely enough yet. These range from the Earth's rotation (Is it speeding up, or slowing down? How does that affect climate?), the location and strength of the Earth's magnetic pole, the "wobble" in the Earth's geographic pole (and thus solar inclination), the effects of the gravitational fields of the Sun and other planets, the eccentricity of Earth's orbit (what causes it, how significant is it, and is it changing, and how much, if it is), how ocean-spreading, surface and undersea volcanic action, changes in coastline and ocean currents, airborne aerosols, and a dozen other things affects long-term climate, and how all of this interacts.

Using Dick Cheney's words, there are "known knowns" about climate, and "known unknowns". There are most probably a few "unknown unknowns" yet to be discovered as well. There are quite a few things we're fairly certain of, such as CO2 has been far higher and somewhat lower in the past than it is now, that CO2 levels usually FOLLOW warming by about 700 years, that below about 140 ppm all plant life on Earth will die, and that most of the records used to look at previous high and low temperatures are "proxies", and some are quite POOR proxies. If you're a true climate scientist, there's quite a bit to learn. If you think the "science is settled", you're NOT a scientist.

Three more things need to be said. The first is that there is no direct evidence that human burning of fossil fuel will create a catastrophic runaway climate. This only comes from computer models, and as one "climate scientist" said in one of the just-released Climategate 2.0 emails, "none of the models really work". The second thing is that the models only provide "evidence" of catastrophic global warming if EVERY feedback mechanism considered provides a positive response. Since we've already seen that cloud cover and cloud heat transfer provide a NEGATIVE feedback, there is no reason to put any credence into "global warming" scare tactics. Finally, according to satellite records there has been no net warming since 1998, even though CO2 continues to build up in our atmosphere. None of the models can even begin to explain why that has happened.

Climate HAS changed over the last 100 years. Climate ALWAYS changes. Human beings HAVE had an influence on some climate change. Land use - from agriculture to forestry to building houses and cities - have all affected change. We grow grass in a desert. We turn parts of the Great Plains into cities and even forests. These changes are regional, and small. In fact, most changes Man has made to climate have been regional and small. The big changes are primarily governed by the sun. We just haven't learned all the different ways yet.


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