Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Peter Ward Is Very Confused

An old volcanologist by the name of Peter Langdon Ward (ed note:  John McCormack points out in the comments a possible confusion with paleontologist Peter Douglas Ward an entirely different bunch of bones) is holding forth at various places on his theory of everything.  Now Eli's considered judgement is that, as Walter Hannah puts it "His Theory Is Garbage".  But as Ray Pierrehumbert said some garbage is more amusing than others, mostly because it exposes things that have to be explained to the naive, and occasionally because the mistake is subtle enough to deepen Eli's own thoughts about this and that.

Hannah (and Eli) spot the G&T, a common mistake amongst phenominologists 

Greenhouse warming theory also assumes that the heated air radiates energy back to Earth’s surface, and that this return flow of heat energy warms Earth. The problem with this is that the [lower atmosphere is] colder than Earth’s surface. Heat cannot physically flow from cold to hot. You do not stand next to a cold stove to get warm.”
OTOH, you could put on a coat which limits the rate at which your body radiates heat just as greenhouse gases limit the rate at which the Earth radiates to space.  Hmm, Eli did talk about that, but so does Hannah
Heat “flows” in a few different ways, but heat is radiated in all directions. In a way, he is correct that the net “flow” of heat is always from warm to cold, but the downward radiation from the atmosphere slows this net cooling of the planet considerably. This downward radiation is actually really important, it is a key reason why Earth is not a lifeless ball of ice. He is obviously confused about how global warming works, because no one is proposing that there is a net gain of heat from downward radiation. Instead, the idea is that the net loss of heat from the surface is slowed by CO2, which naturally results in a net warming.
 What greenhouse gases do is hinder the cooling of the surface.

Let's go a bit further today. Ward writes in a 2010 paper
Note that a body can only be warmed by radiation from a warmer body that contains higher frequencies and higher amplitudes. The dashed black line shows Wien’s displacement law, the frequency (ν) of peak spectral radiance as a function of a body’s temperature (T) where ν = 5.88 x 1010 T. Radiation consisting of a narrow band of frequencies close to this value or larger could warm a body to temperature T if absorbed in sufficient quantity. Radiation with peak spectral radiance less than ν can only warm a body to a lower temperature. This means that it is physically impossible for Earth to be warmed by its own radiation as assumed, for example, in energy budget calculations for greenhouse gases
So Eli is a simple bunny, and for the hell of it he substituted 300 K into that equation and got 1.76 x 1013 Hz, and then if you divide by the speed of light 3.0 x 1010 cm/sec, the frequency in wavenumbers is ~590 cm-1 real close to where CO2 absorbs and emits (670 cm-1).  The Bunny is not going to sign on to this, but by Ward's own reckoning CO2 emission could warm the surface to 340 K which is higher than 300 K.

Yet it is late, there are students to work with tomorrow, and Ms. Rabett is hot to pick up the special extra Christmas present tomorrow.  So to bed


Russell Seitz said...

Dellingpole has found a very dumb bunny in the form of >a California TA who is Mau Mauing the teapartistas with what he modestly styles :

The Most Comprehensive Assault On 'Global Warming' Ever.

Guess what he gets wrong.

href=" http://www.dailywire.com/news/2071/most-comprehensive-assault-global-warming-ever-mike-van-biezen.html

Fernando Leanme said...

Did you notice global warming is bringing a lot more snow?

metzomagic said...

FL sez:

Did you notice global warming is bringing a lot more snow?

Yes, because for every 1C of warming, the atmosphere can hold about 7% more moisture.

Anyway, FTA:

What greenhouse gases do is hinder the cooling of the surface.

This! Every numpty like FL that doesn't understand the science should be made to read this article for comprehension:


Takeway para:

What happens if we add more carbon dioxide? In the layers so high and thin that much of the heat radiation from lower down slips through, adding more greenhouse gas molecules means the layer will absorb more of the rays. So the place from which most of the heat energy finally leaves the Earth will shift to higher layers. Those are colder layers, so they do not radiate heat as well. The planet as a whole is now taking in more energy than it radiates (which is in fact our current situation). As the higher levels radiate some of the excess downwards, all the lower levels down to the surface warm up. The imbalance must continue until the high levels get hot enough to radiate as much energy back out as the planet is receiving.

(my emphasis added)

Walter said...

Thanks for quoting my post, it's nice to know people read my stuff!

Unknown said...

Its obvious this guy has never got hot working on a 35c day.
Cooler than body temp so anyone complaining of the heat must be a slacker.

Brian said...

What Unknown said (let's even put Ward in the shade at 35C so he's not getting direct solar radiation, if he thinks that means he won't get hot).

Similarly he must think blankets only work by preventing convection, so an electric blanket warmed to just below body heat won't keep you any warmer than a regular one.

And what's the point of all that insulating fat on marine mammals? The fat's not generating heat like the muscles and digestive organs are. What's wrong with biology?!!

John McCormick said...

No reader should confuse this Peter Langdon Ward with Dr. Peter Douglas Ward an American paleontologist and professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Sprigg Institute of Geobiology at the University of Adelaide.

His 2007 book 2007 book, Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future" is a must read.

Hank Roberts said...

Oboy: "Mike van Biezen is adjunct professor at Compton College, Santa Monica College, El Camino College, and Loyola Marymount University teaching Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Earth Science."