Saturday, August 30, 2008


Hurricane Gustav has already torn up many islands in the Caribbean. It's path is going to take it over water with very high hurricane intensification potential. Worry

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A new toy for the Arctic tourist and a very scary thought

From athopolis an Arctic map that provides weather reports when you click on the stations (you have to click on the link, not the map, to access the weather stations.

The scary thought is that if you look at the ice maps NOT only are the Northwest passage and the passage near the Siberian coast open but the ice in a narrow band on the north shore of Greenland is opening and it is NOT impossible that the globe could be circumnavigated at latitudes higher 70 well inside the Arctic circle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scam Alert

via Inel, the WGGWCC08 3rd Global Warming and Climate Change International Conference & Exposition. (WGGWCC 08 ) is a scam. (Ear tip to Brian Schmidt for the pointer)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Non-obvious advice to freshmen (and their folks)

Probably too late but here it is (the ground rules may differ in various places and this is VERY US centric)

1. Take EXACTLY 15 credits. You need 12 to be full time and you need to be full time to keep your financial aid. Taking 15 leaves room to drop one course. Berzerk professors are a risk, high school was a lot easier, the competition is harder, so you need to leave room to drop one. Your college is a new place with new rules. You don't want to be learning the rules with a 24/7 load.

2. Professors are called Prof. Rabett or Dr. Rabett, not Mr. Rabett, and unless they specifically tell you to do so, never Eli. Most teaching assistants are graduate students. They should be addressed as Mr. or Ms. Adjuncts can hold the doctorate or not. Check and address them appropriately. This is college, the ground rules are different.

3. Someone told you to look your professor's in the eye, stick out your hand and say, "I'm Mr. Bunny", so they will remember you. Someone told you wrong, this doesn't even work for salesguys. Most academics are introverts, they hate this crap.

3a. OTOH when you talk to your professor the first couple of times, say "Hi, I'm Ms. Bunny and. . . ." or if you encounter your professor outside the class "I'm Ms. Bunny and I'm in your 3PM lecture class. . . "

4. There are important differences between secondary school and college. In secondary school the burden of your learning is on the teacher, if you are "not getting it" the teacher is obligated to work with you until you do. In secondary school the teacher follows a syllabus that is mandated locally, often statewide. In college, the burden of your learning is on you. The professors present the material (hopefully clearly, tho not always) on a level that they decide is appropriate for the course. (Google helicopter parents for more)

5. Get a study group for each course. The group should be no less than 4 and no more than 5 students so that if one person can't make it you still have a group and no one can hide. Meet at least once a week. Have an agenda about what you will do/discuss. You should have read the materials and at least tried to do the assigned problems. That way you can spend time on the points/problems that gave most of you trouble. If all the points/problems give everyone trouble, you have the wrong study group.

6. You want to develop a professional relationship with your professors. This means talking to them about the subject. In particular, you will get extremely short shrift if you go up to them and say something like: "I don't understand anything", the correct approach is more like, "Yesterday you talked about adiabatic expansions of an ideal gas, how does that apply to the atmosphere" or "I had some trouble with this point (name inserted here) in the lecture, went home and studied the material, but I still don't get it, could you point me in the right direction".

7. You want to visit your professor no more than a 3 or 4 times a month. Some professors are very picky about their office hours, and don't want to see you outside of them, others are more welcoming, but may ask you to come back. IEHO you want to avoid the first kind, but YMMV.

8. Check how many majors there are in a department compared to the size of the department faculty. You will get a lot more care and feeding if the ratio is smaller, compared to larger. OTOH you want to have an idea of how intellectually active your professors are. Look them up on Google Scholar.

9. Towards the end of the year (not semester), if you are doing well in your major, you want to talk with your professor about doing undergraduate research. You should have a clear idea of what area of the major you are most interested in and talented in. The professor may pick you off for his or her group, or may steer you with a recommendation to a colleague. If you are not doing well in the first course for your major, you may want to reconsider your major.

10. Start thinking about what you are going to do in the summer in November. Applications for summer programs open in November and close in January/February. The deciding factor for an internship is going to be recommendations "Bunny Foo Foo was in my class and got an A, one of five in a class of 20" is the kiss of death. See 6-8. Undergraduate research, internships, the recommendations you get from them and the work that you have done are what gets you jobs, into professional school and more. See Bunny Foo Foo letter above.

11. Books are going to cost you $1K per year. In some courses the books cost more than $200/yr, in others pretty close to it. Reselling books sucks, you get less then you do at a car dealer, and besides which books are useful to keep. Many course/colleges have on line syllabii which list the books. Bookstores increasingly have on line sites that allow you to pre-order books. If nothing else this may help you avoid the line from hell that forms outside the bookstore before classes start.

The bad news is that publishers have a whole bunch of tactics to stop you from buying used books, including bundling on line homework systems (these systems are actually a very good thing) at low price with new books and selling the license at high price alone. Several states have now passed laws forbidding such bundling but they are not yet in force. Next year.

Another tactic is for publishers to change editions every three or four years. Most of the time all that they change is the problems. Ask the professors if it makes a difference if you buy the old version, a lot of time it does not.

Non-obvious places to buy textbooks are outside the US, the same books (watch the editions tho) are much less expensive elsewhere and available in paperback, this includes such third world countries as England, France and Germany. Shipping may be an issue, but if someone you know is going over there and willing to lug the book back (textbooks are increasingly the Osborne's of portable books). . .

Primarily for science majors:
12. NEVER take non-calculus physics. Physics without calculus makes no sense.

13. If your math SATs were under 550, take a college math course (probably algebra) before you try chemistry. Eli has been tracking this for years, as have a number of friends at the Carrot Bar Around the Corner from the Chemistry Building. Our experience is that SAT's, math pretests and such show that there is a minimum grade you need to have any chance of passing chemistry, but if students are above that minimum the course grades do not correlate especially well with the math grades. Taking college algebra and getting a good grade (if you don't you probably should not take chemistry) improves the odds no end.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life is too short

Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once. - TH Huxley (ear tip to Simon Donner for the quote)

Then again, that assumes Eli has a life, so once, more, dear bunnies we confront Zombie George Chilingar and the Adiabat of Death. The playing field is well described by Joel Stein

Everyone else in my family — my dad, my sister, my mom — loves to argue with idiots.
When my mom, a therapist, visited me in Los Angeles in the spring, she saw the “Psychiatry Kills!” sign on Sunset Boulevard outside the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Even after I told her, for the 10th time, that the organization was part of the Church of Scientology, she still wanted to stop by and “have a conversation with these people.” I have no doubt that my toilet training included a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
Me, I’d rather smile and nod and save my energy. Let George Bush try to convince jihadists how awesome the Bill of Rights is. My theory is that when you see a guy walking your way waving a knife and talking to himself, you switch sides of the street, not engage him in a civics lesson. But that’s just me.
So when I found out that Eugenie Scott, a former anthropology professor and president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, has spent the last 19 years promoting evolution as head of the National Center for Science Education, I knew I had to find her and make fun of her. This is a woman who is spending her life informing people about scientific discoveries made 147 years ago and who wrote a whole book called Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. “Sisyphus with a smile” is how Scientific American described her. It’s as if she spends her time trying to convince people that multiplication totally works.
Well, not multiplication in Chilingar, Khyuk and Sorokhin's case, but gravity which is pretty much multiplication for physicists, a bit more complex than addition, but basic. The summer is over, the little rabetts are preparing for the beginning of school (they better be). On to Energy Sources Part A 30 (2008) 1-9 published January 1 2008 by G.V. Chilingar, L.F. Khilyuk and O.G. Sorokhtin entitled "Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission" and a bit earlier in Environmental Geology. Kind of like New York, New York is the city with the same name twice, C&Co publish the same paper twice, at least.

The Rabett has taken part in a discussion of this paper on the Climate Audit Bulletin Board. C & Co blather a bit about how smart they are, how there are all these wonderful results, mostly from Sorokhin in the the iconic Russian literature, but it all comes back to an adiabatic expansion, and the relationship that can be derived from it between temperature and pressure

(1) T = Cpα

where C is a constant, α = (γ -1)/γ being the ratio between the specific heat at constant pressure and that at constant volume, cp/cv. Since cp-cv = R, the gas constant, 8.314 J/mol-K, α = R/cp. They get all proud of themselves for a trivial rearrangement, taking ratios of T and p at the surface and in the atmosphere to get

(2) T = bα Te ( p/po) α

With Te and po being the temperature and pressure at the surface. At this point, C&Co have reduced everything to determining α and thus cp. They separate cp in to three terms, the specific heat of the gases in the atmosphere and two additional undetermined terms which they associate with radiation and water vapor. They do not separate the sensible and latent heats of water. By comparing the temperature profile of the atmosphere with (2) they obtain a fit to α from which they impute the values of the other two heat capacities by difference. The two additional terms are found to be small compared to the gas heat capacities (essentially 7/2 R). Thus they claim that convection determines the temperature in the atmosphere.

There is lots of silly there. For one, you can't ignore greenhouse gases absorbing radiation from the ground, and radiating a fair bit of it back. If you do, you find that that solar heating alone cannot keep the surface at a toasty 288 K. C&Co's only admit to processes which REMOVE energy from the surface, so the surface will cool drastically, way below the case where there is no atmosphere and no convection, because in the chilingarsphere, convection et al, only REMOVE heat from the surface

Eq 2 is the case for what happens in a small system, or out in space, and it is easy to derive from the first law of thermodynamics. But the first law (physicists version where work is done on the surroundings)

(3) dU = δQ - δW

where U is internal energy (all the energy of the atmosphere), Q is heat flowing into and out of the system and W the work done by the system. In the atmosphere we need another term, the potential energy associated with gravity

(4) dU+ mg dz = δQ - δW

where z is the altitude of the packet of air we are looking at m the mass and g the acceleration of gravity. (UPDATE: The term on the left is the total energy of any infinitesmally small packet of air. The first term dU is essentially the kinetic energy of the molecules in the packet, the second their gravitational potential energy. One can, in principal, trade one off for the other. If the total energy stays the same ( δQ - δW=0) if z becomes smaller, that corresponds to the packet being pushed down, then the kinetic energy, and thus the temperature will increase and visa versa.)

Let us warm up (or better said, cool down) with a quick derivation of how gravity enters the picture through the adiabatic lapse rate, the rate at which the air would cool with altitude if there were no water vapor condensation, greenhouse gas radiation and other things (BTW, George C don't think, those things are very important either).

Atmoz, is a great fan of Met 101. Keeping with first things first, we have to have the equations of hydrostatic equilibrium the derivations are at the link

(5) dp/p =( μ g/RT) dz

where p is the pressure on a packet of air, dp the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the packet, μ the average molar mass of air, R is the gas constant and T the temperature of the packet. In an isothermal atmosphere

(6) p = po exp (-z/zo)
po is the pressure at ground level and zo= (RT/μ g) is called the isothermal scale height (about 8 km for the earth). For an adiabatic expansion temperature changes with altitude as

(7) dT/dz = [(γ -1)/γ] (μ g/R)

For the Earth's atmosphere, C dT/dz is the dry adiabatic lapse rate, about 8 K/km for the Earth. Eq 6 does a good job of predicting the temperature as a function of altitude for dry regions (the poles, deserts, etc), however, it fails to consider water vapor which heats the atmosphere by contributing the sensible and latent heats, thus the dry.

Chilingar, Khyuk and Sorokhin do not include the effect of the dry adiabatic lapse rate (gravity) in their model. This leads them incorrectly to assigns the entire pressure difference resulting from the dry adiabatic lapse rate to convection. This is incorrect, wrong, mistaken, erroneous, untrue, inaccurate, false, faulty, improper, flawed, inappropriate, unseemly, unbecoming, offensive, indecent, and just plain off.

Read the comments

Three pictures

It is clear that the pattern of melt in the Arctic this year is different from last. It is not clear whether the ice area will be larger or smaller than last year. In any case there will be significantly less ice than in any year except for 2007.

One of the things that is happening is that it remains very warm on the Russian side of the Arctic, with temperatures exceeding 16 C (60F) in such wonderful beach towns as Pevek, (it was 20 C today), near 10 C (50 F) in Tiksi, and Dikson and forecast to be near 20 C in Murmansk. On the other side, things are colder in Barrow and Alert for example, with temperatures near or a bit below freezing.

So let us look at the contenders on August 20. You may have to click on ice maps to get more detail. First we have the official Rabett Run version as recommended by Alastair for which Bob Grumbine can take the blame. It is from NOAA/ National Weather Service National Centers for Environmental Prediction Environmental Modeling Center. Using passive microwave sensing it still shows both the Northwest Passage and the passage near the Russian shore to be blocked, although not by much in each case. This means that Bob gets to decide. . . . .

Next we have the map from the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana, aka Cryosphere Today, which show less ice cover with only minimal blockages in the paths near the Canadian and Russian shores.

And finally from the University of Bremen, Germany, Institut fuer Umweltphysik we have ice area maps, and as a special feature closeups of the NW passage.

Meanwhile the sea ice anomaly is very close to 2 million sq km, and the sea ice coverage is within 0.5 million sq km of last year's record.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time to complain




Eli is more of the dyspeptic sort than the type of bunny who believes that fortunate circumstance leads to happy endings. After getting up at 6 yesterday morning, falling into bed at 9 PM, and waking at 3, well here he is eating cherries and typing (Ms. Rabett says that Eli has a cherry jones) when he wanders over to more Grumbine science and comes across an article on Cherry Picking

Unfortunately I'm not talking about getting hold of a nice batch of fresh fruit. Instead, it's a particularly common dishonest tactic. It's also one that is flagrantly against the principles of doing science.

What it consists of is making a statement that is true only about a specific especially well-chosen circumstance, and then pretending that you've made a general statement about the system at hand. This is offensive to me as a scientist because in science we're trying to understand the system -- all of it. The cherry pickers abandon honesty for word games. . . . . .

Since 1998, though, there's been an industry that is careful to not use all the data they could. Indeed they're aggressive about ignoring data. You don't need to be a specialist to know that this doesn't square with honest understanding of a complex system. People who are seriously trying to understand climate are continually complaining about wanting more data. Throwing away good data is inconceivable to them. But in that industry, they're not concerned with honest understanding. They wish to arrive at a conclusion and if they pick the right starting year (1998) and data set (CRU rather than GISS, for instance), then they can get the answer (a cooling 'trend') that they want.
Been there, read that, but anyhow Ethon suggested we next visit our old friend in Boulder, who is up to the challenge and we were not disappointed, on the very same day, our Roger Pielke starts out with

As we’ve documented here on many occasions, some climate scientists like assert that recent observations of weather and short-term climate are “consistent with” predictions from climate models (see also this essay).

A lot of attention has been paid to recent global average temperature trends, because they have not shown an increase since 1998, 2000, or 2001 (to pick three years often cited in such discussions). An Australian newspaper recently commented on this:
This is almost as good as a bowl of cherries. RP enjoys denialability as much as the next ten bloggers. His go to quote comes from the Australian, an Inhofian rag if there every was one. You know and Eli knows and all the bunnies know which side the Australian is. Tim Lambert is up to XVII in his Australian War on Science series. Roger just tosses it out there as your average neutral observer and lets them do the cherry pick once removed.
A careful analysis of global temperature graphs from each of the measurement agencies confirm that - despite variations between them - there has not been any notable warming since 2000. Depending on which graphs you use, global temperatures since 2000 have been more or less flat. Some, such as the GISS data, show a modest rise, while others show negligible movement and even a small fall in recent years.
and then, the defense of cherries act by Roger
What I found most interesting in the article, aside from the denigration of people wanting to understand recent trends, was an assertion by Monash University’s Amanda Lynch (climate scientist and former faculty colleague from here at Colorado) who stated that it might be 40 years (!) of no warming/cooling before observations would be inconsistent with predictions:
With the obligatory out for the later defensive whine
Meantime, I continue to applaud serious and rigorous efforts to compare observations with predictions, in real time, and efforts to interpret their significance. The best example of such an effort continues to be the solid (but apparently reckless;-) work by Lucia Liljegren.
A work of art. If someone objects to Australian class cherry picks, RP can say, well I meant "serious and rigorous", AND he does a backwards somersault on Lucia with the parentheses and smiley.

No cherry juice on our Mackie Messer

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Milankovitch, Landscheidt, Gerlich and Tscheuschner

Chris Colose has spotted the latest impossible thing to swallow before breakfast from one Ahmed Boucenn, The Great Season Climatic Oscillation and the Global Warming. Seriously, the guys at arXiv are going to have to improve their quality control. Chris rips teh sceince to the shreds it deserves, just another guy who overdosed on G&T, but he wonders where the "Great Season" thing came from. Where else, astrology, the original teh sceince, the Sphinx knows

It takes 25,800 years for the Earth’s axis to complete one wobble, sway, or clockwise circle. We call this 25,800-year cycle of our planet the Platonic year. It is also referred to as the precession of the equinoxes or the great year in a comprehensive dictionary. The great year is one of the longest cycles that are well known to our astronomers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Louts' Lament

Eli and the assembled throngs have grabbed the popcorn to follow the Monckton vs. Monckton death match (link for the summary) as M runs onto a field of rakes at full tilt. Rabett Run is pleased to sponsor the next round (boos to he knows who for dragging the bunny back to the canvas.)

SPPI and Monckton have changed their tune, well, not really, the Discount Viscount smarmy with clever so the lede in now reads . . .

"In the July 2008 edition of Physics and Society, a paper by Christopher Monckton entitled Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered caused considerable interest when the Society, which had invited Monckton to submit the paper and then published it, decided a week after publication, and without Monckton's knowledge or consent, to add a prefatory disclaimer to the paper.
Oh, pardon, someone committed truth on their own website without Monckton's permission. How sad. But, of course, Monckton is a member of the British nomenklatura whose behavior is a sure sign of the respect with which he should be treated.
Soon thereafter, a database manager for the American Physical Society, Arthur Smith, drafted and circulated a critique of Monckton's paper. Smith's critique and Monckton's refutation of it are provided here for educational purposes.
Now anyone who teaches learns the limits of copying for "educational purposes" The "educational purposes" here is a fig leaf that Robert Ferguson and Monckton think they have discovered to allow them to copy Arthur's work. Since they are already in receipt of a letter from Arthur Smith which denies them permission to use the text without meeting certain conditions, and those conditions have not been met, Arthur certainly could either sue for infringement, or demand that the web hosting company take the SPPI site down. Monckton and Ferguson evidently still do not understand copyright law. Here are some clues from the University of Texas
The penalties for infringement are very harsh: the court can award up to $150,000 for each separate act of willful infringement . . . .

There is one special provision of the law that allows a court to refuse to award any damages at all if it so chooses, even if the copying at issue was not a fair use. It is called the good faith fair use defense [17 USC 504(c)(2)]. It only applies if the person who copied material reasonably believed that what he or she did was a fair use - as would likely be the case if you followed this Policy!
Unfortunately for Monckton and Ferguson, they are already on notice that their copying was not fair use.
2. If the work is protected, do you wish to exercise one of the owner's exclusive rights?
  • Make a copy (reproduce)
  • Use a work as the basis for a new work (create a derivative work)
  • Electronically distribute or publish copies (distribute a work) . . . .
SPPI is not an educational institution offering classes whether in person or by distance learning. The provisions of the TEACH Act do not apply and even if they did, no one is allowed to copy an entire document for which someone else holds the copyright onto their web site without permission. The ice is even thinner at SPPI than in the Arctic.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Water, water everywhere

And all the bergs did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any left to shrink

The very caps did rot : O Christ !
That ever this should be !
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy land!

OK, Eli is getting carried away. Using Alastair's Criterion
"Since I get to choose I will propose this chart which is updated daily

When there is a clear passage in pink from the Beaufort Sea to the Baffin Bay then we declare the NW Passage open. Otherwise we may have to wait for ESA to produce a report which the Telegraph picks up and then four weeks later appears in Wikipedia."
We are a day or two away. However, for those who want to jump the gun, the AMSR picture from the University of Bremen shows there now does appear to be a way through the Northwest Passage although the path is a bit crooked (the microwave sounder based AMSR underestimates ice coverage a bit).

But enough of that obsession. You may remember certain commentators last year going on and on that the ice extent at the butt (aka Aussie) end of the Earth was growing. For example Roger Pielke Sr. said
Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.” Pielke wrote on March 25, “The media has ignored in their reporting the increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added, “Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publically identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!
and how this proved, well it's hard to say what it proved, but they did go on and on as our friend Steve McIntyre would say
Four of the past 5 months are “all-time” records for Southern Hemisphere sea ice anomalies, “unprecedented” since the data set began in 1979 . . .On a global basis, world sea ice in April 2008 reached levels that were “unprecedented” for the month of April in over 25 years. Levels are the third highest (for April) since the commencement of records in 1979, exceeded only by levels in 1979 and 1982. This continues a pattern established earlier in 2008, as global sea ice in March 2008 was also the third highest March on record, while January 2008 sea ice was the second highest January on record. It was also the second highest single month in the past 20 years (second only to Sept 1996).
and Eli does believe that a certain John S who graces the comment section here at RR had a pleasant word or two on the subject

Today's interesting news is that the Antarctic anomaly is now negative after having fallen off the cliff in the past few days. This, together with historically low ice extent in the Arctic (not a record yet) has pushed the total ice anomaly into negative numbers (figures from Cryosphere Today)

Click to enlarge the global sea ice area graph below

Something is happening. It is probably not a good thing

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Recycling Fraud

Recycling fraud is publishing the same thing in multiple places without disclosure. Since journals require that authors certify work submitted is original and has not appeared elsewhere, publishing the same paper in multiple journals is arguably simple fraud. A typical policy can be found in the Instructions to Authors of the journal Environmental Geology


The author(s) guarantee(s) that the manuscript will not be published elsewhere in any language without the consent of the copyright holders, that the rights of third parties will not be violated, and that the publisher will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation. Authors wishing to include figures or text passages that have already been published elsewhere are required to obtain permission from the copyright holder(s) and to include evidence that such permission has been granted when submitting their papers. Any material received without such evidence will be assumed to originate from the authors. When submitting, the author(s) also guarantee(s) that the manuscript or any substantial portion of a manuscript submitted for publication in Environmental Geology has not been simultaneously submitted for review to any other publisher. Accepted manuscripts must be accompanied by a completed and signed Copyright Transfer Statement.
Or, here is another one from the Instructions to Authors of the journal Energy Sources Part A
Submission of Manuscripts
Manuscripts should be submitted to Dr. James Speight, 2476 Overland Road, Laramie, WY 82070, USA. Authors are strongly encouraged to submit manuscripts on disk or CD. All papers should be submitted in English. The disk should be prepared using MS Word or WordPerfect and should be clearly labeled with the authors' names, file name, and software program. The disk should be checked for viruses; please do not submit any disk that contains a virus. A hardcopy printout that exactly matches the disk must be supplied. Each manuscript must be accompanied by a statement that it has not been published elsewhere and that it has not been submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyrighted material from other sources and are required to sign an agreement for the transfer of copyright to the publisher. All accepted manuscripts, artwork, and photographs become the property of the publisher.
If the copyright to the material has been transferred to another journal, then the issue of copyright violation rears its ugly head. With publish and perish loose in the land, the temptation to publish the same work multiple times is strong, but it is done by including new material, and changing the wording and emphasis. A small fragment is made a larger fragment ad infinitum. The motivation is to establish precedence (the first small article) and build a list of publications for the granting agency or APT committee.

A long, tedious introduction to a perplexing case.

Eli has been looking at a paper that appeared in Energy Sources Part A 30 (2008) 1-9 published January 1 2008 by G.V. Chilingar, L.F. Khilyuk and O.G. Sorokhtin entitled "Cooling of Atmosphere Due to CO2 Emission". The Rabett has taken part in a discussion of this paper on the Climate Audit Bulletin Board (read down). More about that later but if you want a starting point Tim Lambert would be a good place to go. However, this is neither the time or place for such.

Eli thought a lot of the argument was familiar. He recalled Pliny's comment
I think Miskolczi's paper could have been written in two sentences:
"The greenhouse gas theory that has been used for the last century is TOTALLY WRONG! The proof is left as an exercise for the reader."
Seriously, if you are making a claim like this, you need a good argument, put with some clarity. You would usually write down a model with some unknowns, state some physical principles with their resulting equations, and derive relations which characterise the unknowns. M does this, but at least three of his basic equations appear to be totally wrong. They actually look like elementary errors. Or if they are right, it seems no-one can explain them.

So this is Black Knight stuff.
Indeed, the whole house of cards is based on a paper which appeared (supposedly) in the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences by Sorokhtin which does not appear to be where it is referenced. Not finding that, Eli went looking for more by the same authors. Indeed, back in late 2006 he had had a few choice words about these folk as had others (links at link) and it all seemed so familiar. It should have.

Werner Aeschbach-Hertig
had published a rebuttal of the original article by Khilyuk and Chilingar and Chilingar, Sorokhtin and Khilyuk submitted a reply paper May 17, 2008 and it was published August 24, 2008. It is the same paper that appeared in Energy Sources A January 1 2008. Judge for yourself. The Introduction to the Energy Sources A paper is
Traditional anthropogenic theory of currently observed global warming states that release of carbon dioxide into atmosphere (partially as a result of utilization of fossil fuels) leads to an increase in atmospheric temperature because the molecules of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) absorb the infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface. This statement is based on the Arrhenius hypothesis, which was never verified (Arrhenius, 1896). The proponents of this theory take into consideration only one component of heat transfer in atmosphere, i.e., radiation. Yet, in the dense Earth’s troposphere with the pressure pa > 0:2 atm, the heat from the Earth’s surface is mostly transferred by convection (Sorokhtin, 2001a). According to our estimates, convection accounts for 67%, water vapor condensation in troposphere accounts for 25%, and radiation accounts for about 8% of the total heat transfer from the Earth’s surface to troposphere. Thus, convection is the dominant process of heat transfer in troposphere, and all the theories of Earth’s atmospheric heating (or cooling) first of all must consider this process of heat (energy)–mass redistribution in atmosphere (Sorokhtin, 2001a, 2001b; Khilyuk and Chilingar, 2003, 2004).
The Introduction to the Environ. Geol. paper starts
Traditional anthropogenic theory of currently observed global warming states that release of carbon dioxide into atmosphere (partially as a result of utilization of fossil fuels) leads to an increase in atmospheric temperature because the molecules of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) absorb the infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface. This statement is based solely on the Arrhenius hypothesis which was not verified (Arrhenius 1896). A hypothetical ‘‘enhancement of the greenhouse effect’’ due to additional emission of anthropogenic carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which is a sacred tenet of Dr. Aeschbach-Hertig climatic belief, was neither shown experimentally nor proven theoretically. In our response to Dr. Aeschbach-Hertig, who admittedly is not familiar with Russian literature and some modern theories, we will focus on the effect of CO2 emission on the temperature of atmosphere which is the central issue of debate on currently observed global warming. Computations based on the adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect (derived from the basic laws of physics and verifiedby experimental data) show that increasing concentration of CO2 in air should result in cooling rather than warming of the atmosphere.

The proponents of the anthropogenic theory take into consideration only one component of heat transfer in the atmosphere, i.e., radiation. Yet, in the dense Earth’s troposphere with the pressure qa > 0.2 atm the heat from the Earth’s surface is mostly transferred by convection (Sorokhtin 2001a, b). According to our estimates, convection accounts for 67%, water vapor condensation in troposphere accounts for 25%, and radiation accounts for about 8% of the total heat transfer from the Earth’s surface to troposphere. Thus, convection is the dominant process of heat transfer in troposphere and all of the theories of Earth’s atmospheric heating (or cooling) first of all must consider this process of heat (energy)-mass redistribution in atmosphere (Sorokhtin 2001a, b; Khilyuk and Chilingar 2003, 2004).
The italicized sentences and one further sentence about half way through the paper with one additional equation (a strange rewriting of an equation immediately above which claims to be a simplification?) are the only differences.

The Energy Sources Part A paper which appeared first is not referenced in the Environmental Geology paper.

But what is the point of this stupidic move? And where is the Sorokhtin paper in the Herald? Does it exist at all?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Monckton's Tale, a chronology

UPDATE: There's more folks

Since this has already gotten out of hand Eli, glass of wine in paw, provides a chronology for all who can't get a date on Saturday Night. We set the stage with the three links from the Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physical Society that touched off the storm.


Editors' Comments by Jeffrey Marque and Alvin Saperstein

With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion. This editor (JJM) invited several people to contribute articles that were either pro or con. Christopher Monckton responded with this issue's article that argues against the correctness of the IPCC conclusion, and a pair from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, responded with this issue's article in favor of the IPCC conclusion. We, the editors of P&S, invite reasoned rebuttals from the authors as well as further contributions from the physics community. Please contact me ( if you wish to jump into this fray with comments or articles that are scientific in nature. However, we will not publish articles that are political or polemical in nature. Stick to the science! (JJM)
A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change by David Hafemeister & Peter Schwartz
Abstract: In this paper, we have used several basic atmospheric–physics models to show that additional carbon dioxide will warm the surface of Earth. We also show that observed solar variations cannot account for observed global temperature increase.
Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered by Christopher Monckton

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions probably caused more than half of the “global warming” of the past 50 years and would cause further rapid warming. However, global mean surface temperature has not risen since 1998 and may have fallen since late 2001. The present analysis suggests that the failure of the IPCC’s models to predict this and many other climatic phenomena arises from defects in its evaluation of the three factors whose product is climate sensitivity:

  1. Radiative forcing ΔF;
  2. The no-feedbacks climate sensitivity parameter κ; and
  3. The feedback multiplier ƒ.

Some reasons why the IPCC’s estimates may be excessive and unsafe are explained. More importantly, the conclusion is that, perhaps, there is no “climate crisis”, and that currently-fashionable efforts by governments to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions are pointless, may be ill-conceived, and could even be harmful.


The Beg Pardoner's Tale

Update: Steve Bloom in the comments, points out that the July 2008 issue index page now has the following statement from the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society

The Forum on Physics and Society is a place for discussion and disagreement on scientific and policy matters. Our newsletter publishes a combination of non- peer- reviewed technical articles, policy analyses, and opinion. All articles and editorials published in the newsletter solely represent the views of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Forum Executive Committee.

The FPS Executive Committee strongly endorses the position of the APS Council that "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate." The statement in the July 2008 edition of our newsletter, Physics and Society that, "There is considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution" does not represent the views of the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society.

Both the Hafemeister & Schwartz and the Monckton article currently have the following paragraph at the top as do all the papers in the July 2008 issue of the Forum since July 20.
The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."
The original text was
“The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”
Which brought a letter from Monckton to Arthur Bienenstock, President of the American Physical Society demanding (press release at SPPI)
Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?
Monckton also included a copy of the revisions suggested by the Forum Newletter editor, APS also put the following text on its front page for a few days
The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: 'Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.
Bienenstock replied via a form letter to those sending him missives
As Lord Monckton points out in his covering letter to me, “Most revisions were intended to clarify for physicists who were not climatologists the method by which the IPCC evaluates climate sensitivity – a method which the IPCC does not itself clearly or fully explain.”

That is, the review was an editorial review for a newsletter, and not the substantive scientific peer review required for publication in our journals. No attempt was made to analyze the scientific substance of the article and no censoring was performed. As indicated above and in Lord Monckton’s letter to me, the article appears in the form agreed upon by Lord Monckton.

and Monckton once again graciously replied
Please provide the requested apology without any further mendacity, prevarication, evasion, excuse, or delay.
New Scientist quotesAl Saperstein one of editors of Physics & Society
He stressed that that the article was not sent to anyone for peer-reviewing. Saperstein himself edited it. "I'm a little ticked off that some people have claimed that this was peer-reviewed," he said. "It was not."

The Summoner's Tale

Robert Ferguson of the Science and Public Policy Institute issues a press release about Monckton's paper. This gets picked up several places, including Daily Tech from which it wends it way to the Drudge Report and goes virial.

UPDATE: John Mashey in the comments describes the prequel, some of which you can find decorating the Nude Scientist
In April, the newsletter ran an article by retired nuclear physicist Gerald Marsh. Marsh argued that solar variations play a major role in the Earth's climate, one which overrides human emissions of greenhouse gases. According to Marsh, future changes in the solar cycle could bring on the next ice age.

Following on Marsh's paper, Saperstein and his co-editor decided to "put both sides of the debate out". He emphasises that the newsletter does not publish science, but reflections on how science impacts society - an odd statement given that the newsletter is full of all the trappings of research papers, graphs, equations and the like. . . .

The editors put out a request for articles arguing "both sides of the debate." They also asked Gerald Marsh to recommend authors who might contribute a piece arguing against the IPCC.

Marsh gave five names, and the editors contacted all five. Monckton was the only one to respond.

The Tim Smiths' Tale

Demurrals to Monckton's claims begin to appear. Perhaps the first came from Tim Lambert of Deltoid (and also here and here), Duae Quartunciae (Steve Bloom made a comment in Deltoid that was picked up) and Gavin Schmidt of Real Climate

Monckton replied to Schmidt's arguments at SPPI. In the meantime. . . .

Arthur Smith had written a critique of Monckton's article and sent it to the Forum on Physics and Society, and also sent it to Monckton. Monckton went ballistic, and posted a reply at SPPI which quoted Smith's manuscript in full, a copyright no, no. You can read the rest at Rabett Run starting here and going there. We do lack Monckton's side of the correspondence, but, dear bunnies, you can imagine. . . .

And you can read Arthur Smith's detailed analysis here


UPDATE: There's more folks

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Tethered Goat or the Honest Broker

Ethon is back from Boulder. He was so satisfied with the extraordinary feast Pro provided that he passed on the offered Hansen pate and tethered scientist appetizer that Honest Roger offered. Roger managed to pirouette from the recent British Office of Communication Decision that The Great Global Warming Swindle was a sack of effluent to a full bore attack on Jim Hansen and his suggestion about the fate of coal company executives.

It is sad what is happening over at Prometheus, the Professor having lost his audience being reduced to whacking about wildly. Jon played the Devil and won

As I read Lahsen's paper, the U.S. suffers from a particularly virulent strain of extrinsically politicized science and thus, lowering the bar of expertise in the name of democratizing the debate or supporting intellectual freedom, actually devalues good scholarship by diluting it with "simulated scientific authority" just as printing ever more money devalues currency. As I say above, it looks like Gresham's law.

Of course, the alternative raises the perennial question, "quis custodiet?" but I continue to trust the mores of our scientific communities to wrestle with this honestly.

What I take away is certainly that I agree with your horror at bringing lawsuits or criminal prosecutions to bear on climate or political debates. And I also share your aversion to attempts to pressure universities from outside, particularly where the pressure is extrinsically political.

But within the university and within the scientific community, whilst speaking as a professional free expression is a right to which one is entitled only in the context of good scholarship; and so long as the politicization of the community's judgment upon scholarship is only intrinsic there is an obligation to use that judgment to demarcate reasonable dissent from worthless or irresponsible views.

It's a pretty good discussion, and worth reading if only for the double plus good Rogerism, when Jon went away to his day job
Perhaps Jon is busy with other matters. Or perhaps, as he has done before on several occasions at this site, he has just dropped by to levy allegations and then leave the conversation midstream. Do that a few times and you start to get a reputation. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he'll reengage.
That's got it all folks except the advice to read the complete works of Roger Pielke Jr. The victim bully act that makes Roger such a delight, the innocent old me phrase at the end. Still Eli would like to point out that a lot of this arises from the construct that RPJr calls "The Honest Broker" and Eli calls "The Tethered Goat"
The Honest Broker of Policy Options (AKA the Tethered Goat) - seeks to expand, or at least clarify, the scope of choice available to the decision maker. In this instance the doctor might explain to you that a number of different treatments is available, from wait-and-see to taking different medicines, each with a range of possible consequences.
OK, you go to the doctor with your new baby and ask about vaccination. Roger's "Honest Doc" tells you that not vaccinating your kid will significantly increase the odds that she dies young. OTOH, she could also have a terrible reaction to the vaccination and die and, oh yes, assorted nut jobs think that vaccination causes autism. Roger would stake us all out as purveyors of simple solutions, and as we well know there is not a problem in the world that does not have simple, but wrong solutions. So the Tethered Goat tells the patient you have two choices. One kills your kid and the other kills your kid, your choice. No "value" judgments

But is is precisely the value judgments that the doctor's study and experience have prepared him for. He knows more of the evidence than you or I do and we need his advice based on that study and experience. Although it goes against all the "rules" that we pretend to live and campaign by, there are a whole lot of people who know what is better for a whole lot of kids than the kids parents, and if you doubt me read the headlines.

Eli Kildare, OTOH would tell you that the kid runs a terrible risk of damage from the diseases, that it is immoral to not vaccinate the kid and rely on the herd effect and it is an unacceptable risk not to vaccinate. Oh yes, Rachel Carson did not kill millions. It would also be good to say that if the kid is NOT vaccinated, the doc doesn't want you or the kid as a patient because of the danger she will pose to other children during office visits. This is what the science says, but Roger's Tethered Goat can only go so far and not provide you the benefit of his conclusions (that being reserved for Roger).

Providing conclusions based on experience is exactly what Hansen is doing. He is telling us (and Roger) that the scope of choices has narrowed to the point that our civilization either has to take action or die (ok, suffer really bad stuff, like having our livers pecked out daily). You can, of course, listen to Dr. Durovic and take the Krebionzin or equivalently listen to the Drs. Pielke and adapt. As Eli has pointed out, adapting without mitigating is a mug's game that leaves a lot of mugs dead.