Sunday, December 16, 2007

Global Warming and the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.

Following on from this post, I ran across a pointer here to this article from these folk.

The article is titled; Dishonest Political Tampering with the Science on Global Warming [Christopher Monckton].

"As a contributor to the IPCC's 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords - through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers - profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate's alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth..."

"...At the very heart of the IPCC's calculations lurks an error more serious than any of these. The IPCC says: "The CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20 percent during the last 10 years (1995-2005)." Radiative forcing quantifies increases in radiant energy in the atmosphere, and hence in temperature. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 1995 was 360 parts per million. In 2005 it was just 5percent higher, at 378 ppm. But each additional molecule of CO2 in the air causes a smaller radiant-energy increase than its predecessor. So the true increase in radiative forcing was 1 percent, not 20 percent. The IPCC has exaggerated the CO2 effect 20-fold.

Why so large and crucial an exaggeration? Answer: the IPCC has repealed the fundamental physical the Stefan-Boltzmann equation - that converts radiant energy to temperature. Without this equation, no meaningful calculation of the effect of radiance on temperature can be done. Yet the 1,600 pages of the IPCC's 2007 report do not mention it once.

The IPCC knows of the equation, of course. But it is inconvenient. It imposes a strict (and very low) limit on how much greenhouse gases can increase temperature. At the Earth's surface, you can add as much greenhouse gas as you like (the "surface forcing"), and the temperature will scarcely respond.

That is why all of the IPCC's computer models predict that 10km above Bali, in the tropical upper troposphere, temperature should be rising two or three times as fast as it does at the surface. Without that tropical upper-troposphere "hot-spot", the Stefan-Boltzmann law ensures that surface temperature cannot change much.

For half a century we have been measuring the temperature in the upper atmosphere - and it has been changing no faster than at the surface. The IPCC knows this, too. So it merely declares that its computer predictions are right and the real-world measurements are wrong. Next time you hear some scientifically-illiterate bureaucrat say, "The science is settled", remember this vital failure of real-world observations to confirm the IPCC's computer predictions. The IPCC's entire case is built on a guess that the absent hot-spot might exist...".

"...The international community has galloped lemming-like over the cliff twice before. Twenty years ago the UN decided not to regard AIDS as a fatal infection. Carriers of the disease were not identified and isolated. Result: 25 million deaths in poor countries.

Thirty-five years ago the world decided to ban DDT, the only effective agent against malaria. Result: 40 million deaths in poor countries. The World Health Organization lifted the DDT ban on Sept. 15 last year. It now recommends the use of DDT to control malaria. Dr. Arata Kochi of the WHO said that politics could no longer be allowed to stand in the way of the science and the data. Amen to that...".
We should subject that view to every bit as much critical rigour as we do the global warmenistas of course. So the first thing I did was to try and find out about this "Stefan-Boltzmann equation". I found some information here, here, and some further information on the very debate we are interested in here.

This site gives a very good precis (and links) for the counter argument.

Another thing which makes me wonder is I well remember an interview (or two) where Tim Flannery predicted a continuing and worsening drought due to climate change. Instead, we are currently experiencing substantial rainfall due to the
La Nina effect. Things like that serve to increase my cynicism.

So what is the conclusion? I'm still to be convinced one way or the other I'm afraid. One thing is for sure though, when some say; "the science is settled" well clearly, it isn't!

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Blogger Ed Darrell said...

Except that 35 years ago the world did NOT decide to ban DDT. The U.S. and several European nations decided to stop spraying DDT willy-nilly on crops. DDT has always been available for health purposes, everywhere in the world -- and that use (questionable though some might find it) is preserved under the new Persistant Organic Pesticides (POPs) Treaty. DDT has been in constant use in Mexico, and near constant use in South Africa -- both nations have seen the same rise in malaria as DDT has been rendered largely ineffective against mosquitoes in many places due to overuse in agriculture.

Second, WHO never banned DDT. They agreed to use DDT as Rachel Carson urged last year -- if that is "lifting the ban," Monckton is Marie, the Queen of Romania.

One of the most serious barriers to beating malaria has been people who argue that we should just poison the hell out mosquitoes instead of improving health care to cure malaria in people.

The problem is that the poisoning method failed everywhere it was tried (witness the rise in malaria across Africa in the 1960s, in those areas where DDT was used). To beat malaria, we have to do more than snipe at environmentalists.

Environmentalist snipers, like Monckton, don't really give a damn.

Monday, December 17, 2007 10:51:00 pm  

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