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Discussion > GHG Theory step by step

EM. As one of the scientists who does bother to engage, may I take issue with some of your comments to Rob Burton. Firstly I see little contradiction in his statements you quote. The matter concens the term data which is what you can observe or measure, the "numbers" are what have been calculated after massage, manipulation, addition of fudge and other factors and various assumptions have been made. They do not have the same status.
As to the non appearance of scientists, I know of one who was driven away in disgust when trying to interact with your good self. Also you are doing a great disservice to many who post here, especially those contributing to this thread (including yourself) who argue with scientific rigour and acquired knowledge. What is a scientist, to me its an attitude of mind.


Aug 9, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Aug 9, 2017 at 8:44 AM | Entropic man

Do you not see your own double standards and hypocrisy?

Probably not.

Aug 9, 2017 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Sorry, Entropic man, but Mr Burton does not offer any contradictions in his comment; indeed, he clarifies a few niggles that I have with your obsession with numbers – where do they come from? What do they mean? From what assumptions are they derived? Do they include all sources from which effects in the atmosphere may be made? Are climates only controlled by these numbers? Could there be anything else that could influence climates? One important point that you seem unable to see is that data is more than just numbers; as I have mentioned before, what numbers are associated with the aurora? We know that they occur (observed data), but do we have any quantification of the energies involved? If not, then, using you logic, surely the aurora do not really exist, as there are no numbers? Your obsession with numbers has led you to believe that there can be only one culprit in climate change; the more realistic amongst us (i.e. almost everyone else who posts on this, or any other sceptical site) suspect that this is not necessarily the case, but have we yet gathered all the relevant data? Yes, the data may eventually be translated into mathematics, but what you are using is, as the inestimable ex-wife of a Texan house has said, “an over-simplified illustration for the gullible.

As Supertroll has pointed out, there is a strong probability that it is your attitudes of unwavering certainty that is putting real “scientists” off engaging on this site (though we are aware that there are quite a few genuine scientists who observe – perhaps those reading this might like to declare themselves).

Aug 9, 2017 at 12:31 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ravishing Rattie (?) I forgive you this one time because I can no longer be considered a "genuine" scientist - having retired, finished publishing and stopped my peer review activities - I am no more, I have ceased to be, "bereft of scientific life, I rest in peace, and am an ex-scientist (genuine variety).

Aug 9, 2017 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

 I am no more, I have ceased to be, "bereft of scientific life, I rest in peace, and am an ex-scientist (genuine variety).

Aug 9, 2017 at 1:47 PM | Supertroll

But you are not parroting Real Climate Scientists!

Aug 9, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

On the original topic in trying to understand what the greenhouse effect is it seems it always comes down to following the lapse rate down from the tropopause and the theory is that extra CO2 raises the level of this radiating layer thus raising the surface temperature when following the same lapse rate down

This always seemed one of those vaguely possible but exceptionally flimsy theories. By biggest problem is that Convection and the Water Cycle are dominant and always just skirted around in the explanations.

Aug 8, 2017 at 11:43 PM | Rob Burton

As this contradicts the "consensus" of 9 out of 7 Climate Scientists preferring their mathematically flimsy theories, perhaps it is well worth further comment? Water. Convection. Lapse Rates (that Real Climate Scientists do not want to discuss)

Aug 9, 2017 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Is it valid to apply the SB equation to a planetary atmosphere?

We assume that the earth radiates that which it receives in order to avoid warming or cooling. That is a valid assumption. We find that it has a black body temperature of -18 deg celsius whereas the observed temperature is more like 15 degrees so we have a greenhouse warming of 33 degrees.

This -18 degrees equates to an altitude because of the lapse rate. It is an important number because it determines everything discussed above. However, how reliable is this number?

The radiation high in the atmosphere consists of direct IR from the surface, reflected visible from clouds and the surface, IR from water vapour and carbon dioxide, all of these radiating from different altitudes. How meaningful is it to convert a radiative flux to a temperature on the basis that the source of the emission is a black body, when, in fact, it is all of the above?

Aug 9, 2017 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

As this contradicts the "consensus"...

As you know, you can't have consensus in science.... I was a meteorology student over 20 years ago now, but always been a data centric scientist and of course if the theory doesn't fit the data the theory is wrong. Coming from a Geology background I always hated how badly the AGW theory fits the last 20000 years coming out of the last glacial max. This isn't really relevant to this thread though, but as I said I don't really look at the numbers much as a big assumption is made before you even start.

Aug 9, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Aug 9, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Rob Burton

You can have a consensus in science. It just doesn't prove anything in science.

Your data-centric comments are entirely relevant to this thread, especially as some from Reading's Meteorology Department are drawn to the Consensus produced data, rather than the scientific data

Aug 9, 2017 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Aug 9, 2017 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

That is one of the main points gc. I laugh at the output of a model being called data. The most ridiculous thing is that the whole baseline temperature 'data' such as HADCRUt isn't data at all but a model. On top of that it is pretty easy to see it is a model being skewed to produce the 'right' data. ie UHI isn't done correctly and massive heating is found in places where we don't measure it...

Anyway this is not relevant to SC's thread on 'the basic science', which is the really interesting point, but I've given up on that as it shows all the elements of religion rather than science. A scientist should try to prove themselves wrong all the time to make sure their theory is correct. That clearly isn't happening here, but there is a lot of money involved in the whole thing......

Why does the Royal Society's excellent motto 'Take nobodys word for it' not actually get used by the society itself for example.

Aug 10, 2017 at 5:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

The thread is just a framework to follow. I'm keen for all important factors to be given an airing.

For example, I've just been reading that on the measurement of the earth's energy balance, scientists have used models to correct the measurements.

Here, in this sealed envelope, I have the number you first thought of....

Aug 10, 2017 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Schrodinger's Cat
Nature has always been an uncooperative beast and requires models to tame it. Even measurements require models. The problem with much of climate science is that we have become so used to modifying raw data (because we need to) that we have "progressed" to the stage of tuning both our data and our explanatory models to fit, not our understanding, but our prejudices. This does not appear to be confined to climate science but applies to any branch of science where the human brain requires the assistance of raw computing power. We see it, for example in theoretical physics and macro economics.

Aug 10, 2017 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Schrodinger's cat

The process is called inference from measurement information.

You take measurements of a system or experiment and then use that information to infer proportions of the system which are not directly measurable.

Prospecting for oil, you set charges and record the vibrations reflected off the underground strata. These are used to infer the geology of the area. From that you infer the probability of oil-bearing structures.

In particle physics you collide particles at high energies and record the tracks left in your detectors by the breakdown products. From those you infer the sequence of events and the particles produced.

Measuring the energy budget of a planet you use distant sensors to monitor a hemisphere and lower orbit satellites to take multiple measurements of energy flow at particular locations. Add in surface measurements of temperature, DWLR, etc. You then correct for satellite height, slant angle etc and use the data to infer total energy flow.

In all these cases the analysis task rapidly outgrows manual calculation, so you use computer algorithms to do the calculations.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Minty (Aug 9, 2017 at 1:47 PM): forgiveness accepted though apologies not offered, as no offence was intended nor implied; you should imbibe more to strengthen that fragile hide of yours.

You are correct in your earlier posting with your definition of science and scientists; it is not the qualifications, it is the attitude of mind. Anyone who wants to dispassionately look at the data (and ways to ensure that the data is as salient and “unpolluted” as possible), and accept it, no matter how personally upsetting it might be, should be considered of scientific mind. If they then try attempt to derive an explanation and then try to disprove what they have proposed – as well as encourage others to do the same with the data that they have garnered – then, they might be considered as scientists. That is why I so often put the term “scientist” in scary quotation marks, as I am referring to people who are really not applying proper scientific methods or logic. Often, they do this by defending – often quite desperately – their original proposition (witness so many who defend the alarmist position of climate change). As one who is accepted as one of the greatest scientific minds, ever, once said, with many trying to attack his theories by attacking his character, “It only takes one fact to prove me wrong.”

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:23 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Make assumptions about a the nature of a relationship, construct a model based on these assumptions. Make measurements. If the measurements are not what you expected, use the model output to correct the measurements.

It is not science.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Rr. With greatest respect to you and the person you quoted, both are wrong!!!!! Who is to say that the single contrary fact is true? If that fact is incorrect or dubious, the original construct survives. Take for example a fairly recent claim from an Italian group that under certain circumstances the speed of light in a vacuum could be exceeded. A single fact, repeatedly verified, that would have overthrown much physics. Not much heard about this recently, so I assume it has been corrected and much of physics remains intact.
Facts are flexible.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

EM - Scientists use models all the time. A model is an excellent tool if used properly.

Climate scientists construct models based on guesswork, assumptions, prejudices and a few physical relationships. The models always show massive warming compared with observation. Normal scientific practice is to bin models that fail validation. Climate scientists use them to stir up alarmism and for politicians to use in policymaking. To use these biased and failed models to modify observational data is bordering on criminality.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:07 PM | Entropic man

You make references to geologists inferring data, and Steve McIntyre posted on this thread about Climate Scientists.

Steve McIntyre | May 5, 2015 at 10:10 am |

"For what it’s worth, I agree with Richard Tol’s comment about WG2 issues. I haven’t written about this topic, but survey data that I’ve examined shows that the divide between “skeptics” and warmists is much, much sharper on WG2 issues as to whether emissions have had and will have “serious” “negative” impacts on climate, whereas differences on climate sensitivity between lukewarmers and low-end IPCC supporters are not nearly as sharp.

For examples, most lukewarmers take the position that impacts to date have not been “serious” “negative”, whereas virtually 100% of warmists believe that there have already been “serious negative” impacts on climate.

One commenter above argues that this issue should be set aside because “We should focus here on the appropriately scientific issues, not the policy issues.”

Analysis of whether impacts to date have been “serious negative” undoubtedly involves value judgements, but it is not “policy” either. It seems to me that it ought to be possible to objectively analyze whether impacts to date have been “serious” “negative” and tease out more precisely where the disagreements lie and that this ought to be a front-and-center topic. I’ve been looking in particular recently at analyses purporting to show that increased temperatures have already had a negative impact on crop yields. It appears to me that the statistical analysis purporting to demonstrate this is fatally flawed and sheds no light on the matter – a topic that I hope to address in the next couple of months."

Climate Audit was critical of Santer 2008, before ClimateGate (including Lapse Rates) and some of his criticism focuses on "dubious" assumptions/inferences

The mining/oiil industry has low tolerance for those making consistently wrong assumptions.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Let me take issue with you, Entropic man, on your inference that observation is merely “inferring” data received. A seismic survey returns a pattern from which an experienced observer can gain knowledge; that the casual observer may not be able to read the picture gained as effectively is merely one of training. I am sure Golf Charlie could gain far more from a radar picture of Spithead than you could; is he “inferring” that this blob may be a ship, or does his experience give him the benefit of knowledge it is so. Each of the three examples you gave were really measurements, with little or no inference required, at all – unless you consider that even our vision is just inference of the reality around us; we can only infer that what we see is what is there. Maybe you like to live your life on such inference, but I doubt you do.

The inference you are referring to is more nefarious, though; what is effectively being done is that, with one reading in Timbuktu, we can infer that the temperature on the top of Kilimanjaro must be stinking hot, therefore, we are doomed! I doubt that Golf Charlie would be so daft as to infer the colour of the hull of the ship making the blob on the screen, nor would he infer its name, the name of its captain or the number of people on board (though that data might be available by other means), which is precisely the sort of leap of logic that climate “science” is making all the time. In a strictly scientific sense, if a measurement has not been made, then there can be no inference as to what that measurement might be.

Aug 10, 2017 at 12:56 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Sorry, Minty, but a fact is a fact, utterly inflexible. What is flexible is our interpretation of such fact: is that glowing disc in the sky, a disc no bigger than half an inch between your fingers with your arm outstretched, is that disc a man in a burning chariot, or a ball of pure light whizzing overhead every day? Or, perhaps, a giant, eternal fusion bomb, bathing us with its emissions from a great distance away from us, and around which we spin? Whichever option you choose, it will not alter the fact of what it really is.

Aug 10, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Rubbish argument RR facts are not, they become. Before we knew(?) what the flaming disc really was, the chariot theory was an established fact. Yesterday's facts are fairy tales, tomorrow's are fantasy or magic.

Aug 10, 2017 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

We have diverted briefly into how science should be done. Fair enough.

May I suggest that we explore this by focusing on a politically neutral question not directly measurable and discuss how it should be solved.

What is the mass of the Earth?

Earth is to big to weigh directly, as you would weigh a potato.

To illustrate how you would do good science, what measurements would you take and how would you infer the mass of the Earth from them?

Aug 10, 2017 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM why reinvent the wheel? If you don know, look it up on Wikki.

Aug 10, 2017 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Warmist Al Gore was on the BBC Radio 4 Today prog this morning to promote his new climate change film. Amazingly, in the interests of editorial balance, the BBC broke their bias and let ex chancellor Nigel Lawson comment. He pointed out, correctly, that severe weather is not increasing as claimed by Gore. Then, just to prove that the BBC is not suddenly impartial after all, they had some other warmist on to sing the praises of DiCaprio and other carbon guzzling, jet setting luvvies who campaign about climate change despite their carbon footprint the size of Australia.

Before you could say "Lapse Rate" BBC payroll pet scientists Cox the boy wonder and "pH Bluey" Jim Al-khalili were tweeting that the BBC should be ashamed for giving air time to denier Lawson.

They should have joined Lawson in pointing out the truth about severe weather. They should have criticised Gore for fabricating stories to promote his film. As scientists they should welcome debate. It tells you a lot about them.

Aug 10, 2017 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

EM, assuming that Planet Earth weighs 1 Planet Earth is good enough for most people.

Making assumptions about Lapse Rates may suit Climate Scientists, but does not seem to satisfy other scientists, including statisticians.

Statistical abuse is a common theme/thread at Climate Audit

Aug 10, 2017 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie