Greenhouse gas theory disproved with two fish boxes and a roll of cling film

Cling film – useful for keeping food fresh and debunking climate change, apparently

SOMETIMES in the world of climate science “scepticism”, things can become a little surreal. A bit odd, if you will, to the point where you need to inflict a sharp pain upon your person to confirm you’ve not drifted off into an alternate reality.

Like the time when TV station Channel Seven, for example, chose a “climate expert” who, as it later turned out, had once written a book called “Pawmistry” describing how reading your cat’s paws could reveal their unique character.

Or the time when a Christian fundamentalist claimed the Victorian bushfires were his god’s revenge for the state’s “incendiary abortion laws which decimate life in the womb”.

Then there was the time when US free market think-tank the Heartland Institute said that “the people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

To me, the odd thing about these instances is not that they actually happened or that there are people with enough arrogance and ideology to believe their own fantasies. What’s odd, is that people in positions of influence still associate themselves with them.

Ken Ring, the “pawmistry” guy, still gets slots on Channel Seven. He was on again just a couple of months ago.

The fundamentalist Christian Pastor Daniel Nalliah recently hosted climate science denier extraordinaire Lord Christopher Monckton, who is also favoured by the world’s richest woman Gina Rinehart.

The Heartland Institute may have paid the price for its billboard campaign comparing acceptance of climate science to the unabomber, but it didn’t stop Institute of Public Affairs science fellow Professor Bob Carter concluding the campaign was a good idea.

And so with all this in mind, we come to the latest episode where Queensland’s currently in-power Liberal-National Party has accepted a motion that climate science shouldn’t be taught in schools. The proposer of the motion, which was accepted unanimously (but may not be taken up by the parliamentary wing of the party), is a Dr Richard Pearson, from Noosa.

It now appears that Dr Pearson has been running his own climate science experiments at home, in his kitchen, with results that some may find remarkable. Armed only with thermometers, two fish cooler boxes and a roll of cling film, Dr Pearson believes he may have disproved the greenhouse effect (you may now pinch yourself).

We know this becuase he wrote about his experiment on the website of the climate sceptic group the Galileo Movement – patron, radio presenter Alan Jones. Dr Pearson’s conclusion?

 The Greenhouse Effect theory is not confirmed by this experiment and may be disproved by it.

Now, even though the notion that a guy in his kitchen in Noosa armed with two fish cooler boxes and a roll of cling film could single-handedly disprove the greenhouse theory may seem a little fanciful (because I acknowledge that to some it may), I thought I’d waste the time of an actual atmospheric scientist.

Because after all, I don’t presume to be a scientist even though I did once make one of those volcanoes from bicarb of soda, vinegar and food colouring. My experiment was a success and also falsified the outrageous claim that my mum’s tablecloth was “stainless”.

I guess though that there’s an extraordinarily slim chance that a Nobel prize could be winging its way to Dr Pearson’s residence (he could put it in his fish cooler box for safe keeping). So I asked Professor Steven Sherwood at the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre to review Dr Pearson’s experiment. This is his response. Settle in.

This request falls at an interesting time, as I just finished lecturing about the greenhouse effect to students who have no background in science  – they’re mostly arts majors.  At this point I would expect – or hope – these students have sufficient understanding to see why this “experiment” by Dr. Pearson did not work.  In fact I may use this as a test question or follow-up question to see if they understood the lecture.  Also, if Dr. Pearson would spend even one hour studying the greenhouse effect he would learn why this test does not work.

The greenhouse effect is determined by the difference in temperature between the added infrared absorber (in this case, CO2) and the surface.  Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere radiate to space at an average temperature of about 250K (-23C).  It is because they are so cold that they exert a greenhouse effect.  Absorbers at temperatures matching those of the surface would exert no greenhouse effect.

In his film-covered boxes, the temperature is essentially uniform.  Thus there is no greenhouse effect, no matter what substance he puts into the box.  Incidentally for a number of years I had students build such boxes(not filled with CO2) and they can be a good way to learn about radiation — for example, if he places this (air-filled) box outside at night he will see that the temperature falls below the surface temperature.  This is because of emission of infrared radiation which is not balanced by sunlight.

In fact, Dr. Pearson could mimic the true greenhouse effect if he could build a several-layer system and put CO2 in the top layer, but thermally insulate it from the lower layer.  This would be quite a bit more difficult to build, and the performance could be severely compromised by diffusion of heat within the apparatus and to the outside, but in principle could begin to reveal the greenhouse effect.

By the way, the greenhouse trapping of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is not a theory as Pearson falsely claims but is directly observed by satellites.  It is an observed fact, and the warming follows from the principle of conservation of energy, which is as close to observed fact as one gets with theories in physics.

So there you go.  If only Dr Pearson had checked with an actual expert in atmospheric physics, then he could have saved himself some time and the cost of some Glad Wrap.

If you bother to read Dr Pearson’s “experiment” then it could sound vaguely plausible to non-experts, such as the vast majority of the general public. At the end of his experiment, Dr Pearson recounts how his daughter had questioned how a man with cling film could “disprove a theory that hundreds of climate scientists around the world say is true”. “That my darling is science”, was Dr Pearson’s response. Is it really?

“When Dr. Pearson says, “that’s science,” he is I am afraid kidding himself,” adds Professor Sherwood. “The way a real scientist interprets an observation is to write down the equations governing the system.  This is what my students have done.  They are not hard, and for the type of system Dr Pearson is putting together do not involve, for example, calculus – only the ability to solve a coupled system of linear equations.  Only then do you know whether you are interpreting it correctly.”

Professor Matthew England, of the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre and also chairman of the Australian Climate Commission’s science advisory panel, says the motion which Dr Pearson managed to get passed at the LNP’s state conference could have broad ramifications, if only for the state’s reputation.

If the proposal to remove greenhouse science from the school curriculum is enacted, Queensland’s education system will become an international joke overnight.  Basic greenhouse gas physics has been established with around 200 years of scientific progress – any move to muzzle climate science facts from being taught at schools will be condemned as world’s worst practice in scientific education.
So if the Queensland Education Minister John Paul Langbroek does act on the motion from his party, then Prof England says the  state will be a laughing stock.
Until then, we’ll just have to settle for the majority of the members of the LNP.
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Author: Graham

Graham Readfearn is a Brisbane-based journalist. Go to the About page in the top navigation for more information.

52 thoughts on “Greenhouse gas theory disproved with two fish boxes and a roll of cling film”

  1. Thanks for dealing with such a serious topic, with good humour Graham. I love reading your posts.

  2. Your faith in the certitude of science is endearing though not untypical of a non-scientist. Journalists seek facts to present unequivocally, whereas science deals in uncertainty.
    Education needs to teach our children how to think, evaluate, quantify & discriminate for themselves & not what to think. They’ll get plenty of that from the media.

  3. Kurt, I suggest you reread Graham’s article again. This is the pertinent quote from climate scientist Steve Sherwood:

    “By the way, the greenhouse trapping of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is not a theory as Pearson falsely claims but is directly observed by satellites. It is an observed fact, and the warming follows from the principle of conservation of energy, which is as close to observed fact as one gets with theories in physics.”

    What he’s referring to is a number of studies examining measurements from a number of different satellites, that all find an increased greenhouse effect due to rising CO2 levels. This result confirms our understanding of the science and is confirmed by other independent measurements. The papers are described and linked to at http://sks.to/agw

  4. Yes, I took part in a book about Cats paws – as a satirical laugh at New Age literature, back in a time when I was a high profile skeptic of nonsense, which I still am. Anyone with a sense of humour got the joke, and the book was intended for the humour shelves. I think maybe you are the only one who didn’t get it. But I haven’t “read” a cat’s paw in my life, and never intend to. The jacket notes, concept, and much of content was put together by a different team, none of it true about me. And yes, I have been with Channel Seven for 5 years. So what? The moon method of longrange forecasting works, as does the moon method of calculating tides. The sea is connected to the air over 75% of the surface of the planet. If the moon moves the ocean, why wouldn’t it move the air? How about addressing this serious omission of science? Climate scientists are too busy chasing lucrative research funding for finding nonexistent climate change to notice that there are cycles of weather and climate and it actually costs nothing to investigate them, just old-fashioned legwork. But cat’s paws? I think the problem there is your inability to get a joke. I have noticed that global warmers usually attack a skeptic’s character because the former have no evidence to present.

  5. Ken! How delightful to hear from you.
    Amazing comedy stuff, mate: climate scientists have failed to notice that there are cycles of weather and climate, eh?
    That’s a good ‘un.
    Please, stop there, you can’t beat that one.
    Milankovitch is rolling in his grave already.

  6. Oh, perhaps you haven’t heard of tides. Or El Nino, or the Southern Oscillation Index. Or Ice ages. Or the Cyclone Season. Or Summer or Winter. Or the Monsoon season. Or Sunspot Cycles. Hmm..maybe you need to catch up on some reading. No, the only reason scientists don’t look for cycles is because there is no funding for such a study. Global warming enables governments to grab taxes. If everyone could work out cycles for themselves it would make the climatologists irrelevant.

  7. Keep frothing at the mouth if you want. Keep bed wetting if you want. Keep scaring the wits out of small children in their dreams with your ‘post normal science of climate change’ religion – if you dare. This can be seen as child abuse. Alarmist professors and fellow travellers on the public purse should beware of what they say – there may well be an accounting. Nothing can change the laws of thermodynamics – your are all in the game (zeroeth law), you cannot win (first law), you always lose (second law), you cannot leave the game (third law) – attributed to CP Snow and a helpful silly aide memoir. My experiment is a clear demonstration of the ‘you always lose’ law. Is Professor Sherwood learned in physics as well as mathematics? If so I would remind him that dS=deltaQ/T. For the benefit of John Cook and the alarmist trolls, those who know physics know that there is a difference between heat energy/work (Q) and temperature (T). The satellite data shows absorption spectrums and correlates with surface measurements of absorption spectrums – it tells nothing about temperature. To say it proves the greenhouse effect theory is delusional and deceptive. The rent-seekers who would decarbonize and wreck western civilisation for their own political agenda 21 are wrong and had better get used to it.

  8. Richard, I would venture to say Professor Sherwood is learned in physics. As for me, I did an honours degree in physics at the University of Queensland. But who you really should be listening to are the scientists who analyzed the satellite measurements of absorption spectra – this team concluded that the observations were “direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect” (Harries et al 2001).

    You refer to the “surface measurements of absorption spectrums” that are consistent with the satellite data. The scientists who did this analysis concluded “this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming” (Evans 2006).

    These are the conclusions of scientists who have analyzed empirical measurements and published their research in the peer-reviewed literature.

  9. John, there is an obvious bias on the part of scientists who are government salaried. The real world directs them to come up with favourable results otherwise they are replaced. Most are probably well intentioned but they are essentially job protective. Unless there is equal funding for skeptics the null hypothesis cannot be included, and hence a)real science cannot proceed and b) it renders all results invalid. You and your colleagues should be fighting for more scientific integrity. The future of science itself is at stake here.

  10. Wow, Ken. There are thousands of peer-reviewed papers authored by tens of thousands of authors across dozens of countries, that endorse the consensus view that humans are causing global warming. Many of them use widely independent methods and measurement techniques to arrive at consistent results. Do you assume all of these tens of thousands of scientists are biased in their data analysis and methodologies?

  11. Yes I do assume they are biased. Similarly there are tens of thousands of pastors across dozens of countries, that endorse the consensus view that God exists. Many of them use widely independent churches and denominational yardsticks to arrive at consistent results. It doesn’t prove God exists. It just means there are that many opinions. It is exactly why global warming is a religion. Warmers claim that consensus = truth. But the fundamental difference is that science allows that it is possible for one person to have a truth and for all the rest to be wrong. Can you please explain how in your view science is proven by a consensus approach?

  12. Science is not proven by a consensus approach. To quote John Reisman, “Science is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship. Evidence does the dictating”. Science is proven by evidence. Evidence = truth. So when the peer-reviewed literature includes:

    1. Evidence that there is an increased greenhouse effect (eg – satellite observations of infrared spectra),
    2. Confirmed by independent evidence by different scientists measuring a completely different aspect of climate (surface measurements of infrared spectra),
    3. That are further confirmed by other evidence of greenhouse signatures in the warming patterns of the atmosphere (eg – cooling upper atmosphere in combination with a warming lower atmosphere)
    4. Additionally confirmed by other greenhouse signatures such as winters warming faster than summers and nights warming faster than days (predicted by Tyndall in the 1850s)…

    When there is such a consensus (or if you like, consilience) of evidence, all pointing to a single conclusion, you have two options. You can conclude that the full body of evidence is consistent because they are all painting an accurate picture… or you can deny any evidence that you find inconvenient.

  13. Richard Pearson,
    You too are one funny guy! “Wreck Western civilisation”, tee-hee – what a hoot! Did you go to the same clown school as Ken?

    Still, you seem to have such strong principles on this rent-seeking/public purse thing thing that I bet you see only private fee-paying patients.
    By the way, I just went out to my shed and tried setting fire to a wet Medicare rebate, and that didn’t confirm the Greenhouse Effect Theory either.

  14. Let’s not forget the terrible earthquake “predictions” of Mr Ring in Christchurch, terrifying local residents who had already been through enough trauma.

    At the time, Environment Minister Nick Smith (rightfully) called him “reckless and irresponsible… to be speculating on the timing of future major earthquakes with no scientific basis”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10713891

    Yes there was a quake on the day that Ring predicted one, but then again there were aftershocks every single day for months… more than 10,000 in the year following the Feb 22 quake.

  15. There is a absurd logic at the heart of Richard Pearson’s claims. This flawed logic can be used to dismiss any profession.

    Imagine an amateur trying to bake bread for the first time, and failing because of an amateurish mistakes. What happens when professional bakers identify the mistake? Rather than accept the criticism, our amateur claims the bakers are “frothing at the mouth”, that bakers participants in a “religion” and are undertaking “post-normal” baking.

    The inability to accept criticism and address errors is a classic trait of pseudo-science. This and other traits of pseudo-science are described at http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pseudo.html

  16. “So I asked Professor Steven Sherwood at the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre to review Dr Pearson’s experiment.”

    Since reviewing is such a good thing, I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to review Professor Steven Sherwood.

    Professor Sherwood works for the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre, which is funded in part by the Australian Research Council… an arm of Government which manages the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), and administers the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. It is also funded in part by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

    Professor Sherwood’s ClimateFAQ page, besides being alarmist in nature, also has a link to RealClimate.org… an activist website registered to “Environmental Media Services”… which was set up by Arlie Schardt, a former Al Gore Press Secretary.

    If you’re going to ridicule a man for doing an experiment in his backyard, at least try to recruit an expert who has a semblance of impartiality.

  17. I read this on renew economy and posted some questions on this post. I don’t think it’ll get a response there.

    Anyway, the idea that Pearson’s experiment requires either of:
    * temperature differential between surface and GHG layer
    * cold CO2 in order to either absorb or re-emit radiation that would raise temperature
    appears to be untrue. I.e., Pearson’s experiment “could” work (not disprove the GH effect tho!)… and also this academic other guy is incorrect.

    I have no idea why he’s arguing this.

    In fact, here is a USGS experiment sheet for kids practically the same as Pearson’s:
    http://education.usgs.gov/lessons/gases.pdf

    It has graphs and everything. Graphs!

  18. Oh my goodness, Skeptical: hyperlink crime. Shame on you “Professor” Sherwood. Skeptical is on to you. As I understand it, those hyperlinks are only possible due to the efforts of those nefarious scientists who suckled on the public purse to create computers and the internet.
    Whereas Dr Pearson is a beacon of impartiality – in fact, he is completely independent of physics, mathematics, chemistry, oceanography, meteorology, geology, glaciology, astronomy etc etc. It doesn’t come purer than that, mate.

  19. @Ken: “But the fundamental difference is that science allows that it is possible for one person to have a truth and for all the rest to be wrong. Can you please explain how in your view science is proven by a consensus approach?”

    Nice, and touche. I believe the satire was directed more at a certain spirit of presumptuousness, rather than (just) nit picking/technical detail?
    Frankly, coming in as an interested amateur, most of this is fascinating yet overwhelming. In this (I believe) first world country of Singapore, having a degree would place one in the top 20% education-wise; yet there is always the potential of misinformation – where on earth are we supposed to get authoritative sources in a sound bite world? (though its pretty good here : )

  20. Message to Graham Readfearn. I am very disappointed that your note and the so-called explanation by Prof Sherwood is totally incomprehensible to the average person, let alone even one who is trained in Physics. This is a great disservice to the many people like myself, who as volunteers, are trying to convince the deniers or ‘do-not-care’ people that GHG is real aand anthropogenic emmissionsare a major problem.

    The innocent experiment by Dr. Pearson and his not unreasonable but false conclusion provide an excellent example for people like us to explain and convince the non-believers. If Prof Sherwood could so easily explain the GHG phenomenon to non-technical students, surely he could provide a simple and logical explanation for the observations by Dr Pearson and the reasons why his conclusion is wrong.

    I would very much like to be in contact with Graham and /or Prof Sherwoood in order to expand on my views on this. It provides an excellent case for silencing the people like Bob Carter, Ian Plimer and Lord Moncton. Lets not let this one go by unsatisfactorily dealt with.
    Lou

  21. ‘In fact, Dr. Pearson could mimic the true greenhouse effect if he could build a several-layer system and put CO2 in the top layer, but thermally insulate it from the lower layer. This would be quite a bit more difficult to build, and the performance could be severely compromised by diffusion of heat within the apparatus and to the outside, but in principle could begin to reveal the greenhouse effect.’ – article above.

    …or, alternatively, he could just build a – greenhouse! You know, those contraptions that some people build in their backyard to facilitate the growing of their – for example – tomatoes. It’s where this phenomenon got it’s name from in the first place anyway. Why didn’t this brilliant professor of yours just suggest that? Could it be because within an actual greenhouse the CO2 is taken in by the plants, used by them, before O2 is expelled back into the system (i.e. 6CO2 + 6H2O producing C6H12O6 + 6O2, a.k.a. photosynthesis, and NO, I did NOT ‘Google’ this, didn’t need to, it’s common knowledge), which would absolve the gas CO2 for any blame in making the greenhouse hot, and that that in turn would undermine the demonisation of this compound by the press? Does this sound too conspiratorial? (If it does, I don’t care).

    ‘The fundamentalist Christian Pastor Daniel Nalliah recently hosted climate science denier extraordinaire Lord Christopher Monckton, who is also favoured by the world’s richest woman Gina Rinehart.’ – article above.

    So Lord Monckton is ‘favoured’ by Gina Rinehart. So what? What’s your point? Are you trying here to insinuate that simply because Ms. Rinehart happens to be a ‘fan’ of his, that he (Monckton) is therefore a ‘paid propagadist for the climate-denier brigade’, or some other such equally offensive rubbish? Could not the same argument be used against those environmentalists who believe in CO2-caused global warming? (ex. We can’t trust what – fill in the blank – tells us, because he works for the powerful U.N. lobby group, the I.P.C.C., and therefore his impartiality has been compromised).

  22. ‘The innocent experiment by Dr. Pearson and his not unreasonable but false conclusion provide an excellent example for people like us to explain and convince the non-believers.’ – Lou Flower, above.

    By ‘people like us’ can I assume that you really mean, ‘smart, superior people like us who look down on those Neanderthals who are too stubborn or stupid to accept what we tell them for their own good’? That tends to be the (smug) attitude that so many adherents to the Global Warming religion adopt towards those who have the sense to question the alarmist faith.

    Your use of the term ‘non-believers’ really does let the proverbial cat out of the bag, does it not? Yes, I am a ‘non-believer’ to the extent that I have yet to be convinced that your team has actually made a compelling case for turning off our electricity and sitting in the dark and cold, trying to read a book by candlelight. Meanwhile, people like Alphonse Gore and Prince Charles jet around the world in their privately-owned Boeing 747’s telling others (usually those in pre-industrial African and Asian countries) to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’, and that, ‘no, you cannot have the lifestyle that we Westerners take for granted’. The hypocrisy of the Green Fundamentalists is sickening.

  23. ‘The inability to accept criticism and address errors is a classic trait of pseudo-science.’ – post 17, by ‘Michael’

    Yes, so true. Does anyone here recall what the reaction was from the true believers when the so-called ‘Climategate’ scandal erupted?

    As I recall, it was something along the lines of, ‘oh, well, it doesn’t really matter, because we KNOW that we are right about global warming. They conspired to fabricate evidence, and distort the facts you say? So what? We don’t care, we are still right, and we will carry on as though nothing has happened’.

  24. Peter the Proud Sceptic: you are a treat with your hyperbole, aren’t you?
    ” . . . a compelling case for turning off our electricity and sitting in the dark and cold, trying to read a book by candlelight.”
    Woo-hoo! It’s fossil fuels or nothing, folks!
    You haven’t mentioned sending us all back to live in caves yet . . .
    Come one, lad, try harder.
    But I’m with you on Gore and Charles – the cheek of them – and I fully agree that we should prove how unselfish we are by welcoming into Australia all pre-industrial Africans and Asians who wish to share our lifestyle. That’ll really show them hypocritical Green Fundamentalists With Capital Letters.

  25. Bluebottle, the ‘alternatives’ are, at this present time, not really useful alternatives at all, because of cost and inefficiency. We could build nuclear reactors though, but as I understand it nuclear power is still three times more expensive than coal. We have coal in abundance, and it is cheap; we should use it like the Chinese do.

  26. Come on Peter, get serious. You exaggerate to the point of ridicule – as if the only alternative to coal-fired electricity is candle-power – and then appeal to reason? It’s a rubbish line of argument and you know it.
    You suggest there are no useful alternatives “because of cost and inefficiency”. You seem to imply that coal is somehow a magically pure energy source. So how come it is “cheap and efficient”? Because its waste products are dumped on everyone else. E.g. Hazelwood – this one brown-coal power station:
    * emits 16 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution a year;
    * uses 14 billion litres of water a year;
    * is the largest single source of dioxin in Australia;
    * emits 7,800 tonnes of hydrochloric acid a year;
    And gee, here’s these hypocritical green fundamentalists suggesting – not candles Peter – but stopping all this tomorrow with natural gas and other renewables that still maintain employment and keep the electricity flowing. http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/hazelwood-power-station-dirty-details
    But you’re not interested in that are you? You just want to slag off at them without considering the detail of how we might actually drag ourselves off the teat of dirty old energy sources like brown and black coal and into something that doesn’t foul our own nest forever and a day. Yes, Peter, it might actually cost more in dollars, but that’s because we’d be paying now rather than dumping all this stuff into our atmosphere, biosphere, soil and rivers for our own kids to deal with. Isn’t it about time we all grew up about this and started discussing HOW we’re going to do it, rather than continue denying even the need to do so?

  27. “but stopping all this tomorrow with natural gas and other renewables”

    Bluebottle, thanks for the laugh.

    I wasn’t aware that the Church of Climate Change now considers natural gas as renewable.

  28. You got me bang to rights Skeptikal – slip of the keyboard. I’ll go to confession with Father Bob Brown on Sunday and say three Hail Sciences. By the way – not that I’m trying to (hey look, a squirrel!) change the subject – but that Galileo Movement (a digestive problem, I believe) rant about the tight-knit cabal of bankers trying to rule the world: sounds like age-old anti-Jewish out-there-you’re-kidding-crapola-mad-loopy Agenda-21-eugenics stuff to me – gotta view on that?

  29. Hmm, not much progress here, Graham. After all these years, the deniers continue to deny the blindingly obvious fact of global warming, and the scientists are in apoplexy as usual, trying to explain with physics what has been proven beyond reasonable doubt by thousands of independent observations over the past fifty years of ever increasing global warming in every environment from the equator to the poles. Conspiracies funded by evil governments can’t make glaciers recede or spring arrive a month early. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the Earth to cool down to it’s 20th Century average again to prove that this recent warming is nothing more than a natural cycle (or not).
    In the meantime, we should all cool down and enjoy the climate while it’s still pleasant.
    What an incredible demonstration of self-delusion at its finest.

  30. ‘…independent observations over the past fifty years…’

    Really? As I recall during the 1970’s (less than 50 years ago) we were all being told about how certain the science was, and how dangerous it would be to ignore the evidence, regarding Global COOLING. Now it’s Global Warming. I really do wish they would make up their minds.
    As for the Earth ‘cooling down’, it has been since circa 2000. Don’t you keep up with the news?

  31. Watson,
    “I guess we’ll just have to wait for the Earth to cool down to it’s 20th Century average again to prove that this recent warming is nothing more than a natural cycle (or not).”

    That’s about the most intelligent comment I’ve seen from you.

  32. Dear Skeptikal, I’m glad you appreciate irony. Duh!
    Now to slightly more substantial matters.
    In the interests of transparency, would ‘Peter the Proud Sceptic’ please provide a link to these fabled scientific reports in the 70s, when all climate scientists were supposedly claiming imminent global cooling. I’m a little sceptical myself, as the following summary of the debate would suggest:
    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-cooling
    Here, for balance is a 1981 paper by James Hansen et al (One of the most consistent and worst ‘warmists’), discussing predictions about CO2 induced global warming for the 21st Century.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/213/4511/957

    Even within the ‘abstract’ there are many predictions which have if anything proved to be conservative:

    “The global temperature rose by 0.2°C between the middle 1960’s and 1980, yielding a warming of 0.4°C in the past century. This temperature increase is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect due to measured increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Variations of volcanic aerosols and possibly solar luminosity appear to be primary causes of observed fluctuations about the mean trend of increasing temperature. It is shown that the anthropogenic carbon dioxide warming should emerge from the noise level of natural climate variability by the end of the century, and there is a high probability of warming in the 1980’s. Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage. ”

    Oh, and one other question to the general panel of denial.
    Why is it that in Richard Pearson’s account of his ‘debunking’ of the theory of the absorption of IR by CO2 (and H2O), he fails to critique John Tyndall’s experimental set up from the 1850s?:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TyndallsSetupForMeasuringRadiantHeatAbsorptionByGases_annotated.jpg

    Surely, as good and proper sceptics, you are interested in all the evidence, not just backyard pseudo-science. Perhaps you could attempt your own critiques?

  33. Watson, I clicked on the first link you provide above, and the very first sentence states that, ‘Many claim that in the 1970’s all scientists believed the earth was cooling.’

    This is a lie. I, nor anyone else, has ever said that ALL scientists believed the Earth to be cooling. I myself stated that ‘we were all being told how certain the science was’; I did not state that ‘all scientists…’ At the time, the temperature records had outlined a general trend, between approx. 1940 and 1975, of cooling, which is what actually took place. There may have been disagreement about whether or not this signified the onset of a new Ice Age, but the trend was nevertheless there. It is also a fact that since 1998 there has once again been a decline in mean global temperatures; not a significant one, but still it’s there for all to see.

    I should also point out that the temperature records only go back about 150 years, which is an insufficient timescale by which to judge any long-term trends in global climate, so your quote above from J. Hansen is not very helpful in this regard since he concentrates (and bases his conclusions upon) the 0.2 degrees C. rise between the mid 1960’s and 1980. Such a rise did occur, but this is hardly unusual in terms of the truly long-scale (i.e. hundred’s of thousands to millions of years) that is needed to establish any ‘alarming’ climatic shifts. You believe his ‘predictions’ turned out to be ‘conservative’ – well, that is just silly. ‘…erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage. ” There is no reliable evidence (as opposed to warmist spin) anywhere that ‘worldwide sea levels’ are actually rising, and thus far (2012) there is zero evidence we will soon be able to navigate the Northwest Passage. If this is a ‘conservative’ forecast by an alarmist, I dread to see a non-conservative one (the ‘Book of Revelation’, perhaps?).

    Okay, I could go on, but I will just finish by recommending you read ‘Heaven and Earth’ by Ian Plimer. It is boring and tedious, but if it is the facts you want, then it is hard to beat. Also read ‘Climate: The Counter Consensus’ by Prof. R. M. Carter, which I am at this moment in the middle of.

  34. Peter, our conversation as far as I’m concerned must end on your final paragraph. If you haven’t got the nouse to understand how utterly self-contradictory the nonsense in Plimer’s book is, then there’s nothing left to discuss. In his latest error ridden effort entitled ‘How to get yourself expelled from school’, he descends to contradicting himself on the same page!
    Good evening, have a nice warm life.

  35. Okay, I give up as well. I was thinking of asking you for an example of a ‘self-contradiction’ in Plimer’s book, but… why bother? I was also thinking of asking you why you would label it as being ‘nonsense’ (the previously mentioned ‘self-contradictions’ perhaps?), but… again, there doesn’t seem to be much point. I’ve read the book, did not find any contradictions within it, nor did I think it was ‘nonsense’. Difficult to follow at times, but not nonsensical.

    P.S. I hope it does get warmer, we’ve been having too many cold days lately here in Victoria. Warmer weather – and CO2! – aids plant growth, which leads to prosperity (ex. higher crop yields…), which in turn leads to employment, glass and concrete skyscrapers, industrial development, political stability, progress in general – bring it on! 🙂

  36. “we’ve been having too many cold days lately here in Victoria”

    Peter, cold days are consistent with global warming… apparently. 😛

  37. Graham,

    I had a quick look at the 2nd link you provided and while I haven’t had a chance to read it thoroughy, I did notice this….

    “14. p. 25: There is no problem with global warming. It stopped in 1998. The last two years of global cooling have erased nearly thirty years of temperature increase.
    The last 30 years of temperature increase have not been erased. The HADCRU data set9 shows that both 2007 and 2008 have annual temperatures higher than any year prior to 1997 in the instrumental record.”

    If global warming ended in 1998, then you would expect temperatures prior to 1997 to be cooler than the peak in 1998. There’s nothing in that argument which refutes the claim that global warming did in fact end in 1998.

    It does refute the claim that 30yrs of warming have been erased, which I think is a rather odd claim for the author to have made. If we are at the peak of a natural cycle, which I believe we are, you would expect it to take a couple of decades for the temperatures to return to the levels of 30 years ago.

    I’ll have a closer look at the document later, but from my first brief viewing, it appears to be a carefully worded piece of propaganda which uses distraction to get around claims which can’t be refuted.

    I’m not trying to defend Ian Plimer’s Heaven & Earth, I haven’t read it and most likely never will.

  38. Okay, I’ll have to get my copy of this book back from the person I lent it to, but when I do the very first thing I will check will be these quotes. If ‘skepticalscience’ is right about this, I will use my copy of his book to do something positive for the environment – toss it into the recycling bin.

  39. PTPS

    “‘self-contradiction’ in Plimer’s book”

    OK, Try the fact that he makes note of the fact that the Sun was cooler in the past – talking about the really distant past 100’s of milllions to billions of years ago.

    Then later he comments on the fact that CO2 was many times current levels 100’s of millions of years ago, how come we didn’t fry?

    Self-Contradiction: Because the higher CO2 levels in the past roughly balanced out the cooler Sun.

    Google the “Faint Young Sun Problem”

  40. The mechanical greenhouse gas experiment is
    flawed in many ways.

    The air tight transparent enclosure didn’t allow air to flow, or circulate as it does in earth’s upper, and lower atmosphere. The transparent enclosure not only retains the heat, it accumulates heat, and causes the temperature to rise within the enclosure. This was not noted in the experiment.

    For example: Sit in a car with the windows up on a hot sunny day. When the temperature in the car reaches 100 degrees fahrenheit row the windows down. You will notice a dramatic temperature decrease. The enclosure of the car, like the air tight transparent enclosure in the greenhouse gas experiment retains, and accumulates heat. The environment of earth is similar to a car with the window down. This fact was over look in the experiment.

    In the experiment there’s an equal volume of air, and CO2 in both air tight transparent enclosure. The temperature in the enclosure with CO2 was higher, than the enclosure with air, but in earth’s atmosphere CO2 only represent a small percentage of the gases that make up the air we breathe (0.0383%). During the experiment the transparent enclosure CO2 levels should have better represented the CO2 level in earth’s atmosphere (0.0383%). There is not an equal quantity of air, and CO2 in earth’s atmosphere. The experiment was conducted improperly.

    Nitrogen (N2) 78.084%
    Oxygen (O2) 20.946%
    Argon (Ar) 0.934%
    Carbon dioxide (CO2) 0.0383 %
    Neon (Ne) 0.001818 %
    Helium (He) 0.000524 %
    Methane (CH4) 0.0001745 %
    Krypton (Kr) 0.000114%
    Hydrogen (H2) 0.000055%

  41. Sorry, but you cannot model the highly complex climatology of Earth with the simplicity of this experiment.

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