JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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There is a Greenhouse Effect on Venus

I‘m peppered with emails asking me if articles like this one (which claims there is no Greenhouse Effect at all on Venus) could be right.

Michael Hammer has some 20 patents in spectroscopy, and he explains why the Greenhouse Effect — where CO2 and other gases absorb and emit infra red — is very real, and backed by empirical evidence. The calculations using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law on the atmosphere of Earth and Venus, argue that the Greenhouse Effect is not-detectable. But not-detectable (by that method) does not “prove” the effect is zero. Other methods — like satellite observations of Earth’s atmosphere, and countless lab experiments, tell us that the Greenhouse Effect is real. (The Stefan-Boltzmann Law is used to create the first graph below). Huffman’s calculations suggest other factors are more important than greenhouse gases (with which we heartily agree) and that Hansen et al were barking up the wrong tree by pretending that Venus “shows” us anything much about the Greenhouse Effect. (Indeed, the IPCC mention “Venus” in their first Assessment Report back in 1990 as one of the three key reasons.)

So here in middle-of-the-road centrist land, the people who claim Earth could become more like Venus are [...]

So what is the Second Darn Law?

With nearly 500 comments on the thread on the Second Law of Thermodynamics there is obviously a need for people to discuss the basic greenhouse theory. Here’s a new thread on that theme.

So what is the Second Darn Law?

From NASA:

But there are variations

As with all these Laws of science there is no exact wording, because There Is No God Who Issues Science Decrees*.  What we have are human efforts to best explain the world around us. Note that the two well known versions of the Second Law both contain the phrase “whose sole result”, meaning that heat transfer can certainly move from a colder to a warmer body if there is some other compensating movement where more heat is transferred from a hotter body to a colder one. Voila… whatever heat transfer goes from greenhouse gases to the Earth is more than countered by the heat moving from the Sun to Earth and on to space. Greenhouse gases can heat the Earth as long as the entropy of the whole system increases.

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Why greenhouse gas warming doesn’t break the second law of thermodynamics

This is generating many comments, see below for an update!

Behind the scenes some skeptics are suggesting that CO2 can’t warm us because the atmosphere is colder than the planet, and  it would break the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (see Postma*, for example, p 6 – 7). I disagree. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applies to net flows of heat, not to each individual photon, and it does not prevent some heat flowing from a cooler body to a warm one.

Imagine three blocks of metal side by side. They are 11°C, 10°C, and 9°C. Think about what happens to the photons coming off the atoms in the middle of the medium temperature block between the other two. If heat never flows from cooler blocks to warmer blocks, all those photons have to go “right“, and not ever go “left”, because they “know” that way is towards a cooler block? (How would they?!)

The photons go both ways (actually every way, in 3D). There are more coming from the 11°C block to the 10°C block, sure, but the the 10°C block is sending ‘em back to the 11°C block too. So heat is flowing from cold to hot. It happens [...]

A climate change paradox (part II)

Part I was posted in The antidote to 150 million quadrillion joules.This is the updated and revised calculation.

Michael Hammer previously calculated that if the IPCC were right, the oceans should have absorbed a lot more heat, but just how much? He has revised his previous calculation after discovering an error. Now instead of oceans missing as much as 90% of the heat capacity, they are missing less, but it’s still around two-thirds. Its a lot of energy that somehow, somewhere, is not being absorbed. Where is the energy that greenhouse gases are supposedly ‘trapping’? Not in the air, and not in the water. What sort of radiative imbalance is this? Not one to get scared of.

Naturally, as always, Michael is keen for people to check his numbers and give us feedback.

Here is another example of a skilled expert doing pro bono work because he is concerned at the state of the science and the unnecessary damage to our society that it will bring. Michael Hammer has around 20 patents in the field of spectroscopy, that means he’s produced work that’s so useful and original that his employers have shelled out hundreds of thousands of [...]

The antidote to 150 million quadrillion joules

Oceans are critical to proving that humans are having an impact on the climate.

The big scary number of the week is 15 × 1022 (or 150 million quadrillion). It’s the number of Joules the ocean has apparently heated by since 1961. But convert it to degrees per year and suddenly the big scary 15 × 1022 becomes three thousands of one degree per year. Unmeasurably small. So realists everywhere, lets check the math, and get ready to spread the word. Everywhere you see the ocean heat capacity argument or graph, let people know the numbers just don’t add up.

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED SEE HERE FOR THE LATEST FIGURES.

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