Apparently, using science to debunk climate change denial arguments isn’t allowed, because the arguments are all from the supposedly falsified general circulation models (GCM) and thereby falsified themselves. I suppose the thinking goes along the following lines – if the GCMs fail, and they contain a number of algorithms based on physics, chemistry and thermodynamics, then those algorithms must also be wrong.

Aside from the fact most of the math, lab experiments and conclusions used in climate science were made decades ago, and in at least one case more than a century ago, the whole argument sounds an awful lot like the Fallacy of Division. I doubt that make any difference in the minds of the righteous anti-science groupies, but I’m going to take a run at it anyway.

Yesterday I debunked a couple of paragraphs of errors from an anti-AGW blog I was introduced to from a Twitter doubter. After I returned the favour by introducing the doubter to my short post here, I was told in no uncertain terms that all my arguments have been debunked because they were obviously based on the putative debunked climate models. I have to assume he meant GCMs because I doubt the doubter is of the belief that all laws, theories and hypotheses are based on models.

I’ll put my arguments from yesterday in quotes. If you want to see what those quotes were answering just pop back to yesterday’s post.

“Any adjustments that have been made to temperatures have been made to account for UHI, altitude, where temperatures are affected by the lapse rate, and to remove outliers, whether they are too high or too low. All adjustments have been documented in peer reviewed journals and their functionality reviewed by independent scientists.”

The temperatures that NOAA, Hadley CRU, RSS and UAH use are not taken from a GCM, they are directly measured by land based thermometers, ocean based thermometers or derived from atmospheric microwave radiation by satellites. The thermometer based temperatures are adjusted because some of them are within areas where Urban Heat Islands (UHI) can artificially inflate the values, others are at altitudes well above the average height above sea level and are reduced by the affects of the lapse rate, a rate of cooling with increased height above ground, measured by thermometers on weather balloons.

Life has existed on land for at least 350,000,000 years, and has experienced 21 different mass die outs. Our concern is the ecology as it stands today, and how rapid changes will affect not just the biosphere but human culture. Adaptation takes time, and rapid change can result in conditions even humans can find difficult.

Evidence for mass die outs and the speed organisms can adapt to changing conditions has absolutely nothing to do with climate models. The number I used for die outs includes not only the well known 5 major extinction events but some of the more deadly of the minor events.

Nobody has ever claimed we have direct control of the climate. What we do have is control over a source of CO2 that has been segregated from the normal carbon cycle for several million years. In complex systems even small changes, if made in the right area, can have large consequences. The world’s most potent poison, Clostridium botulinum, doesn’t kill through volume – it only takes 0.4 billionth of a gram per kilogram of weight to kill – but through which biological system it affects. CO2 does something similar. All radiation from the sun that doesn’t get reflected back to space has its frequency changed to the UV band. CO2 is invisible to almost all radiation but UV. This means that non-UV radiation coming to Earth bypasses CO2 but after that radiation is converted to UV it gets absorbed by CO2 on the way back out to space.

The amount of CO2 in the historical atmosphere is not determined by GCMs but by direct measurement in the case of ice cores, or calculations based on conditions present in several other proxies. How radiation changes in frequency after it is absorbed by the surface is something that has been known for longer than climate models have existed, as have the absorption properties of CO2. As early as the 1850s, physicist John Tyndall was performing experiments on atmospheric processes.

This comment is a fallacy. It’s a straw man argument. Ecologies adapt extremely well, but they do so on geological time frames, not human time frames. We’re concerned with the next several hundred years, not the next several thousand years.

I’m not quite sure how this has anything to do with GCMs.

Not all plants improve with increased CO2. Aside from that, the biggest problem with this argument is the effect rising temperatures have on climate patterns. For plants to benefit from increased CO2, both ground nitrogen and available H2O have to keep pace with the increased CO2. Without those two other molecules increased CO2 does little to nothing.

Another case of experimentation in the field that has nothing to do with GCMs. There have been several experiments in greenhouse conditions and field conditions where a variety of plants were supplied with additional CO2 and given different amounts of fertilizer and water. The results validated the hypothesis that increased CO2 requires an increase in both fertilizer and water to have significant effects.

The warming is to encourage growth in plants that have evolved in tropical environments. Those same greenhouses frequently add CO2. Those same greenhouses also supply extra water and nitrogen. See above.

Nothing to do with GCMs.

The reason the ocean regulates the temperature is because its mass is far greater than that of the atmosphere, it takes far longer to heat up and cool off than the atmosphere or even the land does. However if the oceans do heat up, as they are, then the only regulation they’ll do is to warm the atmosphere even more. The oceans also regulate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by absorbing CO2, until it warms up to a point where less CO2 is being absorbed than being released.

This also has nothing to do with GCMs. That the oceans are more massive than the atmosphere should be obvious. The mass of the atmosphere is 5×1018 kg. The mass of the ocean is 1.4×1021 kg.

That warm oceans will warm up the atmosphere more than a cold ocean is a bit of a simplification. It would be better to say it will slow down cooling. However, that is just a conclusion based on thermodynamics not a GCM. Experimentation has shown that cool water absorbs more CO2 than warm water. No need to take that from a GCM.

The Earth’s carbon balance has varied by no more than a couple of dozen ppmv from the mean of 280 ppmv for more than 50 million years. By releasing carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere since at least that time, we’ve boosted the atmospheric concentration to 400 ppmv

CO2 can be directly measured in the atmosphere. See my answer above for historical level.

Conclusion:  Nope, no GCMs in yesterday’s post, so any attempt to invalidate the arguments by claiming it was all or partially taken from supposed failed GCMs is a bit disingenuous.

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