Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Take on Global Warming from a Toxicologist

Jack Hellner has a blog post at the American Thinker entitled A Few Simple Question for Climate Fanatics that asks the same questions I was asking years ago when I first became involved with it. My employer asked me to "keep an eye on it," and soon enough I was attending conferences and talking to "experts" in the field. This was the at the time of the run up to signing Kyoto Protocol by Al Gore (inventor of the interwebs.)  I asked exactly these kinds of questions, not being an expert myself, and wanting my employer to have the best knowledge available to him. The answers I got could be all boiled down to "I don't know, but I am sure we are causing global warming now." The natural follow up question of course is, "If you don't understand these past climate conditions, how can you be so sure?" The answers I got back followed a circular reasoning pattern that struck me as participating in a religious experience more than a scientific inquiry.

Since that time, I have followed global warming, read about the previous scare, global cooling, and when the predicted warming didn't materialize, the strategic change to "climate change."  I have read much that Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Willie Soon, and others, who have made a convincing, scientific case that the entire global warning/global cooling/ climate change enterprise can best be described as an elaborate hoax perpetrated on a scientifically ignorant population by people hoping to derive money from fleecing that population.  Big money as it turns out.  Literally trillions of dollars.

Today I discovered Frank Schnell.  Oh, he hasn't been missing: I just never ran across his work before.  Frank is a retired Toxicologist from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a part of the CDC. So, writing about Climate Science is a bit out of his comfort zone, as it was out of mine.  But Schnell seems to have the same attitude of following the evidence, and where it leads must lie the truth.  Frank has written a very lucid article for the layman entitled The Greenhouse Effect Fallacy. After going through an extensive discussion of just how a greenhouse gas works, he says this:
The important point here is that the interception and re-emission of ground-emitted IR by “greenhouse” gases does not add any energy to the initial packet of incoming solar radiation; it merely slows the dissipation of that packet of energy. The IR that is returned to the Earth’s surface does not represent a new source of energy in addition to the original packet of incident solar radiation. It is just a continually diminishing fraction of that original solar radiation. Thus, the “Greenhouse effect” does not result in the accumulation of energy beyond what the sun supplies. Rather, it merely slows the rate at which that energy is inexorably lost to outer space.
For those curious, the First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created or destroyed, only changed in form. Since the only energy source the Earth receives is delivered by the Sun, the Earth fits pretty accurately the conditions needed to satisfy the First Law of Thermodynamics.  More over, water vapor in the atmosphere makes up, by far, the great majority of the greenhouse gas.  Carbon Dioxide only accounts for 400 parts per million, or around 0.04 percent.  Have you ever noticed that on a muggy day, the temperature doesn't seem to go down much after sunset?  On the other hand, the temperature drops pretty quickly when the humidity is low.  The difference is the latent heat captured by the water vapor, which is released slowly to the atmosphere and re-radiated out into space.  But, water vapor also has the effect of forming clouds, that re-radiate a significant fraction of the solar heat load before it ever gets to earth.  Interestingly enough, "space" is a vast heat sink with a temperature near absolute zero.  So, the more IR our atmosphere absorbs, the faster it radiates it into space.  Thus, the idea of a runaway greenhouse effect is not possible.

The result is a moderation of both daytime and nighttime temperatures, not a multiplying of the warming effect of the sun. In fact, the oft promoted specter of “tipping points” and “runaway greenhouse effects” represent nothing less than violations of the First Law of Thermodynamics.
Schnell includes a chart going back to the Cambrian epoch, that shows the estimated average temperatures versus the average levels of carbon dioxide. As you can see from the chart, there is no correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide, and concludes with:

Therefore, while the scientifically bankrupt concepts of “Tipping Points” and a man-made, “runaway greenhouse effect” have obvious political applications, the mere existence of the Earth’s oceans make it an impossible, and obscene fantasy.
Scientists specialize because by specializing, they can probe more deeply into an area of study and thus be more useful to mankind. But specialization has a built in weakness. By studying one very narrow area, you are inclined to forget, or ignore other areas that may prove you wrong. Its the idea of not seeing the forest for the trees. It sometimes helps to have people from other disciplines picking apart your work just to make sure you haven't overlooked something obvious, like the First Law of Thermodynamics. Of course, that applies to actual scientists looking for actual truths. When big money, and politics enter the picture, the search for truth becomes collateral damage.

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