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Greenhouse Gas Debate Sees Believers Resort to False Claims and Appeals to Authority

Written by John O´Sullivan

Judith CurryJudith Curry

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New fracas erupts in the ongoing scientific war of words between big hitters defending the discredited greenhouse gas theory of global warming and skeptics who say it is all junk science.

As a new chapter in this debate reopens on Curry’s popular blog, Climate Etc. below we summarize the latest blow by blow action.

In ‘Letter to the Dragon Slayers’ Professors Judith Curry and Grant Petty, defend the so-called ‘greenhouse gas effect’  (GHE) of global warming by clashing intellectual swords with the increasingly influentual ‘Slayers’ group of scientists. The Slayers claim there is no evidence at all for any man-made global warming because the GHE is shown to be bogus both by experiment and real world observation.

Indeed,  satellite data confirms that any warming trend bottomed out since the start of this century despite carbon dioxide levels (the devil of all ‘greenhouse gases’ has risen ineroxably).

Battle of the Heavy Hitters Resumes

Today (November 18, 2011) Dr. Judith Curry came out to defend against the latest Slayers’ attack to argue  that Professor Petty, a headline contributor on her site, had to be more correct than the Slayers on this issue because, “ Grant Petty wrote and published an actual textbook on atmospheric radiative transfer, that is widely used by universities.”

As this author reminded Dr. Curry, there was a time before government-sponsored junk science  replaced the robust values of traditional science, that such appeals to authority would have no place in any science debate.

Frankly, even though the Slayers  think tank possesses 11 science PhD’s between them they hold true to the old motto of the Royal Society: ‘Take No one’s word for.’ Lamentably, the once peerless RS, now compliant to government diktat, has now replaced such radicalism with a new motto that appeals more expediently to authority: ‘Respect the facts’!’ Right, that settles that, in Cury’s post-normal new science world.

Hand Wavers Need Not Apply

From the lengthy email exchanges the Slayers had with Professor Grant Petty, of University Wisconsin Madison, we are assured he is a very fine scientist.

However, when it comes to defending his beliefs in the GHE Petty resorted to hand waving, pseudo-scientific claims by asserting the GHE was real because, he said, NASA had measured it. Wrong, Dr. Petty, they haven’t.

 Now contrast and compare to the Slayers’ more rigorous approach. For example, recent Slayer recruit, Professor Nasif Nahle, performed a robust replication of RW Wood’s famous 1909 experiment in his laboratories at Monterrey, Mexico in which he demonstrated there is no empirical scientific support for the greenhouse effect.

Nahle’s results were peer-reviewed and have not been refuted since publication by Principia Scientific International (PSI) in July 2011. Nahle’s conclusions are thus utterly credible and are as follows:

“The greenhouse effect inside greenhouses is due to the blockage of convective heat transfer with the environment and it is not related, neither obeys, to any kind of “trapped” radiation. Therefore, the greenhouse effect does not exist as it is described in many didactic books and articles.

The experiment performed by Prof. Robert W. Wood in 1909 is absolutely valid and systematically repeatable.”

So I challenged Dr. Curry to personally refute that science.  On her blog  Replycurryja | November 18, 2011 at 9:57 am she wrote:

“uh john, you forgot about the fact that Grant Petty wrote and published an actual textbook on atmospheric radiative transfer, that is widely used by universities.”

But pointedly, take note the very large number of published climate doomsayers that Judith Curry et al disagree with.

So I countered by reminding the good Dr. Curry that just because someone with a PhD published a book on a subject that, in itself, doesn’t make him (or her) a world leading authority. The Slayers possess 11 science PhD’s between them – so what?

Indeed, Dr. Petty had tried and failed to back his hand waving claims that back radiating HEAT exists as Downwelling Longwave [Infrared] Radiation, which he claimed had been measured by NASA.

However, when the Slayers challenged Dr Petty to cite any source proving these NASA measurements he declined (no surprise there!). Frankly, if NASA had measured DRL that data would have been published and if it existed Professors Curry, Petty, and even Al Gore, could refute such Slayer claims.

Pixies and Tooth Fairies More Credible than Junk Climate Science

But like bombast Gore, Grant Petty and Judith Curry were just blowing the usual hot air that proponents for this junk science usually spout. As the Slayers tried to explain, you cannot impute thermal radiation from the GHE’s magic ingredient, ‘back radiation.’ Climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball added,

“… merely resonating in place does not imply reflecting energy back at the source….it is so difficult to argue with the absurd Alice looking glass science.”

As we all know, DLR is claimed by GHE religionists to be half of the Outgoing Longwave Radiation and such energy is then claimed to be re-radiated back by CO2 molecules to warm the Earth.

However, as the Slayers explained, World War 2 radar operated on a million to one signal-response ratio and with that ratio a good operator could detect a life boat at 20 miles and SOME large weather systems.

Techonology has since moved on dramatically and with signal output and antenna design today (with a billion to one ratio) weather radar can now ‘see’ clouds and rainfall. But even trillion or quadrillion ratios would not allow NASA (or even published author, Petty) to measure the reflection from individual three-atom molecules.

Even if DLR has been measured by NASA (as Petty claims but cannot prove) the reflection off water droplets is magnitudes larger than three-atom CO2 reflections.

For all his ‘authority’ this elementary fact was lost on Petty. Again, in the friendly spirit of traditional scientific debate, the Slayers challenge their opponents to produce actual measurements to show ANY additional thermal heating from the ‘back radiation’ /’ blanket effect’ (or whatever else they want to call it) from this elusive GHE.

Bogus NASA Energy Budget In Tatters

By contrast, Dr. Nasif Nahle validated RW Woods’ experiment of 1909 to empirically show that the fundamental claims about heating from the GHE are refuted by replicable observable facts.

What Nahle showed us was that the IR-opacity of glass has no impact on temperature, even though numerous authorities attest that it does and even though, in theory, IR-opacity MUST have an impact since it induces “radiative disequilibrium,” a central concept in greenhouse physics.

Similarly, if secondary radiation from an IR-opaque atmosphere had any heating effect, one would expect NASA’s own radiative budget (based on the ERB satellite program) to show such a thing. Instead, as we can see from this NASA diagram, the discredited U.S. Space agency depicts the surface radiating 51% of incoming energy (i.e., about 174 W/m²) rather than the 114% (390 W/m²) that’s shown in the 1997 Kiehl-Trenberth budget.  

budget chart

But as fellow Slayer, Joe Olson observes, “Once you  ’see’ that remote read thermometers are only  ‘seeing’ vibration and NOT reflection, then the Sky Dragon has no fiery breath.”

Thus, we argue the crumbling GHE belief system is even less valid in physics than pixies and tooth fairies (no one has defined a way to search for and measure them yet!).