On Professor Murry Salby’s Edinburgh Talk: November 7, 2013

Written by Derek Alker

On a windswept evening in the heart of Scotland’s capital an eager audience was left in no doubt about Salby’s message. The American climate professor, fired by his Australian university employer for daring to speak the unspeakable truth, admitted that the peer-reviewed historical data proves that global temperatures conclusively drive carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, not the reverse.

Murry Salby

In short, the message from this principled researcher stands loud and clear for policymakers: the CO2-forcing ‘greenhouse gas’ hypothesis has ’cause and effect’ back to front. But before we go deeper into Salby’s presentation we can’t overlook a most bizarre appearance (enter stage door left!) from the indefatigable (Lord) Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

Obviously it was quite a surprise to all present when the self-styled former “science adviser” to Margaret Thatcher popped up out of the blue. Judging by the facial expression of Mike Haseler (the scottish sceptic who organised this event) it surprised Mike as much as the rest of us. That said, his lordship was quickly allowed a small speaking slot before Salby. Salby did look a little none plussed, but leaned in the doorway and warmed to the speech as Monckton did his usual excellent job (more on that later below).

Salby was able to demonstrate, by reference to such official data, that recent and short term CO2 levels do not directly follow temperature swings, but are induced by and dependent upon the time integration of the temperature changes. If Salby’s analysis is correct, then all those expensive government computer models programmed to show CO2 and temperature correlation are completely wrong and the ‘decarbonisation’ crusade is all based on junk science.

Salby’s assessment is in line with that of Principia Scientific International (PSI); there appears to be broad agreement that both the UN IPCC and its latest AR5 report are rendered increasingly irrelevant, while all government subsidies for renewables now look to be pointless, too, for having no credible scientific basis.

Moreover, green taxes, carbon trading, carbon capture and sequetration and all related legislation are likewise redundant. But even better for populations crying out for cheaper energy is the clear implication that we need not close any coal fired powered stations or restrict shale gas exploration. So perhaps cheaper energy for all?

But let’s just pause for a moment and give thanks to Hassler – he deserves much praise for his organisational efforts. Feedback to Mike may be posted here at scottishsceptic.wordpress.com. However, an even bigger thanks should go to Principia Scientific International (PSI), who via the generous four-figure sum donated by Ken Coffman (Stairway Press), helped cover Salby’s expenses.

Professor Salby’s presentation was especially interesting in regards to the C12 and C13 ratio, which is an often overlooked aspect of climate attribution, as addressed so eloquently by ‘The Chiefio’ in ‘The Trouble with C12 C13 Ratios’ (February, 2009).

Salby accepts the consensus figures, he displayed them to his audience, and then questioned them, using the consensus’s own logic. By this means he found the accepted interpretations are wrong, or at least not supported by the consensus’s own figures. The Aussie climatologist used the same method with the global energy budgets and showed the intrigued ensemble they only allow CO2 to change temperature, which he also showed to be not the case, again using the consensus’s own figures. 

Neat, Simple, Understandable, Logical and Questioning

However, we know the consensus figures for the modern global CO2 atmospheric concentration (ie, MLO) are questionable, if not completely wrong, as per Beck (see: ‘Ernst Georg Beck: A Major Contributor to Climate Science Effectively Sidelined by Climate Deceivers‘).

We know the proxy record for CO2 atmospheric concentration (ice cores in this case) are questionable, if not completely wrong, as per Drake. We know the method by which they were spliced together is also questionable. Indeed, temperature reconstructions from ice cores are questionable (for the same reasons as CO2 reconstructions), ocean temperatures are questionable, if not just wrong, etc.

Is there a single reliable, unquestionable global metric in climate science? Almost certainly not. Yet, Professor Salby produces plots with a scale of 0.1 parts per million for global CO2 atmospheric concentration, without error bars. I would suggest that the noise is far, far larger than the signal. So, although excellent, it probably proves nothing, except the consensus does not have any reliable figures. 

Professor Salby’s questioning of the global energy budgets does stand up though, in my opinion. He showed they must be wrong, and at a very basic level, again, only by using the consensus’s own logic and figures. 

But towards a new theory of climate though? NOT without including realistic thermodynamics, and that Professor Salby did not need to cover, because the consensus does not, and neither do most others. More’s the pity. All in all, his presentation was brilliant and a correct way to go about matters. I take my hat off to the good climate professor. Thank you Murry Salby. 

Christopher Monckton Gatecrashes the Show

Now to Monckton’s impromptu contribution. Right from the off Monckton was, to my mind, on an offensively charming charm offensive with Salby (obsequious is the word!). At the end of the event Monckton took Salby away, presumably for a meal and to get Salby on his side.

Monckton has long been hostile to PSI’s debunk of his beloved greenhouse gas ‘theory’ so I’m sure he would have been irked they sponsored Salby’s trip. Even less pleasing for his lordship being that PSI scientists have taken no time at all to unpick his lordship’s latest pet theory; this time he characterizes the ‘greenhouse gas effect’ (GHE) as akin to positive feedbacks found in electrical circuits (more on that below).

As too often happens, Monckton’s speech was notable for his monotonous description of “positive feedbacks.” When will this man ever accept the null hypothesis that there is no proof of any greenhouse gas effect? I preferred Salby’s take down of the global energy budgets, he used the same method, but did not compare with his own figures. Monckton just tamely and unquestioningly showed that the budgets only allow for CO2 to change temperature, but as we know ourselves at PSI (and from Salby) CO2 follows temperature – that means the scientific consensus promotes budgets that must be wrong. Nice, simple logic.

Monckton’s Pet Theory Foisted Upon Salby

We then asked Ken Coffman, who has specialist knowledge in electrical engineering, about Monckton’s hypothesis that the GHE somehow relates to positive feedbacks found in electrical circuits. Ken advises:

It is a humorous truism in electrical design that when you’re trying to design an amplifier, you get an oscillator and when you’re trying to design an oscillator, you get an amplifier.When designing an amplifier, you want a lot of gain, but gain is hard to control without breaking into oscillation.

When designing an oscillator, you want positive (regenerative) feedback, but it’s hard to keep the system from saturating and slamming against a rail and staying there.The definition of an oscillator is a system where the gain is exactly 1 and the feedback is exactly in phase.

These conditions are not easy to create or maintain.The definition of a stable (useful) amplifier is when the gain is >1 in operating regions where the feedback is negative and the gain is <1 in operating regions where the feedback inevitably turns positive. The reason this is important: there are time delays in the feedback path which shifts the phase of the feedback signal. Operating at high frequencies, the phase
shift gets more and more significant and negative feedback shifts toward being positive–and your amplifier oscillates (which you do not want because oscillation is the opposite of stability).

The measure of feedback “positiveness” is called phase margin and as an engineer, we try to keep it greater than 40 degrees or so to make sure account for component and other system variations.Applying this to climate science (which is, of course, an oxymoron), we know our system has been fundamentally stable over the last 5,000 years or so, otherwise we would not be here.

This means the combination of system gain (input to output) and the feedback responses must create a damped or overdamped system which is not prone to oscillation. The result of any feedback must necessarily be negative where the input to output gain is positive and does not matter when the input to output gain is less than 1.

We would not enjoy the effects of an out-of-control climate system. There is plenty of geological evidence to show it can happen, though the many causes are not fully understood. As Joe Postma and others have pointed out, the time lag for outgoing IR is large from a photon POV, but tiny from a day-night cycle POV. I think (and I’d love to explore this further), for the water vapor and CO2 feedback to be positive, it must be stored long enough to last through the night–for at least 8 or 10 hours, right?

This means energy stored in the atmosphere (not in ocean water or in solid objects with large thermal masses) must linger at sunset and contribute additional warming the next day. Given that condition, you could say the atmospheric feedback is positive.

Otherwise? Forget it. To me, it’s clear that atmospheric feedback cannot be positive, it’s simply impossible. Monckton could be technically correct: where the input-to-output gain is less than 1, you could have a stable system with positive feedback. But, think about that. How could you have a system where the average output
increases (by 33C?) when the system gain is less than 1?

That would take a lot of feedback gain and the system would not be stable. No way. Sorry, Lord Monckton.


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Comments (3)

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    I am puzzled The Principia Institute should question my former haberdasher’s theoretical views- there is certainly nothing wrong with the shirts that bear Monckton’s name.

    You would do better to ally yourselves with the Hon. Christopher Bowring, former Mayor of South Portland , Maine, who has struck to the heart of the CAGW rot by calilng out the doyen of materialistic Warmism, Sir Isaac Newton.

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    [quote name=”Jane Becker”]He’s American not Australian (even though his most recent employment was at an Australian university).[/quote]
    Jane, many thanks for that. The article has now been updated.

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    Jane Becker


    He’s American not Australian (even though his most recent employment was at an Australian university).

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