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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Anthony Watts has lost the plot: WUWT outright rejects the greenhouse effect!

Sou | 5:05 AM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment

In the most blatant rejection of the greenhouse effect I've yet seen in a WUWT article, Anthony Watts has posted a "guest opinion" from sky dragon slayer, Tim Ball. Tim was the author of Chapter One of "Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory", a book that rejects the greenhouse effect, and which Anthony Watts promoted at the time (without endorsing it).  He mentioned that some people thought that silliest of books might derail the Cancun climate conference.  As if! Perhaps he's hoping to derail the Paris conference with WUWT's startling revelation that the greenhouse effect isn't real and 200 years of climate science is all wrong. What a nutter!

I looked for a debunk of the "slayer" book, but it was obviously too, too silly for anyone to bother doing it. (Judith Curry got mocked by all and sundry for entertaining three articles about it and oodles of comments supporting the book. At one point she wiped the articles, but her denier "free speech" audience got upset over censorship, so she put them back.)

Anthony Watts used to ban commenters who plagued WUWT with weird comments disputing the greenhouse effect, but he's always pandered to Tim Ball. I don't know why. What compensates him for promoting Tim's sleazy conspiracy theories? What does Anthony get out of it, except for the contempt of any normal person who comes across Tim's sordid fantasies. I suppose his reward is page hits from other conspiracy theorists of the One World Guvmint, Agenda 21 kind. Anything to pay the bills.

WUWT rejects the greenhouse effect

In today's article (archived here, latest here), WUWT is arguing that the greenhouse effect isn't real. Tim Ball couldn't be more wrong when he claims that the effect only exists in climate models. That there are no greenhouse gases. This is a rejection of almost 200 years of science. Not simply theoretical science, but its practical application. In other words, anything that measures IR radiation shouldn't work. These NDIR instruments should never have been invented and, since they were, they should never have worked, according to WUWT.

Tim Ball at WUWT wrote a lot of nonsense and added some shonky charts. I won't bother with most of it. However at the end of his article, Tim claimed that Dr James Hansen disproved the greenhouse effect by running a model with no additional CO2, and that this is what happened to surface temperature since 1990. He provided no evidence. No chart. No comparison with observations. In other words, he simply made it up.

Since Tim didn't back up his claim with any facts, I will. Below is the chart that Tim might have been referring to, when the authors of Hansen et al (1988) wrote:
A 100-year control run of the model was carried out with the atmospheric composition fixed at estimated 1958 values. Specifically, atmospheric gases which are time-dependent in later experiments are set at the values 315 ppmv for CO2, 1400 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) for CH4, 292.6 ppbv for N20 , 15.8 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) for CCl3F (F-11), and 50.3 pptv for CCl2F2 (F-12).

The chart, Figure 1, from Hansen98 is shown below. I've superimposed observations of global mean surface temperature changes from 1958 to the present, so you can see how the control run, with no CO2 increase, differs from what has actually happened as CO2 increased.

Sources: Hansen98 and GISS NASA

There were other constraints in the control run, as explained by the authors:
The ocean mixed layer depth varies geographically and seasonally, based on climatological data specified in Appendix A. No heat exchange across the level defined by the annual maximum mixed layer depth was permitted in the control run described in this section. The purpose of this constraint was to keep the response time of the model short enough that it was practical to extend the model integration over several time constants, thus assuring near-equilibrium conditions. The isolated mixed layer response time is 10-20 years for a climate sensitivity of 4°C for doubled C02, as shown in paper 2. Note that the seasonal thermocline (i.e., the water between the base of the seasonal mixed layer and the annual maximum mixed layer depth) can have a different temperature each year; this heat storage and release can affect the interannual variability of surface temperature. 

Notice the estimated sensitivity of the time at 4°C for doubled C02. And for all the deniers who deny that scientists are the same people who informed them about internal variability, the authors also wrote:
The global mean temperature at the end of the run is very similar to that at the beginning, but there is substantial unforced variability on all time scales that can be examined, that is, up to decadal time scales. Note that an unforced change in global temperature or about 0.4°C (0.3°C, if the curve is smoothed with a 5-year running mean) occurred in one 20-year period (years 50-70). The standard deviation about the 100-year mean is 0.11°C. This unforced variability of global temperature in the model is only slightly smaller than the observed variability of global surface air temperature in the past century, as discussed in section 5. The conclusion that unforced (and unpredictable) climate variability may account for a large portion of climate change has been stressed by many researchers; for example, Lorenz [1968], Hasselmann [1976] and Robock [1978].  

It's deniers who are politically motivated to reject the greenhouse effect

So Anthony Watts and Tim Ball couldn't be more wrong. Tim wrote:
...apparently driven by his political agenda, he had to convince politicians that a reduction in CO2 output would solve the problem. To do this, he ran his model to show what happens with no CO2 increase. It produced a curve that fits the actual temperature trend in the intervening 27 years. This is the result you expect if you accept the null hypothesis that CO2 from any source is not causing global warming. Thanks, Jim, enjoy your retirement.

Tim is stupidly claiming that Dr Hansen was politically motivated. Sheesh! It's deniers like Anthony Watts and Tim Ball whose political motivation sticks out like a sore thumb.

Scroll back up and look at the chart of the control run compared to observations. Tim claimed that the "No CO2" control run "fit the actual temperature trend in the intervening 27 years". It didn't. Tim was wrong. It's no wonder he didn't put up the chart of observations against the control run. And didn't put up a chart of the control run either. It's a rare thing to see a chart of GISTemp at WUWT, and is it any wonder. Deniers cannot bear to deal with the reality of global warming. So Anthony Watts posts disinformation in words, knowing that most of his readers don't want to see what's happening. And if they aren't shown a chart that shows the words are a lie, then it's all the better for him and them.

Anthony Watts has lost the plot

I don't know that I've ever seen such blatant denial of the greenhouse effect and global warming at Anthony Watts' conspiracy blog. He and all the other deniers are in complete disarray, not knowing how to deal with the impending meeting in Paris at the end of next month. Anthony's not mentioned that South Carolina is drowning right this minute, from all that CO2 enhanced super-wet atmosphere. It's as if he's lost the plot.

From the WUWT comments

I archived the article when I first saw it, because I suspected that Anthony just might think better of it. But he hasn't. He's so lost for how to counter science that he's now even quite happy to reject the most basic of climate science. The greenhouse effect.

Needless to say, many of his readers are over the moon with delight. Click here for the most recent archive.

Latitude must be a greenhouse effect denier, and one who doesn't want to see a temperature chart:
October 3, 2015 at 8:14 am
For the past 20 years… just ain’t working as planned

ferdberple isn't a complete denier of the greenhouse effect, but he does think that scientists "don't know nuffin". He's one of the weird mob who doesn't realise that what little he knows about climate (which is bugger all) he got from the scientists themselves. Notice how fake sceptics often don't criticise the stupid article even when they don't completely accept the rubbish they've been fed:
October 3, 2015 at 8:44 am
What is surprising to me is that so many people accept that there is a “greenhouse” effect caused by GHG, even among skeptics. 50 years ago we were taught in school that real greenhouses warmed via blocking of outgoing IR by the glass. This is the same mechanism postulated for CO2 — blocking outgoing IR.
However, we now know that this initial explanation for the “greenhouse” effect in real greenhouses was wrong. A greenhouse warms up even without blocking outgoing IR. Instead, we now know that the greenhouse effect is a result of reduced convection.
Thus, we should be going back to the original theory of GHG and CO2, because if we got the original explanation wrong for real greenhouses, then quite likely we have got the greenhouse explanation wrong for the atmosphere as well.
This is especially true given the universal failure of climate models to correctly predict the current rate of warming given the rapid increase in industrial CO2. In any other branch of science, this failure would be strong evidence that the theory is fundamentally wrong. 

markstoval is a hard-core deniers who completely rejects physics, chemistry and climate science:
October 3, 2015 at 9:59 am
“What is surprising to me is that so many people accept that there is a “greenhouse” effect caused by GHG, even among skeptics.”
Yes indeed. In spite of all observation and all theory, we have “skeptics” who believe the James Hansen drivel. Oh my my. Someday the CO2 warms the planet myth will be laughed at by all, but I doubt I’ll live to see it — there is a whole lot of money and fame in not understanding the truth. 

Roland Reagan rejects atmospheric physics and ocean chemistry. He refused to accept that because of the very high partial pressure of CO2, the oceans are still absorbing a lot of it even while they are getting warmer. At least he hints that he might accept that global warming is real, even though he is apparently incapable of understanding much else.
October 3, 2015 at 10:23 am
It is well known that aquatic or marine concentrations of dissolved CO2 and dissolved O2 are inversely related to temperature. As the oceans warmed CO2 was released.

Bill H, after waffling on with the usual denier nonsense, has perverse insight in his comment about blocked objectivity, but failed to recognise who he should have applied it to:
October 3, 2015 at 8:32 am
I fail to see any correlation of CO2 to temp, other than it lags temperature rise and is therefore a result of warming, not the cause. The obvious divergence of CO2 rise from temp shows the lag response time to a shift in its causation.
Mana Loa has slowed in its rate of increase to 1.3ppm/yr from the high of 2.3ppm/yr and this almost 20 years after the warming stopped. This too is a lagging indicator that warming is the driver. I would caution however, that the short empirical evidence of modern records is too short to make any hard decisions/assessments of causation, but the appearance is interesting none the less.
I would say that Dr Ball has hit the ball out of the park. Hansen put his blinders on and continues to wear them today. Funny how those things block objectivity and good, sound, science in general.

There are some really sick, perverted people who flock to Anthony Watts' blog. Phillip Bratby wrote:
October 3, 2015 at 9:37 am
Hansen may have been responsible for the waste of $trillions and untold deaths. Truly evil. 

References and further reading

Hansen, J., I. Fung, A. Lacis, D. Rind, S. Lebedeff, R. Ruedy, G. Russell, and P. Stone, "Global climate changes as forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies three-dimensional model."  J. Geophys. Res., 93(D8), 9341–9364, (1988). doi:10.1029/JD093iD08p09341. (pdf here)


  1. TB is grasping at straws. Again. And again. But what else is new?
    How you have the stamina to continue to "beat a dead horse that will not die" is beyond me. Like something out of Harry Potter novel. No Noble Prize for this type of work, but lots of thanks from those of us who concerned about our kid's futures.

    1. Thanks, JG.

      I should also point out that Anthony repeated what he tried yesterday, with the title of his article. It was "Did James Hansen Unwittingly Prove The Null Hypothesis Of AGW?". Which, as Raymond Arritt pointed out yesterday is another "good example of Betteridge's law of headlines."

      As with yesterday's article, the answer is a resounding NO. He didn't.

      And anyway, one doesn't "prove" a null hypothesis. You can see if it should be rejected. Dr Hansen and other climate scientists have shown over and over again that the null hypothesis (that an increase in greenhouse gases won't heat up the world) has to be rejected. The greenhouse effect is real.

  2. What a shock it was to wander over to WUWT and find the commenters exploring the depths of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and cranks misinforming the clueless. A couple of contrary voices were raised (Nick Stokes, for one) but in vain.

  3. WOW he has finally reached the "no one left but the wackos"and wants to keep them at least ,

    this is big news Sou , he can never go back

  4. Speaking as a Welshman who cares about stuff, thank you, Sou, for doing to Watts what Australia just did to England.

  5. What makes this especially silly is that anyone can measure the greenhouse effect directly using simple instruments.

    Point a radiometer at the nighttime sky and it reads greater than zero.

    1. I am sure they will just argue it is water vapour. Which in itself is silly if you think about it for two minutes.

    2. Um, well it is water vapour, isn't it? Or a lot of it.

      Can you explain your point Harry?

    3. I guess I should have said they would just argue it is water vapour only.

      It isn't of course - it is water vapour plus all the other greenhouse gases.

      The denier argument it is water vapour and not CO2 is silly because if you accept water vapour is a greenhouse gas, then you have to accept CO2 is as well because what makes them greenhouse gases is the same physical process.

    4. A misplaced "just"?

      OK, I see what you mean now thanks.

  6. Given the rapturous reception TB's pile of garbage has been given at WUWT, Anthony has to stop pretending to be a lukewarmer, or he has to admit that the majority of his fans are complete numpties.

    1. Watts can use the defence that he is only the host and the opinions expressed in a post are not necessarily those of the blog admin. That, of course, means he will post anything in spite of his own personal views. One could try to test that by submitting something that is pure fantasy - say that global warming hasn't happened since month X, say you are a member of the House of Lords, and see if it gets put up.

    2. Unlike his copies and pastes of scientific press releases, Anthony doesn't use the word "claim" in headlines to the nutty WUWT articles.

      I haven't ever seen him write a headline like "Claim: Climate Change is an evil plot by commie/socialist/nazi scientists who want to take over the world and steal your money and send all deniers to FEMA concentration camps".

    3. Of course not Sou. You do not put "Claim:" in front of a self-evident truth.

      Really. What will you suggest next.

    4. I nominate this for the "Hot Wopper Brownlow". Well done, fellow anon.

      R. the Anon.

  7. I've been enjoying reading the insanity at Joe Postma's (he's one of the Slayer team) blog, and he's often furious at Watts for not accepting Postma's bonkers claims about backradiation not existing. And indeed, in many posts, e.g. here, Watts is pretty scathing of Postma's nuttiness. So I am a bit surprised that Watts posted this. On Postma's blog I've seen suggestions that Tim Ball agrees with them that backradiation/greenhouse effect doesn't exist, but plays it down in order to keep on Watts's good side.

    Incidentally, has got private recently. Weird - Postma doesn't strike me as the type to suddenly realize that it's all bullshit, or to want to hide his brilliance from the masses. Any guesses as to why?

    1. Incidentally, has got private recently.

      If it wasn't already an echo chamber for the scientifically (and/or ideologically) challenged, it is now :-)

    2. "Any guesses as to why?"
      Probably because he started reading from here....

    3. Heh heh. Great example of Science by Semantics there in that Principia pseudoscience piece, i.e. the science is correct but you didn't explain it in a way that couldn't be intentionally misconstrued by the AGW dissemblers.

  8. THIS really is paranoia, apparently we are all being indoctrinated:

    "It starts in the cartoons the parents set their kids in front of on TV to “occupy” them, It is part of every, and I men every nature documentary on TV describing anything associated with the land, ocean, mountains, animals, plants etc. to the point of ridiculousness. It is part of every “Scientific” magazine the inquisitive student may read in hope of satisfying their quest for knowledge. and every educational film they ma be shown in the class. And I am in no way limiting this list to just those describing the land or the atmosphere. Even when there is no connection to man destroying the globe the AGW meme is woven into the document or media."

    Wow, It is like something out of Kafka isn't it?

  9. The greenhouse-effect-slayers take pride in declaring their opposition to the 97% of publishing climate scientists who accept CO2's consequences. While overlooking this simultaneous opposition to their-side's publishing skeptic-climate-scientists, the 3%, who also accept CO2's consequences. Just 'less-so' at a lower sensitivity.

    The most convincing arguments against the greenhouse-effect-slayers would be greenhouse-effect-explanations by their publishing 3%.

  10. At the risk of claims of conspiracy...

    The timing of this is just too neat. Ball/Watts are being nudged in their postings, whether they know it or not, ahead of Paris. The same thing happened before Copenhagen. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some UEA email shock/horror "scandal" in the next month or so as well, just to ring the bells.

    At 14 billion dollars/day subsidy (even 1/10th of that would be obscene) the fossil fuel industry has a very vested interest in nurturing a limping inaction for a few more years here, after an IPCC assessment report, or there, after a COP.

    This industry has effectively delayed inaction by several decades simply to feather their pockets, and the planet and its ecology will pay the consequences for millions of years to come.

    And the WUWT biocidal terrorists are front and centre stage in this act.

  11. But this is the common denominator of all climate change denialists: that CO2 is no GHG..
    With the lukewarmers coming up with even something battier: CO2 is a GHG that has no GHG effects..

  12. Except on those days when it is a greenhouse gas and we need more of it to avoid an oncoming ice age.


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