Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Water and clouds, weather and climate and denier nonsense at WUWT

Sou | 12:07 PM Feel free to comment!

Clouds and water are today's fare at Anthony Watts' science denier blog, WUWT.

About clouds

First of all there is some discussion on WUWT about a new paper from the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD)  experiments at CERN, which David Appell covered on his blog a couple of days ago.  Two findings of interest were reported from CERN.  Firstly that amines, even at very low concentrations (typical of atmospheric concentrations), combine with sulphuric acid to form highly stable aerosol particles at rates similar to those observed in the atmosphere.  This is important because apparently amines are expected to increase in the atmosphere from human activity, according to the press release.  Secondly, for all the cosmic ray fans, "cosmic ray ionisation has only a small effect on the formation rate of amine-sulphuric acid particles but they don’t rule out more significant effects if sulphuric acid particles nucleate with other vapours in the lower atmosphere".

About water

Then there is another article on WUWT titled: "Climate change is dominated by the water cycle, not carbon dioxide".  Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham has decided, against all the evidence, that water vapour and clouds are increasing by magic, or something.  Why do they always pick on poor little much maligned CO2?  Any decent science denier will tell you that CO2 is plant food and must be all good.

Now if Steve had written that water is a major player in weather, I doubt he'd have made much of a splash.  Everyone knows that.  Even Wondering Willis has figured out that water is important in weather (if not why).

In his WUWT article, Steve claims, wrongly, that: "Even the greenhouse effect itself is dominated by water. Between 75 percent and 90 percent of Earth’s greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor and clouds."  Although Steve links to Schmidt et al (2010) he tells a big fib.  (Why do deniers do that?  Link to a paper and tell fibs about what's in it?  Do they assume that no-one will check?)  The paper itself states that water vapour and clouds account for up to 75%, not "between 75% and 90%".  From Schmidt et al (2010):
With a straightforward scheme for allocating overlaps, we find that water vapor is the dominant contributor (∼50% of the effect), followed by clouds (∼25%) and then CO2 with ∼20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles. In a doubled CO2 scenario, this allocation is essentially unchanged, even though the magnitude of the total greenhouse effect is significantly larger than the initial radiative forcing, underscoring the importance of feedbacks from water vapor and clouds to climate sensitivity.

Steve Goreham goes on to argue that the world warmed by magic.  He doesn't use the word "magic" - he just says that oceans and water cause climate change, not CO2.  He doesn't say why water suddenly started acting up when it was swimming along nicely, barely making a climate ripple for the last 10,000 years until things started to heat up a lot in the last 100 years or so.  Pixies?  Goblins? Gods getting angry?  Some of Wondering Willis' thunderstorms had a gabfest and decided it was time for a change? I don't know what's in his mind because he doesn't say.

From the WUWT comments

This first one is from empty-headed Janice Moore on the CLOUD article (WUWT archived here):
October 7, 2013 at 10:56 am
Note: the phrase “… a quick fix for global warming” in the above article implies that the conclusions of these folks are to be regarded with caution, for their thinking is clearly hampered by the unsupported conjecture that humans can do ANYTHING to change the climate of the earth. LAUGH — OUT — LOUD. As if.

Janice Moore again, this time arguing that a 40% increase is "tiny".  Wonder what she'll say to a doubling?
October 7, 2013 at 12:21 pmMr. Mosher, you, perhaps unintentionally, mischaracterize the position of (as Dirk put it) “fringe skeptics” such as I. It is the tiny proportion of human CO2 to which we point as evidence. First of all, as you said, total CO2 is a small ppm, BUT, the key is: human CO2 is FAR outweighed and can easily be completely overwhelmed by natural CO2.

The next lot (archived here) are in the same vein, but in response to Mad, Mad, Mad Steve's article:

Martin Hertzberg says all the science is wrong:
October 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm
As I have written and said many times, in comparison to water in all of its forms: the ocean, clouds, snow and ice cover, CO2 is about as significant as a fart in a hurricane.

Chad Wozniak confused local weather effects with global climate change and writes:
October 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm
@PWilson -
Further proof of what you say is the fact that the west coasts of North American and Europe have much milder climates than farther inland. It’s because the oceans control air temps, not CO2.

Jimbo is right, but not for the reason he thinks:
October 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm
Sometimes I feel we are flogging a zombie horse.

peter is right too, but maybe isn't aware that CO2 works in the same way as water vapour, but on a global scale when he says:
October 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm
seems to me that Desserts are very real test beds for the effect of water vapor in the air. In extremely dry deserts you get radical temperature changes when the sun goes down and the temperature plummets.
Konrad doesn't "believe" there is such a thing as gas molecules absorbing radiation and has thought up some quiz questions that he presumably thinks are very sciency:
October 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm
To understand why the radiative green house hypothesis is in error, you only need to be able to answer the following simple physics questions -
1. Do radiative gases such as H2O and CO2 both absorb and emit IR radiation? Yes or No?
2. Are Radiative gases critical to strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation? Yes or No?
3. Does altering the quantity of radiative gases in the atmosphere alter the speed of tropospheric convective circulation? Yes or No?
4. Is convective circulation including water vapour the primary mechanism for transporting energy from the surface and lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere? Yes or No?
5. Are radiative gases the primary mechanism for energy loss to space from the upper atmosphere? Yes or No?
6. Does down welling LWIR emitted from the atmosphere significantly effect the cooling rate of liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool? Yes or No.

Ronald "OMG it's insects" Voisin makes a brief appearance and replies to Konrad:
October 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm
Konrad, I like it.

dbstealey makes a small concession to Anthony's weak espousal of the greenhouse effect and adds the word "measurable" when he urges Sisi not to read anything that might challenge the denialist stance:
October 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm
CO2 does not cause any measurable global warming.
Stop reading the Guardian and you will do fine.

So many tiny minds with barely a coherent thought between them, and they all hang out together at places like WUWT.

(If you're a stray reader, I'm really a very nice person :)  I wouldn't pick on the regulars who comment at WUWT if they showed any signs of having learnt anything.  But the same people have been denying science for years and insist on boasting about their ignorance, thinking it's something to be admired.  They are all stuck, each in a different fantasy world of their own.  They talk past each other, repeating their own individual fixations ad infinitum.)

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