Monday, March 10, 2014

Denier weirdness: WUWT denies human-caused ozone depletion - again!

Sou | 5:17 PM Feel free to comment!

Dumb denial comes in bursts. Today there is more ozone hole denial at WUWT.  Hot on the heels of Anthony Watts's announcement of a "new" (five year old) paper about ozone depletion, he's posted an article by justthefactswuwt (archived here).  The article is about the fact that scientists have found that there are some ozone-depleting gases that are rising in concentration.

The article has the title:
Mysterious new man-made gases pose threat to ozone layer…

The only mystery is the source of the gases.  The gases themselves are known.  In other words, they are coming from somewhere.

Justthefactswuwt didn't post any link to the news release s/he copied and pasted.  Just said it was from the BBC.  It wasn't hard to find with a google search.  The WUWT article pinched the BBC's headline but WUWT readers chose to interpret it differently from normal people.

As reported in the UEA press release, the gases were detected "by comparing today’s air samples with air trapped in polar firn snow – which provides a century-old natural archive of the atmosphere. They also looked at air collected between 1978 and 2012 in unpolluted Tasmania."  And it was confirmed by other sources, too.

The gases are CFC-112, CFC-112a, CFC-113a, and HCFC-133a.  I don't have access to the paper itself, which is paywalled, but in the supplementary information there is:
It should be noted, that our observations do not prove that CFC-112, CFC-112a, CFC-113a, and HCFC-133a are entirely man-made. If these substances are not conserved in firn air, or if they are produced by biologically mediated processes that have been enhanced in recent years such as by climate change, then there could be an alternate explanation for the observations reported here. Such alternate explanations cannot be entirely excluded but are very unlikely given the evidence for the industrial usage of these compounds.

The scientists reported that:
Measurements show that all four new gases have been released into the atmosphere recently – and that two are significantly accumulating. Emission increases of this scale have not been seen for any other CFCs since controls were introduced during the 1990s. But they are nowhere near peak CFC emissions of the 1980s which reached around a million tonnes a year. 

So, the gases are newly released into the atmosphere and two are accumulating "significantly".  Even WUWT reported:
"Our firn air measurements suggest that all four newly reported compounds are anthropogenic (see also Supplementary Information), with insignificant atmospheric abundances before the 1960s.”

Somewhat mysteriously, justthefactswuwt wrote:
For reference, the images the head of this article show the current Northern “Ozone Hole” within the Northern Polar Vortex, at 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet). Draw your own conclusions… 

I'm not sure what conclusions justthefactswuwt wanted drawn, but I'd conclude that s/he doesn't know much about ozone depletion.  I don't know why s/he put up lots of charts of the ozone layer in the Arctic. Ozone depletion has been detected in the Arctic recently, but that was when there was unusual cold, which is common in Antarctica (and necessary for CFC reactions) but isn't as common in the Arctic.  (It's been a concern that Canada cut back on monitoring this.)

From the WUWT comments

This is the weirder part.  The article brought out the utter nutters and there were few comments that showed WUWTers understand anything about ozone depletion.  The author of the article, justthefactswuwt, doesn't have a clue.  Other WUWTers are hypothesising sources ranging from solar panels to marine animals.  Here is a sample:

Col Mosby says it's being emitted by solar panels!:
March 9, 2014 at 6:25 pm
What leads these folks to claim these agents “could be from agricultural insecticides.”? That’s a bizarre thing to claim without explanation. To throw in my own out-of-left-field possible origin : could solar panels be emitting such agents? After all, agricultural insecticides have been around for a very long time, solar panels not very long.

Karl doesn't know much about chemistry and says, irrelevantly:
March 9, 2014 at 6:25 pm
Fluorinated Drinking Water (Fluorine) and Water Treatment (Chlorine and carbon and bacteria)?? (remember fluorine started to be added post WWII but really ramped up in the 1960′s)
Oh nooes!!!
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?
That’s my hypothesis, where is my grant for the research and to develop an alternative??????
Jut give me money, money, that’s what I want.

Peter Laux is an ignorant bum who says:
March 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm
Zombie Science strikes again.
So lets get this right, CFC’s don’t “destroy the ozone” above Industrial Centres where they are released but migrate too & have an annual jamboree and convention every year at the same time in Antarctica.
Extraordinary really when hardly any atmospheric water vapor from other latitudes can penetrate the Circumpolar winds surrounding Antarctica, thus making it the driest continent on earth.
So ozone is not in a layer but is formed in the Ionosphere as solar UV hits O2 – this “hole” forms during the Antarctic winter where no UV has been wrecking O2 to form Ozone – and we blame a gas as the ‘guilty party’ ………. Detective Colombo would still be asking questions !

Yes, Peter. CFC's don't destroy ozone in the troposphere above "Industrial Centres". (I'd guess Peter is an older bloke, with his unfashionable use of capitalisation).  They are very stable molecules and generally inert in the troposphere, which is one reason they were so useful as refrigerants.  They are dissociated by UV. They are precursors to a catalytic reaction that reduces the amount of ozone, mainly in the lower stratosphere in very cold temperatures. Wikipedia explains it fairly well.

Katherine says it might be dolphins have started manufacturing CFCs or something like that:
March 9, 2014 at 6:41 pm
If the sources are unidentified, how can they say the gases are man-made? How do they know there isn’t a natural source for the gases? After all, there are natural sources for CFCs; for example, volcanic processes, bacteria, fungi, plants, lichen, insects, and marine animals.

As noted above, the scientists have said that they don't absolutely preclude other origins, but point out that it's extremely unlikely.

Mike Tremblay thinks, wrongly, that he's got a "gotcha" and says:
March 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm
I hate to break it to these researchers, but these are not ‘new’ gases. All were identified in the Montreal Protocol as ODS (Ozone depleting substances) back in 1989, and their production, or use in production of other than non-ODS materials was banned, or due to be phased out completely by 2030 – the phase out of production is currently at 98%. The hyperbole that these are ‘new’ gases and increased threats to the ozone layer has no place in responsible scientific research when simply looking at the ODS listing at the EPA’s website shows that they are already considered.

I hate to break it to you, Mike, but these might not be "new" gases, however they are "new" in the atmosphere.  That's what the paper is all about.  They are accumulating after everyone agreed not to produce them.

hunter injects a rare word of wisdom in a backhanded way and says:
March 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm
Let us not forget that eventually the boy who cried wolf was crying about a real wolf.
CO2 obsession can cut both ways.
It can make skeptics reflexively dismissive of real threats, simply because of the source of the warning.
Let’s keep ourselves on the right side of things and learn more so we can ask informed questions.

otsar says the source is here (eg like this):
March 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm
R113a , CAS No 75. may be purchased from Zejiang China. It may be purchased in 250Kg ISO tanks. It is used as a precursor for other useful molecules such as R134a. I am not surprised that they claim not to know the major source. It can be easily found on the web. They probably are afraid to mention it.

I'm not sure I'd bank money on a web shopping page.  There could well be a black market in the stuff though.  Under the Montreal Protocol, waste CFCs cannot be vented to the atmosphere so it doesn't mean that the producer is the source, it is just as likely (or more likely) to be the buyer or the company supposed to be destroying it.  Anyway, according to the supplementary information the scientists are trying to track where the emissions are coming from (my bold).
Ozone Secretariat significant amounts of CFC-112/112a were still being produced from 1989 up until 2001 with imports of up to 533 tonnes per year after that period. Production and imports could however only account for the cumulative emissions inferred from observations if (a) a large part was released directly into the atmosphere or (b) production was much higher before 1988. For CFC-113a and HCFC-133a reports are much more fragmentary with only one import of CFC-113a reported in 2011 and one country reporting production of 1490 t of HCFC-133a in 2010. In accordance with the Montreal Protocol these data has been anonymised which precludes further discussions. 

The scientific illiterati come out in their droves

Have a look at the type of person Anthony Watts targets.  The bottom of the barrel, the dregs, the illiterati.

goldminor says:
March 9, 2014 at 7:22 pm
Insanity at it’s finest. A tiny amount , but it may get worse. Watch out for the kitchen sink, they must be about ready to throw that in, also.

fobdangerclose says:
March 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm
97% sure my bs meter is pegged.

Bill Sticker is a conspiracy theorist who says:
March 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm
Ah. Sounds suspiciously like the climate units funding must be up for review.

Santa Baby is one of the "scaredy cat" deniers and says:
March 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm
It’s about the 2014 state of fear awards? The competition is hard and lots of state funded are competing?

A Crooks of Adelaide says irrelevantly (does s/he seriously think that the scientists are financially dependent on this, not the emitters?):
March 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm
“Two of the gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among researchers.”
Wake me up when it causes concern among people who are not financially dependant on this.

philjourdan says:
March 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm
They are not out to save the planet but to destroy mankind. 

Johannes C. Laube et al, Newly detected ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere. Nature Geoscience (2014) doi:10.1038/ngeo2109

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