Thursday, September 29, 2016

Are you seriously telling me...

Sou | 1:14 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
Spotted at RealClimate.org (not in the borehole) - from our friend Mack, who cannot believe that the atmosphere is what keeps our planet liveable (and hasn't heard of the snowball Earth):

Mack says:
23 Sep 2016 at 5:24 AM
Jim Eager @54
That 324w/sq.m. from the atmosphere is the reason earth’s global mean temp is 15C instead of -18C.”

Hell Jim, earth’s global mean temp of -18C would have the earth as one FROZEN ball….even the oceans would be frozen solid. Are you seriously telling me that radiation from the atmosphere..or some atmospheric effect, is actually keeping the whole planet from totally freezing up !!?. I always thought it was the sun that melted ice.

Gavin Schmidt dryly pointed out that Mack is only 200 years behind the rest of the world:
[Response: This was the mystery that Fourier thought a lot about in 19th Century. Turns out it is an atmospheric effect. Pretty well accepted now though. – gavin]
(Normal programming will resume shortly. There's a bit to catch up on this week from the climate conspiracy crowd.)


  1. Snowball Earth was caused by CO2 being taken out of the atmosphere by weathering of rocks and the chemical combination of rain water with dissolved CO2 reacting to form carbonates. Tectonic plate subduction buried these carbonates.

    Even though snowball Earth lasted for many millions of years eventually this subducted CO2 was eventually spewed out by major volcanic action. This was in spite of the sheer mass of the ice that could no longer hold back the inexorable movement of the tectonic plates

    Tectonic plates being created at mid ocean ridges and subducted under the continents that are really the product of volcano emissions about 200km from the subduction zones is the major long term mechanism for Space Ship Earth to maintain a long term equilibrium of CO2 content of the atmosphere.
    This mechanism also brings needed material from deep in the mantle for life to exist.
    We are fortunate to live on such an amazing lump of 'living' rock. Bert

    1. Thqnks Bert. I think it's only recently that there has been general acceptance that there have been periods of a frozen planet - is that right?

      Speaking of our good fortune - we are also fortunate to be able to be aware of how fortunate we are (and the amazing planet we live on). Some of us are not so fortunate, despite all the knowledge freely available to us all these days.

    2. Ice ages when there was only bacterial life for about three billion years led to many snowball Earths. The Sun then was not as active as it is now. The Moon was a lot closer and the days were far shorter. This is partly conjecture as the record is partly lost due to plate tectonics and weathering.

      It was not until life really blossomed in all its variation that it had an effect on the Earth's environment. Until then it was the invention of photosynthesis by bacteria that produced a atmosphere rich in oxygen that started it all off.

      Our environment is a finely tuned balance of many factors and the totality of life has a major affect on it. We damage our environment at our own peril.

      Iron is soluble in oxygen free sea water. When the stromatolites got real busy producing oxygen it precipitated iron in seasonal waves. If you have a close look at iron deposits in the Kimberly you can see the seasonal layers.
      I could go on.

  2. I just love the way that any rational thought process is replaced by, well, nothing at all really.

  3. For some reason they left his later comment, referring to a discussion at the Dragon Slayers' place (PSI), where even some of his fellow cranks appear to be flabbergasted about his flat-earth view. We've had that discussion with Mack here at HotWhopper (http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/08/sack-australias-biggest-laughing-stock.html?showComment=1408256095836#c3486053756536916550).

    The short version: according to Mack, the Trenberth energy diagrams are all wrong, because the TOA receives 1360 W/m2 of incoming solar radiation. The earth being round does not matter, somehow.

    1. I have wondered if Mack is for real, or if it's a long-standing prank. Then I've wondered that about some other people too, who turned out to be for real.

    2. Well, Mack has tried his shtick many places, and the seriousness with which he defends his crank ideas anywhere, whether it is a science-oriented blog or a crank blog, makes it difficult to believe he *isn't* real. He's too consistent, also. Pranksters usually don't keep this stuff up for so many years (he started as Sunpot, or was it Karen?, at Deltoid).

    3. 'Sunspot', then 'Karen', then 'Mack', and a purblind ineducable Dunning-Krugerite in every incarnation. One that really gets off on riling other people, which is hardly uncommon among deniers...

    4. You have to admire the chutzpah though

      Going head to head with the most accomplished climate scientists on the planet armed only with brain of a child

  4. I suspect that Sou will have a detailed decontruction in the works, so - spoiler alert...

    Last night the state of South Australia endured unprecendented storm weather* that resulted in the whole state being blacked out as a result of damage to transmission infrastructure. This morning, before the roofs had even stopped dripping, Australia's conservative politicians were announcing high and low that there was a crisis of too much renewable energy, and that we need to dial back on the "ideology" of moving from renewable energy back to fossil fueled energy. In this game of count-the-plethora-of-logical-fallacies we had commentary supporting this thesis from the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the deputy prime minister and recalcitrant idiot Barnaby Joyce, and the eternally yapping poddle Christopher Pyne.


    There are many bad jokes to be made, but one that must take place in the forefront is that Malcolm Turnbull claims to be the "innovation" prime minister. The only innovation I can see is the new extremes to which a conservative politician capitulates to the fossil fuels interests in the country, and engages in the type of New Speak that would make Orwell blush: to wit, turning away from the need to have a modern and sustainable energy supply and instead cleave to the polluting past.

    Many pages could be written in detailed analysis, but alas these days I have next to no time for the blogosphere. I do hope though that a strong light is shone on this particularly purient exercise in the ongoing saga of climate change avoidance and denial by the right wing half of Australian society, business, and politics. Grabs your sticks, gentle people, and start poking...

    (*This weather is at least in part attributable to global warming. The salient point though is not that such extreme weather occurred, but that such occurences will become more frequent as global warming continues. If the right wing can't stomach the cost of such events now, how will they digest the geometrically-increasing costs of climate change in the future?)

    1. How much renewable energy does the Australian grid have? Germany had a 20 percent share of solar and wind power in 2015.

      The German grid is highly reliable and is only getting more reliable.

      I would not vote for a politician that talks this way. To please his fossil fuel donors such a politician has an incentive to cut corners and provoke more large black-outs. That is not good.

    2. Victor, 40% of SA's electricity is from renewable sources.

      Malcolm Turnbull may come to rue his jumping on the renewabless-bashing bandwagon - there is some pushback in the Australian media already:



      Oh, and interestingly, the SA storm and subsequent damage to power transmission occurred the day after this news release...


    3. Thanks for the roundup Bernard J. What a miserable bunch of opportunistic and shameless liars.

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