$30,000 Challenge Submission – Critical Remarks on AGW

You have received an inquiry on the following news release.
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{Climate Change Deniers Using Same Methods as Tobacco Industry, Says Physicist}
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Please assist us by responding in a timely manner.

http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=38693&do=blog&id=774122

Response:

The link provided above goes to a paper written by the submitter of this comment, Critical Remarks about Anthropogenic Global Climate Warming.  Unfortunately, I am unable to include the whole paper here. If you wish to read the entire paper you will need to follow the link provided. However, I am providing the conclusions:


Both theory and experiment show the latent heat of vapor condensation is emitted in the form of radiant energy. And the two fundamental results of the current atmospheric physics, the diffusion equation of heat away from a droplet surface and the cloud formation on adiabatic expansion are wrong.
Because the main constituents (such as nitrogen, oxygen and argon) of the atmosphere do not absorb the infrared radiation, the radiant energy emitted by greenhouse gases cannot increase the temperature of the whole atmosphere. But absorption and emitting of greenhouse gases can make the infrared radiation be reserved in longer period of time and become the energy absorbed by greenhouse gases to be shared with the other, non-IR-active, gases, which should be the sole possible physical mechanism which the greenhouse gases warms the whole air. This is the very physical mechanism of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.
The radiant energy of vapour condensation in the atmosphere should be in all directions, which can greatly enhance the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Both the cloud and water vapour can absorb the solar energy, the thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface and the radiant energy of water vapour condensation in extent. And the absorbed energy can be transferred into the latent heat. Therefore, both the water vapour and cloud are the important heat resources as so to produce and enhance the atmospheric greenhouse effect. The effects of the cloud on the atmosphere cannot only be covered under the concept of feedbacks. Even though carbon dioxide can also absorb and emit radiate energy, its greenhouse effect can be ignored by comparison.
While the condensation, desublimation or freezing mostly occurs during the night, the latent heat is emitted and the cloud amount necessarily increases. Therefore, the reasons that the diurnal temperature range (DTR) decreases with the increasing of cloud amount and the urban heat island effect actually takes place at night can also reasonably be explained. All above those are brand new viewpoints about the atmospheric greenhouse effect.
Because the water vapour in the atmosphere mainly comes from the evaporation of oceans, the global climate change is mainly dominated by natural factors and the anthropogenic global climate warming resulted from the increasing of CO2 concentration should be a wrong conclusion. Therefore, the global warming possibility predicted by IPCC is evaluated to be impossible.
The analyses and discussion in this paper show that the current atmospheric physics has the fundamental errors. Therefore, many aspects of global climate change should further be researched.

Response:

The author (and submitter) is correct when he points out that the term ‘greenhouse effect’ is a misnomer. Most heating in a greenhouse occurs by trapping air and preventing it from blowing away. Some IR absorption does occur, though. The confusion comes from the fact that it was traditionally believed that the glass of the greenhouse allowed visible light to enter and then prevented the IR radiation from leaving. The term was then applied to the observed trapping of heat in the atmosphere (in the early-1800s) and the term has stuck. This is not any kind of evidence for, or against, the greenhouse effect any more than the fact that ‘cosmic rays’ are not rays (they are particles) is evidence they do, or do not, exist.

The author is correct when he states that the principle gases in the atmosphere do not absorb or emit IR radiation. He is incorrect in his conclusion when he says this calls into question the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. That conclusion would require that the gases in the atmosphere that actually do absorb and emit IR radiation cease to do so, merely because they are not the principle gases present. This is a hugely false conclusion.

The author then goes into a discussion of clouds and makes several erroneous statements. He quotes a statement that cloud feedback remains the largest source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates. The quote is accurate, but not the way the author applies it. The effect of clouds on the climate is because they act as negative feedback in the daytime by reflecting sunlight back into space, but as a positive feedback at night by trapping IR radiation and preventing it from escaping. There is also uncertainty about how and when they will form. As temperature goes up the amount of water vapor in the air will also increase, but the air can also hold more moisture, so it does not follow that an increase in water vapor will automatically lead to an equal increase in cloud formation. And, contrary to the author’s statement, clouds do not necessarily mean precipitation is on the way. Most clouds do not lead to precipitation.

I also have a serious concern when he states, “it is a simple scientific truth…”. There is no place in a scientific paper for that statement. Prove it or provide a reference that proves it. If it is generally accepted science leave out the preamble.

Later on that same page, the author quotes the IPCC report on the importance of latent heat from cloud formation. Then, he immediately claims that latent heat is never discussed.

The author then gets into the heart of his claim, the claim that radiative heat transfer equations are wrong. It seems to me that he bases this on the statement:

From the viewpoint of Heat Transfer, the temperature of the cloud droplet surface is required to be higher than that of the surrounding air in order for the latent heat to be diffused away. But if so, the condensation of the water vapor should be impossible due the limit of the second law of thermodynamics.

I have read this several times and I can’t figure out just how the author comes to this conclusion. The best I can come up with is that he is saying entropy in the water droplet would decrease and this would be a violation of the second law. If that is what he is claiming he is very wrong. A water droplet is by no means a closed system. We can have entropy decrease in a local area (a refrigerator does exactly this) as long as the entropy increases by an appropriate amount somewhere else (in the case of the refrigerator, the entropy increase due to the power plant and the refrigerator’s heat exhaust will both lead to entropy increases somewhere else). The entropy of the droplet can decrease, as long as the heat escaping it results in entropy increases in the surrounding air.

If that isn’t what he is saying I am at a complete loss. The bottom line is that the condensation of a water droplet is not a violation of the second law.

The author then goes off on a false tangent by discussing the amount of heat released by the consumption of fossil fuels. He appears to be saying the claim of global warming is that heat released from fossil fuel burning is what is being held accountable for global warming. If he is then this is an totally false statement. By his own calculations, the heat released by all of the fossil fuel burning is 4.5 x 10^20 joules per year (4.5 x 10^17 kJ). But, the solar radiation is about 10^25 joules per day! The amount of energy we get from the Sun every day is about 100,000 times as much as released by an entire year’s worth of fossil fuel burning. The source of heating in the atmosphere is not from fossil fuel burning, it is from trapping solar energy in the atmosphere and slowing its release into space.

He also talks about the amount of latent heat being released into the atmosphere and claims this is enough to raise the global air temperature by 237 degrees C. But, his math is wrong. He multiplied (984 mm of precipitation per year per square meter) x (1 kg of water per 1000 mm of water) x (surface area of the Earth in square meters) x (2500 kJ of latent heat released per kilogram of water) x (1000). This gave him 1.254 x 10^21 kJ of latent heat released per year.

But, this is not correct. He should not have included that extra 1000 at the end. He did not include units (I added the units myself) in his math (very bad practice) so I can’t be sure exactly what he was thinking, but I think he included a double conversion. I multiplied (984 mm of precipitation per square meter per year) by (the surface area of the Earth in square meters) by (2500 kJ of latent heat per kilogram of water) by (1 kilogram of water per 1000 mm of water). This gives 1.254 x 10^18 kJ of latent heat released per year. This is a difference of one thousand. So, the latent heat is NOT enough to raise the temperature of the atmosphere by 237 degrees, but enough to raise it by .237 degrees C. Of course, this heat is absorbed by natural processes, such as evaporating water the replace the water that condensed and precipitated.

There are more errors, but I have shown that his basic premise is incorrect. He claimed the equations of heat diffusion are wrong and he proceeded from there. But, the truth is his interpretation of the statements of science and his math were what were in error.

Consequently, his conclusion concerning global warming cannot be supported by this piece of work.

Briefly, there are other erroneous statements in his conclusion I quoted above:

Even though carbon dioxide can also absorb and emit radiate energy, its greenhouse effect can be ignored by comparison. 

No. CO2 accounts for roughly 30% of the observed greenhouse effect. But, its effect goes further because that heating is responsible for increasing the amount of water vapor in the air. By ignoring the CO2 the author was actually ignoring the principle driver of the greenhouse effect.

Because the water vapour in the atmosphere mainly comes from the evaporation of oceans, the global climate change is mainly dominated by natural factors and the anthropogenic global climate warming resulted from the increasing of CO2 concentration should be a wrong conclusion.

This is just silly. Because the water vapor came from the ocean it is in the atmosphere because of natural factors? What caused the increased heating necessary to evaporate the water from the ocean surface? The author completely disregarded this question.

Therefore, the global warming possibility predicted by IPCC is evaluated to be impossible.

The analyses and discussion in this paper show that the current atmospheric physics has the fundamental errors.

The fundamental errors are in this paper. The author started out with a bad basis, added bad math, mixed in some bad physics and, not surprisingly, reached a bad conclusion.

This does not prove man made global warming is not real.

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