Thursday, March 29, 2018

Climate True-Believers vs Rational Skeptics

Subtitle: A New Series of the Ongoing Debate

This is the first of what I anticipate will be a series of articles documenting and commenting on the never-ending debate over climate change, global warming, and man's role (if any) in the entire affair.   Recently, about a week ago, I learned to my dismay that my engineering professional organization, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), had elected a new president for the Greater Houston area (STS or South Texas Section) who publicly stated that global warming is real, it is man-made, and the time for discussion is finished.   That's a paraphrase, but it captures the intent.   Needless to say, I was and am not pleased.   

Some of this blog, SLB is devoted to articles on AGW, or anthropomorphic global warming.  Those articles document my own personal journey from being a believer in what the scientists published, to digging into the data and the conclusions then realizing the entire body of evidence is tainted beyond being useful. see link  Much of the chicanery borders on fraud.  Others of the SLB articles document the many, many examples of what the false-alarmists have done under the guise of valid science, and discuss exactly what is wrong with that.  see link 

Also, from time to time, some of my colleagues have engaged alarmist chemical engineers to argue why the data is not credible and therefore neither are the alarmist conclusions.  I also have engaged a few from time to time, but this time seems different.   The attacks got personal very quickly.  I should point out that the incoming AIChE STS president was not one who made personal attacks.   

So, today I take keyboard in hand and write out a few things.   In no particular order, one thing I received was a lecture on how carbon dioxide, CO2, absorbs radiant heat energy in the infrared spectrum (IR energy or just IR), then emits that energy outward in all directions.  That was offered as if I was ignorant of that bit of physical chemistry.   Apparently, the one or ones lecturing me are unaware of a post from May, 2017 on SLB that discusses that very issue.  The post is "Chemical Engineers, CO2, and Absorptive Re-Radiation
Subtitle:  Fired Furnaces Have Strong Radiating CO2; Atmosphere Does Not."  see link  In a nutshell, chemical engineers and mechanical engineers design fired furnaces that must account for the radiant properties of not only CO2, but also water vapor.   This has been known for approximately 100 years now.   So, the question is not one of does CO2 absorb or not, but what, if any influence does such CO2 have on atmospheric temperatures.  As a noted rational scientist has stated, atmospheric warming by CO2 is trivially true but numerically insignificant. 

One can describe other aspects of physics that are also trivially true but numerically insignificant.   One is ocean acidification, where a single drop of hydrochloric acid is added to the ocean, one drop each year for 100 years.   While it is true that, in a laboratory, one can add a drop of acid to a small beaker of water, then easily measure the decrease in pH, one cannot measure the decrease in pH in the ocean.   The result is numerically insignificant. 

Less in the esoteric realm of chemistry, a more practical example.  It is true that adding weight to a vehicle will require more gasoline to move the vehicle a given distance.  The converse is also true, such that removing weight will result in less gasoline required.  But, one cannot measurably improve gas mileage by simply vacuuming up the dust particles from a small area of the floorboards.   Of course, a tiny amount of mass or weight is removed in the vacuuming process, but the result is numerically insignificant.  

Other examples come readily to hand: adding one more flake of crushed ice to a pitcher of frozen margaritas, adding a single grain of salt to a large pot of soup, etc.  In each case, the outcome is trivially true but numerically insignificant.  Thus it is with adding CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere.  

How can we know that this (numerically insignificant result) is true?  After all, the false-alarmists among the climate scientists, and now at least a few of the chemical engineers, boldly state that AGW is true and dire consequences are imminent.  

One of the many ways we know that CO2 is not warming the atmosphere is the basic tenet of physics that holds that physics is not arbitrary, not capricious, instead it works reliably and robustly every time.   This is also discussed in more than a few articles on SLB, the reader is encouraged to do a search on the word "gravity."   Many examples of physics that work reliably and robustly can be stated: combining certain colors of light will result in a known final color; mixing various colors of pigment in a paint base will yield a consistent final color; mixing certain ingredients for a cooking recipe will give a cake, not a roast duck; producing a vibration in air with a frequency of 440 cycles per second will result in a sound that we call an A note, etc.   Real physics is not arbitrary nor capricious.  

Yet, there are many examples of locations on the land where zero warming has occurred over a century or more.   As pointed out on SLB many times, how does the CO2 know which cities or towns below it are to be ignored?   Here is a list of cities in the US that had zero warming or were cooling since 1900, as shown by data from a climate research think-tank.  The cities are: Sacramento CA, Shreveport LA, Asheville NC, Charleston SC, Chattanooga TN, Nashville TN, and Abilene TX.   Meanwhile, adjacent cities show a pronounced warming, such as San Francisco CA that is only 50 miles west of Sacramento.  see link

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The arbitrary warming is not limited to cities, as we know that entire counties do not warm if the population is small, some states have not warmed, and entire regions of the US show little to zero warming.    Here is a graph from a publication by James Goodridge, former State Climatologist for California, showing the absence of warming for low-population counties but significant warming in high-population counties. 

Another argument made by the false-alarmists is the outright hubris I must have to hold my views, when 97 percent of climate scientists agree that AGW is real and man-made, and imminent disasters are certain.   That, too, was addressed in a SLB article, see "Why Claim of 97 Percent Scientists is Wrong; Subtitle:  Consensus Does Not Make Wrong Science Right,see link 

There are so many other issues to address, but time is precious so here ends the article for today.  It is indeed unfortunate that a few chemical engineers have blindly believed the false-alarmists in the science community.   And for the record, I am certainly not alone; indeed there are many chemical engineers who completely agree with my views.   

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved

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