Lead them not into temptation

Climatologist; I have a system of undetermined complexity and undetermined composition, floating and spinning in space. It has a few internal but steady state and minor energy sources. An external energy source radiates 1365 watts per meter squared at it on a constant basis. What will happen?

Physicist; The system will arrive at a steady state temperature which radiates heat to space that equals the total of the energy inputs. Complexity of the system being unknown, and the body spinning in space versus the radiated energy source, there will be cyclic variations in temperature, but the long term average will not change.

Climatologist; Well what if I change the composition of the system?

Physicist; see above.

Climatologist; Perhaps you don’t understand my question. The system has an unknown quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere that absorbs energy in the same spectrum as the system is radiating. There are also quantities of carbon and oxygen that are combining to create more CO2 which absorbs more energy. Would this not raise the temperature of the system?

Physicist; There would be a temporary fluctuation in temperature caused by changes in how energy flows through the system, but for the long term average… see above.

Climatologist; But the CO2 would cause a small rise in temperature, which even if it was temporary would cause a huge rise in water vapour which would absorb even more of the energy being radiated by the system. This would have to raise the temperature of the

Physicist; There would be a temporary fluctuation in the temperature caused by changes in how energy flows through the system, but for the long term average… see above.

Climatologist; That can’t be true. I’ve been measuring temperature at thousands of points in the system and the average is rising.

Physicist; The temperature rise you observe can be due to one of two factors. It may be due to a cyclic variation that has not completed, or it could be due to the changes you alluded to earlier resulting in a redistribution of energy in the system that affects the measurement points more than the system as a whole. Unless the energy inputs have changed, the long term temperature average would be… see above.

Climatologist; AHA! All that burning of fossil fuel is releasing energy that was stored millions of years ago, you cannot deny that this would increase temperature.

Physicist; Is it more than 0.01% of what the energy source shining on the planet is?

Climatologist; Uhm… no.

Physicist; Rounding error. For the long term temperature of the planet…see above.

Climatologist;Methane! Methane absorbs even more than CO2!

Physicist; see above.

Climatologist; Clouds! Clouds would retain more energy!

Physicist; see above.

Climatologist; Ice! If a fluctuation in temperature melted all the ice less energy would be reflected into space and would instead be absorbed into the system, raising the temperature. Ha!

Physicist; The ice you are pointing at is mostly at the poles where the inclination of the radiant energy source is so sharp that there isn’t much energy to absorb anyway. But what little there is would certainly go into the surface the ice used to cover, raising its temperature. That would reduce the temperature differential between equator and poles which would slow down convection processes that move energy from hot places to cold places. The result would be increased radiance from the planet that would exceed energy input until the planet cooled down enough to start forming ice again. As I said before, the change to the system that you propose could well result in redistribution of energy flows, and in short term temperature fluctuations, but as for the long term average temperature…. see above.

Climatologist; Blasphemer! Unbeliever! The temperature HAS to rise! I have reports! I have measurements! I have computer simulations! I have committees! United Nations committees! Grant money! Billions and billions and billions! I CAN’T be wrong, I will never explain it! Billions! and the carbon trading! Trillions in carbon trading!

Physicist; (gasp!) How much grant money?

Climatologist; Billions… Want some?

Physicist; Uhm…

Climatologist; BILLIONS!

Climatologist; Hi. I used to be a physicist. When I started to understand the danger the world was in though, I decided to do the right thing and become a climatologist. Let me explain the greenhouse effect to you…

Dialogue posted in a comment yesterday over at The Telegraph by aelfrith.

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14 Responses to Lead them not into temptation

  1. Thanks for a good laugh, but with a serious undertone.
    A physicist measures things, but is suspicious of his measurements.
    A climate modeller models things, and believes all they tell him.

  2. Verity

    I need a couple of million in order to carry out research to see if the above is correct. Please send immediately.

    My Outdoor tomatoes are a complete loss this year. Indoor ones struggling. Last of our sub tropical succulents died last winter. Seems to back up the CET figures;

    The UK is now officially back to where we were in the 1730’s as regards temperatures, perhaps illustrating the pointlessness of ‘global’ temperatures.

    I think we need three average global temperatures. One that shows those places that are warming. One that shows that third of the globe that is cooling and one that shows those places showing no overall trend.

    PS Want to buy some cheap slugs? Also snails on special offer this week. Two for the price of one

    • ArndB says:

      I wish I could also write so humorously, fairly fluently. Let me try with someone else who tried to lead meteorologist into temptation, the oceanographer H.U. Sverdrup in his book “Oceanography for Meteorologists”, New York 1942, page 223:

      “It might appear, therefore, as if the oceanic
      circulation and the distribution of temperature
      and salinity in the ocean are caused by the
      atmospheric processes, but such a conclusion would be
      erroneous, because the energy that maintains the
      atmospheric circulation is to be greatly supplied
      by the oceans.” From: http://www.seaclimate.com/j/j.html

      Meteorologists resisted this temptation successfully over the last 70 years. They still stare into they air and think, they can explain climate change without understanding the oceans first.
      SORRY if it is difficult to see the joke in it, if it is any!
      Best regards Arnd

  3. Pingback: Nailed it…details aren’t important | pindanpost

  4. Pascvaks says:

    Ahhhh.. Temptation! The root of all evil!

    The hardest impurity to get out of anything, be it laundry, climate, or particle physics, is the human element.

  5. Brilliant! Loved it.

  6. A Short History of the World’s Climate from 1800 to the Present

    From 1800 to 1899, nothing much happened; the world got a little warmer, and the seas rose a little. Suddenly, in 1900, nothing much happened; nothing much had happened before, and nothing much was happening again. A distinct trend was developing. From 1901 to the present, June 29th. 2012, the trend continued, the Earth got a little warmer, and the seas rose a bit, and so nothing much happened.

    Clearly, citizens of the Earth must take action to stop this worrying trend; if we do nothing, nothing much will continue to happen, and who knows what the result might be.

    – I’m hoping to get this short dissertation published in Nature Climate Change; it contains no statistics, but does contain two facts, and so trumps most of their publications.

    • ArndB says:

      It is difficult to take your assessment serious. You think it is simple!? There happened a lot since the mid of the 19th Century. Today I posted the following comment on http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/my-reply-to-dr-paul-bain-deniers-believers-nature/#comment-1075327:

      ArndB , June 29, 2012 at 4:15 am
      @ „…so it follows that denier (as you use it) refers to being a “science denier”
      @ “…..we still don’t know what evidence deniers deny?”
      Reply: Those are two very good points!
      @ “One group in our society thinks it can change the weather (you call these “believers”), the other half of the population are not convinced (you call these the “deniers”)..“
      Reply: It is presumably not as simple as it looks like. I believe in the ability of man to change the weather and climate, e.g. by extensive activities at sea and in the in the marine environment, and think I can prove it with the naval war activities during the two World Wars (http://www.seaclimate.com/ ), but regard it as grossly irresponsible to discuss anthropogenic climatic changes and AGW merely on CO2.
      and responding to a replay (kindly check) :

      ArndB , June 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm • Reply
      @ memoryvault June 29, 2012 at 9:37 am „I have great difficulty in accepting that Mankind can control the climate to any great degree,…”

      Reply: Kindly imagine the world wide impact of an El Nino, taking into account that it is a rather small water body, and only few degrees warmer than that of the surrounding sea (see here: http://www.seaclimate.com/f/images/buch/big/F-2_TM11.png ).
      Imagine further that the ocean is holding 1000 times more water than the atmosphere has with just an average water temperature of about plus 4 degrees Celsius. What technical effort are necessary to bring cold water up to the sea surface to cool down the atmosphere over days, weeks, months or years? It would be technically no problem, could be done quickly, and at not so much costs. Vice versa, there is no “mean” to warm the ocean sea surface. That is a speciality of El Nino, and a purely natural event.
      Regarding “control of climate”, I have never said that man can control climate, but man can influence weather and climate. Unfortunately science has done nothing to assess the impact of many ocean uses, e.g. of screw driven vessels, fishing boats etc. since about 1850 (more here: http://www.seaclimate.com/a/a3.html ).
      However, the sudden increase of ocean penetration during naval war periods, has worked like a field experiment on large scale. During the two world wars the naval war area was mainly confined to the adjacent seas in Northern Europe (1914-18 and 1939-42), and by a thorough assessment of the winter period, it is not so difficult to proof evidently that naval war activities have contributed to the continental weather and climate conditions. Helpful in this respect is, that the North Sea and the Baltic Sea have a special function during the winter season, which makes it much easier to analyse the extreme war winters as caused be sea water conditions.

      The reference material, http://www.seaclimate.com/, which is available as book in international online bookshops (e.g. US/amazon.com), deals with the first three WWII years on about 150 pages , respectively ¾ of the book. I would be happy to continue the discussion on the material presented.

      • You think it is simple!?

        Yes, I do. In the last 100+ years, global temperature rose by about 0.7°C. That’s a “little warmer”. The global oceans rose by about 20cm – that’s “rose a bit”.

        You’re attacking a straw-man – I didn’t say mankind has had, and is having, NO effect on climate. Even if we’d caused ALL of the 0.7°C and 20cm rise, that;s still “nothing much”.

        The US Navy would be interested to learn that “the naval war area was mainly confined to the adjacent seas in Northern Europe (1914-18 and 1939-42). Ask them and the Imperial Japanese Navy about the huge naval war in the Pacific. Ask the Royal Navy, the Kriegsmarine and the Marina Militare about the bitter WWII naval war in the Mediterranean. There was comparatively very little action in “adjacent waters” in 1939-45. Most of the naval and convoy activity in the west in WWII was across the Atlantic, in later years almost all of it.

  7. ArndB says:

    @MostlyHarmless says: (14 July): “The US Navy would be interested to learn that “the naval war area was mainly confined to the adjacent seas in Northern Europe (1914-18 and 1939-42).”

    Reply: Japan and the USA became war parties only 27 months after WWII had started, on 7th / 8th December 1941, and the USA started a huge programme for the navy than:
    Excerpt from http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWusaN.htm

    ____”After Pearl Harbor the US Navy had 16 battleships, 7 aircraft carriers, 18 heavy cruisers, 19 light cruisers, 6 anti-aircraft cruisers, 171 destroyers and 114 submarines. As well as the war in the Pacific the US naval forces helped the Royal Navy to maintain ocean supply lines to Britain in the Atlantic.
    __After entering the Second World War passed an emergency war building programme. Sixteen large aircraft carriers such as the Essex were ordered. So also were fifteen new battleships and nine smaller Independence class aircraft carriers. Destroyers, escort carriers and other anti-submarine vessels were built to meet the twin threat of U-Boats in the Atlantic and Japanese submarines in the Pacific.
    __New naval aircraft such as the the Grumman Hellcat, the Chance-Vought Corsair were also ordered. Over the next four years over 50,000 combat aircraft were delivered to the US Navy. In the same period aviation personnel rose from 10,923 to 437,524.
    __In March 1942, Admiral Ernest King became Commander-in-Chief of the US Navy. Under King’s leadership the fleet grew rapidly and within three years surpassed the combined strength of all other navies in the conflict. This included 5,788 warships and 66,000 landing craft.„

  8. ArndB says:

    My point is, MostlyHarmless :
    The bulk of naval activities from September 1939 to December 1941 were in the North- and Baltic Sea, the English Channel and the Western Approaches. The region from London to Leningrad experienced three extreme cold winters in a row.

    • You said “During the two world wars the naval war area was mainly confined to the adjacent seas in Northern Europe (1914-18 and 1939-42)”

      Silly of me to assume your time period extended to 1942 rather than the “December 1941” you just quoted.

  9. This from twitter:

    @ScotClimate: Scottish Government found to have lied on key figure. Is the Scottish Climate Bill dead?. Will the minister resign? http://bit.ly/OwkVl1

    The Scottish government lied to politicians about key financial data which was central to the argument for the bill when they passed the Scottish Climate Change Bill. The government citing Stern said that the economic cost of a 2-3°C rise would be “between 5-20% of GDP”. In fact Stern suggests there may not be any net economic harm quoting figures of 0-3%

    The figures are so key to justifying the bill, that it really is difficult to see how this bill could withstand a legal challenge.

    … but the scandal gets worse. The Scottish paper (The Courier) which broke this story seems to have been lent on to remove the story. Presumably by someone in government.

    This is about as bad as we can get. It appears the world’s most enthusiastic government for climate change is now embroiled in lies & cover-up.

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