Countering Consensus Calculations

Guest Post by Peter Morcombe (gallopingcamel)

The Kyoto Protocol

Elites around the world tend to believe that rising levels of CO2 in our atmosphere will cause catastrophic climate changes.  Collectively they wield enough power to shape energy policies in many nations according to commitments laid down in the “Kyoto Protocol” and subsequent accords.  It is interesting to compare the fate of the Kyoto Protocol based on the work of “Climate Scientists” such as Michael Mann with that of the Montreal Protocol based on the work of people like McElroy.

The Montreal Protocol essentially banned the production of Freon and similar compounds based on the prediction that this would reduce the size of the polar “Ozone Holes”.  After the ban went into effect the size of the ozone holes diminished. This may mean that the science presented by McElroy and his cohorts was “Robust” or it may be dumb luck.  Either way, McElroy has credibility and “Skeptics” are ridiculed.  The Kyoto Protocol did not fare so well.

When the Kyoto Protocol went into effect in 1994 it committed the nations signing it to:

“…..reducing their overall emissions of such gases by at least 5 per cent below existing 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012.”

“The Parties included in Annex I shall strive to implement policies and measures under this Article in such a way as to minimize adverse effects, including the adverse effects of climate change,”

The Protocol fails to explain what the adverse effects of climate change are but given that the year was 1994 and the IPCC was the only “Scientific” authority cited in the protocol it seems safe to assume that failure to limit CO2 emissions was expected to result in “Catastrophic Global Warming” which was the meme back then.   Nobody believes in CAGW any more; today we discuss “Climate Change”.  You have to love the brilliance of this re-branding…….who could dissent with the idea that climate will change?

The Kyoto Protocol required a reduction of ~5% in 2012 relative to 1990. The 1990 emissions of CO2 were 22.5 billion tonnes so the target was 21.4 billion tonnes by 2012. Actual emissions in 2012 were 33.5 billion tonnes, equivalent to a 49% increase over 1990 levels.

Given the failure to meet Kyoto targets we should be noticing an uptick in global temperatures. Satellite measurements show that temperatures rose 0.25 Kelvin from 1990 to 1998 but have not risen since.  (

In spite of the huge increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere the predicted temperature rise did not materialize so we need to ask what is wrong with “Climate Science” given that it claimed that the “Consensus” is supported by 97% of scientists and “The Debate is Over”.  In my opinion the debate is indeed over because the cause of CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) is dead and buried.   What we need now is a better understanding of the effects of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere given that the “Consensus” theory failed so dismally.

The New Lysenkoism

Living as I do on the “Space Coast” it offends me that thousands of pink slips have been issued at the Kennedy Space Center while the Goddard Institute of Space Studies remains fully funded.    It is sickening that purveyors of fairy stories such as Al Gore and James Hansen are showered with awards while scientists like Murray Salby and Nicola Scafetta are victimized.  How could such injustice happen?  Vaclav Havel provides valuable insights in his “The Power of the Powerless” (1978).

“In 1974, when I was employed in a brewery, my immediate superior was a certain Š, a person well versed in the art of making beer.  He was proud of this profession and he wanted our brewery to brew good beer.  He spent almost all his time at work, continually thinking up improvements and he frequently make the rest of us feel uncomfortable because he assumed that we loved brewing as much as he did.  In the midst of the slovenly indifference to work that socialism encourages, a more constructive worker would be difficult to imagine.

The brewery itself was managed by people who understood their work less and were less fond of it, but who were politically more influential.  They were bringing the brewery to ruin and not only did they fail to react to any of Š’s suggestions, but they actually became increasingly hostile towards him and tried in every way to thwart his efforts to do a good job.  Eventually, the situation became so bad that Š felt compelled to write a lengthy letter to the manager’s superior, in which he attempted to analyze the brewery’s difficulties.  He explained why it was the worst in the district and pointed to those responsible.

His voice might have been heard.   The manager, who was politically powerful but otherwise ignorant of beer, a man who loathed workers and was given to intrigue, might have been replaced and conditions in the brewery might have been improved on the basis of Š’s suggestions.  Had this happened it would have been a perfect example of small-scale work in action.  Unfortunately, the precise opposite occurred; the manager of the brewery, who was a member of the Communist Party’s district committee, had friends in higher places and he saw to it that the situation was resolved in his favor. Š’s analysis was described as a “defamatory document” and Š himself was labeled a “political saboteur”.  He was thrown out of the brewery and shifted to another one where he was given a job requiring no skill.  Here the notion of small-scale work had come up against the wall of the post-totalitarian system.  By speaking the truth, Š had stepped out of line, broken the rules, cast himself out, and he ended up as a sub-citizen, stigmatized as an enemy.  He could now say anything he wanted, but he could never, as a matter of principle, expect to be heard.  He had become the “dissident” of the Eastern Bohemian Brewery.

I think this is a model case which, from another point of view, illustrates what I have already said in the preceding section: you do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career.  You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances.  You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them.  It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”

You might be inclined to dismiss this as something that could only happen in a corrupt “One Party” state, yet similar things are happening in countries that are nominally democratic.  The problem is much deeper than politics or ideologies.  John Acton explained it when he said:

 “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” 

How is it that we’ve ended up with a corrupt society where science has to conform with some ‘truth’ that has been decided by men of power, and those who do not conform are cast as heretics?

In the USA we have Nicola Scafetta who noticed a correlation between planetary periods and global temperatures.  While his correlations are “robust” he lacked a physical mechanism to explain the correlations.   A much larger problem was the fact that he was suggesting that solar activity might have a greater effect on global temperature than [CO2].   I don’t know whether Nicola is right, yet his predictions and backcasts are demonstrably closer to observations than the IPCC with its CMIP models.  In a better world this disagreement would be resolved by debate or experiment but given the toxic state of “Climate Science” Scafetta must not be heard.

Things are even worse in Australia as the treatment of Murray Salby shows.  Here is what annoyed his superiors at Macquarie (Sydney) leading to his being fired without “due process” when he was attending a function in Europe.  His return air ticket was voided so that he had to pay for his return to Australia:

So What?

Creative people always had to sing for their supper.  Nobody would have heard of Michaelangelo but for the patronage of Pope Julius II.  Likewise for Bach and Prince Leopold.  Today patronage is in the hands of the federal government.  President Eisenhower warned us it would be a problem:

“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

If you believe (as I do) that “Climate Science” is corrupt how do you prove it?  My approach depends on comparing theory with observations.  Temperature drives [CO2] over long time scales:

Nikolov & Zeller declared that climate was primarily dependent on pressure and they presented an impressive correlation between planetary surface temperature and pressure (for a given Total Solar Irradiance).   I thought that N&Z were onto something when they claimed that pressure is the prime variable. So I decided to test their theory at arbitrary pressures rather than those observed at the surface of rocky bodies.  Here is what I found by applying equations to gas giants with no observable surfaces:

If N&Z are right, pressure is the main variable and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere does not matter.  Increasing the CO2 concentration would have no significant effect on global climate.   N&Z claimed that the PETM was caused by an increase in atmospheric pressure.  I tried to explain this on the assumption that oxygen provided the extra gas pressure but failed:

When I called Nikolov to discuss the failure of the oxygen based hypothesis he told me (in  confidence) he was working on a paper that proposed a different mechanism for modulating atmospheric pressure on a macroscopic scale.   Until that paper is published I can’t comment further.

Then I came across “Robinson & Catling” and found their equations worked at arbitrary pressures and not just at the surfaces of rocky planets.  Unlike N&Z’s equations the R&C model works from the troposphere to the stratosphere:

Using the R&C model it should be possible to test Nikolov & Zeller’s assertion that the concentration of CO2 in a planet’s atmosphere would have very little effect on the surface temperature.  It would also enable me to test the assertions that James Hansen made in a paper published in 2013:

Figure 7 in the above paper is classic James Hansen bullshit.  It shows global cooling at a rate of 16 K/halving of CO2 which neatly explains the last seven glacial cycles in terms of CO2.  It also shows 4.5 K/doubling of CO2, exactly the figure calculated by Arrhenius in 1896.  By publishing such nonsense, the Royal Society is declaring that it is just as corrupt as the Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

My initial intent was to use the R&C model to challenge Hansen’s analysis in the above paper but I did not want to involve Tyler Robinson or David Catling in a dispute that might turn ugly.  Therefore I decided to replicate their model using an alternative approach based on Finite Element Analysis.  This approach has the potential to improve on the R&C model by introducing cloud layers.

The FEA software enabled me to replicate the work of Ashwin Vasavada, which is a work in progress:

Let’s hope it can work for planets with significant atmospheres.

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13 Responses to Countering Consensus Calculations

  1. I had come to the conclusion that pressure was the dominant variable in atmospheric temperatures independently of Nikolov and Zeller using “layman’s logic”. Saying that, it was a relief to find someone with a career in science had already come to the same conclusions I had.
    Reading your reservations about their paper, specifically the things they hadn’t taken into account, such as clouds, I think you miss the point though. Their paper is not about covering EVERY variable, it’s about showing the DOMINANT variables. By putting in minor variables we distract from the papers goal of showing a relationship between temperature and pressure. Once done, THEN others can look at where temperatures don’t exactly fit calculations (but come damn close!) and speculate on the other variables at play. Albedo, electromagnetic forces, tidal forces (with moons) clouds and yes, even chemical composition (though the back radiation idea needs to be dropped).

  2. tchannon says:

    You will have noticed the Miskolczi work but has the implication popped up yet in mind?

    As we know (I’ve been involved with GC) various methods give good results with a body with a definite surface. The earth has a largely gas surface but Miskolczi generalises this to what it looks like from the outside. Therefore some kind of result from various methods is possible.

    Miskolczi says nothing about inner details of the body, particularly the obsession of some animals with the temperature of a gas at their standing chest height combined with the temperature of water somewhat below the water surface. This seems of grave importance. Apparently they control this temperature.

  3. r.k.bradstock [not 4 pub] says:

    remove the apostrophe from ‘planet’s’ in last sentence

    [Thank you – fixed. V.]

  4. Thanks for that. I wish it was a deliberate mistake.

  5. PeterMG says:

    Peter Morcombe, an excellent post as always and much for me to get my teeth into over Christmas. The more I read about climate science, the more I am lead by my curiosity into trying to understand our entire environment, our solar system and indeed the Universe, the more I realise we are so completely wrong about almost everything; or should I phrase this as mainstream science is wrong. I’m not sure anyone else has the answer but some have far more compelling explanations for what we observe.

    When I started to look into how CO2 was going to lead to warming back in the late 90’s I was alarmed that our use of energy, so essential to human progress was going to lead to us destroying our environment. Like many who respected science as unimpeachable, I initially accepted what was being told to us, but unlike the vast majority I have this in-built part of me that has to know how it works. I guess this is why I’m an engineer.

    My journey of the last 15 years has been firstly to try and understand how CO2 could influence the climate. When I could find no direct answer I very early on became a sceptic. However I had no evidence and no means of researching the mechanisms, just a gut feel based on the fact there were no facts. My journey of discovery, concurrent with the rise of the internet, lead me to research the earth sciences, trying to figure out how the dinosaurs and other life was so large in the past, and wanting to know more about the super volcano in Taupo near to where I grew up.

    I wrote a few years ago that no one was really addressing the real root of the AGW issue; what kept the earth warm and by what mechanism, and where did CO2 fit in. The primary scientific research was necessarily going to have to be done by scientists with access to very expensive research tools and existing data collected from a wide variety of sources, data that was probably only available as a by-product of other research. I was sure that this investigation could not be done as part of a directly funded project as that would be very dangerous for the consensus.

    Today we have valid alternative hypothesis for the temperature of the atmosphere and the earth surface and a real sense that focusing on just one factor, CO2, is about as far removed from science as you can get. It’s a religion, nothing more nothing less and relies totally on dogma to survive.

    I have come a long way in a very short time in my views of science and my own personal understanding. I now firmly believe the earth is growing (not just expanding), which goes some way to explaining the dinosaurs. The recent probes to the comets and the high resolution photos of Mars throw all the theories about comets, accretion disks and all the other solar system theories in the bin. Gravity based on mass is not supported by any data what so ever, and Gravity being the primary force driving the Universe looks even less certain. Yes there is a force, but what is it and it obviously very weak. Mainstream science is no closer today than it was in Newton’s day, and the Higgs Boson is just a mathematical construct, obscure to all but a few theoretical cosmologists. How can anyone disprove these people when it has cost eye watering amounts for the LHC.

    My personal view now is we will never get politicians to accept that AGW or Climate Change as it now called is not an issue. Even if tomorrow we discover the exact workings of CO2 in the atmosphere and it’s all accepted. No this nonsense will died because science is on the cusp of a revolution. It may still take another 10 or 20 years but science by become so institutionalised has stagnated for 80 or more years and is currently destroying itself. Whilst our rapidly advancing technology gives the illusion of advancing scientific understanding, the reality is that science has wilfully ignored vast amounts of valid physical evidence and that many of our theories are wrong. What single event or discovery will be the catalyst I don’t know, but the more we explore the solar system with our improving technology the more we discover our theories are wrong. I can’t wait, and I’m not so pessimistic about the future as perhaps I was 5 years ago.

  6. Climate Researcher says:

    A review of the new book “CLIMATE CHANGE THE FACTS 2014” by about 24 authors – available here.

    There is good discussion regarding the “consensus” issue, but the best and most relevant chapter in this new book is that by William Soon, namely Chapter 4 “Sun Shunned” in which he discusses things such as the eccentricity of the Sun’s orbit that I have also pointed out as the principal regulator of glacial periods.

    The rest of the chapters on the “science” do not discuss the valid physics which is really what does determine Earth’s surface temperatures. Instead the “lukes” all reiterate the false claim that carbon dioxide causes significant warming of the surface by radiative forcing. Nowhere is the assumed process of forcing actually discussed. We just get the usual false paradigm that carbon dioxide traps outward radiation and thus supposedly makes the surface warmer.

    Carbon dioxide does not trap thermal energy. It disposes of what it absorbs either by subsequent radiation or by sensible heat transfer (via molecular collisions) to other air molecules which outnumber it by 2,500 to 1. It also helps nitrogen and oxygen cool through such collisions, and may subsequently radiate the energy thus acquired out of the atmosphere.

    All radiation between regions at different temperatures can only transfer thermal energy from the warmer region (or surface) to a cooler region. This means all heat transfer in the troposphere is generally upwards to cooler regions, with a proportion always getting through to space. There is no thermal energy transferred to a warmer surface. The energy transfer is the other way. The Sun’s radiation is not helped by radiation from the atmosphere which is only sending back some of its own energy now with much lower energy photons. Radiating gases reduce the insulating effect by helping energy to escape faster, and that is why moist air in double glazed windows also reduces the insulating effect, just as does water vapor in the troposphere.

    Nowhere in the book do we see the surface temperature explained correctly using Stefan Boltzmann calculations. No one ever does this, because it is an absolute stumbling block for climatologists. The mean solar flux entering the surface is only about 163W/m^2 after 52% of the solar radiation has been either absorbed or reflected by the surface, clouds or atmosphere. But such a low level of radiation would only produce a very cold -41°C. That’s even colder than what the IPCC claims would be the case, namely -18°C without greenhouse gases. They deduce that by assuming that the whole troposphere would be isothermal due to convective heat transfer, including sensible heat transfers by molecular collision.

    Hence all the “luke” authors fall for the trap of not actually explaining the existing surface temperature, let alone what carbon dioxide might or might not do. How could you work out the latter if you don’t know your starting point? The truth is that you cannot calculate the surface temperature of any planet that has a significant atmosphere by using radiation calculations. Hence all the considerations pertaining to radiation and absorption by carbon dioxide are totally within a wrong paradigm.

    That assumption by the IPCC (and thus by the “lukes” who have written this book) that the troposphere would be isothermal was rubbished in the 19th century by some physicists who understood the process described in statements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is still being rubbished to this day, and even more so, now that physicists realise that the Second Law is all about entropy increasing to the point where there are no unbalanced energy potentials. In a gravitational field this state of thermodynamic equilibrium is attained when all the energy potentials involving gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy and radiative energy balance out. That is when the environmental temperature gradient is attained, and the very fact that it exists enables us to explain all planetary surface temperatures (and the required energy flows) without the slightest reference to back radiation, let alone trace gases like carbon dioxide. Only water vapor has a significant effect in lowering that gradient because of its radiating properties. It thus cools the surface, and that puts a big spanner in the works for the IPCC et al.

  7. gallopingcamel says:

    @Climate Researcher,
    Currently I am trying to replicate the work of Robinson & Catling here:

    My hope is to be able to prove that the Arrhenius (1896) hypothesis is false and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has no significant effect on the average global temperature.

  8. stewgreen says:

    The Kyoto 94 Real World Experiment by gallopingcamel
    – ‘Hypothesis doom* will come, unless between 2008 and 2012 CO2 emmissions are reduced to 95% of 1990 levels and never allowed to get higher’ (*OK change it to “signs of possible pathway to doom will become highly obvious; such as climatic changes at a rate never thought possible before in a stable era”.. fiddlable ?)

    – Now we are running that experiment.
    but surely 2015 is too early ?
    We can’t say it’s falsified until a reasonable amount of time say 2050, as we will probably have fusion power by then.

    • stewgreen says:

      From Alex Avery in 2004
      //Blair, however, is willing to make Britain a huge, real-world experiment testing whether massive reductions in greenhouse emissions can be cost-effective. He brushes aside all skeptics, insisting he can do it the “green” way, through increasing energy efficiency and by producing more “renewable energy” from solar and wind power.//

    • gallopingcamel says:

      In 1972 I was building instruments for fusion research. Back then we believed that fusion reactors would be delivering electricity to the grid within 40 years (i.e. by 2012).

      My best guess today is that we are 100 years away from large scale power generation from fusion reactors. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is receding.

      • stewgreen says:

        @gallopingcamel 2013 I spoke to a number of fusion scientists at the British Science Festival.
        100 years you say . You appear to be going against Scientific Consensus cos they told me fusion will be achieved with 10 years when ITER will give out more power than it takes it. “and we really mean it this time” . Then Fusion will be commercialised shortly after
        .. When you check every 1 year in the ITER prog seems to take 2 years in real time (I really wonder if that is interference from outside, a lot of other investors in other industries have a lot to lose)

  9. gallopingcamel says:

    I really hope that you are right. Who can doubt that fusion power will eventually dominate? You say that I am going against “Scientific Consensus” and for sure you are right…………..that seems to be my destiny.

    However if my pessimism about fusion turns out to be realistic it won’t really matter as fourth generation nuclear fission reactors will fill the gap very nicely.

    Finally someone (Toyota) has managed to build an automobile (Mirai) powered by fuel cells. What took them so long? However, this is not a “Green” technology if the process for producing the hydrogen fuel is based on electrolysis which in the end depends on fossil fuels.

    Fourth generation nuclear reactors provide the neatest method for producing hydrogen by the thermal dissociation of water. Molten salt reactors can operate at the required high temperatures while supplying the vast amounts of heat needed to sustain this highly endothermic reaction.

    In the grand scheme of things, hydrogen fusion such as Deuterium-Tritium reactions are pretty feeble (0.4% efficient). Today we can convert matter into energy with an efficiency of 100% in the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). The only problem is that this requires “Anti-matter” created by processes that are staggeringly inefficient.

    So what lies beyond fusion”? I hope you will like my 100% efficient “Proton Annihilation Rocket”:

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