Lavoisier group member Louis Hissink has a response to my post and John Quiggin‘s on the Lavoisier group. A summary cannot do it justice, so I will quote extensively:

A quick scan of the blogosphere reporting on William Kininmonth’s recent book launch on Monday 22 November by the Lavoisier Society showed many still retain a belief in man-made global warming.

So let’s get a little more scientific about this issue.

As far as the earth is concerned, and from a geological perspective, 99% of the earth’s mass is hotter than 1000 degrees Celsius, and 1% of the earth’s mass cooler than 100 degrees celsius – statistics here.

The temperature of space is about 2.7 degrees Kelvin, or expressed in the Celsius scale, approximately -269 degrees Celsius.

Therefore the net heat loss from the earth to space is enormous, from which space could be thought as an almost infinite heat sink. And fluctuations of this heat source will overwhelm anything that humanity thinks it could contribute.

And why are we not being cooked to a frazzle on the earth’s surface by this enormous mass of matter at a temperature greater than 1000 Degrees Celsius underneath us?

Since the temperature gradient between the earth and space is somewhat steep, one wonders about the scientific basis of climate science and the hypothetical construct of anthropogenic CO2 induced global warming, given the overwhelming contribution that the earth’s interior makes to the surface temperature of the earth and to space’s ability to absorb all this thermal energy.

Given the mass of the solid earth is somewhat greater than that of the atmosphere, of which 0.033 percent is CO2, a simple physics 101 calculation of the heat balance might suggest that the contribution by CO2 to the earth’s surface temperature is, for practical purposes, irrelevant.

Are these scientific facts incorporated into the climate models? No, for which self respecting climatologist would study geology – the necessary background for miners of coal, oil, metals and industrial minerals….

[Climate scientists] are scientific morons.

Does the earth’s interior make an overwhelming contribution to the surface temperature? This claim seems to be contradicted by the fact that it is warmer in daytime. And in summer. And closer to the equator. It takes a rare kind of talent to present an argument on climate change that is inconsistent with the existence of seasons.

Scientists have extensively measured the flow of heat from inside the earth—it amounts to 0.075 Watts per square metre, while incoming solar radiation is 342 Watts per square metre, about 5000 times as much. Hissink is correct that heat from the earth is not included in climate models—but that is because it is negligible.

Fortunately Hissink has a theory to explain climate change. Or rather apparent climate change:

This is not the first time that shifts of the earth’s axis were noted in the historical past, the most infamous being the biblical Joshua Ben Nunn event who commanded the sun stand still by pounding his staff on the ground. Of course no man can do that, (but advocates of anthropogenic global warming assert that while man cannot stop the sun, he surely can change the weather, though it then strikes me that as the devout believe Joshua did stop the sun, then changing the climate would seem a trivial exercise for the devout, whether divine or secular – ask Sir David King – thereby confirming Michael Crichton’s observation that anthropogenic global warming is a religious belief rather than scientific fact).

Then there are other more ancient accounts in Egyptian history where the rising and setting suns exchanged places. Where once the sun used to rise, it now sets, and that this happened more than once. So they said. Modern science, limiting its understanding to Newtonian mechanics, finds these ancient accounts extremely problematical, if nigh well impossible but as we all know too well, science also has a habit of changing when new facts are discovered. So while the past might remain inexplicable using existing theories, it is quite likely that new facts will enable us to explain the past in a more sensible manner than by simply dismissing it as impossible today. That is science, of course, which always changes when new facts are discovered. Religion never changes, even when confronted with overwhelming contradictory fact.

But I am not going to dwell on this because it occurred to me that if the earth did change its axis of spin, or careened, slightly, or significantly in the past, then that would have had the interesting effect of moving regions which were once in the tropics, perhaps into more temperate zones, and those in the temperate, perhaps into the arctic zones. We can change the climate of a place simply by moving it about in space?

This would result in the illusion that a particular region suffered a severe climate change, which in one sense is true, but this was only because that region was moved to a different latitude by a change in the earth’s attitude around its axis of spin. The earth’s overall thermal balance would not have changed, but only appeared to have changed from a misinterpretation of the evidence.

This then suggests that during the Medieval warming period Greenland was closer to the equator, and afterwards was moved further north to colder latitudes as the result of some cosmic interaction. That also means that Europe moved to colder climates. Is there any evidence for that? Seems so, if the Korean Choson Annals are anything to go by, as well as the necessity to change the Gregorian calendar, at the time. Of course much research needs to be done in this area, but if no one accepts this, then funding of course will not be allocated. Same old story of facts being quietly ignored by denying funding.

So the science of Newtonian mechanics, which tells us that angular momentum is conserved, and which has been confirmed by countless experiments and observations is just going to have change when confronted by the “overwhelming contradictory fact” that the Bible implies that the Earth stopped rotating? Because otherwise it would really be like a religion. Because religion just believes that the stuff in the Bible is true and will not be swayed by contradictory evidence. Got it.

It also seems a little odd that if the Medieval Warm Period ended with the Earth shifting its axis of rotation, that no-one wrote down something like “Holy Cow! The constellations are in a different place!”. You’d think they would have noticed.

Update: Louis responds on the aptly named Mangled Thoughts blog: Warning: do not read his response while drinking coffee.

Well yes Tim, the Holy See seemed to need to recalibrate the calendar, and in Medieval times, no one was observing the heavens for the simple fact that telescopes had not yet been invented.

Comments

  1. #1 Nick Barnes
    December 15, 2004

    Ow, ow, ow, coffee down nose!

  2. #2 David Tiley
    December 15, 2004

    Not strictly an argument but perhaps worse is this.. I allus love a novel of ideas.

  3. #3 Dano
    December 15, 2004

    Poor Louis. Leave him alone. If you make him leave, then whose comments will make me laugh so hard – esp. since it looks like Bahner can’t post here? It’s not easy to replace someone with such a highly developed comedic IQ.

    D

  4. #4 Yelling
    December 15, 2004

    Tim: I am disappointed that you don’t see the beauty of it. You say: “It also seems a little odd that if the Medieval Warm Period ended with the Earth shifting its axis of rotation, that no-one wrote down something like “Holy Cow! The constellations are in a different place!”. You’d think they would have noticed.”

    But who would have made those observations – why the research scientists of 2000 years ago who were probably afraid of losing their research grants. Of course there may have been a few brave scientists who tried to speak the truth (I think there was a Roman called McKitrickius or something) but the liberal bias of the media, which must stretch back over 2000 years, never reported it. See, it all makes sense!

  5. #5 ben
    December 15, 2004

    I always thought that global warming was due to a plot by the Dali Lama to control the orange textiles market, and indirectly, the world. Think about it, it makes sense.

  6. #6 Rob
    December 16, 2004

    Obviously at the exact same time the rotation of the galaxy changed in the correct proportion. You can’t disprove that can you?

  7. #7 Josh
    December 16, 2004

    I always thought income solar radiation was around 1 kW per square meter, sometimes called “one sun”. Am I missing something?

  8. #8 Josh
    December 16, 2004

    Nevermind my above question. I realize now 342 is an average over the earth’s surface.

  9. #9 Mark Bahner
    December 16, 2004

    Dano writes, “If you make him leave, then whose comments will make me laugh so hard – esp. since it looks like Bahner can’t post here?”

    Cheer up, Dano. You can always get a belly-busting laugh from such comments as these:

    1) Regarding predictions of future methane atmospheric concentrations, CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and global average temperature changes:

    “I reiterate my request, made for a long time, and in many places: Mark, what are the Lottery numbers for next drawing?”

    2) Regarding the relationship between the internal energy of the atmosphere and its temperature:

    a) “Wow. I guess we’ll just have to ditch the entire field of thermodynamics then. In fact, Temperature T and internal energy U are related by the formula
    U=T*m*c
    where m is the mass and c the specific heat. It is true that it is possible for internal energy to change without affecting the temperature if there is a phase change, but the atmosphere stays way above the temperature of liquid nitrogen, so this makes almost no difference to temperatures.”

    …and…

    b) “I mentioned nitrogen because that is what the atmosphere mostly is. Water vapour is less than 0.5% of the atmosphere. And the equation is true for water vapour as well if there is no phase change. The equation I gave is actually a very (close) approximation. Do you also complain that Newtonain physics is the wrong way to describe the atmosphere because it doesn’t account for relativistic effects?”

    Aren’t all those hilarious, Dano? (Especially the first one! What a maroon, eh, Dano?)

    Oh…I forgot…those comments are only funny to the group of people who actually know something about global warming and thermodynamics (more specifically, psychrometrics). That group obviously doesn’t include you!

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

  10. #10 Flute
    December 16, 2004

    I’ve heard of the laughable excuse of cities now getting bigger and warming up the weather stations in surrounding areas but that one is a cracker.

    Warmer in the daytime. Classic.

  11. #11 Brian
    December 16, 2004

    Rob is right! The proportional rotation of the galaxy CHANGED earth’s spin axis, while simultaneously moving the ecliptic plane, oh, and also the moon’s rotation around the earth. “Astronomers” might argue that distant stars can’t outweigh the sun’s gravity, but given the massively greater mass of the galaxy, the sun’s gravitational pull on the earth is, for practical purposes, irrelevant.

  12. #12 tim
    December 16, 2004

    My view on global warming is very sophisticated, and will interest everybody: Even if it is occuring, I don’t care!

  13. #13 Tim Lambert
    December 16, 2004

    Of course not, all your careingness is used up caring about fake turkey stories.

  14. #14 Down and Out in Sài Gòn
    December 16, 2004

    But why should little tim care? Even if his worst case scenario happens, and the office of The Bulletin gets flooded by rising sea levels, that’s not going to stop this Journalist’s Journalist from collecting his paycheck. There’s a call out for cutting-edge opinion pieces on hippies, and John Kerry… and hippies and John Kerry. And tim will be that man to put those opinion pieces on the editor’s desk even if he has to dog-paddle there with floaties on. And do it again. And Repeat. And so on. Some may call him Tim Blair – but in the post-Apocalyptic Waterworld future he will be known as the Inflatable Air Mattress Veteran For The Truth!

  15. #15 zoot
    December 16, 2004

    LOL – That’s funnier than the crap PJ O’Blair serves up.

  16. #16 Ken Miles
    December 16, 2004

    When doing comparisons with global warming skeptics and creationists etc, Louis is the perfect data point.

  17. #17 Peter
    December 16, 2004

    ‘Yelling’ LOL at that, a lot :). Of course what Louis is doing is just a varient of the ‘I know it’s not agw, now I must find another mechanism, any machanism no matter how daft, to ‘explain’ it’. Poor Louis.

  18. #18 Heiko Gerhauser
    December 16, 2004

    The book launch was quite interesting, and I agree with the view that there is the “mainstream” on climate science, the “catastrophists” and the “skeptics”.

    Climate science is neutral in policy questions, it’s about facts, rather than politics, to put it differently.

    What kind of action is required, and more particularly what level of tax on carbon dioxide would be optimal, is a very complex questions.

    My own view on this is that the optimal level for carbon taxes is currently 0, and needs to be reassessed in the light of new knowledge every so often.

    And by the way, to take up your earlier point, I do use Linux extensively and I am concerned about the potential for copyright and intellectual property law to be abused (in extremis, granting Microsoft a permanent monopoly on computer operating systems, and effectively the right to tax every computer owner on the planet, as it pleases, is not unlike granting a medieval baron and his descendants a perpetual monopoly on salt in exchange for him having fought valiantly for the king).

  19. #19 dave
    December 16, 2004

    I’m interested in learning more about this “necessity to change the Gregorian calendar”. The MSM would have you think that the Gregorian calendar had remained the same ever since it was adopted.

    Also, Hissink might want to blow the dust off his bible. According to Joshua 10: 14, “And there was no day like that before it or after it”. So according to the primary source material, the stopping of the earth in its tracks was a one-off, and could not explain climactic changes that happened since then.

  20. #20 alphacoward
    December 17, 2004

    could the change in the sun rising west to east really have been simply the change in the magnetic poles of the earth – for it is well document north was once south :) The idea that the actual earth changed rotational direction briefly is fanciful. But the bible makes it so goddammit.

  21. #21 Flute
    December 17, 2004

    Why do the religiogeeks always cover up impending calamity? Would it be their desire to bring on the rapture?

  22. #22 John Humphreys
    December 17, 2004

    I thought it was a commonly known fact that the earth has changed its axis of rotation in the past? And I thought there had been several examples of observed changes in the night sky.

    Having said that, I have no reason to believe that any such change is resonsible for any possible changes in temperatures.

  23. #23 Tim Lambert
    December 17, 2004

    John, the earth’s axis is slowly precessing in a 26,000 year cycle. This was discovered over 2,000 years ago by Hipparchus. This doesn’t affect climate because the tilt of the axis does not change. And if records were good enough to detect this very slow change 2,000 years ago, it is likely that the much larger (and Newtonian physics violating) change postulated by Louis would have been noticed.

  24. #24 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim,

    I just got back from the field and noticed you comment.

    Since I am areligious, you are an ignoramus.

  25. #25 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim,

    “When we compute the total amount of energy generated by 232Th, 238U, and 40K, we find that the total, global, energy production is 3.8×1013 Watts, or 38,000,000,000,000 Watts, or 38 trillion Watts!”

    Tim, based on what quantitative analysis of Thorium, uranium, etc. The article makes no mention of quantities at all.

    Junk Science Tim, but as a computer programmer, what else?

  26. #26 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Fot the rest, it might be helpful if you actually knew what you posted about.

  27. #27 Tim Lambert
    December 17, 2004

    Louis, it doesn’t matter whether you are religous or not. You believe that the story in Joshua 10 of the sun stopping in the sky is historically accurate.

  28. #28 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim, one other problem for you – “Lavoisier group member Louis Hissink has a response to my post and John Quiggin’s on the Lavoisier group”.

    But where Tim? Where?

    No reference to a primary source Tim, so cynical reader would conclude that you lie Tim.

  29. #29 Tim Lambert
    December 17, 2004

    Louis, the word “response” is a link to your response.

    The total heat flux from the Earth’s interior is calculated by measuring it at a large number of sites on the surface. You can download the data here. It is odd that someone who claims to be a geologist is unaware of this.

  30. #30 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim,

    Looking at the map showing the distribution of heat flow measuring sites, in your attached link, clearly shows that a concentration in Europe and, to a lesser extent, the USA.

    In the mining industry you would be hung, drawn and quartered for making such a representation.

  31. #31 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim,

    In terms of Joshua 10, understanding of which you are far more expert than I, the accuracy of the story is that the sun stod still.

    I totally reject the idea that a man did that.

  32. #32 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Tim,

    In terms of Joshua 10, understanding of which you are far more expert than I, the accuracy of the story is that the sun stod still.

    I totally reject the idea that a man did that.

  33. #33 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    And then we have this statement

    “Does the earth’s interior make an overwhelming contribution to the surface temperature? This claim seems to be contradicted by the fact that it is warmer in daytime. And in summer. And closer to the equator. It takes a rare kind of talent to present an argument on climate change that is inconsistent with the existence of seasons.:

    Now what on earth does Tim mean it is warmer in the daytime? What on earth does the earth’s internal heat have to do with the temperature of the daytime. Well, sure, Tim, it is hotter during the daytime, D’Oh!

    And D’oh what have the seasons to do with it.

  34. #34 Louis Hissink
    December 17, 2004

    Only problem Tim, is that your example of earth heat flux is not measurered – like your cockamamy global warming models, not measurements but hypotheses

  35. #35 Tim Lambert
    December 17, 2004

    Yes Louis, there is a concentration of sites in Europe. You think this somehow shows that there measurements are wrong somehow? What is your point?

    Louis, the Bible does not say that a man stopped the sun. It says that God did it. And I never said that you believed that God or a man stopped the rotation of the earth. What I did comment on was your willingness to abandon Newtonian physics on the basis of a story in the Bible that implies that the earth stopped rotating.

  36. #36 Tim Lambert
    December 17, 2004

    Louis, the heat flux is measured. I even gave you the site where you could download the measurements.

    I’m glad you admit that it gets colder at night. Do you think that is because less heat comes out of the earth at night, or something else?

  37. #37 William
    December 17, 2004

    Tim – a small correction. The precession cycle *does* have something to do with climate, since it affects which hemisphere gets its summer when its closest to the sun…

  38. #38 Brian
    December 17, 2004

    I was wondering if Louis was an impostor having fun, but the email address is the right one. Sad.

    The 2.7 degree Kelvin temperature of space thing is kind of fun. That would be space, not in the nearby vicinity of a star. If one were to look up towards the bright thing in the sky during the daytime, observational evidence suggests we’re in the nearby vicinity of a star.

  39. #39 Dano
    December 18, 2004

    William,

    The measurable effect of the precession cycle likely would be almost unmeasurable. I can’t seem to find Google pictures of ancient observatories and how much the sun has moved out of the observatory’s alignments, but it’s not much. Over a 26K yr scale, it’s measurable, but in human civilization scale, it’s not even 1/2 way done…

    Best,

    D

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    December 18, 2004

    The easiest way of figuring out that the flow of heat out of the earth is a lot less than the heat flow in from the sun is simply to measure the temperature profile in a borehole, or in a body of water, which decreases rapidly at first.

  41. #41 Jonathan Dursi
    December 18, 2004

    So I’ve been wrestling with this for a couple hours, but I think I’ve decided that Louis Hissink’s posts on this blog are even less coherent than his original article (his very very original article!).

    I’m curious, though, about his implication that the center of the Earth is either getting hotter, or heat transfer from the center to the crust of the Earth, a 5 Gyr old object, has just now in the last 50 years started to measurably change. What mechanism does he propose, specificly, for this rather suprising phenonemon?

  42. #42 Nabakov
    December 18, 2004

    Interesting that Louie makes no attempt to defend his original argument (if that’s the right word) but instead nit picks away at Tim’s post and comments.

    “so cynical reader would conclude that” that Louie, caught with his pants down, is trying to distract attention from what’s been revealed by pointing out possible design flaws in Tim’s belt buckle.

    And Louie, I’d also point out your shoddy spelling and grammar doesn’t bode well for your accuracy in other quantitive disciplines.

  43. #43 Thomas Palm
    December 18, 2004

    Thanks for a good laugh, Louis. You are so totally confused about the science it’s pretty funny. You mention physics 101, but it seems you’ve only taken physics 000 – and flunked it.

  44. #44 Carleton Wu
    December 18, 2004

    This doesn’t affect climate because the tilt of the axis does not change.
    Nitpick: the axial tilt does change, in addition to the rotational precession of the axis. The eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit changes over time as well.
    http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~geol445/hyperglac/time1/milankov.htm
    I only bring it up bc I think the cycles are pretty nifty. And Dano, while the change is almost unmeasurably slow, it does have a measurable effect on climate- ice ages, for example, are influenced by these factors. If you’re saying that the slowness of these processes means that they can’t account for the rapid changes we might experience or see in the past- that’s somewhat true, bc those changes are caused by shorter-term pheonmenon- but those shorter-term phenomenon are driven by the cycles (among other things eg changes in the location of the landmasses, ocean currents, etc).
    Wu

  45. #45 Carleton Wu
    December 18, 2004

    Nabakov,
    Id agree for the most part, but I think nitpicking has to involve some coherence. Here, the quality of the BS is perhaps superior due to its innate lack of that quality. I mean, how can one counter a non-sequitur ‘criticism’ that doesn’t even have internal logic? IMO, Louis has hit upon an excellent formula for obfuscation: rapid-fire accusatory nonsense.
    I mean, Im *still* trying to figure out what the whole mining industry comment was supposed to mean. :)
    Wu

  46. #46 Louis Hissink
    December 18, 2004

    Tim makes the obvious conclusion that now, the earth’s heat flow is 75 microwatts per sqauare metre. So it might be, in one particular location, but is thus figure representative of the whole planet?And for the rest, no, I am not religious at all.Unlike most, I recall what I write when I am pissed (Ozzie term when you are drunk), and recognised bullshit when I see it. Trouble is that here you lot are totally sober when you do.

  47. #47 Tim Lambert
    December 18, 2004

    Louis, that is the conclusion of the geophysicists who have studied the earth’s heat flow. I already pointed out that it was measured at a large number of sites, not just one site. The details are in Pollack, H.N., Hurter, S.J., and Johnson, J.R., Heat flow from the earth’s interior: analysis of the global data set, Reviews of Geophysics 31(3), 267-280, 1993. If you have some specific criticism of Pollack et al’s methodology please share it with us.

    Please note that declaring geophysics to be “junk science” is not a specific criticism. Nor is calling the authors of the study “morons”.

  48. #48 Thomas Palm
    December 18, 2004

    Luois, you were the one who brought up geothermal heatflow as more important than the greenhouse effect. You’d better be prepared to produce some numbers backing that assertion up. Taken by itself your claim that it has to be important because so much of the interior of the Earth is hot is laughable as it ignores the issue on how fast the heat is transported. Rock may not be the best thermal insulator available, but if you take several miles of it…

  49. #49 Dano
    December 18, 2004

    Thank you, Carleton, for doing the work to clarify my comment for me. I’m trying to limit the length of my posts, apparently with variable outcomes.

    Over geologic scales, different cycles affect earth’s climate.

    And, please, no one scare Louis away. Humor (humour) and having something to laugh at is so precious these days…

    Best,

    D

  50. #50 Nabakov
    December 19, 2004

    Unlike most, I recall what I write when I am pissed (Ozzie term when you are drunk), and recognised bullshit when I see it. Trouble is that here you lot are totally sober when you do.”

    Do what sober? Recall what what you wrote pissed or recognise bullshit when we see it?

    Also Louie, do you really think a blog like this is the best place to have a menopausal crisis? I may be wrong but that’s the most charitable interpretation I can put on behaviour best described as an old fart embarassing the shit out of his grandkids by dancing drunk at their party.

  51. #51 John Humphreys
    December 19, 2004

    For information, from “Real Climate” — “Warming in the early to mid-Holocene (the post-glacial period that covers the last 12,500 years) resulted from changes in the earth’s orbit” and “The temperatures slowly changed as the earth’s position altered, in relation to the sun, causing the distribution of energy received on earth to change geographically and seasonally”

  52. #52 Louis Hissink
    December 19, 2004

    Nice to see vilification is alive and well here.

    Tim, just where have I stated that geophysics is junk science, re your post of 18/12/2004?

    Thomas, the greenhouse effect is what keeps us alive, and no the geothermal gradient is not more important then green house effects, it is just another factor contributing to the earth’s thermal balance. But a few trillion tons of matter at the temperature I quoted compared to a gas which only comprises 0.038% by volume of the earth’s surface, from a thermodynamic perspective CO2 is irrelevant.

    Tim a moron is someone who finds something incomprensible.

    Dano, I am glad you find my musing entertaining.

    But not to worry – Italy, India and China have joined the US and Kyoto is now dead.

  53. #53 Tim Lambert
    December 19, 2004

    Louis, you claimed that the finding of the geophysicists that the heat flow from the interior of the earth was 0.075 W/m^2 was “junk science”. I ask you again — if you have some specific criticism of this finding, please share it with us.

    You called the climate scientists “morons” for ignoring this, when it is, in fact, too small to be worth considering.

  54. #54 Tim Lambert
    December 19, 2004

    Louis has a response on his blog. See the update to the original post.

  55. #55 Thomas Palm
    December 19, 2004

    Luois, the Sun contains about a million times more mass than the Earth at temperatures of millions of Kelvins. By your reasoning that would make the interior of the Earth insignificant from a “thermodynamical perspective”. If you want to claim that the temperature of the interior of the Earth is so significant you’d better provide some numbers for how much of it is conducted to the surface. Others have done so, but apparently you don’t trust their sources.

    But keep on writing, anyone who thinks people couldn’t observe the sky before the telescope was invented or that you can make the sun stand still in the sky by stopping it rather than stopping the Earth has a certain talent for comedy.

  56. #56 Scott Church
    December 20, 2004

    Seems I’m joining this one a little late. But here are a few thoughts;

    As William and others have pointed out earlier, the precession of the earth’s “precession cycle” does affect climate. More specifically, any drift in the earth’s diurnal rotation, whether due to precession or gravitational perturbation, will affect what regions of the earth receive direct insolation and when. This will have an effect on seasons and regional climate. Forgive me for nit-picking just a little, but to be precise, a “precession” would be regular and cyclic (at least in the sense of how that word is typically used). What is more to the point, is that historically, it is known that gravitational interactions with other large bodies (e.g. asteroids, etc.) have led to shifts in the orientation of the earth’s rotational axis with respect to the ecliptic that have resulted in regional and global climate shifts. This is known as the Milankovich Effect.

    It is noteworthy that Louis is not the first global warming skeptic to raise such an argument. The Cato Institute, the ever paranoid John Birch Society, and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (Fred Singer’s posse of anti-global warming thugs) have made indirect reference to it as well when they thought it might server their purposes (see this article which highlights the larger arguments from such groups about alleged rumors of “global cooling”).

    Of course, whenever skeptics have in one way or another attempted to leverage their position off of the Milankovich Effect, without exception not once have they ever read the fine print – that the time constant for Milankovich Cycles is on the order of several centuries on the low end, and more typically several millenia, making it anywhere from one to 3 orders of magnitude too long to have any relevance to greenhouse warming over the next 50 to 100 years.

  57. #57 Scott Church
    December 20, 2004

    Louis, You seem to be missing some fundamental points here regarding thermodynamics and geophysics. There

    is far more to the question of heat transfer between the earth’s core, its surface, the atmosphere, and

    deep space than simply the mass and temperature of the core. You haven’t addressed the dynamics of heat

    transfer within any of these layers at all. Nor have you done a direct comparison of the heat transfer budget

    of the earth’s core with that of the atmosphere – and these are ultimately where the rubber meets the

    road.

    Heat transfer within the earth’s core is primarily advective (having to do with the transport of latent heat

    within magma by virtue of it’s temperature, without considering the feedback of internal temperature

    redistribution within the moving parcel affecting the motion). By comparison, the only way heat can escape to

    the surface is by conduction. But the earth’s mantle is a rather poor thermal conductor, and thus a very

    good “thermos”. Note that regardless of how hot your coffee is, if it’s in a thermos you aren’t going to

    burn your hands. By contrast, the atmosphere and the earth’s surface interact directly with solar radiation.

    So let’s compare the two budgets. First, 3 very good undergraduate lectures on the physics of heat transfer

    within the earth’s core are available online from the Planetary and Earth Sciences Dept. at Washington

    University in St. Louis.

    Lecture 1 is here.

    Lecture 2 is here.

    and,

    Lecture 3 is here.

    I suggest you take the time to read each one thoroughly. In particular, note Figure 5 from the second lecture,

    which shows the linear dependence of surface heat flux in the eastern U.S. on the radioactive heat content of

    surface rocks (one of the factors driving heat production within the core and affecting surface radiative heat

    transfer). Note that the values observed for surface heat flux in this region of the country are all between 25

    and 100 mW/M. Compare these values with that cited by Tim above for global surface radiative heat

    transfer due to conduction through the earth’s mantle – 75 mW/M (Pollack et al., 1991). Pretty good

    agreement wouldn’t you say?

    Now, let’s look at the atmosphere. The total radiative heat budget of the atmosphere can be found in Kiehl and

    Trenberth (1997) and is reproduced in this figure from the IPCC WG1 Year 2001 Report (IPCC,

    2001). Note that the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation directly at the earth’s surface is given by,

    Direct solar insolation + atmospheric back radiation (168 + 342 W/M) incoming.

    Surface re-radiation + convective heat transfer within thermals + evapotranspiration (390 + 24 + 78

    W/M) outgoing.

    Thus, the heat transfer impacts on the atmosphere due to all direct and indirect effects of solar radiation are

    at least 4 to 5 orders of magnitude larger than anything percolating up through the earth’s crust.

    So no, the net heat loss from the earth to space is absolutely not enormous, regardless of how massive

    the earth is or how hot its core is.

    One final point that has already been mentioned above by Jonathan Dursi above, bears repeating. Regardless of

    whether one believes it to be natural or anthropogenic in origin, the most significant surface and tropospheric

    warming of the last millenia has occurred within the last 50 years or so. If this warming is driven entirely by

    processes within the earth’s crust, and heat production there is driven by things like advective transfer of the

    thermal energy it already contains, plus radioactive decay, exactly what dramatic changes have happened

    to either in the last 50 years to cause this? How exactly does the radioactive decay of a finite amount of

    radioisotopes suddenly speed up, and how does advection of magma transfer heat closer to the surface on a

    global rather than a regional basis? If we are to take this rather unique theory of global warming

    seriously enough to discard all responsible behavior regarding greenhouse gas emissions, sooner or later you’re

    going to have to come up with credible answers to these questions, and back them with numbers and

    properly cited research.

    <u>REFERENCES</u>

    Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bull. Am. Met. Soc. 78,

    197-208.

    IPCC. 2001. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Chapter 1.2.1: 1.2.1 Natural Forcing of the Climate

    System. Available online at http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/041.htm#121
    .

    Pollack et al. 1991. Heat flow from the Earth’s interior: analysis of the global data set. Rev.

    Geophys., 31, 267-280.

  58. #58 Louis Hissink
    December 20, 2004

    I quote my post:

    Tim, “When we compute the total amount of energy generated by 232Th, 238U, and 40K, we find that the total, global, energy production is 3.8×1013 Watts, or 38,000,000,000,000 Watts, or 38 trillion Watts!” Tim, based on what quantitative analysis of Thorium, uranium, etc. The article makes no mention of quantities at all.
    Junk Science Tim, but as a computer programmer, what else?

    Tim Lambert wrote:
    19/12/2004 22:39:05
    Louis, you claimed that the finding of the geophysicists that the heat flow from the interior of the earth was 0.075 W/m^2 was “junk science”. I ask you again — if you have some specific criticism of this finding, please share it with us.

    Sharing it with you Tim.

  59. #59 Tim Lambert
    December 20, 2004

    Louis, I already explained how the geophysicists measured the heat flow from the earth. They don’t have to work out the exact quantities of radioactive elements. They know how much energy is flowing out of the earth. That quantity must be the quantity of energy caused by radiactive decay.

  60. #60 Thomas Palm
    December 20, 2004

    Tim, that is not exactly correct. A little of the heat in the Earth is released by crystallization as the core grows and some by release of gravitational potential energy as heavier substances sink within the mantle.

    While looking for a good reference for the magnitude of these effects I came across this page, showing that Louis isn’t the only one with “exotic” ideas:
    http://sci-e-research.com/geophysics.html

  61. #61 Scott Church
    December 21, 2004

    Louis, Forgive me for being blunt, but you’re all over the map here, and you’re not paying attention to

    details. Quoting Tim, and referencing his linked information, you state in your last post,

    “‘When we compute the total amount of energy generated by 232Th, 238U, and 40K, we find that the total, global,

    energy production is 3.8×1013 Watts, or 38,000,000,000,000 Watts, or 38 trillion Watts!’ Tim, based on what

    quantitative analysis of Thorium, uranium, etc. The article makes no mention of quantities at all. Junk Science

    Tim, but as a computer programmer, what else?”

    In a previous post you also made reference to the surface map of flux measuring sites in Tim’s source with the

    comment,

    “Looking at the map showing the distribution of heat flow measuring sites, in your attached link, clearly shows

    that a concentration in Europe and, to a lesser extent, the USA. In the mining industry you would be hung,

    drawn and quartered for making such a representation.”

    The source of the radiometric information in Tim’s source was clearly cited there. The reference was to

    Pollack et al. (1991). I cited the same source in my last post in reference to Earth surface heat flux.

    Furthermore, the Lectures I linked for you in my last post addressed this in some detail, including the

    quantitative analysis. In particular, the second Lecture presents a clear chart of

    the most important isotopes including not only quantity, but half-life, and heat production rates for each as

    well, followed by a series of clear calculations that show exactly where global surface heat flux rates come

    from. The results agreed quite well with measured surface flux rates provided in another figure from the same

    lecture, and with Tim’s figure as well.

    As for whether or not Tim would be “hung, drawn and quartered” for presenting Pollack et al.’s map, I’ll bet

    that this would happen only if the sites outside of the U.S. and Europe failed to cover a large majority

    of the remainder of the globe (in particular, its oceanic tectonic plates) at a density statistically

    significant enough for the global flux to be accurately determined. Even a visual inspection of the figure

    reveals that this is not true.
    And if the clustering of that map toward sites in the U.S. and Europe were truly an issue, we could dispense

    with hysterical remarks about drawing and quartering anyone and simply check the refereed literature on the

    subject to see if the heat flows associated with oceanic regions and other continental regions outside of the

    U.S. and Europe were radically different – in particular, if you are right we would expect to see much

    higher fluxes than those cited by Tim or myself.

    For a detailed breakdown of all heat sources within the Earth’s crust (including quantitative analysis) and the

    resulting surface fluxes for continental and oceanic regions, and the globe see this page from D.L. Anderson of the Seismological

    Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
    In fact, everything needed to check the values that have been presented here is available at this page,

    and in Anderson’s cited sources. There, we find that globally averaged oceanic surface heat flux is

    approximately 62 mW/M (Hofmeister & Criss, 2003). This is based on measured oceanic heat flow rates of 25

    to 300 mW/M with 45 to 55 mW/M being a representative range through old oceanic crust. This

    translates to a total oceanic energy budget of roughly 25 TW (assuming that oceans cover roughly 4/5 of the

    Earth’s surface). Total radiogenic energy budget estimates are 24-36 TW including BSE (Bulk Silicate Earth, or

    crust + mantle), continental, and delayed emissions. The total estimated energy budget reported by Anderson,

    including other various sources and sinks, is 39-66 TW. The differences are accounted for by the confidence

    intervals and/or other sources of heat advection within the crust.

    Also, note that the total reported measurements of globally averaged surface heat flux range from

    30-43 TW, depending on whether or not they have been corrected for ridge effect. This translates to surface

    heat fluxes of 59-84 mW/M. Again Louis, compare these figures with Tim’s cited value of 75 mW/M

    taken from Pollack et al. (1991). Pretty good agreement, I’d say.

    Note also that the given range for the radiogenic energy budget (24-36 TW) is also in good agreement with Tim’s

    cited figure of 38 TW from Pollack et al. (1991), and which you took issue with. Anderson presents an extensive

    bibliography from the refereed geophysical literature for all of these figures in addition to the ones you’ve

    already been shown by Tim and I.

    You demanded a quantitative radiometric analysis Louis – well there you go! You have called Tim an “ignoramus” and characterized his statements as “junk science”. Yet as we all can see, every word of what he has said so far has been directly verifiable from the refereed geophysical literature.

    With all due respect Louis, regardless of what the Mining Industry or anyone else would say if there is anything that gives away the presence of “junk science”, it is sweeping generalizations, overly simplified answers to complex questions

    unaccompanied by proper references to the refereed literature on the subject, all stated as loudly and

    confidently as possible and with plenty of ad-hominem directed at those who would disagree. You have been shown

    the origin and magnitude of geothermal and atmospheric heat budgets and how they are inconsistent with your

    claims, along with the refereed research behind them and the math by which the conclusions were reached. You

    have been shown the equivalent heat flux budget of the atmosphere and its radiative heat budget in reference to

    the sun in my last post – once again, also clearly cited to the refereed literature (Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997).

    You’ve been shown, here, in Tim’s previous sources, and in my last post (Have you even read it yet?), that this

    budget is at least 4 orders of magnitude larger than anything percolating up through the Earth’s crust.

    Louis, I appreciate your concerns about getting global warming science right, and I share them. But if you

    truly want to take any of this down, you’re going to have to move beyond a loud proclamation of big

    numbers, grandiose hypotheses, and claims that all climate scientists are “morons”, and actually demonstrate

    what is wrong with this research. Especially if your ideas are being sold by well funded think tanks like the

    Lavoisier group to politicians who have the power to shape public policy are not generally active information

    seekers about such matters.

    So get on with it already – where is your demonstration that any of the cited research presented here is

    incorrect, and where exactly is the refereed literature that supports it?

    REFERENCES

    Hofmeister, A. M. & Criss, R.E., 2003, Earth’s heat flux revised and linked to chemistry, submitted to

    Tectonophysics. Available online at http://www.mantleplumes.org/WebDocuments/Ho

    fmeisterCrissHeatFlux.pdf.

    Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bull. Am. Met. Soc. 78,

    197-208.

    IPCC. 2001. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Chapter 1.2.1: 1.2.1 Natural Forcing of the Climate

    System. Available online at http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/041.htm#121.

    Pollack et al. 1991. Heat flow from the Earth’s interior: analysis of the global data set. Rev.

    Geophys., 31, 267-280.

  62. #62 Gil
    December 8, 2005

    I read somewhere that the Martian ice caps are receding. Could it be that the Sun is simply getting hotter?

  63. #63 z
    December 8, 2005

    “I read somewhere that the Martian ice caps are receding. Could it be that the Sun is simply getting hotter?”

    Better not be… Aren’t they receding over a time scale of weeks? Get the old air conditioner out of the basement, folks.

  64. #64 Brian S.
    December 8, 2005

    Response on Mars issue here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=192

    (it’s a regional change, not explained by solar irradiance)

  65. #65 Eli Rabett
    December 9, 2005

    Ok Louis. Take a temperature profile of a test hole. Describe to us how the temperature changes as you go down. It decreases first does it not? Explain that.

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