The latest paper being touted by the global warming skeptic crew is by a couple of petroleum engineers named Khilyuk and Chilingar and concludes

The current global warming is most likely a combined effect of increased solar and tectonic activities and cannot be attributed to the increased anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere. Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01°C (of approximately 0.56°C (1°F) total average atmospheric heating during the last century)

But what is the basis for this conclusion? Well, they work out total man-made CO2 emissions and …


Recalculating this amount into the total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission in grams of CO2, one obtains the estimate 1.003×1018 g, which constitutes less than 0.00022% of the total CO2 amount naturally degassed from the mantle during geologic history. Comparing these figures, one can conclude that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission is negligible (indistinguishable) in any energy-matter transformation processes changing the Earth’s climate.

If those anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions had been spread over several billion years then, yes, the effect would be negligible, but they’ve all happened over the last two centuries and have increased atmospheric CO2 by 30%. This is a real embarrassment for the journal that published this.

Nexus 6 has more details.

Update: Aeschbach-Hertig has published a devastating rebuttal in the same journal, which concludes:

It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the reputation of this journal.

Comments

  1. #1 Doormat
    December 6, 2006

    This is a real embarrassment for the journal that published this.

    The only explaination I can think of is that the journal thought it too controversial to simply deny publication, but instead invited another author to write a rebutal (see Nexus 6’s post for a link). But that’s quite a lame excuse, given that the science basically seems to be wrong in the paper.

  2. #2 pough
    December 6, 2006

    Considering the amount of gasses in the atmosphere over the last few billions years, the effects of me farting in your face should be negligible, right? Okay. Crouch down. I’m ready if you are!

  3. #3 Doormat
    December 6, 2006

    Actually, a close examination of the dates involved suggests that this isn’t the case: the original article was published online in May 2006, while the rebuttal was submitted in August 2006, which is consistent with the rebuttal’s author simply writing it off his own back, and not the journal approaching him. In particular, it seems that the article and the rebuttal will not appear in the same journal volume, which is a real shame. I had hoped that maybe this would be a case of the journal giving Khilyuk and Chilingar a good dressing down in public, as it were.

  4. #4 caerbannog
    December 6, 2006

    But… but…. when you take into account the fact that the Earth is actually 6,000 years old (as opposed to that 4.5 billion year figure bandied about by liberal evilutionists), you’ll find that Aeschbach-Hertig’s anthropogenic/mantle CO2 flux ratio estimate is off by a factor of 750,000 or so. So the Biblically correct ratio is more like 6.6e-5, proving once and for all that human CO2 contributions really are negligible. :) :)

  5. #5 Ian Forrester
    December 6, 2006

    Maybe they sent the paper to Monckton for “peer” review.

    Incidently, S. Fred Singer is listed on the editorial board for the journal. Coincidence?

  6. #6 llewelly
    December 6, 2006

    Perhaps the journal found the paper so hilarious they couldn’t resist publishing it. How often do we see denialists pointing out that CO2 was high in the late Cretaceous, but ‘dinosaurs were not exactly tooling about in the old hoopty’, and therefor, petroleum powered vehicles are not a source of greenhouse gasses. Yet this paper uses a calculation which only makes sense if humans were emitting CO2 (by driving petroleum-powered vehicles, perhaps? ) in the late Cretaceous (and all throughout geologic history).

  7. #7 Ben M
    December 6, 2006

    That paper has the strangest list of citations I’ve ever seen. Many of the references are to web pages, including JunkScience.com, and to broken or ill-specified links. Most of the scientific papers are in Russian. There are very few articles cited at all; most of the technical references are to books, including the the author’s own work “Gas migration” (Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, 389 pp).

    The handful of English-language journal articles are:

    • Imprimis (1), a right-wing journal (authors include: Victor Davis Hanson, Michelle Malkin, John Lott, Mark Steyn). For good measure, the authors also cite the Fraser Institute (an anti-regulation think tank) and the 1998 contrarian screed from the bizarre one-man “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine”
    • Science (3)
    • Am Assoc Petrol Geol Bulletin (2)
    • Am Assoc Petrol Geol Studies in Geology (2)
    • Energy Sources (1) (yet another energy-industry journal)
    • Studies in Geology (1)
    • Rev. Geophys. (1)
    • Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (1)
    • Geophys J. Int. (1)

    Hmm—not a single atmospheric-science journal; not a single climate journal. (Things aren’t much better if you slog through the book references and the Russian journals.) Nope, just a couple of petroleum engineers—who, I’m sure, are highly knowledgeable about sedimentary geology, seismology, and other fields—trying to parlay their engineering credentials to benefit right-wing politics.

    Even if the entire world energy generated by humans (1.34×1020 erg/s) would be utilized only for heating the Earth’s atmosphere, the corresponding atmospheric temperature increase would not exceed 0.01°K at the sea level

    It’s the old “ignore the greenhouse” tactic. At first I thought they were mentioning this for pedagogical purposes, before launching into an actual discussion (whatever its quality) of the greenhouse effect/albedo/infrared absorption, but no: right there in the conclusions, they say ” Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01°C [...] average atmospheric heating during the last century”.

    By the way, I can find no evidence of Mr. Khilyuk’s presence on the USC faculty. Who is/was he?

    Anyway, there is a rebuttal, and quite a scathing one, at the journal’s web page. http://www.springerlink.com/content/36w570322514n204/fulltext.pdf

  8. #8 Mark
    December 6, 2006

    No. Wait a minute. You can’t be serious. Can you?

    This error is so egregious that I had to look back to make sure I hadn’t imagined it. All the “CO2 amount naturally degassed from the mantle during geologic history …”? Why didn’t they just say all the CO2 naturally degassed since the beginning of time?

  9. #9 Pablo Stafforini
    December 6, 2006

    The final paragraph of the [rebuttal](http://www.springerlink.com/content/36w570322514n204/fulltext.pdf) deserves to be quoted in full:

    It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the reputation of this journal.

    Khilyuk and Chilingar’s 2004 paper is “Global warming and long-term climatic changes: a progress report”, Environ Geol 46:970-979, and can be found [here](http://www.springerlink.com/content/f5uhmcp0qx4l81dj/). According to Google Scholar, it has been cited one single time. [Guess by whom](http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=Global%20warming%20and%20long-term%20climatic%20changes&num=50&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_occt=title&as_sauthors=&as_publication=&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&as_allsubj=all&hl=en&lr=&safe=off)?

  10. #10 Thom
    December 6, 2006

    Looks like another “Energy and Environment” in the making.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_and_Environment

  11. #11 Dano
    December 6, 2006

    I think the paper is a stunt by The Onion.

    Conversely, however, the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction fawning dope cabaret supporting the research opinion piece are too far out there to be made up by The Onion:

    world-class, first-class, leading, prestige, interesting, significant, global warming crusade, it survived rigorous peer-review, this paper is part of the serious science literature,

    This is the best they can do, folks. They deserve to be laughed at.

    Best,

    D

  12. #12 frankis
    December 6, 2006

    That was published in a journal?? – first reaction.
    Second reaction, thanks very kindly to Ben M’s research: it has to be a successful hoax doesn’t it, a la Sokal? “Dear God please let it be so” :)

    Unfortunately the final conclusion, thanks in turn to Ian Forrester’s noting of the shameless, foolish Singer on the editorial board, is that it’s one more manifestation of little red wingnut mendacity and incompetence, and another nail in the coffin of the journal system which has been ceding credibility to straight-to-the-consumer internet publishing ever since physics and maths began, last millennium, going straight to the ‘net. It’s a breathtaking new milestone though isn’t it.

  13. #13 jre
    December 6, 2006

    Anyway, there is a rebuttal, and quite a scathing one, at the journal’s web page.

    Aaarrgh. Even the rebuttal is behind Springer’s paywall. Nor could I find a copy at Aeschbach-Hertig’s academic web site. Anyone have a link?

  14. #14 Dano
    December 6, 2006

    If my crappy sub has the journal, Jim, I’ll pass it on.

    Best,

    D

  15. #15 Gavin
    December 6, 2006

    Original paper:

    http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-climate.html

    Rebuttal:

    http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-rebuttal.html

    Who now dare claim that Motl has no redeeming features? ;)

    PS. Check out their ‘adiabtic’ model of the greenhouse effect that doesn’t actually include the absorbtion of IR radiation.

  16. #16 Dano
    December 6, 2006

    Butbutbut Pat Michaels approvingly said it survived rigorous peer review!

    Thanks Gavin, I can’t see that with my sub. BTW, Lubos has redeeming comedic features.

    Best,

    D

  17. #17 Grendel
    December 6, 2006

    As petro-geos surely they’d subscribe to the theory that the CO2 released throughout history has been absorbed and sequestered and is once again being re-released?

    Guess not from comments so far, I must read the article though.

  18. #18 Dano
    December 6, 2006

    BTW,

    I checked to see if see-oh-too touted this paper. I found an analysis misrepresentation of:

    Strengbom J., Reich P.B. 2006. Elevated [CO2] and increased N supply reduce leaf disease and related photosynthetic impacts on Solidago rigida. Oecologia 149:519-525 10.1007/s00442-006-0458-4

    See-oh-too sez in their conclusion from the analysis of the paper: [i]t is possible, therefore, that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 concentration may help many plants of the future reduce the deleterious impacts of various pathogenic fungal diseases that currently beset them and thereby increase their productivities above and beyond what is typically provided

    But the paper concludes: we found no support for
    the hypothesis that elevated CO2 or N conditions would
    enable plants to compensate for lost leaf tissue due to
    foliar disease by increased photosynthetic rates in
    asymptomatic parts of the leaves.

    IOW, not what the paper said.

    I haven’t done this fun exercise in a while. It’s good to see some things never change and see-oh-too continues to lie to its readers.

    Best,

    D

  19. #19 Joel Shore
    December 6, 2006

    Wow…I just got as far as the second paragraph and found that they approvingly cite the “paper” that accompanied the infamous Oregon Petition “Robinson et al. (1998)”! I really would like to know who reviewed this garbage and let it through. Simply incredible.

  20. #20 Steve Bloom
    December 6, 2006

    I googled the editor and it turns out he’s a rather elderly fellow (I assume an octogenarian based on the date of his first paper) who used to be Alabama state geologist in the ’60s, and now runs a good-sized regional geological consulting firm that specializes in dealing with karst. In addition to the lovely Fred Singer, the editorial board contains three or four of the editor’s relations (children or grandchildren, I assume), all of whom appear to be employees as well. I’m really surprised that Springer would allow that.

    Dano, your quibbles turn to ashes, their very atoms torn asunder by the eternal flame of certainty over at ClimateFraudit.

  21. #21 Joseph O'Sullivan
    December 6, 2006

    I wonder if any of the scientific journals publish papers like this because of the skeptics complaints that one side of the global warming debate is being ignored or suppressed?

    Maybe the editors let the paper go to counter the anti-AGW public relation campaign. Publishing a bad paper once in a while disproves the skeptic claims.

  22. #22 Thom
    December 6, 2006

    From the conclusion section:

    “Estimates show (http://www.JunkScience.com) that since its inception in February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol has cost about $50 billion (about $10 billion a month) supposedly averting about 0.0005°C of warming by the year 2050.”

    Steven Milloy is now being cited in a “peer-reviewed” study. Good grief.

  23. #23 Lurker
    December 7, 2006

    Shocking. I am just finishing an article that I had planned to submit to Environmental Geology. I will choose another journal.

  24. #24 Jeff Harvey
    December 7, 2006

    I just checked on the ISI Web of Science and the journal has an impact factor of 0.654 – which places it at the bottom of the pile in the field. An impact factor below 1.0 means a journal is very small and unimportant.

  25. #25 Lurker
    December 7, 2006

    And to put Jeff’s finding into deeper context, ISI places Environmental Geology into 3 journal categories: Environmental Science (140 journals), Geological Sciences (129) and Water Resources (40). Environmental Geology’s rank based on impact factor is 114, 98 and 39, respectively.

  26. #26 Jeff Harvey
    December 7, 2006

    Lurker makes a good point. I wouldn’t be surprised if the authors intentionally submitted the paper to a weak journal, knowing their data was itself weak, or else submitted it first to more rigid journals where it was repeatedly rejected before settling on the bottom.

    Of my 60+ peer-reviewed articles, the highest impact factor for my research is in Nature (just over 29.0) and the lowest is in Journal of Applied Entomology (0.4). I submit my papers according to what I perceive their impact to be. My JAE paper has some nice data in it but its not a new idea and thus I think an applied entomology journal is appropriate. For more novel ideas or empirical data that tests broader hypotheses, I try and go for journals over 2.0, which is a reasonable impact factor for ecological research.

  27. #27 John Cross
    December 7, 2006

    Ah, but can’t you see the beauty of such an effort. Keep in mind that the denialists have the ever popular rebuttal tactic of claiming that the more objection there is to a paper the more correct it must be (Tim Ball used it a while back on me over at Climate Audit when I pointed out things wrong with Jaworowski).

    So you produce as bad a paper as you can and turn the wave of corrections into the talking point that it must be good to have caused so much commotion! Works great with the wankers.

  28. #28 richard
    December 7, 2006

    “the highest impact factor for my research is …”

    I think you mean “the highest impact factor journal in which I have published is..”

    So far as I am aware, there isn’t a good established correlation between the impact factor of a journal and the citation index of individual articles in that journal. The impact factor is just a mean value (generally reported w/o the SE) that reflects the average citation index of articles in the journal. If you take teh SE into account, I doubt if the ‘impact factor’ of a journal with a factor of 2 is really different from one with an impact factor if 1 or less, in many cases.

  29. #29 Jeff Harvey
    December 7, 2006

    Richard, that might be true, because the impact factor is updated on a yearly basis. Having said that, in the longer term its easy to searate a top journal from a weaker journal. I get many more citations for my papers in Ecology, Oikos and Journal of Animal Ecology than I do for my papers in lesser journals.

  30. #30 Dano
    December 7, 2006

    eternal flame of certainty. I like it. Mind if I steal it for Dano’s use, Steve?

    1. One of the first things I do when reading a paper is to look at the list of references. These guys cite none of the leading literature, so right away you can tell they are either hiding something or don’t know what they are doing. Further, even a blind pig will find an acorn, and there are no acorns in that list, so they must have purposefully aimed away from the standard literature. That clownish figure about the MWP temperatures is another big clue, as well as their modifying figures rather than just using what was in paper.

    Shoddy.

    Maybe that journal will have 5 editors quit in protest too.

    2. The impact thing was interesting to me too, but scanning the arties on ISI yesterday looking for that rebuttal, the journal looked like it had moderately interesting research in it. Jus’ sayin’.

    Best,

    D

  31. #31 Dano
    December 7, 2006

    Not sure what happened there, I didn’t use HTML…

    D

  32. #32 Tim Lambert
    December 7, 2006

    [Markdown](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/dingus) is enabled for comments. You used the markdown for a numbered list.

  33. #33 Dano
    December 7, 2006

    Thanks Tim. I’ll try to be more careful.

    D

  34. #34 Steve Bloom
    December 7, 2006

    Borrow away! My words are Dano’s whenever you want.

  35. #35 Lurker
    December 8, 2006

    Dano wrote: “Maybe that journal will have 5 editors quit in protest too.”

    I can’t speak about editors, but I sent an email yesterday saying I will not accept any more manuscripts for review.

    And: “The impact thing was interesting to me too, but scanning the arties on ISI yesterday looking for that rebuttal, the journal looked like it had moderately interesting research in it. Jus’ sayin’.”

    This “study” notwithstanding, Environmental Geology isn’t a “bad” journal, but it’s not the place to present new methodology. Most of its articles are case studies using well-established methods. This kind of article is not the type to widely cited.

  36. #36 jb
    December 8, 2006

    By Khilyuk and Chilingar’s “reasoning”, the radiation released in the Chernobyl nuclear accident was also inconsequential, since it represents only a tiny fraction of all the radiation released by the earth over its 4.5 billion year history.

    And the millions of dead in WWII? Inconsequential as well, since they represent only a tiny fraction of the humans who have died in the history of the human species.

    Khilyuk and Chilingar are really onto something: a new method of reasoning that will revolutionize risk analysis.

    We are all indebted to the genius that produced this new way of thinking. A Nobel is certainly warranted for their brilliant work.

  37. #37 Dano
    December 8, 2006

    Environmental Geology…[is] not the place to present new methodology. Most of its articles are case studies using well-established methods.

    Agreed. I call this type of journal ‘building-block’, where the foundations are shored up, which is why the impact isn’t high. If folks want cutting edge, don’t go to these types of journals.

    And good on you, BTW. I hope there will be more taking your stance.

    Best,

    D

  38. #38 z
    December 9, 2006

    If the sun is the cause of global warming, wouldn’t we notice the moon warming up as well?

  39. #39 Douglas Watts
    January 20, 2007

    I think these folks are trying to learn a lesson from their creationist buddies, whose credibility can never rise above zero due to a lack of journal publication (among other reasons).

    This is all the odor of a fairly sophisticated p.r. strategy by which utterly ridiculous propositions that look to a layman like “real science” are placed in very small, obscure publications, thereby giving the overt p.r. machine something to wave around to sympathetic news pundits and reporters that “looks like” credible science that has been approved and published in purportedly “real” and “professional” journals of science.

  40. #40 Trent Bigelow
    April 8, 2007

    Hey guys… Believe it or not, this report is totally real, albeit completely false. I’m a student at USC and one of my esteemed faculty mentors’ office is right next door to Dr. Chilingar. I’m flying out to Nashville this afternoon for training with The Climate Project. I’ll be sure to bring this up–the original paper and the rebuttal. Thanks guys.

  41. #41 A
    July 18, 2008

    @Z
    “If the sun is the cause of global warming, wouldn’t we notice the moon warming up as well?”

    Posted by: z | December 9, 2006 11:02 AM

    The moon wouldn’t warm up, as it has no atmosphere to trap the sun’s energy.

  42. #42 A
    July 18, 2008

    @Z
    “If the sun is the cause of global warming, wouldn’t we notice the moon warming up as well?”

    Posted by: z | December 9, 2006 11:02 AM

    The moon wouldn’t warm up, as it has no atmosphere to trap the sun’s energy.

  43. #43 Chris O'Neill
    July 18, 2008

    The moon wouldn’t warm up, as it has no atmosphere to trap the sun’s energy.

    Ever heard of “black body radiation”? No atmosphere necessary. In fact, no radiation-absorbing atmosphere allowed. You don’t need an atmosphere to have a surface temperature.

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