Tim Curtin’s incompetence with basic statistics is the stuff of legend. Curtin has now demonstrated incompetence at a fairly new journal called The Scientific World Journal. Consider his very first “result” (emphasis mine):

I first regress the global mean temperature (GMT) anomalies against the global annual values of the main climate variable evaluated by the IPCC Hegerl et al. [17] and Forster et al. [28] based on Myhre et al. [29], namely, the total radiative forcing of all the noncondensing greenhouse gases [RF]

Annual(Tmean) = a + b[RF] + u(x)

The results appear to confirm the findings of Hegerl et al. [17] with a fairly high R^2
and an excellent t-statistic (>2.0) and P-value (<0.01) but do not pass the Durbin-Watson test (>2.0) for spurious correlation (i.e., serial autocorrelation), see Table 1. **This result validates the null hypothesis** of no statistically significant influence of radiative forcing by noncondensing GHGs on global mean temperatures.

Any first year stats student or competent peer reviewer should be able to tell you that you a statistical test cannot prove the null hypothesis. But it’s far worse than that as Tamino explains:


The DW statistic for his first regression is d = 1.749. For his sample size with one regressor, the critical values at 95% confidence are dL = 1.363 and dU = 1.496. Since d is greater than dU, we do not reject the null hypothesis of uncorrelated errors.

This test gives no evidence of autocorrelation for the residuals. But Tim Curtin concluded that it does. He further concluded that such a result means no statistically significant influence of greenhouse gas climate forcing (other than water vapor) on global temperature. Even if his DW test result were correct (which it isn’t), that just doesn’t follow. …

In other words, the regression which Curtin said fails the DW test actually passes, while the regression which he said passes, actually fails.

And — the presence of autocorrelation doesn’t invalidate regression anyway.

I have to wonder what kind of “peer-reviewed” scientific journal would publish this. Who were the referees for this paper?

And do check out Curtin’s responses in comments where he insists that he didn’t get it wrong. Curtin’s understanding of statistics is so poor that he can’t recognize his own mistakes.

Comments

  1. #1 Lionel A
    June 19, 2012

    Oops.

    ‘Air is opaque to N2 and O2′, what does that mean?

    and

    Still on Windmills .

  2. #2 bill
    June 19, 2012

    So, the air is now ‘opaque’ to the two gases that constitute a little over 99% of the air?

    You know, I went to Art School, but, clearly, to truly know nothing about Science I needed to have been studying Economics…

  3. #3 Wow
    June 19, 2012

    “The 2nd Law rules out the back radiation from cold atmosphere to warm planetary surface so beloved of Kiehl and Trenberth in defiance of all physics.”

    Nope. The second law does not rule out backradiation.

    The second law only pertains to net heat flow. Not net energy flow and not per-body energy flow.

  4. #4 Lionel A
    June 19, 2012

    I am beginning, almost, to feel sorry for the guy. He does not realise that my continuing in digging this hole all the spoil he removes and throws upwards comes straight back down on his head. He now outdoes all other ‘hole diggers’ by digging like fury but not getting any deeper but now his hole is starting to flood.

  5. #5 P. Lewis
    June 19, 2012

    Just in case anyone is searching for “opaque” in Tyndall’s paper, you need to search for “opake”… Not that it changes anything of course.

  6. #6 Marco
    June 19, 2012
  7. #7 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 19, 2012

    Wow said: “Nope. The second law does not rule out backradiation.The second law only pertains to net heat flow. Not net energy flow and not per-body energy flow.”

    Not so. The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.

    Glenn Tamblyn at The C has tried to claim the same by invoking photons, but even if a large cold body with lots of photons is confronted by a small hot body with very few, the flow of HEAT is unidirectional as per the 2nd Law.

    Listen to Flanders and Swan.

  8. #8 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 19, 2012

    BTW, I also find it disgusting that my esteemed host here has allowed himself to host totally fraudulent advertisements for sundry fictitious gizmos.

    I want a share of his takings after more than 400 posts hare!

  9. #9 bill
    June 19, 2012

    Scienceblogs is our host, Tim, and National Geographic, come to think of it. Take it up with them…

    PS – Firefox, NoScript, and AdBlockPlus – I literally have no idea which ads you’re talking about.

  10. #10 Wow
    June 19, 2012

    “Not so. The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.”

    It doesn’t. You’re right.

    It also doesn’t mention back radiation.

  11. #11 ianam
    June 19, 2012

    The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.

    That’s because heat, like wealth, is implicitly a net quantity.

    but even if a large cold body with lots of photons is confronted by a small hot body with very few, the flow of HEAT is unidirectional as per the 2nd Law

    But not the flow of radiation, which is the subject.

    To put it in terms that even you should be able to understand: The 2LOT is like a law against increased disparity of wealth. Under such a law, the rich would not be allowed to become richer at the expense f the poor, but the law pertains to balance sheets, not individual transactions. The poor are allowed to get change from the rich, even if it means temporarily handing their money over to the rich. The law doesn’t say “net” because it’s implicit in the meaning of “wealth”. Wealth is a different sort of thing than currency — the former is a net quantity, while the latter is a physical thing that changes hands. The same is true of heat (a net quantity) and radiation (something physical that is emitted and absorbed).

  12. #12 Marco
    June 19, 2012

    Tim, we still have this issue to resolve in your inability ot understand basic physics. So, before you start moving the goalposts, please tell us again how something that does not absorb IR radiation (as you state N2 and O2 do not do) can be opaque, as in impenetrable to radiation, to IR radiation.

    After you finally show some ability to learn this basic physics, we can discuss radiation vs heat flows. Otherwise we’ll just be going round in circles: you make a claim, we point out the flaws, you contradict your own claim in defense of your original claim, we point out this contradiction, and you make the first claim again, repeat ad infinitum.

  13. #13 ianam
    June 19, 2012

    The 2LOT is like a law against increased disparity of wealth

    Of course there is a major difference: such a law would be arbitrary, ad hoc, imposed externally rather than flowing from the very nature of wealth and money, whereas the 2LOT is a statistical law that flows from the underlying physics, something that TC seems not to grasp. He would do well to contemplate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat#Microscopic_origin_of_heat

  14. #14 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2012

    The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.

    Only someone who is completely unfamiliar with the nature of the second law of thermodynamics could come up with a non sequitur such as that.

    Truly, I’ve never seen anyone mine through the known bottom of Stupid as forcefully as do you. If you demonstrate one thing, it’s that there is no> Bottom to Stupid</a.

    I also find it disgusting that my esteemed host here has allowed himself to host totally fraudulent advertisements for sundry fictitious gizmos.

    I want a share of his takings after more than 400 posts hare!

    I wouldn’t know about ads (thanks to Firefox add-ons) but as one of the more frequent posters here I am happy to let Tim Lambert have whatever “takings” accrue.

    Unlike some avaricious old goats…

  15. #15 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2012

    The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.

    Only someone who is completely unfamiliar with the nature of the second law of thermodynamics could come up with a non sequitur such as that.

    Truly, I’ve never seen anyone mine through the known bottom of Stupid as forcefully as do you. If you demonstrate one thing, it’s that there is no Bottom to Stupid</a.

    I also find it disgusting that my esteemed host here has allowed himself to host totally fraudulent advertisements for sundry fictitious gizmos.

    I want a share of his takings after more than 400 posts hare!

    I wouldn’t know about ads (thanks to Firefox add-ons) but as one of the more frequent posters here I am happy to let Tim Lambert have whatever “takings” accrue.

    Unlike some avaricious old goats…

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2012

    [Crap.

    It worked in SkS's preview field - obviously it has better interpretive software. Fingers crossed...]

    The word “net” does not appear in the 2nd Law.

    Only someone who is completely unfamiliar with the nature of the second law of thermodynamics could come up with a non sequitur such as that.

    Truly, I’ve never seen anyone mine through the known bottom of Stupid as forcefully as do you. If you demonstrate one thing, it’s that there is no Bottom to Stupid.

    I also find it disgusting that my esteemed host here has allowed himself to host totally fraudulent advertisements for sundry fictitious gizmos.

    I want a share of his takings after more than 400 posts hare!

    I wouldn’t know about ads (thanks to Firefox add-ons) but as one of the more frequent posters here I am happy to let Tim Lambert have whatever “takings” accrue.

    Unlike some avaricious old goats…

  17. #17 Bernard J.
    June 19, 2012

    I give up. Fracking lack of previewing…

  18. #18 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    … as they neither absorb nor radiate, unlike CO2 and H20 in their gaseous forms. They are not transparent to IR, …

    It takes a truly special form of idiocy to contradict oneself so utterly comprehensively in the next sentence. As others have pointed out, not absorbing (or reflecting) is pretty much the definition of “transparent to”. Heck, most high schools physics students could tell you that.

    But the real idiocy is continuing to dig on this issue, when others have pointed out your folly.

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    … but a real greenhouse does trap heat, whereas gaseous CO2 and H2O do NOT, as Tyndall showed…

    Teh Stupid – It Burns.

    Tyndall showed precisely the opposite – which is why I asked you what a “0” reading on the galvanometer meant, and what a non-zero reading meant, and provided a thought experiment with a device that captured and re-radiated photons. You would do well to attempt to tackle the associated questions – but I bet you won’t. Go on – surprise me.

    … instead they absorb and radiate out, from hot to cold as per the 2nd Law.

    And it is precisely this fact that drives the mechanism by which they trap heat in a planetary system that would otherwise be lost. (Again, my thought experiment has an analogue to this concept. Surprise me by trying it.)

    The 2nd Law rules out the back radiation from cold atmosphere to warm planetary surface…

    Misapplying the 2nd Law – and doing so in the face of direct contradictory evidence – last refuge of a scientific scoundrel.

    Glenn Tamblyn at The C has yet to respond to my challenge to him to prove the 2nd Law does not apply.

    That would most likely be because the 2nd Law does apply, but doesn’t lead to the conclusion you claim. No doubt you will fail to respond to the challenge to demonstrate that your conclusion is sound…

    And clearly there’s a really good reason you won’t answer the questions in my earlier thought experiment…

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    Let me try rephrasing one of the simple questions about Tyndall for TC.

    Tyndall first calibrated the galvanometer by setting it to “zero” when the tube was empty and both heat sources were active. He then tested the setup by placing an opaque disk in the tube (“opaque” meaning it didn’t let any IR through). Was the resultant galvanometer reading positive or negative?

  21. #21 ianam
    June 19, 2012

    Real greenhouses work by retaining heat. N2 and O2 do that, as they neither absorb nor radiate

    How do they retain heat if they neither absorb or radiate? That’s like saying that a ballplayer who neither catches nor throws balls keeps the opponent from scoring. How? Does he just glare balefully, an action at a distance?

    After all, a transparent pane of glass in front of a lamp does reduce the amount of heat a lamp puts in a real greenhouse that is able to leave the greenhouse

    In other words, glass is not transparent to heat. But it is transparent to light, and it’s the light that gets through, does work, producing heat, which is then blocked. How you think this supports your argument is difficult to discern.

  22. #22 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    But it is transparent to light, and it’s the light that gets through, does work, producing heat, which is then blocked.

    Sheesh, where have I previously heard a description of a system where light gets in … but IR doesn’t get out as easily as the light gets in? I seem to recall something about gasses and the word “greenhouse”…

  23. #23 Richard Simons
    June 19, 2012

    N2 and O2 do that, as they neither absorb nor radiate, unlike CO2 and H20 in their gaseous forms. They are not transparent to IR, that is why they are not visible in the IR or in the emanations from the IR.

    Did you write this with a straight face? We have a term for things that neither absorb nor radiate (nor reflect). It is ‘transparent’.

    a real greenhouse does trap heat, whereas gaseous CO2 and H2O do NOT, as Tyndall showed; instead they absorb and radiate out,

    How does ‘absorb’ differ from ‘trap’ in this context? BTW, a real greenhouse (mainly) operates on different physical principals than an atmosphere containing greenhouse gases.

    The 2nd Law rules out the back radiation from cold atmosphere to warm planetary surface

    How does the atmosphere know that it is not supposed to radiate in the direction of the ground?

  24. #24 Lionel A
    June 19, 2012

    It should not be too long before the OED produces a definition for ‘(a) curtin’. Maybe with references to Monckton Manoeuvre.

  25. #25 ianam
    June 19, 2012

    How does the atmosphere know that it is not supposed to radiate in the direction of the ground?

    For that matter, how does the radiation from the sun know that it’s allowed to travel through the cold vacuum of space as long as its final destination is, while warmer than space, still colder than the sun?

    Quite magical, this version of the 2LOT that TC believes in.

  26. #26 Wow
    June 19, 2012

    And how does the heat get out from the sun when the corona is far hotter than the photosphere?

  27. #27 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    Quite magical, this version of the 2LOT that TC believes in.

    Intelligent Physics, eh? Shares some properties with “Intelligent Design”.

  28. #28 Wow
    June 19, 2012

    This topic is “Tim Curtin’s Incompetence with basic statistics”.

    However, it seems to be proven in the posts he’s made here, that he’s what the dark side opposite of a polymath is.

    He’s not just incompetent with statistics. NO human endeavour is beyond his incompetence!

  29. #29 Lotharsson
    June 19, 2012

    From a moderator comment at RealClimate:

    So, yet again we have you supposedly citing a conclusion or statement from a paper, that on inspection doesn’t actually support your statement, and when challenged on this, you produce links to other papers, none of which support the original quote either. While this might be tremendous fun for you, it is mildly irritating to everyone else, so let me propose a new rule – just for you. If you want to post here, any actual scientific claims need to be backed by a real citation, and the claim has to be actually backed by the citation you give. If you make claims with no reference, they will get binned. If you make a claim that is not supported by your reference, it will get binned. So the way to not get binned is to make scientific claims that can be supported by the literature you cite. Should be easy, no?

    Heck, if we applied that here we’d instantly lose pretty much all of TC’s comments!

    On second thoughts, if we applied it site-wide, we’d lose pretty much all of the comments from all of the trolls too. Hmmmmm…

  30. #30 Lionel A
    June 20, 2012

    Lotharsson.

    Cue moan from TC that the RealClimate moderator’s comment that you linked to is not about him.

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 20, 2012

    Lionel A. Thanks for that, the first honest response I have ever had here.

    Marco:

    Many thanks again for that link to Tyndall (1872), a fabulous book.

    As so often, the pages you cite contain stuff for and against both of us. Tyndall does refer to the transparency of the atmosphere in both directions, and to the opacity induced by atmospheric CO2 and H2O, bút he also restates his 1861 discovery of the vastly greater absorptive and radiative capacity of those gases relative to N2 and O2.

    Those pages 421-424 also provide considerable support for what I have said here and in my papers on the relative roles of atmospheric H2O and CO2:

    On p.424 Tyndall states that “the absorption of a molecule of aqueous vapour is 16,000 times that of air. Now the power to absorb and the power to radiate are perfectly reciprocal and proportionate. The atom of aqueous vapour will therefore radiate with 16,000 times the energy of an atom of air….How are the vast stores of heat set free by the change from the vaporous to the liquid condition [i.e. rain] disposed of? Doubtless in great part they are wasted by dispersion into space”.

    Repeat: “Doubtless in great part they are wasted by dispersion into space”.

    Tyndall had previously noted that air consists of 99.5% oxygen and nitrogen, but despite that preponderance, clearly their absorption and radiation are negligible, and thus it can be argued they are the real GHGs, not least because they appear to play no role in the dissipation of heat to space through the IR.

    Tyndall goes on to say “numberless other meteorological phenomena receive their solution, by reference to the radiant and absorbent properties of aqueous vapour”.

    Notice the absence of any reference on p. 424 to “carbonic acid”, i.e. atmospheric CO2, which is by a factor of six less potent in terms of absorption and radiation than his atmospheric water vapour, as well as being a much smaller constituent of the atmosphere (still not 0.04%).

    That is why my bivariate regressions – derided here but never refuted – always show statistically significant coefficients on changes in atmospheric H2O as determinant of changes in temperature anomalies, and insignificant coefficients for changes in atmospheric CO2.

    However I do have some problems with Tyndall’s account on those pages. As quoted above he says on the one hand, “the power to absorb and the power to radiate are perfectly reciprocal and proportionate. The atom of aqueous vapour will therefore radiate with 16,000 times the energy of an atom of air…”, but on the other, on p.423, “it is perfectly certain that more than 10% of the terrestrial radiation from the soil of England is stopped within 10 feet of the surface of the soil”, i.e. by absorption. But what of the equal radiation from that absorption?

    Then Tyndall becomes very politically incorrect when he says “This aqueous vapour is a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man”.

    No wonder the IPCC and our own lovely Australian Academy of Science, Department of Climate Change, and Climate Change Institute take care never to quote Tyndall, and have endorsed the so-called carbon tax (is there anybody in Australian science who knows the difference between carbon and CO2?) which is also a tax on atmospheric water vapour, as shown in this equation for combustion of hydrocarbons (banned from all work of the IPCC, AAS, DCC, etc., etc):

    C3H8 + 5O2 → Energy + 3CO2 + 4H2O

    Likewise you will never see this equation in any papers of the 97% of climate scientists who all believe in a flat earth:

    2CO2 + 2 H2O + photons → 2CH2O + 2O2

    That equation is the TOTAL basis for all life on this earth.

    Yet again I rest my case. Prove me wrong!

  32. #32 Wow
    June 20, 2012

    “but he also restates his 1861 discovery of the vastly greater absorptive and radiative capacity of those gases relative to N2 and O2.”

    Why did you feel the need to put a “but” in there?

    “Repeat: “Doubtless in great part they are wasted by dispersion into space””

    Repeat: why did you need to put that word in there?

    “air consists of 99.5% oxygen and nitrogen, but despite that preponderance, clearly their absorption and radiation are negligible, and thus it can be argued they are the real GHGs,”

    Only if you’re willing to argue nonsense.

    A GHG is active in the IR. Since N2 and O2 aren’t, they are not GHGs.

    “not least because they appear to play no role in the dissipation of heat to space through the IR.”

    Repeat: this means they are NOT GHGs.

    “always show statistically significant coefficients on changes in atmospheric H2O as determinant of changes in temperature anomalies”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relation

    “and in(?)significant coefficients for changes in atmospheric CO2.”

    http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-dioxide-levels.htm

    Did you mean “insignificant and not significant?

    “But what of the equal radiation from that absorption?”

    Absorbed by the next 10 feet above and the ground below.

    “which is also a tax on atmospheric water vapour”

    No it isn’t.

    “Likewise you will never see this equation in any papers of the 97% of climate scientists who all believe in a flat earth:”

    Since no such entity exists, no wonder it doesn’t appear in any papers which would require an existent entity to produce.

  33. #33 Wow
    June 20, 2012

    “Yet again I rest my case. Prove me wrong!”

    You’re doing a splendid job of proving yourself wrong all on your lonesome.

    I.e. you can’t “rest your case AGAIN”. If you have rested your case, it cannot be rested AGAIN. Therefore it is a single action once performed.

  34. #34 Lionel A
    June 20, 2012

    TC

    Lionel A. Thanks for that, the first honest response I have ever had here.

    Is that a response to my remark in reply to Lotharsson’s RealClimate reference?

    If so then I guess that irony flies straight past you. Either that or you were being ironic.

    If not then I am at a loss as you still confound Tyndall.

  35. #35 Lotharsson
    June 20, 2012

    Repeat: “Doubtless in great part they are wasted by dispersion into space”.

    You are a most determined scientific ignoramus, and once again your own quote points to the disproof of your claim. Are you sure you’re not trying to clown-troll?

    Hint: what happens to the rest of the heat that is not “wasted by dispersion into space”? To a first order approximation, which direction could it possibly be radiated that does NOT point towards space? And what phenomenon that you insist is just not possible, despite being directly physically measured, which corresponds to that direction?

    (If you weren’t too cowardly or possibly too dense to answer my thought experiment questions, you’d have already figured this out and smeared a lot less egg over your own face.)

    But what of the equal radiation from that absorption?

    Indeed.

    But you’re still making fundamental high school level mistakes – and you’re ignoring questions from multiple people designed to flush these out – so you’ll only confuse yourself if you try to tackle the uni level stuff. Like what happens to the radiation due to the absorption in the first 10 feet. And layered models for the atmosphere, and radiative transfer equations and all that. And before you can go there, you have to admit to yourself that radiation from excited GHGs is omnidirectional. Which you deny, although you may not even realise it.

    Yet again I rest my case. Prove me wrong!

    Good grief. Your “case” has been proven wrong a dozen times on this thread already. Saying otherwise does not make it so.

  36. #36 Lotharsson
    June 20, 2012

    Since no such entity exists, no wonder it doesn’t appear in any papers which would require an existent entity to produce.

    Shorter TC: “It’s a conspiracy because you’ll never see my face in newspapers published by unicorns!” ;-)

  37. #37 Lotharsson
    June 20, 2012

    BTW, I’d like to thank TC for one of the most amusing threads I’ve had the privilege of witnessing since … well, probably since his last one.

  38. #38 FrankD
    June 20, 2012

    Ladies and Gentlemen, in tonight’s performance of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the role of King Arthur will be played by Marco Bernard J Wowchek Lotharsson. As ever, Tim Curtin will play the part of the Black Knight. Enjoy the show…

    ….
    Black Knight: Come here!

    Arthur: What are you going to do, bleed on me?

    Black Knight: I’m invincible!

    Arthur: You’re a looney…

  39. #39 GWB's Nemesis
    June 20, 2012

    OK, let’s see if I can explain to you Tim why you are making such a fool of yourself.

    Let’s imagine for the sake of argument IR radiation travelling from the surface into space as a set of parellel rays. With nothing in the way that absorbs the radiation, 100% escapes to space. Lets now put something in the way that absorbs and re-radiates that radiation instantaneously. The re-radiation occurs in every direction, so now some of the radiation goes back towards the surface – i.e. it is not radiated into space. Of course, as Tyndall noted, some still goes into space. However, a substantial proportion does not – this radiation is retained in the atmospheric / Earth surface system, which must then warm.

    Thus, a gas that absorbs and re-radiates the radiation acts to trap energy in the atmosphere – it is a greenhouse gas. Any gas that is transparent to radiation does not trap energy – it is not a greenhouse gas. And note that the process can be instantaneous – the energy is not trapped in the greenhouse gas itself (another denialist myth), it is re-radiated to be retained elsewhere in the atmosphere/surface system (mostly in the oceans of course as this is the dominant surface material, and water has a large heat capacity).

    Not difficult, eh? And hence CO2 and water vapour are greenhouse gases, and nitrogen and oxygen are not.

    Now please, please, please stop making yourself look so utterly stupid. I tested to see whether my seven year old daughter can undertstand this stuff – she can.

  40. #40 Lionel A
    June 20, 2012

    TC

    Then Tyndall becomes very politically incorrect when he says “This aqueous vapour is a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man”.

    WRT to the above and the preceding paragraph you are taking Tyndall out of his time. Just think what the state of the physical and chemical sciences was back in his day.

    Whatever, all that does not negate Tyndall’s findings WRT to N2, O2 on one hand and CO2 and water vapour on the other findings which you still persist in thinking about arse backwards. Besides you will find TYndall mentioned in the IPCC FAR Physical Science Base Chapter 1, so this is more pointless nonsense that you spout.

    The above was then followed by another ideological rant against the IPCC and AAS which includined these gems:

    C3H8 + 5O2 → Energy + 3CO2 + 4H2O

    Why would anybody wish to go into details of an exothermic reaction involving Propane in the context of atmospheric gases?

    and

    2CO2 + 2 H2O + photons → 2CH2O + 2O2

    What is that supposed to be? Do you think that is photosynthesis? If so I suggest that you look it up and also consider Photosystem I and Photosystem II.

    At one place you write,

    ‘… he also restates his 1861 discovery of the vastly greater absorptive and radiative capacity of those gases [CO2 & water vapour] relative to N2 and O2.

    and on the other:

    …air consists of 99.5% oxygen and nitrogen, but despite that preponderance, clearly their absorption and radiation are negligible, and thus it can be argued they are the real GHGs,

    There we are again you have matters confused still.

    I find it hard to believe that after 436 posts you are still sticking to your mantra of nonsense and throwing insult at real scientists while doing so.

  41. #41 Lionel A
    June 20, 2012

    TC

    Ah! I note that you have repeated your stupid WRT C3H8 + 5O2 etc over here .

    Please find another record, one that isn’t cracked. It is almost as if you believe that the burning of fuels puts all the water vapour into the atmosphere.

  42. #42 ianam
    June 20, 2012

    “Thanks for that, the first honest response I have ever had here.”

    Liar.

    “please stop making yourself look so utterly stupid”

    It’s not just a look.

  43. #43 bill
    June 21, 2012

    Tyndall had previously noted that air consists of 99.5% oxygen and nitrogen, but despite that preponderance, clearly their absorption and radiation are negligible, and thus it can be argued they are the real GHGs, not least because they appear to play no role in the dissipation of heat to space through the IR.

    Say what?

    Geez, Tim, I reckon I can see a career for you in marketing Homeopathic Doonas!

  44. #44 Lotharsson
    June 21, 2012

    Geez, Tim, I reckon I can see a career for you in marketing Homeopathic Doonas!

    bill FTW!

    Similarly, I’m sure Curtin’s line of homeopathic prophylactics made out of thin air (“So thin you won’t believe it’s on!”) would be a big hit in the marketplace. Thin air’s absorption and radiation of ejaculatory material is negligible which means, of course, that thin air plays no role in the dissipation of said ejaculatory material. That means that it can be argued that thin air is the real prophylactic because it plays “no role” in the dissipation and therefore dissipation is rendered impossible. Besides, the 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics proves that ejaculatory material can’t radiate from a body with higher concentration of said material to a body with a lower concentration of said material. I rest my case. Prove me wrong!

  45. #45 ianam
    June 21, 2012

    By TC’s logic, a vacuum is the ultimate GHG.

  46. #46 ianam
    June 21, 2012

    Besides, the 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics proves that ejaculatory material can’t radiate from a body with higher concentration of said material to a body with a lower concentration of said material.

    It’s the other way around, which provides an excellent defense against charges of rape … sure it’s my DNA, Your Honor, but blame entropy, not me.

  47. #47 bill
    June 21, 2012

    Or, at least, TC’s GHG logic is the ultimate vacuum…

  48. #48 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 21, 2012

    Dear all my fans here,

    After a night of your contributions I feel as though I have been waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. If any of you need a new job, you will find ready acceptance there.

    I consulted a couple of my geologist/physicist mates today, and they agree I conceded too much to Marco yesterday:

    1. Atmospheric CO2 does not trap heat as insulation does. The so-called GHGs are NOT insulators or blankets.

    2. But the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator, as those gases are very good at preventing the conduction of heat.

    3. The back radiation in Kiehl and Trenberth (slavishly – uncritically – replicated in AR4 WG1 p.96) is of course a flagrant violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, with its preposterous claim that although the earth’s surface receives only 168 W/sq. metre of solar radiation, it manages “back radiation” of 324 W/sq.metre. Newton in his later years would have loved that demonstration of getting more than was put in.

    4. Rising temperatures increase evaporative cooling (Held & Soden 2006, E&E 2006).

    5. That is why the wrongly named GHGs (atmospheric CO2 and H2O) cool us by radiating energy to space. N2 and O2 cannot and do not do that, as Tyndall showed repeatedly.

    6. Thank heavens for the cooling of the so-called GHGs which saves us from being cooked by the insulation of N2 and O2.

    Back to Guantanamo!

  49. #49 Jeff Harvey
    June 21, 2012

    Curtins: I take it that your ‘friends’ are both well published scientists and agree with your nonsense? I also assume they have written lengthy tomes for Nature or Science in which they will, like you, completely re-write the scientific basis of what we know about the warming/cooling properties of atmospheric gases? And why not name these mates of yours? Let’s see for themselves their ‘bonafides’. What your are doing here to cover what most of us consider to be rank incompetence is to try and rehabilitate your message by suggesting you have nominally qualified friends who agree with it. Naughty, naughty! That’s not the way to bolster the extraordinary claims you are making in your paper and here.

    Essentially you are trying to cover yourself in suggesting that other scientists you know agree with your conclusions. But you don’t tell us why these two buddies of yours and you are somehow more qualified than 99.99% of the scientific community- including real experts in the field – who will ignore your paper and who would think that your arguments are utterly preposterous (as Marco, Lotharsson, Bernard, Lionel et al. as well as Tamino have alone demonstrated). The only hope you would have is to submit your ideas, along with your mates as co-authors, to a strong journal (not comic books like E & E) and to submit it as a talk to a major conference or workshop where your arguments will be – shall
    I say – heavily scrutinized. Why do you think your articles are not cited? Think about it. IMHO it ain’t jealousy.

  50. #50 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    “I feel as though I have been waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay.”

    Until you’ve actually been waterboarded, save the hyperbole for when it’s really warranted.

    After all, if you’d stop posting complete bollocks, you wouldn’t get lambasted for posting complete bollocks.

    “1. Atmospheric CO2 does not trap heat as insulation does”

    Yes it does.

    “The so-called GHGs are NOT insulators or blankets.”

    A blanket statement?

    “2. But the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator”

    And you know this because you’re lovely and warm at night when there are no clouds?

    Nope.

    You’re wrong again.

    “4. Rising temperatures increase evaporative cooling”

    And increasing evaporation causes rising temperatures. I guess you were one of those morons in school who claimed that Newton’s laws PROVED you couldn’t push anything because when you push on an object, it pushes back on you!!!

    “5. That is why the wrongly named GHGs (atmospheric CO2 and H2O) cool us by radiating energy to space.”

    No, that isn’t why they cool us.

    “which saves us from being cooked by the insulation of N2 and O2.”

    Truly your lack of thought is without bounds.

  51. #51 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 21, 2012

    Jeff: I don’t name them because I know that the Sallngers/Santers/Trenberths of this world would seek to have them them fired (they are academics here).

    You and your mates have form in that regard.

    Wow: until you reveal who you are, you are a total waste of space as far as I am concerned, and that is why I never respond to your inanities. I make an exception for Marco, as he does occasionally make a useful comment, you never have.

  52. #52 Lotharsson
    June 21, 2012

    But the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator, as those gases are very good at preventing the conduction of heat.

    Idiotic claim, since we’re discussing outgoing longwave infrared radiation. Heck, year 8 high school physics students could point this fallacy out to you. Are you not at all embarrassed to be making beginner-level blunders – and then sticking to them when your errors are pointed out?

    The back radiation … is of course a flagrant violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics…

    So you’re stupid enough to believe that reiterating a refuted claim turns it from unrefuted to true?

    …, with its preposterous claim that although the earth’s surface receives only 168 W/sq. metre of solar radiation, it manages “back radiation” of 324 W/sq.metre.

    For an alleged economist, you sure love yourself some fraudulent accounting. I’m rather glad that (as far as I know) you have never handled any matters that impact my finances.

    Newton in his later years would have loved that demonstration of getting more than was put in.

    Newton would have called you an idiot for making claims that blatantly and obviously rely on false accounting.

    And sheesh – this (and your other) fallacies have been refuted several times on this thread alone. Do try to prove the refutation wrong instead of merely reiterating your claims.

    Hint: answer the earlier question about the tennis. The server only serves one ball during a really, but hits a dozen before the rally ends. This is clearly a violation of the 2nd Law – how can he possibly hit more balls than he served to the opponent? Or is it merely that you’ve erroneously failed to account for a second source of balls?

    That is why the wrongly named GHGs (atmospheric CO2 and H2O) cool us by radiating energy to space. N2 and O2 cannot and do not do that, as Tyndall showed repeatedly.

    You reiterate another fallacy without dealing with the refutations. Apparently you’re stupid enough to believe that reiterating it enough will eventually change it from false to true.

    And you’re even more stupid because you refuse to modify your thinking when you indulge in fallacies that early high school students can easily point out.

    Quick question: what would immediately happen to outgoing infrared radiation levels if the atmosphere suddenly lost all of the (actual) GHGs, just N2 and O2? Would the total outgoing radiation flux at top of atmosphere increase, decrease or stay the same? Why?

  53. #53 Lotharsson
    June 21, 2012

    I don’t name them because I know that the Sallngers/Santers/Trenberths of this world would seek to have them them fired (they are academics here).

    So, let me get this straight. You and these others have a paradigm-overturning revolutionary new understanding of atmospheric physics that would certainly lead to at least one Nobel Prize, and:

    (a) you and they won’t publish it in a reputable journal (despite the fact that they would all be fighting each other to get their hands on it!)

    (b) none of the others will even attempt to attach their names to it at the moment for the purposes of establishing priority and posterity

    That’s eminently amusing. Not your claims – but the fact that you apparently offer them in the vain hope that someone, somewhere, will find them credible.

    Now pull the other one.

  54. #54 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    “Newton in his later years would have loved that demonstration of getting more than was put in.”

    So when you put your wage (I would suppose something like $4 a week in any sane society for the value of your work) into a savings account, and don’t withdraw $4 a week, you would be SHOCKED to see more than $4 in your bank account because “that’s more than you put in”???

    As Lotharson says, I hope you don’t do your own accounts.

  55. #55 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    “until you reveal who you are, you are a total waste of space as far as I am concerned”

    Until facts start taking up volume on a blog site, space cannot be wasted.

    YOU, on the other hand, are a criminal waste of sperm. By your very existence, the intelligence quotient of the entire planet is reduced.

    The reason why you don’t respond is because you’re completely unable to respond without digging even deeper into the stupid. A definitely infinite resource with you.

  56. #56 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    Timski,

    Why do you insist that the earth is only radiating 168W/m2? It radiates 396W/m2.

  57. #57 bill
    June 21, 2012

    Make sure to pass on to your ‘geologist/physicist mates’ that they’re incompetent – it’s doubtlessly a good thing that they’re also almost-certainly imaginary…

  58. #58 Robert Murphy
    June 21, 2012

    Curtin said:
    “5. That is why the wrongly named GHGs (atmospheric CO2 and H2O) cool us by radiating energy to space.”

    When GHG’s scatter photons, they do so in random directions. Some goes up, but some goes down. The LW radiation that GHG’s scatter upward that makes it out into space was originally going in that direction already when it was radiated by the surface. If there were no GHG’s, all of the LW radiation that the surface emits would reach space. Because there are GHG’s, however, some of that radiation that was originally going up gets scattered downward and eventually reaches the surface again. Less goes into space than was originally radiated from the surface. If the atmosphere was all N2 and O2, all of the LW radiation coming from the surface would escape into space. That’s what the “0”‘s meant in Tyndall’s experiment under nitrogen and oxygen. It would be considerably cooler with no GHG’s.

    That this very simple and basic concept is so lost to you to the point that you over and over again post Tyndall’s results when you have no clue what his results mean (the nitrogen and oxygen “0”‘s showing that they were not GHG’s), should give you pause. It won’t, of course. It’s quite enlightening to anybody reading your twaddle though.

  59. #59 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    I just had an inspiration.

    Timski cannot be very good at investment. After all, if you put in your investment, you cannot get more out than you put in!

    Therefore all this “interest” and “dividend” is, to Timski, a great big con!

  60. #60 Jeff Harvey
    June 21, 2012

    Tim: The why don’t your buddies at the university write a paper and submit it to a scientific journal? Your are writing bollocks when you say that Trenberth et al. would seek to have them fired. Pure nonsense. What would happen is that their paper would be reviewed – rejected as garbage – and then life would go on.

    If you don’t want to reveal their identities, then perhaps you’d be willing to reveal how may papers they have each and their h-factors? My guess is that the are pseudos.

  61. #61 Lotharsson
    June 21, 2012

    …, with its preposterous claim that although the earth’s surface receives only 168 W/sq. metre of solar radiation, it manages “back radiation” of 324 W/sq.metre.

    TC is even more confused than I had previously thought.

    “Back radiation” does not mean “outgoing longwave radiation from the earth’s surface”. It means radiation from the atmosphere back to the earth’s surface.

    TC apparently can’t even read a simple diagram or use commonly understood terminology correctly.

    That sheds new (and even more befuddled) light on his claim that “back radiation violates the 2nd Law”!

  62. #62 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 21, 2012

    Wow: I make an exception, when you say,
    “Why do you insist that the earth is only radiating 168W/m2? It radiates 396W/m2.”

    But according to Kiehl & Trenberth as reprinted in AR4 WG1 FAQ1.1, Fig.1, the earth only absorbs 168 W/sq.metre, so how does it manage to radiate 396 W/sq.m.?

  63. #63 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    “But according to Kiehl & Trenberth as reprinted in AR4 WG1 FAQ1.1, Fig.1, the earth only absorbs 168 W/sq.metre”

    OK, so you haven’t read the picture, this is proof.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/abstracts/files/kevin1997_1.html

    Earth absorbs:

    168 from the sun
    324 from the back radiation
    492 Total

    Earth emits:
    24 in mechanical energy (thermals)
    78 in potential energy (evapotranspiration)
    390 by radiation (more recent figures than the one you used have 396 W/m2)
    492 Total

  64. #64 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    So, Tim?

    Was this a maths fail (addition is a fairly basic maths skill), reading skill (there aren’t many words in a diagram, and despite this, reading is quite a basic English skill) or an intelligence fail (you thought everyone was dumb enough to fall for that transparent idiocy)?

  65. #65 Bernard J.
    June 21, 2012

    1. Atmospheric CO2 does not trap heat as insulation does. The so-called GHGs are NOT insulators or blankets.

    If you were up on the climatological literature, you’d know that no-one is claiming that they are. The continual reference to back-radiation, and even my own quotation marks whenever I refer to ‘greehouse’ gases, should have clued you in years before now.

    You’re a bit slow…

    2. But the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator, as those gases are very good at preventing the conduction of heat.

    As has been noted already, the issue of global warming is primarily mediated by changes in radiation dynamics, and not by changes in conduction (or convection).

    You’re a bit off the mark…

    3. The back radiation in Kiehl and Trenberth (slavishly – uncritically – replicated in AR4 WG1 p.96) is of course a flagrant violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics…

    Erm, no, no, and no again.

    It’s similar to when your interim budget, for a project funded in an ongoing manner, doesn’t tally, but when you add it all up at the end ot the project, it balances.

    Your ability with basic accounting arithmetic is a bit underdeveloped…

    4. Rising temperatures increase evaporative cooling (Held & Soden 2006, E&E 2006).

    Rising temperatures do not however result in net coolling of the planet.

    Your logic is a bit fallacious…

    5. That is why the wrongly named GHGs (atmospheric CO2 and H2O) cool us by radiating energy to space. N2 and O2 cannot and do not do that, as Tyndall showed repeatedly.

    The ‘greenhouse’ gases CO2 and H2O only radiate out what they absorb in. If they resulted in net cooling, as you seem to be repeatedly trying to imply, then the earth would be almost, if not actually, cold enough to freeze carbon dioxide, rendering the planet a permanent snowball – at least, until the sun goes all red giant.

    Your understanding of radiative physics is a bit restricted.

    6. Thank heavens for the cooling of the so-called GHGs which saves us from being cooked by the insulation of N2 and O2.

    Hn. Radiation versus conduction/convection again.

    You’re a bit scientifically illiterate.

    Oh, and when I say “a bit”, I actually mean “a stonking whole lot”…

  66. #66 Marco
    June 21, 2012

    So, I am gone for a while and note Tim Curtin claiming he “concedes” something, when in reality he still has not conceded that his claim that N2 and O2 are opaque to IR radiation is complete and utter tosh.

    And why quote Tyndall, when significant progress has been made in the field? Arrhenius showed that CO2 is very important, in part because he realized Tyndall’s error of the “saturation”.

    So far, Tim Curtin just keeps on showing he is an idiot. The sequel of this saga is that he’s caught in failing basic math…

  67. #67 Marco
    June 21, 2012

    Bernard J: Curtin’s cooling claim of greenhouse gases should be tested on the Venusian atmosphere. Could be fun…

  68. #68 Bernard J.
    June 21, 2012

    Just so that you’re clear on this Curtin, when I say “…no-one is claiming that they are”, I am speaking about the mechanism of heat entrapment, and not of the fact of heat entrapment.

    Your wont to distort even the most basic of facts requires that I specifically spell this out.

  69. #69 Bernard J.
    June 21, 2012

    Marco at 2:35, 21 June.

    But don’t you know? That’s why Mars is so cold!

  70. #70 Lionel A
    June 21, 2012

    TC wrote:

    …, with its preposterous claim that although the earth’s surface receives only 168 W/sq. metre of solar radiation, it manages “back radiation” of 324 W/sq.metre.

    To which Lotharsson, unsurprisingly, replied:

    TC is even more confused than I had previously thought.

    Which is what I was pointing out way up thread when pulling TC up for banging on about Trenberth’s Cartoon. The fact that Curtin persists in misinterpreting a ‘cartoon’ informs on his total ignorance of atmospheric physics and what causes the back radiation. This despite the fact that I have exhorted him to read Archer and Pierrehumbert on the subject. Heck there are even online lectures to help him out.

    And he still persists in the nonsense in his 1:07pm. Amazing!

    Instead of behaving sensibly he behaves like a foxtrot-uniform-charlie-kilo/kilo-november-uniform-charlie-kilo-lima-echo accusing everybody else, including the hundreds of scientists involved in the FAR, TAR, 1AR and all the myriad peer reviewed research papers in top flight journals are wrong and that he is right because some, probably invented, colleagues back him up. I suspect that ‘thomas marvell’ (with its connotations of ‘The Ministry of Magic‘ was a sock.

    I doubt that we have seen the like before. By now even TSWJ may be getting edgy about having published his paper.

  71. #71 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    ” 1. Atmospheric CO2 does not trap heat as insulation does. The so-called GHGs are NOT insulators or blankets.

    If you were up on the climatological literature, you’d know that no-one is claiming that they are. ”

    Depends.

    Why I said “blanket statement?” was because blanket doesn’t mean “a wool-based coverall used to insulate a sleeping individual” only.

  72. #72 Chris O'Neill
    June 21, 2012

    “a flagrant violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics”

    Reminds me of creationists.

  73. #73 Ian Forrester
    June 21, 2012

    Curtin shows more ignorance of simple physics:

    4. Rising temperatures increase evaporative cooling (Held & Soden 2006, E&E 2006).

    Ever heard of “latent heat” Curtin? Didn’t think so. That latent heat of evaporation, your “evaporative cooling” does not mysteriously disappear. It returns when the water vapour condenses as in rain storms. Thus the temperature over land is increased. Since most of us and all our agricultural crops are grown on land this transfer of heat from the sea to the land is not a good thing.

    Maybe Curtin thinks that adding CO2 to flood water will make it disappear. Such ignorance and dishonesty since I refuse to believe that any one can be so ignorant of science as Curtin pretends to be.

  74. #74 Wow
    June 21, 2012

    “Maybe Curtin thinks that adding CO2 to flood water will make it disappear”

    He believes that adding CO2 to salt water makes it potable, though.

    Yes, there is literally NO LIMIT to TC’s incompetence!

  75. #75 Bernard J.
    June 21, 2012

    You know, I frequently read the reams of free and factual information that we provide to Curtin, and wonder if ever there is a little gnawing niggle in the back of his mind somewhere suggesting that perhaps he has it wrong after all.

    I guess not, or he’d have awoken several years ago. So now I am waiting for Ur-Cnut to tell us that Ian Forrester’s pointing out of the swings and roundabouts of the fact of latent heats does in fact violate the second law of thermodynamics. Please, please Curtin, tell us that it does – I so want to see how ridiculous you’re prepared to make yourself look in your efforts to claim that ‘greenhouse’ gases cool the planet.

  76. #76 Tim Curtin
    June 22, 2012

    Robert Murphy. Thanks. You said:..”If the atmosphere was all N2 and O2, all of the LW radiation coming from the surface would escape into space. That’s what the “0″‘s meant in Tyndall’s experiment under nitrogen and oxygen.” This is a mistake, Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder. Correct use of language would therefore describe the O2 and N2 as real GHGs, while the absorption and radiation by CO2 and H2O are what stop the planet being a pressure cooker.

    To the rest of you, the Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon clearly shows more LW back radiation to the earth’s surface at 324 W/sq.m. than incoming SW solar radiation reaching that surface (168 W/sq.m).

    Whence this miraculous energy gain, all for free?
    Moreover the back radiation does infringe the 2nd Law by implying heat transfer from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface.
    And I see Forrester is opposed to precipitation over land: “It returns when the water vapour condenses as in rain storms. Thus the temperature over land is increased. Since most of us and all our agricultural crops are grown on land this transfer of heat from the sea to the land is not a good thing”. More brave new science!

  77. #77 Wow
    June 22, 2012

    “This is a mistake”

    Nope, this is the truth.

    “Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2″

    This is correct.

    “Correct use of language would therefore describe the O2 and N2 as real GHGs”

    This is incorrect.

    “Whence this miraculous energy gain, all for free?”

    There is no miraculous energy gain, any more than there’s any miraculous energy gain when you turn the volume up on your radio.

    “clearly shows more LW back radiation to the earth’s surface at 324 W/sq.m. than incoming SW solar radiation reaching that surface (168 W/sq.m).”

    And it clearly shows that the earth is recieving more than the solar radiation reaching the surface.

    It seems like the problem IS a reading one. See a brain surgeon, they may be able to find the bit that’s left.

    “Moreover the back radiation does infringe the 2nd Law by implying heat transfer from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface.”

    The 2nd Law of thermodynamics doesn’t forbid radiation of energy.

  78. #78 Marco
    June 22, 2012

    Tim, final try from my side, and forget the Kiehl-Trenberth diagram, we don’t need it:

    Suppose we look at a celestial body A without any atmosphere. A star illuminates this celestial body A. The surface of A will absorb some of the SW radiation of the star, and emit this radiation as IR (LW) radiation. So far you are with me?

    If so, we now become gods and miraculously add an atmosphere of solely N2 around that celestial body A; but let’s now call it B to differentiate between the two.

    You have already admitted that N2 is transparent to SW radiation, so I guess you will agree with me that this celestial body B receives as much SW radiation on its surface as A. Yes?

    Now, there’s no reason to assume that the presence of N2 on B changes how much SW radiation is converted to LW radiation compared to A. Do you agree?

    If so, the next question to answer is: what happens to that LW radiation leaving the surface? You state that N2 does not absorb IR radiation (which is LW radiation), as per Tyndall. So, where does that radiation go? You get two options:
    1. It goes straight out to space
    2. Confused by that compound N2 that does not absorb, it goes straight back into the surface, and is afraid to come out again, thus warming the surface further and further

    Inquiring minds like to know how far you can take your failure to understand Tyndall (who describes the answer on the pages I pointed out to you).

  79. #79 Robert Murphy
    June 22, 2012

    “This is a mistake, Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder.”

    It meant they didn’t scatter LW radiation, and therefore were transparent to LW radiation. They weren’t GHG’s. Water vapor and CO2 DO scatter LW radiation, and they do so in all directions. Some of that radiation winds up reaching the surface again instead of going out to space. This means that the surface is warmer than it would otherwise be. That you at this point are too thick to realize this shows you don’t even known how to read.

    You are truly one stupid-ass person, Timmie.

  80. #80 Jeff Harvey
    June 22, 2012

    You know, I have no expertise in this area and I really appreciate the many comprehensive rebuttals of Tim’s nonsense (well done, guys). Does he and he alone think that he – a retired economist for heaven’s sake with absoutely zero expertise in any branch of science – can rewrite the science books and that the entire scientific community has not been correctly able to determine the differing properties of greenhouse and non-greenhouse gases for a century? If Tim’s buddies are similarly endowed with this brave new wisdom, then why haven’t they written this up and become world famous in the process?

    This whole episode reeks or Dunning-Kruger. Of someone who has clearly stepped well outside of his area of expertise and who, in my honest opinion, is making a fool of himself in doing so. Mind you, since the paper will be completely ignored by the scientific community, this foolishness is restricted to a few weblogs where, to give credit where credit is due, he has waded in only to be comprehensively debunked. To his discredit, he won’t listen to a word anybody else says with respect to the broader conclusions of his work. This episode, like the sad article on which it is based, will, I hope, fade into the dust of history. The sooner the better.

  81. #81 Wow
    June 22, 2012

    Jeff, I think the evidence is obvious: Tim Curtain doesn’t think. Full stop.

  82. #82 Lionel A
    June 22, 2012

    TC:

    To the rest of you, the Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon clearly shows more LW back radiation to the earth’s surface at 324 W/sq.m. than incoming SW solar radiation reaching that surface (168 W/sq.m).

    The quantities I am about to quote below are from Trenberth et. al. 2009 but otherwise the details of the schematic remain the same as in earlier.

    Note that 341 3 Wm-2, embracing all wavelengths, enter the upper atmosphere with 161 being absorbed by the surface. Another 78 Wm-2 of the original 341.3 is absorbed by the atmosphere – there is a part of the imbalance that you think you see (ghosts in your machine).

    Now 396 Wm-2 returns to the atmosphere of which 40 Wm-2 goes through an absorption window leaving 356 Wm-2. Also 17 Wm-2 enters the atmosphere via thermals and another 80 Wm-2 from evapotranspiration. Now do the sums again.

    To understand why the atmospheric GHGs of CO2, water vapour and others behave as they do you need to know about the physical properties of the molecules of these gases and how these differ the molecular properties of the non GHGs (at least at Earth’s atmospheric pressures and temperatures).

    Briefly, al molecules have an equilibrium configuration WRT the nuclei of the constituent atoms such that the electromagnetic forces of the nuclei and the electron cloud sum to zero.

    Now there are two basic arrangements of molecules at the heart of this matter. On the one hand we have N2 and O2 with diatomic molecules with only simple stretch/shrink and rotate configuration changes. On the other hand are the CO2 and H2O molecules which are triatomic in arrangement – asymmetric about some planes. These latter molecules as they resonate with the electromagnetic field of the specific wavelengths to which they ‘ring’ emit photons.

    It is these photon’s, ‘packets of energy’ which radiate in all directions heating up the atmosphere and producing the back radiation.

    Now that is a much simplified explanation, maybe creating a contention or two but you really need to take this on board and one place to find more is in Raymond T Pierrehumbert’s ‘Principles of Planetary Climate’ section ‘4.4.2 The absorption spectrum of real gases’ p.p 220-226

  83. #83 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2012

    This is a mistake, Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder.

    Well, at least we finally have an answer from TC as to what a “0” reading on the galvanometer meant – at least, in TC’s fevered imagination.

    Looks like we can add “comprehending written descriptions of experiments” to his list of legendary failings.

    TC: go back and read up on Tyndall. Specifically look for the calibration step where the galvanometer reading was set to zero. Describe the state of the tube during that calibration step, and the corresponding rate of heat energy received at the thermopile on the other side of the tube from the heat source.

    (Then issue a double facepalm.)

  84. #84 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2012

    Now, TC, once you’ve executed your double facepalm, test your new understanding by comprehending Tyndall’s other calibration step – the one where he blocked all radiation through the tube, thereby ensuring no heat energy was transferred through the tube to the thermopile which was coupled to the galvanometer.

    Determine whether the galvanometer deflection under these conditions was positive – as it was for tubes full of actual GHGs – or zero, or negative.

    Then enlist a friend and issue a quadruple facepalm.

    Especially since these questions have been posed above for precisely these reasons, and plenty of other information has also been posted that would allow you to reach the correct conclusion even without those questions.

  85. #85 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2012

    Whence this miraculous energy gain, all for free?

    One has to be spectacularly stupid or obstinate to cling to this fallacy after having it explained to one a dozen times.

    Then again, TC frequently claims proposition A leads to result B, and then later claims that proposition not-A leads to result B…

  86. #86 bill
    June 22, 2012

    Hey, Tim, what do we see in the paleo record when CO2 levels have been lower than today? If they’re all that’s saving us from the O2/N2 pressure cooker?

    Is this all actually an experiment to determine how absurd an argument might have to be before no-one responds to it anymore?

  87. #87 Richard Simons
    June 22, 2012

    TC: In Tyndall’s experiments, what would the results have been if he used a vacuum instead of N2 or O2? Answer: the same. It seems to me there are two options: either N2, O2 and a vacuum all cause a greenhouse effect or that none of N2, O2 and a vacuum cause a greenhouse effect. Which do you think is more likely? (Hint: there is no greenhouse effect on the moon.)

  88. #88 ianam
    June 22, 2012

    To the rest of you, the Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon clearly shows more LW back radiation to the earth’s surface at 324 W/sq.m. than incoming SW solar radiation reaching that surface (168 W/sq.m).

    Your incompetence is beyond extraordinary. You don’t seem to even understand the meaning of “back”. The 168 and the 324 are both toward the surface. Since they have the same direction, they are summed, not subtracted. Thus the question of which one is more is irrelevant.

    Whence this miraculous energy gain, all for free?

    You have been told, over and over, you write-only imbecile. If I lend you a dollar and you pay me back and I lend it to you again and you pay me back again and we do this 100 times, I’ve lent you $100. Free money!

    Moreover the back radiation does infringe the 2nd Law by implying heat transfer from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface.

    radiation, imbecile, radiation. The 2LOT does not say that a cold object cannot radiate energy to a hot object. If it did, it would violate sense and observation and thus not be a law of physics after all.

  89. #89 ianam
    June 22, 2012

    nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder

    How does electromagnetic radiation manage to traverse outer space, Tim, without space being filled with molecules that absorb and radiate it? Or do you suppose that outer space is filled with CO2 and H2O?

  90. #90 ianam
    June 22, 2012

    Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder

    Where does that “thereby” come from, Tim? Why do you think that, without molecular absorption and retransmission, thermal radiation cannot traverse a cylinder?

  91. #91 Lotharsson
    June 22, 2012

    Why do you think that, without molecular absorption and retransmission, thermal radiation cannot traverse a cylinder?

    Or traverse the space between the sun and earth’s atmosphere. I think this is the key question. TC reckons that:

    …the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator, as those gases are very good at preventing the conduction of heat.

    It may be that he thinks that radiative heat transfer is in reality conductive heat transfer – although if so, I’d like to know how he thinks the earth ever conducts any significant amount of heat to space.

  92. #92 bill
    June 23, 2012

    As TimC soars away from this quotidian realm on his mighty SkyDragon, let us remember what Rabelais very-nearly said –

    Ring down the Curtin, the farce is over!

  93. #93 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 23, 2012

    Marco: You said I “state that N2 does not absorb IR radiation (which is LW radiation), as per Tyndall. So, where does that radiation go? You get two options:
    1. It goes straight out to space; 2. Confused by that compound N2 that does not absorb, it goes straight back into the surface, and is afraid to come out again, thus warming the surface further and further”. Why?

    In practice the incoming LW radiation comes in what are so to speak tranches, each one of which has only one instalment of light/heat, although each new tranche also contributes. Or as AR4 WG 1. FAQ1.1, p.96 puts it,
    “The amount of energy reaching the top of Earth’s atmosphere each second on a surface area of one square metre facing the Sun during daytime is about 1,370 Watts, and the amount of energy per square metre per second averaged over the entire planet is one-quarter of this (see Figure 1). About 30% of the sunlight that reaches the top of the atmosphere is reflected back to space. Roughly two-thirds of this reflectivity is due to clouds and small particles in the atmosphere known as ‘aerosols’.”
    As a result the radiation reaching the surface and absorbed by it is only 168 W/sq.m. as shown in that lovely cartoon.

    Back to FAQ 1.1: “The energy that is not reflected back to space is absorbed by the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. This amount is approximately 240 Watts per square metre (W m–2). To balance the incoming energy, the Earth itself must radiate, on average, the same amount of energy back to space. The Earth does this by emitting outgoing longwave radiation.” True, but the next is statement is NOT true:

    “Everything [sic] on Earth emits longwave radiation continuously.” Tyndall showed conclusively, and has never been refuted, that the N2 and O2 do NOT emit long wave radiation at all let alone continuously

    FAQ again: “To emit 240 W m–2, a surface would have to have a temperature of around –19°C. This is much colder than the conditions that actually exist at the Earth’s surface (the global mean surface temperature is about 14°C). Instead, the necessary –19°C is found at an altitude about 5 km above the surface”. Nearly true – and it is the CO2 and H2O which do that at that altitude, e.g. Mauna Loa, but also lower down at all altitudes with temperatures less than those at the surface.

    But now the FAQ’s authors fall flat on their faces (p.97): “The reason the Earth’s surface is this warm is the presence of greenhouse gases, which act as a partial BLANKET for the longwave radiation coming from the surface. This blanketing is known as the natural greenhouse effect. The most important greenhouse gases are water vapour and carbon dioxide. The two most abundant constituents of the atmosphere – nitrogen and oxygen – have no such effect.” (my caps).

    As Tyndall proved, N2 and O2 do have a real blanket effect by neither absorbing nor radiating, while the CO2 and H2O not only absorb, but radiate from the warmer surface through the cool atmosphere up as far as 15 km, so they are NOT a partial blanket.

    The authors of Chapter 1 and its fatuous FAQ 1.1 include the ludicrous Gabi Hegerl who thinks Edinburgh would be uninhabitable and a desert if its annual mean temperature rose from less than 10oC to 12oC, Ben “I’d like to beat the crap out of Michaels” and Kevin editor resignation enforcer Trenberth.

    The reason they demonise the CO2 and H2O whilst exonerating the N2 and O2 is that even the idiot governments of the EU, USA, and Australia might just baulk at banning oxygen and would not fund Gabi, Ben and Kev in the style they have become accustomed to if that is what they advocated. CO2, on the other hand, which Australian bureaucrats and policy makers think of as carbon, is as much the basis for all life as oxygen, but the ideal target for all you lot because of its association with the rising standards of living which I can well believe you abhor (like your patron saints Tim Flannery, Ian Lowe and Dick Smith et all too many al in the Greens and ALP).

  94. #94 Richard Simons
    June 23, 2012

    TC: It should have been obvious that Marco was asking about outgoing, not incoming, radiation.

    N2 and O2 do have a real blanket effect by neither absorbing nor radiating,

    In this regard, how do they differ from a vacuum? Would a vacuum provide an equally-effective blanket?

    CO2 and H2O not only absorb, but radiate from the warmer surface through the cool atmosphere

    They are not at the surface, but in the atmosphere. And they also radiate back to the ground. However, as far as the IR radiation is concerned, the N2 and O2 might as well not be there, the IR radiation leaving Earth being unimpeded by them.

  95. #95 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 23, 2012

    Richard Simons: Marco raised both issues.

    Tyndall used a cylinder containing either just N2 and O2 or ordinary air including the H2O and CO2.

    I simply cannot believe in your back radiation as it infringes basic physics’ 2nd Law.

    But as Tyndall showed, when N2 and O2 are there, they do block LW infrared absorption and radiation.

    End of story unless you can disprove Tyndall by an appropriate physical lab experiment.

  96. #96 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 23, 2012

    Lotharsson (June 22, 11:19 pm) asked me “Why do you think that, without molecular absorption and retransmission, thermal radiation cannot traverse a cylinder?”

    Well, I could programme a GCM to show that they could, but Tyndall’s lab apparatus simply showed that in the case of N2 and O2, thermal radiation did not traverse his cylinder, so I repeat that “…the atmosphere (99% N2 and O2) is a very good insulator, as those gases are very good at preventing the conduction of heat”
    .
    Then L commented: “It may be that he thinks that radiative heat transfer is in reality conductive heat transfer – although if so, I’d like to know how he thinks the earth ever conducts any significant amount of heat to space”.

    Why not read Tyndall? In both his 1861 paper and in the short note in his 1872 book he showed the enormous capacity of the H2O and CO2, in that order, to absorb and radiate heat to space.

    Then Lotharsson said “TC: go back and read up on Tyndall. Specifically look for the calibration step where the galvanometer reading was set to zero. Describe the state of the tube during that calibration step, and the corresponding rate of heat energy received at the thermopile on the other side of the tube from the heat source.”

    L: you are the one who needs to read Tyndall, he said: “A perfect galvanometer is the result, The needle, when released from the action of a current, returns accurately to zero, and is perfectly free from all magnetic action on the part of the coil.”

    The “0” reading indicates zero absorption and radiation – and it would absurd to calibrate in the presence of the gases to be analysed.

    As Tyndall said: “The tube being mounted horizontally, a LESLIE’S cube containing hot water was placed close to one of its ends, while an excellent thermo-electric pile, connected with its galvanometer, was presented to the other. The tube being exhausted [NB], the calorific
    rays sent through it fell upon the pile, a permanent deflection of 30° being the consequence. The temperature of the [EXTERNAL HOT ]water was in the first instance purposely so arranged as to produce this deflection.”

    So for the nth time, Tyndall clearly showed and stated that the “Os” indicated nil absorption and radiation by N2 and O2, and thereby no transfer of heat through the cylinder when only they were present.

  97. #97 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 23, 2012

    re Bernard June 21, 2:29 pm

    I had said “Atmospheric CO2 does not trap heat as insulation does. The so-called GHGs are NOT insulators or blankets.” Bernard’s response was “If you were up on the climatological literature, you’d know that no-one is claiming that they are.”

    But earlier to day I placed here this direct quote from AR4 WG FAQ 1.1: “The reason the Earth’s surface is this warm is the presence of greenhouse gases, which act as a partial blanket for the longwave radiation coming from the surface. This blanketing is known as the natural greenhouse effect. The most important greenhouse gases are water vapour and carbon dioxide. The two most abundant constituents of the atmosphere – nitrogen and oxygen – have no such effect [garbage]“.

  98. #98 Tim Curtin
    www.timcurtin.com
    June 23, 2012

    1. To ianam (June 22, 7:32 pm)
    I had said “… the Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon clearly shows more LW back radiation to the earth’s surface at 324 W/sq.m. than incoming SW solar radiation reaching that surface (168 W/sq.m).

    ianam: the issue is how does this back radiation acquire so many more W/sq.m. (324) than the solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface (168)? Now the imbecilic Kiehl-Trenberth cartoon shows that their back radiation derives from outward radiation from the surface of no less than 390 W/sq.m., more than double the incoming solar!

    So you must believe this planet really is the centre of the universe with its ability to radiate more heat (390 W/sq.m.) than it gets from the sun (168)

    Then you question the 2nd Law, but that does indeed decree that a cold object cannot radiate energy to a hot object. Now Wiki is not infallible, but here’s your chance to edit its entry on the 2nd Law on the basis of your claim .

    Wiki: “The first law of thermodynamics provides the basic definition of thermodynamic energy, also called internal energy, associated with all thermodynamic systems, but unknown in mechanics, and states the rule of conservation of energy in nature. However, the concept of energy in the first law does not account for the observation that natural processes have a preferred direction of progress. For example, spontaneously, heat always flows to regions of lower temperature, never to regions of higher temperature without external work being performed on the system.”

    But for ianam: “The 2LOT does not say that a cold object cannot radiate energy to a hot object. If it did, it would violate sense and observation and thus not be a law of physics after all.”

    More ianam: “How does electromagnetic radiation manage to traverse outer space, Tim, without space being filled with molecules that absorb and radiate it? Or do you suppose that outer space is filled with CO2 and H2O?”

    No, but although only about 0.5% of the atmosphere (not space) on average, their absorptive and radiative capacity is thousands of times more potent than that of N2 and O2 – see my quotes above from Tyndall 1872.

    Then you asked: “Why do you think that, without molecular absorption and retransmission, thermal radiation cannot traverse a cylinder?” Well, Tyndall 1861 showed that it does not if the cylinder contains only N2 and O2, check his galvanometer readings.

    Ian, finally read and learn the following:

    The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes [like Kiehl & Trenberth!]. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
    —Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927) (h/t Claes Johnson).

  99. #99 Marco
    June 23, 2012

    Sigh, we have stupid, stupider, stupidest, and now also teh curtin.

    Tim, please explain why you are so certain Tyndall showed N2 and O2 block(!) LW radiation, while he then describes in the book I pointed out to you (again, page 424) that N2 and O2 do NOT stop the LW radiation coming from the earth’s surface?

    Are you now claiming Tyndall did not understand his own experiment?

  100. #100 Marco
    June 23, 2012

    Richard, teh curtin has no idea what he is talking about himself, so why expect he understands what others are saying?

    There is a small change he deliberately misdirects, misrepresenting my question because he knows he’s an idiot.

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