Khilyuk and Chilingar, oh my

Paul Hamer sends me an email about Khilyuk and Chilingar: (my emphasis)

I had a quick poke around on the ISI database to see if anyone had cited
their original study that you've covered. I found that their is a single
citation - a self citation. It turns out Khilyuk and Chilingar have written
another article with the help of one O. G Sorokhtin.

I can't be 100% certain but seems like they're making a very dodgy claim

"The main factor determining climate's temperature parameters is the
atmospheric pressure."

They then proceed to breeze over geological history and suggest two
mechanisms that changed atmospheric pressure and hence the climate.

From my reading of the actual paper they seem to suggest that pressure
relates to climate via the atmospheres heat capacity. They use the Stefan
Boltzmann equation to derive an equation for their basic model but they
completely fail to include any kind of greenhouse gas induced warming, natural or otherwise. They dismiss the
warming effects of greenhouse gases with the flimsiest of arguments:

"According to the greenhouse effect theory, the low concentrations of
greenhouse gases for all practical purposes do not affect the tropospheric
air temperature, because after the greenhouse gases absorb the IR (heat)
radiation, the radiation disappears. Its energy is transferred into the
energy of oscillations of air molecule. As a result, the irradiated air is
heated, expands and rapidly rises to the stratosphere
. There, it commingles
with the thinned air and the air temperature in the troposphere declines
again to the adiabatic distribution level, i.e., practically, it does not

Why don't they consider re-emission of IR from greenhouse gases back to the
surface? Why don't they consider re-distribution of internal energy into
translational motion via collisions? These are some fairly fundamental

But, there's much more:

"A similar situation must occur when the air is heated upon condensation of
water vapor. On the other hand, when the greenhouse gas concentration is
substantial, the opposite scenario occurs: there is climate cooling rather
than warming. If the nitrogen-oxygen Earth's atmosphere was replaced by
carbon dioxide atmosphere (at the same near-surface atmospheric pressure of
1 atm), then [using Eq. (4)], the average tropospheric temperature would
have declined by several degrees instead of increasing as is generally
believed. This can be explained as follows: The adiabatic exponent for a
carbon dioxide atmosphere CO2 = 0.1428, which is lower than for the
nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere (N2+O2 = 0.1905). Molar weight of carbon
dioxide, on the other hand, is higher: (µCO2 = 44) than that for the
nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere (µN2+O2 = 28.89). Consequently, the carbon
dioxide atmosphere, like a thin blanket with lower specific heat, preserves
heat less than the thicker nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere with higher specific

and my favourite piece:

"Likewise, if the carbon dioxide atmosphere on Venus was replaced by a
nitrogen-oxygen one at the same atmospheric pressure of 90.9 atm, the
surface temperature would rise from the current 735 K to 777 K (463C to
504C). Thus, increasing saturation of atmosphere with carbon dioxide
(despite its heat radiation absorbing capacity), with all other conditions
being equal, results in a decrease and not an increase of the greenhouse
effect and a decrease in the average temperature of planet's troposphere."

"In conclusion, a common perception of climate warming as a result of CO2
and other "greenhouse" gases accumulating in the atmosphere is a myth. In
reality, CO2 accumulation, under the same conditions, can only lead to the
cooling-down of climate (also see Khilyuk and Chilingar, 2003)."

I'm really shocked that something like this could have gotten past peer
review. So let me get this straight, if you ignore some fundamental laws of
physics and some basic mechanisms of the atmosphere you too can create a
simple model that proves just about anything you want. This work is a
perfect example of how to subvert the scientific method.

This is a Jan 2007 publication, so it hasn't been cited yet by CO2science, Benny Peiser, Christopher Monckton etc etc. But I'm sure it will be.


More like this

A new paper by Chilingar, Khilyuk and Sorokhtin is up to their previous standard. Here's the abstract: The writers investigated the effect of CO2 emission on the temperature of atmosphere. Computations based on the adiabatic theory of greenhouse effect show that increasing CO2 concentration in the…
Back in July, David Evans had on opinion piece in the Australian claiming: The greenhouse signature is missing. ... The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. This is wrong. The hot spot is not the signature, since you get a hot…
Those with long memories will note that this is a re-post of this from my old blog. I've hoicked it over here because I read Stratospheric Cooling, April 18, 2010, by scienceofdoom who says "Why Is the Stratosphere Expected to Cool from Increases in "Greenhouse" Gases? This is a difficult one to…
"Being told about the effects of climate change is an appeal to our reason and to our desire to bring about change. But to see that Africans are the hardest hit by climate change, even though they generate almost no greenhouse gas, is a glaring injustice, which also triggers anger and outrage over…

Wow. Nothing more needs to be said.
What is it about people that they like to make up simple models and then claim they are correct, without actually looking at real life and checking their calculations against it.

Check out the author affiliations in the new article. Khilyuk is no longer listed as being at USC, but rather Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, USA Branch, Los Angeles. A fourth author, M. V. Gorfunkel, is affiliated with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, USA Branch, Dallas. Do such branches exist?

The only place Khilyuk can be found on the USC web site is as Chilingar's co-author. An L Khilyuk is listed as a high school math teacher in Granada Hills, CA, a Los Angeles suburb.

Wow is all I can say! Just when you think you have seen it all.

I looked up the Journal "Energy Sources Part A:" and it seems to be a legitimate journal but in the few articles I skimmed through there seemed to be a large Turkey connection. About 1/2 the papers seemed to be either papers about energy in Turkey or by people from Turkey. Maybe that was just a result of my small sample.

Anyway, I suspect that the Journal will suffer as a result of publishing this.

By John Cross (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

I've found another small gem while googling L Khilyuk. Monckton of Brenchley seems to like Khilyuk and Chilingar too because he reccomends it to readers of this post:

"It would be worth your while to read the peer-reviewed scientific literature, in which the debate about the likely degree and implications of warming is lively. Recently Khilyuk & Chilingar, for instance, published a long paper from a geological perspective, saying that all but about 0.lC of the past century's warming was attributable to natural causes. Their calculations accord with mine. - M of B"

Here's the link:

He's also endorsed it in his letter to two US senators. It's a complete rake-on-the-ground for these guys.

I also found out that L Khilyuk has written another article in Energy Sources which appears very similar to "Evolution of the Earth's Global Climate" and the address listing is again Dept. Civil Engineering, USC. I think you might have something there Joe. Is it possible that Chilingar is the only one at USC and that Khilyuk and Gorfunkel are just his buddies, albeit with a background in oil extraction?

Oh joy - you mustn't miss the full delight of that PDF letter from Viscount Monckton of Brenchley or whomever, in the UK mind you, to the two US senators. From the preciosity of its coat of arms, in gorgeous coloring, to its remarkable windiness and pomposity

[Al Gore] said I should rely on peer-reviewed research in journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Research Letters. Within 12 hours, I had published a 24-page refutation of his scientifically-inaccurate article, citing more than 60 references in learned journals. Twenty-five of the citations were from the three journals he mentioned.

this twit is a rare treat! Highly recommended to Tim, lovers of Monty Python and fans of fine humor everywhere.

Lord MOnckton is a fruitcake. I've met a few aristocrats, and he is clearly one of the nuttier ones.

Do you think it would be a good idea to contact the senators who are being threatned, and point out the vacuity of Moncktons words?

It would be fun to meet him in real life. Do you think he's going to write a book and do tours?

Er, Tim, your problem is that you know too much science. :) Otherwise you would have placed more emphasis on what is IMHO far and away their biggest howler, i.e. that the atmosphere cannot retain heat added from any source, and similarly must be incapable of losing heat. Little things like diurnal temperature variations, climate varying with latitude, glaciations and last but not least the laws of thermodynamics all seem to be a little hard to explain in the face of their amazing concept. The rest of the problems seem minor by comparison.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

Just to add that the fact that this amazing crap has now been published in two seemingly otherwise-legitimate journals might make for a good story for a science journalist.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

"It's a complete rake-on-the-ground for these guys."

Well, see, when you start from the sacred revealed truth that economic growth and laissez faire capitalism are unquestionable goods which can and must continue in perpetuity, its all just a matter of finding the right "facts" to support your conclusion.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

There is some progress. Boxer, or someone in the Senate has forced Inhofe and Morano to rename their blog. Federal Way is allowing Inconvenient Truth to be shown under the condition Senator Inhofe being present, and a rep of the National Science Teachers Association when asked pray tell whom could present such a view replied "I wouldn't even know where to find someone, to be honest." The kitchen is heating up faster than the Arctic.

Ya' know, previous posts have pointed out that Kevin Vranes is on the march to be another media star like his sidekick Roger Pielke Jr.

After getting his name in the Houston Chronicle (a regional paper), Vranes appears to have gotten a call from the New York Post, according to a post on his blog. I'm shocked.

And with the IPCC soon to come out, I'm sure that Pielke and Vranes are certain to sleep next to phones for the next few weeks, earnestly awaiting calls from any journalist.

The odd thing is that UCAR just released a list of REAL scientists who can comment on the upcoming IPCC. Imagine that. Scientists commenting on climate change who have actually published on climate change.

Here's a link to UCAR's list.

But how many of these scientists do you think will actually end up in the media? After all, these are REAL scientists, and not media stars with blogs.

Kevin Trenberth
Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 3 (observations of surface and atmospheric climate change)

Guy Brasseur
Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 7 (connections between changes in the climate system and biogeochemistry)

Gerald Meehl
Coordinating Lead Author, Chapter 10 (global climate projections, including climate change to 2100 and beyond)

Bette Otto-Bliesner
Lead Author, Chapter 6 (paleoclimate, including uncertainty surrounding records of past climate and abrupt climate change)

Elisabeth Holland
Lead Author, Chapter 7 (connections between changes in the climate system and biogeochemistry)

William Collins
Lead Author, Chapter 10 (global climate projections, including climate change to 2100 and beyond)

Reto Knutti
Lead Author, Chapter 10 (global climate projections, including climate change to 2100 and beyond)

Linda Mearns
Lead Author, Chapter 11 (projections of future regional climate)

Jerry Mahlman

Jeez, he uses AOL too. That's the last nail for me.


GMB- on the contrary, the onus is on Khilyuk and Chilingar to demonstrate that the atmosphere actually behaves the way they say it does.

Suffice it to say, it doesnt. Paul Hamer's e-mail which Tim quotes is clear on that point. For example, molecules re-radiate energy, they dont just absorb it, and then rise up through the atmosphere. THey also lose or gain it by collision.

FOr example, K and C say:
"As a result, the irradiated air is heated, expands and rapidly rises to the stratosphere."

No, this is so wrong its not even a sensible claim. GMB, do you think we would have noticed columns of energetic molecules rising rapidly to the stratosphere? I think it happens with some storms, but it is ot just a matter of a heated molecule trying to force its way up through the atmosphere as the quoted section seems to suggest. Movement of air molecules is much more complex than they suggest. Have you heard that CFC's etc take years to reach the ozone layer, due to the need to diffuse through the atmosphere. If they just got there by convection in a few hours or days, people looking at this kind of thing would have noticed.
And, why would you talk about replacing the Earths atmosphere with a CO2 atmosphere? Thats just silly, even if you are trying to use it to illustrate a point.

For more on CO2 and the atmosphere and warming:……

Anyway, I'll let the climatologists provide more information, I dont know much more.

If the journal they have published in is indeed 'Energy Sources', then it appears on the ISI Web of Science with an impact factor of 0.465. If the 'Part A' is included, then the journal does not appear on the Wos.

Let's be clear here: a journal with an impact factor of 0.465 is NOT to be taken too seriously. The best journals typically have impact factors of 3.0 or more; anything in the 1.5 to 3.0 range is solid, and 0.8 to 1.5 reasonable but not exceptional. Under 0.8 and one is heading increasingly into the catergory of mediocrity.

Of course, the denial lobby, with the megaphone it has been kindly provided by corporate-funded lobbying groups, think tanks and public relations firms, as well as the corporate media, shouts 'hallelujah' every time a paper is published in some obscure journal downplaying the human role in climate change. The same shills belittle papers in the most esteemed journals, such as Nature, Science and PNAS that support the hypothesis of AGW. And as the evidence continues to accumlate that human forcing is the prime driver behind climate change, expect the shills to get louder, and louder and louder still.....

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 25 Jan 2007 #permalink

What they're saying GMB is self-refuting, risible, not even wrong, somewhat short of brilliant. The rebuttal of it that was published in the same journal in October 2006 is very well written, I commend it to you. In fact in making it available from his website Lubos Motl has at last made a worthwhile contribution himself to climate science after years of particularly sorry-arsed failure: kudos, Lubos! If you do prefer science to stupidity GMB, please check it out.

GMB, I think that the electrons in your compute are actually little sprites. When they go on strike, your computer stops working. You will admit that this is a plausible explanation?

Or would you like me to produce some evidence?

What K and C appear to have done is try and make up something from the most basic physics, and ignored the larger effects. It is up to them to demonstrate that their claims are correct, and this is often done by reference to previous papers that back up what they are claiming. In climatology you can reference Co2's effects back to over 100 years. Can C and K do that with their idea?

You are aware that humans live over a decadal period, and that we have caused most of the warming for the past 3 decades, and therefore this is of concern to us? Or are you planning on living for 3,000 years, and thus this doesnt bother you?

You do know that a molecule of CO2 will emit the radiation in any direction? It won't emit it all up to the top of the atmosphere in a nice tidy chain.
Moreover, it is their problem to make what they say clear, so as to obviate the need for any questions. Perhaps they dont mean that the molecule in question will move all the way up the stratosphere. But if they insist on making broad, general statements, they will not be taken seriously, because their idea is so fuzzy as to be unscientific.

The K and C rebuttal paper (linked by Frankis) is in Environmental Geology, with an impact factor of 0.654. Again, stark mediocrity. These guys aren't the real deal. They're stuck on the bottom and are desperately trying to use mediocre journals to counter the broad consensus. They're flat earhers.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 26 Jan 2007 #permalink

"Let's be clear here: a journal with an impact factor of 0.465 is NOT to be taken too seriously."

It's true that articles in such journals often have only limited interest. That does not mean necessarily that the articles are crap, just that their impact on a discipline might be low. Useful data can be found in such journals, nonetheless. On the other hand, anyone can find crappy articles in high impact journals, where novelty often takes a premium over reproducibility. Better to judge each article on its own merits.


To some extent I agree with you but the bottom line is this: you aren't going to find groundbreaking research in journals on the 'bottom'. It is as simple as that, period. In no way would I send some of my better papers to ecological or entomological journals with a low impact factor. When I have wekaer data, or else data that is not really novel but supports a large empirical data base, then I send it to a journal with a low impact factor. But something really novel and important? No way.

In spite of the fact that their data and attendant hypotheses go against the prevailing scientific wisdom, K and C have published their articles in weak journals. There's two possble reasons for this. The first is that they submitted the articles to rigid journals with higher impact factors and they were rejected after peer review, and they eventually were accepted in their current place. The second is that the authors knew that their data were weak and decided to go 'for the bottom'. Take your pick.

We can argue the merits (or lack thereof) of these papers all day, but the bottom line is that they are not likely to shake the foundations of science. Quite the opposite.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 26 Jan 2007 #permalink


"they are not likely to shake the foundations of science"

That's quite true; but it is also true of most articles in high-impact journals. I'm just saying it is unwise to pre-judge an article base upon the journal in which it appears.
The K&C article is crap, but not because it was published in a particular journal. I have several colleagues who publish crap in high-impact journals all the time.

How do you know we're in an ice age?

Oh, by the work of the very climatologists you disdain. In fact, to be pedantic, we're in an interglacial period, not an ice age.
Your also the one that claimed we were in an ice age in the first place. Can you provide evidence?

As for AGW, I gave you some links. I lack the 4 or 5 hours necessary to educate you on climate physics, chemistry, and climatology. I suggest you go do the work yourself.

I'll repeat myself. It is the duty of those contending something, to bring up the evidence for it. C and K have not managed to do so.
I think that there is a pink spider on the ceiling above your computer. Do you want to prove me wrong, or would you rather I gave you some evidence for it?

I agree with richard that the most renowned journals in each sphere publish along with the quality stuff a frightening amount of rubbish. By "frightening" what I mean is, stuff that would make you want to cringe or bite somebody (different days, different ways). I'm not going to single out specific fields - journals that may be rare exceptions to the rule today need only some time before it becomes true of them as well and this is probably, really, just not so very surprising. Jeff's correct to say that the best also publish the really worthwhile papers that the lower ranked journals will not have been offered, but I believe it's only fair to treat any individual paper on its merits rather than to diss it because of the lowly place in which it may have found a home. Although speaking of that, the paper we've been discussing doesn't deserve a home - it deserves a whipping.

The one problem with their little "hot-air-rises" theory (other than the fact that is full of hot air) is that something has caused the mean temp of the earth to rise over the past century and natural phenomena like solar output do not account for all the warming.

...and then, of course, there are those pesky Hansen graphs (scenarios B and C) -- which won't go away no matter how many time the policy wanks wave their little wands -- that show the warming since 1988 lining up almost perfectly with the warming predicted based on models of how CO2 changes the energy balance.

This stuff just gets more absurd (and amusing) by the day.

So how do you reconcile the following NASA data which shows no golbal warming (in fact cooling) over the period 1979-2000?
The hubris of your attempts to stifle any discussion of theories that contradict your own would be laughable if it weren't so scary. Climatic modeling is in its infancy - just because a model can be parameterized to fit a given data set doesn't make the model correct. Why the emphasis on concensus - aren't scientists supposed to be skeptical?


If something is wrong it's wrong, saying that it's wrong isn't hubris it's just pointing out the truth. The errors in Khilyuk's and Chilingar's second paper are absolutely terminal. They completely ignore fundamental and extremely well established atmospheric processes.

I can't speak about the data you've linked to becuase my browser won't display it, but I'm guessing some of the other commenters here will be familiar with it.

McColl, you appear to be looking at the stratospheric data which does show a cooling trend. The troposphere, the bit where we all live, shows a warming trend.

Stratospheric cooling is what you'd expect to see if the lower atmosphere was reradiating less heat to the stratosphere - like say if it was acting as some sort of greenhouse by blocking the re-emission of solar radiation.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 28 Jan 2007 #permalink


Agreed. McColl for some reason is parroting material that has been explained a million times. Talk about clutching at straws... The most important point is that the warming is occurring over a narrow (@ 12 km) belt over the Earth's surface which includes the biosphere. It is these effects - on ecosystems and the species that make them up - that is of concern to the scientific community, because human existence hinges critically on a broad array of provisioning services that emerge from these systems.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 28 Jan 2007 #permalink

No, it is a common and risk free strategy. Either a. it gets missed for correction and b. some casual reader absorbs it, or c. everyone gets tired of responding go to b.

"So how do you reconcile the following NASA data which shows no golbal warming (in fact cooling) over the period 1979-2000?"

The hint for what is wrong with this assertion is the final year, 2000. This indicates that the data for the graph is based on one of Spencer and Christy's out-of-date and incorrect derivations of atmospheric temperatures from NASA's satellite measurements. Spencer and Christy's up-to-date derivations are at this web page and the readme file on that page indicates that their latest estimate of average global temperature rise from 1979 to 2006 is 0.133+/-0.05 degrees C/decade.

I wish people would get their facts right before they start accusing others of hubris and attempts to stifle discussion of theories.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 29 Jan 2007 #permalink