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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6274/deniers-at-large/

Deniers at large!

February 19, 2007 by

Giving the lie once more to the canard that ALL scientists (at least, all those not in the pay of Big Oil) share the IPCC orthodoxy, here is a very impressive review of the case for a solar mechanism.Though a highly technical article, p99, et seq, are intelligible enough to a layman.

Ultraviridian carbophobes are not going to like this one, as can be seen from this brief excerpt:- Could it be that the signals, or at least the quasi-100 000-year component, are not driven by orbital parameters? Could internal terrestrial phenomena (e.g. GHG) or external celestial causes (e.g. varying solar activity and/or cosmic ray flux) be the ultimate climate drivers on at least some of these time scales?

At first glance, the GHG proposition squares well with the Antarctic (Petit et al., 1999; Siegenthaler et al., 2005; Spahni et al., 2005) ice core data. The correlations between δ18 O and δD of ice (climate proxies) and the concentrations of CO2 and CH4 in enclosed air bubbles are impressive (Figure 52).

However, these correlations are discernible only if viewed at resolutions in excess of 1 000 years. Higher resolution records for all seven glacial terminations studied to this day show that the rise in CO2 postdates the warming by several hundred to 2 800 years (Fischer et al., 1999; Monnin et al., 2001; Mudelsee, 2001; Caillon et al., 2003; Vakulenko et al., 2004; Siegenthaler et al., 2005).

Consequently, CO2 is likely a product of the ≈100 000-year climate oscillations, not their cause.

PS It apears the paper was completed before Henrik Svensmark produced an experimental verification of his detailed cosmic ray-cloud mechanism (announced, with great irony, in the proceedings of the VERY green Royal Society), so any residual doubts expressed by the authors may already have been greatly alleviated


David White February 19, 2007 at 1:45 pm

When I read that the world only consumes about a cubic mile of oil annually — http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/01/why_we_love_oil.html (a figure that is confirmed here — http://www.peaceredding.org/Annual%20Oil%20Consumption%20-%20about%20one%20cubic%20mile.htm ), I did some math with regard to CO2 emissions. Here’s what I came up with:

Each gallon of gasoline burned generates 20 pounds of CO2 — http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/co2.shtml — which comes to around 25 trillion pounds, or 12 billion tons, annually. That doesn’t quite jive with this assessment — http://www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.af.limitco2.html — but as that’s no doubt due to the fact that we don’t burn all the oil we use (as much of it goes into products that are later landfilled), the lower figure makes sense.

Now let’s say (even though it’s obviously not the case) that humanity has been pumping that much CO2 into the atmosphere for the past 100 years, running the total up to roughly a trillion tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere by humans over that period of time. This sounds like a lot until you compare it to the size of the atmosphere, which I did by calculating the volume of the earth — 4/3 x pi x the radius (approx. 4000 miles) cubed — and subtracting it from a sphere with a radius 60 miles larger (since that’s where 99% of the atmosphere is contained). That gives us approximately 24 billion square miles of atmosphere, so if you divide a trillion by 24 billion, you get roughly 42 tons of CO2 per cubic mile added to the atmosphere over the course of the past century.

Given that you can put a ton of roof shingles, say, on a single pallet (call it a cubic yard), you could store 42 tons of them in 1134 cubic feet, or five one-hundred-millionths (.00000005), of a cubic mile. Now, people are welcome to believe that dispersing this amount of CO2 throughout each cubic mile of the atmosphere has not only warmed the planet but that continuing to add a hundredth of THAT per cubic mile per year will soon end life as we know it. But for this and other reasons, I for one don’t buy it.

I could have missed something, of course, so I welcome everyone’s comments.

FBC3 February 19, 2007 at 3:06 pm

David – The mass of the atmosphere is much more accurately estimated by multiplying the surface area by the sea level pressure (14.7 psi). Using the astronomical result to compare with your CO2 estimates is another interesting exercise.

PS: Don’t mention water vapor to the true believers -it drives them nuts. At up to 3% of the atmosphere and being a greenhouse gas, CO2 is insignificant in comparison.


Jake February 19, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Did David use shingle density to estimate CO2 density? CO2 takes up about .04% of atmospheric volume according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_atmosphere

The atmospheric CO2 weight is about 3 trillion tonnes, meaning that fossil fuels only contribute at worst to an annual .1% atmospheric CO2 increase (by weight). A hundred years of the same CO2 increase would result in a total atmospheric CO2 increase of about 11% by weight.


As for the greenhouse effect, you would probably have to know some chemistry to check its plausibility.

nicholas gray February 19, 2007 at 8:38 pm

In my morning paper ‘The Australian’, printed by a company which is owned by big, bad Rupert Murdoch, I found an article by Nigel Calder, where he claims that the major cause of water vapour is cosmic rays, which are regulated by the Sun’s magnetic field. If proven, this could bypass all the hot air put out by the IPCC!

corrigan February 20, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Ahem! Nicholas, if you read the attached paper, you will find that this is very much the mechanism which thw authors tacitly endorse.

nicholas gray February 20, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Sorry, Corrigan, I sometimes have trouble attaching to some of the links.

TokyoTom February 21, 2007 at 3:47 am

Mr. Corrigan:

I see you are still a seeker after the truth.

However, I don’t think that the excerpt you quote from the linked paper is at all controversial or “new” among climate scientists. See for example this posting from December 2004 at RealClimate.com: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/

It is recognized that CO2 has not typically been an initiator in warmings, but as a GHG, it has certainly contributed to their acceleration and continuation.

At issue now is whether the continued ramp up in atmospheric CO2 due to human CO2 emissions, along with other anthropogenic factors such as methane releases, carbon black, ozone and albedo changes, can push the climate in the absence of the solar and extra-solar forcings (the effect of comic rays) that are understood to drive climate changes over the long run (which is the main theme of your linked paper).

On cosmic rays, RealClimate says the following in a February 12 post:

“Whether cosmic rays are correlated with climate or not, they have been regularly measured by the neutron monitor at Climax Station (Colorado) since 1953 and show no long term trend. No trend = no explanation for current changes.”





averros February 21, 2007 at 4:47 am

TT –

in case if you didn’t notice, the cosmic rays which reach the surface (and the Climax Station) do not affect weather. The ones which are stuck in the atmosphere do.

Different parts of the energy spectrum.

And it is not neutrons which are claimed to affect climate, but charged particles. Neutrons are generated in the Sun’s core – and are not much much influenced by the surface sunspot activity. The charged particles which penetrate the magnetosphere of Earth are accelerated to the sufficient energies by the magnetic fields in the Sun’s corona. Meaning that their flux is very sensitive to solar weather.

Solar neutrons are not deflected by the magnetosphere and heat the atmosphere by bouncing off its atoms (and sometimes ionise the atoms by bouncing a proton away from a nucleus). The charged particles ionise the atoms directly by electric interaction, thus causing droplet and, consequently, cloud formation.

The things which mostly cause cloud formation and the neutrons measured at Climax Stations are DIFFERENT components of “cosmic rays”.

Sorry, at the RealClimate they don’t seem to have a clue about nuclear physics.

TokyoTom February 21, 2007 at 8:01 pm


There certainly seems to be a good discussion of this issue in the comments on the first linked post (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/what-triggers-ice-ages/index.php?p=405), as well as in the exchange with Nir Shaviv on this thread: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/thank-you-for-emitting/#comment-13470.

A key point to consider is that “Changes in the IMF should modulate all GCR …. Therefore, since there is no trend in the best observed GCRs (i.e CLIMAX), that would seem to go against the idea that muon fluxes are also changing.”

The first post is still open, if you care to jump in.



Geoffrey Allan Plauche February 22, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Assuming for the sake of argument that human beings are at least a partial cause of geologically-recent global warming…the same theory and evidence suggests that this global warming is staving off a new Ice Age. Better a little warming than an Ice Age I say.

piglet March 4, 2007 at 12:09 am

Do Libertarians also believe that God created the earth in six days?

Daniel M. Ryan March 4, 2007 at 4:36 am

Neither God nor Gaia, from what I have read. Libertarians also have a demonstrated non-preference for (or, “aversion to”) “expert” government.

Sergey July 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm

There is a good reason why only the charged particles of high (relativistic) energy are responsible for clouds formation. Entering into atmosphere at altitudes 80 km, they form a chain reaction: an avalanch of particles of lesser energy, but high enough to interact with new atomic nuclei, they, in turn, emit several new electrons at each interaction, and so on. This is called wide atmospheric showers; one relativistic electron can generate millions of particles of lesser energy, still capable perform ionisation along their tracks and so creating hundreds microdroplets each. You need a net of special detectors to observe such events (scintillation or ionisation type) connected into net covering square miles. Neutron detectors have nothing to do with it, neutrons are not Galactic, but solar rays, they do not have relativistic energies, are not deflected by Earth or Solar magnetic field and do not create wide atmospheric showers, so all these arguments are totally irrelevant to the problem at hand.

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