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Chemistry ignorance from a climate skeptic ....

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
James E responded to this question:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AsT4KZAPmgj1FvarKUDi5WgS.Rd.;_ylv=3?qid=20090707054559AAAaW2R

in a delightfully daffy way about the change in pH of freshwater with change in temperature being due to CO2 being driven off or absorbed.  I love it when people who failed high school chemistry try to explain things. 

James E is, to put it charitably, a nitwit.  He is apparently ignorant that the pH of pure water is a function of temperature because the ion product of water, kW, is a function of temperature.  See here:

http://www.coolschool.ca/lor/CH12/unit4/U04L06.htm

His measurements have nothing to do with CO2 and outgassing, but are directly related to the thermodynamics of water itself. 

I'm glad I read that set of answers, I needed a chuckle today.  James E never fails to provide that. 
post #2 of 11
Yeah his chemistry failure regarding water pH mirrors his physics failure regarding the greenhouse effect.  It just blows my mind that this guy thinks he's disproven long-established science by doing some rudimentary experiments in his parents' basement (that's where I picture him doing this stuff anyway).  James is Dunning-Kruger personified.
post #3 of 11
I was wondering what you were doing slumming over there, GCNP!  It was funny to see you making them squirm again.


Quote:

I'm glad I read that set of answers, I needed a chuckle today.  James E never fails to provide that.
post #4 of 11
At least he doesn't claim that pure water is "very acidic" anymore.

I normally read every answer if I click on a question, but I've gotten to just automatically thumbs down James E and move on. He's about 10 levels below every other denier. A middle schooler could recognize the scientific errors in his posts.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawei View Post

At least he doesn't claim that pure water is "very acidic" anymore.

I normally read every answer if I click on a question, but I've gotten to just automatically thumbs down James E and move on. He's about 10 levels below every other denier. A middle schooler could recognize the scientific errors in his posts.

I think if you could give a lifetime achievement award for scientific idiocy, James E would win hands down.  I used to think it was Heretic, but Heretic is  "Garble."  James E is "Ferrous Cranus."  I must have missed his claims that water is very acidic, but that's probably just as well. 

I think I came back to Y!A after a particularly distasteful engagement with a skeptic on usenet.  It is tiring to hear the same stupid arguments on why the whole theory can't possible be true, so I challenged this guy to come up with something original or explain why the physics was wrong.  All he could do was say "medieval warm period" and "little ice age" like a mantra.  So I told him he was boring, which was true, and quit responding.  I popped into Y!A to see if the skeptics there were saying anything fresh (they aren't). 

Which begs the question why anybody bothers responding to them anymore.  I mean, the chain of logic goes like this:

1.  The fundamental physics indicates gases with vibrational bands active in the infrared region provide a radiative forcing at the surface of planets.

2.  The paleo record (both ice cores and sediment records) demonstrate that the radiative forcings from trace gases play a fundamental role in determining the climate of the Earth.

3.  The paleo record also indicates that Earth's climate is extremely sensitive to small changes in the surface forcings: for example changes in the solar shortwave energy flux of fractions of a W/m^2 having a large impact on global mean temperatures.

4.  Radiative transfer physics indicate that the radiative forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is around 3.5 W/m^2, or ten times the change in the solar forcing in the paleo record.

Given 1, 2, and 3, which are all backed by mountains of interlocking and inter-corroborating data and theorertical analysis, why would you expect that a forcing such as in 4 would have no impact on global mean temperature and climate?  If you believe the forcing in 4 is unimportant, you have to explain what in 1, 2, and 3 is wrong.  For what they believe to be true, there has to be a disconnect in the fundamental physics somewhere. 

Responding to the stale arguments they put forth is futile.  From now on, for me to engage any skeptic, they have to explain what is wrong with 1, 2, or 3 using correct physics with logical arguments.  I'm not interested in anyone who simply points me to Spencer's website since even Spencer can't explain why an increase in solar forcing of a few tenths of a W/m^2 in the paleo record has a huge effect and the forcing from CO2 has none.  (Anyway, Spencer is a tool who long ago checked his remaining shred of objectivity on the hatrack of religious fundamentalism and proceeded to stand in the warm glow of god for so long it addled his brain.)  Similarly, McKittrick and McIntyre offer up statistical gobbledygook that is full of sound and fury but cannot explain why 1, 2, and 3 do not indicate 4 is a huge problem. 
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcnp58 View Post


Which begs the question why anybody bothers responding to them anymore.
 

I do it to get the correct information on the record, because you just don't know who's reading these questions.  If somebody who doesn't understand the science but is open-minded pops into a qustion, I don't want him to be exposed to 100% misinformation.  Honestly if YA weren't a public website where some people go to actually learn things, I'd be happy leaving the deniers to wallow in their own ignorance.  They're quite obviously intellectually crippled by their denial and incapable of learning anything.  Nevertheless, if YA turns into a denial propaganda site, it's doing its users a disservice.

By the way, I thought the forcing from CO2 was 1.66 W/m^2.  Where'd you get 3.5?
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981 View Post




I do it to get the correct information on the record, because you just don't know who's reading these questions.  If somebody who doesn't understand the science but is open-minded pops into a qustion, I don't want him to be exposed to 100% misinformation.  Honestly if YA weren't a public website where some people go to actually learn things, I'd be happy leaving the deniers to wallow in their own ignorance.  They're quite obviously intellectually crippled by their denial and incapable of learning anything.  Nevertheless, if YA turns into a denial propaganda site, it's doing its users a disservice.

By the way, I thought the forcing from CO2 was 1.66 W/m^2.  Where'd you get 3.5?

Ah, well, you see, ... well, I ...   ok, it's ... no ... ok

it was late.

I got the *total* radiative forcing from CO2 and all the other radiatively active gases (CFCs, CH4, O3 etc.), which is around 3 W/m^2 confused with the radiative forcing from CO2 for the canonical case of doubled CO2 concentration.  So I should have either written 1.7 W/m^2 or spelled out that I was summing the radiative forcing from all the gases.  I think, in hindsight, I meant the latter, that it should be the sum, since the sum is what is driving the current warming.  But it doesn't really matter, the forcing from CO2 alone for the current CO2 concentration is still a factor of 6 or so above the largest change in solar forcing. 

My point remains, if you reject 4 you have to do some serious work to explain what is wrong with 1, 2, and 3. 


As for why you post to Y!A, I understand that logic.  However, the fraction of people there who are actively seeking information *and* are open-minded is so small as to make trying to reach those people a waste of time.  There are better forums for doing that sort of outreach: here for instance, where there isn't the same level of "distraction."  My opinion anyway. 
post #8 of 11
Hehe okay.

By the way, is there a way to figure out the change in TSI/solar forcing, say during the Maunder Minimum?  The only solar data I've seen for more than 150 years ago are proxies like sunspot number.  Surely there's a way to approximate TSI or solar forcing from the proxies, yes?
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
The best answer is things like this:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/crowley.html

where he uses the Be10 ratio as a proxy for solar output.  Based on that, my recollection is that the fluctuations in solar output over the past few thousand years have not been large.  If you e-mail me, <ahem> I might be able to send you a pdf of the paper mentioned in the website above. 

I'm not sure how far back they go with the isotope proxies.  Far enough to know that if it is solar forcing driving the current warming, there has to be something really drastically wrong at a fundamental level with what is known about the physics of climate.  (I know I don't need to convince you of that, just pointing it out.)

This is probably also discussed in IPCC AR4 in the paleo climate chapter(s).  
post #10 of 11
Hmm in Figure 2 from that link (and their raw data), the solar focing as of 1998 was ~0.4 W/m^2, but the IPCC has it at 0.12 W/m^2.  What's up with that?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Might be the difference between TOA and ground level?  Dunno other than that.  The fraction seems about right for TOA/GL. 
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