When idiots attack: Climate deniers respond to one of my posts, or once again, Larry proves he doesn’t understand physics 1.
This post is provided for the gentle reader to get a picture of how utterly stupid and divorced from science the typical science denier is. I recently wrote a very simplified picture of the the nature of greenhouse gases. It was purposefully written on a basic level so as to give an accessible, yet accurate picture of the basic driving mechanism behind AGW. There was a lengthy response amongst my devoted denier fans.
I am writing this post for the amusement of the educated.
The sun is a giant thermonuclear fire ball that is held together by gravity.
Because of its mass and composition, the sun emits light mostly centered around the visible spectrum but with a great deal of IR.
Solar spectra have been directly measured. The sun puts out a ton of IR and we even know why it does this.
Energy is conserved. As an immediate consequence, if something takes on energy from another source it must manifest it in some way.
The first complaint made is:
It’s not clear what all these disjounted statements are supposed to lead to, but each one, by itself, is kind of more-or-less correct.
Those are statements of fact. They are absolutely correct and not more or less so. Since my critic feels the need to challenge energy conservation arguments, I shall break it into small pieces.
The flow of the argument is that for a certain reason, the sun puts out a large amount of IR light and that this has been measured and understood.
That light then goes somewhere.
Energy is conserved.
When the light gets somewhere, something happens. The energy does not just disappear.
The fact that the fool who wrote this response doesn’t get this is a remarkable bit incomprehension. But don’t let the stupidity fool you. The purpose is, as always to obfuscate.
The part about the light being centered around visible because of mass and composition rather misses the point; the spectrum is entirely a function of the surface temperature, but I don’t know why that was even mentioned, since the other part of that wasn’t: that visible and near-IR is essentially NOT absorbed by the atmosphere, either by CO2 or any of the other “greenhouse” gases.
This is the first attempt at obfuscation.
Actually the point is about a certain type of light getting emitted and that the nature of the sun is that it must give off large quantities of that light, is step one to saying that when you have something good at catching it on the Earth, you must have warming. After all, energy is conserved….
But why did this fellow bring up surface temperature? This is just to falsely muddy the waters and present a false impression of expertise. Is it necessary to invoke surface temperature, when the surface temperature is dependent on the fusion processes and composition of a star? Of course not.
Bringing it up does not help or hurt, however, in the case of the denier, he is attempting to sound more educated than he is. This is a standard tactic of blow hards. If he understood stellar dynamics, he would not make the argument. Of course, if he understood physics 1, he would not be confused with starting an argument based on energy flows. This is the place where you can take them apart and immediately see they are fronting.
Now to the core denier shticks:
When I described molecular absorption and re-radiation, our gentle fool retorts:
Anyway, again, this is true as far as it goes, but there a lot of important detail missing. Very few molecules have absorption spectra covering an entire range of radiation, and no common gases do this. CO2 in particular absorbs as a few specific frequencies, and these bands partially overlap with water vapor among others. So this is almost right, but the part that’s left out is critical. Here’s a reasonably complete picture of what’s absorbing at which wavelengths at actual concentrations in the atmosphere.
And again, as far as it goes, was actually the absolute truth.
He goes on to show plots of various absorption spectra.
This is a standard bit of crap from deniers. It does not matter if other GHGs have wider or narrower absorption bands than CO2 to the argument made. It also does not matter to the argument made that IR emitted from the sun is of a very broad band of frequencies. The fact remains that CO2 does absorb IR radiation in certain frequencies and re-radiates it back down to Earth. That energy would otherwise have gone off into space. The CO2, as stated,
absorbs a great deal of energy in those bands. It sends half of it back down to give it another chance to warm the Earth. The claim is that CO2 does this, and it actually does because it must. This effect can be calculated - and it has. The net result is that the Earth is appx. 60 degrees F warmer with CO2 in the atmosphere than it would be without it. I would invite anyone to look the calculation up.
Now why does CO2 do this special thing and absorb and then re-radiate certain bands of IR? It does it because of the quantum nature of the bonds of the molecule. Quantum mechanics has many such lock and key mechanisms, where a photon of a given energy will excite a bond into a higher energy state. The mathematics is actually analogous to the resonance of plucking a guitar string. Just as guitar strings only play certain notes and harmonics, molecules are only excited in this way by certain frequencies of light. Frequency is directly proportional to energy through Plank’s constant. That is the photo-electric effect.
It should be noted that the fool who wrote this also denies in his other writings that methane is a problem, yet he is too stupid to realize that he posted the very spectra that prove that methane is a vastly worse GHG than CO2. Of course such a detail would never cross such a little mind.
He would like to convince you that because the sun gives out broader bands of IR than the ones that CO2 accepts, somehow CO2 does not cause warming. This is just stupid and utterly false. IF he were correct, energy would no longer be conserved. Again, that was one of the foundation arguments that the fool claimed he did not understand anyway int eh very beginning.
He thinks he has a “gotcha” with this line:
Again, lumping all IR together. Real molecules don’t work like this. In fact, the statement is self-contradictory, because the “just rightly tuned” contradicts the implication that all IR is absorbed by CO2.
No. Oh dear… It was never claimed that all IR bands are absorbed by CO2. The “rightly tuned” is a quantum mechanical argument. It is important to note that these people don’t understand things like QM, so references to it mystifies them. Of course, not knowing basic science like QM and Thermodynamics, even when it is directly relevant to the subject at hand will not stop them from shooting their mouths off.
And here is his grand finale. This is a cornucopia of bad science that proves conclusively that Mr Reisinger does not understand Thermodynamics.
The point about offering more resistance to the outflow of energy raising the temperature is valid, but it treats the entire atmosphere like a solid glass bubble. In the lowest layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere, where the vast majority of the atmosphere resides, there are other “channels” for energy to move through than just this radiation channel. Specifically, heat can move by radiation, conduction, dry convection, and convection with phase change. By a huge margin, the most effective of these modes is the last one; when you evaporate a pound of water from the surface, physically transport that pound of water vapor to the tropopause (or thereabouts), and then condense it, huge amounts of heat are transported. And this will happen no matter how much greenhouse gas you put into the atmosphere. This heat leaks right through the “greenhouse”. This is not one of the things that they’ve been able to model accurately, but one thing is certain: ignoring it will always exaggerate the heating effect.
The important thing to get straight is that space is a vacuum. For convection or conduction to work, one must have a medium to transport heat. Now to be sure, the atmosphere has many modes of conduction and convection, however, the only way it- and hence the Earth as a whole can cool is through radiation. Why? Because space is a vacuum and you can’t conduct or convect heat out into space.
This is actually the basic principle behind a thermos, and a supposed chemical engineer doesn’t get it.
And of course, the re-radiation is well modeled. It is after all, only QM.
It is at that point that you can be pretty certain that he is lying about his supposed degrees. Either that, or he once earned one, but suffered some sort of breakdown.
As was stated many times, Mr. Reisinger has proven himself an idiot and a fraud.
Now in the comments of the stupid, was a particularly impressively stupid one because a fellow got it right but missed the point. He complains, in the context of re-radiation:
The direction of heat radiation COULD be down, or at some angle close to down, towards the Earth, but it could, just as likely be UP, or nearly up, towards SPACE. How about to the side, towards other gas molecules?
This is tragic, because that is exactly the point. Half of what would have gone into space, now goes back down as a result. Thus, the heat balance is altered.
There is a very serious problem here. We have people falsely claiming to be experts, when in reality they would not pass freshman level physics or chemistry. This does not stop them from shooting their mouths off, but that is not the real problem. The real problem is that Americans - or at least some of them are so proudly ignorant, that they believe this shit.