Site icon Andy May Petrophysicist

Climate Catastrophe! Science or Science Fiction?

Click on the image above to visit the page for the book.

It can also be seen at Barnes and Noble here.

More can be seen at the publisher’s web site:  American Freedom Publications, LLC

The idea of the book:

Reducing greenhouse emissions is not the only way to combat climate change.  Well established scientific reasoning shows that climate change, whether man-made or natural, is not an existential threat.  Adapting to climate change is the way man has always dealt with it in the past and the more prosperous we are, the easier it is to adapt.  Mitigation (controlling CO2 emissions) requires a unified global response and will reduce our standard of living.  Adaptation can occur locally with each community dealing with the specific threats they face.  Adaptation is easier to handle, cheaper and more effective.

From the book:

“Science is rooted in observations.  If we make a prediction that is later verified with measurements, we have a proper scientific theory.  A prediction, no matter how elaborately it was made or documented, that is not verified with data and observations is science fiction.”

“99.9 percent  of the Earth’s surface heat capacity is in the oceans and less than 0.1 percent  is in the atmosphere. Further, CO2 is only 0.04 percent  of the atmosphere. It beggars belief that a trace gas (CO2), in an atmosphere that itself  contains only a trace amount of the total thermal energy on the surface of the Earth, can control the climate of the Earth. This is not the tail wagging the dog, this is a flea on the tail of the dog wagging the dog.”

 What does this mean?

As you will see when you read the book, the IPCC AR5 Physical Science Basis report (2013) states on page 667 that “CO2 is the main anthropogenic control knob on climate.” This is also in the title of a paper by Lacis, et al. (2010) cited in the IPCC report. Both works acknowledge that CO2 alone does not have enough of an effect to cause problems. But, by delaying the radiative transfer of thermal energy to space, they claim the lower atmosphere will warm and that this will cause the amount of water vapor to increase in the lower atmosphere. Water vapor is a much stronger “greenhouse gas” and this will cause the problem they espouse.

In addition, the same IPCC report states on page 7 that they present “clear and robust conclusions … that the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

There are several problems with these ideas. Most heat transfer in the lower atmosphere, where there is a lot of water vapor, occurs via convection. Water vapor (and water) have a high heat capacity and carry a lot of latent heat, they transport most of the thermal energy near the surface in the so-called atmospheric “boundary layer.” CO2 has a low heat capacity. It is infrared active and absorbs and emits IR radiation, with a small delay, whereas latent heat can be carried by water vapor for weeks before it condenses as rain and emits it. At high altitudes, where there is little water vapor, CO2 is responsible for emitting most of the IR to space as thermal radiation. But, near the surface water vapor does the cooling.

The oceans are very cool, with an average temperature of about 4 degrees C. As stated in the quote, they contain 1,000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere and provide a huge buffer that limits the Earth’s surface temperature. Most of the solar thermal energy that reaches the surface is absorbed by the oceans. The warmest part of the ocean is the surface of the tropical Pacific. Here heat loss due to evaporation limits the temperature to a maximum of 30 to 34 degrees C (86-93 degrees F) according to many sources, but Newell and Dopplick (1978, J. of Applied Meteorology, Vol. 18, page 822) is the original source. In isolated tropical shallow seas, like the Red Sea or the Caribbean, or close to land in unusual meteorological conditions, sea-surface temperatures may reach as high as 34 degrees. But, in the open tropical ocean the limit is pretty close to 30 degrees.  This is the temperature where the thermal energy lost due to evaporation is about the same as the energy received from the Sun. In higher latitudes, the maximum temperature (where the energy loss due to evaporation equals the received solar energy) is lower.

The solar energy absorbed by the Earth’s surface is transmitted all over the world, mostly by ocean currents, but also by wind. It is emitted to space, mostly by CO2, in net emitting areas like the poles and the Sahara, and from the upper atmosphere. Thunderstorms are a main mechanism for transporting thermal energy to the upper atmosphere where it is easily emitted to space. Thus the point of the quote is that the atmosphere (and thus CO2, a trace gas in the atmosphere) cannot “control” the climate as long as oceans exist. The oceans are the main control. If they were to completely disappear somehow (unlikely) then CO2 may play a role in long-term climate. But, as long as they exist, the maximum tropical ocean surface temperature is 30-34 degrees. Since the oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, this limits the maximum surface temperature.

In the first quote I state that 99.9% of the heat capacity is in the oceans and 0.1% is in the atmosphere.  I ignored the heat capacity of the land because temperature measurements on land are made in the air above the land.  Normally at about 2 meters altitude.

Finally, what I tried to do in the quote, was step back from the CO2 greenhouse effect (GHE), and look at the larger picture of recent warming. GHE is not climate and climate is not GHE, it is much more complicated than that regardless of what the warmists want us to believe. In the quote, I don’t care if the GHE contributed to current warming or by how much. I just wanted to show that any effect of CO2 is small in the context of the oceans. The Earth is warming; thus, it is retaining some thermal energy, and as the IPCC says in AR5 (The Physical Science Basis, page 265) the oceans have retained 64% of the energy. All the retained thermal energy for the past 50 or 60 years, at most, has increased the Southern Ocean temperature less than 0.07 degrees (see Wunsch, 2018, Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, vol. 70, issue 1)! And this is the ocean where all oceans meet, the deep oceans, with the exception of the Antarctic bottom water, have cooled since 1990 (Wunsch and Heimbach, 2014, American Meteorological Society Journal, August 2014).

Some of recent warming is natural and some is probably due to the CO2 GHE, the warming is obviously due to additional thermal energy being retained. I’m just saying it doesn’t matter. Were it all due to CO2 GHE and the effect lasted another 200 years, the Southern Ocean would warm a whopping 0.6 degrees, at most, since the effect of CO2 diminishes as more is added and because some recent estimates of warming since the 1990s are less than 0.02 degrees (see here).  The warming, regardless of the cause is not important or a problem due to the high heat capacity of the oceans.

“If you don’t see the problem in the data, it’s not a problem.”

Doom and gloom seems to be all we hear these days, but the data suggest we are living in the best of times.  Food production is up, world poverty is way down, income per person is way up, and the mortality of children under 5 years old is way down.

  Dr. Javier Vinos, biosciences researcher, writes the following about Climate Catastrophe! Science or Science Fiction?

“Andy May’s down-to-Earth approach to the practical aspects of climate change is grounded in a profound knowledge of the science behind it. He explains in easy to understand terms what the evidence about climate change actually means to us, our food supply, our quality of life, and the environment we all love and care about. In the process he exposes the catastrophic alarmist fantasy, based only on untested, error-prone computer models, used to promote a climate state of fear contradicted by the evidence. Andy May proposes that we use our resources to build a world better adapted to the vagaries of climate and the weather instead of wasting them vainly trying to change a climate that does not need fixing. After enjoying the book and following his arguments, I fully agree with him.”

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