Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Overview of Climate Science Analysis

My analysis of  climate science is to ascertain whether  there is:-
(i)      observational evidence that carbon-dioxide is a major driver for Catastrophic Global Warming
(ii) other theoretical mechanisms that could contribute to Global Warming.

As far as carbon-dioxide is concerned, I find:-
·       (a)  no observational evidence for (i)
·       (b)  CO2 will react to the Earth's Infra-Red energy, probably passing it on to surrounding molecules & possibly using it as kinetic, thermal or latent energy.  I haven't found any Statistical Mechanics work that looks into this.

So, some warming is expected from increased carbon-dioxide.  It is certainly a Greenhouse Gas answering the question of "Why doesn't Earth lose all it's heat overnight like the other planets do".  The Greenhouse Effect also has a contribution from the pressure of the atmosphere. It's not either /or, but both.

Our planet is the only one watery planet in the Solar System, so I suspect water is heavily involved in both the Greenhouse Effect and Climate Changes.

Nature is basically chaotic – deterministic and unpredictable.  As with animal and bird populations I would expect to find surface temperatures abruptly swinging from small to large.  And I would also expect the effects of more or less carbon-dioxide to vary, depending on the rest of the climate.  In other words, I don't think it is possible to do simple calculations to say e.g. "doubling co2 will give n degrees of warming".  Also, I wonder about possible influences from the sun, or maybe gravity.

Some sceptics reject the idea of Greenhouse Gases.  They are muddling up the macro (Thermodynamics) and micro (Radiative Transfer) physics incorrectly.  The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is about flows of aggregates of molecules.  Whereas radiative transfer is about individual molecules. An individual cold molecule has been shown to transfer infra-red radiation to a warm one while the aggregate always goes from cold to hot.

I always think that putting physics into words is difficult. Both Statistical Mechanics and Quantum Mechanics – along with Chaos Theory – have an approach which allows for the fact that, at micro-levels, we can never be certain of anything because we are unable to measure sufficiently small enough without disturbing what we’re measuring viz,:-

(a) can’t measure both velocity and and position of a sub-atomic particle – probability measures were added to Quantum Mechanics to compensate. This has the side effect of losing the ability to describe what it is we’re talking about in English – is it a billiard-ball type of thing or like a ray of light or wave in the sea?
(b) can’t measure heat transfer of individual nano-particles – statistical methods were created for Fluid Flow which gives Statistical Mechanics. 

There doesn't seem to be way that Thermodynamics Laws and Molecular Properties can be discussed together in English.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Are Oil Companies Funding 'Climate-Misinformation'?

Anyone who believes the oil companies would spend money on protecting their existence by "deliberately speading misinformation" is over generalising a special case and obviously doesn't understand how businesses and capitalism create effiencies by using their own self-interest.  If you go back to Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" you'll find he cautions that businesses need to be reined back from time to time.  For radio discussion with academics  see

I suggest that tobacco is a special case. The manufacturers didn't have a legal alternative to tobacco.  However, when I look at the research by anti-smoking activists, it's just as appallingly bad as the tobacco companies research (particularly about secondary smoke). As more and more statisticians are saying these days, by framing the question appropriately, you can always get the statistical answer you want – and then smooth over the fact that statistics don't prove causation.

Compare to the food processing companies when we were all told by governments to stop eating saturated fats.  They just upped their research into how to make margarine taste like butter and increased production of it, while reducing their exposure to butter and milk.  They were agnostic to the science, merely making sure that their company stayed alive.

The fact that we're now told that the saturated fat research was of poor quality and saturated fat is not dangerous after all makes me appreciate that the Precautionary Principle should follow medicine and include "First do no harm". This wasn't followed by the anti-butter activists – harmful trans-fats were used in margarine until recently (UK) .

In Europe, all the energy companies have been spending money on research into renewables at least since the 70s and 80s. They wanted to be in on the latest technology. I remember working for BMW where they had BP as their research partner on hybrid cars. I seem to remember that Shell were working with Ford.  Hydrogen fuel was perceived as the way forwards in Europe. While in North America with it's large amount of farming land, growing corn for ethanol was the way to go.   I'm sure they're also spending on research into alternatives for plastics /food /materials manufacturing and power-stations.

So I don't believe the conspiracy theory for anything except tobacco.  There's always been a prediction that coal, oil, etc will become uneconomic and the company's duty is to make sure that their company will survive - not necessarily still with oil technology.

Like tobacco, organisations against cheap energy (Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Club of Rome, etc) don't have any alternative to survive apart from stoking up conspiracy theories.  They've improved so much over the years …