Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More on that greenhouse

Following on from my last post on this subject, thanks to email correspondent Officer Dabble, who sent me this paper on the Greenhouse Effect; although I haven't read the paper in full, the conclusion—or rather the abstract—is interesting. [Emphasis mine.]
The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861 and Arrhenius 1896 and is still supported in global climatology essentially describes a fictitious mechanism in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33°C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f ) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

I shall read the paper in due course.

I'm a little busy at present, as I have just been confirmed as a project manager at work and I have a lot of stuff to be getting on with. Nevertheless, our politicians continue to act like arseholes—though they are just less high-profile at present—and I have no doubt that my bile and spite (helped along by the continuing disaster story that is my car) will resurface with alarming alacrity...


Steve said...

I've read through the first 40 pages of that paper and I'm not impressed.

That different physics is involved in keeping your half-hardy plants from the frost to keeping the surface of Venus hot enough to melt lead should not news to anyone with even a passing interest in atmospheric physics -- it was common knowledge long enough ago that I have forgotten when I learned it. regarding the long section on that subject -- methinks he doth protest too much.

The batch of quotes from popular encyclopedias (starting page 38) and disproofs that are full of non sequiturs leads my crackpot meter to start twitching. The disproofs really need a thorough fisking, but it's rather late at night for me to start doing that now.

Much as I'd like to believe the conclusion, these guys aren't establishing their credibility at all. For the moment, I'll stick with the visible evidence of cooling, and wouldn't consider this paper as support for anything.

Oxbridge Prat said...

Completely agree with Steve. Don't waste time on it.

Anonymous said...

I've lost the reference, but there was a paper from (?)Institute of Mathematics at Mannheim about the greenhouse effect being scientific nonsense.

Oxbridge Prat said...

I would add that you've been sent version 1; the more up to date version is at http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.1161v3. I don't think the differences are huge though.

By the way don't be misled by people claiming that a post on arXiv has been reviewed in any way; it's more like a scientific blog site: lots of good stuff on it but also lots of rubbish.

It starts with a long tedious explanation of how greenhouses actually work, which is nothing to do with the greenhouse effect, but is mostly to do with suppressing convection and other forms of mass transport. The fact that he gets excited about this is a very bad sign; anyone with even a passing knowledge of the issues involved knows this, and understands that "greenhouse effect" is just a badly chosen metaphor.

After that it gets worse...

Dave H. said...

(e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical.

So, 'stable temperature when rate of heating = rate of cooling' that's nonsense is it? My arse.

Don't bother to read the rest of the paper, DK. Life's too short to waste on pseudo-scientific crap.

Anonymous said...

I've not read the paper so I don't know how relevant this is:

The second law of dynamics does not apply in this case, as it includes the predicate "in a closed system".

The earth is not a closed system, so any reasoning based on the second law in this case is invalid.

Anonymous said...

The abstract alone has the crackpot-ometer ringing wildly. Either way, it's clearly not written by anyone in academia.

Oxbridge Prat said...

The abstract alone has the crackpot-ometer ringing wildly. Either way, it's clearly not written by anyone in academia.

Well I agree with the first part, but not completely with the second. Gerlich seems to be an academic at T U Braunschweig. He has published 20 papers in mathematical physics, with a Hirsch index of 4. Not particularly impressive, but not completely trivial. His paper "Topological afine planes with afine connections" seems fairly well though of (17 citations in 3 years).

Basically he's too far out of his field (which isn't necessarily a problem) and doesn't realise it (which is).

Soon said...

It's good to check on Web of Science before posting such papers. A quick search of the two authors' names returns absolutely no results. Don't waste your time on it.