Saturday, March 15, 2008

Positive feedback

One of the most important ideas in the climate change alarmist's arsenal is the idea that there is a "tipping point", a point at which we have gone too far and catastrophic warming cannot be stopped. In fact, so-called "positive feedback" is absolutely instrumental to any alarmist theory of climate change, because it dictates the extent to which CO2 can affect temperature over and above its natural abilities.

As Climate Skeptic has shown a number of times, "climate sensitivity" to CO2 as currently measured, could only lead to a maximum warming of 1.2°C, somewhat less than the more dire predictions of the IPCC, let alone Al "not a scientist" Gore.

So, in order to get its doom-laden scenarios, the IPCC includes significant amounts of positive feedback systems. But there is a problem: the IPCC scientists have failed to explain why—despite higher temperatures and higher CO2 levels in the history of the Earth—we have never seen catastrophic warming of the sort envisioned by most alarmists.

Further, if positive feedback is so prevalent, then how on earth did the planet return to the temperate temperatures (let alone produce the Ice Ages) that we see today? Why, for instance, is the Earth not a mirror image of Venus, as Al "no scientific qualifications" Gore hilariously predicted might happen?

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Earth's climate is not dependent on positive feedback, but negative feedback. Negative feedback tends to lead to a far more stable system and, given that the Earth's climate has remained pretty stable, in relative terms, throughout its history, this would seem to make sense. So, where does the positive feedback come from?

The answer is, apparently, that scientists have been using the wrong equations in their calculations of the greenhouse effect. [And thanks to the correspondant who sent me the link to the Dvorak Uncensored post.]
Miklós Zágoni isn't just a physicist and environmental researcher. He is also a global warming activist and Hungary's most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol. Or was.
That was until he learned the details of a new theory of the greenhouse effect, one that not only gave far more accurate climate predictions here on Earth, but Mars too. The theory was developed by another Hungarian scientist, Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist with 30 years of experience and a former researcher with NASA's Langley Research Center.

After studying it, Zágoni stopped calling global warming a crisis, and has instead focused on presenting the new theory to other climatologists. The data fit extremely well. "I fell in love," he stated at the International Climate Change Conference this week.

"Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations," Miskolczi states. Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

In other words, a negative feedback system is far more likely because positive feedback systems are inherently (and, usually, irreversibly) unstable. So, where did the calculations go wrong?
How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.

Miskolczi's story reads like a book. Looking at a series of differential equations for the greenhouse effect, he noticed the solution -- originally done in 1922 by Arthur Milne, but still used by climate researchers today -- ignored boundary conditions by assuming an "infinitely thick" atmosphere. Similar assumptions are common when solving differential equations; they simplify the calculations and often result in a result that still very closely matches reality. But not always.

So Miskolczi re-derived the solution, this time using the proper boundary conditions for an atmosphere that is not infinite. His result included a new term, which acts as a negative feedback to counter the positive forcing. At low levels, the new term means a small difference ... but as greenhouse gases rise, the negative feedback predominates, forcing values back down.

In simple terms, the currently used equations assume that our atmosphere has infinite thickness and it doesn't.

So, Miskolczi show that climate change is not going to be an absolute disaster, that there is no "tipping point" and no catastrophe. Now, of course, all that needs to be done is to proclaim the good news to the world, eh?

And Miskolczi worked for NASA, which is at the forefront of climate research, so that shouldn't be a problem, surely? In fact, humanity could have a massive celebration; the church bells would ring in every village, street parties and fetes would be organised, there would be days of unconfined joy! That's right, isn't it?
NASA refused to release the results.

Oh. Right.
Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple. "Money", he tells DailyTech. Research that contradicts the view of an impending crisis jeopardizes funding, not only for his own atmosphere-monitoring project, but all climate-change research. Currently, funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year.

Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, "Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."

So, his results are unproven? Unverified?
His theory was eventually published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in his home country of Hungary.

The conclusions are supported by research [PDF] published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last year from Steven Schwartz of Brookhaven National Labs, who gave statistical evidence that the Earth's response to carbon dioxide was grossly overstated. It also helps to explain why current global climate models continually predict more warming than actually measured.

The equations also answer thorny problems raised by current theory, which doesn't explain why "runaway" greenhouse warming hasn't happened in the Earth's past. The new theory predicts that greenhouse gas increases should result in small, but very rapid temperature spikes, followed by much longer, slower periods of cooling—exactly what the paleoclimatic record demonstrates.

Miskowlczi has used his theory to model not only Earth, but the Martian atmosphere as well, showing what he claims is an extremely good fit with observational results. For now, the data for Venus is too limited for similar analysis, but Miskolczi hopes it will one day be possible.

But remember, we are all going to fry, or drown, because those nice climate scientists said so; and those nice climate scientists would never be motivated by something as grubby as money because they are all pure-of-heart-and-mind and they have our best... Fuck that!



Anonymous said...

A recent survey said thet more than 50 per cent of people are fed up with climate change - We blame Hal Bore:

Jones said...

Quite right DK. The 'Climate change' Emperor has no clothes. It's a scam, with the only hot air causing problems being that emitted by the Anthropogenic Global Warming activists.

Anonymous said...

Infant school children are being indoctrinated to have faith in the tenets of the green religion.
Their state educators will brook no discussion and will turn a deaf ear to contrary views.
I have to content myself with observing that the teachers’ blind faith is tantamount to child abuse; which hopefully will be punished in a better world.

John Trenchard said...

very interesting U.S. Senate report here - with lots of quotes from actual scientists rather than IPPR policy wonks...


i also dug up a report commissioned by the IPPR back in 2006 on how to portray "climate change" in the media and to the public

over here

Neal Asher said...

A pressure cooker gets very hot with a certain amount of heat applied to it. Apply the same amount of heat to an open saucepan and it won't get anywhere near as hot, because it doesn't have a lid. Shame 'climate scientists' couldn't figure that one out.

I bet the watermelons say this guy is in the pay of Exxon Mobile.

Oh, and I just love it when these wankers point towards Venus. Now, let me see, could Venus be like it is because it's 20,000,000 miles closer to the sun?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Top stuff.

Anonymous said...

Turned on the BBC tv news this evening. Lots of coverage of some report or other which says Europe's glaciers are "retreating" by 1.4 metres a year, the fastest since records began in...1980.

Strangely enough, not a word about this research. One day the climate change scam might break the MSM. Maybe.

Neal Asher said...

Ah, it was 1980 that records began. I said 1970 - must check my facts. The scientists apparently studied 30 glaciers in total, but which 30? Earth has 16 million of them.

NHS Fail Wail

I think that we can all agree that the UK's response to coronavirus has been somewhat lacking. In fact, many people asserted that our de...