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Krugman weighs in

Filed under: — david @ 11 April 2010

After weeks and months of press coverage seemingly Through the Looking Glass, Paul Krugman has sent us a breath of fresh air this morning in the New York Times Magazine, entitled “Building a Green Economy“. Krugman now joins fellow NYT columnist Tom Friedman as required reading in my Global Warming for English Majors class at the University of Chicago.

There is a lot here to comment on and discuss. The extinctions at the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, for example, were mostly limited to foraminfera, single-celled shelly protozoa living at the sea floor, not really a “mass extinction” like the end Cretaceous when the dinosaurs got feathered. The Gulf Stream is not the only thing keeping Northern Europe warmer than Alaska. Krugman’s four reasons why it’s dubious to compare costs of climate mitigation to adaption didn’t include the unfairness, that the people paying the costs of climate change would not be the same ones as reap the benefit of CO2 emission. He also seems to have missed the recent revelation that what really matters to climate is the total ultimate slug of emitted CO2, implying that unfettered emission today dooms us to more drastic cuts in the future or a higher ultimate atmospheric CO2 concentration, which will persist not just for “possibly centuries”, but almost certainly for millennia.

But despite a few off-notes, reading this very nicely written, beautifully laid out and argued piece felt like getting a deep sympathetic body massage after a bruising boxing match. Thank you, Mr. Krugman.


510 Responses to “Krugman weighs in”

  1. 401
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dr. Barrante, you’re thinking like a geologist not a biologist, ignoring the rate of change. This is new science, but old chemistry:

    “FAQs about ocean acidification

    Ocean acidification is a new field of research in which most studies have been published in the past 10 years. … some aspects of ocean acidification research, for example the carbonate chemistry, are intricate and counterintuitive. For these reasons, the media and the general public find some scientific issues or results confusing.

    The U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) program, supported by the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA), has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). These questions were widely distributed to the research community with the request to draft concise replies summarizing current knowledge, yet avoiding jargon. The replies were then subject to an open peer-review and revision process to ensure readability without any loss of scientific accuracy. The response of the community was enthusiastic. In total, 27 scientists from 19 institutions and 5 countries contributed to the whole process ….”

    http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/20100222278/What-do-we-do-/News/FAQs-about-ocean-acidification.html

    Rate of change is what’s different now than in past changes.

  2. 402

    401 Hank Roberts,

    It is entirely logical that the term “ocean acidification” is used to describe a trend where the ocean is less alkaline. We could less pejoratively say, “ocean alkalinity reduction”, but that would not roll off the tongue quite so effectively at Congressional hearings.

    When I listened to Al Gore testify, it looked like he was thinking that something like battery acid was filling the ocean basins. It is not a good thing to excessively fire up our zealousness with such terminology. There are far too many people who are capable of looking up pH and realizing that we are only talking about a slight change in pH, which still leaves the ocean far from acidic. Saying that is acidification sounds like a contrivance to make things sound worse than they are. Get a grip – - we global warming folks should take care not to sound like fear mongers.

    The danger to coral is bad enough. But the thought that the growth of other calcite shelled creatures might be stimulated should also be mentioned. Then the discussion would sound a little more rational, i.e. scientific.

  3. 403
    Marcus says:

    Barrante has apparently lost the ability to tell sense from nonsense: from another blog posting he made:

    “The Medieval Warm Period peaked in about 1250. So we should see the CO2 peak in 1250+800=2050.”

    His book contains the tired canard about CO2 only being 0.03% of the atmosphere, as if the amount of IR-transparent diatomic gases made any difference.

    He doesn’t understand radiative forcing, he doesn’t understand the carbon cycle, he states that “you better believe that my work on the greenhouse gas effect has been peer reviewed and then some” when, in fact, it hasn’t… I feel sorry for the people who waste money on his book.

  4. 404
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Dr. Barrante,

    Please do not announce that you are a physical chemist – you are embarrassing us with your novice mistakes. For example, “If one understood the physical chemistry of CO2’s role in the greenhouse gas effect, one would clearly understand that once the level of CO2 reaches 400 ppm, it no longer is a greenhouse gas.” appears to make the saturation argument. This was solved by Callendar in 1938. I suggest Houghton’s Physics of Atmospheres as suitable reading material.

  5. 405
    Chris Colose says:

    After being thoroughly educated by Dr. Barrante, I must conclude that in about 5 years when CO2 reaches 400 ppm its greenhouse effect will shut off and we will quickly plunge into a snowball. Who knew?

  6. 406
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jim Bullis
    The term is used in the science for the change in pH of the oceans.
    Your opinion doesn’t change the science or the terminology:

    Anthropogenic ocean acidification over the twenty-first century and its impact on calcifying organisms
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7059/abs/nature04095.html

  7. 407
    Hank Roberts says:

    ps. the Supplementary Information file is available to the public, although the main article at Nature is paywalled. This sets out the calculations and assumptions for the chemistry:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7059/extref/nature04095-s1.pdf

  8. 408
  9. 409
    Marcus says:

    On acidification and alkalinization: non-climate uses found in the literature for acidification of alkaline solutions, or alkalinization of acidic solutions:

    “We also demonstrated that acroso-mal antigens detected by monoclonal antibodies MN7 and MC41 did not dissolve following the acrosome reaction in pH 5.3 media, but dissolved at pH 6.2. These data suggest that acroso-mal alkalinization during incubation conducive for sp-erm capacitation may function to alter acroso-mal contents and prepare them for release during the acrosome reaction.”

    “Alkalinization of the ur-ine with potassium citrate to a pH of 6.5 to 7 is recommended”

    “Anoxia induced a cytoplasmic acidification from pH 7.6 (aerobic) to 7.4 as measured by 31P-NMR”

    “In the normal Krebs-Ringer solution of pH 7.4, lidoc-aine significantly reduced these relaxations in a concentration-dependent fashion. Alkalinization of pH 7.6 augmented the inhibitory effect of lidoc-aine on these relaxations, whereas acidification of pH 7.2 substantially abolished this effect.”

  10. 410
    David B. Benson says:

    James R. Barrante (394) — Truely stunningly ignorant. Do read the Charney et al. 1979 NRC/NAS report:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=R1
    and then you won’t be at least 40+ years out-of-datee.

  11. 411

    JRB 396: If one understood the physical chemistry of CO2’s role in the greenhouse gas effect, one would clearly understand that once the level of CO2 reaches 400 ppm, it no longer is a greenhouse gas.

    BPL: “Physical chemistry???” It’s a quantum effect!

    If you’re talking about saturation of absorption lines, that doesn’t work as a disproof of global warming–something known since the 1940s. Try here for a summary:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Saturation.html

  12. 412

    JB: There are far too many people who are capable of looking up pH and realizing that we are only talking about a slight change in pH, which still leaves the ocean far from acidic. Saying that is acidification sounds like a contrivance to make things sound worse than they are.

    BPL: If pH is declining, the liquid is “acidifying.” If it is rising, the liquid is “alkalinizing.” And apparently you don’t realize that the “small difference” in pH is on a logarithmic scale, and base 10 logs rather than base e logs at that.

    50% of the coral reefs around the world are already dead. Don’t tell me ocean acidification doesn’t matter.

  13. 413
    James R. Barrante says:

    Gavin wants to know how CO2 can absorb “upwelling” IR at 399 ppm and not at 400 ppm. I’m shocked that he has never heard of the Feynman-Schmidt Effect. It’s a quantum mechanical perturbation, found by R. Feynman et.al. in 1963, that (for CO2) triggers at exactly 400 ppm and stops the carbon and oxygen atoms from vibrating. At that point CO2 ceases to be a greenhouse gas. It’s quite common in superconductions, but at much lower temperatures.

    Mr.(Dr.)(whatever) Pearson. I Googled your name. Very impressive list of publications. Pages and pages of John E. Pearsons. Which one are you? Now Google my name. At last count, I think I had about 25 to 30 pages of citations. I’d ask you to read my text books, but I’m not sure, how is your Japanese?

    For those of you who are not sure of my credentials – why not try reading my book and peer-review it, before labeling me a denier. It’s written for individuals with little training in science. You should be able to handle it.

  14. 414
    James R. Barrante says:

    BPL 412: Spoken like a true physicist. Now try a little chemistry. If the pH of a solution drops from 8.3 to 7.2, has the solution become more acidic? Try adding water to a basic solution. The pH will drop. How much water will it take to make the solution acidic? I think I read some place that your expertise is science fiction and fantasy? Are you that B.P. Levenson?

  15. 415
    David B. Benson says:

    James R. Barrante (413) — Defies belief. AFAIK Rishard Feynman never wrote a paper with (any) Schmidt, certainly not Maarten (a cosmologist) and certainly not about this. Using the search engine locates nothing.

    Put up (a reference) or shut up.

    [Response: Pretty sure he's joking. Even he realises how dumb his original statement was. - gavin]

  16. 416
    Ray Ladbury says:

    James R. Barrante,
    Do you have a citation for your “Feynman-Schmidt Effect”. I find none in google, and it is not in any of my P. Chem books.

    Also, now that we have established that you have not published in climate science, perhaps you would care to share some of the publications in your extensive “25-35 pages” of publications, which, curiously, also seem to be missing from Google Scholar.

    Finally, is it seriously your contention that the cause of fallin pH in the oceans is the addition of fresh water? You do realize that this mechanism would require about a significant increase in the volume of the oceans, as well as a significant decrease in density, don’t you? Perhaps you would be so good as to estimate the magnitude of these changes for us so we can test your hypothesis.

  17. 417
    Dan says:

    414:
    Wow, are you ever playing a sad game of semantics. You ask “If the pH of a solution drops from 8.3 to 7.2, has the solution become more acidic?” The key word there being “more”, not simply “acidic”. Then you go on with “Try adding water to a basic solution. The pH will drop.” Well, duh, Mr. Chemist. But of course then you classically and subtly drop the qualifier “more” and go with “How much water will it take to make the solution acidic?” Not “*more* acidic”, just “acidic” which you ought to know is less than pH 7.0. And there you go…if you are truly such an expert you would know that you are making the solution less *basic* as it is diluted with your presumably pH 7.0 water in a lab. Or perhaps you were talking about adding actual precipitation in the real world which is of course, acidic to varying degrees. And we clearly see what happens when you add acidic precipitation to water in sensitive streams.
    You claim to be a writer of books for non-scientists. Yet you play silly and incorrect freshman level games with the fundamentals of acids/bases and pH. So much for credentials. And certainly none when it comes to climate science.

  18. 418
    Hank Roberts says:

    > at exactly 400 ppm and stops the carbon and oxygen atoms from
    > vibrating. At that point CO2 ceases to be a greenhouse gas

    and with the cessation of molecular vibration, hell freezes over.

  19. 419
    James R. Barrante says:

    Good grief! There is no Feynman-Schmidt effect. Don’t you see how silly the idea proposed to me was – that CO2 would absorb IR at 399 ppm and not at 400 ppm. Talk about Dim Wits. In our atmosphere, on our planet the amount of IR radiation at 15um is limited. By the time the level of CO2 reaches 400 ppm, the 15 um band has depleted available IR radiation is a distance of about 10 meters (the term saturation is a poor description to what is actually going on). Callendar did not solve the problem in 1938. I think FTIR’s are a little better now then IR instruments in 1938. (Heinz Hug’s recent research).

    414: No semantics. I’m repeating what you people are saying – adding CO2 to the oceans make them more acidic (your words – not mine). I’m assuming Dan has a Ph.D. in chemistry, so he should understand this. The “more” is not important – it’s still ridiculous to say adding CO2 to the oceans make the oceans “acidic” when the pH is still above 7. Duh. By the way, Dan, I am an expert. How many graduate chemistry courses have you taught? The point is simple. Until the pH drops below 7, a solution is not acidic. Will the oceans ever become acidic? Not by adding CO2. Too much bicarbonate. Oceans are highly buffered. pH remains close to 8. Excess CO2 usually reacts with basic salts in the ocean to form things like CaCO3 that precipitate out. By the way, that is where much of the CO2 in our atmosphere ends up. Now acid rain (SO2) and a garbage dump twice the size of the State of Texas in the Pacific certainly could acidify the oceans. Why aren’t environmentalists concerned about that? That’s okey, Dan. I have hundreds of students like you. A little knowledge is dangerous.

  20. 420
    flxible says:

    Barrante sez: “why not try reading my book and peer-review it, before labeling me a denier” Well, considering you claim the book was written for “non-scientists” – in fact for “dim wits” – it’s be a suprise if you’d written anything that could be “peer reviewed”. BUT, I took a few minutes to struggle through the freely available first 25 pages, and I’d suggest there’s hardly a sentence in the lot that isn’t standard denialist memes, not to mention being quite intelligent design-ish.

    Interesting that your primary concern right from the beginning appears to be that “global governments are poised to spend TRILLIONS of dollars needlessly”. I wonder, do you have anything to say about the unstainable energy use today and the looming end of cheap energy, or is that some kind of religous misconception as well?

  21. 421

    412 BPL

    Yup, I do understand logarithmic measurements and we are still a long way from acidic, however scientific you want to sound.

    But my point was about presentation and trying to appear rational rather than zealous.

    All this other stuff, come on, this is simply a matter of presentation and not making things overly dramatic. Yes, there is still a problem, but it would be more convincing to try to sound more objective about it all.

    Real people hear the word acidification and they think “acid” like the stuff that burns people, and stuff like that.

    But back to real climate. Does anyone have any way to discuss whether barnacles, clams, etc might grow faster in warmer water and with more CO2? I never get an answer on that. Hm, maybe it is not quite in hand.

  22. 422
    Lawrence McLean says:

    James R. Barrante:
    Regarding your saturation conjecture:
    Even if you were correct regarding radiative CO2 saturation at sea level, do you understand the effect on your conjecture from the fact that the density of the atmosphere declines with increasing altitude? I hope most folks here will understand what I am saying without further explanation!

  23. 423

    415 Benson and Gavin,

    Gavin, your sanity through all this is heroic. Thank you.

  24. 424

    419 James Barrante,

    You sound like you have been thinking about this stuff, but you have to realize that the “acidifying” folks are making the distinction that less alkaline, where-ever on the scale, is more acidic. I guess that is correct, but it sounds a bit like sophistry to me. For many of us, at least me, it tends to make the “science” sound a bit like zealotry.

    But really, I do sympathize with the decent people trying to get a response to the problem. In fact, I spend all my time working on solutions that I think are meaningful. And yes, we all have our hills to climb; some of us will get up there.

    After a long day of trying, after my fashion, I tend to think the globe might surprise us with reactions that we have yet to understand. Maybe this is fanciful thinking – - and we have to do our part as well as we can.

  25. 425
    Marcus says:

    “The “more” is not important – it’s still ridiculous to say adding CO2 to the oceans make the oceans “acidic” when the pH is still above 7. Duh. ”

    I believe Barrante is showing that his book should have been titled “Global Warming BY a Dimwit”. Did you look at all my references for acidification and alkalinization? It is fairly clear to me (and to most chemists – and I do have two degrees in chemistry) that a solution of pH 8 is “more acidic” than a solution of pH 9.

    Also, think about the quantities of SO2 (a trace contaminant in coal) compared to CO2 (the bulk of coal) that are being added to the ocean – if you think acid rain could acidify the oceans, why don’t you think orders of magnitude more CO2 could do so? I used to help out with elementary school chemistry demonstrations where we’d bubble dry ice through water with an indicator to show how CO2 acidifies water (and then add ammonia to bring the color back).

    And Heinz Hug – you call that “research”? Maybe he should actually try to read and understand some basic textbooks in this area (as, perhaps, should you). At least one major concept he’s missed: “broadening” as in, CO2 absorption spectra are not perfect lines, there’s broadening involved. Saturation is why CO2 forcing is logarithmic and not linear (as it would be at low concentrations). It is a well understood phenomena, and has been taken into account by climate scientists for decades.

  26. 426

    Chris Colose @ 405:

    After being thoroughly educated by Dr. Barrante, I must conclude that in about 5 years when CO2 reaches 400 ppm its greenhouse effect will shut off and we will quickly plunge into a snowball. Who knew?

    No, it will simply snow CO2 since that’s what is going to stop vibrating magically. The air will then contain less CO2 and heat back up again, until all the CO2 is on the ground and it’s hot as Hades from the rest of the greenhouse gases. At this time people will be able to say that Hell actually =has= frozen over.

    On a more serious note, I do see some value in the point Jim Bullis is making — for lay people, “acid” is either “pH of less than 7″ or “Battery stuff that corrodes my driveway.” I think there is a problem with some technical content being =too= technical, and lay people then saying “I was in the water just last week and I didn’t feel like I were swimin’ in no battry acid!”

  27. 427
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Barrante claims using the term acidification with basic pH is nonsensical. I suggest he considers what the usage is in a non global warming related topic: “Acidosis is an increased acidity in the blood. (i.e. an increased hydronium ion concentration). If not further qualified, it usually refers to acidity of the blood plasma.

    Acidosis is said to occur when arterial pH falls below 7.35, while its counterpart (alkalosis) occurs at a pH over 7.45.”

  28. 428
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Yup, I do understand logarithmic measurements and we are still a long way from acidic,”

    However, you don’t seem to understand CHANGE.

    If something is extremely cold and then becomes merely cold, it is WARMING.

    You, however, would say “Oh no it isn’t!!! We’re a LONG WAY from *warm*!!!”.

    warm != warming

    acid != more acidic

    but if you ADD an acid to a solution, no matter what its original pH, it is now more acidic.

    What do you think carbonic acid is, Jimmy?

  29. 429
    Ray Ladbury says:

    James R. Barrante,
    I’ve read the first several pages of your “book”. It’s sad. Really. Nothing but long-dead, zombie arguments reanimated by your ignorance. What is more, the fact that you direct your arguments at the least technical and most vulnerable of audiences–arguments that fly in the face of all accepted science on the subject–pushes you very close to the border of scientific misconduct.

    You have no special expertise in the subject. You have no original arguments. It is clear that you have not even made an effort to understand the science. So, James, prove me wrong.

    How does “natural variability” cool the stratosphere simultaneously with warming the troposphere?

    How do you explain the unmistakable signature of a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas in the current warming and in the paleoclimate?

    How do you explain over a dozen separate lines of evidence all favoring a CO2 sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling?

    How do you justify passing your personal prejudices off as science?

  30. 430

    JRB 413: Gavin wants to know how CO2 can absorb “upwelling” IR at 399 ppm and not at 400 ppm. I’m shocked that he has never heard of the Feynman-Schmidt Effect. It’s a quantum mechanical perturbation, found by R. Feynman et.al. in 1963, that (for CO2) triggers at exactly 400 ppm and stops the carbon and oxygen atoms from vibrating. At that point CO2 ceases to be a greenhouse gas.

    BPL: So why is Venus so hot?

  31. 431

    JRB 414: I think I read some place that your expertise is science fiction and fantasy? Are you that B.P. Levenson?

    BPL: That’s what I do for a living. My “expertise” lies in the 2 years I studied at CMU and 3 years at Pitt, culminating in a dual physics/computer programming B.S. in 1983; my past presidency of the Tripoli Science Association and my numerous papers for Tripolitan and Selenology; and twelve years writing atmosphere models.

  32. 432
    Chris S says:

    #413
    “Now Google my name. At last count, I think I had about 25 to 30 pages of citations.”

    But only four citations on ISI WoS (That’s four citations, not four pages). One cited 56 times, one 8, one 6 & one never. h index=3

  33. 433

    Hank 418: ROFLMAO! I love it.

  34. 434
    Chris S says:

    …in addition to the above, the year of publication date of the four citations range from 1961-1968.

    Dr. Barrante one paper every two years for eight years and then nothing for 40+ years, are we meant to be impressed?

  35. 435

    JRB 419: In our atmosphere, on our planet the amount of IR radiation at 15um is limited. By the time the level of CO2 reaches 400 ppm, the 15 um band has depleted available IR radiation is a distance of about 10 meters (the term saturation is a poor description to what is actually going on).

    BPL: ALL layers of the atmosphere radiate, not just the ground. Saturation near ground level does not prevent adding more CO2 from warming the ground further. Once again, I direct you to the paper I wrote on the subject. Please read it and DO THE MATH:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Saturation.html

  36. 436
    JiminMpls says:

    #419

    Environmentalists don’t /didn’t care about SO2 emissions and acid rain???? You mean it was industrialists and free enterprise extremists who pushed so hard for restrictions on SO2 emission restrictions and it was environmentalists who attempted to block mitagation legislation????

    Wow. Hooduthunkit. I learn something new every day at RC!

  37. 437
    James R. Barrante says:

    425: Hmm! I would be interested in knowing where your two degrees are from? Two degrees? You’d never know it. Your statements on acid-base equilibria are moronic. When you add an acid to a base, the reaction produces water. The solution does not become acidic until all the base has been neutralized. As long as the hydroxide concentration is larger than the hydrogen ion concentration, the solution is basic. I think you found your spot in the elementary school. You seemed to have forgotten about experimental boundaries. Bubbling dry ice through water is not quite the same as bubbling dry ice through a solution loaded with calcium salts. Moreover, try bubbling dry ice through a saturated solution of sodium bicarbonate. That’s the difference between SO2 and CO2.

    CO2 forcing is logarithmic because it is. Saturation has nothing to do with it. It just happens to be a first-order process. Saturation has to do with the intensity of the incident radiation. The saturation level of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is quite different from what it would be on, say, Venus, with a much higher IR intensity at 15 microns. Moreover, if one made the intensity of IR at 15 microns very high (like in a laboratory), the CO2 would probably never come close to saturation (never done the experiment so it’s a guess). Some of you are really arrogant pieces of work. How dare you question Heinz Hug’s research ability! Question his conclusions all you want, but just because you don’t like his results, you question his knowledge or integrity?

    You know. I love debating this stuff. In fact, I welcome it. It’s how some of us learn. The material in my book was peer-reviewed by a number of individuals long before I decided to even write the book. My applied mathematics text is in its third edition. I had it reviewed originally by my pchem prof. I knew he would not be afraid to criticize my work. But not once, did he ever attack me. That doesn’t seem to be the case with AGW supporters. They call us deniers (reference Holocaust deniers), use straw men arguments, rarely have anything intelligent to say about the message, but rather attack the messenger, . . . No one has ever shown me the experimental, scientifically tested (by the scientific method) proof that global warming, climate change, melting ice caps, dying polar bears, you name it is caused by any human activity on the planet. As far as I am concerned, these events are natural and have been occurring long before our species was on this planet.

  38. 438
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Saturation has to do with the intensity of the incident radiation.”

    Nope. The sun doesn’t shine brighter because we have more CO2 in our atmosphere.

    Saturation has something to do with the height at which light can escape however. And as saturation rises because the proportion of CO2 increases, the release of light at CO2 absorption levels gets higher.

    And as anyone who knows anything about weather knows, the higher you go, the colder it is.

    And, as any physicist knows, the colder it is, the less energy is radiated.

    Therefore as saturation rises, the loss of light reduces, meaning that you have trapped more energy in the system.

    Energy in a system can turn up as:

    1) potential energy
    2) kinetic energy

    undirected kinetic energy in bulk products is known as temperature.

    So as the kinetic energy goes up, temperature goes up.

    I really do hope that the real JRB is being joe-jobbed here, because the one posting here is a vacuous moron, unable to pass playschool, never mind any further education (like junior school).

  39. 439
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “You know. I love debating this stuff.”

    Ah:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

    “In fact, I welcome it. It’s how some of us learn.”

    Not you. Again:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

  40. 440
    Hank Roberts says:

    OK, Dr. Barrante, please listen to this much:

    You are going through a series of statements that may be new to you but many of us readers here (not scientists, just readers) see over and over.
    We can probably guess where you read them — but it would help if you’d say what your source for them is.

    There are answers to each of them. The confusion about saturation and the notion that after 10 meters all the infrared is blocked is classic:

    Are you thinking of infrared coming IN from above, not up from below? Or up from below but not getting past 10 meters above the ground?
    Are you thinking of CO2 as collecting heat until all the CO2 is heated up and can’t take no more, rather than transferring the heat to oxygen and nitrogen?

    It’s beginner stuff. It’s in other people’s beginner level books on this.

  41. 441
    Hank Roberts says:

    Also — while many of us do try to stay polite, if you sprinkle a mix of insult and assertion about what you believe the science is, you get that back (we’ll try to tie our more aggressive attack chihuahuas up in the back room, but if they get out, apologies in advance — there are people on all sides of these questions who think ‘irate’ is a convincing argument, and they’re not stifled entirely, just discouraged, here).

    But seriously — you talk about infrared intensity — that sounds like you’re thinking of heat from the sun (more at Venus) coming in through the atmosphere.

    Try to focus on one question at a time. Is that one stated as you believe it to be true?

  42. 442
    Ray Ladbury says:

    James R. Barrante, what is under attack is not YOU, but rather your decision to TELL LIES to children rather than vet your unconventional ideas in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Your assertion that absorption in the 15 micron band is saturated is simply and demonstrably false. First, there is still IR radiation escaping in this band:
    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/RamAmbio.pdf

    Second, Harries(2001) showed that absorption in this spectral line has increased measurably from 1970 through the late 1990s and has continued subsequently.

    JRB: “CO2 forcing is logarithmic because it is. ”

    Uh, dude, you do realize that if forcing is logarithmic, that absorption can’t saturate, don’t you? Ever look at those absorption lines–pretty thick-tailed. They look more Cauchy than Gaussian.

    Now as to your claim that, “The material in my book was peer-reviewed by a number of individuals long before I decided to even write the book,…” who, exactly were these individuals? How many publications IN CLIMATE SCIENCE did they have? How many times had their CLIMATE SCIENCE publications been cited?

    You are aware that the American Chemical Society disagrees with your arguments:

    http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_SUPERARTICLE&node_id=1907&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=1f2c9549-39ff-4190-9aca-660ef98adab9

    To quote: “There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change.

    The reality of global warming, its current serious and potentially disastrous impacts on Earth system properties, and the key role emissions from human activities play in driving these phenomena have been recognized by earlier versions of this ACS policy statement (ACS, 2004), by other major scientific societies, including the American Geophysical Union (AGU, 2003), the American Meteorological Society (AMS, 2007) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2007), and by the U. S. National Academies and ten other leading national academies of science (NA, 2005). This statement reviews key global climate change impacts and recommends actions required to mitigate or adapt to currently anticipated consequences.”

    Here’s a hint, James, provide some evidence for your assertions, not just vague anti-green slurs.

  43. 443
    Nelthon says:

    The patience extended to Barrante is more than he probably deserves. From his book:

    ‘I am going to re-define a “dim wit” (sic) as someone who believes that greenhouse gases, and in particular carbon dioxide, could actually control the climate. Such individuals generally fabricate their version of science to fit their own agenda.’

    The book is littered with zombie arguments as Ray Ladbury said above (e.g. no warming since 1998). Of the eight references to source material and suggested reading, two point the reader to Monte Hieb and T. J. Nelson. As Ray says: your arguments fly in the face of all accepted science on the subject.

    I think I’ll pass, but another interested reader might catch the one remaining copy of ‘Global Warming for Dim Wits’ at Amazon.co.uk (you’ll need to be fast given its sales rank of 697,577).

  44. 444
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dr. Barrante, you’re not relying on the Hug papers at Energy and Environment as your ‘peer reviewed’ sources, are you?

    I find Hug published at E’n'E and the john-daly blog science website.

    E’n'E’s past editor made clear they’re not a science journal.

    E’n'E’s current editor sees no difference between his work and that of the editors of Nature or Science, which ought to raise an eyebrow or two: wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/27/opportunity-knocks/#comment-178928

    The widely known blog science writer Richard Courtney claims that E’n'E has higher standards than Nature or Science: http://www.politicaldivide.info/globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-652.html

  45. 445
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dr. Barrante, did you do all the writing yourself, or are some of the arguments in the book ones that were drafted for you and provided to you with assurance they had already been peer-reviewed?

  46. 446
    Doug Bostrom says:

    This brouhaha over the term “acidification” is yet another diagnostic of the bankruptcy of climate science rejectionists. The more these people quibble over terms commonly accepted in our parlance, the more obvious it becomes they’ve nothing significant to say about climate.

  47. 447
    Patrick 027 says:

    Dr. Barrante – “By the time the level of CO2 reaches 400 ppm, the 15 um band has depleted available IR radiation is a distance of about 10 meters”

    a. consider the radiation emitted by CO2. Yes, as optical thickness gets large over distances of significant temperature variation, the net radiant flux approaches zero, but that’s not the same as there being no available IR.

    b. consider what happens at 14 um and 16 um. Then consideer what happens at 13 um and 17 um. Then consider what happens at 12 um and 18 um. And if you add enough CO2, you’ll want to consider what happens at 11 um and 19 um. (the term saturation is a poor description to what is actually going on). Callendar did not solve the problem in 1938. I think FTIR’s are a little better now then IR instruments in 1938. (Heinz Hug’s recent research).

    “Will the oceans ever become acidic? Not by adding CO2. Too much bicarbonate. Oceans are highly buffered. pH remains close to 8. Excess CO2 usually reacts with basic salts in the ocean to form things like CaCO3 that precipitate out. By the way, that is where much of the CO2 in our atmosphere ends up.”

    I’m not qualified to address how low the pH can go, but do consider:

    CO2 can only react with H2O and Ca ions to produce CaCO3 when there are Ca ions available. Furthermore, CaCO3 is less likely to precipitate and more likely to dissolve when the pH is reduced (if I’m not mistaken, depletion of Ca ions would have that effect if not buffered by something else. The tendency of CaCO3 to dissolve or not depending on pH is actually a source of the buffering).

    When more CaCO3 (or any carbonate) is dissolved, it can react with CO2 to form bicarbonate ions. This increases the ability of the water to take up CO2 from the air (or reduces the ability to release CO2 to the air). But when CaCO3 comes out of solution, then – when that water reaches the air, it will be more able to release CO2 (or less able to take up CO2). Ultimately, besides organic C burial, what pulls CO2 out of the air and makes carbonate minerals is the supply of ions such as Ca ions from minerals that are not carbonate minerals (via chemical weathering). This is a slow process that tends to balance geologic emissions of CO2 (from exposure and oxidation of organic C, or from CO2 produced by the reaction of carbonates with silicates to produce other silicates and CO2, which is more product favored at higher temperatures found beneath the surface).

  48. 448
    Patrick 027 says:

    I accidentally got some of my comment mixed up with Dr. Barrante’s; point b should be:

    b. consider what happens at 14 um and 16 um. Then consideer what happens at 13 um and 17 um. Then consider what happens at 12 um and 18 um. And if you add enough CO2, you’ll want to consider what happens at 11 um and 19 um.

  49. 449
    t_p_hamilton says:

    Dr. Barrante said:”Callendar did not solve the problem in 1938. I think FTIR’s are a little better now then IR instruments in 1938. (Heinz Hug’s recent research).”

    The error that you and Hug and Barrett are making has nothing to do with how good the instrumentation is. The error is lack of familiarity with the literature which shows where the “saturation” argument is mistaken.

    For example, Barrett’s paper was responded to by John Houghton, whose textbook the physics of atmospheres I suggested you read (and work the problems).

  50. 450
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Either someone is joe jobbing Barrante or the poor man has completely lost (or sold) the plot.

    NOTHING he’s said has anything close to intelligence with it.

    Whoever is posting under that name is just trolling.


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