Radiation in GCMs

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w...@bas.ac.uk

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Sep 9, 2005, 5:32:54 PM9/9/05
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Is this all past? If all that black body junk isn't sorted out, then
Gavins comment on RC:

Unbelievable and untrue, actually. I suggest you read a relevant text
(Houghton "Physics of Atmospheres" is good on this - chapter 4). The
Planck function is used, but it is multiplied by a wavelength dependent
function so that you only integrate over the approximation to the
lines. -gavin

might help.

-W.

William M Connolley | w...@bas.ac.uk | http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/wmc/
Climate Modeller, British Antarctic Survey | Disclaimer: I speak for myself
I'm a .signature virus! copy me into your .signature file & help me spread!

Roger Coppock

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Sep 9, 2005, 5:52:26 PM9/9/05
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Ok, I'll bite. What, Dr. Connolley is the
background to this post of yours?
Please explain.

Alastair McDonald

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Sep 9, 2005, 7:22:10 PM9/9/05
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"Roger Coppock" <rcop...@adnc.com> wrote in message
news:1126302746.1...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> Ok, I'll bite. What, Dr. Connolley is the
> background to this post of yours?
> Please explain.
>

Hi Roger,

You may recall that I claimed that all the GCMs were wrong because they were
treating the atmosphere as a blackbody radiator, i.e. using Planck's function
to calculate the radiation emitted by greenhouse gases .

Eric challenged me to show that the GISS GCM used Planck's function to
calculate outgoing longwave radiation. He provided a link to the source code
which is in the public domain. One of the names appearing on the source code
was Gavin Schmidt, who with W. set up the weblog RealClimate.

I've written this paper saying (amongst other things) that the reason the
temperature readings and model predictions differ for the free troposphere is
because the models are wrong. The same week as I submitted that paper to
Nature, Science released, not just one, but three papers arguing (as usual)
that it was the temperature reading that were wrong not the models.

RealClimate ran two threads about the three papers. The paper which said the
least had the largest number of authors, 25 in total, the last being Gavin
Schmidt. In one of the RealClimate threads he was replying to the comments,
so I posted a comment requesting a reply which I received :-) However, it was
only a contradiction of what I had written. He did cite Houghton (of IPCC
fame), but since my argument was that Sir John is wrong that did not advance
the argument.

What W. may not know is that I contacted Gavin offline, and he explained that
although they do use Planck's function in the GISS model to calculate the
radiation from the emission lines of the greenhouse gases, they do not use it
for frequencies where the greenhouse gases do not emit.

Unlike you, who must be following this tale avidly, I had a chance to sleep on
that reply. Perhaps you would like to pause here and think about it?

Anyway, although I did not point this out to Gavin, in the frequencies where
no emission or absorption by greenhouse gases occurs, the blackbody from the
surface will be passed through each layer. This means that all frequencies
are emitting at intensities based on Planck's function.

I did reply to Gavin that although he was treating the frequencies in the
"window" correctly, the frequencies emitted by greenhouse gases depend on
pressure broadening, not Planck's function which is based on temperature, but
I have not received a reply to that second missive. This seems to be standard
practice amongst professional scientists. They reply only once just out of
courtesy.

Gavin also used the same argument which Sir John had employed on Jack Barrett,
that there is no problem with the models because they reproduced what has been
measured for many years now. Gavin wrote "If all the models were wrong it
would be easy enough to see just from single column calculations from various
field campaigns." I did point out to him that was incorrect citing Slingo;
http://www.nerc-essc.ac.uk/~as/new_studentship.doc
but as I have said he has not replied :-(

I hope this answers both your and W.s questions.

Cheers, Alastair.


dbo...@mindspring.com

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Sep 9, 2005, 8:35:34 PM9/9/05
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I'm amazed, somebody knows physics here.

H. E. Taylor

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Sep 10, 2005, 12:10:55 AM9/10/05
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In article <1126302746.1...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,

Roger,
I trust the irony of your needing to make such a post
is not lost on you...;-))>

<be well>
-het

--
"To summarize the summary of the summary: People are a problem."
-Douglas Adams

Cindy Sheehan: http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/terror_war/csheehan.html
H.E. Taylor <http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/>

Raymond Arritt

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Sep 9, 2005, 11:00:12 PM9/9/05
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Alastair McDonald wrote:

> I did reply to Gavin that although he was treating the frequencies in the
> "window" correctly, the frequencies emitted by greenhouse gases depend on
> pressure broadening, not Planck's function which is based on temperature, but
> I have not received a reply to that second missive. This seems to be standard
> practice amongst professional scientists. They reply only once just out of
> courtesy.

Professional scientists are wary of getting involved in long, drawn-out
exchanges with people who don't have sufficient training to understand
the subject, but insist that they've found The Critical Factor That
Scientists Have Been Ignoring All Along(tm). Trust me, I've been there
many times. The best one was a guy who walked into my office and
insisted that he could control the jet stream with his brain waves.

Eventually it gets to the point where you realize you're never going to
get through and you just have to let the matter drop. The fact that
Gavin appears to have cut his losses at an early stage means that he's
probably wiser than some of the rest of us.

Roger Coppock

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Sep 9, 2005, 11:04:54 PM9/9/05
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Apparently it is. Please explain, Harvey.

Roger Coppock

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Sep 9, 2005, 11:28:15 PM9/9/05
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OT: I'm a retired computer engineer and I've had a very
similar experience.

When I was working for a now defunct computer company,
someone went to my boss and showed him a fast arithmetic
magic act, where a teenage boy seemed to do large
multiplication and division problems in his head. For a
couple of months the organization was convinced that we
were wasting our time on Wallace slice parallel
multiplication hardware. While this management
misdirection wasn't the 'straw that broke the camel's
back,' it did contribute the eventual failure of the
company.

H. E. Taylor

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Sep 10, 2005, 3:00:59 AM9/10/05
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In article <1126321494.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

<rcop...@adnc.com> Roger Coppock wrote:
>
> Apparently it is. Please explain, Harvey.
>

Your habit of deleting context/history in your replies,
makes other people frequently want to say:
"What, Mr. Coppock is the background to this post of yours?"
<fwiw>
-het


--
"Perhaps the most deceptive aspect of globalizaton was its claim
to embody fundamental and enevitable technological developments
rather than the conscious policies of Anglo-American political
elites trying to advance the interests of their own countries at
the expense of others." -Chalmers Johnson, _The Sorrows of Empire_

Terror War News: http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/terror_war/twartn.html
H.E. Taylor http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/

Roger Coppock

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Sep 10, 2005, 4:00:56 AM9/10/05
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All they would then have to do is follow up the thread,
someing one should always do before posting. Are
computer scientists the only ones who can traverse
trees?

Dr. Connolley's post, however, had nothing above it.

Alastair McDonald

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Sep 10, 2005, 5:53:59 AM9/10/05
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"Roger Coppock" <rcop...@adnc.com> wrote in message
news:1126339256....@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

I was not puzzled by your message but I was, like you, puzzled by HET's!

Cheers, Alastair.


Alastair McDonald

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Sep 10, 2005, 7:07:12 AM9/10/05
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"Raymond Arritt" <raymon...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:0%rUe.320622$_o.175048@attbi_s71...

> Alastair McDonald wrote:
>
> > I did reply to Gavin that although he was treating the frequencies in the
> > "window" correctly, the frequencies emitted by greenhouse gases depend on
> > pressure broadening, not Planck's function which is based on temperature,
but
> > I have not received a reply to that second missive. This seems to be
standard
> > practice amongst professional scientists. They reply only once just out
of
> > courtesy.
>
> Professional scientists are wary of getting involved in long, drawn-out
> exchanges with people who don't have sufficient training to understand
> the subject, but insist that they've found The Critical Factor That
> Scientists Have Been Ignoring All Along(tm). Trust me, I've been there
> many times. The best one was a guy who walked into my office and
> insisted that he could control the jet stream with his brain waves.

That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists but
never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How often
does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with "a
great idea"? Are you really plagued by these people? Or is it that
the very occasional one always arrives when you are under severe
pressure to get on with your own work? Of course it may be that
one of your colleagues has been approached by an idiot, and has
dined out on it for years. So any approach from someone outside
academia is seen as chance to keep up with the Joneses and have
your own tall tale to tell.

> Eventually it gets to the point where you realize you're never going to
> get through and you just have to let the matter drop. The fact that
> Gavin appears to have cut his losses at an early stage means that he's
> probably wiser than some of the rest of us.

Gavin is not any different from any other. As soon as they discover I
am not a professional scientist they break off the debate. It is the
ultimate ad hominem argument. Never mind the ideas, just look at
who is saying it. Josh Halpern expressed this view rather succinctly;

"Joshua Halpern" <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:hYDSe.2587$AB4.1208@trnddc03...

> Part of the evaluation is the quality of the investigators and their
> ability to carry out the proposed research.
>
> Delphically

Note the "Dephically". He thinks I am too stupid to realise he is getting
at me!

As I said when I returned to this newsgroup, it was James Annan's idea that
I post my ideas here. The reaction I have received is much as I expected. A
blanket denial that anything I write can be correct. William told me three
times, without giving any reason, that I was wrong. I have now been proved
right. Planck's function is being used calculate the emissions from greenhouse
gases. No doubt both you and William will now cease replying on the grounds
that you are never going to get through to me! Don't be surprised then if I
again disappear from this group on the grounds that I can never get through
to you!

Cheers, Alastair.


w...@bas.ac.uk

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Sep 10, 2005, 7:44:44 AM9/10/05
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Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists but
>never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How often
>does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with "a
>great idea"?

Never. What does happen is that a scientist from a somewhat different
discipline comes up with a fresh viewpoint (who would have thought
of using e=sqrt(0.5) in VP, for example? (no, Im not going to bother
explaining that)).

>Gavin is not any different from any other. As soon as they discover I
>am not a professional scientist they break off the debate.

Sigh. Alistair, you are veering off into paranoia. Just because everyone
tells you that you are wrong doesn't mean you are right!

>William told me three
>times, without giving any reason, that I was wrong.

No, William gave you good reasons, but they won't fit through your filter.
Gavin explaines exactly how it works, but that didnt fit either.

>I have now been proved right.

Yes! And when inevitably Nature rejects your paper unreviewed, that will
prove how very right you are!

>No doubt both you and William will now cease replying on the grounds
>that you are never going to get through to me!

At last, you have got something right.

-W.

--

James Annan

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Sep 10, 2005, 8:23:32 AM9/10/05
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w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>>That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists but
>>never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How often
>>does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with "a
>>great idea"?
>
>
> Never.

I've had a handful of unsolicited offers of "great ideas", but never yet
a good one :-)

James
--
James Annan
see web pages for email
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/

Coby Beck

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Sep 10, 2005, 9:32:44 AM9/10/05
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"Roger Coppock" <rcop...@adnc.com> wrote in message
news:1126339256....@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> All they would then have to do is follow up the thread,
> someing one should always do before posting. Are
> computer scientists the only ones who can traverse
> trees?

As a computer scientist you should understand that though a simple linked
list is always adequate, a doubly-linked list is ofter very desirable.

It is standard usenet etiquette to leave enough context so that you do not
force a reader to "traverse trees" to understand what you are talking about.
It is simple for you to do and merely shows a bit of respect for other
people's time. Many people, myself included, set their newsreader to hide
from view messages they have already read. I try to read or mark read
everything that comes down when I check for new messages. If you reply
after I have read and hidden a message from view, the only thing I can do to
retrieve the context is to unhide every read message and then sift through
the dozens of threads to find the thread your message was in, and then
follow it from the beginning, sometimes hundreds of messages ago, until I
get back to where yours appears, then reread the deleted context.

Yes I can do it, but it usually lowers the net value of your contribution to
below the why bother threshold. This is a similar inconvenience to quoting
massive amounts of text to append a very specific comment near the bottom
and a similar breach of well extablished usenet conventions.

--
Coby Beck
(remove #\Space "coby 101 @ bigpond . com")


Coby Beck

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Sep 10, 2005, 9:32:46 AM9/10/05
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"Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote
in message news:dfuf1v$q5h$1...@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk...

> As I said when I returned to this newsgroup, it was James Annan's idea
> that
> I post my ideas here. The reaction I have received is much as I expected.
> A
> blanket denial that anything I write can be correct. William told me
> three
> times, without giving any reason, that I was wrong. I have now been
> proved
> right. Planck's function is being used calculate the emissions from
> greenhouse
> gases. No doubt both you and William will now cease replying on the
> grounds
> that you are never going to get through to me! Don't be surprised then if
> I
> again disappear from this group on the grounds that I can never get
> through
> to you!

Well, I like to hear your ideas, I think I learn from the issues you raise.
FWIW, you have not convinced me there is a real problem, but I also agree
that the rebuttals you get from people seem always to somehow miss your
points. And they are much too condescending.

But it is not clear to me why you don't think your concerns have finally
been met, although in a round about and peice by piece way. Apparently the
emissions are not calculated as if the atmosphere were a black body, rather
it is done in a way that approximates the band by band nature of GHGs.
Plank's function is used but not in the way I understood your complaint to
describe it.

Thomas Palm

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Sep 10, 2005, 12:44:22 PM9/10/05
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w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in news:4322...@news.nwl.ac.uk:

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk>
> wrote:
>
>>That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists
>>but never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How
>>often does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with
>>"a great idea"?
>
> Never. What does happen is that a scientist from a somewhat different
> discipline comes up with a fresh viewpoint (who would have thought
> of using e=sqrt(0.5) in VP, for example? (no, Im not going to bother
> explaining that)).

That "never" is a bit harsh. I expect it happens now and then in climate
science. Look at some of the odd records scientists are using to
reconstruct past climates. Records of people betting when the ice will
break up at a certain place, ornithologists recording when birds first are
seen every year. I imagine some of these have been suggested by amateurs
who happened to know the data existed and might be useful.

In theoretical science it is a lot less common, depending on how you define
"amateur". Some engineers know a lot about the foundations about their
field and can contribute to the science even if they aren't scientists.
Einstein, for example, was an amateur when he wrote his first papers. Of
course, for every real Einstein there are at least 10,000 cranks who just
believe there are geniuses.

I think "the average" scientist rarely get many calls, but that's because
the average scientist works on problems few have even heard of. If you work
in a field that is often written about you are likely to get lots of crank
letters. People who can prove quantum mechanics is wrong, how to solve
Fermat's last theorem, who claim that the government is poisoning their
brains with microwaves etc.

http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2005/05/marginal-at-best.html
"For many years, Edmund Landau, a German mathematician, had a form letter
that looked like this: "Dear Sir/Madam: Your proof of Fermat's Last Theorem
has been received. The first mistake is on page _____, line _____." Landau
would assign the job of filling in those blanks to one of his students."

Alastair McDonald

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Sep 10, 2005, 1:09:29 PM9/10/05
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"James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:3og1ckF...@individual.net...
> w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>

> I've had a handful of unsolicited offers of "great ideas", but never yet
> a good one :-)

That's interesting. I had imagined that I was the only person to come up
with a "great idea" and so it would be considered objectively. What is
happening is that because it is an amateur's "great idea" it is immediately
classed as a not good one. Of course, since it is so classed, it reinforces
your belief that no amateur ideas are good - a self serving prophecy!

I see now why you recommended that I posted my paper here where it could
be seen by experts in its field. Your idea was that the experts would explain
to me where I was going wrong, not that they would give it the fair assessment
for which I was hoping, although of course the two are the same from your
POV.

May I point out that there are exceptions to every rule. I have only let out
my ideas in dribs and drabs hoping that if I kept them simple then there
was more hope of them being accepted. But that is not the case and on
the principle that it is better to hung for a sheep than a lamb I can now
reveal their full extent.

"Gerald Bond a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory ... saw big changes
coming in 1993. "It's like just before plate tectonics revolutionised
geology," he told Richard A. Kerr of the journal Science. "Everything then
was in a state of confusion. A few key pieces of evidence came to light,
and then it looked simple. There could be a new theory coming out of this
for how the earth's climate operates." See;
http://www.nap.edu/books/0309093120/html/4.html

That new theory is my Tiamat Hypothesis!

Cheers, Alastair.

Alastair McDonald

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Sep 10, 2005, 1:10:50 PM9/10/05
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"Coby Beck" <cb...@mercury.bc.ca> wrote in message
news:2gBUe.234627$HI.14492@edtnps84...

> Well, I like to hear your ideas, I think I learn from the issues you raise.
> FWIW, you have not convinced me there is a real problem, but I also agree
> that the rebuttals you get from people seem always to somehow miss your
> points. And they are much too condescending.

I try to keep my post understandable by the "intelligent layman" but that may
be a mistake because it makes them seem amateurish!

> But it is not clear to me why you don't think your concerns have finally

> been met, although in a round about and piece by piece way. Apparently the


> emissions are not calculated as if the atmosphere were a black body, rather
> it is done in a way that approximates the band by band nature of GHGs.
> Plank's function is used but not in the way I understood your complaint to
> describe it.

I have simplified the problem into one of the use of Planck's function because
if I broaden it out, then it makes it more vulnerable to spurious objections.
If I say it relies on A and B, they will argue that A is untrue, then when I
prove A they will say B is untrue. When I justify B, they will then claim
that
they have already disproved A. So I have tried to keep it simple. I said
the
models were treating the layers as black body emitters which was denied.
Now it is proved that Planck's function is being used, and they are saying
"Oh well that does not matter."

They are the ones, William in particular, who have been proved wrong, but
I am still having to justify myself.

The error can be put in another way. Currently the forcing from greenhouse
gases is calculated using their effect near the tropopause, ie the boundary
between the troposphere and the stratosphere. Even William has said that
this is ridiculous, but that is the way it is done. It is a result of the
belief that the effects of radiation are distributed throughout the
troposphere.

What I am saying is that the radiation effects are not distributed through
the troposphere as the current models assume, but are concentrated near
the surface. The models have the lower atmosphere in local thermodynamic
equilibrium (LTE) and where the radiation is escaping to space in the upper
atmosphere, there is a region of non-LTE. I am claiming that there is also
a region at the surface where a different type of non-LTE applies. That is at
the surface where the blackbody radiation from the Earth's surface enters
the atmosphere (especially during the day.) By using Planck's function to
calculate the transfer of radiation between layers, the models have a smooth
transition from the surface into the first layer, but this smooth transition
does not exist.

That is my proposition B, but you can see that it is open to criticism. It is
easier for me to stand by the simple argument A that Planck's function
does not apply to emissions from greenhouse gases. There is no arguing
about that. It is a fact! But they have muddied the waters. Because I am
an amateur, I must be wrong. It is very frustrating, and it makes me mad
at the scientists, which does not help me get my arguments across to
them :-(

Cheers, Alastair.

w...@bas.ac.uk

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Sep 10, 2005, 1:25:53 PM9/10/05
to

>> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk>
>> wrote:
>>
>>>That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists
>>>but never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How
>>>often does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with
>>>"a great idea"?
>>
>> Never. What does happen is that a scientist from a somewhat different
>> discipline comes up with a fresh viewpoint (who would have thought
>> of using e=sqrt(0.5) in VP, for example? (no, Im not going to bother
>> explaining that)).

>That "never" is a bit harsh.

You're right, of course. How about "the mode value taken across all
scientists is zero". Probably the median too.

>Einstein, for example, was an amateur when he wrote his first papers.

Yeah, but he didn't offer his ideas to other people :-)

>http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2005/05/marginal-at-best.html
>"For many years, Edmund Landau, a German mathematician, had a form letter
>that looked like this: "Dear Sir/Madam: Your proof of Fermat's Last Theorem
>has been received. The first mistake is on page _____, line _____." Landau
>would assign the job of filling in those blanks to one of his students."

I like that!

w...@bas.ac.uk

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Sep 10, 2005, 1:26:54 PM9/10/05
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Roger Coppock <rcop...@adnc.com> wrote:
>Ok, I'll bite. What, Dr. Connolley is the background to this post of yours?

You've probably realised by now, the answer is AMcD's previous stuff.

-W.

--

Raymond Arritt

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Sep 10, 2005, 1:41:36 PM9/10/05
to
Alastair McDonald wrote:

> That raises a question which I have always wanted to ask scientists but
> never had one talk to me long enough to be able to raise it. How often
> does the average scientist get an "amateur" coming to him with "a
> great idea"? Are you really plagued by these people? Or is it that
> the very occasional one always arrives when you are under severe
> pressure to get on with your own work?

There are degrees. The real nutjobs are thankfully rare. It's quite
common for people to bring up less colorful ideas; e.g., tornados don't
strike cities because they're diverted by tall buildings. (This one is
close to home -- our building was hit by a marginal F1 on Thursday
afternoon!) Most of the latter have a real interest in the weather and
are fun to talk with.

> So any approach from someone outside
> academia is seen as chance to keep up with the Joneses and have
> your own tall tale to tell.

No, approaches from those outside of academia are welcome, as long as
they have a genuine desire to learn and exchange ideas. We deal with
the public quite often and are glad to do so.

> Gavin is not any different from any other. As soon as they discover I
> am not a professional scientist they break off the debate.

It's not because you aren't a professional scientist. It's because
you're stubbornly sticking to your misconceptions while refusing to
provide meaningful evidence to back up your assertions.

> It is the
> ultimate ad hominem argument. Never mind the ideas, just look at
> who is saying it.

If wmc or Jim Hansen or one of my colleagues down the hall made the same
claims as you I'd still say they were wrong.

> William told me three
> times, without giving any reason, that I was wrong.
> I have now been proved
> right. Planck's function is being used calculate the emissions from greenhouse
> gases.

"Proof by repeated assertion" and "proof by vehement assertion" don't
wash. You've made an assertion (atmospheric models treat the atmosphere
as a black body) without providing any meaningful evidence to back it up.

When asked for proof, you simply did a grep for the string PLANCK in one
of the models. When given some hints as to what parts of the code in
that model contained the relevant calculations, you could not or would
not follow them up. (The GISS code is indeed somewhat obscure, but you
can't give up just because it's hard.) When pointed to a literature
reference describing the methodology, you admirably went to some effort
to seek out the paper but apparently only skimmed the abstract and a few
other selected parts. And that's just for *one* of the models, when
you've made a blanket assertion about radiation calculations for
atmospheric models in general.

Science demands objective proof. If you make an assertion you have to
provide specific, concrete evidence to back it up. To re-emphasize a
point I made in an earlier post, the burden of proof is on the one who
proposes the idea. As a scientist you can't just put forth an idea and
place the burden of proof on others to refute it.

And yes, Planck's function is used, but not in the way that you seem to
think.

> No doubt both you and William will now cease replying on the grounds
> that you are never going to get through to me!

I'll reply to you (and others) if there's something meaningful that I
can add. But this topic in its present form clearly has reached a dead end.

Phil.

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Sep 10, 2005, 2:06:42 PM9/10/05
to

When I used to run an engine research lab. it used to happen quite
frequently, most contravened basic thermodynamics occasionally a few
would pass that test. Usually these would then fail some practicality
criterion such as' would your gizmo be capable of operating without
intervention for 7 years?' The only one I recall being successful was
a fuel from waste process which did enter limited production. An
interesting one which was actually published and demonstrated
(presumably fraudulently) was to power an ICE with aluminum wire by
passing an electric current through the wire in a water tank and thus
producing hydrogen. One of my grad students and I worked through the
thermodynamics and proved its impractibility and wrote a rebuttal, I
didn't hear any more about the scheme after that.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 10, 2005, 3:26:26 PM9/10/05
to
"Raymond Arritt" <raymon...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:kVEUe.341684$xm3.97347@attbi_s21...
> Alastair McDonald wrote:

> > So any approach from someone outside
> > academia is seen as chance to keep up with the Joneses and have
> > your own tall tale to tell.
>
> No, approaches from those outside of academia are welcome, as long as
> they have a genuine desire to learn and exchange ideas.

But so long as any ideas that they excahange do not contradict the
conventional
wisdom ...

> We deal with the public quite often and are glad to do so.

So long as they do not rock the boat. Let's face it, the public are pretty
stupid
and anyone who does not have a PhD is obviously mentally defective. it is
totally impossible for them to have an original idea.

> > Gavin is not any different from any other. As soon as they discover I
> > am not a professional scientist they break off the debate.
>
> It's not because you aren't a professional scientist. It's because
> you're stubbornly sticking to your misconceptions while refusing to
> provide meaningful evidence to back up your assertions.

Can't you see that it is you who is stubbornly sticking to a misconception?
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! meaningful evidence has been presented to me that Planck's
function is not being used to calculate the emissions from greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere.

> > It is the
> > ultimate ad hominem argument. Never mind the ideas, just look at
> > who is saying it.
>
> If wmc or Jim Hansen or one of my colleagues down the hall made the same
> claims as you I'd still say they were wrong.

Well then you'd be wrong!

> > William told me three
> > times, without giving any reason, that I was wrong.
> > I have now been proved
> > right. Planck's function is being used calculate the emissions from
greenhouse
> > gases.
>
> "Proof by repeated assertion" and "proof by vehement assertion" don't
> wash. You've made an assertion (atmospheric models treat the atmosphere
> as a black body) without providing any meaningful evidence to back it up.

Gavin Schimdt has admitted it! The source code is available from the link
provided by Eric. What more proof do you want?

> When asked for proof, you simply did a grep for the string PLANCK in one
> of the models. When given some hints as to what parts of the code in
> that model contained the relevant calculations, you could not or would
> not follow them up. (The GISS code is indeed somewhat obscure, but you
> can't give up just because it's hard.) When pointed to a literature
> reference describing the methodology, you admirably went to some effort
> to seek out the paper but apparently only skimmed the abstract and a few
> other selected parts. And that's just for *one* of the models, when
> you've made a blanket assertion about radiation calculations for
> atmospheric models in general.

I have applied to get the Hadley Model, but the PUM Manager is on holiday
(that's on vactation to you.) I did not just grep the code. I have been
decoding
it for the last two weeks. For what? If I do prove my point you will just
refer
me to the Community Model and I will have to start all over again!

> Science demands objective proof. If you make an assertion you have to
> provide specific, concrete evidence to back it up. To re-emphasize a
> point I made in an earlier post, the burden of proof is on the one who
> proposes the idea. As a scientist you can't just put forth an idea and
> place the burden of proof on others to refute it.

That is the Ball fallacy. "All science must be proved." It is impossible to
prove a scientific theory. Prove Newton's Laws. You can't, and they
have been replaced by Einstein's. The only thing you can do is disprove
laws. If your assertion that Planck's law is used in ModelE1 is true then
a grep of the code will not provide a hit.

> And yes, Planck's function is used, but not in the way that you seem to
> think.

That is only partly true. It is not used in the way I said it was used. But
it
should not be used at all.

I am not young and foolish enough to believe that everything I propose is
going to be true. But I am now old and wise enough to know that every
little error I make will be picked on by you of proof that I am wrong!

> > No doubt both you and William will now cease replying on the grounds
> > that you are never going to get through to me!
>
> I'll reply to you (and others) if there's something meaningful that I can
add.

Good. come bck when you have something meaningful to say.

> But this topic in its present form clearly has reached a dead end.

A dead brain is more like it.

Sorry to be so rude :-(

Just hoping I may be able to jolt you into seeing where you are going
wrong. You did not seem to apply any mercy to my ideas!

Cheers, Alastair.


Thomas Palm

unread,
Sep 10, 2005, 3:59:33 PM9/10/05
to
w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in news:4323...@news.nwl.ac.uk:

> Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:

>>http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2005/05/marginal-at-best.html
>>"For many years, Edmund Landau, a German mathematician, had a form
>>letter that looked like this: "Dear Sir/Madam: Your proof of Fermat's
>>Last Theorem has been received. The first mistake is on page _____,
>>line _____." Landau would assign the job of filling in those blanks to
>>one of his students."
>
> I like that!

This list is quite useful too. It's designed for physics so you may have to
do some changes for climate science:
http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

Joshua Halpern

unread,
Sep 10, 2005, 7:29:14 PM9/10/05
to
Thomas Palm wrote:
> w...@bas.ac.uk wrote in news:4323...@news.nwl.ac.uk:
>
>
>>Thomas Palm <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote:
>
>
>>>http://dcubed.blogspot.com/2005/05/marginal-at-best.html
>>>"For many years, Edmund Landau, a German mathematician, had a form
>>>letter that looked like this: "Dear Sir/Madam: Your proof of Fermat's
>>>Last Theorem has been received. The first mistake is on page _____,
>>>line _____." Landau would assign the job of filling in those blanks to
>>>one of his students."
>>
>>I like that!

A large prize had been offered for the solution and the "talented"
USENET bloggers of the time all tried to claim it. Landau's department
was responsible for administering the prize (FWIW they got a rake off
for doing this, otherwise the letters would have gone straight into the
circular file). After the hyperinflation of the twenties, the value of
the prize went to zero and the flood stopped.

josh halpern

Raymond Arritt

unread,
Sep 10, 2005, 7:58:07 PM9/10/05
to
Thomas Palm wrote:

> This list is quite useful too. It's designed for physics so you may have to
> do some changes for climate science:
> http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

Excellent. I especially liked "30 points for claiming that your
theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without
good evidence)."

Joshua Halpern

unread,
Sep 10, 2005, 8:24:09 PM9/10/05
to

The problem is that this is a public forum with a lot of lay people
reading (ok, maybe 10). Abandoning the field, to the wanna be Einsteins
leaves the onlookers thinking that the amateurs have it right. This
is what has happened in the US wrt climate science and evolution.

josh halpern

James Annan

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 5:15:53 AM9/11/05
to

Alastair McDonald wrote:
> "James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:3og1ckF...@individual.net...

> > I've had a handful of unsolicited offers of "great ideas", but never yet


> > a good one :-)
>
> That's interesting. I had imagined that I was the only person to come up
> with a "great idea" and so it would be considered objectively.

ROFL

> What is
> happening is that because it is an amateur's "great idea" it is immediately
> classed as a not good one.

Being an amateur certainly stacks the deck, but doesn't prohibit a
valid idea from being accepted. Being irretrievably wrong is a more
serious fault!

I've been on both sides of this, and I know the frustration of
"knowing" you are right, but not being able to persuade others. In the
one case where I actually was right, I managed to accept that in fact
there were holes in my explanation (although I was myself sure I was
right about the basic phenomenon) and thought about it for a bit
longer. Once the convincing explanation came up, those who could
understand quickly agreed with me. If I had simply given up and
complained that the world was against me, the problem would remain
unsolved.


> I see now why you recommended that I posted my paper here where it could
> be seen by experts in its field. Your idea was that the experts would explain
> to me where I was going wrong, not that they would give it the fair assessment
> for which I was hoping, although of course the two are the same from your
> POV.

Yes.

It's up to you whether you try to listen and learn. None of us can do
that for you.

James

Coby Beck

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 7:29:25 AM9/11/05
to
"James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1126430153.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

>
> Alastair McDonald wrote:
>> "James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:3og1ckF...@individual.net...
>> What is
>> happening is that because it is an amateur's "great idea" it is
>> immediately
>> classed as a not good one.
>
> Being an amateur certainly stacks the deck, but doesn't prohibit a
> valid idea from being accepted. Being irretrievably wrong is a more
> serious fault!
>
> I've been on both sides of this, and I know the frustration of
> "knowing" you are right, but not being able to persuade others. In the
> one case where I actually was right, I managed to accept that in fact
> there were holes in my explanation (although I was myself sure I was
> right about the basic phenomenon) and thought about it for a bit
> longer. Once the convincing explanation came up, those who could
> understand quickly agreed with me. If I had simply given up and
> complained that the world was against me, the problem would remain
> unsolved.

This is good advice, Alastair. You can improve the presentation of your
position, especially WRT the rebuttals you have received. It took a long
time to get a response that seemed to address your concern, but you quit
trying. From my vantage point, it is you now who is not taking the other
side seriously!

What was wrong with Gavin's explanation for why/how Plank's function is
used? Can you explain why Plank's function is wrong for this application?
I followed you as far as the atmosphere does not radiate like a black body.
Now you have (I think) acknowledged that is not being treated as one in the
model you are examining but you have only said it is wrong to use Plank's
function anywhere. Why?

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 9:47:52 AM9/11/05
to
"James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1126430153.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>

> Being an amateur certainly stacks the deck, but doesn't prohibit a
> valid idea from being accepted. Being irretrievably wrong is a more
> serious fault!

My idea is not irretrievably wrong. It is just classed as that by you! One
problem I have now is that I cannot even get to explain it to people because
they have already decided I am wrong. But whingeing to you is not going to
help.

> I've been on both sides of this, and I know the frustration of
> "knowing" you are right, but not being able to persuade others. In the
> one case where I actually was right, I managed to accept that in fact
> there were holes in my explanation (although I was myself sure I was
> right about the basic phenomenon) and thought about it for a bit
> longer. Once the convincing explanation came up, those who could
> understand quickly agreed with me. If I had simply given up and
> complained that the world was against me, the problem would remain
> unsolved.

Well, I've done that, but people won't listen. I've made it simple by
pointing out that CO2 does not radiate as a blackbody, but they'll
still argue white is black!

> > I see now why you recommended that I posted my paper here where it could
> > be seen by experts in its field. Your idea was that the experts would
> > explain to me where I was going wrong, not that they would give it the
fair
> > assessment for which I was hoping, although of course the two are the
same
> > from your POV.
>
> Yes.

So you are saying that you could not find anything in my paper to disagree
with but it was still wrong? Don't you see that whatever I wrote would be
rejected by you, even if it was the greatest thing since plate tectonics?

> It's up to you whether you try to listen and learn. None of us can do
> that for you.

I've been doing that for over three years now since I had my original idea,
and
what I have learnt is that if I listen then all I will hear are condescending
insults
like that above.

Cheers, Alastair.


Jonathan Kirwan

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 7:28:00 PM9/11/05
to
On Sun, 11 Sep 2005 14:47:52 +0100, "Alastair McDonald"
<alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>"James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:1126430153.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>>
>
>> Being an amateur certainly stacks the deck, but doesn't prohibit a
>> valid idea from being accepted. Being irretrievably wrong is a more
>> serious fault!
>
>My idea is not irretrievably wrong. It is just classed as that by you! One
>problem I have now is that I cannot even get to explain it to people because
>they have already decided I am wrong. But whingeing to you is not going to
>help.
>
>> I've been on both sides of this, and I know the frustration of
>> "knowing" you are right, but not being able to persuade others. In the
>> one case where I actually was right, I managed to accept that in fact
>> there were holes in my explanation (although I was myself sure I was
>> right about the basic phenomenon) and thought about it for a bit
>> longer. Once the convincing explanation came up, those who could
>> understand quickly agreed with me. If I had simply given up and
>> complained that the world was against me, the problem would remain
>> unsolved.
>
>Well, I've done that, but people won't listen. I've made it simple by
>pointing out that CO2 does not radiate as a blackbody, but they'll
>still argue white is black!

Speaking only as an ignorant amateur on these matters:

You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also know
from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no matter the
material. I've done experiments, personally, using different blocks
of heated metals, for example, drilling holes deeply into them so that
the emissivity can be taken near to 1 and not material or surface
shape dependent, and measuring the spectral output at fixed
temperatures. It does work, Alastair.

Now I haven't taken to doing this with CO2, and it is true that metals
have a very small difference between valence and conduction band
electrons which respond to photons, but I see no reason to expect a
different result. In the case of CO2, as a gas, I'd expect emission
lines but this simply due to the small number of ways in which CO2 can
absorb or emit photon energy. Lower temperatures often have fewer
dominant mechanisms, higher temperature materials more, under pressure
still more, etc. But it still must obey statistical thermodynamics,
even when 1000 C metal is near 1000 C CO2 gas, for example. And it
will obey Planck in such a ways that there is no net energy exchange
between regions of 1000 C copper and 1000 C CO2 gas. It's the law, so
to speak!

Can you cite _any_ experiment showing that CO2 would operate otherwise
under carefully controlled circumstances?

Now, I believe it was already explained to you that the models apply a
wavelength dependent adjustment. And this makes sense to me. Your
argument appears to say that the very concept of Planck doesn't apply
and it appears to me that your only reasoning is simply that the
emissions of CO2 don't follow the kind of smooth Planck curve one sees
on web sites for solid metals at temperature. On this basis, you seem
to argue that the whole idea is a crock. But your assumption is wrong
-- no one is assuming CO2 emits like a metal solid with a near
infinite number of available emission options to it. They are,
instead as has been explained to my satisfaction, actually using valid
estimates about where CO2 _would_ emit.

Underneath the hood, it does not surprise me at all that they would
use Planck. Keep in mind that the black body equation is a
differential equation, providing the infinitesimal (infinitely small)
value at a precise wavelength. In that description, it is deadly
accurate, and demonstrable right down to quantum mechanical reasoning.
It is only when one tries to integrate into finite values over ranges
that knowledge of broadening due to pressure, phonon exchange and
temperature or to deal with sensor observation details and geometries
that empiricism plays a real role. Using Planck underneath remains to
me valid.

But all I've seen is that you say the "blackbody equation is wrong."
Which isn't at all sufficient to make your point stick. Nor is
looking at the emission and absorption of CO2 gas and pointing out
that it obviously (from a naive point of view) doesn't look the same
as a Planck curve. The Planck curve you see on web sites or in books
is one that is simply a Cartesian plot of the differential curve. In
practice, it applies best where a hot material has a near infinite
variety of means of emitting photons at varying wavelengths. Metals,
solids, extremely hot or highly pressurized gases... etc. But it
still applies in its differential form to materials that meet none of
the above criteria.

So far as my amateur ignorance allows me to understand, anyway.

So I still don't follow why you say it is wrong to discover the use of
a differential black body equation. From what I've read, it's like
arguing that using the idea of D=V*t to compute distance is wrong in
the case of the motion of a missile, because a missile doesn't show
the same distance pattern that an object with steady velocity shows,
like a train. But it _does_, in fact, quite well follow the dD=V*dt
equation, which is the correct one to use in any case. It's just a
coincidence in the case of the train that instantaneous and average
velocity is the same. Likewise, it is a coincidence that a hot solid
exhibits all the various wavelengths of the Planck curve because it
has so many different modes of emitting photons. So the continuous
application of the Planck infinitesimal over all wavelengths works
well. But that does not in any way count against the use of Planck's
differential form in cases where so many modes don't exist.

I don't think you really have made your case.

>> > I see now why you recommended that I posted my paper here where it could
>> > be seen by experts in its field. Your idea was that the experts would
>> > explain to me where I was going wrong, not that they would give it the
>> > fair
>> > assessment for which I was hoping, although of course the two are the
>> > same from your POV.
>>
>> Yes.
>
>So you are saying that you could not find anything in my paper to disagree
>with but it was still wrong? Don't you see that whatever I wrote would be
>rejected by you, even if it was the greatest thing since plate tectonics?

I suspect that they didn't have the energy. And even suggesting, in
the same breadth, the idea of possibly comparing it with the greatest
thing since... reminds me of that crackpot index posted here, I think,
where it said something like:

10 points for favorably comparing your theory with some other
earth-shaking great theory.
(http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html)

There is no point in, yet, trying to make that kind of allusion. One
needs to do one's work, first.

>> It's up to you whether you try to listen and learn. None of us can do
>> that for you.
>
>I've been doing that for over three years now since I had my original idea,

Hmm..

Another 10 points for saying how long you have been working on your
idea.

But I understand you are frustrated. And I sympathize. But just keep
at it and don't get mad or angry about it.

Remember this from that crackpot theory web page:

10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not
good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I
need is for someone to express it in terms of equations."

You just need to do your own work, do it precisely, and show them how
it works better at doing what they want to do. If you can make
quantitative predictions better, you'll get their attention in time.

>and what I have learnt is that if I listen then all I will hear are
>condescending insults like that above.

I fail to see the condescension you mention, Alastair. I quoted your
entire post in the above to make sure I included anything you may be
referring to, so I'd appreciate a pointer. Suggesting the idea that
what you are saying is irretrievably wrong isn't an insult -- but a
challenge. It's his opinion. If you take that as insulting, then
quite frankly you are going to find many verbal challenges as
insulting.

I have often been up in front of some scientists talking about what I
believe to be correct, only to have them bluntly tell me I'm dead
wrong with little more than that to it. They are not being insulting,
just factual and blunt. They actually hope that I'll see what they
mean right away and we can all joke about my failure later over lunch.
And I've never felt that even when I needed it explained that they
felt any less about me for it. Instead, what they respected was the
ability to take the blunt comment as meaning I needed to think more
deeply and to try and do so. If I am willing to work for my opinion,
that is what garners their respect over time. Not being right, not
being wrong, but being willing to work and to see, eventually.

When they are this blunt, and if they actually think I can understand
an explanation if I ask, they will then gladly take the time to point
out where I went wrong. And it has been my consistent experience in
the past that if they were blunt in the beginning, it wasn't because
they weren't able to be detailed about why. It was just their
allowing me to find it for myself to see of what mettle I'm made of.

Of course, you could be right, too. But it isn't how I chose to read
the comment and it isn't how I'd recommend you read them, no matter
who they come from. Just use it to push yourself harder. That's the
real meaning of it.

I think your 'original' thought may not be a useful one, but it still
may lead you to others which _are_ original and which may help. So
don't stop, don't give up, don't get mad. Just deal more completely
with what you have to say, put energy into it, and make it stick or
else discover for yourself where you need to rethink things.

Jon

Jonathan Kirwan

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 8:47:42 PM9/11/05
to
On Sun, 11 Sep 2005 23:28:00 GMT, Jonathan Kirwan
<jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:

><snip>


>You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also know
>from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no matter the
>material. I've done experiments, personally, using different blocks
>of heated metals, for example, drilling holes deeply into them so that
>the emissivity can be taken near to 1 and not material or surface
>shape dependent, and measuring the spectral output at fixed
>temperatures. It does work, Alastair.

><snip>

Just in case you get too heated about my point in this sloppy
paragraph, I elaborated on this later on in what I wrote -- by this I
mean that in the differential term. Not in the broad curve of
emissions, which of course depends on the available mechanisms for
absorption and emission of photons in those circumstances.

At least, this is why it seems to me okay to see a Planck equation in
a model currently being used.

Jon

Joshua Halpern

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 9:03:35 PM9/11/05
to

The population in the vibrationally/rotationally excited states is
controlled by the temperature in the local neighborhood, but isolated
molecules can only absorb/emit on molecular lines. That part is OK.

If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.

josh halpern

The problem is that Alister does not admit the other part of this

James Annan

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 9:20:55 PM9/11/05
to

Alastair McDonald wrote:

> > > I see now why you recommended that I posted my paper here where it could
> > > be seen by experts in its field. Your idea was that the experts would
> > > explain to me where I was going wrong, not that they would give it the
> fair
> > > assessment for which I was hoping, although of course the two are the
> same
> > > from your POV.
> >
> > Yes.
>
> So you are saying that you could not find anything in my paper to disagree
> with but it was still wrong?

Not quite. As you may recall, you sent me the paper the day before I
went on holiday, and with me not having any expertise in that specific
area, I suggested you would get more helpful answers here. And that has
indeed occurred, whether you realise it or not.


> Don't you see that whatever I wrote would be
> rejected by you, even if it was the greatest thing since plate tectonics?

No.

> > It's up to you whether you try to listen and learn. None of us can do
> > that for you.
>
> I've been doing that for over three years now since I had my original idea,
> and
> what I have learnt is that if I listen then all I will hear are condescending
> insults
> like that above.

>From where I'm sitting, I've seen several people not only tell you that
you are wrong, they've gone into some detail explaining why. Perhaps
they could have gone further, but it's not as if anyone owes you
anything.

James

James Annan

unread,
Sep 11, 2005, 10:05:06 PM9/11/05
to

Alastair McDonald wrote:
> "James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:3og1ckF...@individual.net...
> > w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
> >
>
> > I've had a handful of unsolicited offers of "great ideas", but never yet
> > a good one :-)
>
> That's interesting. I had imagined that I was the only person to come up
> with a "great idea" and so it would be considered objectively. What is
> happening is that because it is an amateur's "great idea" it is immediately
> classed as a not good one. Of course, since it is so classed, it reinforces
> your belief that no amateur ideas are good - a self serving prophecy!
>

In any field of science, there are plenty of people who come up with
"great ideas". Here is one from my old field:

<http://groups.google.com/group/comp.theory/browse_thread/thread/06af32a793820e1d/84182ebdf14f1bbb?hl=en#84182ebdf14f1bbb>

It's only in politically important areas such as climate science that
such crackpots find significant support, and that is simply because
some people find it politically convenient to pretend that the crackpot
claim has merit. The same can be seen in Intelligent Design, and
various bits of medical research.

A proof of P=NP (or =!) itself has no direct political consequences,
although an efficient algorithm demonstrating the fact would certainly
impact strongly on cryptography.

James

Jonathan Kirwan

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 12:42:53 AM9/12/05
to
On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 01:03:35 GMT, Joshua Halpern
<vze2...@verizon.net> wrote:

>The population in the vibrationally/rotationally excited states is
>controlled by the temperature in the local neighborhood, but isolated
>molecules can only absorb/emit on molecular lines. That part is OK.

Okay. I believe I follow this.

>If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
>molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
>linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
>it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
>include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.

Yes, that makes sense to me. Actually, this seems like it _must_ be
the case (the overall shape being Planck) because of the fact that
there must be no net energy flow between two systems at the same
temperature. Even a CO2 gas (only a few modes of absorption and
emission and some slight broadening available to it) not convectively
connected with a solid block of copper (with many modes available),
but both at the same temperature -- there cannot be a net energy flow
between them through radiation. And this seems to require an overall
Planck behavior in the gas itself, even if it is applicable only along
narrow lines.

If I understand. And I may not.

>josh halpern
>
>The problem is that Alister does not admit the other part of this

I'm still not sure what he's admitting and not admitting.

But I'm trying to take Alastair more seriously. However, his argument
about "it not being blackbody" doesn't seem like an argument to me.

As I can see, keeping in mind Kirchoff's equilibrium law, radiation
absorbed = radiation emitted. But that only applies in the case where
the body is in local thermal equilibrium. Probably the case for the
lower atmosphere, I suppose. But it seems to me that the real key to
the net greenhouse effect, ignoring scatter, is that the atmosphere is
colder than near the surface. At least, when choosing not to assume
that the atmosphere is a perfect blackbody (as it isn't) and using a
modified differential for the blackbody equation. Not a replacement
of it, just a modification on it using the fraction of radiation
absorbed in some length. With that in hand, it really just seems that
the issue yielding greenhouse results is just that the atmosphere is
colder well above.

That makes me wonder about the new recognitions about a colder
stratosphere as a result of GW and how that, itself, may 'improve' the
GW net effect.

But this is all new stuff to me. It will be fun trying to gather what
I can about it.

Regarding Alastair's comment, the atmosphere may not be a perfect
blackbody emitter, but the modifications for absorption still use the
underlying differential, don't they? And thus, I don't see why he
gets worried merely upon spotting the equation in some source code. It
seems to me that absorption and scattering is then layered upon that,
reasonably.

Or am I wrong?

Jon

Thomas Palm

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 1:47:26 AM9/12/05
to
Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote in
news:arv9i1hcvh00kj7rb...@4ax.com:

> On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 01:03:35 GMT, Joshua Halpern

>>If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
>>molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
>>linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
>>it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
>>include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.
>
> Yes, that makes sense to me. Actually, this seems like it _must_ be
> the case (the overall shape being Planck) because of the fact that
> there must be no net energy flow between two systems at the same
> temperature.

You will not see an exact Planck shape of the radiation leaving Earth,
because different frequencies are emitted at different altitude at
different local temperature. This is what makes it possible to use MSU to
determine the temperature of the lower atmosphere. Remote sensing would be
very boring if you only saw a Planck curve from space!

If you take a box and put it under a clear sky you can make it get a
temperature either much higher or much lower than the surroundings just by
changing what frequencies the surface coating absorbs. You have to be very
careful if you try to apply the concept of thermal equilibrium to Earth as
it is a system that is constantly being pumped by short wave radiation from
the sun. There are lots of net energy flows as that energy is reflected or
absorbed.

> That makes me wonder about the new recognitions about a colder
> stratosphere as a result of GW and how that, itself, may 'improve' the
> GW net effect.

I wouldn't call the recognition that the stratosphere will cool 'new'. Does
anyone know when it was first realized?

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 4:45:55 AM9/12/05
to
Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:
>You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also know
>from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no matter the
>material.

Alistair is wrong, but I'm afraid you are too: you are generalising
too much. Most (all?) gases show distinct spectra rather than
blackbody radiation. Solids (metals?) may well be differenet.

Harold Brooks

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 7:06:54 AM9/12/05
to
In article <Xns96CF4F3C4803CT...@212.83.64.229>,
Thoma...@chello.removethis.se says...[deletions]

>
> > That makes me wonder about the new recognitions about a colder
> > stratosphere as a result of GW and how that, itself, may 'improve' the
> > GW net effect.
>
> I wouldn't call the recognition that the stratosphere will cool 'new'. Does
> anyone know when it was first realized?
>

I think the first 3-D simulations in a GCM are in:

Fels, S. B., J.D. Mahlman, M.D. Schwarzkopf and R.W. Sinclair. 1980:
Stratospheric Sensitivity to Perturbations in Ozone and Carbon Dioxide:
Radiative and Dynamical Response. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences:
37, 2265=3F2297.

The references probably contain earlier indications. There's a Haigh
and Pyle (1979) paper from Nature (I don't have access easily) that's
referred to in a way that makes me think CO2 is discussed in regard to
stratospheric cooling. Certainly, by 1980, the idea was established.

Harold
--
Harold Brooks
hebrooks87 hotmail.com

NobodyYouKnow

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 10:02:46 AM9/12/05
to
w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
> Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:
>> You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also
>> know from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no
>> matter the material.
>
> Alistair is wrong, but I'm afraid you are too: you are generalising
> too much. Most (all?) gases show distinct spectra rather than
> blackbody radiation. Solids (metals?) may well be differenet.

I understood that 'black body radiation' was a theoretical concept, not
really existing in the real world, similar to the 'immovable object' and the
'frictionless surface'. Not so?

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 9:35:29 AM9/12/05
to

"Joshua Halpern" <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:Ht4Ve.4845$Hs6.3758@trnddc07...


> The population in the vibrationally/rotationally excited states is
> controlled by the temperature in the local neighborhood, but isolated
> molecules can only absorb/emit on molecular lines. That part is OK.
>
> If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
> molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
> linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
> it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
> include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.

I am aware of that class, but it is not so obvious that it is being handled
incorrectly. Therefore, rather than muddy the waters, I have left
it out. The whole thing is incredibly complicated, as you will be aware.
Apart from the tens of thousands of absorption lines there is also
scattering and blackbody emissions by clouds and aerosols to be
considered. I am only considering a very small part of the code of
a GCM, but it is a fundamental part.

It is generally recognised that there are three types of line: window,
which do not absorb, optically thin lines which absorb small amounts
or radiation, and optically thick lines where the absorption is saturated.
I am talking about the way optically thick lines are handled. You seem
to be complaining that I am not considering the optically thin lines. Gavin
Schmidt is effectively pointing to the window lines and saying they are
being handled correctly. But it is the optically thick lines which are most
important.

Cheers, Alastair.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 10:06:17 AM9/12/05
to

"Coby Beck" <cb...@mercury.bc.ca> wrote in message
news:pyUUe.237307$tt5.88270@edtnps90...

> "James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1126430153.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> What was wrong with Gavin's explanation for why/how Plank's function is
> used? Can you explain why Plank's function is wrong for this application?
> I followed you as far as the atmosphere does not radiate like a black body.
> Now you have (I think) acknowledged that is not being treated as one in the
> model you are examining but you have only said it is wrong to use Plank's
> function anywhere. Why?

I have replied to Jonathan where I think I have answered your question. Sorry
to be so brief but composing these posts is becoming quite a chore.

Cheers, Alastair.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 10:20:40 AM9/12/05
to

"Jonathan Kirwan" <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote in message
news:pu59i1535dq42609r...@4ax.com...


> You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also know
> from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no matter the
> material. I've done experiments, personally, using different blocks
> of heated metals, for example, drilling holes deeply into them so that
> the emissivity can be taken near to 1 and not material or surface
> shape dependent, and measuring the spectral output at fixed
> temperatures. It does work, Alastair.

Gases do not radiate as black bodies. If they did then you would not be
able to see steel being poured from a furnace because the air around it
would radiating and hide what was behind. The whole principle of
greenhouse gases is based on the fact that O2 & N2 do not absorb or
radiate energy. It is in solids and liquids where blackbody radiation is
caused by electrons bouncing around between atoms and it is a
continuous radiation over the whole spectrum.

Greenhouse gas absorption and emission is due to molecular vibrations
which only occur at fixed lines. If you heat a solid, the electrons bounce
around faster and the peak frequency of the Planck function changes. If
you heat a greenhouse gas, the frequency of the emissions does not
change, the lines gets broader.

> Can you cite _any_ experiment showing that CO2 would operate otherwise
> under carefully controlled circumstances?

the following page explains what I have just said in more detail
http://www.wag.caltech.edu/home/jang/genchem/infrared.htm

> But all I've seen is that you say the "blackbody equation is wrong."
> Which isn't at all sufficient to make your point stick.

William Connelly said that the GCMs did not use Planck's equation
and it is now clear that the GISS model does. It is not just that I want to
rub his nose in it. By denying that GCMs used Planck's function he was
implicitly admitting it was not valid. Now that I have proof that it is being
used I feel I have proved my point.

You have to understand that this is a major error. How could top scientists
not know the difference between continuous and line emission? It is so
huge an error, no one can believe it has happened. I am not surprised
that William is in a state of denial, but I am disappointed that James
Annan is taking the same line.

> I don't think you really have made your case.

Obviously not, but have I now?

> I suspect that they didn't have the energy. And even suggesting, in
> the same breadth, the idea of possibly comparing it with the greatest
> thing since... reminds me of that crackpot index posted here, I think,
> where it said something like:
>
> 10 points for favorably comparing your theory with some other
> earth-shaking great theory.
> (http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html)

When you can't win a debate by logical argument, then the next best tactic
is ridicule. I can see that coming my way, but just remember why it is
being employed.

>
> I think your 'original' thought may not be a useful one, but it still
> may lead you to others which _are_ original and which may help. So
> don't stop, don't give up, don't get mad. Just deal more completely
> with what you have to say, put energy into it, and make it stick or
> else discover for yourself where you need to rethink things.

Thanks for your encouragement.

Cheers, Alastair.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 12:32:15 PM9/12/05
to

Its easy enough to make something as close to a BB as makes no difference:
a cavity with a tiny hole will do.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 12:49:21 PM9/12/05
to

"Jonathan Kirwan" <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote in message
news:arv9i1hcvh00kj7rb...@4ax.com...

> On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 01:03:35 GMT, Joshua Halpern
> <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote:

> As I can see, keeping in mind Kirchoff's equilibrium law, radiation
> absorbed = radiation emitted. But that only applies in the case where
> the body is in local thermal equilibrium. Probably the case for the
> lower atmosphere, I suppose.

One point I am making is that near the surface the air is not in LTE. The
blackbody radiation from the Earth's surface is absorbed by the carbon
dioxide molecules, and it is then thermalised and the warm carbon
dioxide heats the other air molecules. The carbon dioxide is also
deactivated by collisions which results in the warming of the air. At night
the carbon dioxide radiates to the surface, and the CO2 molecules are
reactivated by collisions with the air molecules.

> Regarding Alastair's comment, the atmosphere may not be a perfect
> blackbody emitter, but the modifications for absorption still use the
> underlying differential, don't they? And thus, I don't see why he
> gets worried merely upon spotting the equation in some source code. It
> seems to me that absorption and scattering is then layered upon that,
> reasonably.

Have you read my paper? If not there is a copy on the web here
http://www.abmcdonald.freeserve.co.uk/brief/brief.htm
and a PDF version here
http://www.abmcdonald.freeserve.co.uk/brief/brief.pdf


Cheers, Alastair.

Jonathan Kirwan

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 1:46:49 PM9/12/05
to
On 12 Sep 2005 09:45:55 +0100, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:
>>You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also know
>>from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no matter the
>>material.
>
>Alistair is wrong, but I'm afraid you are too: you are generalising
>too much. Most (all?) gases show distinct spectra rather than
>blackbody radiation. Solids (metals?) may well be differenet.

Yes, but the key here is that there cannot be any energy exchange
between, say, a solid at 1000 C and a gas also at 1000 C. I thought
I'd noted this detail elsewhere.

This seems to mean to me that the differential equation of Planck
still applies, just to a narrow (possibly pressure-broadened) line.

Or...?

Jon

Jonathan Kirwan

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 1:49:49 PM9/12/05
to
On 12 Sep 2005 17:32:15 +0100, w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:

>NobodyYouKnow <TheVoice...@nowhere.com> wrote:
>>w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>>> Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:
>>>> You claim is that CO2 doesn't radiate as a blackbody. Yet I also
>>>> know from experience that all matter radiates as a blackbody, no
>>>> matter the material.
>>>
>>> Alistair is wrong, but I'm afraid you are too: you are generalising
>>> too much. Most (all?) gases show distinct spectra rather than
>>> blackbody radiation. Solids (metals?) may well be differenet.
>
>>I understood that 'black body radiation' was a theoretical concept, not
>>really existing in the real world, similar to the 'immovable object' and the
>>'frictionless surface'. Not so?
>
>Its easy enough to make something as close to a BB as makes no difference:
>a cavity with a tiny hole will do.

Which I've actually done. In fact, it's interesting to see through
our own eyes what a difference a small hole makes in a metal block
heated up to some temperature. The visual contrast between looking
deep into the hole and at the surface is immediately clear.

Jon

Thomas Palm

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 2:44:41 PM9/12/05
to
"Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk>
wrote in news:dg4ccd$3nm$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk:

> Have you read my paper? If not there is a copy on the web here
> http://www.abmcdonald.freeserve.co.uk/brief/brief.htm

I checked it and found three equations, all known much earlier. Shouldn't
you add some of your own? Even if you don't know enough to make a GCM, if
you want to be taken seriously, you'll have to take a 1D model and adapt it
to your new scheme and show the results. Do you, for example, get the right
magnitude of the total greenhouse effect? Get that right and you might make
someone interested enough to listen.

I can just say that your figure 1b looks very improbable. The lapse rate of
the lower atmosphere today is set by the convective limit, and it won't
change regardless of how strong you make the greenhouse effect. Venus has
more or less the same temperature gradient as Earth despite the different
composition.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 4:00:25 PM9/12/05
to
Jonathan Kirwan <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote:
> wmc:

>>Its easy enough to make something as close to a BB as makes no difference:
>>a cavity with a tiny hole will do.

>Which I've actually done. In fact, it's interesting to see through
>our own eyes what a difference a small hole makes in a metal block
>heated up to some temperature. The visual contrast between looking
>deep into the hole and at the surface is immediately clear.

A way of getting this is to look at the gaps in a coal fire, which go
all no-contrasty when you get it right.

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 4:59:36 PM9/12/05
to

"Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message
news:Xns96CFD2FB4D0AFT...@212.83.64.229...

> "Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk>
> wrote in news:dg4ccd$3nm$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk:

Thanks for you input,

> > Have you read my paper? If not there is a copy on the web here
> > http://www.abmcdonald.freeserve.co.uk/brief/brief.htm
>
> I checked it and found three equations, all known much earlier. Shouldn't
> you add some of your own?

The paper did have my own equation but I cut the paper down in size to fit
Nature's Brief Communications. I will expand it again soon.

> Even if you don't know enough to make a GCM, if
> you want to be taken seriously, you'll have to take a 1D model and adapt it
> to your new scheme and show the results.

I am hoping to get access to the Hadley GCM, and I already have the code for
McKay's single column RC model. I think all the GCMs are written so that you
can take the radiation code out and run it stand alone. The GISS model seems
to be written that way.

> Do you, for example, get the right
> magnitude of the total greenhouse effect? Get that right and you might make
> someone interested enough to listen.

I was going to test it to see if I could get the correct results for the
tropical lapse, but Sherwood et al. are now saying that they have solved that
problem :-(

> I can just say that your figure 1b looks very improbable. The lapse rate of
> the lower atmosphere today is set by the convective limit, and it won't
> change regardless of how strong you make the greenhouse effect. Venus has
> more or less the same temperature gradient as Earth despite the different
> composition.

Yes, I was trying to have just one simple diagram, but that one is too crude.
In my next version I will have more diagrams and probably use two to
illustrate that idea.

Do you know where I can get information on the lapse rate of Venus? I
believe that there are problems with modelling that, but I have no details.

Thanks again for your comments. I will bear them in mind.

Cheers, Alastair.

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 6:27:08 PM9/12/05
to
Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>I am hoping to get access to the Hadley GCM

The documentation is here:

http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~uwern/UM/umdoc/v4.5/

You want #23.

Joshua Halpern

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 6:39:39 PM9/12/05
to
Alastair McDonald wrote:
> "Joshua Halpern" <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote in message
> news:Ht4Ve.4845$Hs6.3758@trnddc07...
>
>
>
>>The population in the vibrationally/rotationally excited states is
>>controlled by the temperature in the local neighborhood, but isolated
>>molecules can only absorb/emit on molecular lines. That part is OK.
>>
>>If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
>>molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
>>linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
>>it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
>>include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.
>
>
> I am aware of that class, but it is not so obvious that it is being handled
> incorrectly. Therefore, rather than muddy the waters, I have left
> it out. The whole thing is incredibly complicated, as you will be aware.
> Apart from the tens of thousands of absorption lines there is also
> scattering and blackbody emissions by clouds and aerosols to be
> considered. I am only considering a very small part of the code of
> a GCM, but it is a fundamental part.
>
> It is generally recognised that there are three types of line: window,
> which do not absorb, optically thin lines which absorb small amounts
> or radiation, and optically thick lines where the absorption is saturated.
> I am talking about the way optically thick lines are handled.

All covered by Beers law I/Io = exp(-snl)

josh halpern

Joshua Halpern

unread,
Sep 12, 2005, 6:44:44 PM9/12/05
to
Alastair McDonald wrote:
> "Jonathan Kirwan" <jki...@easystreet.com> wrote in message
>>On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 01:03:35 GMT, Joshua Halpern

>>As I can see, keeping in mind Kirchoff's equilibrium law, radiation


>>absorbed = radiation emitted. But that only applies in the case where
>>the body is in local thermal equilibrium. Probably the case for the
>>lower atmosphere, I suppose.
>
>
> One point I am making is that near the surface the air is not in LTE. The
> blackbody radiation from the Earth's surface is absorbed by the carbon
> dioxide molecules, and it is then thermalised and the warm carbon
> dioxide heats the other air molecules.

Wrong in the same sense you are trying to criticize others. The energy
in the CO2 excited by absorption from the radiation field is not
thermalized, and therefore it is wrong at least technically to refer to
it as "warm". The CO2 is thermalized by collisions, during which the
vibrational energy is redistributed to translational and rotational
excitation of the original molecule and its collision partners. as below

> The carbon dioxide is also
> deactivated by collisions which results in the warming of the air. At night
> the carbon dioxide radiates to the surface, and the CO2 molecules are
> reactivated by collisions with the air molecules.

CO2 molecules are ALWAYS being reactivated (in the sense of vibrational
excitation) by collisions and they are ALWAYS emitting (and absorbing).
Unlike us, CO2 molecules do not have clocks.

josh halpern

Thomas Palm

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 1:35:05 AM9/13/05
to
"Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk>
wrote in news:dg4r33$c1s$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk:

>
> "Thomas Palm" <Thoma...@chello.removethis.se> wrote in message

>> Even if you don't know enough to make a GCM, if
>> you want to be taken seriously, you'll have to take a 1D model and
>> adapt it to your new scheme and show the results.
>
> I am hoping to get access to the Hadley GCM, and I already have the
> code for McKay's single column RC model. I think all the GCMs are
> written so that you can take the radiation code out and run it stand
> alone. The GISS model seems to be written that way.

I'd definitely start with a 1D model. It will be much easier to
understand the result.



>> Do you, for example, get the right
>> magnitude of the total greenhouse effect? Get that right and you
>> might make someone interested enough to listen.
>
> I was going to test it to see if I could get the correct results for
> the tropical lapse, but Sherwood et al. are now saying that they have
> solved that problem :-(

Don't worry about those fine details. See if you can get the 33 degrees
or so conventional greenhouse effect right first. If you end up with 10
or 60 you know you've done something very wrong.

>> I can just say that your figure 1b looks very improbable. The lapse
>> rate of the lower atmosphere today is set by the convective limit,
>> and it won't change regardless of how strong you make the greenhouse
>> effect. Venus has more or less the same temperature gradient as Earth
>> despite the different composition.
>
> Yes, I was trying to have just one simple diagram, but that one is
> too crude. In my next version I will have more diagrams and probably
> use two to illustrate that idea.

The problem isn't that it is too crude, it's that it seems totally wrong.



> Do you know where I can get information on the lapse rate of Venus? I
> believe that there are problems with modelling that, but I have no
> details.

Doing a quick google search on my earlier posts I recovered this link:
http://www-star.stanford.edu/projects/mgs/profile.html

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 4:15:51 AM9/13/05
to

<w...@bas.ac.uk> wrote in message news:4326...@news.nwl.ac.uk...

> Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >I am hoping to get access to the Hadley GCM
>
> The documentation is here:
>
> http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~uwern/UM/umdoc/v4.5/
>
> You want #23.

Thanks, I'll look at it now. I might be some time :-(

Cheers, Alastair.


Coby Beck

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 8:16:30 AM9/13/05
to
"Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote
in message news:dg43tk$e2s$2...@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk...

Understood. You're getting hit on all fronts! ;o)

--
Coby Beck
(remove #\Space "coby 101 @ bigpond . com")


Robert Grumbine

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 10:37:06 AM9/13/05
to
In article <dfv4dn$m7t$1...@newsg4.svr.pol.co.uk>,

Alastair McDonald <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>"James Annan" <still_th...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:3og1ckF...@individual.net...
>> w...@bas.ac.uk wrote:
>
>> I've had a handful of unsolicited offers of "great ideas", but never yet
>> a good one :-)
>
>That's interesting. I had imagined that I was the only person to come up
>with a "great idea" and so it would be considered objectively. What is
>happening is that because it is an amateur's "great idea" it is immediately
>classed as a not good one. Of course, since it is so classed, it reinforces
>your belief that no amateur ideas are good - a self serving prophecy!

Most ideas aren't good -- regardless of whether they're from
amateurs or professionals. Professionals come up with plenty of
ideas themselves. One of the major purposes of scientific method
is to have an effective weeder of the bad from not so bad, from the
good enough to pursue for a few more minutes. Very few of the
professionals' own ideas are worth more than the few minutes.

Amateurs aren't necessarily being given any specially bad
treatment. Most of their ideas, like most professionals' ideas,
aren't good. I've heard from a number of folks on a number of
things. Most ideas weren't good, none so far has been great.
But some have been good, at least enough for me to suggest some
literature to pursue and that they make a contribution. The good ones,
though, all came from people who were prepared to ditch and revise
and were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't yet, even after
exposure to a professional, necessary to do so.

You can get back to work on the ditching and revision, that
all the professionals have done countless times on their own ideas
(why should they give yours priviledged treatment?), and have
a chance at making a real contribution.

--
Robert Grumbine http://www.radix.net/~bobg/ Science faqs and amateur activities notes and links.
Sagredo (Galileo Galilei) "You present these recondite matters with too much
evidence and ease; this great facility makes them less appreciated than they
would be had they been presented in a more abstruse manner." Two New Sciences

Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 10:36:58 AM9/13/05
to

"Joshua Halpern" <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:LsnVe.4995$Hs6.3596@trnddc07...

> Alastair McDonald wrote:
> > "Joshua Halpern" <vze2...@verizon.net> wrote in message
> > news:Ht4Ve.4845$Hs6.3758@trnddc07...
> >
> >
> >
> >>The population in the vibrationally/rotationally excited states is
> >>controlled by the temperature in the local neighborhood, but isolated
> >>molecules can only absorb/emit on molecular lines. That part is OK.
> >>
> >>If you get out into space and look down, the net is an absorption on the
> >>molecular lines which is what you see in the spectra that have been
> >>linked. Still, the overall shape is Planck. As in most of these things
> >>it is not EITHER OR, but AND. To build a useful model you have to
> >>include both parts. Alister appears to have missed that class.
> >
> >
> > I am aware of that class, but it is not so obvious that it is being
handled
> > incorrectly. Therefore, rather than muddy the waters, I have left
> > it out. The whole thing is incredibly complicated, as you will be aware.
> > Apart from the tens of thousands of absorption lines there is also
> > scattering and blackbody emissions by clouds and aerosols to be
> > considered. I am only considering a very small part of the code of
> > a GCM, but it is a fundamental part.
> >
> > It is generally recognised that there are three types of line: window,
> > which do not absorb, optically thin lines which absorb small amounts
> > or radiation, and optically thick lines where the absorption is saturated.
> > I am talking about the way optically thick lines are handled.
>
> All covered by Beers law I/Io = exp(-snl)

But the models don't use Beer's Law, they use Kirchhoff's Law.

Cheers, Alastair.


Alastair McDonald

unread,
Sep 13, 2005, 11:07:57 AM9/13/05
to
"Alastair McDonald" <alas...@abmcdonald.leavethisout.freeserve.co.uk> wrote
in message news:dg66eb$aj6$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

> Thanks, I'll look at it now. I might be some time :-(
>
> Cheers, Alastair.

Well, it has not taken very long :-)

BTW. William, this missive is written for all my fans, not just you :-) Hence
the next paragraph. I am not implying that you have not heard of
Ghostscript.

The documentation is in postscript format, and if you want to read it on a
home PC you will need to download Ghostscript and GSview which can be
found by Googling for them. They are free, but you are encouraged to
register at a price of A$40, forty Australian dollars. There is a bug which
I encountered in that it will not print a selection of pages unless Page 1 is
included in the selection. I suspect that registering does not remove that
bug.

On page 8 of file p-23-t1.ps all the errors are included within the two
paragraphs following the heading "Radiative transfer equation (clear-sky
conditions.) "

The equations look forbidding but are in fact just a form of Schwarzschild's
equation which is of course my main complaint. The forbidding nature of
the mathematics of radiation has meant "It was too subtle and complex for
meteorologists." [Weart, 2005]
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm
I explain the significance of this later.

Ingram et al. say "where B(p) is the black-body flux for the temperature of
the air ... ", in which case it should be written as B(T). This is of course
Planck's function for thermal radiation, but which is not valid for molecular
lines. (Are they trying to pretend that the function applies to pressure
broadening by using 'p' for pressure rather than 'T' for temperature.
Impossible, it must be just a slip of the pen :-)

Joking aside, the Hadley model, like the GISS model is using Planck's
function to calculate the radiation emitted by greenhouse gases, admittedly
on a line by line basis, but that is still wrong. I leave it to the reader to
check
that the Community Model is doing the same <grin>.

I'll skip my next complaint because it is not an error.

They then quote Kirchhoff's Law, but it has never been proved for gases.
Thought experiments have been performed, but remember that we are dealing
here with quantum mechanics, where thought experiments need not be valid.
In fact the radiation from the Earth's surface is absorbed and thermalised,
mainly by collisions with air molecules, and therefore 'eta' and 'a' are not
equal. In other words, emission does not equal absorption because some
of the energy is being converted into heat of the air. So the law of
conservation
of energy overrules Kirchhoff's Law.

This leads to the next paragraph which is wrong too, because it assumes that
air close to the surface is at the same temperature as the surface itself.
Any meteorologist, had he been able to cope with the mathematics of the paper,
would have quickly pointed out that the difference between an air and a ground
frost is caused precisely by the fact that the air and ground are not at the
same
temperature. Therefore to write "This formulation assumes that the air close
to
the surface is at the same temperature as the surface itself, which is a
reasonable approximation for this purpose, ... " is wrong.

In summary, the radiative heating of the atmosphere by the Earth's surface
does not spread upwards and slowly fade out. It is mainly confined to the air
near the surface, from where it is pumped by the diurnal cycle and convection
high into the atmosphere. From there it is radiated to space above the height
where the greenhouse gases are concentrated enough to trap it.

I hope you find what I have written is at least interesting.

Cheers, Alastair.