Tuesday, October 2, 2018

3/7 Schooling Pruitt and faith-blinded GOP regarding climate science.

Quick review of the background of this exercise.

The Situation:
The disconnected-from-physical-reality GOP attacks on climate science (a.i.) have reached horrifying levels with the Trump Administration.  Yet science loving rationalists, pluralists, progressives, liberals, Democrats still haven’t developed effective messaging for directly confronting the most childish of Republican arguments.  Why?  Seems to me, mainly because rationalists rather sidestep that Me First driven willful ignorance.  This acquiescence to nonsense has been a fatal error for the national dialogue.

Engaging and arguing with contrarians should not be seen as an exercise in futility, they are teaching moments.  Air the false claim, explain why its wrong.  Dissect deceptions, expose them, how else can we break the power false these childish memes have held over political action?

Always remember the onlookers, and appreciate by making the effort to explain some of the science, you’re doing homework that invigorates your own understanding.  

When you’re challenged with things you haven’t learned about, making the effort to do the research, enriches you with a better understanding.  Seems to me it’s a win win.

Talking past each other offers no chance for recognition, growth, change.  

I always imagined the intellectual enlightenment was all about engaging in constructive arguments and reasoning with each other, we seem to have lost that spirit and it has stifled our society miserably.

Debating and defending scientific work to the public is not a scientist’s job.  Scientists have already defended their work to a learned skeptical audience and the record is openly available for continued public debate and education - scientists have more serious research to get back to.  

Where are the informed citizens with a willingness to debate?  Who will help us network?  

The public arena requires people outside of the scientific community.  Informed students, acquaintances, journalists, concerned citizens, to stand up to the tactical and malicious lies of corporate shackled politically motivated contrarians.  Any feedback, encouragement, networking, or support would be much appreciated.   

Thank you.

CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! It's the physics! Don't you know?

CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

Schooling Pruitt's Red Team about our planet and its climate engine (FCFP)


JANUARY 1, 2018
CO2 Science - Blue team: "Pruitt, it's certain as certain gets! 
It's the physics!  Don't you know?

Considering that ridicule is a mainstay of the Republican approach to denying climate science, and since CO2 understanding has come under the most unhinged attacks that are based on misrepresenting what scientists have learned, along with paranoia laced arguments from incredulity, it's important to clearly explain where our understanding comes from.

That's why after a review of climate science history, I believe the first points the Blue Team should make clear is that "Atmospheric CO2 Science" is as certain as certain gets !

To accomplish that, explain where our greenhouse gas understanding comes from.  Namely intensive atmospheric studies made by no nonsense Air Force atmospheric scientists.  

Nature doesn't play tricks like people do, through careful study scientists have revealed one natural secret after another.  Why in the world would atmospheric radiative transfer physics be any different?  On top of all that, many nations studied greenhouse gases independently (we are talking about military secrets back then!) and all those experts came up with the same answers.


In this exercise I've combed through the Air Force Cambridge Research Lab's official history, and pulled out highlights of their atmospheric research.  It's all frustratingly vague, no hyperlinks here, still it is the official USAF record and offers some tantalizing hints to early Air Force Atmospheric Studies.  

Keep in mind this research took a century's worth of increasing fundamental understanding and evolved it into a thorough understanding of our atmosphere, its components and their physical properties and behavior within our atmosphere's real environment.  

I can be certain of this, even if I'm not an expert, because of all the functioning modern marvels that would have been impossible without that understanding being correct!  Not to mention it's crazy to think thousands of scientists, technicians and others couldn't unravel our atmosphere's fundamental physics, consider all the other puzzles solved this past century.

I share the following quotes in the hope some may find them a useful tool for digging up more information about early atmospheric studies.  Incidentally, such atmospheric research wasn't confined to the USA, AustraliaUSSR and others, were also resolving this fundamental physics in order to get on with achieving mastery over weaponry, which they certainly did.  

Chronology From the Cambridge Field Station to the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory 1945 - 1985
Air Force Geohysics Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base
Bedford, Massachusetts, USA


JANUARY 1, 2018
CO2 Science - Pruitt, proof is in the pudding! Impossible Modern Marvels

After explaining that the USAF scientists and technicians who established our "CO2 science" possessed impeccable credentials, we should also point out that if those scientists had been wrong, they would have been exposed in short order.  

Why you ask?  Because of the increasing variety of modern marvels that would have been impossible had those studies not produced exquisitely accurate facts and figures.

The following was written to supplement the previous review of USA atmospheric research and to explain why a layperson can feel very comfortable trusting, heck believing, scientists, their atmospheric studies, and overall understanding.   

This post is an interesting sort of one way collaborative effort.  You see, over the years I've communicated with a number of scientists and grads.  Asking straight forward questions and often receiving informative replies.  I try not to overdo my welcome, after all these are very busy professionals with more important things to do. Still, for this post I sent a grand shout out to a number of my correspondence pals and received more responses than I expected including some informative surprises for me. I have taken great liberty slicing and dicing their contributions. Rewriting some, leaving other quotes untouched and giving all of it some order.

I mention this because I want to be clear the following List of "  CO2 science dependent" modern marvels is not my own cleverness and I send a big Thank You! out to my informed anonymous heroes!  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 since preindustrial times is a given. Appreciate that the radiative physics of greenhouse gases are very well-understood.

Consider, heat seeking missiles flying through different altitudes searching for a heat source who's signature is changing with altitude.  In order to program the computer to track and home in on a jet's exhaust, the programmer must know how to accurately compensate for the changing signature.  It requires a complete knowledge of the radiative properties of all the gases and how they change throughout the atmosphere, or all that hardware is for naught.

{Incidentally, there is not one contrarian "theory" or challenge to climate science or the geophysics that hasn't been looked at by informed individuals.  You'll find that contrarian errors, omissions, and falsifications have been clearly explained.  

Don't believe me, look at this outline for yourself: 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Weather satellites that can image heat and moisture and wind's effects into comprehensible images.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Precipitable water. Contrast brightness temperatures measured via oxygen emissions and via H2O emissions to back calculate how much water is present.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Heat seeking air to air missiles, they would not function if those guidance computers didn't have a complete description of how heat moves through the atmosphere.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*  Lasers wouldn't work if we had radiative physics wrong.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Early-Warning satellites.  How are they going to distinguish between a missile launch from lightning, over Siberia?  Better look at IR in DETAIL!   (There's much more)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Spectroscopic Databases such as HiTran and Geisa have military origins. Going back to WWII and the desire to do Night Bombing better. Then this continued during research programs in the 50's & 60's, with a lot of it through the Cambridge Research Laboratory.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The program ModTran that is an example of a narrow band Radiative Transfer Code, for calculating radiative transfer. Half the patents for this are held by the Pentagon. The company that develops it - Spectral Sciences Inc - does so under license to the United States Air Force.

For 20 years developments to ModTran were signed off by the Commandant of the USAF GeoPhysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, Ma. These days it is the responsibility of the Commandant, the USAF Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*  The detection of specific chemicals in the atmospheres of exoplanets: 
By modeling the gases at high pressures, you can produce an expected absorption for infrared from the planet and compare the model to the spectra recorded by the Spitzer space telescope
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Spectroscopy includes measurement of absorption of IR wavelengths
eg measurement of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and ice cores relies on IR absorption. (that would make using ice core records to "prove" GHE doesn't exists amusing)

"Each sample has a volume of 4~6 cm3. CO2 concentration was measured with IR tunable diode laser spectroscopy, scanning a single vibrational-rotational absorption line."  https://nsidc.org/data/docs/agdc/nsidc0202_wahlen/
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*  And it's not just physics of the standard GH gases.
  • Microwave emissions of oxygen molecules gives us satellite temperature sensing of the atmosphere.
  • Nitrogen - Nitrogen collisions form part of the basis of the GH effect on places like Saturn's moon Titan.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

*  Getting out of the IR range, but the Dobson spectrophotometer designed in 1924 to measure ozone (and the standard instrument for doing so, for many years) is based on the application of Beers Law. Using two close wavelengths that differ mainly in their O3 absorption coefficients, total column O3 is determined by the difference in transmission (sun view).

Careful selection of wavelengths allows measurement of many atmospheric gases.
IR instruments for CO2 and H2O are off-the-shelf items.


Schooling Pruitt's Red Team about our planet and its climate engine (FCFP)

The following column was inspired by a lecture that Kevin Trenberth  gave at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado on November 9th, 2017.  Pruitt's "challenge" happened to jump into the headlines giving this story the hook that had been alluding me for weeks.  

January 2018 - Four Corners Free Press, Cortez, Colorado

Early in December U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told lawmakers he intended to organize a “Red team v Blue team” exercise to debate climate change science.

Pruitt is being willfully blind to the fact that the scientific aspects of global warming have already been thoroughly debated by experts. It’s expected that Pruitt will orchestrate a lawyerly winner-take-all debate. One that’s based on rhetorical trickery and a ruthless disregard for facts.

It’s a shame, since we Americans needs a constructive educational dialogue. A debate where honestly representing your opponent’s arguments and data is as important as honestly representing your own data. One where objective learning is the goal, and where truth matters.

Speaking of honestly representing the science, November 9th Dr. Kevin Trenberth (the distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and a lead author for IPCC’s Scientific Assessment in 1995, 2001, and 2007, a giant in the field of climate assessment), gave a talk at the Fort Lewis College Climate Symposium explaining what scientists have learned about our planet. It sounded to me like a potential Blue team opening statement.

Since, today climate scientists and the science itself is under attack like never before it’s critical for more citizens to become aware and engaged. That’s why I want to share what Trenberth explained to us, along with some additional science. Information that makes clear what an internally consistent understanding scientists have achieved.

Trenberth underscored that pretty much all scientists agree. As for the few outliers, they are driven by other causes, such as religious and political inclinations. He explained that: “… as a whole the data are of mixed quality and length. If you were to look at one little piece of it you might be able to be skeptical that climate change is happening, but when you put it all together there's no doubt whatsoever that this is happening.”

Dr. Trenberth went on to use a metaphor of Earth as a patient obviously running a fever. If Earth could go to a doctor, that doctor would start by diagnosing her symptoms. Such as the composition of key components. One of the first symptoms noted would be the atmosphere’s rapidly changing composition.

I’ll add that, the doctor knows these increasing greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, happen to be our planet’s insulation regulator. At around 180 ppm (CO2 parts per million) Earth experiences Ice Ages, at roughly 280 ppm its nice temperate periods, such as those our society evolved in. Today, it’s past 400 ppm. 

The physics of this Earthly insulation blanket are understood so thoroughly that a great assortment of modern marvels such as satellite weather imagery and heat seeking air to air missiles, to mention but two, would be impossible without it. That is to say “Atmospheric GHG Theory” is as certain, as certain gets!

We also have a clear understanding of why these greenhouse gas molecules are increasing. We know how much fossil fuels humanity has been extracting and how much has been burned and injected into our atmosphere (and oceans). 

We also know how much atmospheric concentrations have risen. That reality was driven home when Trenberth showed us the Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO2 levels being collected at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii since 1958.

On close examination the line graphically illustrates the seasonal ebb and flow in Earth’s respiration. Think inhalation and exhalation of life’s sustaining molecules. What’s terrifying is when zooming out and averaging those fluctuations, the line goes from 315 ppm in 1958, to beyond 400 ppm currently, 85 ppm in 60 years. Compare that to younger Earth which was used to taking around 50,000 years to go up or down by 100 ppm.

The doctor’s prognosis is that more warming will be disruptive to our particular biosphere, the one our current climate regime created, the one it has supported for thousands and tens of thousands of years. The one we are absolutely dependent on. Change is constant, but what’s happening to our Earth this time is something extraordinary.

Trenberth then superimposed global mean temperatures on the Keeling Curve and explained how their similarity was no coincidence. The overall CO2 / temperature correlation is obvious, although there are sections where the two are clearly out of sync.

This is because greenhouse gases aren’t all there is to global temperatures. While Earth’s atmospheric insulation regulates the overall temperature setting, it’s a dynamic living planet with many age old cycles and rhythms interfering and converging with each other. 

For example our oceans contain over 90% of our climate engine’s heat. That heat gets moved about in dozens of different currents and oscillation patterns that have profound, but short term effects on the atmosphere, weather and local temperatures, even global temperatures.

But in essence, that’s only moving heat around the globe, impacting weather but not Earth’s overall temperature, that is done by our atmosphere.

In fact, you could say Earth is not heating, Earth is accumulating heat. Increasing GHG molecules are increasingly intercepting and slowing the escape of infrared radiation, thus allowing more to accumulate within our biosphere. 

But climate changed before, you say? Yes it did. Looking back into Earth’s deep-time natural variations caused by geologic, planetary and solar forces had big impacts, but none of those factors are in play these days.

Yes, volcanoes drive natural variations with cooling caused by emitted aerosols. Aerosols that have short atmospheric ‘residence times’ measured in weeks.

On the other hand, volcanoes also emit massive CO2 which has an atmospheric residence time measured in centuries, producing long term warming. Incidentally, today human CO2 emissions dwarf current volcanism on the order of 60 to 1.

What about the mid 21st century global cooling? Well, that cooling trend ended as nations took steps to clean their smoggy skies. It turned out sulfur aerosols acted as tiny reflectors mirroring a fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays back into space before those rays had a chance to convert into infrared radiation which warms our biosphere, thus driving that not so ‘natural’ cooling trend.

What about last decade’s “warming hiatus”? That was a media farce, the “missing” surface heat was found where geophysics dictated it would be found, in the oceans. No hiatus, our atmosphere’s insulation works 24/7/365.

In a serious debate the Red team would now need to respond to these known facts, not with distractions and drama, but with facts and realistic clearly enunciated challenges and a willingness to learn.


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