söndag 24 oktober 2010

Many Incorrect vs One Correct, in Climate Science

NASA presents three incorrect explanations of the lift of an airplane wing, but none claimed to be correct. Among the incorrect explanations, you find popular (longer path theory) for the people, and advanced (Kutta-Zhukovsky circulation theory) for the educated.

In The Mathematical Secret of Flight you find a correct explanation, also presented in a talk available on my home page under News. See also my knol Why It Is Possible to Fly.

In general there are in physics infinitely many incorrect explanations of a given phenomenon, but only one which is correct and then serves both the people and the educated.

In literature you find many descriptions of unhappiness, but few about happiness. Failure is more frequent than success.

In (democratic) politics, the people decide the truth because they are many. In science, one enligthened is enough to decide the truth. Scientific truth is not determined by consensus of the majority: to refer to "scientific consensus" is not a scientific argument.

You find in climate science several explanations of a so-called greenhouse effect, from elementary for the people to advanced for the educated:

The popular explanation is:
  • CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" with an ability to "trap heat".
  • More CO2 "traps more heat" and thus warms the Earth.
An advanced explanation embraced by educated alarmists but also by educated skeptics like Lindzen, is as follows:
  • The atmosphere cools the Earth by emission to space from a certain "characteristic emission level/altitude" at a "characteristic emission temperature" determined by Stephan-Boltzmann's Radiation Law (SB).
  • More CO2 will "lift" the characteristic emisson level to a higher altitude.
  • Higher altitude means lower temperature, because the temperature drops with altitude according to a certain lapse rate.
  • Lower temperature means less radiation according to SB, thus with less radiation out than in.
  • Radiative balance is restored by shifting the whole temperature profile causing warming on the Earth surface and restoring the characteristic emission temperature.
  • The net effect is 1.2 C warming upon doubling of CO2.
In Computational Blackbody Radiation I show that the popular explanation is incorrect. In Climate Thermodynamics I give evidence that also the advanced explanation lacks scientific

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