Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Blog

I have retired this blog, now but for those who still wish to follow me, I have a new site at;.  This site will be exclusively focused on a mildly technical discussion of climate physics.


As readers are aware, this blog has been inactive for some time, so I figure I should formally put it into retirement.  I will not be posting here anymore, but will leave up my old posts, and may check back to moderate comments once in a great while.

I am continuing to blog.  You can check out the Times Union Weather and Climate blog, where I will continue to talk about some general climate issues, although at a laymen´s level. I hope to see lots of commenters, and we´re free in the comment section to discuss more technical details on a certain subject. I am one of several contributors to this blog, although most others will be discussing weather issues.

I also periodically guest post for SkepticalScience.


Judith Curry on ‘dogma’ and ideology

Prof. Judith Curry has been the subject of a large degree of blogospheric talk recently. She has her own site here where the last week or so has seen considerable discussion of the ‘IPCC dogma’ or ideology. I would recommend people who haven’t followed to read essentially all of her posts in November to follow this since I’m not going to give a detailed summary here. Curry’s posts have essentially boiled down to the fact that the IPCC “insiders” have acted as dogmatic or as ideologues.
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Adding up the Greenhouse Effect: Attributing the contributions

For most people who study global warming only casually it is well known that the greenhouse effect acts to increase the surface temperature of the planet (currently) by about 33 K (or 60 F) above the so-called “effective temperature”; this is the temperature value that a planet would need to have in order for the infrared energy it emits to space to balance the energy it absorbs from the sun (assuming the sun is the only important source of energy, which is true enough for Earth and neighboring planets like Venus and Mars). This is simple enough, yet there are still many popular misconceptions out there concerning the relative roles of individual greenhouse gases and the total mean climatology of the greenhouse effect, and some of these confusions have admittedly not been explicitly corrected in the literature very well.

A matter of curiosity from this point is to decide how much of the total greenhouse effect is partitioned between various radiatively active substances in our atmosphere. That is, how much of the natural greenhouse effect is fractionally supported by water vapor, by CO2, etc
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Climate Feedbacks: Part 1

Update: I have recently done a guest post on feedbacks at RealClimate. Part 1 is similar, but not the same as this post. I will not be doing a Part two on this site, instead it will be over at RC.

In light of recent attempts to describe the physics of climate change from first principles and in an accessible way (see Rasmus’ recent posts at RealClimate on the greenhouse effect and the troposphere) (also , here and here) it is worthwhile reviewing one of the greatest uncertainties surrounding climate change science and future predictions in a similar fashion: climate sensitivity and feedbacks. Feedbacks can behave in odd and counter-intuitive ways, some of which require some mathematics to really appreciate. In order to help facilitate an understanding for those who receive information at different levels of understanding, this will be a 2-part endeavor, where part 2 will be the more ‘technical version’ which may not necessarily be for everyone but will help demonstrate claims in part 1 quantitatively.

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NAS Report: Advancing the Science of Climate Change

There is a new Report from the National Academies worth sifting through.

The Greenhouse Effect for different audiences

RealClimate has recently added a post by Rasmus Benestad concerning the simple physics of the greenhouse effect. The post was a good read, except that its description of “simple” has been criticized throughout the comments, which has led readers to wonder exactly who the target audience was. The aim, after all, was to find an explanation for global warming that could be communicated effectively and understood without the necessity to invoke reliance on full-blown General Circulation Models. Presumably (so the comments go…) it was too technical for the general reader and too simple for those already initiated into the subject-matter, leaving a relatively small audience that can take much of substance from it. I’d like to elaborate on those criticisms below and agree and disagree with various points.
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Goddard’s world

The blog Watts up with That is famous for its attempt to reinvent climate physics on Earth, and now they want to reinvent astrophysics as well. Steve Goddard, a frequent poster at WUWT, now has a couple of posts (here and here) as well as write ups by Lubos Motl, about how the extreme temperatures on Venus are not caused by the greenhouse effect, but rather the 90 bar atmospheric pressure on Venus. It essentially argues that the “extra warming” by that we see on Venus is mostly due to the adiabatic lapse rate. As with many posts at WUWT, this radical idea which contradicts any textbook on planetary climate has been accepted without question by most commenters. Unfortunately for the massive attempt at a paradigm shift that is underway, they are all wrong.

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This is the first formal, peer-reviewed response paper to Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf Tscheuschner and their alleged greenhouse falsification. It is here toward the bottom. It does not appear too many people have easy access, so I can only suggesting contacting one of the authors (such as Prof. Halpern) for a PDF. If you leave your email address in a comment on this blog I can do it as well and it will not be published online. I also encourage discussion on this at this forum


Stephen Colbert, the Dopplest 9000, and skeptic logic

Proof that the sun has been destroyed