[ RadSafe ] Re:"State of Fear"

Dukelow, James S Jr jim.dukelow at pnl.gov
Tue Feb 21 11:59:38 CST 2006

Dr. Rainer Facius wrote:
-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl on behalf of Rainer.Facius at dlr.de
Sent: Tue 2/21/2006 1:38 AM
To: schapel at chapelconsulting.com; idias at interchange.ubc.ca; didi at tgi-sci.com; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] Re:"State of Fear"

Whatever the merits or shortcomings of climate models may be - their association with the term "greenhouse effect" is one of the most blatant misnomers or rather egregious follies that scientists committed in recent decades (rivalling the upholding of the LNT postulate for chronic low dose exposures). 

Please imagine what happens to the temperature in a real greenhouse if you remove the side panels and only leave the infrared retaining glass cover in place. Within minutes the temperature below your infrared absorbing glass cover will have relaxed to the temperature outside your cover. In other words, essentially the sole effect of a greenhouse is brought about by cutting off the convection of the heat accumulated from the absorption of radiant energy within the closed volume. Details of the spectral transmission properties of a principally transparent enclosure are next to irrelevant for the equilibrium attained in the greenhouse.

Whether this misnomer was a genuine blunder or whether it was intentionally coined in order to sell one's findings more easily to the funding public which believes to know what a greenhouse is can only be speculated about.



This is a false analogy.  The Earth's atmosphere has no side panels that can be removed to let the accumulated heat leak away.  If it leaks anywhere, it leaks to the next county, to an adjoining nation, or halfway around the world.  Actual removal of incoming solar energy is by albedo (reflecting of shortwave energy) and thermal radiation from that part of the Earth and Earth's atmosphere that can "see" outer space (Stefan's Law T^4 radiation).  Use of the word "greenhouse" is not perfectly precise, but is quite traditional, going all of the way back to Arrhenius.  The details of the spectral transmission are fully relevant (determining which parts of the atmosphere "see" outer space) and are captured in climate codes by a rather standard 1-D radiation transport model.

It is amusing to see some RADSAFErs who rant and rave about the willingness of the public, the media, and governments to accept the pseudoscience of LNT, themselves so eagerly accept the fossil-fuel-industry-funded pseudoscientific disinformation of the climate sceptics.  RADSAFErs who are actually interested in understanding the climate issues should visit the Real Climate climate blog, www.realclimate.org, maintained by ten or so real climate scientists.  Their postings typically will generate 50-100s comment from a broad spectrum of readers -- from global warming believers to sceptics.  There are something on the order of 50 accumulated posting threads by now, treating a wide variety of the most interesting climate issues.  There is a thread dealing with _State of Fear_ that a number of RADSAFE contributors could read with profit.

Best regards.

Jim Dukelow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA
jim.dukelow at pnl.gov

These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my management or by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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