Saturday, October 17, 2009

“I’ve Looked At Clouds From Both Sides Now…”

Earlier this month I received several essays from JF, one of our readers. They make for fascinating reading, but the writer provided no links for his assertions. We discussed this in subsequent emails and he did send me a few references, but no actual bloggeresque-type links.

Hmmm…what to do? I’m not a scientist, but since so many political decisions are being made based on the global warming philosophy, one has to attempt to become informed. Thus, for a few years I’ve been reading materials on the subject from both sides of the question. It appears that the scoffers and the believers are divided not only by their underlying theses but also by their rhetorical style. The believers are fervent and tend toward sturm-und-drang apocalyptic outcomes, usually accompanied by handwringing and vitriol directed at the skeptics. The latter tend to be more reasonable, though some of them do hurl flaming sarcasm and satire at their opponents. The believers assign malign motives to the skeptics; the skeptics question the intelligence of the devout.

Philosophically and temperamentally I am partial to arguments based on appeals to reason and research. In the end, I found the arguments of the skeptics to be more reasonable. So far, nothing I’ve read since has given me cause to change my mind.

Thus I present JF’s essays sans links. At the end you will find some linking to the few resources he provided later.

When he said in one email, “This essay is sweeping in purview. Documentation is readily available but would become onerous if complete”, I left this aside to think about it. Now I’ve thought about it, done a little research (Google is your friend, mostly), and here we are.

From reader JF:

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *


Carbon Dioxide…Then and Now

Carbon dioxide, CO2, comprises 0.04% of our current global atmosphere. This amount is the meager remainder from a substantially larger original quantity

The onset of life began the process, in part irreversible, of burying CO2.

All plant life takes CO2 from the atmosphere or the waters to form its bodily mass, releasing oxygen, O2, in the process. Upon dying this plant mass either oxidizes, recombining C with O2 to form CO2, or it sinks beneath the ground undergoing conversion to fossil fuels.

Animal life feeds upon plant life and in addition combines CO2 with calcium oxide, CaO, to form CaCO3, limestone. This limestone is the stuff of the white mountains---Amalfi Coast, Cliffs of Dover, Mountains of New Hampshire, etc.---abundantly scattered about the planet. Ubiquitous limestone quarries supply materials for concrete roadways, blacktop highways and all cement-based manmade structures. When animal mass dies it too oxidizes, releasing CO2, but its limestone components remain permanently buried and unavailable.

Limestone is 40% by weight CO2. Consider the immensity of this irreversible burial.

It will be apparent that prior to the onset of life the earth’s atmosphere was CO2-rich.This original CO2-rich atmosphere, instead of being hostile to life, was entirely congenial to life; that’s when life began. We live today in a CO2-lean atmosphere.
- - - - - - - - -
Modern hothouse experiments using intentionally augmented concentrations of CO2 yield luxuriantly flourishing plant growth. It’s easy to see how the gigantism of plants and animals in the carboniferous era came about.

Only we pygmies remain today.

Alas life has been operating on a colossal scale to attenuate the CO2-rich atmospheric concentrations present at the beginnings. Our feeble human activities, such as oxidizing some small fraction of the vast buried fossil stores thereby releasing some traces of CO2, merely forestall life’s self-extinguishment.

What a draft upon credulity that the august U.S. EPA, submitting to the blandishments of a gang of kneejerk anti-establishment types abetted by political hacks and science-challenged postmodernists, would see fit to declare the origin of life, CO2, a pollutant.


Carbon: Passive Rider on the Earth/Space Machine

Earth operates a network of molten upwellings from deep seams in the planet’s crust which act to shove tectonic plates across the seafloors where these plates bump into continental land outcroppings. These spreading plates subduct beneath the continental rims and simultaneously push mountains upward from sea level. Such crustal movements continue to shape our global topography today. Atmospheric composition is largely unaffected by these plate movements except during volcanic eruptions which emit gasses that are subsequently diffused about the globe by wind action.

Space operates a system of radiant inputs to the earth: both continuous cosmic rays from deep space and variable solar rays from our nearby sun. From time to time the sun produces solar winds having magnetic effects which perturb the incoming cosmic rays causing them to vary in intensity. The primary solar rays vary also but to a lesser extent than the solar-perturbed cosmic rays. Atmospheric composition is largely unaffected by these radiant inputs but one component of the atmosphere undergoes reversible change-of-state to an extent that is dependent upon the intensity of the incoming cosmic rays. This component is water.

Water evaporates from the earth’s surface as a clear vapor. Each water vapor molecule has a diameter of 1.5 angstroms. Incoming solar radiation contains wavelengths ranging from 1000 angstroms to 10,000,000 angstroms. Much of this incoming solar radiation easily passes over and through the clear water vapor, warming it in transit but proceeding downward to the earth where it proceeds to warm the planet’s surface. The cosmic rays, variably constrained by the solar winds, convert some portion of the clear water vapor to liquid droplets ranging in size from 20,000 to 400,000 angstroms. Incoming solar radiation cannot readily pass through these large particles and instead is scattered and partially redirected back into space. So incoming solar radiation can be either absorbed and transmitted (as with clear water vapor) or scattered and reflected (as with cloud droplets.) When the sun permits the cosmic rays to do their job of forming clouds then the planet will be cooled. When the solar winds restrain a sufficient portion of the cloud-forming cosmic rays then the planet will warm.

Down at the earth’s surface water mediates life’s processes. In watered terrestrial zones gaseous carbon undergoes a change-of-state as life converts CO2 into solid carbonaceous plant matter, with some reoxidized to CO2 and some buried. In coastal shallows life converts CO2 into the solid CaCO3 component of animal matter, with some redissolved and dissociated and some buried. These active life zones act as CO2 sinks, depleting the local CO2 concentrations, and drawing additional CO2 from the diminishing reserves in the atmosphere. The accumulated solidified carbon stores are then transported by the tectonic plates and either pushed upward into mountainous formations or dragged downward beneath the surface to be heated and pressure-cooked into pockets of fossil fuels. In either case the life-formed CO2-rich solid matter is carried away from the wet biologically active zones into storage places less congenial to life processes.

Over time the earth has seen gaseous CO2 levels fall from the original 0.80% to our current 0.04%. Photosynthesis has been busily productive but the unremitting tectonic conveyor apparatus has carried away and stored life’s solidified carbon-containing products, leaving them in largely inaccessible locations awaiting mankind’s recent efforts to disinter some fraction of these vast stores to use as fossil fuels and thus to regenerate CO2. Asserting that both the mammoth planetary tectonic plate mechanisms and the immense outer space radiant input mechanisms are grandly unconcerned by either life’s strenuous CO2 burial efforts or man’s trivial recent fossil energy use is surely one of the great understatements of all time. These earth/space processes acted to warm and to cool the planet and to rearrange its surface map long before life began and will continue to perform their accustomed activities long after life completes its self-extinguishing journey.

Postscript from the author:

Since controversies abound in this matter you may refer to:

  • Goethe Universitat-Cloud ITN, Journal of Geophysical Research-Vol. 110- Nir J Shaviv; and
  • The CERN Cloud Project.

[Note: Like many non-bloggers, our author is not accustomed to the necessity for links to one’s assertions so the two references above were the best he could give me. I did a very brief search on Nir Shaviv CO2 and got this, plus an additional 65K hits. For CERN cloud CO2 there were 779k hits; here’s one result.

I found a blog devoted to this subject, and perchance an essay by Mr. Shaviv. If you open the link you can understand why our guest poster through up his hands at my notion that he needed links for this essay. Scroll to the bottom of the page on that link and you can find more than enough documentation to satisfy a reasonable inquiry.

However, the emphasis must needs remain on "reasonable" because al-Gore & Gang have long past the realm of the reasonable and have entered the Sanctum of the Saved. In other words, it’s about faith and our sacred duty to our Mother, Earth. Our Father, Reason, appears to be missing from this picture. Wouldn’t you know it - another single mom left to cope with some crazy kids.]

JF states:

As continued research progresses we can already confidently state that the claims of the “CO2-is-a-pollutant- crowd” are insupportable in the face of life’s flourishing throughout a 95% decline in atmospheric CO2 concentration. This fact is documented in the scientific record.

Disaffected humans will just have to find something else with which to flagellate themselves. We can take comfort, however, in the knowledge that their need is great, their determination unabashed and their perverse imaginations sufficient to the task of finding another bad, unfixable thing human beings have done.

To which I would add that the handiest thing to do is return to the old ways of handling communal guilt: we can either follow the ancient Hebrew custom of the scapegoat, or the even older ritual of throwing virgins into the volcano.

Of course there are problems attendant with my suggestions. For one thing, PETA will prevent the scapegoat ritual, though they would have no problem if you substituted a human being. The volcano solution won’t be viable too much longer due to the fact that virgins are an endangered species.


DP111 said...

I've often wondered how one sets about becoming an expert climatologist. Does one study, physics, mathematics, chemistry. Then follow it up with geology, oceanography, atmospheric physics, solar and solar system dynamics, bio-systems on land as well as water. All this expertise and then the effects of man and industry. Is the system linear, non-linear? Is a science possible under these circumstances, or is the best one can do is extrapolation?

If climate science was really a science, then I do not think there would be so much vitriol aimed among its practitioners. There can be disagreement, but not to the extent we see, where even data is fudged to suit a particular thesis.

Under these circumstances, scepticism is the best option, coupled with a strong opposition to part with our hard earned cash to further global economics or government.

DP111 said...

JF wrote Of course there are problems attendant with my suggestions. For one thing, PETA will prevent the scapegoat ritual

If you could get a Muslim to slaughter the goat, I don't think PETA will object.No problem.

Over the last post-war 60 years, government and its attendant bureaucracy has become bigger and =bigger, till this Leviathan has become too big for the nation it was meant to serve. But bureaucracies cannot stop growing, for if they do, they waste away.

"Climate change" provides the perfect reason to install World government and bureaucracy.

Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty in Copenhagen, Claims British Lord Monckton

Rollory said...

I don't understand why these articles require specific supporting links. As he says, the claims they are based on are clear enough, you can either look the specifics up for yourself if you care to and aren't widely read enough to be able to tell at a glance whether this is full of nonsense, or not.

In my case, not, my previous reading on the subject all fits pretty well with this.

mace said...

Of course the global climate has been changing over the last 4.5 billion years and, as far as I understand it,we live in an unusually cool phase. The relevant point is that humans have adapted to this particular climate produced by a "CO2 lean atmosphere" as the author describes it.Where we live and grow food is dependent on current climate patterns,small changes in average temperature can disrupt agriculture dramatically,there's certainly evidence for this.So the possibilty of climate change( anthropogenic or natural) is worth taking very seriously indeed.Apparently, because concerns in regard to climate change were initially raised by the Left the hypothesis is automatically rejected by conservatives.More atttention should be given to the message itself. I didn't ignore criticism of multiculturalism simply because it came from the Right.

Arius said...

/Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire or Where Global Warming is Really Coming From/
Life Extension News

According to a report in Environment & Climate News,(1) James Hansen, astronomer and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has been caught doctoring temperature data from California “to make a long-term cooling trend look like a warming trend.” The article explains that the temperature history (as reported by the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) for Santa Rosa, California) was examined by California meteorologist Anthony Watts and found to show a long-term decline, especially since the 1930’s. Watts then examined the temperature history for the same town as reported by GISS; the GISS report was completely different, reporting a long-term increase in Santa Rosa temperature. “USHCN reports a decline of nearly one-half degree Celsius during the twentieth century, while GISS reports a temperature increase of one-half a degree.”(1)

The article goes on to explain that the USHCN measures temperature by “taking daily readings from an immobile temperature station,” while GISS collects the USHCN temperature readings and then subjects them to adjustments (using methods which Hansen will not reveal), allegedly to correct for artificial influences such as land-use changes. The urban heat island effect (as Santa Rosa’s population increased from slightly more than 10,000 in 1905 to about 158,000 today) would have been expected to result in warmer temperatures (unrelated to global influences) and, hence, to adjust for the urban heat island effect would require the long-term temperature record should be adjusted downward, not upward. Yet, GISS is adjusting the raw temperature data upward instead of downward.

In the article on the facing page,(2) it described how “[i]n 2007, statistical scientists showed GISS had been artificially inflating U.S. temperatures by 0.15 degrees Celsius since the year 2000.” Furthermore, “[i]n 2008 statistical scientists showed GISS had falsely reported October 2008 was the warmest October on record when, in fact, it was a quite normal temperature month.” NASA later admitted that the “Warmest October” claim had been wrong.(3)


1. Taylor JM. GISS, Hansen Caught Doctoring More Data. Environment & Climate News Feb. 2009
2. Taylor JM. GISS, Hansen Frequently Report False Warming. Environment & Climate News Feb. 2009
3. ‘Warmest October’ Claim Was Wrong, NASA Admits. Environment & Climate News Jan. 2009

Top Kafir said...

"Disaffected humans will just have to find something else with which to flagellate themselves. We can take comfort, however, in the knowledge that their need is great, their determination unabashed and their perverse imaginations sufficient to the task of finding another bad, unfixable thing human beings have done."

I find the statement above to be the money quote in the post. It's an equation as old as priests and central authorities in general. We humans "sin," the gods (or G-d) are displeased, the end of the world is coming -- soon. In a fallen world, it seems the devil will always provide us mischief to get up (or down) to.

Dymphna said...


I don't understand why these articles require specific supporting links.

Well, Rollory we've been blogging long enough to know that when you post on controversial subjects and you don't provide links, those who oppose your pov will appear in the comments with flame-throwers in hand. There will be more heat than light.

When we were newbies, Bill Quick was willing to advise us. One of the things he said was "provide links to your information". So we do. I realize that the MSM
"journalists" don't do that, but otoh, we never want to be mistaken for journalists.


Top Kafir--

Agreed. That is the money quote. The problem with the kind of aggressive secularism that now dominates public dialogue in the West is that it has no way of grounding evil; it is forced to thrust the charge into mere human beings.

When you examine the global warming theories, you can see the narcissism inherent in such an inflated view of man's effect on anything.

In a way, this is reminiscent of the great furor (and fear) that the theory of heliocentrism caused when it was new. Man was reduced in stature in the new cosmology. Now along comes global warming orthodoxy, permitting man to return to his true place at the center of things.

Of course our stature is much diminished. None of that "made-in-the-image-of-God" nonsense. But hey, we're back in the spotlight, everybody! Now we’re supposed to wallow in the slough of our perfidy whilst beating our chests and proclaiming, “we are all miserable sinners”.

Jack Okie said...

Apparently the data used in the IPCC reports was mishandled and cherry-picked. Details here:

Climate Audit

Watts Up With That

Good general info on CO2 here:

CO2 Science

Long, but excellent article by Freeman Dyson:

Freeman Dyson

Paul said...

Your write-up included the formation of limestone in seawater due to chemical action with CO2. Thank you for including that.

At the close of the '70s my mass transfer prof commented that blaming increased atmospheric temps to man made CO2 was junk science. He also reminded us that CO2 diffuses into water (seawater) until the equilibrium concentration of CO2 in water is reached. And that won't happened while you and I are here.

So there that is.

So why do seemingly intelligent informed people speak of CO2 caused global warming as though it was a religious tenet?

Maybe that is just the answer. (Religious tenet.) Why make global warming a religious doctrine?

An insightful person could ask the same question about the religious doctrine of Darwinism.

Did spacemen seed the earth with life? Oh, so such folk deny God. And then bring up spacement. Good job.

Fallen mankind has an a determined drive to find an explanation other the God Creator who made us.

gadfly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dymphna said...


Thanks for providing that update for Part Two of this essay. I thought I'd have to go digging thru the archives at American Thinker to find it.

The place is so interesting I always end up diverted.

Anyway, here is a live version of your link.

Please note our request not to paste long URLs.It messes up the whole page. Besides, our readers, beloved as they may be, are not likely to laboriously cut and paste a URL into a new window when they can simply click a link.

IOW, we be lazy around here.

Carbon:Passive rider on the Earth/Space Machine

For future reference, should you decide to put in another link, look at the section above the comment box, where we have all the comment rules & regs posted. There you will find an html template for your convenience.

I've had to delete your comment because the URL went waaay past the edge, knocking the page askew. It's Blogger's fault.

gadfly said...


My apology on the American Thinker link. I know how to use the html link and I could have used tinyurl but I got lazy. It won't happen again.