Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bill Randall's WashingtonTimes "Global Warming Quiz" - examined

{Edited Thursday evening  |  5/2/2013}

The following is an examination of an article by Bill Randall, published by Communities.WashingtonTimes.

Basically, I've done a paragraph by paragraph critique, along with a few links to authoritative information sources.

Bill's words are in Courier font, my comments are in Georgia font and in blue. 

Global warming quiz: Do you know or think you know?

By Bill Randall, the article is copyrighted 

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LOUISIANA, April 25, 2013 ― Are those who so adamantly declare that climate change and global warming are caused primarily by human activity aware of the facts? If you, like them, believe that man-made global warming is a fact, the following will test your knowledge.
We do know that the atmosphere is constantly in a state of flux. It attempts to achieve equilibrium, but never gets there. Global temperature variability is the norm. 
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This is an example of a deliberate distraction - since no one... not a climate scientist, nor anyone even vaguely familiar with our planet's climate - has ever claimed that temperatures and climate haven't always been variable.
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Those who say that man-made greenhouse gases are the culprit behind “monster tropical storms” are not considering all the facts. Atmospheric motions in the upper troposphere, weak vertical wind shear, and normal warm oceanic temperatures are the main factors that enhance the likelihood of tropical storm development.   
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What Bill ignores is that these "atmospheric motions" happen within a medium.  Our atmosphere has substance and mass.  One component of that medium is the greenhouse gases that act as an insulating blanket within our atmosphere, without who's protection life would be impossible.

What Bill hides from his readers is that society - through it's burning of fossil fuels - has increased the concentration of our atmospheric insulating blanket by roughly a third.
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Read Bill's sentence again, it's like he's pointing at the valves and pistons of a race car's engine, saying lookie here, this is what wins the race.  Sure it's true, but it tells us nothing about the running race car.

Bill, why not talk about the energy that drives our global heat distribution engine?  Why not point out that warming that system is like pressing down on the throttle?
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Once the system develops, it is the latent heat of condensation, and not global warming, that becomes the supercharger for the system’s energy and further development.
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"Once the system develops" - Bill is talking about a weather event - weather events aren't "the climate."  

Talking about how a storm sets up, tells us nothing about global warming.

Bill doesn't give any educational information about how the sun's heat warms our globe or how our Global Heat Distribution Engine moves that heat around; nor how the level of insulation within our atmosphere impacts the amount of heat/energy moving about within that system.  

Why ignore all that?
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This is not to deny that the earth goes through cyclical climate changes. Decades of climate data confirm the same. Man-made global warming, despite what you’ve been taught, is a myth.   
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"man-made global warming is a myth."  Oh for gosh sakes, give us a break.

You can't profess to be some kind of objective arbiter and then degenerate into that kind of paranoid statement - as though tons of evidence wasn't there for everyone to look at.

Below I share links that contain plenty of evidence and explanations proving that society driven global warming is very real and that we need to act.
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This should have thinking persons asking what the reasons are for the “global-warming” fear campaign and the resulting assaults on liberties and freedoms. 
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Here again, look at those words that is pure political melodrama - not any serious review.

Bill, we know anyone can convince anyone of anything, when done within a vacuum and that's what you are attempting with your one-sided narrative.

Bill ignores a great deal of authoritative information?
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The objective of the “global-warming” campaign is to make the fear of climate change the vehicle to impose more regulations that restrict business and commerce. 
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AHA ! - here we have it:  "impose more regulations that restrict business and commerce."  In other words, it's not the science Bill is interested in, it's commerce policy he cares about.  

Why doesn't Bill look at how global warming threatens our economy much worse than anything else its ever confronted?

Think about it... aren't the very foundations of our economy dependent on benign, predictable weather patterns?

What does business and commerce policy have to do with understanding how our planet operates?

Sounds like those foolish North Carolina legislators who wanted to force their coastal zoning commission to ignore studies regarding global warming driven sea level rise.
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It will also pave the way for governments to seize money via hefty carbon taxes levied against business and consumers. The consumer ― you and I ― will end up paying more and more because business costs are eventually paid by the end user.
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"governments to seize money via"  Oh lordie, lordie Bill you are now sounding like those hippies who thought they were owed a free ride.  Why not pay your fair share?  

This isn't 1800 off in the wilderness.  We all depend on our society... don't we?  Why does Bill and his Republican friends think helping pay for keeping our world healthy is a crime?  

When in fact it's a sound investment - and our collective refusal to make those necessary investments, will damn the future to a very rough brave new world.  
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For those who are proponents of man-made global warming, or interested in testing what they do, or don’t know, a test of sorts is in order:
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Having read through the questions, I wonder what's the point?  

It's as though Bill started with an intimation of teaching us something about our climate, but sputters out with a confused trivia quiz looking at pistons and valves, rather than the vehicle.
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Question 1. How much does temperature factor into the strength of the subtropical jet stream that transports warmer temperatures from equatorial and low-latitude regions? 
Answer 1. None. The strength of the SubTropical Jetstream (STJ) is caused by the conservation of angular momentum. In fact, the STJ reaches its maximum strength at its furthest point north. This is because relative spin and vorticity increases as the Coriolis force increases during its trek northward. Unlike the Polar Front Jetstream (PFJ) and Arctic Front Jetstream (AFJ), the STJ is NOT caused by differential heating.
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What is this supposed to teach us?  

Bill, why not include some information about how the Arctic Ocean is transitioned from a reflective ice sheet to an oceanic heat absorption plate?  Why leave out the part about how in the past few years unprecedented (in human times) tropospheric convection patterns are displacing arctic air masses and tweaking our Jet Stream?

Here's a collection of some valuable lectures, by actual experts, about our Jet Stream and what has been happening in our Arctic regions: 

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2. Meteorologically speaking, which of the following are heating processes in the atmosphere: a. melting, b. freezing,  c. condensation, d. evaporation?
Answer 2. B and C, freezing and condensation. Heating and cooling processes are classified based on their effect on the surrounding air. Therefore, you must determine what happens to the surrounding air when the moisture undergoes its change, e.g., from liquid to solid, etc. When moisture freezes, the moisture LOSES heat to the surrounding air >>the atmosphere gains that heat = heating process.  When moisture condenses, releases heat to the surrounding air >> the atmosphere gains heat = a heating process.
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OK, so melting ice sheets and glaciers take up heat from the surface air temperature.

Hmmm, why not mention that here's another one of many reason why CO2 increases and global temperatures don't track 1 to 1.

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Question 3. What percentage of the atmosphere we breathe is composed of the “greenhouse gas” carbon dioxide? a. 0.038%; b. 0.38%; c. 3.8%; d. varies significantly by at least 0.5%, depending on proximity to industrialized regions.
Answer 3. The amounts of carbon dioxide are so miniscule that it is less than 1/10th of 1% (0.038%).  While it is true that scientists are able to demonstrate that carbon dioxide does retain more heat than nitrogen or oxygen,
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That's amazing and oh so disingenuous.  

Nitrogen and Oxygen aren't even in the same class as CO2 making it a dishonest comparison.  

As for the small numbers, there are plenty of substances whose impacts are felt in quantities of parts per million and even billion.  
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 that demonstration can only be done in a small, controlled environment. If a room 10ft. X 10ft X 10ft was filled with CO2, then heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, that room would retain the heat much longer than a similar room with our normal atmospheric gases. 
But think about it: That experiment takes a trace compound that comprises 0.038% of our atmosphere and increases it over 1000-fold in a controlled environment.  Some then make the unreasonable leap to hypothesize that our open, free  atmosphere will heat up much more over time due to greenhouse gases. That condition cannot be remotely replicated in an open, free environment. To suggest that the trace compound of carbon dioxide is responsible for man-made global warming is patently absurd.
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This is simply not true that the scientific understanding is so simplistic.

I have included some links that tell the scientific story behind our understanding of what greenhouse gases do in our atmosphere.

But, here we have the problem of ideology driven willful ignorance, no matter how much valid information is offered, it does no good.  Since people, like Bill Randall, who need the most learning... are the least interested in taking the time to do look at the information.

Instead, folks like Bill have turned the important job of learning about what is happening to our atmosphere and planet - into an ideological battle, driven by fear; and supported by an unreasonable rejection of the physical "facts of life" of our planet.

Tragically, focusing on winning the economic/political battle, demands a refusal to learn from the full spectrum of evidence that is out there.

Still, the evidence is out there for those who are interested:

Open Source Systems, Science, Solutions
Greenhouse Gases/Effect
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The Discovery of Global Warming   
The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
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Question 4. What is the most important gas in terms of meteorology? a. ozone; b. carbon dioxide; c. water vapor; d. argon; e. nitrogen; f. oxygen
Answer 4. Nearly all weather and most clouds are dependent on water vapor – the most important gas in terms of meteorology.  Water vapor varies from a trace to 5% by volume. Another factor is that water vapor does not mix with dry air; it displaces it. Under similar temperature and pressure, saturated air is lighter than unsaturated air. 
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Here again Bill's playing with us.

Bill's challenge is about as constructive as asking what organ in your body is the most important to you.
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Question 5. Trapping of low level atmospheric  pollutants as evidenced by haze, fog/smog is caused primarily by: a. greenhouse gases; b. atmospheric motions and inversions associated with high pressure systems; c. persistent low level cloudiness; d. stagnant air that is depleted of sufficient oxygen and nitrogen
Answer 5. In the northern hemisphere, the southeastern part of a high pressure system is the strongest quadrant. Atmospheric motions cause widespread sinking (subsidence) of the air over such regions. Sinking air in the atmosphere often creates an inversion which caps the low-level atmosphere. Low level inversions  often cause widespread haze, fog/smog, depending on moisture conditions and how long the inversion has lasted over the area.
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And what are we supposed to learn from this bit of trivia?

Again Bill is talk about a proverbial race car but limiting himself to discussing discrete components.

Why not instead talk about how a virtually closed system adapts to added energy... you know... the system gets more dynamic - sort of like that race car when you throttle it. 

Warm our planet and the climate will energize... 

an energized climate will cause more intense storms and chaotic global weather patterns.  This is simple undeniable physics.  Yet, Mr Randall is to trying to distract us from that reality.

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Question 6. True or False: Meteorology is, in a practical sense, the study of meteors.
Answer 6. In a practical sense, meteorology, which is the science of the atmosphere and its phenomena, is the study of meteors: hydrometeors (moisture: clouds, fog, precipitation, rime, glaze, etc), lithometeors (small, dry particles: haze, dust, blowing sand, etc.), electrometeors (lightning, thunder), and photometeors (rainbow, aurora borealis, etc).
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and... the point is?
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Question 7. Which of of the following are the top two (2) factors in determining how much the earth’s surface will be heated? a. concentration of greenhouse gases; b. angle of incidence of incoming solar radiation; c. ozone layer; d. albedo (amount of reflectivity of an object: lighter colors reflect more; darker colors absorb more)
Answer 7. B and D (angle of incidence and albedo). The angle of incidence is the angle formed between a line perpendicular to the earth’s surface a line representing the sun’s incoming rays. Think about it: In the summertime, in the early morning hours, the incoming rays are nearly parallel to the earth’s surface. But as the earth continues to rotate and the day wears on, the incoming rays change to perpendicular. So when the sun is nearly overhead, you’re getting more direct sunlight, and the angle between the sun’s rays and a line perpendicular to the surface is very small or zero. As angle of incidence increases, incoming solar radiation decreases. 
In the wintertime, overall angle of incidence is much less than in summer. In fact, in the northern hemisphere, the sun is actually FURTHER AWAY (i.e., earth’s orbit around the sun is at apogee) during our summer! But because the incoming solar radiation is more direct, we receive much more heat.  
Albedo (the amount of reflectivity of an object) is the second most important factor. Ocean surfaces and snow cover can reflect like a mirror; dark asphalt and dark rooftops, for example, will absorb more heating. 
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Here again Bill offers us a list of incoherent trivia as though it's supposed to tell us something important

Though it does serve to remind me why we have experts.  Folks who have studied and learned about these details such as our planet's inclination, orbital, rotational changes and how that influences the sun's impact upon our planet, plus much more we don't even think of.

Professionals who have taken the time to learn their craft and become experts with a level of understanding that leaves this sort of schoolyard game-playing in the dust.

I prefer to trust actual experts rather than ideology driven armchair experts such a Mr Randall here, who are more worried about taxes than recognizing our complete dependence on predictable, and not too wild, weather patterns and how we ourselves are conducting a grand geophysical experiment, that promises to disrupt all people have come to know and love about our life-style and planet.
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Question 8. How accurate are computerized forecasts? a. reasonable for up to 48 hrs; unreliable after 120 hrs.; b. reasonable up to 15 days; unreliable after 30 days; c. our forecast numerical models are now reasonably accurate up to a year, depending on the computing ability of the microprocessors used.
Answer 8. Forecast models are reasonable up to 48 hours; unreliable after 120 hours. There are several factors that come into play with this:
a. forecast model initialization: Is the input data accurate? If not, the end product will be inaccurate (garbage in; garbage out);
b. sparse data: There are areas where reporting stations are lacking. And although modern numerical models use gridded mathematical formulas to interpolate where areas where data is missing, this factor is especially important when conditions of the upper atmosphere are forecast;
c. moisture advection: Long range forecast models are mainly DRY forecast models. That is, moisture parameters are absent. This is because beyond 120 hours, variables brought into play as the model forecasts further and further out, make it impractical for moisture to be accurately depicted in the end;
d. high latitudes: When the forecast model attempts to cross the polar caps in the high latitudes, the forecast model has much greater difficulty in determining accurate positions of weather systems. 
Anyone who tells you that numerical forecast models have accurately depicted future changes in our climate (months and years ahead) is not telling the truth.
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Mr. Randall, you are the one being dishonest here!  There is a big difference between forecasting specific weather for a specific time and place compared to forecasting climate trends.  

Climatologists aren't pretending to forecast the weather on any particular day, they are forecasting the greater state of the climate.  

Just like nowadays, no one has a problem forecasting the warm climate of summer and the cold climate of winter.
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Bottom Line: If you are a proponent of man-made global warming, ask credible scientists to explain their rationale for believing (and teaching) the same. If you prefer, independently research the info. 
Question everything; don’t settle for interpreted-facts.  True facts may only need explanation; they need no interpretation.
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Notice Bill hasn't suggested any authoritative sources* of information, just an appeal to doubt everything. 
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Bill Randall is a retired military meteorologist. He is a former instructor of meteorology, oceanography and basic geodesy.  His experience involved direct atmospheric and oceanographic measurements, as well as developing environmental forecasts for military mission planning. 

He was also a 2012 Tea-Party candidate for Congress who floated the idea that the US Government and BP may have conspired to cause the BP Horizon oil disaster.

You can view Mr. Randall's original article at:

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* NOAA -
National Climate Assessment

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