Friday, July 11, 2014

Discussion with Pete Ridley #5 Barrett's MODTRAN

This is my second post to Pete Ridley's response to "Discussion with PR #3" since his response was quite long winded (2150 words), including a thousand words worth of diversion into John Cook bashing that inspired an independent response, see "Discussion with PR #4"

Here I wanted to get back into attempting to figure out what Pete Ridley's trying to say regarding various MODTRAN model outputs.  Unfortunately, he already responded this morning and totally avoided the substance and questions of this post, instead spewing out more petty complaints and distractions.  

Since, Pete can't seem to get himself to focus on the substance of his claims and these posts and I don't want to play an endless game of dog-chasing-tail with him, I've rejected his latest off-topic comment and await one that sticks to the substance of this series of posts and that address some of my very reasonable and specific questions.  
{cc - 8:30am MDT}

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{lines 6 to 68}PART 1 ... CC wrote “ .. I do hope my links helped you get clear on some of your misunderstanding regarding the mistaken CO2 saturation meme? .. ” 
Ridley writes: NOPE!! I’ve never mentioned “saturation” or its derivatives. It was you who on 7th July pretended to jump to the conclusion that I want you “ .. to leap on the contrarian ‘discovery’ that CO2's insulating effect get's saturated .. ” 
~ ~ ~

"Pretend" what?  I was quite explicit:
"I imagine at the root of your riddle is that you want me to leap on the contrarian "discovery" that CO2's insulating effect get's saturated, thus we have nothing to worry about and can add as much as possible.  Am I close?"
So why the drama queen act?  

Why not simply answer the good-faith question I asked?  You know Pete, had this been a constructive-rational discussion you would explain where and why you're convinced I'm mistaken.  But you don't do that, do you?
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when in reality (as you full well know) I quite reasonable drew your attention to and hoped “ .. that you would acknowledge the diminishing impact on OLR of increasing atmospheric CO2 content .. ”.
~ ~ ~
You pointed me at some links, here's what you wrote:
"Let me make a suggestion. If you seriously wish to improve your lay understanding of the greenhouse effect get a copy of Dr. Jack Barrett's introductory booklet "Global Warming: The Human Contribution" ( It only costs about US$3 and should clear up most of your misconceptions."
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Curiously now that I've had time to look in to this Dr. Barrett I find that real working atmospheric experts find this chemist's home spun theory filled with misconceptions.

Jack Barrett who is at Imperial College in London  (and was supposed to publish these ideas in Spectrochemica Acta, ~1994)  said somethinglike this: 
   - The lowest thirty meters of the troposphere already contains
sufficient CO2 and H2O to absorb all the radiation emitted by the
Earth's surface (except in the "10 micron" {7.5-14 5m} window). 
   -When CO2 absorbs the emitted radiation it does not re-emit it
because in its radiative lifetime (105s) it suffers 104 collisions,
which are enough to transfer the energy to N2 and O2 which do not
emit IR radiation.  Hence emission of IR from the Earth's surfaces
to outer space is prevented at all wavelengths except in the 10 micron
Under such circumstances further additions of CO2 to the
atmosphere would be expected to have little effect on the average
global temperature.  For example, the burning of all the fossil fuels
on earth would raise the CO2 level to 1400 ppm, from its current
level of about 355 ppm.  If the above reasoning is true this could
cause vegetation to flourish, as it did during the Cretaceous period
(144-65 million rears ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) and when
it is now thought that the temperatures were not too different from
what they are currently  (Nature 370, 453(1994)).

Here is the response that came later: 
   Barrett's analysis assumes that global warming is driven by changes
in the radiation balance at the Earth's surface.  This is not so. 
What happens is something like this: 
   It is true that the CO2 molecule suffers many collisions between
the time that it absorbs radiation from the solid Earth, and re-emits
it in all directions.  This means that it is in thermal, and radiative
equilibrium with its surroundings at each altitude.  As we go up in the
troposphere, the temperature of that atmosphere drops, and hence the
temperature of the CO2 at greater elevations also drops.  At these lower
temperatures found at the top of the atmosphere, the energy is radiated
into space because there is so little CO2 above it that the atmosphere
is essentially transparent at these emitting wavelengths.  
However, at that altitude the intensity of the emitted radiation is decreases
(recall the Steffan-Boltzmann law says that: I is proportional to T4).  Thus the
loss of radiative loss of energy to space from this altitude drops,
because of the presence of the CO2 in the atmosphere.  If now more CO2
is added to the atmosphere then the level from which the emission occurs
Since the temperature of the emitting CO2 is even lower,
radiation leaving the Earth is reduced.  The climate then warms until
once again the input of solar radiation just balances the radiative
loss to space.  The fact that near sea level the CO2 concentration is
sufficiently high to absorb all the radiation in the main CO2 band
is therefore irrelevant!
~ ~ ~
This Jack Barrett has quite the track record.  He's exactly the sort of person I would classify as a "wingnut" precisely because he creates his science in the vacuum of his own mind, then when the folks, who understand what he's working at, point out his numerous errors - rather than listening to them, thinking about it and learning more - he starts pointing that grand conspiracy finger, everyone else is the fool and he's a self-imagined Galileo fighting for truth, justice and the American Way.  Yea, right and heat seeking missiles can't recognize to their targets.  
~ ~ ~ 
Barrett is not a climate scientist 
According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, there is a "JC Barrett" listed as a co-author of a single research paper on cloud densification published 13 years ago. 
In an article published in 1994 in the New Scientist he suggested that the lowest 30 metres of the troposphere already contains all the CO2 necessary to absorb all the radiation reflected and emitted back by the earth's surface at most infra-red wavelengths, except for the "window" between 7.5 and 14 micrometres, through which radiation escapes back into space. [3] Other scientists strongly disagree with him. [4] 
~ ~ ~ 
November 1995 
Barrett was a signatory to the “Leipzig Declaration.” According to SourceWatch he was also a keynote speaker at the Leipzig Declaration launch. [5], [6]
The declaration states, “we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions. For this reason, we consider the drastic emission control policies deriving from the Kyoto conference – lacking credible support from the underlying science – to be ill-advised and premature.”
Barrett co-authored a paper with the UK climate change denier and former BBC broadcaster David Bellamy titled “Climate stability: an inconvenient proof” which was published in Civil Engineering in May, 2007. The paper sets out to prove that, even if there is a doubling of carbon dioxide in the next decade, it “will amount to less than 1°C of global warming.
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Ridley, then you went on:
"I repeat, that is pseudoscientific gobbledegook and you can find out why by looking here ( and here (
~ ~ ~ 
Why won't you simply explain what you're driving at - are we disputing atmospheric gas concentrations, or what?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you don’t understand the point that I’m making then ask a scientist such as Dr. Jack Barrett ( While you are at it spend some time reading the excellent articles that he and Professor David Bellamy provide. They are targeted at lay people like thee and me."
~ ~ ~ 
So what the hell is this, you initiated this dialogue, don't tell me to read someone with a terrible reputation.  Tell me yourself, if you have a clue, if not, what are you doing here?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ridley continues:
I can’t imagine anyone who fails to understand the difference between “diminish” and “saturate” ever being able to understand the message from those MODTRAN plots that I sent you, but you fully understand the difference, don’t you!. 
I really don’t believe that you are as stupid as you try to make out. The impression that I keep getting from your comments is that you are deliberately distorting what I say so that you can continue promoting your CACC propaganda. 
Your” .. You give the impression that you think it's simple as 1+1=2 .. ” comes across as just another example of your wriggling and squirming. One thing for sure, those MODTRAN plots that I sent to you do give a much clearer picture to laymen like thee and me than would the scientific formulae upon which MODTRAN is based of what happens to the OLR when atmospheric CO2 concentration changes from 0ppm through to 700ppm. 
~ ~ ~
You keep telling me how wrong I am and that it's right there on the graphs, "anyone can see it".  Well no, anyone can't see it!  And even if they can "see it" WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  And if you can't explain it, take your tease somewhere else, because all you're doing is crazy-making.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They show clearly that there is no saturation effect but a diminishing impact upon OLR as atmospheric CO2 content increases, most noticeable at levels significantly lower than they have been for centuries. 
~ ~ ~
Now Ridley, can you please explain what that means?
And how does what you're thinking differ from what the links I've shared here (and at our discussion #3) are talking about?

And of what significance is it for current CO2 trends and our warming situation these days?
How big, or little, is this effect of your's in relation to the established big effects that are currently being measured?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ridley writes:
I love this from the extract that you used “ .. even a small number of CO2 molecules is sufficient to completely absorb the IR beam .. ”.   On the other hand those plots do show clearly that the effect on OLR diminishes considerably with increasing concentration and that any increase from the 280ppm levels claimed to have existed pre-industrial revolution have had and will only have a marginal impact.
~ ~ ~ 
Then what is your explanation for Earth observations over the past half century?  And how does this help us understand today's situation and the near future of 400++ppm?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I also loved how in almost the same breath you talked about “ .. everything I've read by real practicing experts .. ” then referred to John Cook’s blog 
~ ~ ~ 
This is quite the twist.  Ridley, you just wanted me to learn from a home-made atmospheric "text" book by a one-time chemist who claims he has disproven 100 years worth of atmospheric physics.  

And now you start picking on John Cook for not being a practicing scientist when he never claims to be such an expert, nor does Mr. Cook claim to be smarter than the practicing experts as your friend Dr. Barrett clearly does!  

Mr. Cook is a reporter, a communicator and collector of peer-reviewed scientific publications, he is also the archivist of the best on-line collection of peer-reviewed climatological literature, one that's geared toward the curious lay-person out there.  It's all about the science and John seems an honorable man fulfilling a much needed function in this "public debate" about global warming.

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It seems to me in closing I should repeat some of those questions you ignored from Discussion with Pete Ridley #3

What in the world are you going on about?  
I wrote our atmosphere's insulating medium (GHGs) has increased by a third.   
Mr. Ridley Are you claiming that is false? 
CO2 has increased by 40%(today) 
As of 2000: "Until the past two centuries, the concentrations of CO2 and CH4had never exceeded about 280 ppm and 790 ppb, respectively. Current concentrations of COare about 390 ppm and CH4 levels exceed 1,770 ppb. Both numbers are much higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years. (N2O from below 270 ppb to over 400 ppb)" 
Water vapor is the tricky one because it is temperature dependent and varies a great deal with time and location.  The basic thumbnail figure I've read is that for every degree C° of warming water vapor increases 7%, but like you hinted at, H2O packs the greatest insulating punch. 
OK, now what's your issue Ridley? 
Are you complaining that my 1/3 was a convenient round number and that I didn't bother to figure it out to a few decimal points? 
Is it the H2O? 
Is it long lived greenhouse gases? 
Although none of that actually has to do with MODTRAN, or the OLR reading at the TOA... does it?  {outgoing longwave radiation at the top of atmosphere} That's a different issue, isn't it?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

MODTRAN Infrared Light in the Atmosphere 
- - -
The first global warming skeptic 
- - - 
Visualizing Atmospheric Radiation – Part One
January 3, 2013 by scienceofdoom 
- - - 
Atmospheric Physics Thermodynamics 2 
N. Kämpfer
Institute of Applied Physics University of Bern


citizenschallenge said...

"Pete Ridley - comment at 1:32 AM" - REJECTED!
I'm done with your game of inane obfuscation.

You rude avoidance will no longer be tolerated over here! If you can't answer my questions directly and in good-faith - your comment will be rejected.

citizenschallenge said...

I sent off this email to our pal Mr. Ridley:

Mr. Ridley,

Now you are turning into a jerk. If you can't get on topic and keep away from your worthless obsessing over trivial grips that add to nothing except avoiding the real discussion and wasting my precious time, I see no reason to do you the courtesy of continuing to post your drivel.

It is possible to have a rational discussion with someone you don't like, but it requires good faith in the discussion, unfortunately from our exchanges I see you don't possess any of that - it's all game playing with you.

You seem to be one of those who loves the endless dog-chasing-tail sophomoric debate. Makes me think of folks stand around watching their boat sink arguing over how fast it's sinking, rather than trying to bail and patch.