Saturday, May 03, 2014

On the Assertion that Changing the Atmospheric CO2 Content From 3 Molecules Per 10,000 to 4 Molecules Per 10,000 Over a 130 Year Time-Frame Is An Infinitesimal Increase & Therefore No Big Deal

Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either ~ Albert Einstein (3/14/1879 to 4/18/1955) a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). He is best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2.

According to the "lumanarious" AGW skeptic Roy Spencer (an individual oft quoted by the blogger Will Hart) "the idea that severe weather, snowstorms, droughts, or floods have gotten worse due to the atmosphere now having 4 parts per 10,000 CO2, rather than 3 parts per 10,000, is... sketchy".

Mr. Spencer's number one fan agrees, saying (in a recent post) that people thinking that this infenitesimal increase will cause a global catatastrophe "is exactly what happens when science and government crawl into bed together".

I don't know, Will. Is this small increase (small IS obviously what you're implying) really as tiny as you think it is? Information I've found suggests this increase is really a lot larger than you seem to think it is. Dr. Barry W. Brook, a research Professor at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, explains - on his blog "Brave New Climate" - just how large this increase in the trace gas actually is...

Barry Brook: Every cubic metre of air contains roughly 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of CO2 (10 to the 22nd power), [which is] a rather large number. ... let's try to get a feel for just how large a number this is. The number of stars within the 14-billion-light-year radius of the visible universe (Hubble volume) is estimated to be thirty billion trillion, i.e., 3 x 10 to the 22nd power. Thus, a mere 3 cubic metres of air, which would sit comfortably on most dining tables, contains as many CO2 molecules as there are stars in the vast span of the visible Universe. Bearing these mind-boggling numbers in mind, it's perhaps not quite so hard to understand how trace atmospheric gases in our atmosphere really do a good job at intercepting infrared radiation. (CO2 is a trace gas, but what does that mean?).

Sounds to me like this 33.3 percent increase is actually quite large and very much a cause for concern. Also, Mr. Spencer's assertion that something is small when it is actually large is but one reason why this dude can't be trusted. Spencer says "hey, IPCC, quit misusing the term risk", but doing nothing when CO2 levels are increasing so dramatically sounds very risky to me.

Also according to Mr. Spencer there are "scientific studies which suggest that more CO2 will cause most vegetation to grow better, with more drought tolerance and more efficient use of water", but this is quite laughable, and yet another reason why this individual should not be trusted.

Skeptical Science says "it is possible to boost growth of some plants with extra CO2, under controlled conditions inside of greenhouses. [However] such claims fail to take into account that increasing the availability of one substance that plants need requires other supply changes for benefits to accrue. ... Plants cannot live on CO2 alone; a complete plant metabolism depends on a number of elements. It is a simple task to increase water and fertilizer and protect against insects in an enclosed greenhouse but what about doing it in the open air, throughout the entire Earth? Just as increasing the amount of starch alone in a person's diet won't lead to a more robust and healthier person, for plants additional CO2 by itself cannot make up for deficiencies of other compounds and elements".

I must say that the more I learn of these AGW denying "scientists" the more sketchy they seem to be. Seems to me that they use wishful thinking, false assertions of "uncertainty", and flawed data to convince dupes like Mr. Hart that global climate change isn't happening, or (if it is), it will be beneficial.

To that I say "come on, AGW deniers, you can't have it both ways!". Yet they seem to think they can deny AGW is happening AND say that *if it is* it will be beneficial. This is laughable in my opinion. As for what happens when science and government crawl into bed together... my response would be that the truth is sought? I mean, the scientists could still earn a living if they didn't lie (if that is what you think they're doing). So why would they lie?

Roy Spencer is earning a living by "not lying" (if you believe that is what he's doing), so obviously it can be done. But I guess if you're a AGW denier you have no choice but to believe that the 97% of climate experts who agree are total f**king morons... or liars... or both. Hell, why not believe both? The AGW deniers already believe that BOTH AGW isn't happening but *if it is* it will be beneficial.

It MUST be a conspiracy, otherwise their denialism makes no sense, hence they come up with absurd conspiracy theories like a consensus being "exactly what happens when science and government crawl into bed together".

#249. See also CCOR #9.

4 comments:

  1. Being able to visualize something makes it easier to understand. You demonstrate the importance units is used when it come to visualization. In Will's world, the increase in CO2 is 1 molecule out of 10,000 molecules. In your case, the increase is1,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules (10 to the 18th power) per cubic meter. A cubic meter is a little easier to visualize, while the volume of 10,000 molecules is miniscule.

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  2. Goodness Jerry. Think of 4 being 33% more than 3. How hard is that?

    Derv. You're way off. When Howard Keeling started measuring atmospheric CO2 in 1957 it was 310 ppm. Not one hundred and thirty years ago. Less than sixty years ago. Forget fathead Will Hart and just blog for truth and light. Get the science right and you will attract readers.

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  3. You're right FJ. Of course an increase from 3 to 4 is a 33% increase. But you notice, neither Will or wd used the conventional units as you did. The increase is 300 to 400 parts per million. For Will, an increase of 1 gives the impression of a small increase. For wd, speaking of numbers on the order of magnitude of 18 or 22 makes everything seem huge.

    The reality is a 33% increase is a 33% increase in any case.

    Regardless of the units used, a 33% increase is significant. The argument against it is that the CO2 concentration is still small, so how much effect can it really have. And to answer that question look at medication. We take a small pill which has a vey small concentration of medicine in it. That medication even at a small concentration relative to our body mass can have a large impact on our body. It can cure you of illness, relieve great pain, or kill you!

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  4. Have you seen today's extensive analysis of climate change that is already happening or has already happened in the NYT?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/science/earth/climate-change-report.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140507

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