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Viscount Monckton gives a presentation during the 2007 Conference on Climate Change
"Considerable presence" of skeptics


Updated 7/17/2008

After publication of this story, the APS responded with a  statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large. 


The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.  The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science.  The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity -- the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause -- has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling.   A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate.

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors"

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, "I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method." 

According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low."

Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming.   "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth."



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RE: How many more nails?
By BigT383 on 7/24/2008 8:08:13 PM , Rating: 3
Your observation on patent expiration has merit, and is an interesting topic for a paper. However it has been independently verified that CFCs do weaken the ozone layer.

As for the global warming issue, mainstream science in peer-reviewed publications does have a consensus that human activity is to blame for the increase in temperatures since the beginning of the industrial revolution. People that deny it usually have some reason for denying it, and I'm wondering why yours is. My guess is some pathological like of conspiracy theories, based on your patent observation ideas? Do some research, write papers about your findings, but never be afraid to be proven wrong.

Speaking to the physics that you mentioned... they were pretty bad.

According to Google, in order for a photon to have enough energy to spontaneously change into a particle with the mass of an electron, it must have an energy of 510,998.903 electron volts (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-... which would classify such a photon as a Gamma Ray (>~100,000 ev, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_ray). The sun does not produce much energy at those wavelengths- it's not nearly hot enough. The exceptions are sometimes in magnetic breaks in solar flares, and through normal radioactive decay, etc. Furthermore, the earth's atmosphere is opaque to gamma rays- they get absorbed by air way high up, which lets off that energy as mostly heat (see thermo sphere, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosphere). In short, gamma rays do not account for any significant changes in earth's mass. Why gamma rays and not some other type of photon that the sun outputs? Because you need a high enough energy density to create matter out of energy- all of the sunlight spread over the earth cannot be taken into account. That's like saying there's enough sunlight hitting the ocean to boil a thimble of water (which is obviously true), but why are the oceans still there? Because the light is spread out.

Anyway, I'm wandering. Next up: rocks and dust. In this, you are correct. Rocks and dust do enter the earth every day, adding to the earth's mass. The problem is, not enough to matter. The earth masses ~6x10^24kg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth) and according to your link (http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae75.... gets one quadrillionth of one percent of it's mass per day. So over one quadrillion days the mass will increase one percent. That's 2.73792575 * 10^12 years (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-... The earth has only been around for 4.6 * 10^9 years. So at that rate the earth has increased in mass by like one one-thousandth of one percent over it's ENTIRE SPAN OF EXISTENCE (Yes, early on there was a period of heavy bombardment, etc, but lets agree that the current rate has been fairly constant for at least the last billion years or so). Even if you consider that mass amount significant with respect to gravity (gravity is an extremely weak force!) then to say that it's significant over the last two hundred years is certainly folly. Solar tidal forces have certainly had more effect on the earth's orbit than any such mass increase.

Now, I'm no expert in orbital dynamics, but I do know that if you increase the speed of an orbiting object tangentially to it's center of orbit (push it "forward" along its orbital path) then you move to a higher, slower orbit. Slow down, and you sink inwards but move faster. It's not very intuitive, I know. If instead you do what's natural and try to accelerate directly away from the center of your orbit, all you'll do is make the orbit more elliptical. Adding mass does basically the same thing as adding speed, since basically you're adding a force (Force=Mass*Acceleration), it's going to hurt more if it hits you, etc.). So the adding mass to the earth would cause it to move away from the sun, having greater orbital energy but lower orbital velocity. Imagine a baseball on a string that you're spinning over your head. The string goes from your hand to the ball, and represents gravity. Your hand represents the sun, since it's in the center and it's pulling on the ball to keep it going in a circle. Now say I suddenly replace the baseball with a bowling ball. That's a lot more mass! You have to use a lot more force to keep it in the same small circle- it wants to move further out and go slower. Now, you'll probably argue that as the earth's mass increases so does its attraction to the sun (correct), which would cause it to move in towards the sun (incorrect). What that actually means is that the sun would "feel" the earth more, but what determines where you orbit isn't your mass, it's your orbital speed. That's why satellites and the moon and asteroids etc, can orbit the sun in about the same orbit as earth, without weighing nearly as much. You'll probably say that the moon orbits the earth, not the sun, but in actuality it orbits both. If the earth felt the sun's gravity but the moon did not, the earth's gravity wouldn't be nearly enough to hold the moon in orbit.

Okay, whew... getting to the end here. Now on to stars and black holes. Yes, stars do lose mass over their lifetimes. For one, as mentioned above, they're turning mass into energy all the time- that's what starlight is made of- and starlight obviously leaves the star. The sun loses 4 million tons of mass each second through fusion alone (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronom... stars have "winds" of particles that leave them. The sun loses 6.7 billion tons per hour through the solar wind (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronom... Stars vary greatly- larger stars are brighter and use their fuel faster, and have higher powered winds as well, and smaller stars are less bright, live longer, and have lower-powered winds. Also, as stars get old then swell into red giants, and at this point the star is so big (same gravity, larger area) it loses grasp of the outer layers and sloughs them off in a kind of super-solar-wind that produces planetary nebulae that you can see in Hubble Pics. So stars do lose mass as they age.

Now black holes. After the red giant phase, the largest stars can still have like 12 times the mass of the sun left, even after the red giant phase. When certain conditions are met, the star will explode as a supernova. During this process, the core of the star -still weighing several times the mass of the sun- gets squished by all of that energy into something smaller than a city. Now because it's so small, the forces of gravity acting on each individual particle are so great (because they're so close together and gravity weakens with distance) that even the neutrons (which are all that's left after the gravity has smushed the electrons into their respective protons) can't hold that core up and it collapses below what is called the Schwarzschild Radius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzschild_radius) to form a black hole. So you see it's not that black holes have a lot of mass (the star that the black hole came from had much MORE mass than the black hole left behind), but it's because it's in such a small area that the black hole exists. In fact, many things can be made into a black hole if you were to smush them small enough. If you were to smush earth into a sphere smaller than its Schwarzschild Radius of about ~9mm then it would be a black hole, too. See this helpful video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2VcJy8dPUM.

Okay, hopefully we cleared a lot of things up here today, and we all learned something.

Science!


RE: How many more nails?
By BigT383 on 7/24/2008 8:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Stupid parsing... here's the video I mention (no period on the end)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2VcJy8dPUM


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