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Comment: keep on calculating [Don't speculate, calculate] (Score 1) 718

A nice response, and interesting. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll see it's not that trivial.

Yes it is.

It's not, and one point that needs to be clarified is that AGW proponents must supply the burden of proof.

Nope. You have just proposed a hypothesis. Unless you show that it is plausible, there's no reason for anybody to pay attention: your hypothesis, your burden to show it's plausible.

As it turns out, about two minutes of calculation shows it's several orders of magnitude too small to be relevant. But you need to learn to do your calculations.

Unsupported speculation is not science. It may be the start of science... but it's not science until you start using numbers.

I would note that your post didn't address the relative orders of magnitude of CO2.

Calculations, please. Making stuff up isn't science. Calculating effects is. If you think that relative magnitude of CO2 is relevant, give me a back of the envelope showing plausibility. You can use as a starting point the fact all the volcanoes worldwide emit, on average, an estimated 130 to 440 million metric tons of CO2 each year. (Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?)

I'm not talking about the CO2 from the volcanoes, it's the heat and acidity.

You randomly shift back and forth from saying its the CO2 (first quote in this thread this one), it's the heat (listed first in this sentence), or it's the acidity (end of this sentence). Three completely different effects; three completely different calculations. This leads me to suspect you haven't actually thought it out. Pick one. Do the calculation. Check your numbers. Check them again.

Sorry, gotta go.

Comment: Don't speculate, calculate [Re:Thermal calculatio] (Score 1) 718

A nice response, and interesting. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll see it's not that trivial.

Yes it is.

I would note that your post didn't address the relative orders of magnitude of CO2.

Calculations, please. Making stuff up isn't science. Calculating effects is. If you think that relative magnitude of CO2 is relevant, give me a back of the envelope showing plausibility. You can use as a starting point the fact all the volcanoes worldwide emit, on average, an estimated 130 to 440 million metric tons of CO2 each year. (Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?)

My revised argument (I didn't type the following in the earlier post) is that natural CO2 dominates anthropogenic CO2,


and any changes we induce to the overall temperature are overshadowed by natural variations.

Nope. They add to the natural variations... but the natural variations tend to average out with time, while the anthropogenic CO2 is monotonic upward.

In particular, the variations in chemistry and temperature of the ocean dominate the chemical equilibrium.

Don't speculate, calculate. About two minutes of work should show you that this is not even within a few orders of magnitude of being relevant. You need a back of the envelope calculation showing plausibility.

What I didn't add about the undersea volcanoes is when heat and acid are added to water, LeChatlier's principle states that the alkaline ocean (remember, ocean pH varies from 7.0 to 8.0) will go slightly more acidic (sulfuric acid is a much stronger acid than carbon dioxide) and push the carbon dioxide out of the water, and increasing temperature raises the dissociation constant of water (or lowers the pKw, take your pick) and also forces out more CO2.

Now you're talking effects that aren't even close to being relevant. Don't speculate, calculate.

Anyone who has drunk a warm, flat beer, or poured vinegar into soda water and watch it fizz, can observe this. The assumed heat added by volcanoes is 525,000 TW-h, [check your numbers too ;-)], and the acidity from sulfuric acid is enough energy (in terms of chemical potential) to affect the solubility and cause the ocean to release more CO2 into the atmosphere, or absorb more if the volcanic activity decreases.

Show me an order of magnitude. How much is the effect?

If there is a 10% variation in the volcanic releases of heat and SO4 (or 52,000 TW-h, compared to 142 TW-h from anthropogenic sources), that will affect the environment more than what we add, and it can be argued that from the energy balance difference (recall the worlds energy demand is another way of showing the chemical potential differences between the hydrocarbons and CO2 + H2O). This is significant,

Sorry, but your numbers fail a check of units. The units needed are warming in degrees K. Any other numbers need to, eventually, be turned into warming in K by a calculation.

and the argument cannot be dismissed by calling me a denier.

You have stopped being a denier when you started doing calculations with actual numbers. You may be wrong... but you have now demonstrated that you are not a denier.

It could be dismissed if all volcanoes were identified and their activity cataloged.

Unnecessary. If the effect is many orders of magnitude too small to think about, no need to pay further attention.

Comment: Thermal calculations [Re:Undersea volcanoes!] (Score 1) 718

Excellent. You have at least tried to put some numbers down: you have now met minimum standards for actual debate.

So let's analyze your numbers:

First, the link you gave which you listed as "30,000 submarine volcanoes," when you follow it, actually states "An estimated 30,000 seamounts occur across the globe," where it helpfully defines seamount: "typically extinct volcanoes that rise abruptly from a seafloor of 1,000 - 4,000 meters depth." So, the first caveat is that you will want to answer the question, how many active submarine volcanoes are there?

Next we need to figure the energy emitted by a volcano. It's a weird calculation to take an estimate of potential electrical power from a volcano and back calculate that to thermal power; I'd go with cubic meters of lava times temperature times heat capacity, but right now we're analyzing your calc. So, 60,000 GW = 60 TW. (I calculate that at 500 million TW-hrs per year, by the way: check your numbers.)

Indeed: that's more than human energy consumption. But, why do we care? This is a climate calculation, so we are looking for a climate answer: does this affect climate?

Googling "solar energy absorbed by the Earth," Earth receives 340 watts per square meter times the surface area of the Earth (510 million square kilometers= 510 trillion square meters), that comes to 170,000 TW. So the estimated volcanic heat contribution is a 0.00035 increase in input energy. From the Stefan-Boltzman equation, we can translate that to a temperature increase (Kelvin) of a factor of 1.00009. At Earth's equilibrium temperature, that's an increase of roughly 0.025 degrees K

But, that's not a calculation of the contribution to observed warming-- that's a steady state effect. It's the amount that the Earth's climate would change if all those 30,000 volcanoes were originally off, and suddenly turn on. They're not likely to be all turning on in phase. So, the modulation in the Earth's climate is at most that number, and most likely less.

Not significant.

That's the back of my envelope, care to share yours that would state unequivocally that it's not a possible contributor?


The entire heat flux from the interior of the Earth is 0.05 watts per square meter. That's all of the volcanoes, including your undersea volcanoes, all of the geothermal energy, everything. The estimate radiative forcing from carbon dioxide emitted by humans is order of magnitude 1 watt per square meter. Thus, heat flux from the Earth's interior can account for, at most, 5% as much warming as anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

Comment: Re:Newtonian physics works (Score 1) 196

by Geoffrey.landis (#48636737) Attached to: Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated

Newtonian physics looks kind of logical. It's completely wrong, but plenty of decisions are based on it. Despite that we know is wrong

If you phrase Newton's force equation as F= dp/dt (rather than the F=ma formulation in your high-school physics text), it's not wrong. You just need to use the relativistic momentum p.

(Newtonian gravity, however, is indeed wrong. Or, to be more pedantic, it is the first-order term of gravity in general relativity.)

Comment: A bit of difference [Re:deniers and skeptics] (Score 2) 718

There isn't much difference between the two religious camps, except one gets excused by the AGW proponents much more quickly.

One side shouts--LOUDLY-- that scientists are frauds, scientific results are a hoax, anybody paying attention to science is participating a "scam", and there's a worldwide conspiracy of scientists to defraud the public.

The other side doesn't.

I see a very clear difference.

Comment: Undersea volcanoes! [Re:Skeptics and Deniers] (Score 3, Interesting) 718

Unfortunately, the examples you give are typical examples of denier style of argumentation-- you just throw random stuff out, without even doing a back of the envelope calculation to ask whether what you're talking about is even close to being significant, on the assumption that you can make somebody else can waste their time explaining basic orders of magnitude to you. Basically: do some basic calculation before just randomly saying stuff like "undersea volcanoes! What about undersea volcanoes?"
What is the order of magnitude of the effect you're talking about? How does it compare to the effects driving climate? Has this been looked at by others? What have previous studies concluded?

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 2) 718

Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.

That's funny. The first definition on Google states "a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.", which seems to be a good fit for those who are denying global warming.

Nope. "Questioning" implies that they'd pay attention to answers. "Denying" means that that they have no interest in answers; only in denying that it's real.

That's the difference between skeptics and deniers right there.

Comment: Re:It's a strange world we live in! (Score 1) 718

"Climate Deniers" is a bit of a misnomer. There are very few people who don't believe that the climate is changing. One would have to be quite an ignorant fool to believe such a thing.

Quoting from what the article actually says, distinguishing deniers from skeptics:
Skepticism is all about critical examination, evidence-based scientific inquiry, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims. Those who flatly deny the results of climate science do not partake in any of the above. They base their conclusions on a priori convictions. Theirs is an ideological conviction—the opposite of skepticism.

"Warmists" will tell you that climate change is caused by humans. Period.

I'm not sure what "warmists" say, and I'm not sure I care. What climate scientists say is that carbon dioxide emitted by humans has exactly the same effect as carbon dioxide produced by any other process, and that the relatively well understood effects of carbon dioxide absorption of infrared radiation can affect climate.

However, anthropogenic climate change is not instead of natural variations in climate: it is in addition to natural variations.

These are often the same people who are pushing the big 'carbon tax' scam,

No. No, no, no!

You are confusing political advocacy with science.

What the climate scientists are saying is: here is the calculated effect of carbon dioxide emissions on the atmosphere, here are the error bars; here are the measurements showing the effect, and here are the predictions for what will happen if we do X amount of emissions in the future.

That's the science.

What you are talking about is essentially the invisible backward reasoning behind the denier's arguments: "If the science were true, then taxes! And big government and oppression and the end of free enterprise! But we hate taxes and big government! Therefore, the science is false."

That's backward reasoning, and makes no sense. The science is accurate, or inaccurate, regardless of whether we like the consequences or not, and regardless of what we chose to do about it (or even whether we chose to do anything about it.) "I don't like the politics, therefore the science is wrong" is bad reasoning. Don't attack the science; go argue the politics.

This is in some way the real bad consequence of the deniers. There should be some real discussion, and real debate, about what to do, and even whether we should do anything. But whenever somebody tries to start talking about this, the conversation is hijacked. One side says, maybe a carbon tax, or cap and trade, or incentives for "green" energy, or an international commission. And the other side says "the science is a hoax!" That's not a discussion.

Comment: Straw men are made of straw! (Score 1) 718

It's hardly worth bothering to reply to these anonymous cowards, I'm afraid; they never admit to being wrong, and even if they did, they'd just keep on posting. Pretty much every single statement he says makes no sense.

Except for religious nuts, nobody has predicted that the world is going to end. This is an argument by the technique of wildly exaggerating what has been said, and then pointing out that the wild exaggeration is wildly exaggerated.

Again: Nobody has predicted that the world is going to end.

There's really no point in arguing these straw men.

Comment: deniers and skeptics [Re:Established science] (Score 3, Insightful) 718

Can you simultaneously accept X while questioning X? Seems illogical.

Of course you can. Terms for this in the science community include "working hypothesis" and "the best current model" and phrases such as "subject to further analysis, we currently believe..."

Skeptical has synonyms such as :distrustfull, suspicious, unconvinced. These would all describe a person who is either a "denier" or a skeptic.

No. Deniers have made up their minds already; they are not "unconvinced" at all: they are firm believers. That's the difference between a denier and a skeptic.

So then what you are saying in reality is that anyone not accepting your way of thinking is a "denier" and that "You are either with us, or you are against us!"

No. Deniers have made up their minds already; they are not "unconvinced" at all. That's the difference between a denier and a skeptic: a skeptic can be convinced by evidence.

Established science can and has been and should be questioned as that is how we advance scientific knowledge and processes

There is a difference between paying attention to the science and denying the science. That difference is the difference between a skeptic and a denier.

When you start with the conclusion that the science is wrong because you don't like it-- you're not a skeptic.

Comment: Re:Science is on the skeptical side of this debate (Score 1) 718

The science is on the skeptical side of the CAGW argument.

I'm not sure how Citizens Against Government Waste is relevant here, but, indeed, science is always on the skeptical side. That skepticism is expressed by making calculations, making measurements, doing experiments, and learning about the physical world. Making models and testing those models is what scientists do; it is what climate scientists have been doing for a century.

Comment: Skeptics and Deniers (Score 5, Insightful) 718

Funny, because the science that I learned about in college was ALL ABOUT being constantly questioned.


A skeptic will ask questions, and will pay attention to the answers, open to the possibility of their views being changed by evidence. That's science.
A denier will pretend to ask questions, but with no real interest in the answers: their opinions are already set, and won't be changed. That's not science.

Deniers pretend to be skeptics. However, they are actually exactly the opposite: the distinguishing feature of deniers is not skepticism, but credulity-- they seen to credit pretty much anything they hear (or read on a blog somewhere)-- if it supports their pre-existing opinions.

(Amusingly, Fred Singer wrote an article making that exact point: "Deniers are giving us skeptics a bad name.")

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll invite himself over for dinner. - Calvin Keegan