Friday, December 31, 2010

On greenhouses and the Greenhouse Effect

From time to time, some people get excited about the fact that the greenhouse effect seems wrongly named. An extreme case is the paper of Gerlich and Tscheuschner, where they devote a whole section 2 (19 pages) to the question. It continues to arise; Judith Curry touched on it in a recent thread, where discussion turned to the old Wood's experiment

The standard response correctly says that none of this matters. The atmospheric  GHE is what it is, and is no less true if it turns out that the allusion to greenhouses is inaccurate. Wikipedia takes this approach, with a refreshing brevity and directness.

However, there is a little more to the story (which still says nothing about the truth of the GHE). Greenhouses do work mainly by blocking heat loss through convection. But IR flux blocking is not totally insignificant.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all

It isn't freezing everywhere

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I should start with an apology for light posting lately. We have a family gathering with folks from overseas, but that wasn't the obstacle. We've been hassling to get some building work finished before the occasion (now done).

This post won't say much about the actual issue of ocean acidification. Rather it's a response to something that seems to always happen when the topic arises. Someone inevitably contends that, no, the ocean can't be acidifying because it's alkaline. pH>7 and all that.

There was a long discussion here, for example. What prompted me to post was seeing it happen recently on Judith Curry's blog. It's a sterile topic - a bit like arguing about whether the greenhouse effect is well named. But there's a bit of science in it. The argument can be answered on four levels.